Artist: Attributed to Chief Lalakanx’id Johnny Davis from the ‘Naḱwaxda’xw Blunden Harbour Tribe Returned From: Canadian Museum of Civilization Materials: wood, cedar; skin, bear; paint; fibre, cotton; metal, iron Dimensions:
The Kwak’wala have two different grizzly bear dance societies. The higher ranking is the Nan Baxwbakwalanuksiwe’ - Grizzly Bear of Baxwbakwalanuksiwe’ and the second is the ordinary Nan Grizzly Bear Dance. Grizzly Bear dancers are the most feared helpers of the Hamaťsa. Their role is to keep order in the house and punish all people who break the protocols of the T’seka Sacred Red Cedar Bark Dance.
The full costume includes a bearskin or a wool blanket and dancers also wear cedar bark head and neck rings. The song and movements of the grizzly evoke the terror exhibited by such a dangerous and powerful animal. The dance consists of violent motions of the body, and the dancer will growl and scratch the ground with his claws. The grizzly bear dancer always wears claws.
These claws are finely carved from whale bones. The claws are linked together with an iron rod which passes through holes drilled near the base of each claw.