Artist: Attributed to Mungo Martin Region: ‘Mimkwamlis, Village Island, British Columbia, Canada Returned From: Canadian Museum of Civilization, VII.E.480
The Imas is the founding ancestor of a given ‘namima or extended family group. There are different rankings for Imas which can be claimed by different family lines within the ‘namima. At a memorial potlatch, the Imas is shown. It is believed that the spirt of the ancestral being is present to witness and validate the transfer of all the deceased privileges to the designated inheritor. When the Imas enters into the Bighouse, the attendants would spread mountain goat pelts on the floor for the Imas to walk on. The spirit of the first ancestor, as well as that of the recently deceased are called into the Big House to approve the transfer of privileges. The dancer travels in a counter-clockwise motion around the room in a slow, dignified manner.