Beau Dick (Kwakwaka’wakw)
Red cedar, acrylic, cedar bark, feathers
46” x 39” x 18” (116 x 99 x 46 cm)
“In ancient times, my ancestor [Gitsalis] was a well-respected chief because of his great qualities and humble nature. He was much loved among his fellow Tsawadinok at Gwayee, known as Kingcome Village. Because of Gitsalis’ prominence and popularity, this evoked envy, jealousy, and resentment among his fellow chiefs. A plot to eliminate Gitsalis was set.” – Beau Dick telling the story of Moogums.
According to Kwakwaka’wakw mythology, Four Pakala (witches) were hired to obtain the necessary ingredients to kill Gitsalis, the chief. The Pakala were very efficient as Gitsalis’ health began to fail rapidly. The villagers decided to take the nearly-deceased chief to a resting place close by. A cave at Anchorage Cove was chosen and they left Gitsalis with a little water and food and laid him to rest in peace.
Once in the Supernatural world, Gitsalis was treated like a high-ranking chief. Gifts of food and regalia were constantly flowing. Despite his wealth and power, Gitsalis was unhappy and missed his family. He eventually returned to his village, magically teleporting from one spot to another wearing the great Supernatural Mugamtl (Moogums) mask. He had become wild during his time in the spirit world and had to be tamed with the ritual of the Red Cedar Bark ceremony before he could again take his place among his family.