Original and authentic Indigenous masks from the Pacific Northwest Coast are usually carved from yellow cedar, red cedar, and alder. As these are based on a living tradition, most contemporary West Coast Native artists focus on, and interpret the stories as well as the totems to which they have hereditary rights.
West Coast Native Masks
The following First Nations masks and headdresses are mainly inspired by the Haida and Kwakiutl or Kwakwaka'wakw masking traditions from Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia's West Coast. As well as being popular with art collectors, Northwest Coast masks continue to play an integral role in cultural and ceremonial practice.
Native Masks and Spirits
Masks often represent spirit creatures, animals, and myths. When used in the Potlatch or other West Coast Native ceremonies, dancers take on the personification of the creatures that the masks represent and enter the supernatural world during the dance. A West Coast native transformation mask often represents the transformation of a human to a mythical creature or animal and vice versa.