Who is the Wild Man of the Woods?

Who is the Wild Man of the Woods?

Above: Wild Man of the Woods Mask by Stan Hunt

The Wild Man of the Woods, or Bukwas, is an eerie supernatural creature from the Kwakwaka’wakw nation. This mysterious and elusive figure can be found lurking at the edge of a stream or in the shadows of a forest, offering food to lost humans and luring them to become spirits in his shadowy underworld. The souls caught by the Bukwas are eternally condemned to misery, hunger, wandering and evilness.


Wild Man of the Woods Mask by Sean Whonnock

He can also be viewed as a guardian, protecting the deep woods from intrusion and harm.


Bakwus Mask by Raymond Shaw

Bukwas is generally depicted as short, hairy and green, with hollow cheeks, deep round sunken-in eyes, brows that jut out and a hooked nose. Depictions often incorporate hair and cedar bark. Dancers will portray him as a shy creature, often holding his forearm up to hide his face from observers and the sun. He will be seen creeping to a sandbank to dig for cockles., and occasionally will utter a high-pitched whoop or shriek.

Find more depictions of Bukwas here.