The Kwakiutl Indians were fishing people. Kwakiutl men caught fish and sea mammals from their canoes. They also hunted deer, birds, and small game. Kwakiutl women gathered clams and shellfish, seaweed, berries, and roots.
The Kwakiutl are indigenous North American people of British Columbia. Their native language is Kwak’wala, and they are excellent fishers due to their rich history rooted in fishing. These people celebrate special occasions with elaborate ceremonies called potlatches.
The name Kwakiutl derives from Kwaguʼł—the name of a single community of Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw located at Fort Rupert. The anthropologist Franz Boas had done most of his anthropological work in this area and popularized the term for both this nation and the collective as a whole.
Kwakiutl artists are known for their fine Native American basket and woodcarving arts, including wooden mask and totem pole carvings.
Their name for themselves means “those who speak Kwakwala.” Although the name Kwakiutl is often applied to all the peoples of that group, it is the name of only one band of Kwakwaka’wakw.
The Kwakiutl lived in a very rainy climate with four seasons and many natural resources. The Kwakiul wore bark blankets, fur coats, skirts, breechcloths, and on special occasions, they wore moccasins. Many Kwakiutls lived in longhouses also known as plank houses.
Our Kwakiutl language or Kwak’wala is a Wakashan language of the Northwest Coast, traditionally spoken in our territory. Kwak’wala is the term used for the language, and Kwakwaka’wakw for the ethnic group. The Kwakwaka’wakw, or Kwak’wala speakers are the original inhabitants of the Northern Vancouver Island area.
Masks are highly valued by the Kwakiutl, serving as potent manifestations of ancestral spirits and supernatural beings and offering these supernatural entities temporary embodiment and communication through dance and other kinds of performance (Greenville 1998: 14).
These include the Blackfoot, Arapaho, Assiniboine, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Lakota, Lipan, Plains Apache (or Kiowa Apache), Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwe, Sarsi, Nakoda (Stoney), and Tonkawa.
The Kwakiutl lived in long, narrow houses called long houses or plank houses. Up to 50 people from the same clan would live in one house. Totem poles are ceremonial statues that were carved by many of the tribes in the Pacific Northwest.
The Kwakwaka ‘ wakw (pronounced: KWOK-wok-ya-wokw) of British Columbia have built a rich culture that reflects and acknowledges the riches in our natural environment.
The resulting confederacy, whose governing Great Council of 50 peace chiefs, or sachems (hodiyahnehsonh), still meets in a longhouse, is made up of six nations: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.
Food That The Iroquois Ate Iroquois people would mainly eat food that they grew and hunted. They mainly ate squash, corn, and beans. These three were called “The Three Sisters”: the physical and spiritual sustainers of life. They would also prepare and eat tacos and tortillas.
The Kwakiutl made clothing from the bark of trees. They also made rain capes and coats from animal skins. From the abundant forests of cedar and redwood trees, the Kwakiutl built houses called plank houses, or clan houses.
The Kwakiutl lived in coastal villages lying close to the shoreline. Each of their rectangular house had a totem pole on the front, a heavy timber frame and were made of cedar planks, and roofs were made of wood bark. The typical Kwakiutl house was up to 100 feet long and housed up to 50 families!