Wendigo Totem


Baxwbakwalanuksiwe’ is the name given to Wendigo here in the Victoria area by the Kwakiutl (see Kwakiutl Mythology).

When incarnate on Earth, Baxwbakwalanuksiwe’ is living Winter made flesh, all-consuming, and almost nothing made of flesh can hope to stand before him.


“Of particular importance in Kwakwaka’wakw culture is the secret society called Hamatsa. During the winter, there is a four-day, complex dance that serves to initiate new members of Hamatsa. The Hamatsa dancer represents the spirit of Baxbaxwalanuksiwe (”Man-Eater at the North End of the World"), who can transform into various man-eating birds and was said to have mouths all over his body. Hamatsa initiates are possessed by Baxwbakwalanuksiwe’. On the first day of the Hamatsa ceremonies the initiate is lured out of the woods and brought into the Big House to be tamed. When the initiate returns, he enacts his cannibalistic possession symbolically. Gwaxwgwakwalanuksiwe’ is the most prestigious role in the Supernatural Man-Eater Birds ceremony; he is a man-eating raven Supernatural bird. Galuxwadzuwus (“Crooked-Beak of Heaven”) and Huxhukw (supernatural Crane-Like Bird who cracks skulls of men to suck out their brains) are other participants."

(see The Hamatsa)


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