Native American Photographs by Edward S. Curtis

Nimkish village at Alert Bay

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Nimkish village at Alert Bay

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Description

The figure at the bottom of the column in the foreground, with the painting on the front of the house, represents a raven. When a feast or a dance is to be held in this house, the guests enter through the raven’s beak, the lower mandible of which swings up and down on a pivot. When a guest steps beyond the pivot, his weight caused the beak to clap shut, and thus the mythic raven symbolically “swallows” the tribesman one by one. A view from the other end of this street is shown in the illustration facing page 8, Volume X.

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Tribe

Kwakiutl / Kwakwaka'wakw Indians

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