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"HuupuKwanum - Tupaat, Out of the Mist: Treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs"
2001-02-25 until 2001-06-10
Autry Museum of Western Heritage
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

Close your eyes and picture yourself on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, and the U.S. Olympic Peninsula. You're among the giant cedar trees early in the morning with the sea mist rising and the sun streaking though the trees. You hear the faint cry of birds and children laughing in the distance. You have just entered the special exhibition Out of the Mist: Treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs.

Out of the Mist explores the rich and vibrant culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth people of British Columbia and northwestern Washington State by examining their history and art. This exhibition, the first of its kind, was developed jointly through the efforts of the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C. and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. Born out of a three-year collaboration, this unique exhibition is presented through native voices and delivers a powerful experience to those who visit.

Out of the Mist introduces the visitor to the culture and beliefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. The exhibition features both ancient and contemporary art, and ceremonial and everyday objects. Central to the exhibition is the concept of Huupukwanum, the storage box that contains a chief's physical and cultural inheritance: his rights, names, dances, masks, and privileges, as well as the carvings and paintings associated with ceremonial rights. (Tupaat is the equivalent word in the language of the southern Nuu-chah-nulth nations.) The exhibition includes many examples of carved masks and headdresses; ceremonial rattles and whistles; intricately designed, hand- woven cedar bark baskets; and magnificently painted ceremonial curtains depicting Nuu-chah-nulth family stories. The exhibition will also introduce visitors to NULLUusimch, or the practice of spiritual preparation. A significant aspect of Nuu-chah-nulth life, spiritual preparation is performed by members of the band before setting out to gather food, collect bark for clothing and baskets, or find the perfect tree for the perfect canoe, or prior to fishing or hunting. Most complex and sacred to the Nuu-chah-nulth is the spiritual preparation before whale hunting.

Wolf headdress - Pacheedaht.
One of a pair of headdresses that
Chief Queesto uses in ceremonies.


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