Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Ma-i-t pu-tu • How We Revere the Family


  • Medium: red cedar
  • Size: 16 × 11.5 × 5 inches
  • Reference Code: W120203

The Great White Owl appears at times to our people, particularly when they are alone. The white owl’s role is to take the spirit of one who passes unexpectedly. At times when this happens, that passing occurs before that person has completed the job that he or she was put on this earth to do. We have a kind of stop-over within the great beyond — and when someone within our family group conceives and is with child, the spirit of the departed comes back from the beyond and goes into a warm-blooded animal. Most often this host is a Great White Owl.

To the one who is alone, the owl speaks — announcing whose spirit he is — and that is when the spirit of the relative who has passed unexpectedly enters the child just conceived. In my family, the great white owl spoke to my great-grandfather, Billy Ben (“u-u-ta”).

The Killerwhale family are one with that of the Wolf in terms of family structure. In the rank and file, everyone has a place — and the opinion of every one is valid. The families of Killerwhale and Wolf are together for life, and are one as a family unit — with a head or leader for each family.

The presence of the Moon is simply how we are able to live our lives.

—Tim Paul

Tim Paul

Tim Paul


Nuu-chah-nulth (Hesquiaht)

(1950- )

Tim is a Nuu-chah-nulth artist from Esperanza Inlet on Vancouver Island. He has held the position of First Carver at the Royal British Columbia Museum, where he oversaw numerous commissions for totem poles for international sites such as Wakefield Park and Yorkshire Park in England, Stanley Park in Vancouver, and in Auckland. He left this position to oversee a program focussing on Native education for the Port Alberni School Board and Vancouver Island.