This bowl was used to carry the Eagle-down to the dancers, who would dance wearing elaborately carved frontlets attached to headdresses, often decorated with ermine pelts and sea lion whiskers. The down would be placed on the top of the headdress clinging to the sea lion whiskers and as the dancer moved forward jerking forward his or her head, the down would float and land on the gathered guests as a sign of welcome and respect.
Wayne Alfred was born in 1958 in Alert Bay on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Alert Bay remains one of the most important artistic and culture centres on the Northwest Coast. Its isolated location protected the community from much of the effects of assimilation and remained not only a heritage village but also one of the most continually developing cultural areas on the coast. It is the home of the largest free standing totem pole in the world and the U’mista Cultural Centre which houses a major historic collection which had been returned from major museums as part of the changes to the Cultural appropriation legislation of the Federal Government.
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