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*Not all masks are on display in the U'mista Gallery.

Deaf Man Mask of Harry Hanuse

Deaf Man Mask of Harry Hanuse
Deaf Man Mask

"Deaf Man Mask"

Among the Mamalilikala "Village Island Tribe", there is a story about an Ancestor who was hard of hearing. This dance reenacts a story about an Ancestor in a family’s history and eventually became a sacred Winter Ceremony belonging to the descending family.

This rare mask commemorates the story of an Ancestor among the Mamalilikala who would not listen to the strict obligations of his noble family that dictates that he must give feasts. The Ancestor would not listen to the words of his fellow Chiefs and family members, who were advising the man to uphold his position by feasting his fellow tribesmen. Not wanting to fulfill his obligation, the man pretended not to hear these important words. In their frustration and concern for their family’s social status, they were brought to the point of killing the man for his foolishness and neglect towards his role as a noble high-ranking person.

As told by Wedłidi Speck

This mask belonged to the late Chief I’wakalas Harry Hanuse and his Chieftainship has been passed on to his oldest grandson and namesake, the present Chief I’wakalas, Harry Hanuse. Through this family and their treasures, the right to this ancient prerogative has been passed on to another grandson, Dan Hanuse, who is the present day keeper of the dance. As the dancer moves onto the sacred dance floor he leans to the side of his one ear and pretends to listen, but not really hearing the people and what they are saying to him. The dance is an important one and has been performed for many generations. It is from this story that a "characteristic" of the Mamalilikala people has been passed on from generation to generation and it is said that, "The Mamalilikala people are deaf".

The mask belongs to Chief I’wakalas Harry Hanuse. UCC-95.03.010

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