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Hair headdress, made from an extensive length of dark hair. Beads encircle the crown and there are occasional wool ties, which are used to secure it to the dancer.

History Of Use

It sometimes happens that a novice dancer is advised by his or her "power" to use the kwikwamus, otherwise it is usually the people who have been dancers for more than four years that use it.

Specific Techniques

A form is made to fit the person for whom the headdress is being made, usually the crown of an old felt hat. The hair is sewn in layers onto a cloth and the whole thing fitted over the form. The hair in front comes down well over the eyes to protect the dancer from accidently seeing anything evil. (Della Kew 1972)


Collected from the reserve in West Saanich, but originated with the previous owner's father in Cowichan. It is a warriors head-piece, used in the spirit dance. As the headdresses are also used in the Black Dance (see Amoss 1978) and other spirit dances this one may also have been used for one or more of them. It was made from the hair of the previous owner, who notes "that her father made her let her hair grow, when a child, until it reached the floor, then it would be cut off." The collector also acquired another head piece made from the same woman's hair, which was made a little differently.

Cultural Context

ceremonial; winter dances; spirit dancing

Item History

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