Doug Cranmer Huxwhukw mask
Timeline of the Potlatch Conflict
The Museum Compromise
U'Mista Cultural Society (UCS)-Alert Bay
Stories of the Potlatch Collection
This raven Hamatsa Mask was part of the confiscated regalia sent to the National Museum of Man in Ottawa. This collection was the first returned, forming the basis of the collection at U'Mista in 1980.
"Yesterday, Mr. G.W. Haye (sic), representing a New York museum was at Alert Bay and called to see me having heard that this potlatch material was in my care…He wanted to buy a considerable amount of the stuff and as I considered that his prices were exceptionally good I sold him to the amount of $291.00 for which I am enclosing his cheque in my favor which I have endorsed to the Department of Indian Affairs." (Sewid-Smith 74-75)
Heye collected for the Museum of the American Indian, now part of the Smithsonian. This Raven Transforming mask, part of that collection, was returned in the late 1980s.
The Sam Scow Frontlet was part of the collection returned from Ottawa. It was stolen from U'Mista in 1995, and remains missing.
The Smithsonian originally held this frontlet, and it is unclear how it came to be in the estate collection of French poet Andre Breton. It was returned voluntarily in 2003 by his daughter, and is currently undergoing conservation.
This Transformation Mask was decommissioned by the Smithsonian, then held in a private collection. It is now owned by the British Museum in London, and has been on long-term loan to U'Mista since 2005.
Photographs courtesy UCS