U’mista Cultural Centre_image

U’mista Cultural Centre

In earlier days, people were sometimes taken captive by raiding parties. When they returned to their homes, either through payment of ransom or by a raid, they were said to have u’mista ... Read More


Season
All Year
Phone
Toll Free
Email
Location
Social


In earlier days, people were sometimes taken captive by raiding parties. When they returned to their homes, either through payment of ransom or by a raid, they were said to have u’mista. The return of our treasures from distant museums is a form of u’mista.

The potlatch was banned in Canada between 1885 and 1951. The masks and other regalia that you see here were all confiscated after an illegal potlatch in 1921. After the ban was lifted, the Kwakwaka’wakw people fought for decades for the return of their sacred regalia that had ended up in museum and private collections around the world. Most of the regalia has come home and it is shown here at the U’mista Cultural Centre and at the Nuyumbalees Museum.


Museum

Since 1922, some of our most treasured masks and ceremonial objects had been in the hands of museums in Canada, England and the United States, taken away at a time of great sorrow when a law deemed the potlatch was illegal. After years of effort, many of the confiscated treasures were successfully repatriated to their rightful owners, the Kwakwaka'wakw, and are now housed carefully in the U'mista Cultural Centre. This is called' The Potlatch Collection'.

Gift Shop

The U'mista Cultural Centre Gift Shop is internationally known for its wide selection of authentic Kwakwaka'wakw fine art, crafts and souvenirs.

The gift shop includes original masks, carvings, paintings and prints from Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation artists such as: Bruce Alfred, Don Alfred, Wayne Alfred, Stephen Bruce, Kevin Cranmer, Alfred Scow, Brian Scow, Vincent Shaughnessy, Don Svanvik, William Wasden Jr., Sean Whonnock. Works from these and other artists from our region can be found in the Selected Artworks.

All gift shop products are available through mail order. Select a special gift for someone special or order a unique keepsake from your visit to Alert Bay. Please browse through the merchandise of our department links to view and obtain more information about our products. Corporate, conference and other special events gifts are also available. Please contact us for more information.


  • U’mista Cultural CentreFace
  • U’mista Cultural CentreMany-masks
  • U’mista Cultural CentreMask
  • U’mista Cultural CentreMasks
  • U’mista Cultural Centrereflection
  • U’mista Cultural CentreSign

Visit Member Website
Add to My Trip Planner

This has now been added to your Trip Planner.