Anatkut at Winter Ceremonial Calling Seal Helping Spirit
“Anatkut at Winter Ceremonial Calling Seal Helping Spirit” by Larry Ahvakana captures the moment when the Shaman beckons his Seal Helping Spirit Fetish from the Kutuk, or hole in the floor, which happens in a dance performed during the winter ceremonial Messenger Feast.
The Messenger Feast, or Kiugiq, takes place when the sun just appears in February. All villagers come together to call the Spirit Bird to take the souls of the past whales that have been caught and to also remember the past. The Kaluqaq, the Box Drum, is placed in the center of the dance arena and the Loon Dancer calls the Sacred Bird at the end of the three day ceremony.
During the dances, the Shaman or Anatkut will perform a healing ceremony during which the Shaman calls the Kikituq (the Helping Spirit Fetish). The fetish will rise up through the Kutuk (hole in the floor) into the Shaman’s hands.
The expression on this Shaman’s face couldn’t be more internally joyous and peaceful. This sculpture is carved from red cedar and port orford yellow cedar; the big bead hanging from the back of the Shaman’s head is a bead Larry carved from whale tooth; there are also glass beads, metal cone beads, cedar bark, the base is made from CoaBoa and the Kutuk (the hole in the floor) is Honduran mahogany