Kwakiutl of North America

People Group Info

Total Population: 5,150

ROP3 Code: 105511
IMB Affinity Group: American Peoples
Affinity Bloc: North American Peoples
People Cluster: North American Indigenous
Language: English - (eng)
Religion: Christianity - Protestant
Country of Origin: United States

Majority Located Where

  Victoria, BC - 4,800

  Sequim, WA - 350

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Brief Profile

The majority of the Kwakiutl people, self-named Kwakwaka'wakw, reside in British Columbia, Canada along the shores between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada. Their name means "those who speak Kwakwala."

Historically, their oral history says their ancestors (‘na’mima) came in the forms of animals by way of land, sea, or underground. When one of these ancestral animals arrived at a given spot, it discarded its animal appearance and became human.

Kwakiutl are also well-known for the constuction of totem poles. Totem poles were an expressive form foretelling the stories of one's past ancestry. Hence, cultural art served as important cultural form for reinforcing the distinct Kwakiutl identity. Besides totem poles, other artistic expression took the form of folk storytelling, music, masks, textiles, jewelry and carved objects, ranging in size from masks to 40' tall totem poles. The Kwakiutl in Canada are revitalizing the carver of totem pole carving, less for religious reasons and more for cultural preservation and tourism.

The Kwakiutl in the United State originated from a few migrating from their traditional homelands to reside just northwest of Seattle, Washington in the northwest coastal area of Sequim across from Victoria, Canada. They do not speak the Kwakiutl language. In fact, out the total 5,500 plus population of Kwakiutl both in Canada and the United States less than 50% can still converse in Kwakiutl.

Traditionally, they are known for celebrating potlashes. A potlash is a gift-giving feast. They are held on the occasion of births, deaths, adoptions, weddings, and other major events (More about ... the Potlash).

They are predominantly Christians with membership in several evangelical protestant churches.

Prayer Points

  • Pray God will burden evangelical Kwakiutl to share the gospel of the free grace of God as revealed through Jesus Christ.
  • Pray God will enlighten evangelical Kwakiutl to listen and act upon the words of Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations", no matter the language they speak.
  • Pray that God will develop with the younger generations to serve the Lord Jesus with heart, mind, and soul.


Global Recordings Network
Online Bible
Native Americans - Worldview and Trends
Online Talking Bible - English
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