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In The Land of the Head Hunters
Description: 1914 film written and directed by Edward S. Curtis and acted completely by the Kwakwaka'wakw people of the Queen Charlotte Strait region of the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada. It tells the story of Motana, the brave son of a chief, who amidst a spiritual journey, battles an evil sorcerer and his brother to win the heart of the maiden Naida.
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Clip #: TFA-247
Length: 42:12
Year: 1914
Color: B/W
Sound: Sound
Library: TFA Network
Decade: 1910s
Filmmaker: Edward Curtis
Region: North America
Country: Canada
Subject: Native Life
Original: 16mm
1910s, Kwakiutl tribe, Kwakwaka'wakw, Aboriginal, First Nations, Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, Queen Charlotte Strait, British Columbia, British Columbia Coast, Kwakwaka'wakw men paddling dug out canoes, some wearing masks and man wearing Thunderbird regalia at bow, portraits Kwakwaka'wakw people, Motana, son of Kenada, Naida, daughter of Waket, Kenada, "The Sorcerer," Yaklus, brother of "The Sorcerer,” Motana performing ceremonial dance around prayer fire, Motana falling asleep and having vision with face of Naida appearing out of smoke, The Sorcerer hiding in brush as he watches Motana and Naida together, Motana helping Naida depart island in canoe, Motana resuming spirit quest at Island of the Dead, Motana performing ceremonial dance surrounded by statues, Motana falling asleep, men paddling canoe, sea lions on rocks entering water, sea lion rookeries, Motana carrying harpoon crouched down and climbing on rocks, and men paddling canoes and standing around harpooned whale, Sorcerer sitting with his people around fire and giving his daughter instructions to retrieve Motanas’ hair, Kwakwaka'wakw person inserting ring into nose, Motana climbing hill, Motana starting fire by rubbing stick and building up fire with pieces of wood, Motana dancing around fire, Motana falling asleep next to fire, sorcerer's daughter trying to show affection to Motana, who rejects her, sorcerer's daughter leaning over sleeping Motana and taking piece of his hair and neck-ring, Motana waking up and looking around for missing neck-ring, sorcerer's daughter bringing his hair and neck-ring back to sorcerer, sorcerer chanting as his hair stuffed into toad smokes over fire, Motana approaching shore in canoe, excited villagers running into water to greet Motana, warriors paddling canoes to shore as Kenada hands heads of sorcerer and his assistants to Waket, Naida’s father asking Waket for her marriage to Motana, Waket accepting proposal, Kenada and his tribe come for the bride in canoes, tribespeople loading up and paddling canoes, Kwakwaka'wakw men paddling dug out canoes, some wearing masks and animal regalia at bow, men wearing regalia of bear, thunderbird and wasp dancing at bow of canoes, pre-wedding festivities, Kenada distributing blankets to chiefs of bride’s tribe, bride’s father leading others in dance of acceptance, contest of drinking candlefish oil between speakers of the two chiefs, dance privileges to be given in the dowry are displayed, children dancing, Yaklus leading men carrying weapons, Yaklus and his men paddling canoe and attacking / overturning boat of fishermen, clam dinners fleeing shore as Yaklus and his men approach in canoe, captured clam digger being brought on board canoe as Yaklus and his men hold up heads and raise their arms in victory, canoes departing from shore, men disembarking canoe and climbing up rocks, Yaklus gesturing in direction of men ahead of them to his men paddling canoe, Yaklus and his men disembarking canoe and scrambling up rocks, Yaklus fighting with man and throwing him off cliff, Yaklus at bow directing his men to row canoe towards village on shore, Yaklus and his men sneaking on shore and into village, Yaklus and his men throwing spears at chief, Yaklus’s villagers greeting him and his warriors as they arrive at village in canoes holding heads and booty, Yaklus and his warriors performing victory dance,Winter Ceremonial, ceremony of First-Appearance-of-Masks-in-the-House, performance of the masked dances, women playing drums while men wearing masks and traditional animal regalia perform ceremonial dances, fire dancer destroying fire with bare hands while attendants try to restrain him, dancers dressed in animal regalia of bear, wolf, mountain goat, wasp, dog and deer, Naida’s slave having escaped Yaklus’ village wounded by arrow paddling canoe to inform Motana that Naida has survived, Motana and his warriors paddling to save Naida and rescuing her from Yaklus’ village, Yaklus pursuing Motana’s canoe into surging gorge where his canoe capsizes and he and his warriors drown

Re-released in 1974 as "In the Land of the War Canoes.

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