“In Haida oral traditions, kuugan jaad, or Mouse Woman, is a supernatural being. She is often present in our origin stories, helping the storyline along and sometimes lending a hand to the human characters. Kuugan jaad has great strength, having stood up to the Supernatural Ancestress of the Haida Raven clan, Foam Woman. Kuugan jaad was only one of the two beings who could approach Foam Woman, but in doing so she became smaller and smaller and was ultimately reduced to her present, compact size.
Kuugan jaad is the name I gave to a design element that appears in many Northwest Coast designs. After learning that Wilson Duff called this design element “Mighty Mouse”, I chose kuugan jaad because it seemed more appropriate. As kuugan jaad is a new name, it is unlikely that Charles Edenshaw intended to include this supernatural being in his designs however, he would have unconsciously included this design element. From my experience with kuugan jaad, she is created on a subconscious or a conscious level. I can consciously add a kuugan jaad in a design, or she will appear as I create the design.
Kuugan jaad is present on masks and carved or painted box designs. She has the magic of showing up in any part of the design field. She is both positive and negative space, and sometimes she fills an element of a body of the design. I think of her as the spirit of the box design because she is on ninety-nine percent of these designs and she completes a design on a box.”