Max’inux legend symbolizes respect and connection – Killer whale is human also.
This is a Whale mask a dancer wears on his back, bending his torso horizontally at the hips. The lower jaw, pectoral fins and fluked tail on this mask are designed to move so that the dancer can move them realistically when the whale “surfaces”. The Mask is used to tell the legend of Max’inux – “the one who wants to hunt”.
A long time ago, some young boys sat in small dugout canoes and paddled out onto the water in front of their village called Mimkwam’lis. They spotted a pod of killer whales playfully swimming by. The boys, who had their bows and arrows with them, discussed shooting at the whales for target practice. Aiming at the dorsal fin, one boy’s arrow hit its mark. The wounded whale was very sad. This angered the whale family. The whales began swimming towards the boys, who paddled as fast as they could to the land. Just as their canoes reached the shore, one whale came up from behind. The boy who had taken the shot jumped out onto the beach. As he landed, so did the whale, and at that moment the whale’s dorsal fin turned into a man. The man caught the boy by his Achilles tendons and said: “As long as you live you will never be able to walk properly, and you will always suffer in pain from the muscle in your heels being pulled out, for I am the Killer Whale.”
From that day forward, the boy and his clan, the Walas, truly respected Killer whales. Not because of fear, but the insight of connection – Killer whale is human also – and their supernatural power. Walas took the crest of Killer whale, painted it on their houses and composed songs and dances in its honor. Still today, Killer whale is regarded as the same spirit as man.
For us, this is a reminder of how everything is connected and should be respected as you would like to be. There is no place for recklessness against things that we think are different from us. True maturity is insight of connectedness and understanding your actions have consequences. Always reflect on your own actions and use your influence in the world well. Respect.