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Nuxalk also known as “Bellacoola” Pitek, Emily


The Nuxalk are a Canadian First Nations society who live in the Bella Coola valley of British Columbia. These people trace their ancestry back to the original settlers of the area, who were sent by the supreme god Äłquntäm. Because the Nuxalk religious beliefs are bound up in almost all spheres of life, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society. It is important to note that the Nuxalk beliefs were influenced by Christianity beginning with contact in the 18th century. Key features of the Nuxalk beliefs include a variety of supernatural beings, religious specialists (shamans) possessing supernatural powers, as well as rituals (most commonly dances) led by secret ceremonial societies called kisuit and siswak. This entry focuses on the Nuxalk ca. 1880, with emphasis placed on the central village of the lower Bella Coola river.

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