Ways of Life

Amhalayts

Amhalayt are traditional frontlet headdresses worn by chiefs during formal ceremonies or when they dance during community gatherings. Similar to the crests carved on totem poles, amhalayt feature a carved representation of a supernatural spirit or “nax̱nok” commanded by the chief. The headdresses are exquisitely carved and often feature inlaid abalone shell, feathers and other ornamentations.

A very fine amhalayt is one that belonged to the Eagle chief Minee’eskw of Gitlax̱t’aamiks. It was known as “Crown of the Gibilx̱”. Today, it is part of the collections at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.

Amhalayt mask
Amhalayt known as "Crown of the Gibilx̱". Royal Ontario Museum Img 5180.gif
Amhalayt mask top view
Amhalayt known as "Crown of the Gibilx̱". Royal Ontario Museum Img 5180.gif