Chief Henry Speck

Chief U’dzistalis was born at Turnour Island August 12, 1908. He only went to school for 2 years, at the Alert Bay residential school. At the age of 14, he was initiated as a Hamat’sa dancer the highest of Kwakwaka’wakw secret societies. His initiation took place at a Potlatch given by his mother’s uncle, Chief Bob Harris. Since that event, Speck became an acknowledged cere- monial song keeper and composer of Kwakwaka’wakw dances. Later in his life he moved to Alert Bay and taught dancing every Monday night to the community in their efforts to revive their previously banned culture (see Potlatch ban). In 1925, Henry’s father gave an illegal Potlatch to assume the position of Chief of the Lawit’sis, and Henry performed as aHamat’sa . When his father died, Henry was made Chief and named U’dzistalis (The Greatest) at the Potlatch he gave in memory of his father. He passed away in 1971.

Available Works



Raven Turns to Human Face / Lady Giant Dance Mask, 1959
Chief Henry Speck
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”



Thunderbird Mask / Blue Jay Mask, 1959
Chief Henry Speck
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”



Thunder Bird Dance Mask, 1959
Chief Henry Speck
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”



Black Fish & Mouse The Messenger of the Wilds, 1959
Chief Henry Speck
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”



Bullhead Headmask, 1959
Chief Henry Speck
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”



Snow Geese Dance Mask, 1959
Chief Henry Speck,
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”



Sea Man Dance Mask, 1959
Chief Henry Speck,
Gouache on paper, framed
20.75 x 23”

Grouse, the caller of the wilds, stump, 1958
cheif henry speck
Gouache on paper, framed
19.5 x 22 "

Seagull,1959
cheif henry speck
Gouache on paper, framed
19.5 x 22 "

Snow Geese, Na-na-la, 1959
chief henry speck
gouache on paper, framed
20 x 22"

DANCE MASKS: GRIZZLY BEAR, LOON, FEAST DISH: SEAGULL, 1959
chief henry speck
GOUACHE ON PAPER, framed
19.5 X 22 “