shawn aster

Maatl Mountain Goat 

Shawn Aster

Alder, paint
12” x 8” x 5”


"Long ago in the area of Temlexam on the Ksyen (Skeena River), were a lot of mountain goats. Athe time, The Hunters mistreated Goats for fun — crippling and maiming them. One day a young prince came with a warning for them to stop. He was ignored by the young people. The prince released a goat kid up in the mountain. Soon after, a young man came into the village and invited the people to a feast by a great chief up in the hills. The people agrees and accepted.

This man was a mountain goat who had taken human shape in order to take revenge on behalf of his clan. The goats used his supernatural powers to blind the people from knowing where they were going and who the hosts really were. The people attended the feast. The mountain people seemed to move about very quickly and lightly. The host dancers moved the same and all wore mountain goat heads for headdresses. The goats sang about the crippling and killing and the people began to realize their impending doom.

The prince was marked with Red Ochre by the Goat Kid to stand apart and the young prince was spared. People used red ochre for face paint in ceremony and feast to signify peace, deter negative energy and as a base medicine by shaman. There was a portrait mask showing this Character from The Gitxaala story called "The Headdress of the Mountain Goat" recorded by William Beynon in 1916 from Gisbutwaada (KillerWhale) Chief Joshua Tsiibaasa."