The Point Sasquatch mask: Can we connect it to modern Bigfoot lore?

This story is making the rounds on Bigfoot sites. The mask and native stories are often used as circumstantial evidence to support the idea of the reality of a Bigfoot/Sasquatch. However, there may be pitfalls in using the stories to equate with modern lore. I have on my list of things to do to research more on the link between today’s cryptids and legendary entities of folklore. The article makes a connection to Sasquatch as described by indigenous people but I’m not clear how solid that connection is. How do we know that the mask represents the same entity that we now refer to as “sasquatch” or Bigfoot? Or are we jumping to conclusions?

Mask associated with sasquatch lore returned to B.C. First Nation.

Hunting for an elusive sasquatch mask revered by a British Columbia First Nation has been a 16-year journey for James Leon, taking him through London, Boston, New York and Ottawa.

Leon was at a repatriation event for another First Nations artifact held by the Vancouver Museum when he asked the lady sitting beside him if she knew of the ape-like mask partially covered in bear fur.

“Her eyes lit up and she said ‘We were just looking at that mask the other day.’ And they were gracious enough to go get it for me,” he said with a chuckle.

The mask disappeared in 1939 from Sts’ailes First Nation, near Harrison Hot Springs in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.

The mask was carved by Ambrose Point based on stories “from the beginning of time.”

Before ended up at the museum, it was supposedly obtained by JW Burns, the man who was interested in the lore of hairy giants told by the natives. He coined the term “sasquatch” in the 1920s (from the native word sásq’ets), long before Bigfoot appeared in pop culture as a “real” being in 1958. Are we conflating mythical lore with the modern myth? It’s possible. The natives believed in other spirit creatures that do not exist in real life. There are many OTHER representations that do not resemble Sasquatch. [PDF] It’s a potential hazard to jump to conclusions and call this a representation of Sasquatch.

An updated photo of the Sasq'ets mask. Photo credit: Canadian Press and Museum of Vancouver

An updated photo of the Sasq’ets mask. Photo credit: Canadian Press and Museum of Vancouver

If anyone has solid references to this particular topic, please post in comments.

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  10 comments for “The Point Sasquatch mask: Can we connect it to modern Bigfoot lore?

  1. Drewbot
    May 15, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    http://www.linguistics.ubc.ca/sites/default/files/George_2004.pdf

    Here is a sas’quets story, but I don’t see the connection with sasquatch.

    It is just a mystery person who helps an old couple with fire wood and shovels their walk.

  2. matt crowley
    May 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Artists have augmented the HUMAN figure in an unbelievable number of ways for literally thousands of years. Unless there is additional evidence that this is ~not~ a human figure, I think it’s a reasonable interpretation that it’s an augmented human.

  3. Brian
    May 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    It looks more like a bear to me.

  4. Indrid Cole
    May 15, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    That Ambrose Point was one hell of a wood carver, the detail is uncanny.

  5. Lee
    May 15, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    UNCLE SQUEAK!!!!!!!!

  6. Ryan
    May 15, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Sharon, have you read Abominable Science yet? They trace back the supposedly Native American legends of bigfoot/sasquatch in one chapter. Apparently the original myths concerned giant humans not at all dis-similar to the other Native American tribes in the area rather than giant hairy primates or wildmen. Really makes me question if this has any connection to modern Bigfoot lore at all or even the Native beliefs that supposedly form its basis.

  7. May 15, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    Yes. A while ago, before it was actually out in print. But Daniel replied on facebook and sent me his reference.

  8. BobM
    May 15, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Could be a bear, could be Billy Connolly. The problem with much art. We tend to read what we want into it :-).

  9. Tribeca Mike
    May 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    “[The mask] was supposedly obtained by JW Burns, the man who was interested in the lore of hairy giants told by the natives.”

    Obtained or commissioned?

  10. May 23, 2014 at 1:30 AM

    The following webpage contains a photograph supposedly from the original “Sasquatch Days” festival in 1938:

    http://scenic7bc.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/throwbackthursdays-sasquatch-days-in-harrison-hot-springs/

    Is that it?

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