The Book is Anthropologist Franz Boas’ most important discussion of the Kwakiutl. He used the name Kwakiutl to refer to an ethno-linguistic group of 28 tribes. It came from the name of the tribe that Boas did most of his work with, the Kwagu’ł or Kwagyeulth, at Fort Rupert. The Kwakiutls participated in dances in which people would wear masks and costumes and tell ancient stories. At one time, if you even got the smallest portion of one of these dances wrong, they would chop off your head. Therefore, only the bravest competed in these performances.
Franz Uri Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942) was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the “Father of American Anthropology”.