Tlingit and Haida People of Alaska: The Mythology of Creation. - P.O.W. Report

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tlingit and Haida People of Alaska: The Mythology of Creation.


Woody Morrison writes on the Tlingit and Haida Facebook Page:

This is a part of our Mythology...


THE BEGINNING:

A. Loon On The Water.

Nang Kilstlaas: An Ancient One who is born again as Raven-that-walked-the-Earth.

We don't know where this place… Earth, came from. They say it was here before us and before all the other Beings. There is lots we don't know, we could make up things to explain those things or, we can live out lives knowing they exist and, to treat them in such a way that we don't wipe them out.
That happened lots of times… things got wiped-out because, they day, maybe it is supposed to be that way. When we have lots, we don't have to think about those things any more, we just take them. We start thinking about other things and pretty soon we are hurting those things that there was lots of… the ones that made it so we don't have to think about them.

So, it is said, we have to tell out stories, our history. How we are related to those things, how we were helped by those things. When we forget them it is like we forget to care for our children, we don't guide them so that they grow up in a good way… that is abusing them and, when they get to a certain point they go away so we don't hurt them any more. Then they hurt other things, they say.

It is said, that Raven-Walking told us that before the world had things living on it, there was no land. Just water, dark brooding water with no land, hlen-gwaay tleg, just some shallow places where the Supernatural Beings would pull up and rest. They say, there was no life visible except for one lone Tathl/ Ang Aanii (Loon) swimming around all by itself. Loon watched those things and remembered them.

After a long time, TATHL looked up into the sky, and there in the air above, TATHL/ Ang Aanii saw a Naay (Place-Where-Beings-Dwell), suspended and motionless. Tathl/Ang Aanii flew up to the Naay, settled on the Naay Xangsii (place-in-front-of-the-doorway), and removed his feathers and Loon-skin, taking on the form of a Man.

Stepping up to K’yuuaay (the door-way), TATHL/ Ang Aanii looked in and saw, in the middle of the room, a fire burning between two crystal-clear stones, like a steady sgik’ajang (lightening bolt). It was as if the ends of the stones were burning yet neither was consumed by the fire. On the far side of the fire an Ancient One was dozing. There was no one else present.

Tathl/ Ang Aanii slipped into the room and took up a position opposite the Ancient One and gazed down on him. The Ancient One seemed so oblivious to his presence that Tathl feared to speak lest he startle him, and so went outside to announce his arrival. There he "announced" as loons do even today across the still waters, ‘TATHL!’, ‘TATHL!!’ (Ang Aanii)

TATHL returned to his place beside the fire, and still there was no sign of life and movement from the sleeping Ancient. After a time, TATHL thought he would try again and, stepping outside onto the Naay Xangsii into the empty world, issued his lonely cry: ‘TATHL!’ Nothing had changed when he resumed his place in the room.

As the shadows of evening came, TATHL again sent his lonely cry, ‘TATHL!!’, into the darkening skies but still the Ancient One did not open an eye. All night long TATHL repeated his ‘announcing’ and all the next day, and there was still no sign that the Ancient One had heard anything.
The evening of the second day, the Ancient One roused and said. “Guus uu Damtgaas?’ (Who is being noisy?’).

TATHL replied: Hláaw uu íijang. (It is me). Ang Aanii, hinuu dii kyaang. (I am called Loon). ‘I keep calling this way because there is no place for Beings to dwell.’

The Ancient One began in a slow, dignified way to rub his stomach upward with the fingers and palms of his hands as he reclined before the fire. After a while, a little boy, appeared in his hands, sat up and then stood up. Placing his toes over those of the boy and taking the boy by the arms, the Ancient One stretched him up until he was the full height and girth of a grown man. He turned him around, and there he was - perfect in every way.

The Ancient One then sent the newly-incarnated man to fetch a box for him from his private room behind a front partition such as are found in the Haida dwellings. The box was where the Ancient One said it would be and, the new man bought it out for him and set it at his feet.

It was an inverted stone box, a cube measuring about the length of a young Sockeye salmon. The Ancient One then lifted up the box and revealed a smaller box inside. He lifted it up and still there was another box inside. The Ancient One did this a total of five times until he came to a small wooden box.

From this he took a black stone about the size of a man's thumb tip, and gave it to TATHL. Then, dipping again into the little wooden box, he brought out a larger shining stone this too he gave to TATHL, saying,

‘Take these back to earth with you. Drop the little one into the water but be careful not to breathe on it too much. But when you put the big one in the water, blow on it and blow on it, and when you tire, you must still blow on it. they you will have the land and a place on which the people can dwell.’
Carrying the two stones carefully, Tathl stepped out, donned his Loon skin and feathers, and flew back to the water of the Earth and, did as the Ancient One had instructed him.

To be continued...
B. The Continents Emerge.


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