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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tlingit and Haida People of Alaska: The Mythology of Creation "The Ancient One Checks"


[Part 2]

Woody Morrison writes on the Tlingit and Haida Facebook Page:

C. Ancient One Checks.
…Raven steals the freshwater from Puffin; Raven coaxes X̱áadas (women) from the Mussel Shell, then that Being coaxed the men from the Cockle shell, into Being.

When we were first brought into Light, it took a long time for us to learn to be human. We traveled, Always Walking, for a very long, long time while we learned to be Human.

Once we learned to be Human, we began to gather into groups for support and protection, but there was still – we had to more to learn – we had to learn how to be People.

Our history tells of being at a place where a Super Volcano exploded 15 Cycles ago (1 Cycle is about 5,200 years Times 15 = 78,000 years ago, and, we had to travel some more... There was an Ice Age around 60,000 years ago and we moved away from it – it was a world that was quite different from now. Some time around 70, 000 to 60,000 years ago we arrived at a place described in our history as “Sangáay 'láa Gíihlgiiaagang.” (the atmosphere was always warm – the area now known as the Arctic was then tropical).

We found a land that “...looked like us and we were given a language that sounded like that land, it described all the Beings of that place and, we were given the Ceremony for maintaining the balance between us and all the other Beings.”

Then 5 Cycles ago (times 5,200 years ago) the climate again began to change – another Ice Age that lasted 26,000 years. We are now back at the First Cycle – our climate is again changing.

It tells of our people being where we are now... before the ice age and long before that too...it tells of here, of being here, at this place... during the time of the ice. It tells of people coming from other places.... coming from the north, possibly Asia... some came from the south, they came after the ice.
I'll st op at this point to explain that there are other points where "Tla Dluu G̱aagwii", after we came into Being that can be referred to as : When the Atmosphere-Was-Always-Pleasant; when The-World-Was-Dark; when We-Had-A-Hard-Time-Finding-Food;, the time of the Hard-Cold; when The-Tide-Came-(the flood); and others. We start before the "World Got Dark".

D. Before The World Got Dark.
The first story that was told to me... was that after we came into Being, we lived on Gwaay Iiwans, a great island that broke and became four great islands we call Hlen Gwaan (continents).

Our homelands were at a place where the atmosphere was always pleasant... the weather was always warm... good. There wasn't storms... much... sometimes rain... lots of rain. It was on the western side of the land, they say. It was just a good place.... food was easy to get... it was warm all the time, we really had no need for clothing, they say.

The land itself, where we lived... it seems like, in the back was mountains, not far away. It wasn't the kind of place we have now... it was real thick, the bushes that grew... some of it was real thick, it was tangled up, they say. There were trails through it, and only certain trails we could go through on. But, there was lots of food there, we could pick what we needed to eat. The trees were real tall, skinny and tall with big tops that spread out on them.

Where we lived, it sounds like there was a sandy beach there... we called it adiitsii - shoreline ... but there was rocks too. That's where we got food... off the rocks and from the shallow water. It was like a big bowl. The beach sloped down and, when the tide was low, the water in the bay was shallow enough to wade in. There were different things there that we could eat. Some things didn't taste good and some made us sick. We learned, they say.

We didn't have houses or other structures. Instead, we slept on the ground in things like nests. People took different kinds of branches and lined the ground. We made it comfortable first, kind of dug it out so that it wasn't just on the flat ground, they say.

We were kind of like birds, we had territory around those nests... if something was to bother us, we warned them. Some had shelter-like things to keep the rain off; sometimes there was lots of rain, they say. Mostly, people put their nests under the trees, the branches spread out wide from the tree and kept lots of the rain off the people, for awhile, they say.

We picked fruit and different kinds of plants for food. Some of those things we kinda liked, our favorites, we dried them; Raven showed us how, they say.

But we got some things from the beach too... some things didn't spoil when you leave them out in the Sun; they got dried. Sometimes people liked it that way. We lived pretty good; we didn't have to worry about many things like the big meat-eaters. Oh people got sick, people got hurt and... of course people died.

The things that could get us, could eat us, were on the other side of the mountains. But what was dangerous was the things in the water... there was big things in the water with big teeth; Chaan SG̱áanwaay - monsters in the shallow water, they say. Later that name came to be more mythological. It is the same with the Yáanang SG̱áanwaay - the fog monster. But during that time, there were big things with teeth, in the water.

Sometimes if you got too close to the edge, out on the rocks when you were getting food... if it was deep along the edge, you were suppose to stay away from those places because those things could come up close enough to get you, they say.

There were shallow places too where people could get different kinds of shellfish, they could catch swimming fish... those kind of things. All our food was provided... and we didn't need Ts'aanuuaay - the fire, they say.

The Spirit Guides, SG̱aagaas... Ones who're responsible for protecting the people... if at any time SG̱aagaa failed to protect the people, that person has to forfeit its life... maybe not in a physical sense, but that SG̱aagaa could no longer be SG̱aagaa.

To Be Continued

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