Woody Morrison A Little Haida History (Part 2) - P.O.W. Report

Friday, February 15, 2019

Woody Morrison A Little Haida History (Part 2)

Part 1 here

by Dr. Woodrow Ḵáawan Sangáa, BA, JD.

NOTE: The following represents what I remember being told and my understandings of what was meant. I speak only for myself and no other Haidas. Please draw your own conclusions.
“The drum can make lots of noise but without a song to give it life that is all it is... noise. That is the difference between a 'Strong Man' and a 'Tough Guy'.

Water is the most powerful of all my relatives yet is the most humble... it always seeks the lowest point, it there is an opening to be found water will find it... it always travels with a song but, when it is making noise be aware because that is when it is demonstrating its power..... if you are to become a man you have to have your own song, you have to be kind and gentle to the weaker ones and to your sisters, you have to be ever seeking and when facing an opponent and you are quiet and still he will know to not cause you to make noise because he might not survive.

“….you have to split the fern (Dláamaal) with your thumb-nail... all the plants are your grandmothers. ...when the Drum starts, the People begin to Move.”

In Haida we do things a little different from general practice. To my knowledge, none of the training given to me by my Teachers was filtered through the Church's teachings:

First, we do not close our eyes when we say "Thank You" to that Sangs SG̱áanwaay.
Second, we do not look to the Heavens because Sangs SG̱áanwaay (or “God”) is in me... I am not God but God is in me.

Third, we do not assume Sangs SG̱áanwaay (or “God”) has a plan for us so we do not interfere by asking for "things".

Fourth, we know we are not in control so give thanks for everything, e.g., "Thank you for making me Human, born of a Woman". Everything that happens to me is what happens to Humans.

Fifth, we generally do not Pray for another person because we do not know whether it is something that person wants, or needs. Also, we do not know whether that is what is meant for that person. Instead we ask to the Strength and Courage for that person and family to have the Strength and Courage to face and deal with what is coming.

The Power that Brought All Things Into Light, although deriving from a single source, consists of two separate existences - one tangible the other intangible. For lack of a better term, the Supreme Power called Sangs Ḵ'áangal Sgáanuway exists nowhere, in nothing and brought everything into into the Light.

"Ḵ’áangal" is sometimes translated as "air or atmosphere" but it is all of the non-visible Space... we can’t see it or touch it but, it brought into Being the one we relate to in some of our Prayers: "Sangs Sgáanuway".

Sangs Sgáanuway fills every corner of the universe, it fills everything; the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat: it fills every fiber of my Being.

Another manifestation of Sangs Sgáanuway, is Nang Kilstláas (the one’s voice who must be obeyed or, That which always was, always is and is Created by our Speaking It) represented by Xúuyei or Yáahl - Raven.

It is said that one’s stature is determined by how tall that one is and not by how small it makes others look. Sangs Ḵ'áangal Sgáanuwaay and Sangs Sgáanuwaay are so big that they do not need to make us look small in order to make them bigger.

In other words, we do not "Worship", we are not "Sinners", we are not pathetic, miserable creatures striving for humility. This means that nothing is "Sacred"... Sacred implies the presence of a "Deity" to be "Worshiped", i.e., something to be FEARED.

Instead, in Haida there are many X̱anaanaa (Taboos (X̱ánaanang), things we do not do because there are always direct consequences.


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