Thursday, November 10, 2011


Long before Christianity, and long before missionaries force-fed Christianity to the indigenous people of the planet. Northern humans  just made up their own creation stories. Go figure.
One character that had a role in lots of those myths was the big black bird Raven.

Fire Legend 
After making land, Raven decided to make man. He took clay and sand from the beach and formed the first man.

When he was done, Raven decided to fly around the entire world to see what he had created. While on his journey Raven wondered if there was anything he should give man. He realized he had forgotten to give man fire so he could cook his food and stay warm.

Raven called to his friends, the other birds, and asked if they knew how to get fire.

Seagull said that he had seen fire once at the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, and so Raven asked for a volunteer to bring it to him.

Wood Owl agreed to go because he had a longer bill than the other birds and could safely carry a firebrand without burning his feathers…

Wood Owl found the firebrand, got it and was bringing it back but it was burning his bill…Raven flew out to him, and told him not to drop it because it would go out in the water…

Wood Owl held on to the fire even though it was burning his bill…

Raven and Wood Owl made it to where the people lived dropped the burning stick so man could now cook and keep warm, but Wood Owl’s bill was all burned off so only a small beak was left, his wings were singed, so he could no longer take long journeys and the smoke changed his voice so he could only make a shrill whistle. This is how all descendants of Wood Owl became as they are today…
Story from The Raven And The Totem by John Smelcer.

Illustration by Susie Bevins

I love these stories. They make just as much sense as Christianity, and unlike Christianity they are totally connected to the natural world, the land!
Raven calls Anchorage the City it’s home in the winter. Raven lives here year round but retreats to the more wooded, mountains, and inlet in the summer.
I love Raven. On windy days they playfully soar in the updrafts created by the downtown buildings. Raven is clever, and smart. Raven is vocal and the range of its voice will make you listen.
Raven like Eagle likes trash. This morning walking Raven on top of a trash pile in a dumpster. Women yelling get your F&%*##$ ass out of our Mother F&%*##$ garbage.
She got in her car, turned right with out signaling, her bumper sticker said JESUS WOULD USE HIS TURN SIGNAL
More snow fell on me, and  the lack of sea ice on the western coast of laska was letting a low very low pressure weather system bring the message of climate change home.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the Raven story! Very cool. I love indigenous stories too.

    I want to know where the hypocritical woman got her bumper sticker! Even if she wasn't living by its message, I would LOVE to have that sticker! The Christian fundamentalists in AZ always drive like maniac killers - not a good witness for the Prince of Peace.