The Haida People traditionally occupied an area in the extreme south of the Alaska Panhandle. They still occupy that area today. Their influence extends south to British Columbia, including the settlement of Haida Gwaii on Graham Island, one of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Aside from being skillful mariners, Haida men hunted small game, took fish and sea mamals, and were part of a culture known to be fierce warriors on the water as well as on land.
They were master carpenters who built canoes that held as many as 60 rowers out of a single red cedar tree. The same type of tree was made into planks to form their homes.
Today we have a legend from the Haida about a meeting between some girls and some bears.
As she followed at the end of the group, the girl's foot slipped in some bear dung and her forehead strap, which held the pack filled with berries to her back, broke. She let out an angry laugh. The others went on. Again she should have sung, but she only complained. The bears noted this and said, "Does she speak of us?" It was growing dark. Near her appeared two young men who looked like brothers. One said, "Come with us and we will help you with your berries". As the aristocratic young lady followed them, she saw that they wore bear robes.
She lived on as the wife of the bear, tending the fire in the dark house. She noticed that whenever the Bear People went outside they put on their bear coats and became like the animal. In thewinter she was pregnant, and her husband took her to a cliff cave near the old home, where she gave birth to twins, which were half human and half bear.
One day her brothers came searching for her, and the Bear Wife knew she must reveal her presence. She rolled a snowball down the mountainside to draw their attention, and they climbed up the rock slide. The Bear Husband knew that he must die, but before he was killed by the woman's brothers, he taught her and the Bear Sons the songs that the hunters must use over his dead body to ensure their good luck. He willed his skin to her father, who was a chief. The young men then killed the bear, smoking him out of the cave and spearing him. They spared the two children, taking them with the Bear Wife back to her People.
The Bear Sons removed their bear coats and became great hunters. They guided their kinsmen to bear dens in the mountains and showed them how to set snares, and they instructed the people in singing the ritual songs. Many years later, when their mother died, they put on their coats again and went back to live with the Bear People, but the tribe continued to have good fortune with their hunting.
Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great Week.