Saturday, July 22, 2006
Trip to Haines, Entry #3
I also have a large paper due Tuesday, so today is also an excellent day to procrastinate, though I think I can make an excellent argument that this is somehow foundational work for the paper.
Anyway, we were somewhat overloaded in our trip from the ferry to the Chilkoot camp, so I volunteered to ride in the Ford Excursions's cargo area. Under the cargo.
They were kind enough to share their poetry and the region's stories.
On a side note, Raven and Eagle represent not clans, but moieties. You can be a member of any number of clans, but you're also either a Raven or an Eagle. Both clan and moiety are passed down matrilineally. You're supposed to marry the opposite moiety, so a Dad typically finds himself the sole Raven or Eagle in the house; this is a source of much hilarity.
The wallscreen behind her carries a number of important icons of Tlingit art. Raven, on the lower left, is a mischievious creator figure. Eagle, on the lower right is his friend and equal. There's Halibut in the middle; it's an important fish for subsistence, but I haven't yet heard any stories in which it's a character.You also see the ubiquitous Chilkat face, representing humanity, repeated across the center. In between are pictures of the bentwood boxes that would be used for storage by families living in the longhouse. The copper tokens nailed to the screen are tows, used for a while as money.
The large face and widespread arms at the top represent the spirit of the longhouse, nurturing and welcoming all who enter, a promise fulfilled by each person of Tlingit descent we met on our trip.
I've chosen not to include any of the somewhat extensive set of fish-butchering photos people took of Valentino's rather impressive skills. You're welcome.
Mary, with a superior zoom and good timing, was able to take one of the better bear photos. You can even see the grass he was grazing on.
The Tlingit stories, artwork, and weaving I saw are part of a noble and beautiful culture, and it would be an ugly chapter in our story if we forgot them, particularly when they have such a long history of wisdom and coexistence with the wild world.
Thanks to Mary and Mark for the pictures in this entry.