Tlingit Raven

One of the most well-known legends out there is the Native American legend of the Tlingit Raven. The legend of the Tlingit Raven is the Tlingit story of Creation, and it was passed on from generation to generation. There are many different ways the story actually starts, depending on how much the speaker knows.

The Raven was originally called Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa- yit and when he was born, his father taught him all he knew and promised to give him the strength to create a world. After many different tries, Raven created a world, but it was empty as there was no light in it at all.

When Raven heard that a rich man who lived in a house had light but would not share, he disguised himself as dirt in a glass of water and went inside the man's daughter. When the woman gave birth, the man loved him because he believed Raven was his grandson. In child form, Raven cried and cried for the bags of light hanging inside the house. The grandfather was moved and gave the child a bag filled with stars. As he played with it, the bag flew out of the smoke hole and the stars arranged themselves in the sky. The child cried again and the grandfather gave him the next bag, which was filled with the moon. The same thing happened. Still, the next time the child cried, the grandfather gave him the last bag which was filled with daylight, and when it was given to him, he uttered a raven cry, "Ga," before flying out the smoke hole. The grandfather remained, saying "That raven has gotten all of my things!" And then the world had daylight.

Raven was told of a man who had an everlasting spring full of water, and he wanted it because the world had none. However, Petrel would not share his water. Raven came to him and called him brother-in-law, and when the Raven couldn't convince him to share, they went to sleep. When they woke up, Raven distracted Petrel and drank almost the whole spring dry. Petrel caught him and when he tried to fly away, he became caught in the smoke hole. Petrel put wood underneath it and the smoke turned the Raven black where before he been pure white. That is why Ravens are black.

Raven escaped and used the water to make the rivers and streams. He encountered a town of people who would not take him across the river. He warned them he would have to "break daylight" on them if they didn't but they refused. He opened the box and the sun flew up into the sky. The people then became the animals whose skins they were wearing.

Raven then came across a piece of jade and used it to kill a spring salmon, which is why people make picks, axes, and stone spears out of it. He then encountered a Bear who cooked a meal for him and took him out fishing for halibut. When Raven revealed that he used the skin of testicles for bait, the bear offered his own but the bear died when Raven took the skin. He then returned to the bear's house with a small animal named Cormorant and when he fed the bear's wife, she died as well. Raven ate them both.

Then he began sailing down the river, wondering aloud which animals would come with him. Many offered but he turned them down until Deer came along. Raven brought Deer to a large valley and built a bridge for him to cross, but the bridge broke and Deer died. Raven ate him. A Mink then joined him.

He then encountered the house where the woman who controlled tides lived. He began eating sea urchins and the woman came out. Raven then cut up the sea urchins, ran into her house and began sticking the spines into her buttocks. The tide began to do down and Raven made the woman promise to keep the tides going up and down regularly. This is why when a woman gets old and can't do much work her buttocks grow spots on them.

Raven sailed off and encountered Petrel again. The pair talked about the state of the world until they became angry with each other. Petrel pulled on his fog-hat and became invisible and then he made water from the spring fall from the sky. When Petrel removed his hat, Raven ordered him to let it go into the world and he did.

Later, Raven assembled many birds to fetch something floating away from the shore. A chicken hawk managed to grab it but by the time he got back to shore his beak had been burned off, which is why it is short. Raven then gave fire to the world.

The story continues on like this, with Raven encountering animals and people and giving the gifts he takes from them to the world. The Tlingit people hold the story of the Tlingit Raven as one of their most sacred and that's why one of their three clans is named after Raven (the others are Wolf and Eagle.

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