Friday, February 21, 2014


Photo by Rand Jack
As I watched the sun start to drop of the horizon, my grandfather came to sit beside me. "Do you see that?" Those two tiny black flecks in the distance", he asked me. "Ya, kind of" I answered. "Those are ravens, they come to us every day as the sky starts to grow dark and the moon replaces the sun; our tribe believes that those two ravens are descents of the great raven,  Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa. He was the raven that brought the sun into the sky and filled our dark world with bright light." I was quite young at the time, but I was very intelligent, I couldn't believe what he was saying! How could he say that a bird put the sun into the sky. I looked up at him, into his light brown eyes and said "papa how could raven put the sun into the sky?" He let a loud bellow of a laugh and told me, "it is no wonder you are a raven, raven didn't believe his father either when he told him he was meant to grow up to be strong and lift the sun into the sky, ravens are beautiful and smart, but always so stubborn." He laughed. "But papa, what do you mean I'm a raven?" I asked. "Well little Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa everyone in our tribe has an animal that watches over them, protects them. Some people have the whale or the eagle, or the salmon.Your animal is raven." "Oh, I see. So how do you know I'm a raven?" "Well little one, the raven is always the first born of the eldest son. Since your daddy is my eldest son, and you are his first born child you are our raven. You are very lucky to be a raven, she is our most precious animal." "Really, why?" I asked puzzled at what could make this animal so different, so much more renounced than the others. "Raven brings light to the world, not only the sun but knowledge, and learning; without Raven we would be a people in the dark." I watched the two ravens in the sky, they seemed to dance around each other twirling, and dipping in the sky. I was lucky to be a raven.
            As I grew older, I always managed to spot a raven not too far away perched on a branch by the sea. Or picking through the garden outside my bedroom window, I took comfort with the, connection to my people.
            My father is one quarter Tlingit Native American, my family and I visited Alaska when I was eight years old to meet our family, and see the land that would be left to my father. Our tribe believes that once very long ago a raven brought the sun into the sky. Raven's father gave him all of his energy before he died, so that he would have enough strengthen to bring the sun into the sky. Raven relics and totem poles are quite common among people of Tlingit descent.


Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa: great raven, or raven

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