Sun/Ravens

by Silyas Saunders
(Nuxalk)

Yellow Cedar, paint (Mask - 13”x10”x8” Backing 41” Diameter)

NFS

Sun/Ravens Ė These two might be called the rulers of mankind. In the beginning of time, Alquntam sent down to earth the first ancestors of the Nuxalk people. A post stretched from the land above to this world. Down this post swarmed five brothers on the top of a flat mountain near Snuteli. At that time there was no sun. Everything was dark and black. The sun was hidden in a container hanging from the roof of Alquntamís house. Raven determined to obtain this for the use of mortals and decided to become the child of the sunís daughter. First he changed himself into a thin fragment of hemlock needle and placed himself in the cup from which she was drinking but the girl blew away the fragment of leaf, though she had no idea that it was Raven. Again he tried by changing himself into a piece of eagle down but again she skimmed it from the surface of the water. The third time Raven became mud. The sunís daughter drank this carelessly with the water and was both startled and perturbed to find herself pregnant. Raven had entered her body. In time the sunís daughter gave birth to an infant who was, of course, Raven. Within a few weeks he had grown to a naughty little boy, always demanding new toys and always crying if he did not get them. One day he saw the sun hanging near the roof and at once began to cry for the shining thing. He cried until Alquntam yielded to his grandsonís tears and gave it to him to play with. Raven opened the door and dashed out. As he did so he shattered the container which held Light. It became the Sun and has remained shining to this day.


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