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Transcript of Inuit mythology
More commonly known as Eskimos, the Inuits lived in mainly Greenland, but also in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and Canada. They lived in very cold and harsh environments and often wore thick furs. Many lived in igloos.
Animistic and Shamanistic
-which means that they believe non-human entities possess a spiritual essence
-also believe the spirit can leave the body
they live a very hard life, shown in their culture in the activities and games they play
a lot of Inuit stories and legends have disappeared as they were almost never written down, but rather passed down orally.
Sedna was the goddess of the sea, controls sea animals, ensures good hunting for the inuit, and is the most powerful god as well as the most celebrated god. She refused to marry, and instead had sexual relations with dogs. The offspring of these relationships were the white people and the Native American tribes the Inuits were at war with. Her dismembered fingers created seals, whales, and
Tatqim, Anningan or Igaluk
The moon god who continually chases his sister, Seqinek, the sun goddess, was known as Tatqium, although he has several names. He created vaginas, and is the reason women have periods. As he chases his sister, he often forgets to eat and that's why the moon gets thinner and thinner.
Sila is the god of weather, the personification and the animating life-force. His winds were known as the breathing of the world, and is the reason why Inuits rub noses.
Pukimna and Tekkeitsertok
Pukimna was the goddess of caribou and might also be known as Pinga, who was thought to be the goddess of the hunt, fertility, and medicine. She was also the feminine deity of the moon. However it's hard to tell due to the loss of stories whether or not the two were the same person.
Tekkeitsertok was the master of caribou and the god of the hunt and was one of the most important hunting gods, as well as of all gods in general.
Tornarssuk or Nanuk
He was the polar bear god and the patron deity of caverns. He is largely associated with the thought of the initial shaman as a shaman initiate would first encounter Tornarssuk as a polar bear on the astral plane. Their ordeal would then begin.
A number of versions of the Sedna legend exist. In one legend Sedna is a giant, the daughter of the creator-god Anguta, with a great hunger that causes her to attack her parents. Angered, Anguta takes her out to sea and throws her over the side of his kayak. As she clings to the sides, he chops off her fingers and she sinks to the underworld, becoming the ruler of the monsters of the deep. Her huge fingers become the seals, walrus and whales hunted by the Inuit.
In another version of the legend she is dissatisfied with men found for her by her father, and so she marries a dog. Her father is so angry at this that he throws her into the sea, and when she tries to climb back into the boat he cuts off her fingers. Her fingers become the first seals and she becomes a mighty sea goddess. When she is angered someone is sent to wash her hair, (which she is unable to do herself without hands) after which she releases the animals to the hunters.
In the Netsilik Region, the story states that Nuliayuk was a mistreated orphan. One day the people tried to get rid of her by attempting to drown her by chopping off her finger tips. But the fingertips would transform to seals and walruses. Eventually Nuliayuk marries a Sculpin, and now lives in the sea controlling all sea mammals.
Other versions of the legend depict Sedna as a beautiful maiden who rejects marriage proposals from the hunters of her village. When an unknown hunter appears, Sedna's father agrees to give her to him as wife in return for fish. Sedna's father gives Sedna a sleeping potion and gives her to the hunter who takes her to a large nest on a cliff, revealing to her his true form, a great raven. She wakes surrounded by birds. Her father attempts to rescue her but, her husband, the bird creature, becomes angry, causing a great storm. In desperation, Sedna's father throws her into the raging sea. Attempting to cling to the kayak her hands freeze and her fingers fall off becoming the creatures of the sea. She falls to the bottom of the sea and grows a fish tail.
There is also the belief that Raven made the world with the beat of his wings, causing water to rise and fill the earth. A short story about convincing a young boy to play with a bladder hanging over his father's bed created light, then causing day and night.
Love stories with happy endings aren't common in Inuit folklore as they live a hard life in the cold. There isn't much time for love or to pursue it, and their stories show that.
The Inuit people explain the existence of the sun and the moon with the love story of the moon god Anningan and his sister, the sun goddess, sometimes known as Malina. The story goes that the two once lived together and, as siblings often do, got into a quarrel one day. Malina stormed off and Anningan followed. Tales differ on the cause of the spat and whether or not Anningan was following to apologize or to argue some more. But because he is in constant pursuit, he neglects to eat and gets thinner and thinner, which explains the waning phase of the moon. When the moon disappears, the Inuit believe that Anningan has gone away to eat. Then, during the moon's waxing period, he starts his search anew. When he finally is able to catch up to Malina, it causes a solar eclipse.
She was the earth goddess, and was the wife of Sila in some cultures. Some believe she created the land animals and people.
One Trickster god is named Amaguq, and is described as a wolf spirit and even a wolf god. As he is portrayed as a wolf, he shares some of their characteristics. For example, wolves are predators and are strongly related to danger and destruction. On one hand a wolf is seen as a powerful warrior, and on the other it's seen as a devilish figure. Amaguq was a hunter who would take those foolish enough to hunt or travel alone at night.
The hero Kiviuq is also seen to be a Trickster figure. One such story that shows this is Kiviuq and the Fox Woman.
Agloolik is the companion of Sedna and the sometimes malevolent being that lives under the ice and can bite boats in half. He aides fishermen and hunters on the ice.
The Moon Man, or Tatqim and his sister, the Sun Woman, also known as Seqinek, rose to the heaven. Seqinek is rarely mentioned as she is seen as a completely positive force that needs little attention, unlike her brother. Tatqim reigns over the realm of the afterlife, which is a land above the stars. The stars themselves are thought to be holes in the bottom of this land where things like light, water, and even snow spill through to the land of the living. The souls of the dead, both people and animals, exist in this afterlife. The Northern Lights were considered by some Inuit to be torches of the free souls of the recently dead trying to find their way to the afterlife. The afterlife is a land where souls are happy and have everything they could ever want. There is a lot of game playing, such as limitless soccer and successful hunting as there is time for leisure rather than work. Here Sedna transforms the souls into new forms and they are then returned to earth by the Tatqim to be reincarnated. Some Inuit believe that when there is no moon in the sky, that is the time when the moon god is making his trip to the earth with the transformed souls. There is also thought to be another afterlife located under the world of the living where the souls of some Inuit go; there they do not enjoy the pleasures of the celestial afterlife and have no chance of reincarnation. These are the souls of the Inuit who have broken taboos and/or haven’t not followed the traditions of the people.
Seqinek or Malina
Seqinek is the sun goddess who is continuously chased by her brother, Tatqim. Not much is known about her other than the fact that she and her brother are the cause of the movement of the moon and the sun through the sky.
This is a short story about Kiviuq and his adventures often told to young children.
Have you ever found yourself inches from the face of a hungry grizzly bear? Or handling your kayak in waves as high as mountains?
What would you do if a giant bumblebee stole your boots? Do you know how fog was created, or when the first ice appeared in the arctic waters?
Can you talk with animals and sing your way past obstacles?
Kiviuq can, and you can too when you live with him and his wives in story.
One example of this is the story of the seals and his grandmother.
Some Inuit believe today that, when the the trickster hero, Kiviuq, dies, that will be the end of the world. However, Inuit ideas, like those of other Native American tribes, greatly influenced by the arrival of Europeans. The introduction of Christianity to the Inuit resulted in a series of “Parousial” movements between 1900 to the 1950s that attempted to combine Christian missionary teachings with the old shamanistic traditions. European authorities frowned on these independent movements (even though the missionaries, themselves, were neither orthodox nor well-educated). However, the movements were also dangerous for the Inuit culture because they tended toward the apocalyptic. Some of these new ideas made the Inuit so paranoid that they often believed the end of the world was coming. For example, Inuit in the settlement of Payne slaughtered their dogs in 1920, convinced that traditional omens were heralding the Apocalypse.
"Inuit Creation Myth." Inuit Creation Myth. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
This source made it very easy to understand the version of creation myth that they used. The article is very accurate and made to be easy to understand with their use of small words and extra explanations.
"Myths Encyclopedia." Native American Mythology. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. This website used pictures to aid in the description of the information. Also they added definitions for hard-to-understand words.
Inuit Legends. La Macaza, Que.: Thunderbird, n.d. Web. This web link is a book that offers an easy to read ad-less version of some Inuit stories. In the book there are many popular stories written as they would have been told.
"Countries and Their Cultures." Inuit. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. This website is very long, in-depth, easy to read, and includes pictures for visual aid.
"The Oxford Companion to World Mythology." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. This source is in Google Books. The website is very secure. The website highlighted things related to the Inuit which was very helpful.
The extent of the Inuit flood myth is that two men survived an ancient flood, then in order to survive they used their shamanic powers to turn one of them into a woman so they could procreate new netsilik.
-Netsilik tribe belief
There isn't much information on this as much of it was lost in translation through tribal storytelling.