By Robert Bringhurst
The Haida global is a misty archipelago 100 stormy miles off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. For 1000 years and extra earlier than the Europeans got here, an excellent tradition flourished in those islands. The masterworks of classical Haida sculpture, now enshrined in lots of of the world's nice museums, diversity from beautiful tiny amulets to excellent large housepoles. Classical Haida literature is every piece as a number of and effective. It extends from tiny jewels crafted through grasp songmakers to difficult mythic cycles lasting many hours.
The linguist and ethnographer John Swanton took dictation from the final nice Haida-speaking storytellers, poets and historians from the autumn of 1900 in the course of the summer season of 1901. His Haida hosts and associates have been raised in a totally oral global the place the mythic and the private interpenetrate thoroughly. They joined forces with their customer, consciously making a nice treasury of Haida oral literature in written shape. Poet and linguist Robert Bringhurst has labored for a few years with those century-old manuscripts, that have waited previously for the huge reputation they deserve.
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Extra info for A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World
6 From that point on, the time he might have spent on the traditional professions of an adult Haida male – fishing, seahunting, woodworking, trading – went largely into listening instead. Even in his forties, he possessed extraordinary skill as an oral poet and extraordinary insight as a scholar of the seen and the unseen. In the midst of continuous death, evacuation and destruction, followed by aggressive transformation of his culture, Ghandl collected the remnants of an old and fundamentally celebratory tradition.
It is a vision painted indelibly in the air with words that disappear the moment they are spoken. indd 63 01/12/2010 2:54:52 PM Bear’s eye from the housepole of Naagha Hliman Xhunandas (House of the Cascading Elk Hides), Ttanuu. The pole is now in four sections at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
After he took up the shooting of birds, he went inland, uphill from the village, they say. 14 [ 1 ] Going through the pines, just to where the ponds lay, he heard geese calling. Then he went in that direction. There were two women bathing in a lake. Something lay there on the shore. Two goose skins were thrown over it. Under their tails were patches of white. indd 34 01/12/2010 2:54:50 PM c ha p t e r o n e : Goose Food After watching for a while, he swooped in. He sat on the two skins. The women asked to have them back.