In Alaska, Raven is paradoxically both a lazy scavenger, relying on others to hunt for it and not adverse to eating human flesh, and the creator of light and life. Raven in southwest Alaska is also known as the creator of many landforms seen to this day, including mountains, rivers, and islands. Although Raven stories are told throughout the eastern Arctic as well as interior Alaska, specific places are rarely named in these tales. In contrast, Yup’ik narrators continue to refer to particular places, all across southwest Alaska, where Raven and his daughter left marks on the landscape, while recalling their activities in the distant past.
- creation narratives,
- place names,
- southwest Alaska,
- Yup’ik oral tradition
En Alaska, Corbeau est paradoxalement à la fois : un charognard paresseux, comptant sur les autres pour chasser à sa place, n’étant pas contre la consommation de chair humaine ; et un créateur de la lumière et de la vie. Dans le sud-ouest de l’Alaska, Corbeau est également connu pour avoir créé de nombreuses formes de reliefs, tels que les montagnes, les rivières et les îles. Bien que des histoires de Corbeau soient racontées dans tout l’Arctique oriental et à l’intérieur de l’Alaska, les lieux spécifiques sont rarement indiqués dans ces récits. Or, les narrateurs yupiit continuent de faire référence à des endroits particuliers, partout dans le sud-ouest de l’Alaska, où Corbeau et sa fille ont laissé des marques sur le paysage, tout en rappelant leurs activités dans un passé lointain.
- récits de la création,
- noms de lieux,
- sud-ouest de l’Alaska,
- tradition orale yup’ik
Thanks first and foremost to Yup’ik Elders from throughout southwest Alaska for sharing their stories of and experiences with ravens. Thanks also to Mark John of the Calista Elders Council (CEC, now Calista Education and Culture) for so capably organizing our meetings with Elders, and to translators Alice Rearden, Marie Meade, Corey Joseph, and Rachel Nayamin Kelly for their work transcribing and translating what Elders shared. I am also grateful to Igor Krupnik, Larry Kaplan, Richard Nelson, Thomas Thornton, and one anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. And thanks to the National Science Foundation, especially our NSF program officer Anna Kerttula de Echave, for their support of CEC’s work with Elders over the last two decades; their help has been foundational. Thanks to Mike Knapp for his map showing places associated with Raven in southwest Alaska and to the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin for allowing use of their image of the Raven mask collected by Johan Adrian Jacobsen. Finally, special thanks to Frédéric Laugrand for inviting me to contribute to this volume. It was his encouragement that inspired me to pull together what Elders had taught me about ravens, birds I dearly love.
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