Some morning just at daylight the chief who is about to erect the pole and give the feast, no matter how great a chief he is, passes along in front of the houses of the town, singing mourning songs for the dead. Then the people know what is wrong and feel badly for him. The memorial pole seems to bring every recollection of the dead back to him. Now is the time when the story of Raven is used.
After that the chief stands in a place from which he can be heard all over the village and calls successively for the different families on the opposite side, which in this case we will suppose to be Raven. He mentions the names of the greatest men in the family, always with the family chief's name first.
Then he will perhaps speak as follows:
"My father's brothers, my grandfathers, people that I came from, my ancestors, my mother's grandfathers, b years ago they say that this world was without daylight. Then one person knew that there was daylight with Raven-at-head-of-Nass, and went quickly to his daughter. When he was born he cried for the daylight his grandfather had. Then his grandfather gave it to him. At that time his grandchild brought daylight out upon the poor people he had made in the world. He pitied them. This is the way with me. Darkness is upon me. My mind is sick. Therefore I am now begging daylight from you, my grandfathers, my father's brothers, people I came from, my ancestors, my mother's grandfathers. Can it be that you will give the daylight to me as Raven-at-head-of-Nass gave it to his grandchild, so that day will dawn upon me?" c
Then the five opposite families will say "Yê kugwatî'" ("We make it so ").
This speech means that the chief wants the people of those five families--men, women, and children--to come and raise the pole. By "being in the dark" he means that the pole is not raised, and he tells them that they will give him daylight by raising it. After it is raised he says, "You have brought daylight on me" ("HayedA't Axqâ' qeyî'yî sî â'"). After this speech all show the greatest respect to this chief and keep very quiet. They do not allow the children to say anything out of the way.
The evening of the day when the pole is erected they have a dance. At Wrangell the KîksA'dî, Qâ'tcAdî, and Tî hît tân danced on one side and the Kasq!ague'dî and Tâ
lqoe'dî on the other. The head men of both of these divisions say, "Now we must give a dance for him." While the dancers prepare themselves in another house, the outsiders assemble in the house to look on. The Raven division that is going to dance last comes in, dressed and painted, and sits down to wait for the others. The giver of the feast sits in the rear of the house with his friends about him. Then the ones that are to dance first come in dancing one by one, all dressed and painted. As soon as they are through, the others walk out, dress again, and enter dancing. Each side has two song leaders, a head song leader and a second song leader, who bear dancing batons.
All this is done only when a chief or one of his family has died, not for a common person, and the first side to dance is that to which the widower, or the widow of the deceased belongs. Sometimes the dance used to go on all winter. Ordinary living houses for the high-caste people were put up as monuments for the dead and were viewed as such.
In that case no pole was erected to the man's memory, but his body was placed in the graveyard. This is why they never built a house in old times without feasting.
After this dance the widower, or one of the widow's family, might rise and speak as follows:
"In the first time took place the flood of Raven-at-head-of-Nass. What the people went through was pitiful. Their uncles' houses and
their uncles' poles all drifted away. At that time, however, Old-woman-underneath took pity [and made the flood subside]. You were like this while you were mourning. Your uncles' houses and your uncles' memorial poles were flooded over. They drifted away from this world. But now your grandfathers make it go down like Old-woman-underneath. Now all of the dead of your grandfathers' people have gathered your uncles' houses and your uncles' memorial poles together. You were as if dying with cold from what had happened to you. Your floor planks, too, were all standing up [from the flood]. But now they have been put down. A fire has been made of the frog-bat, their great emblem, hoping that it will make you warm." a
After every sentence the chief to whom is given the speech says, "Ho'ho" ("I thank you from the bottom of my heart"). When they speak of the crest, he says, "Wê't!a qo'a" ("That's the one"), meaning that that was the crest he wanted to hear of.
The speaker continues:
"We hope that you will be well warmed, and that you will sleep well on, account of what your grandfathers have done for you. This is all."
Then the man who is putting up the pole rises and says:
"I thank you, my grandfathers, for your words. It is as if I had been in a great flood. My uncles' houses and my uncles' poles went drifting about the world with me. But now your words have made [the flood] go down from me. My uncles' houses have drifted ashore and have been left at a good place. Through your words my uncles' poles have drifted ashore at a good place. Your kind words have put down my floor planks. We have been as if we were cold. But now that you have made a fire for us with my grandfathers' emblem we shall be very warm. Thank you for what you have done. On account of your words we will not mourn any more. This is all."
Now the chief of the Kasq!ague'dî, of the opposite division, speaks, directing his remarks at first, not to the giver of the feast, but to the opposite Ravens:
"My ancestors, if the other side did not share in your enjoyment it would not be right. So, if we have said anything to displease you, please overlook it for the sake of the chief."
Then he says to the singers:
"Take up your poles. Start a song."
After this the second division of dancers goes out, dresses up, and enters dancing. When the dance is over, the first chief of that division-of which there are three chiefs, although it contains only two families--i. e., the chief of the Kasq!ague'dî, begins to talk to the chief of the feast. He says:
"Now wrap your father's brothers up in good words. Yes, yes, hear my words just as they come to you."
Then he calls out the name of the chief giving the feast, that of the chief next under him, and the names of some high-caste women. As their names are called they answer, "Hê" ("Present"). Then he perhaps proceeds as follows:
"People killed one another at Gît!î'kc. And the people of Gît!î'kc were being destroyed. Then only one chief was saved along with his sister and niece. Now the chief began thinking, 'I wonder what chief would know certain things that he could tell me.' He asked one old man if he could tell him. Not being suited, he sent for several, who did not suit him either. By and by he thought of Old-man-who-knows-all-troubles. He sent for him to have him tell the thing, and he suited him completely. He stayed with him. At this time he (the old man) made him a helmet and an arrow, an arrow which could talk. Then the old man was going to show him what to do. He instructed him: 'My friends always lie way out there in their canoes. Never let it go at them.'
"Then he let the arrow go toward his enemies. It struck the chief's heart. It killed him. The people did not see where the arrow came from. Then Old-man-who-knows-all-troubles was sent for. He was examining it, and it flew out from him. As the arrow flew away it said, 'NAxguyû'uû.' So they discovered the chief who owned this arrow. They set out to war against him. Then he put on his war hat, and his sister went before him. He went out of doors in a cloud of ashes. He killed all in four of the enemies' canoes. Then they went toward him to war again, but he forgot what the old man had
told him. For this reason the old man killed the chief with his own arrow. At this time the woman went up to the woods with her daughter. And now the two alone saved themselves. Now something helped her. The sun's son married her daughter, and her daughter had children. There were eight, one of which was a girl. Then, a house was made for them and food and provisions were put into it. They were let down on Gît!î'kc, their grandfather's town. a
"That is the way your grandfathers have been. There were canoe loads of trouble around you. Now, however, these grandfathers of yours have been lowered down like the sun's children. Your food was burnt through the trouble you have had. The hard times they had at Gît!î'kc are the hard times you have been having on account of your troubles. Now your grandfathers have made war clothes for you. They have done like Old-man-who-knows-all-troubles. Now your grandfathers have put their raven bat on your head. They have put all your grandfathers' emblems around you like a fort to save you. And your grandfathers who have gone will seat themselves around you. These, your grandfathers' people, will gather around, and they will raise up these emblems to console you. It has been raining upon you so that you could not find a dry place. Now, however, your grandfathers have put the raven boards over you. Finally you are in a dry place. You will sleep well under them, grandchild. This is all."
Then the chief giving the feast answers:
"I thank you very much that through these words of yours you have placed yourselves below me. And I feel that you are sitting very close to me. What you have said to me is true, my grandfathers. I have been as if enemies had surrounded me to fight in this place of my uncles. It is as if my uncles' town had been burned with me. Now, however, you have brought help to me like the children of the sun. It was just as if my uncles' crests had been burned. But now, since I have heard you speaking so well of them, it is as if my uncles had come back. My uncles' house is like that lowered down at Gît!î'kc. These words of yours have brought luck to me like the sun's children. I thank you very much. I feel that what you have said to me is true. You have put my grandfathers' hat, the raven-hat, upon my head, which will save me as if it were a war shirt. And your crests which you have put around me like a fort will also save me. It was as if I had been dying here with cold. But now that my father's brothers have seated themselves near me, I shall be warm. It is indeed as if it had been raining on me, but now that you have put my grandfathers' boards over me, I shall at last be dry. It is true that I have not slept. But now I shall soon sleep under my grandfathers' boards. This is all."
After this speech the next family on the first side, which perhaps is the Qâ'tcAdî, asks the second division to make another speech. They do this, because, having been the first to dance, they do not wish to be selfish. So the speaker of the Tâ
lqoe'dî begins, perhaps thus:
"On the Nass a grizzly bear captured a high-caste girl. She was among the grizzly-bear people. She could not get away. Then she married one of the grizzly-bear people. Then they went for salmon, but their wives went after firewood. This woman did not know how to get firewood like grizzly bears. Then an old woman among the grizzly-bear people called her aside, and said to her, 'Do you know that the grizzly-bear people have captured you? They captured you because you were angry with their tracks. The same thing happened to me. I am a human being who was captured.' The old
woman said, 'Get wet wood for firewood.' After that she did as she was directed. Then her fire did not go out, and her husband was fond of her. Now the high-caste woman felt very brave.
"After sometime had passed the high-caste girl felt sad. Then the old woman called her again. She said to her, 'Are you downhearted?' After that she gave her some things with which to save herself--a devil's-club comb, a wild rosebush comb, sand, mud, and a piece of rock. With these she ran off to some place where she could be saved. Then the grizzly-bear people ran after her. When they got near her the devil's-club comb became a hill of devil's club. When they again got close to her, she threw away the rosebush comb. When they got up to her again, she threw away the sand. This sand became a big sand hill. When she saw that they had come close to her again, she threw away the mud. The last thing was the stone. She threw it away. It became a big hill. She ran down to the beach. Then, however, the GonaqAdê't's son came ashore there. He saved her from her pursuers. This man's name was GînAcAmgê'tk. a
"In just that way the trouble that you have had has captured you. These [grandfathers] are the old woman to you, informing you of all things. You are like the woman. They are like this to you, as if they had given you the raven-hat as she gave her the devil's-club comb. This frog-cane they have given you is as if they had given the rosebush and the mud. Since you have this cane to throw you will be saved. The last one of all will be the frog-post. So your grandfathers' emblem will save you. My uncle that died long ago has come ashore to save you. I hope you will be saved at once in your grandfathers' canoe. But we who are dancing here for you are not really ourselves. It is our long dead uncles who are dancing here for you. This eagle down will descend among you from their heads and will save you like good medicine. I hope you will sleep well in all these feathers. This is all."
Then the host answers him, after first mentioning the names of all the Raven families that are dancing, speaking as follows:
"It is indeed true that here with my uncles I have been as if captured. It is true that I have seen my aunts, and that they have shown me the way down to the beach. It is true that they are like my grandfathers' hat. It is true that my aunts have given me the frog-cane as the devil's-club comb was given. Now I feel as though I had been saved. These two emblems of my grandfathers are like a cliff behind which I shall be saved. Now my long dead fathers have come ashore. I will go down to them. I will stay with them forever. This is all, my fathers."
Next the chief of the Tî hît tân might speak as follows:
"Down in the Tsimshian country lived a young high-caste woman who was captured by a devilfish. The people discovered that she was lost, and finally they began hunting for her, but they could find her nowhere. After they had given up looking for her they saw some young devilfish coming upon the doorstep. They were thrown down from thereupon the beach. Afterward they came back again. Then they left them alone, and they climbed up into the chief's lap. From this circumstance he found out what had happened. He said, 'My daughter must have been captured by the devilfish.' Then he gave food to the devilfishes. When they went away the food left over was carried down after them and the trays were set down by the devilfish rock. When he found out that his daughter was under that rock, he felt very happy. a
"So it was with you, my son. It was as if you had been captured by the devilfishes. Therefore, these your father's people have come down to ask you to partake of food with them from under that rock. That is how your father's people have gotten you now. Therefore they have taken the clothes off of you that have been wet by the sea water and which you can not yourself see. It was so with that woman. She could not see that her clothes were in that condition. Just so you are now going to be given clothing from these skins that belonged to your father's people. They will make a great fire to warm you out of everything your fathers' people have claimed.
"This is the way it has been with you. The way your uncles were taken away from you was just as though you had been captured by devilfishes. I hope you will be warm this evening and lie down and be comfortable. A'a yu'a (This is so)."
The chief would answer thus:
"Thank you, my father's people, for having talked so well of me, KîksA'dî, Kasq!ague'dî, Tâ
lqoe'dî, Tî hît tân, and Qâ'tcAdî. It is so. I have been captured by the devilfishes. This trouble had captured
me. I have been cold under that rock. It was my trouble's that made me cold while there with the devilfishes. But now my father that had died has sent for me. It is right that he has sent for me, for the tide used to come over me. With the troubles I have been going through it looked as though the tide had come over me. Now I thank you that you have saved me from this place where the tide has been coming over me. It is right. I have been cold. But now, since you have made a fire with the things my father's people claim, I shall be warm. But the words that you have spoken for me are so warm they will keep me warm always. A'a yu'a."
Finally they say to the chief of the Qâ'tcAdî, "Now you speak a few words to this descendant of yours." So the chief of the Qâ'tcAdî rises and says:
"There was a high-caste person at TA'qdjîk-ân who bathed for strength every morning. His name was GA
lwê't!. It was then that he made what they call ân luwu'. He had a nephew by the name of Duktû'L!, and this nephew was bathing for strength in secret. GA lwê't! was very proud because be was exercising thus, and the people of his village were very proud with him. They would make fun of the man who bathed in secret, but he did not say anything to them. Then he heard the voice of his Strength. While he was in bathing a voice called to him saying, 'Come here.' So he went thither. When he got there, the little man (Strength) and he wrestled, and Duktû'L! was thrown down. After he had been thrown down, Strength said to him, 'Go again into the water and bathe. I will come to you once more.' He heard the voice a second time, and went ashore, and they again wrestled. Then Duktû'L! almost threw Strength down. So Strength said, 'That is enough. You are already sufficiently strong.' Then he went up, pulled the limb out and twisted the tree to the roots. Afterward he put the limb back and untwisted the tree. Now he went away and made the people who had been so proud, ashamed of themselves. This poor man, Duktû'L!, came to be above the proud people.
"After that they went to the sea-lion island. There he showed his strength. Then the proud people went away and left him on that island, but the sea-lion people helped him. They gave him a box with which to get ashore. With that he got ashore to his uncle's village. Then he took his uncle's place. He owned the whole village. So it was with this Duktû'L!. a
"As he became very poor by his own will, so it was with you, my son. Your father's people that died years ago have come out from the woods and have given you strength. So it was with you. Your uncles and your people had left you on the sea-lion island. Now your father's people have felt for you and have given you Halibut
lx hît). They have given it to you as the sea lions gave the box to the poor man. On account of this, my son, you will forget that you are mourning. A'a yu'a."
Then the host would reply:
"Ho ho, thank you very much, my father's people. How very good your words have been to me, KîksA'dî, Qâ'tcAdî, Tî hît tân, Kasq!ague'dî, Tâ
lqoe'dî. It is true that I have become poor through mourning for my uncles. I have been teaching myself what would help me. And so my father's people have pitied me. They have brought clubs with which I can exercise. I have felt as though my uncles had left me in a desolate place, so much have I been grieving. Now these my father's people have acted like the sea-lion people. They have brought me luck. They have given me that house, Nâ lx hît, as the sea lions gave that poor fellow the box to bring him ashore. Therefore I thank them very much. Through them I have seen the mainland. In these words you have given me I will be clothed. Everyone will see your words on me as clothing. They will always be new. I shall never wear them out. A'a yu'a."
The dances are followed by the feast and last of all comes the distribution of property accompanied by more speeches similar to the above. Then the chief would say:
"Up above here among the upper villages (i. e., toward the north) there was a certain woman who said something about the brant that brought her bad luck. Her husband's name was DAmnâ'djî. Then the brants flew away with her. After that she fell from the hands of the brants. From there she went among the foxes. Going along, she found a codfish head. She cooked it and gave it to the fox. a It is that that I have done to you. I have invited you for that codfish head. So have pity on me and eat what I give you, even if it is not good enough." [The codfish head is brought in because it was found by a very poor woman who was starving. The chief humbles himself by using these words.]
Then the people invited to the feast say, "Yes, it will be so. We will do as you have asked us."
After that he calls the name of the chief of each Raven clan, as follows:
"Bring me ---------'s dish." "Bring me ---------'s dish." After the chiefs' dishes those of the poorer people are called for. These dishes have been brought over in advance from the houses of their owners.
luqAna', who is the chief's nephew, performs early at the time of this feast and is brought into the feast to eat afterward. Piercings for labrets were not made at the feast, but many blankets were given away by the girl's father when it did occur. The work was done by some one of the opposite phratry.
When the feast proper was over a kind of show was given, in fact three of them, one by the family of the giver of the feast and one each by the two divisions of Ravens. The chief gives his show first and then the Raven groups in the order in which they had spoken. In one of these shows a man wearing a mask would come in and some one would say, "My uncle (a dead relative) has come back to see you. He must have been captured by a gonaqAdê't, a grizzly bear, or a wolf." The persons with these masks on are all supposed to be yêks, (i. e. supernatural beings).
374:a Obtained from Katishan at Wrangell.
374:b Addressing by these titles the five Raven clans at Wrangell.
374:c See story 82, pp. 82-88.
316:a See story 32, pp. 120-121.
379:a See story 32, pp. 122-126.
383:a See story 32, pp. 126-129.
386:a see story 32, pp. 130-132,
387:a See, story 32, pp. 146-150.
388:a See story 32, pp. 109-114.