Designed by Julie Thompson Spanaway, United States
Raven appears in Northwest Coast and Arctic story cycles as a trickster who is responsible for assisting humankind. He is responsible for bringing light to the dark world, creating and transforming of parts of the earth, naming plants, and teaching animals. Raven is also known for being deceptive and untrustworthy. Following are stories about Raven.
Tsimshian - southeastern Alaska and British Columbia
The parents of a dead boy invite all the animals to their sons wake. The boy's father, who is the chief, orders the boy's intestines to be removed and burned. Upon visiting the boy's body the next morning, the mother finds a young man, bright as firelight. The young man becomes ravenously hungry, eating everything in sight. The chief sends him away from the village with a blanket decorated with raven feathers. He puts on the blanket and flies over the sea. He cannot see because ma, a copper disk, is hidden away. The young man disguises himself as Raven and steals the copper disk. When the other animals refuse to share their food with Raven, he breaks ma in a tantrum and light comes to the world.
Tanaina - sub arctic
Raven, known as Guguyni, releases the sun and moon from captivity so the people can see.
Nooksak, Salish - northwest United States and British Columbia
Raven was watching the children of the North Wind People, the supernatural guests who visit villages and bring the snow. Raven carelessly lets one of their children fall into the fire. When the North Wind People learn of this tragedy they leave the village quickly. This tale explains why the winter always leaves so suddenly.
Nootka - Vancouver Island and Olympic Peninsula
Raven learns that Crow, who owns the fresh water, will not give anyone water unless she is paid. Many people are dying of thirst. Raven meets with the chiefs who will make Raven chief over all of them if he will get the water. Raven goes to Crow’s house and pretends to be dying of thirst. Crow lets Raven in. He casts a sleep spell on her. Raven then tricks her through humiliation and demands that she give him water. Crow then goes to the box where she keeps the water. Raven tips the box over, letting the water flow over the land forming a lake and a stream. Raven then takes some of the water and flies all over the world creating rivers.