Saturday, April 25, 2009
Look at the Canoe!
Kids seem to gravitate to Dzunuk'wa when they enter the Native American collection, they often think she's a canoe, but then they notice the feet and the smaller bowls inside her, and they start to question the canoe idea.
The story goes that Dzunuk'wa lives like a bear in the woods, eating children that wander off. Not unlike the witch in the Hansel and Gretel story, only this tale has no evil stepmother. The story is a warning to children not to wander away from home. On the feast bowl Dzunuk'wa's shown with whistling lips, she whistles like the wind so the wind will be a constant reminder of her.
In one version of the story I've heard there are two brothers who get captured and taken away by Dzunuk'wa. Their mother is so heartbroken that she cries and cries, and her tears and her snot roll in the soil at her feet and the blob she creates turns into a baby boy who grows up very quickly and becomes a hero who rescues her sons from Dzunuk'wa.
Just above the feast bowl are two Thunder Bird masks, the whole room is alive with masks of Wolf, Frog, Orca and Eagle Woman. This is one of the most spectacular pages of the museum's story book.