ORAL HISTORY


Raven Story

Deetrìn’ [Raven] was no good you know.

In the olden days, they say all the animals are human beings, men and women.

And Raven likes to fool the people and cheat them too.

He gets a kick out of it, you know.

Sometimes, he would scream and make all kinds of noise.

Well, I guess he made everybody tired.

They couldn’t sleep because he made so much noise, especially at night.

So, the men grabbed him and they took his beak so that he couldn’t talk anymore.

They hurt him.

He was really suffering, his mouth was sore.

He made a plan to get his beak back.

He went up the [Arctic Red River], not very far from here and he made a raft with wood.

Then he made people out of moss and placed them on top of it.

He picked berries and he made their eyes too.

Then when he was on top of Vik’ooyendìk [Church Hill], he got a little boy to look in his hair for lice.

He told that little boy, “Watch for a raft.”

All of a sudden, that little boy said that a raft was coming.

Raven told him that the people on the raft were coming from the mountains.

But he fooled the little boy, he lied.

They say, Raven is bad to make medicine.

Raven told the little boy to go down to the Flats and tell everybody that people were coming from up the Red.

Everybody ran to the bank to meet the people, except for a blind old woman who was looking after Raven’s beak.

She wanted to go down to the shore too, but didn’t know where to put the beak.

That old woman said, “Gee, I don’t know where to put this beak?”

That’s when Raven lifted up a corner of the tent.

“Give it to me!“ he said.  “Give it to me!”

The old woman was blind so she couldn’t see that Raven was speaking.

She gave the beak to Raven.

Raven put his beak back on so fast, that he put it on crooked!

That’s how Raven fooled the people so that he could get his beak back.

— Annie Norbert, Gwichya Gwich’in elder

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