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ERIC Number: ED349133
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Shamans and Kushtakas: North Coast Tales of the Supernatural.
Beck, Mary Giraudo
The Tlingit and Haida are Native Americans who inhabit southeast Alaska and share many traditions and stories. Written by a non-native scholar, this book contains nine Tlingit and Haida tales concerned with shamans and kushtakas. Land otters were fearful hybrid beings of the spirit world. Able to live on land and in water, they had the special mission of saving persons lost at sea or in the woods and transforming them into kushtakas, creatures similar to themselves but who retained some human qualities. Land otters and kushtakas were suspected of kidnapping or actively luring people to their kingdom. The shaman mediated between the spirit world and the human realm and was a figure of great power who inherited or was "called" to his role. The shaman's extraordinary powers made him the proper adversary for the kushtaka, and the shaman was often called upon to struggle with the kushtakas for a person's spirit. The tales dramatize the values and traditions of Tlingit and Haida societies and provide models for emulation and examples of the individual and social consequences of improper or irreverent behavior. Many characters undertake some form of classic journey, beset by dangers, challenges, and sacrifices for personal or communal benefit. A preface and introduction discuss Tlingit and Haida culture. This book contains illustrations created by a Native artist. (SV)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Culture, American Indian Literature, Elementary Secondary Education, Mythology, Religion, Tales
Alaska Northwest Books, GTE Discovery Publications, Inc., 22026 20th Avenue, S.E., Bothell, WA 98021 ($12.95; $15.95 Canadian).
Publication Type: Books; Creative Works
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A