August 11, 2009

The little boy who was left behind


AUTHOR: Lydia Bogren, age 16

Kaa too wu kin yoo xat du wasaakw
Shugkeidee aya xat
Xeitl hit dax
Kwaashi Kwaan yadi aya xat

My name is Lydia Bogren.
My clan is shungukeidee
I come from the Thunderbird House
I am the grandchild of Kwaashki Kwaan.

The people were at the head of the Alsek River. This river runs very swift so our people pulled canoes with a rope. Along the way they stopped at a camping spot to have lunch. During this time a 4-year-old boy wandered off to go hunting for little birds. The clan finished with lunch and decided to move on, forgetting that the little boy was still out hunting.

The clan didn’t miss the little boy until they reached the foot of the Alsek River. It would take at least four days, fighting swift currents, to get back to where the boy was.

After much discussion and deliberation the clan decided that the by the time they would get back, the boy would no longer be alive. The Shungukeidee decided that it would be dangerous to go back only to find that the boy had perished so the made the difficult decision to remain there and let him go.

The Shuggukeidee had a big potlatch when they knew they wouldn’t have the boy return to them. Everyone in the clan felt sad that they had lost the boy and had heavy hearts. To heal their hearts and so they wouldn’t forget, they composed a song about this sad event.

Many years later they found out that the Thunderbird took care of the boy. When the boy could not find his family he cried. The Thunderbird heard the boy crying, turned himself into a human being and raised the boy in a cave near the mountains. The Thunderbird was very proud of the boy that grew into a strong man, but the Thunderbird realized the boy was very lonesome. The Thunderbird decided to return this man to the Shungukeidee.

When he returned to his people, he noticed that he had grown quill on his legs down to his ankles and from his elbows to his wrists. After he returned to his people, he wanted them to belong to the Thunderbird.

That is how the Shungukeidee got the Thunderbird Crest.

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