Thursday, May 05, 2011

365 Doodles - Day 125

The final two 'Odd Gods' pics. Two characters from Canadian mythology. Or maybe two aspects of the same character? The images here are based upon descriptions gleaned from books plus a couple of costumes on display in the British Museum.

D'sonoqua or Dzunukwa or Tsonokwa or Zunoqua was a cannibalistic giant known to the Canadian and North American natives. Also known more popularly as Sasquatch, D’sonoqua was described as a huge female hag that imitates grandmothers’ voices in order to attract children and eat them. Or a hairy human. Or a monster with a wooden head. Other than this mimic ability, D’sonoqua spent most of the time making a curious ‘Hu! Hu!’ sound.

The Kwakwaka'wakw people – 17 tribes that speak the Kwakwaka language – have often captured the fearsome ogress in their art, particularly on totem poles. In festivals like the potlach, valued pieces were displayed and traded. Unusually, the Kwakwaka’wakw people defined a person as wealthy not by what they own but by how much they gave away. Few Kwakwaka’wakw have ever been involved in banking.

1 comment:

Persephone said...

I grew up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada and have never seen "potlach" spelled that way. (Granted, I neither speak nor write Chinook Jargon which is the pidgin language from which "potlatch" comes.) The Kwakwaka'wakw are a very small First Nations group and are not the only ones to practise the potlatch. It was a popular custom up and down the BC coast and so naturally, was outlawed by white settlers because they thought it was "unchristian". This, of course, didn't work...