Tlinkty: living on the edge of the world

March 20, 2012 13:15

Tlingit Indian tribe historically is the area situated along the sea on both sides of the border of Alaska and Canada

Tlingit Indian tribe historically is the area situated along the sea on both sides of the border of Alaska and Canada. Their settlements can also be found further south, down to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. According to American scientists, the fishermen and hunters lived there for thousands of years. Inhospitable climate of the Pacific coast of Canada and Alaska, with its constant dampness and rain, and the very remoteness of the land of the busiest trade routes made them unattractive to Europeans. Only in the second half of the XVIII century there penetrated Russian and English.

PEOPLE murderous and evil

These Indians had no trouble suddenly thumb Boat landings British schooner with goods or burn the Russian fortified settlement with a trading post. "Meaner beasts of prey", "people killing and evil", "krovozhazhduschie barbarians" — in such expressions spoke of Tlingit Russian pioneers. Some Russian and English settlers were in the thrall of the Tlingit and lived among them for many years. Briefly known stories like "men of low rank," Seeds Lukin and Timothy Tarakanov.

Tlingit captives enslaved, but they could and release for a ransom. Sometimes, they were subjected to severe torture and killed. Admiral Yuri F. Lisyansky testified: "With their prisoners they do cruel: betray their agonizing death or exhausting burdens, especially the Europeans. If any of the past will fall into their hands, there is no suffering, which they deliver this poor. This inhuman practice involves most elderly people and children. One cuts the body was captured, the other rips or burns, cuts the third arm, leg or tore off his hair. Last done as to the dead, and with haggard prisoners, and is made by shamans, who first circumcise skin around the skull, and then, taking the hair, pulls it. After that, the head of the unfortunate victims to chop off and throw on the field or for show. "

In 1857, the squad visited Tlingit Pyudzhent Sound to gather hops. When the season came to an end, they settled on the outskirts of Port Gamble, where indulged in ritualistic orgies, bringing terror to the inhabitants. As long as the authorities did not seek help from the commander of the American ship "Massachusetts" at anchor off the coast. In the ensuing clash then killed Tlingit leader Keiko. The Indians immediately left the place and went back to the north.

But next spring, ten men and one woman, who belonged to the family of the murdered leader, went over 1,000 miles to the south, to the scene to take revenge. They learned that Colonel Ebi, customs inspector, was the most important official in the places, that is, in their opinion, the leader of the community. Tlingit and killed him, taking his head unfortunate colonel returned to Alaska, satisfied that life was equivalent killed the life of their deceased leader. Only a few years later the scalp was removed from the head of the customs inspector, was purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company and sent to the bereaved family.

Liturgy in Tlingit

Tlingit country was divided into territorial units — kuany: Sitka, Yakutat, Hoonah, Which, Chilkat, Hutsnuvu, Stikine and others. Each of them could be several large winter villages, where representatives of different clans, some of whom worshiped the Eagle, and others — Crow. These clans are often at odds with each other. Due to this kind of political and social organization in the history of the Tlingit unknown foreign wars in which he fought against a common enemy to all the people. Clan feuds among themselves or with neighboring Indian tribes — Haida and tsimshianami — sometimes acquired extremely fierce. A case where after the collision of two Tlingit clans in the year that had a bad season of salmon fishing, the winners dropped decapitated bodies of fallen enemies in the river, and on a rock near the place of the massacre made their blood red image of a human face.

But to speak Tlingit only in dark colors, probably still be a mistake. Indeed, even before the arrival of Europeans, the tribes were able to process iron. Among the tools they used spears, harpoons, wicker fish traps, nets, wooden and bone fish hooks, knives and clubs to kill fish and seals. Tlingit gathering berries in the forest, hunting for bears and deer, but the basis of their diet were still seafood: salmon, halibut, herring, shellfish, seaweed. In the fall many Tlingit hunted sea otters and seals. Shamans were able to not only take scalps with strangers, but also know how to treat a variety of diseases affecting the weather, predict the future, bring luck in hunting and protect the tribesmen from black magic.

At the heart of the Tlingit culture and to this day are family-related values and rich tradition of oratory. They have developed long-established philosophical and religious views of the world, and the Russian Orthodox missionaries once found in their face grateful students and even led the liturgy in Tlingit language. These Indians believed the earth was flat, the sky — Solid star — fires in dwellings of spirits, the sun and moon for them were alive, understands the language of the people. Our planet, according to myth, was resting on a giant pillar in the form of a beaver paws. It kept the old underground Agishanuku. Earthquakes, Tlingit believed to be due to the fight with a man-Agishanuku Yelom raven — the hero of mythology. World for these Indians was inhabited many spirits and souls of men and animals. Spirits patronized lakes, rivers, mountains, glaciers and the elements. For example, the main underwater spirit was Konakadet.


On the opposite side of Tlingit pantheon were being downright demonic. Particularly ominous look werewolves — kushtaka. These creatures were able to assume the form of either a person or an otter. Not only kushtaka could talk and mimic other people published by the sounds. These werewolves are always at odds with people living in the villages of shamans, among them was a constant invisible war. Kushtaka could appear in the fog and bring destruction on the heads of the sailors of the Tlingit. In some legends kushtaka imitated the cries of the child or a woman to lure the victim into the river. People caught up in the water, they either killed tore apart, or charm, and turned into a little kushtaku. For the same reason, they are sometimes kidnapped babies. So frightened mother tlinkitki kushtakoy their children to avoid self-walks by the sea.

These Indians had no trouble suddenly thumb Boat landings British schooner with goods or burn the Russian fortified settlement with a trading post

These creatures were familiar kushtake also Eskimos and tsimshianam. What is particularly interesting, during the gold rush in Alaska white Americans also talked about his meetings with kushtakoy. Prospector Thomas Bay during their search operations because of the rains for several days had to bezvylazno sit in their tent. When finally turned out a clear, sunny day, he found a piece of gold-quartz veins. Soon after, allegedly approached him strange creatures like humans, but entirely covered with hair like a monkey. They were covered with sores and gave off a terrible stench. Thomas was able to pull his canoe into the water and to survive in a hurry ran from them. Two other prospector kushtaka also encountered in this way, and one of them was crazy.

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