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32. KAKÊ'Q!uTÊ a

A Huna man named Kakê'q!utê and his wife were paddling along in a canoe about midnight in search of seals, and he kept hearing a noise around his head like that made by a bird. Finally he hit the creature with his hand and knocked it into the canoe. It was shaped like a bird, only with eyelids hanging far over, and its name is Sleep (TA). He gave this to his wife saying, "Here, you can keep this for your own." So she gave it to her relatives, who built a house called Sleep house (TA hît). All the poles in it were carved to resemble this bird.

The man got very tired after that without being able to sleep, until at last he ran away into the forest. He walked along there, came to a big glacier, and walked along upon that. After he had traveled for some time he came across a small creek in which he discovered

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eulachon. He roasted some on sticks before the fire. After he had thought over the problem for a while, he made a small fish trap with a hole in it for the fish to enter. The trap was soon filled with a multitude of fishes. Then he took all out, dug a hole in the ground, and placed the fish there. He was glad to think that he could get something to eat, so he remained in that place.

One day, while he was roasting fish, he saw eight Athapascans (Go'nana), and knew from that that he was in the interior. These men wore nice fur clothing and had their faces painted. Kakê'q!utê became frightened and ran into the woods, leaving his fish roasting by the fire. Afterward the. eight men acted as though they were calling him, so he climbed up into a tree and watched them. They did not know where he had gone. Then the men sat down and ate his fish, after which they stuck a copper-pointed arrow into the ground where each roasting stick had been. This was the first time a Tlingit had seen copper.

Next day the same men came back. They were dressed much better, and two nice-looking women were with them. Then they called to him saying, "You have brought us good luck, so we want you to be our friend. If you will come and stay with us you can have either of these sisters of ours." So he came down from the tree where he had been hiding, went with them, and married both of their sisters.

Now they took him to the place from which they got their fish and showed him how they did it. It was by making deadfalls in the water, in which they caught only one small fish at a time. Kakê'q!utê was surprised to see how hard they worked to get a fish. If a man were lucky he would get perhaps forty or fifty very small fishes. Now, Kakê'q!utê ordered all in the village to procure young trees that were very limber and to split them into long pieces. He told them to whittle these down very, smooth, and sat in the middle to show them how. Then he got some roots and tied the sticks together. The name of this trap is t!îtx. It is shaped like a barrel with the inner entrance just small enough for the fish to pass through. At the mouth of this trap a weir is run across the stream.

The whole village worked with him fixing the traps. Finally they cut posts to fasten them to and placed them at that point in the river which the tide reaches. When the tide went down they went to look at them and found them full of eulachon. Before they could never get enough of these fishes but now there were plenty for the poor, who formerly could obtain none. Even the old people were cutting and drying some to put in holes and make oil out of. Some filled twenty boxes with oil, some thirty. Some boxes of this kind weigh 150 pounds, some 100, some 50, some 20. Before his time the people of that village could not sleep, because they had to run down

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to their traps very often to look at their deadfalls, but after he came they had a very easy time. Therefore the whole village was pleased with him, looked upon. him as a very high-caste person, and would do as he told them.

By and by the salmon season came. The people there had copper-pointed salmon spears (kAt) with handles of fine, thin wood, but the water was so muddy that they could spear only by means of the ripple marks, and often got but one or two a day. The most that any man obtained was three.

Kakê'q!utê watched and knew that he could help them. He always traveled around with his wives' brothers, and wherever they went the people followed, for they thought that he knew how to get salmon. He inquired if this were the only way they knew of to catch salmon, and they said, "Yes, this is the only way except that when they get in a shallow place we can club them." One of his brothers-in-law also said to him, "The only time we can obtain salmon is when they are very old and their flesh is turning white. Then the water is low, and they go near the shore where we can see them. We can also get them at that time from the little creeks that come into the river." Now Kakê'q!utê took the spear from his brother-in-law and taught him how to feel along the river for salmon and catch them on the barbs as soon as they were felt. In half an hour he had six salmon. All the people of the village were looking on. Then he said to his brother-in-law, "You can feel them very easily. They are slippery. When you feel anything slippery, do not be in too great hurry and be careful not to go under the salmon. When you first put your spear into the water you will feel the ground and you will raise it up from the ground and move it along. I know how to make a salmon trap, too. I will show you that to-morrow. To-day we can not do it."

Next day the whole village went to work making salmon traps. Again he asked them to get young trees and split them. All did as he told them. They made eighteen traps that day. They got roots and split them, and all worked taking the bark off. The whole village imitated Kakê'q!utê, watching his every movement. Next day they put the traps into the water, and all were very anxious about them, even the women sitting along the shore watching. Some of the poor people, who knew that they would result similarly to the first traps he had made, were so anxious to see them that they could not sleep. The day before all of the women sat down to make ropes in the manner he showed them, and each went to the traps next morning provided with one. When they got there they found every one of them loaded with salmon. All the people in the town, old and young, went to see these traps. While they were emptying the traps and stringing some of the salmon, others would be coming in,

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and it made the whole village happy. Then Kakê'q!utê distributed the salmon, for everyone thought that it belonged to him. He gave to the poor people, who had never before tasted salmon, and he said to the wealthy, "Don't feel offended that I give them as much as you for they need it as much. To-morrow and the day after we will have it."

At this time of the year they never got any salmon to dry. If one got a salmon he ate it at once. Only when the salmon was old did they dry it. Each man had a place where he speared salmon, and no one dared go there. Those spots were all named. When they got salmon from the traps they were all rich, and they were glad to have a supply so early in the season. Before they had these traps they ate every part of the salmon, all the insides, the heart, etc., but after they had had the traps for a few days you could see along the beach various parts of the fish, as the beads, and even some good parts, where they had been thrown away. After they were through drying their salmon they had enough for a year, and they stored them all away in boxes.

That fall the Athapascans went up among the valleys for ground hogs, each man having his own place, where no one else was allowed to intrude. That day only one came from the very best spots and in the whole village there were but three. Kakê'q!utê watched how they got them. Ground hogs were valued even by the coast people on account of the blankets made of their skins. Then he asked them, "Is this the only way you get your ground-hog meat?" "Yes," they said, "this is the only way." Then he sat right down and began carving some pieces of wood, while everybody watched him, believing that whatever he did would succeed. He asked the women to make hide thongs. All sat down to do it, and with them he made slip-nooses to be placed at the mouths of the ground-hog burrows. Then he said, "I don't want anyone to go over there. Keep away from the traps." So they did, and the morning after he went out among his traps accompanied by all of the people, In each trap was a ground hog, and he gave every man in the village five. Even when they had killed three, the meat was distributed so that all had at least a taste of the broth. They remained in this place just three days, and he killed them off so in that time they had to move to another. Each valley was claimed by some man, who had a special tree there on which his dried meat was hung, and every time they moved to a new valley they left the meat hanging on the limbs of the tree in the place abandoned.

Then the people started for home, carrying their meat along with them. They would carry part of it a certain distance and go back for more, and repeat the process until all was down on the beach. After that he told them how to prepare their food to keep it over winter. He told them to get their cooking baskets and cook their meat well.

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[paragraph continues] After it was cooked, he told them to put it on sticks high up in the house and dry it in the smoke. When it was dried, he asked them to take it down and put it in oil for the winter. One family would have from four to six boxes of such dried meat. Before this man came they did not know how to do that. They ate everything as soon as it was procured, and it was very hard for them to get enough. Kakê'q!utê also saw the women going after berries and eating them at once. If they kept any very long they would spoil on their hands. Then he said, "Don't you know how to preserve berries for winter?" No, they replied. So he showed them how to dry these and how to cook the different kinds of berries and preserve them in grease.

Before his time the Athapascans did not know how to put up their winter food. They would stay on the spot where they had killed a moose until it was eaten up. That was why they were always in want. The Athapascans were very wild and did not seem to have any sense. Before Kakê'q!utê came among them these people were always hunting, but now they stayed in one place and had an easy time. A person went hunting only for amusement in case he got tired of staying in doors. Before this, too, they did not have a taste of berries after the berry season. They ate them on the bushes like the birds. Now, however, they have plenty all the year round. They used to live in winter on dried salmon and what meat they could get. If they could get nothing while hunting, many died of starvation.

When spring came on, Kakê'q!utê also showed them a certain tree and said, "Don't you know how to take off the bark of this tree and use it?" They replied that they never knew it could be eaten. So he took a limb from a hemlock, sharpened it, and showed them how to take off the hemlock bark. After that he took big mussel shells (yîs!) from his sack and said, "Do you see these. This is the way to take it off." After he had obtained quite a pile of bark, he showed them how to eat it, and they thought that it was very nice, because it was so sweet. Then he sharpened some large bear bones on a rough rock, gave one to each woman and said, "Use it as I have used the shell." Each woman's husband or son stripped the bark off of the tree, and the women sat down with their daughters to help them and separated the good part. He was teaching the people there to live as do those down on the ocean.

Next Kakê'q!utê collected a lot of skunk cabbage, dug a hole in the ground, and lined it with flints, while all stood about watching him. Then he made a fire on top of these rocks to heat them, and afterwards threw a little water upon them, filling up the remainder of the pit with successive layers of skunk cabbage and hemlock bark. Over all he spread earth and made a fire above. He left just so much fire

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on it all night. All the village people were looking on and getting wood for him.

Now the people felt very happy to see how well they had gotten through the winter and that they were learning to put up more food. The younger people would dance all day. In the morning they were asked to go out and uncover the hole. He uncovered his own first. It was so savory that the whole village was scented with it. Then he tasted it, found it sweet, and asked the rest of the village to taste it. The rumor of its excellence spread all over town, and so many came to try it that before he knew it half of his bark was gone. All the people of the village were burying bark as he had done.

After he had taken the bark out a quantity of water was left, which they poured into their dishes. Then he put the cooked bark in, to a dish and pounded it with a masher. After that he pressed the cakes very hard and made a hole in one corner of each in order to hang it up. The cakes dried very quickly. Some cakes they put away dry, and some that were dried very hard they put into oil. After they had been in oil for several months he took them out and ate them. They tasted very good. He also showed how to use those that had been put away dry. He took them out and boiled some water for them, after which he soaked some in it. They tasted altogether different from those that had been in the oil.

Next Kakê'q!utê showed the people how to put up a certain root (ts!êt) found on sand flats and taken before tops come upon it. Geese also live upon this root. He collected a lot of this and brought it to his wives, asking them whether they ate it. They said they did not, and when they had tasted it they found it very sweet. This root tastes like sweet potatoes. Then the people took their canoes and went to get these roots for their winter's food. Each carried a hardwood stick with sharpened ends. He said, "This is women's work or for boys and girls. It is easy. Where I come from the women do that." After they had dug many roots he showed them how to dry these. He tied up a bunch of them and on top another until he had made a long string. Then he hung them up where they could dry quickly. He cooked them in pots. After the water is poured off from them they move around as if alive, and for that reason Tlingit widows do not eat them, fearing that they will make them nervous. After being cooked in pots they taste just as if fresh.

He also showed them how to put up a root called s!în, which he pounded up and pressed into cakes like the bark. They are soaked like the others and also eaten with oil. He showed them as well how to kill seals and prepare their flesh. For the next winter they prepared more than for the winter preceding. That fall, after the food was all put away, they went into the interior after furs. He showed them how to catch animal s by means of deadfalls with fat as bait.

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[paragraph continues] Before his time the only way they had gotten their furs was with bow and arrow. They used to chase bears with dogs and shoot them after hours spent in pursuit. Now they obtained very many furs and made numbers of blankets out of them.

After he had shown the Athapascans all these things Kakê'q!utê said, "Now I want to go to my native town." At first they were not willing to have him leave, but he asked so persistently that they finally consented. Before they sent him away, however, they took him away and obtained some small coppers for him. After that they got everything ready and set out the following winter. As they paddled on they could see the places where he had camped during the hard time he had had after he left his own village. He asked the people to go up with him along the same trail he had taken through the woods. By that route they came to Grass creek (Tcû'kAn-hîn), to the place he had left, but, when they came down, the people of that village were afraid of them. These were the TcûkAne'dî, Kâ'gwAntân, Wuckitâ'n, Kosk!ê'dî, T!A'q!dentân, L!ûk!nAxA'dî, and Q!At!kaâ'.

By and by one of the TcûkAne'dî came out right opposite them and said, "What are you coming here for, you land-otter people? We are not the people who have been making medicine for you." When they saw that those people did not care to receive them they went back through the woods to the town of the L!ûk!nAxA'dî. The L!ûk!nAxA'dî saw that they had coppers, and took them away. Then the L!ûk!nAxA'dî said, "You are going to be our people." Each man took a man out of the canoe and said, "You will be my friend." That was the way they used to do. They would take away a person's goods and then give him just what they wanted to. The Athapascans were foolish enough to allow it. Afterward the TcûkAne'dî felt that they were unlucky in not having taken the visitors in themselves. Therefore, when a person is unlucky nowadays, they say of him, "He sent the Athapascans away." Because they did this the TcûkAne'dî are below all other Tlingit families. That was what brought them bad luck, and that is also how the L!ûk!nAxA'dî became very rich. They got a claim on the place where the copper plates come from.

Next spring the L!ûk!nAxA'dî went right to the mouth of Copper river. They made a village there at once and called it Kos!ê'xka. One of the mountains there they called TsAlxâ'n and another Mas!î'ca. All along where they went they gave names. A certain creek was called NA'gAku-hîn, and they came to a lake which they named Ltû'a. Then they went to a river called Alsê'x, at the mouth of which they established a town and named it Kos!ê'x. Afterward they went to the river from which the copper came and called it Îq hî'nî (Copper river). At Kos!ê'x they built a house called TA hît (Sleep house). Then all of them were L!ûk!nAxA'dî, but some, from the fact that they camped on an island, came to be called Q!At!kaâ' 

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[paragraph continues] (Island people). The Kosk!ê'dî, originally a part of the L!ûk!nAxA'dî, used to encamp at a certain place where they dug the root s!în. This root pressed is known as t!Aganîsk!êx, and the Kosk!ê'dî receive their name from this word. a The Kosk!ê'dî built a house and roofed it with moose hide. So they came to own the Moose house (Xâs! hît).

The wives of the L!ûk!nAxA'dî were Kâ'gwAntân. They (the Kâ'gwAntân) were invited to Chilkat by a chief named Tailless-Raven (Ckû'wu-yêl). In the same town they were about to fell a tree to make a totem pole out of it, and just before they did so CqêLaqâ', a shaman, interviewed his spirits. When they struck the tree with an ax he said, "The chip went toward Huna. How is it that it went toward Huna?" And, when the tree fell, he said, "It fell toward Huna. How is it that it fell toward Huna?" This spirit's name was ÂnkAxwâ'î, and the pole was carved to resemble him. When it was brought in he said, "How is it that there is something wrong with these people we have invited. My spirit sees that there is something wrong with them." Then they made a raven hat, and the spirit in the shaman said, "The raven you made has been shot with an arrow. Many arrows are sticking into its body and blood is coming from its mouth."

The people giving the feast gave a great deal of property away to the Kâ'gwAntân. Each man in the family would give so many slaves and so much in goods. On their way home from this feast the L!ûk!nAxA'dî also made a raven, and some time later they went to a feast at the Kâ'gwAntân village of KAq!Anuwû'. Close to that place Q!onê', chief of the L!ûk!nAxA'dî, put on the raven hat. Its tail and beak were made of copper, and the wings were copper plates. It had a copper plate lying in front of it at which it pecked. L!ûk!nAxA'dî also lived among the Kâ'gwAntân in that town, and they said, "Where has that raven been?" The canoe people answered, "Why! this raven has been at Chilkat." "What did it eat at Chilkat?" "All that it ate at Chilkat was salmon skins." By salmon skins they meant the furs and hides that had been given away. Then they took the wings from this raven and the copper he had been pecking at and threw them ashore for the Kâ'gwAntân. They said, "Those are worth forty slaves." Before, when the GânAxte'dî (of Chilkat) had feasted and used their own raven hat, they spoke so highly of it that the L!ûk!nAxA'dî had become jealous.

By and by news of what the L!ûk!nAxA'dî had done reached Chilkat, and the GânAxte'dî were very angry. They began to build Whale house (Yâ'î hît). Then they began to buy slaves in all quarters. They bought some Dê'citân, some Tcû'kAnedî, and Some L!enê'dî, and,

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when they invited people to the feast for these houses, they first gave away the slaves they had been buying. The L!ûk!nAxA'dî felt very badly at this, because--Flathead slaves not being esteemed very highly--this amounted to more than they had given away. Then war broke out between the two families, and the L!ûk!nAxA'dî were badly defeated, losing many people. After that the people whose friends had been enslaved, purchased, and given away felt so badly that they also made war on the GânAxte'dî with no better result.

One of the GânAxte'dî chiefs was named Yêl-xâk. In those times people were afraid of a high-caste person who was rich, strong, and brave and did not want to have anything to do with him. This man's father-in-law was a L!ûk!nAxA'dî chief at Laxa'k named Big Raven (Yêl-Lên). Then Yêl-xâk told his slaves to take food and tobacco to his father-in-law through the interior by Alsek river, and he did so. When he arrived, the chief said to him, "What did you come for?" "Your daughter has sent me with some tobacco." Big Raven was very fond of tobacco. Before the slave started on this errand his master had said to him, "Be sure to notice every word he says when you give him the tobacco." Then the slave took away from the tobacco the cottonwood leaves and a fine piece of moose hide in which it was wrapped. As soon as he saw the leaves Big Raven said, "I feel as though I had seen Chilkat now that I have seen these cottonwood leaves. Chilkat is a respectable place. A lot of respectable people live there. They are so good that they give food even to the people that were going to fight them." This Big Raven was a shaman and a very rich one.

When the slave returned to Chilkat and told his master what Big Raven had said, they held a council the same evening in Ckû'wu-yêl's house, Whale house, and Yêl-xâk said to his slave, "Now you tell these people what that father-in-law of mine has said to you." And the slave said, "As soon as he saw me, he said, 'What are you doing here?' and I told him that his daughter had sent me to him with tobacco. After he had uncovered the tobacco and had seen the leaves he said, 'They are such respectable people in Chilkat that they feed even the people who had come to fight them.' That was what Big Raven said." Then Yêl-xâk said, "I wonder if he thinks he has gotten even with me for the L!ûk!nAxA'dî I killed on Land-otter point. I wonder whether he thinks he has gotten even with me for having killed all those ÂnAk!-nû." He thought that Big Raven was a coward and was going to make peace. Then he moved about very proudly, while the visitors from other places watched him closely, and everything that he said or did was reported to Big Raven.

A man among the L!ûk!nAxA'dî, named Câdisî'ktc, was bathing in order to acquire strength to kill the GânAxte'dî. Then the L!ûk!nAxA'dî pounded on Big Raven's house to have his spirits come

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out. Big Raven said, "LA'kua has gotten up already. LA'kua has looked out now. My masters, which way is this LA'kua going to go?" The people said, "What are you saying, Big Raven? Go wherever you think best." Then he told them to pound away on the sticks, and he shouted, "Here, here is the camping place." After the spirit had been all over their course it said, "Hô, hê, the Raven swinging back and forth."

For Câdisî'ktc's war hat they made a carving of a monster rat which is said to live under the mountain Was!î'câ. His spear points they made out of iron--taken probably from some wreck. They considered themselves very lucky when they found this iron. They thought that it grew in the timber and not that it belonged to a ship. This they called Gayê's! hâ'wu (Log of Iron). Gayê's! was originally the name given to black mud along the beaches to which people likened iron rust.

Now the war canoes started from Kos!ê'x for Chilkat, drilling as they went. When people do this they take out their drums and drill wherever possible. There are certain songs called "drilling songs." When the shaman said, "This is the place where LA'kua camped," they camped there. They thought that it would bring bad luck to go any farther than to the place where he had camped. When on an expedition the war chief never looked back in the direction in which they had come. At KAq!Anuwû' they stopped long enough to get the L!ûk!nAxA'dî there. Those were the people of which so many had been killed by the Chilkat before. The KîksA'dî, T!A'q!dentân, and other families also started with them, and they paid these for their help with copper plates. All this time the shaman's spirit sang the same song about "the raven swinging back and forth."

At last the warriors reached Chilkat and stood in a row fronting the river back of the Chilkat fort. Behind all stood Câdisî'ktc. Then Yêl-xâk came out on top of the fort and said, "Where is that, Câdisî'ktc?" So Câdisî'ktc stepped out in front of his party with the mouse war hat on his head, saying, "Here I am." Then Yêl-xâk said, "Where has that mouse (kuts!î'n) been? What has he been doing?" He answered, "I have been in that great mountain that belonged to my mother's uncle, and I have come out after you." After this they heard a drum in the fort, which meant that those people were about to come out. Then they came out in files, and Yêl-xâk and Câdisî'ktc went to meet each other with their spears. But the Chilkat still had their spears pointed with bone and mountain-goat horn, and when Yêl-xâk speared Câdisî'ktc he did not seem to hurt him. Câdisî'ktc, however, speared Yêl-xâk through the heart, and his body floated down the river on which they fought until it struck against a log running out from the bank. The end of this log moved

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up and down with the current and Yêl-xâk's body moved up and down along with it. Then the shaman said, "Now you see what my spirit has been singing about. That is the raven moving back and forth. Now you people are going to eat them all up. Don't be frightened any more, for you have them all now that you have gotten him." At once they began to wade across, while the Chilkat people, when they saw that their head man was dead, ran past their fort up into the mountains. At that time the L!ûk!nAxA'dî took the totem pole ânkAxwâ'î. That is what the Chilkat shaman had meant by the chip flying toward Huna and the tree falling toward it. And this is also why they had so great faith in spirits at that time.

Ckû'wu-yêl felt badly for the loss of his totem, so he took the copper raven he had captured from the L!ûk!nAxA'dî before and started toward KAq!Anuwû' to make peace. His wife's father was head chief of the L!ûk!nAxA'dî. At this time the war had lasted for a long time, perhaps five years. Ckû'wu-yêl composed and sang a song as he went along, as follows, "Why did you leave the Chilkat river as it flows, you raven? Why didn't you take it all into your mouth?" He meant to say, "If you are so strong, why didn't you make the river go entirely dry?" The L!ûk!nAxA'dî had gathered many families against him, but the river was as large as ever.

Just as Ckû'wu-yêl came to the L!ûk!nAxA'dî town, a man ran down toward the canoe, making believe that he was going to kill him, but one of the Kâ'gwAntân caught him and said, "Why do you want to kill that chief? You are not as high as he." He said, "It isn't because I am anxious to kill him, but because I was always so afraid of him when he was warring." a

Then they seized Ckû'wu-yêl to make him a deer and took him into Sleep house, the house of his father-in-law. When she saw him going in there, his wife came out of the canoe, carrying the raven hat he had captured. Eagle down was upon it. So they, in turn, brought out the ânkAxwâ'î with eagle down upon it. They also painted the face of the deer and the face on the corner post representing Sleep. This was because they had so much respect for this post. The painting of its face was the end of their troubles.

It was against the deer's rules to eat devilfish or any kind of fresh fish, but they thought, "If he still feels badly toward us, he will refuse to eat it." So he said to them, "Bring that devilfish here. I will eat that devilfish." They did not want him to eat it, but they wanted to see what he would say. As soon as he asked for it, therefore, all shouted and put it back from him. They said, "It is so. He has come to make peace." Then they danced for him.

After this all of the GânAxte'dî came over and carried away his father-in-law to be deer on the other side.

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They said to Ckû'wu-yêl, "Have you your canoe ashore with all of your people in it?" He said, "I have it ashore." This was their way of asking whether there would be any more war. Then they would say to the deer again, "My deer, we are going to camp in a nice sunny place, are we not; and we are going to come in in a sheltered place where there are no waves, are we not?" He would say, "Yes, we are going to camp in a good place." Then they would say to him, "You are going to sleep well hereafter, are you not?" And he answered, "Yes." When they were moving about, warring people could never sleep well. That is why they said this to him. By the waves and wind they meant the troubles they had had, and by saying that they were going to camp in a calm place they meant that they were not going to war any more.

The opposite deer, taken from Sleep house, was asked similar questions. If the deer did not have his mind fixed on making peace people knew it by his songs, therefore they noticed every word he uttered. A high-caste person was always selected as deer, because through him there would be a certain peace. The man that came to another village to be taken up as deer brought food with him on which to feast the people there. The other side gave a feast in return.

After they had made peace Ckû'wu-yêl danced on the beach just before he set out. Ldahî'n, the owner of Sleep house, danced on the other side. This is the only way in which people made up with each other after having been enemies for years. It happened years and years ago, and to this day those people are friends.


154:a According to Katishan, he belonged to the L!ûk!nAxA'dî. But see story 104.

161:a Probably erroneous. Cf. story 104.

164:a See p. 71.

Next: 33. Origin of the GonaqAdê't