Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors
Based on input from the elders of Quatsino, Fort Rupert and Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw, Marion Roze Wright gathered materials and consensus for an instructional guide to Kwakwaka'wakw culture entitled My Elders Tell Me (Tri-Bands Education Committee, 1996), rendered as a season-by-season story about two nine-year-old cousins who live near Port Hardy. Illustrated by Judy Hilgemann, this wide-ranging volume provides some Kwakwala language terms and educational sidebars. The Hamatsa Society, for instance, is introduced as comprising the high ranking members of society, usually young men who were sent into the forest to fend for themselves without hunting gear. The hamatsa must encounter the cannibal man at the north end of the world, Baxwbakwalanuksiwe, who tries to control his human spirit. The hamatsa then returns to his people who must catch and tame him, attempting to gain control of the supernatural cannibal spirit within him. At tribal gatherings the hamatsa dances wildly to exhibit the spirit of Baxwbakwalanuksiwe but he is calmed by the sound of rattles. Similarly, the wild woman of the woods, Dzunuk'wa, is introduced as a child-stealing giantess who dances at the potlatch with a basket to gather children.