Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A for real Haida Potlatch

To those that are being re-sent a Blog entry/update for this..I had a video to launch and had to wait till now to have the Internet bandwidth necessary.


pot·latch ˈpätˌlaCH/ noun noun: potlatch; plural noun: potlatches 1. (among North American Indian peoples of the northwest coast) an opulent ceremonial feast at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige. 

 Please just click on any picture to enlarge it.

We were invited to the Potlatch given by the new Heriditary Chief, Laanaas Sdang, of the iits'aaw Yahgujaanaas 'laanaas and jaanas clan, one of the Haida clans in Old Masset.

 All of the Chiefs in the Haida Nation were invited and I am guessing every one that could, attended. I was in poor location for picture taking, so only got four on their way in. 

 Francis Ingram..who has now taken the name of
'Laanaas Sdang'

                                              Getting 'draped' in his new robe

                                  His new headress is put on

And, 'Laanaas Sdang', the new chief of the iits'aaw Yahgujaanaas 'laanaas and jaanas clan is presented.

And it begins....10 hours of dancing and drumming....

I video'd this but only was able to Blog it after we got home.

Well known Haida artist Robert Davidson is a powerhouse in the Haida community. Not so much because he is an artist but because of his linage.

If you happen to loose something...forget it somewhere, you must dance to get it back.

And food..Oh My God...food.....on the tables in plates...cookies and fruit and stuff...and soup was served...then later, a plate of dinner. All served up to people by 'servers'..none of this get it yourself stuff.

                                    A drum box


Yaahl (White Raven) the Wonder Worker had been involved in Creation. He had brought the first people out of a primeval clamshell on the beach at the north east tip of Haida Gwaii. It was only after the Flood that he became Yaahl the Trickster (Black Raven).

After the Flood, Yaahl dropped from the Sky and landed on a tangle of floating kelp. As a radiant spirit child, he was rescued and adopted by a chief and chieftainess who had just lost their own dear son. He was given a cloak of white feathers. Being supernatural, Yaahl could fly in the feather blanket disguised as a giant bird. A spirit child did not need human food, and he had been cautioned in the Sky not to eat. But his human relatives were concerned for his health; and at last he was tempted and tricked into eating. The wrath of the Sky fell on him. He was possessed by the evil spirits of gluttony. His entire energies were directed towards satisfying his endless appetite. He played fantastic pranks on people and animals to get their food for himself. Once, escaping from a feast house in his white bird disguise, Yaahl stuck fast in the smoke hole and his feathers turned black. Finally after many awful and hilarious adventures, Yaahl desperate with shame for his own gluttony banished himself to the mountains.

*(Pages 83-84)
[*Christie Harris, Raven’s Cry, Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver, 1969 and 1992]

And, at the end...the Payment....the give-aways....everything from towels to jams to canned salmon to...just, so much. 

This is a Potlatch...food, dancing, singing and the Payment.

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