Sea of Images: A Metaphorical Study

Sculpins. Artwork by Trevor Isaac (2018).

The Sculpin

My people used to be known as the Kwakiutl, but we referred to ourselves as Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, meaning Kwakwala-Speakers.
Our ancient traditions tell us that every animal had a human being inside.
Sometimes, the animals transformed into first ancestors of our tribes.
Sometimes the different animals brought teachings, or shaped our world, transforming into mountains, boulders, rivers; changing animal’s appearances and other permanent transformations.
The sculpin has many different histories associated with the different families. Some families use this important figure as a crest on totem poles, some use dance masks, and some may have the sculpin painted on the house front where guests enter through the large mouth. When you see this crest figure, it may appear the same, but the historic meaning to the family who displays the crest may be completely unique compared to others who may have rights to display the same creature.

Trevor Isaac



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Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science, Book 2 Copyright © 2018 by Gloria Snively and Wanosts'a7 Lorna Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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