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"The miracle is to make it solid" : an analysis of transformation in Bella Coola myth and ritual Richardson, Joanne 1982

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"The Miracle Is To Make I t S o l i d " : An Analysis of Transformation i n B e l l a Coola Myth and Ritu a l by Joanne Richardson B.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Anthropology) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 19 82 c) Joanne Richardson, 1982 In presenting th i s thesis in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree l y ava i lab le for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is for f inanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my writ ten pe rm i ss i on . Department of Anthropology The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date Oct. 18, 1982 i i ABSTRACT Boas and Mcllwraith, who have written the major works on the B e l l a Coola, maintain that the thought and mythology of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r culture i s inconsistent, contradictory and i l l o g i c a l . This thesis argues that an analysis of the B e l l a Coola attitude toward transformation n u l l i f i e s these contentions and provides a basis for a more i n s i g h t f u l and c e r t a i n l y more respectful ,L accounting of t h i s North West Coast people. Within the B e l l a Coola universe anything which i s not human i s supernatural. The supernatural may be defined as uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , as chaos, as the as yet unstructured force of l i f e . In B e l l a Coola mythology the human comes into being when the supernatural f i r s t ancestors cease t h e i r earthly wandering and give up t h e i r transformational a b i l i t y — i . e . when they superimpose order upon chaos or structure upon the unstruc-tured. Thus the human condition consists of constantly main-taining a balance between the supernatural (which, taken to i t s extreme constitutes chaos and the consequent loss of the human) and order (which, taken to i t s extreme constitutes s t a s i s and the consequent loss of the human). I t follows that the supernatural may present i t s e l f either as dangerous (e.g. the kusiut ceremon-i a l , wherein the emphasis i s on fear and the need to exorcise the a l i e n force which has taken possession of the dancer) or as re-v i t a l i z i n g (e.g. the sisaok ceremonial, wherein the emphasis i s on pride and the r e s u c i t a t i o n of the dancer's bond with her/his f i r s t ancestor(s)), or as both (e.g. shamanism, wherein the shaman's a b i l i t y to enter the realm of the non-human may or may not succeed i n redressing a dangerous imbalance which has occur-i i i red between an i n d i v i d u a l or individuals and the supernatural). This thesis contends that the B e l l a Coola attitude regard-ing transformation i s the key to an understanding of a l l t h e i r major c u l t u r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s . i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Acknowledgements Introduction I. The Supernatural I I . The Kusiut Society-I l l . Shamanism IV. The Sisaok Society Conclusion Bibliography V L I S T OF TABLES P-T a b l e I - S i s a o k S o c i e t y / K u s i u t S o c i e t y 122 v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to thank the members of my committee, Dr. Ken Burridge, Dr. Francoise Guidon and Dr. John LeRoy, for t h e i r thoughtful reading of my work. I would l i k e to thank the many members of the graduate students community (especially Linda Thomson, Holly Gardner and Noga Gayle) for t h e i r empathy and support. I would l i k e to thank my friends outside of academia for putting up with my 'moods' and for being there whenever I needed them. I would l i k e to thank Chris Munro for her friendship and for her kindness i n typing up the f i n a l copy of this thesis. And f i n a l l y , I would l i k e to thank my parents for t h e i r un-wavering devotion and support. v i i She has no d i f f i c u l t y seeing the v i s i b l e world as a transparent v e i l or a whirlwind. The miracle i s to make i t s o l i d . Margaret Atwood 1 INTRODUCTION History. The B e l l a Coola, a small branch of the Salishan l i n g u i s t i c group, dwelt between the Dean and Burke Channels on the central coast of B r i t i s h Columbia. Their neighbours to the north east were the C a r r i e r , to the south east the C h i l c o t i n , to the south west the Owikeno and the Southern Kwakiutl and to the north west the B e l l a B e l l a and the Haisla. As was t y p i c a l of native North West Coast groups, t h e i r mode of subsistence consisted of f i s h i n g (especially salmon and olachen), hunting (which was of consid-erably less importance than fishing) and gathering. The f o c a l point of B e l l a Coola s o c i a l organization was the v i l l a g e com-munity, the size of which ranged from two to forty houses, each house containing anywhere from two to ten fa m i l i e s . The people who occupied these f o r t y - f i v e to f i f t y v i l l a g e communities were thought to be d i r e c t descendants of the various ancestral fam-.1, i l i e s (minmints) which came down from Nusmat »a (the house of myths) i n the beginning of time, and the strong tendency to . 1 . I i n t r a - v i l l a g e endogamy may be attributed to the B e l l a Coola desire to maintain the purity of these ancestral groupings. Descent was ambilateral with a discernable preference for pat-r i l o c a l i t y and there was a marked sexual d i v i s i o n of labour with the women being responsible for the preparation of food and clothing, gathering and basket-making and the men being respon-s i b l e for most of the f i s h i n g , hunting and canoe and house building. The B e l l a Coola did not have pronounced hereditary class d i s t i n c t i o n s -- the measure for s o c i e t a l esteem being a 2 person's a b i l i t y to give ceremonial feasts. The only group of people who were denied th i s avenue to s o c i a l success were slaves who, not being B e l l a Coola, were t o t a l l y without status within the culture. It i s estimated that the pre-contact population of the B e l l a Coola "...must have been i n the thousands." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol. I, p.5). In 1922, when Mcllwraith did his field-work, the population was just over three hundred. The f i r s t two groups of white people to have contact with the B e l l a Coola converged upon the l o c a l i t y within eight weeks of each other: the f i r s t was a branch of the Vancouver expedition (led by Johnstone) on June 3rd 1793 and the second was the Mackenzie expedition on July 29th 1793. Both these groups were seeking a North West Passage i n the hope of expediting the fur trade. For a number of years the B e l l a Coola were l e f t pretty much to themselves, the primary European i n t e r e s t being manifest-ed i n the occasional appearance of trading ships. However, by 1858 the discovery of gold led to a large i n f l u x of Europeans. D i r e c t l y linked to t h i s was the major smallpox epidemic of 1862 which swept up the coast from V i c t o r i a . Nor was smallpox by any means the only imported disease with which the B e l l a Coola and other North West Coast peoples had to contend. There were also influenza, measles, tuberculosis and venereal disease, and to none of these did the native people have any immunity. Add to t h i s the problem of alcohol (which was a regular trade item) and the s t a r t l i n g decline i n native population between pre and post contact times becomes understandable. The f i r s t mission i n 3 B e l l a Coola was established i n 1883 by the Methodist church. By this time the f o r t y - f i v e v i l l a g e communities had been reduced to three and, considering the demoralized and des t i t u t e state of the remaining B e l l a Coola, i t i s not surprising that the process of C h r i s t i a n i z a t i o n met with l i t t l e resistance. Problem. Having provided the preceding h i s t o r i c a l background, I s h a l l henceforth refer to the B e l l a Coola i n the ethnographic present. Like any other people, the B e l l a Coola must f i r s t and foremost come to terms with the problem, or, i f you w i l l , the f a c t , of : l i f e and death. This i s the splash at the centre, to which a l l c u l t u r a l forms and complexities are radiating r i p p l e s . I t i s i n a person's accounting (verbal or otherwise) of what they take to be the essential meaning or significance of l i f e and death that one comes as close as one ever does to comprehending t h e i r world as they experience i t . Thus i t i s not surprising that many anthropologists have used the notion of the d i a l e c t i c as the pivot of t h e i r t h e o r e t i c a l work for, as Wallace Stevens says, "...a law of inherent opposites, of es s e n t i a l unity, i s as pleasant as port.""'" C l i f f o r d Geertz, for example, draws a d i s -t i n c t i o n between Ethos and World View, maintaining that the fo r -mer i s "...the tone, character, and quality of a people's l i f e , i t s moral and aesthetic s t y l e and mood; i t i s the underlying at-titude toward themselves and t h e i r world that l i f e r e f l e c t s " , while the l a t t e r i s " . . . t h e i r picture of the way things i n sheer a c t u a l i t y are, t h e i r concepts of nature, of s e l f , of society." 4 (Geertz, 1973, p. 127). According to Geertz, i t i s the resolu-t i o n of the tension between Ethos and World View that i s em-bodied i n sacred symbols and i t i s clusters of such symbols that constitute what i s known as r e l i g i o n . In discussing what he c a l l s the ' d i a l e c t i c of the developmental cycle' Victor Turner contends that, ...for individuals and groups, s o c i a l l i f e i s a type of d i a l e c t i c a l process that involves successive experiences of high and low, communitas and struc-ture, homogeneity and d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , equality and inequality. The passage from lower to higher status i s through a limbo of statuslessness. In such a process, the opposites, as i t were, constitute one another and are mutually indispensable.... In other words, each individual's l i f e experiences contain alternating exposure to structure and communitas, and to states and t r a n s i t i o n s . (Turner, 1969, p.97) Both Geertz and Turner have a number of i n t e r e s t i n g things to say, and t h e i r working oppositions are well taken. Never-theless, insofar as choosing a d i a l e c t i c a l s t a r t i n g point i s concerned, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to argue with Levi-Strauss when he maintains that: Thfe fundamental opposition... i s precisely the one stated by Hamlet, although i n the form of a s t i l l over-optimistic choice between two alternatives. Man i s not free to choose whether to be or not to be. A mental e f f o r t , consubstantial with his history and which w i l l cease only with his disappearance from the stage of the universe, compels him to accept the two self-evident and contradictory truths which, through t h e i r clash, set his thought i n motion, and, to neutralize t h e i r opposition, generate an unlimited series of other binary d i s t i n c t i o n s which, while never resolving the primary contradiction, echo and perpetuate i t on an ever smaller scale: one i s the r e a l i t y of being...the other i s the r e a l i t y of non-being.... (Levi-Strauss, 1981, p.694) One may u t i l i z e the d i a l e c t i c i n any one of a myriad number of 5 ways but, as I have said, the primary and fundamental opposition i s that of l i f e and death. A l l others, while by no means i r -relevant, may be seen as emanations of t h i s primal and insur-mountable paradox. And i f one i s doomed to multiply variety in a wilderness of d i a l e c t i c a l mirrors, then one may as well be clear about the opposition which constitutes the central shadow of that wilderness. I t i s my contention that, for the B e l l a Coola, i t i s the concept of transformation that l i e s at the basis of t h e i r understanding of l i f e and death, and hence i t i s t h i s concept that provides the key to an understanding of t h e i r culture. B e l l a Coola mythology i s r i f e with instances of transforma-t i o n and indeed, the beings that make up the B e l l a Coola universe may be divided into two major categories according to those who are defined by uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , i . e . the supernatural, and those who are defined by controlled trans-formational a c t i v i t y , i . e . human beings. The f i r s t category may be further broken down according to usual place of domicile: denizens of Nusmat>a (land above); f i r s t ancestors before they became f u l l y human (earth); non-human earthly phenomena (earth); and ghosts (land below). In practice, transformational a b i l i t y consists of being able to a l t e r one's own form as well as that of others; being able to t r a v e l between the land above, the earth, and the land below at w i l l ; and power over l i f e and death. Although there emerges a clear d i s t i n c t i o n of power between the supernatural and the human once, by whatever-means, a human being activates her/his transformational p o t e n t i a l , that d i s -6 t i n c t i o n ceases to e x i s t . Thus a number of myths record how a human being who has activated her/his transformational pot e n t i a l i s able to enter Nusmat- a and. overcome the supernatural being, Alquntam. The significance of t h i s i s that i t places emphasis not so much on who or what exercises and/or transmits transform-ational a b i l i t y as on the concept of transformation i t s e l f . I t i s the purpose of thi s thesis to suggest that, to paraphrase Keats, for the B e l l a Coola transformation i s power, power trans-formation — that i s a l l they know of l i f e , and a l l they need to know. Transformation i s that which renders boundaries and cla s -s i f i c a t i o n s meaningless: as such i t i s i n i m i c a l to culture — as such i t must be controlled. For the B e l l a Coola transfor-mational a c t i v i t y i s not so much a desideratum (although i t may be ac t i v e l y sought) as an e x i s t e n t i a l f a c t . If i t i s not con-t r o l l e d i t w i l l control — and i f i t controls i t w i l l destroy. A Winter Ceremonial performer who i s not adequately exorcised w i l l i n e v i t a b l y die. Transformation i s the knowledge and power of the super-natural beings and hence the-origin and basis of human l i f e . And although according to Mcllwraith the B e l l a Coola see themes selves as having degenerated from the golden age of the f i r s t ancestors, when shape-changing and sojourns to Nusmat * a were undertaken at w i l l , they by no means hold the supernatural beings i n unmitigated awe. True, there i s a profound respect for the supernatural beings, but there i s also the means by which to make use of them for human ends. I t i s commonly held that the f i r s t ancestors l o s t t h e i r transformational a b i l i t y 7 when they ceased t h e i r wandering and/or b u i l t t h e i r f i r s t house — that i s , when they became human. From that point on, the re l a t i o n s h i p between supernatural beings and B e l l a Coola took on, for the l a t t e r , the desperate i n t e n s i t y of the perennially threatened. For the B e l l a Coola, what d i f f e r e n t i a t e s a human being from a supernatural being i s , quite simply, t h e i r r e l a t i o n -ship to uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y — the l a t t e r embodies i t , the former must control i t . /And i n order to control i t one must have access to i t . As has been said, some B e l l a Coola purposely set out to activate t h e i r transformational p o t e n t i a l ; however, an equal number just have i t happen to them. This i s a c r u c i a l , i f rather complex point, and deserves some elaboration. To begin with, the supernatural beings are known to exercise unlimited transformational a b i l i t y — they may appear i n any form i n any place, they may bring l i f e to death and death to l i f e . What they represent i s the boundless power and p o t e n t i a l of chaos. And what i s chaos but the raw energy of l i f e before i t has s o l i d i f i e d into a s p e c i f i c form? And what i s that but ceaseless orderless and random transformation? Thus we have an i n f i n i t e , pulsating p o t e n t i a l . With the s e t t l i n g of the f i r s t ancestors th i s p o t e n t i a l becomes an a c t u a l i t y . That i s to say, the d e f i n -ing aspect of the B e l l a Coola, that which brings about t h e i r humanness, came into being at the point when the f i r s t ancestors relinquished t h e i r transformational a c t i v i t y and acquired i n i t s stead a sense of order and boundedness. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that most of the myths show that the f i r s t ancestors 8 f r e e l y dispensed with t h e i r transformational a b i l i t y ; those few who did not became e v i l and dangerous and were banished from the now human community. (Mcllwraith, 1948., Vol.1, pp.306-307). However, the giving up of transformational a b i l i t y i s not and cannot be absolute for, as w i l l be made clear i n a l a t e r portion 2 of t h i s thesis when the xixmanoas ( s p i r i t ) i s discussed, i t i s the source and force of l i f e . What occurs i s the attempt to control and channel a heretofore uncontrollable force. And here we have the basis for the B e l l a Coola love/hate relationship with the supernatural beings — a s Margaret Atwood writes: "Few w i l l seek ("their] help/ with love, none without fear."^ For the supernatural beings are' the font of a l l transformational a b i l i t y and i n order to control the l a t t e r the B e l l a Coola must be able to manipulate the former. It must be understood that the B e l l a Coola l i v e i n a world which i s forever v i b r a t i n g with the supernatural -- that stump may be Aiquntam; that young stranger may be the north wind. Whether a B e l l a Coola purposely sets out to activate her/his transformational p o t e n t i a l or not, she/he i s constantly subject to having to contend with i t i n any case. What this comes down to i s a rather straight-forward choice — either control or be destroyed. And i f a l i t t l e transformation i s a dangerous thing, a l o t i s down ri g h t l e t h a l . The point i s , transformational a b i l i t y i s supernatural; as such i t i s unbounded and therefore non-human. Once a B e l l a Coola has, i n whatever manner, activated her/his transformational p o t e n t i a l , she/he becomes a super-natural being. That i s , she/he becomes non-human. Hence the 9 importance of exorcism. In order to re-enter the human community, in order for the knowledge gained through a transformational experience to be of benefit to humanity, the person or persons who have undergone that experience must be brought back and cleansed of a l l but the memory of the i r journeying. But i t i s preci s e l y t h i s memory, this recollected passion, that i s of use to the B e l l a Coola, for i t provides them with the knowledge of how to successfully control the uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y of the supernatural beings. In other words, the a b i l i t y to 'humanize' the supernatural i s dependent upon 1supernaturaliz-ing' the human. Just as a controlled intake of water i s e s s e n t i a l to human l i f e (drinking) while an uncontrolled intake i s f a t a l (drowning), so i t i s with controlled and uncontrolled transfor-mation. The constant presence of transformational a b i l i t y i s as ess e n t i a l to human l i f e as the constant presence of the capacity to control i t . The B e l l a Coola material upon which I r e l y almost exclusive-ly are the ethnographies of Franz Boas and Thomas Mcllwraith. This i s done through necessity rather than choice, for the simple fact of the matter i s that almost a l l of the ex i s t i n g $ Be l l a Coola material does the same. With the exception of the very occasional comment i n an explorer's or missionary's journal, and three b r i e f untranslated a r t i c l e s by Adrian and F i l l i p Jacobsen, Boas and Mcllwraith are the only people to have gathered information on the B e l l a Coola while the culture was s t i l l somewhat in t a c t (and even these two complained b i t t e r l y at the fragmentary nature of what they were able to gather). By 10 the time Boas reached B e l l a Coola (1894) the native population had already been decimated between the symplegades of smallpox and missionization. The s i t u a t i o n , i n terms of determining pre-contact conditions was that much worse i n 1922 when Mcllwraith began his f i e l d work. However, i n spite of t h i s , there i s enough c o l l e c t e d data to make inter p r e t a t i o n both possible and worthwhile. The t h e o r e t i c a l works which are most relevant to thi s thesis are Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger, which maintains that power and danger inhere i n that which i s u n c l a s s i f i a b l e , and Vict o r Turner's The Ritual Process, which maintains that l i m i n a l states provide the creative energy which reinforces and l e g i t -imizes ex i s t i n g s o c i a l structures. I agree with Douglas's contention that: [ i n order to] pl o t a map of the powers and dangers i n a primitive universe, we need to under-ik l i n e the interplay of ideas of form and formlessness. So many ideas about power are based on an i d e a l of society as a series of forms contrasted with surrounding non-form. (Douglas, 1966, p. 9 8) However, she goes on to delineate: f i r s t , formal powers wielded by persons representing the formal structure and exercised on behalf of the formal structure: second, formless powers wielded by i n t e r s t i t i a l persons: t h i r d , powers not wielded by any person, but inhering i n the structure, which s t r i k e against any i n f r a c t i o n of form. (Douglas, 1966, p.104) Douglas maintains that formal powers are conscious and controlled (e.g. Nyakusa c h i e f s ) , that formless powers are unconscious and uncontrolled (e.g. Azande witches), and that the "...powers not wielded by any person, but inhering i n the structure" are 11 " . . . p o l l u t i o n powers which inhere i n the structure of ideas i t s e l f and.which punishes a symbolic breaking of that which should be joined or j o i n i n g of that which should be separate." (Douglas, 1966, p.113). I t seems to me c l e a r l y evident from the B e l l a Coola material that such a typology of power i s misleading for i t e n t a i l s what amounts to a f a l s e segmentation of what i s in fact the same power. What Douglas c a l l s p o l l u t i o n powers I c a l l uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y or unstructured energy — i t i s that which transgresses;^against order but i t i s also that which provides l i f e . And i t i s this power which, de-pending upon the degree of human control to which i t i s subjected, constitutes the various areas of B e l l a Coola culture and cos-mology. If one maintains, as Douglas does, that a p a r t i c u l a r power "inheres in the structure of ideas i t s e l f " , then i t would seem to follow that that power i s by d e f i n i t i o n ubiquitous and that quite l i k e l y a l l manifestations of power within the culture under examination would vary i n degree rather than i n kind. In other words whether one i s discussing 'formal powers' or 'formless powers' they are a l l extensions of that which i s expressed as power within the structure of ideas i t s e l f and hence should not be depicted as cate g o r i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t . Although Victor Turner's work regarding communitas, the bet-wixt and between state which i s a feature of l i m i n a l situations and which i s characterized by a heightened awareness of the generic bond of humanity (Turner, 1969, p.97) , i s extremely i n t e r e s t i n g , his emphasis on "the sentiment of humankindness" (Turner, 1969, p.105) seems inappropriate within the B e l l a Coola 12 context. B e l l a Coola l i m i n a l situations have to do with a loss or slackening of human control and a consequent i n t e n s i f i e d aware-ness of the power and danger of chaos. Insofar as i t i s well known that humanity emerged from chaos when the f i r s t ancestors relinquished t h e i r transformational a c t i v i t y and brought order and control into the world, and that a slackening of th i s control threatens to plunge any given person back into the pre or preter-human state, i t i s reasonable to assume-that l i m i n a l situations inspire a recognition of a generic human bond. However, I can fi n d no evidence that "the sentiment of human kindness" i s in any way concomitant with such a recognition. B e l l a Coola l i m i n a l situations are f i r s t and foremost symbolic representations or re-enactments of the resolution of chaos and order, and where-as t h i s enterprise may indeed be emotionally loaded, i t t i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned with "the sentiment of human kindness". The emphasis i s d e f i n i t e l y on sense-making, and sense-making i s primarily an i n t e l l e c t u a l endeavour. This includes rather than excludes the emotions f o r , as Levi-Strauss so cogently argues, "Emotions not deriving from i n t e l l e c t u a l operations would be s t r i c t l y unknowable as mental phenomena." (Levi-Strauss, 1981, p.667). Thus whereas. Turner chooses to stress the emotional component of l i m i n a l s i t u a t i o n s , I choose to stress the i n t e l -l e c t u a l component. My thesis consists of four parts: an analysis of the super-natural, an analysis of the kusiut society, an analysis of shamanism, and an analysis of the sisaok society. The dominant theme i s that of transformation, and i t i s hoped that the reader w i l l agree that t h i s theme i s not so much a torturin g of the extant B e l l a Coola material on the procrustean bed of yet another theory, as a means of gaining at least a.modicum of i n s i g h t into the workings of a fascinating and sadly neglected culture. 14 INTRODUCTION: FOOTNOTES Wallace, Stevens, "Connoisseur of Chaos", i n Poems by Wallace  Stevens, New York: Vintage Books, 19 59. See chapter one, pp. 25-26. Margaret Atwood, "Procedures for Underground", i n Procedures  for Underground, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1970. 15 I. THE SUPERNATURAL Siut i s a B e l l a Coola word which i s glossed as 'the super-natural' or 'the learned'. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.II,p.1). The term s i u t may be applied to anything that i s supernatural --that i s , i t may ref e r to the manifestation of a s p e c i f i c being or a general state. Any and a l l supernatural beings may be term-ed s i u t . Each supernatural being may also be known by another designation or designations depending upon what p a r t i c u l a r func-ti o n i s usually associated with i t or what i t s acknowledged r e l a -tionship with other s i u t or human beings happens to be. Boas maintains that among the B e l l a Coola "a system has been evolved which j u s t i f i e s our terming the supernatural beings ' d e i t i e s ' . " (Boas, 1898, p.27). He goes on to say that there are two upper worlds, a middle world, and two lower worlds. In the f i r s t upper world dwells Qama^its (a female warrior and the supreme deity) and the sisiut£, a f i s h or snake that, upon being looked at, attains enermous si z e ; i n the second upper world dwell both major and minor d e i t i e s ; i n the middle world dwell human beings; i n the f i r s t lower world dwell the dead (who may return to the second upper world from which they were o r i g i n a l l y sent down to earth); and i n the second lower world dwell the dead who have died a second death and for whom there i s no return. He further maintains that the two major d e i t i e s are Senx (the sun) and AJrquntam and that they, along with a number of minor d e i t i e s who act as t h e i r servants, dwell i n Nusmat•a (the house of myths) which i s located i n the second upper world. Interestingly enough, when Mcllwraith v i s i t e d the B e l l a Coola, i t would appear that Q a m a ^ i t s h a d b e c o m e a m i n o r d e i t y w h o r e s i d e d r a t h e r i n c o n s e q u e n -t i a l l y o n e a r t h , S e n x w a s s i m p l y o n e o f A3 : q u n t a m ' s m a n y a p p e l -l a t i o n s , a n d t h e c o n c e p t s o f a n u p p e r u p p e r w o r l d a n d a l o w e r l o w -e r w o r l d w e r e s o v a g u e a s t o b e p r a c t i c a l l y n o n - e x i s t e n t . F u r -t h e r t o t h i s , A f q u n t a m h a d t a k e n o v e r t h e p o s i t i o n o f s u p r e m e d e i t y a n d t h e sisiut3r h a d a c q u i r e d t w o h e a d s r a t h e r t h a n o n e a n d w a s c o n s i d e r e d t o b e t h e t r a n s f o r m e d s c a l e s o f o n e o f t h e f i r s t ' a n c e s t o r ' s c a n o e s w h i c h h a d i t s e l f t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a s a l m o n . ( M c l l w r a i t h , 1948, V o l . 1 , pp.347 & 529). T h e s e d i s c r e p a n c i e s a p p e a r t o b e s o g l a r i n g t h a t a t h e o r y o f a d v a n c e d c u l t u r a l d e g e n e r a t i o n o v e r t h e t w e n t y - f o u r y e a r s s e p a r a t i n g B o a s ' s a n d M c l l w r a i t h ' s v i s i t s d o e s n o t s u f f i c i e n t l y a c c o u n t f o r t h e m . N o r , i t s e e m s t o m e , m a y o n e m e r e l y i n v o k e s l o p p y f i e l d w o r k a n d i n t o n e j ' a c c u s e a t e i t h e r e t h n o g r a p h e r . T h e f a c t i s , b o t h B o a s a n d M c l l w r a i t h w e r e c o n s i d e r a b l y i r r i t a t e d b y w h a t t h e y s a w a s t h e l a c k o f c o n s i s t e n c y i n t h e m a t e r i a l t h a t t h e y w e r e a b l e t o g a t h e r . T h u s B o a s : " [ / T h r e e y e a r s b e f o r e j I h a d t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t h e s e [ " s p e c i f i c ] d e i t i e s w e r e p a r t i c u l a r l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e s i s a u ^ k c e r e m o n i a l , b u t t h i s i m p r e s s i o n h a s n o t b e e n s u b s t a n t i a t e d b y t h e i n f o r m a t i o n I r e c e i v e d d u r i n g t h e p a s t y e a r . T h e s e d e i t i e s a p p e a r m u c h r a t h e r a s d e i t i e s o f t h e k u V s i u t . ( B o a s , 1898, p .34). F u r t h e r , " a l t h o u g h a c o n s i d e r a b l e a m o u n t o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n i s i n h e r e n t i n a l l t h e m y t h o l o g i e s o f t h e N o r t h P a c i f i c c o a s t , t h e y n o w h e r e r e a c h s u c h a d e g r e e a s a m o n g t h e B e l l a C o o l a . " ( B o a s , 1898, p p . 125-126). S i m i l a r l y , M c l l w r a i t h s t a t e s t h a t " . . . B e l l a C o o l a . . . p h i l o s o p h y a b o u n d s i n c o n t r a d i c t i o n s . . . . " ( M c l l w r a i t h , 1948, V o l . 17 I I , p.522). And, On many points of mythology there i s a s t r i k i n g difference of opinion, which the B e l l a Coola explain by saying that t h e i r information i s derived from ancient s t o r i e s , which are personal possessions, and that no-one knows the b e l i e f s of his fellows. A co-ordinated theology, as Boas points out, has not evolved among the B e l l a Coola. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.24) At times Mcllwraith goes so far as to accuse the B e l l a Coola of being naive as well as severely wanting i n l o g i c : " . . . l o g i c a l accuracy i s not a B e l l a Coola c h a r a c t e r i s t i c " (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol. I,p.24). Both Boas and Mcllwraith attempt to account for what they see as 'inconsistencies' and ' s t r i k i n g differences of opinion' in B e l l a Coola mythology by acknowledging what the people them-selves have to say (when a l l else f a i l s , l i s t e n to your informant), which i s that each ancestral family, upon descending from Nusmat* a at the beginning of time, became inseparably associated with cer-t a i n s t o r i e s , experiences, prerogatives, etc. that were and are s p e c i f i c to that family. I t would appear that within the context of each ancestral family the mythologies areisperf e c t l y consistent. The problem arises when through intermarriage, warfare or what^-ever, certain ancestral family prerogatives become mixed up with those of other ancestral families and, more importantly, when an ethnographer assumes that a 'co-ordinated theology' i s dependent upon a uniform acceptance of one and only one correct or authentic version of the occurrence of a l l s i g n i f i c a n t super-natural acts. Thus there should be one authentic version of 18 creation, one authentic version of how salmon were made a v a i l -able to humankind, one authentic version of how raven released daylight, etc... What Boas, and p a r t i c u l a r l y Mcllwraith, have excessive d i f f i c u l t y with i s that when a B e l l a Coola i s presented with an o r i g i n myth which to a l l intents and purposes appears to contradict that of her or his own ancestral family, she/he has no d i f f i c u l t y whatsoever i n accepting both myths as equally authentic. Thus an exasperated Mcllwraith: After c o l l e c t i n g a few myths, i n each of which i t was stated that the f i r s t s e t t l e r s at v i l l a g e X were A, B, and C, with t h e i r s i s t e r s , P and Q, i t seemed as i f i t would have' been possible, before the culture of the B e l l a Coola had f a l l e n into i t s present decay, to make a census of whom they believe to have been f i r s t s e t t l e r s of the earth, and that such a l i s t would have had few contradictions. This was soon found to be f a l s e . Two myths may give d i f f e r e n t people as the f i r s t occupants of a certain v i l l a g e , nor does such contradiction trouble the B e l l a Coola. Each man, (sic) convinced of the authen-t i c i t y of his own family account, i s quite w i l l i n g to believe that the one belonging to someone else i s equally correct. This c h a r a c t e r i s t i c lack of l o g i c a l consistency has already been mentioned i n other connections....In view of t h e i r lack of syatematization i n other matters, i t would have been surprising i f they had evolved a census of t h e i r f i r s t ancestors, accepted by a l l as accurate. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.294) And Boas: The jealousy with which the t r a d i t i o n s are guarded has had the e f f e c t of making each family try to prevent other families from knowing i t s own clan (sic) t r a d i t i o n . For t h i s reason the clan t r a d i t i o n s of the whole tr i b e (sic) are remarkably inconsistent....Thus i t happens that among the B e l l a Coola we f i n d the most contradic-tory myths i n regard to important events i n the world's history. (Boas, 1898, p.125) It would seem that i f one continually runs into what one 19 takes to be l o g i c a l inconsistencies within the culture that one i s studying, then rather than merely concluding that one i s dealing with a l o g i c a l l y inconsistent culture, one would do well to search for an underlying rather than a s u p e r f i c i a l consistency. In other words, what i s c r u c i a l to the ethnographer's c u l t u r a l notion of consistency may not be c r u c i a l to the B e l l a Coola's c u l t u r a l notion of consistency. To give Boas his due, he at le a s t sees, an o v e r - a l l consistency i n B e l l a Coola mythology. I t i s my contention that both Boas and Mcllwraith come to g r i e f i n t h e i r f a i l u r e to grasp the significance of the B e l l a Coola concept of transformation. Once th i s concept i s understood, the seemingly contradictory nature of the o r i g i n myths, so far from posing an insurmountable problem, becomes a l o g i c a l l y consistent component of a s p e c i f i c cosmological system. As has been stated i n the Introduction, to the B e l l a Coola transformation i s synonymous with supernatural. The d i s t i n g u i s h -ing feature of a l l s i u t i s transformational a b i l i t y — with s i u t i t i s active and uncontrolled while with human beings i t i s l a t -ent and controlled. The entire B e l l a Coola culture hinges on the knowledge that the uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y of s i u t must be both embraced and controlled in. order for human ex-istence to endure. The fact that s i u t appear to d i f f e r e n t an-c e s t r a l families i n d i f f e r e n t guises and at d i f f e r e n t times i s only to be expected; as i s the fact of multiple o r i g i n myths. Siut continually transform and re-transform; that they do t h i s i n d i f f e r e n t ways with d i f f e r e n t individuals and/or ancestral groupings i s only l o g i c a l l y consistent withl.the concept of trans-20 formation. This concept w i l l become clearer as the nature of s i u t becomes clearer. However, before getting down to an analysis of the nature of s i u t and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to the B e l l a Coola, i t is.l important to come to terms with some confusion over Alquantam, the supposed 'supreme deity'. To begin with, Mcllwraith states that the B e l l a Coola hold that a l l human l i f e was created i n Nusmat -"a at the wish of AZquntam. According to Mcllwraith: B e l l a Coola mythology contains no account of the o r i g i n or b i r t h of Alquntam himself, nor of the making of t h i s world; i n the beginning of time no l i v i n g creature, either animal or vegetable, existed with the exception of Alquntam. He, therefore, decided to a l t e r and populate the world and accordingly created four supernatural ^Carpenters M^smgsalanix . They in turn made a number of workers, a l q u a t l t i n l u t l  nunuqomaxmilx. These beings, endowed with enormous power by Alrquntam c h i s e l l e d from wood a number of human beings.... The Carpenters did not confine t h e i r attention to men and women. Supernatural beings, ani-mals, birds, trees, flowers, f i s h , mountains, r i v e r s , perhaps even moon and stars, a l l were created almost simultaneously by them under the d i r e c t i o n of Al'quntam i n Nusmat•a. (Mcllwraith, 1948, vol.1, pp.34-35) Boas maintains that: Senx i s the creator of man, but his work i s supple-mented by that of theggod K >x . e x ^ k ' i i e ^ . When Senx creates a new born c h i l d , K> x> ex.ek•n§^m gives the c h i l d i t s i n d i v i d u a l features. Before children are born, the goddess named Nuex•>pcmalsai'x-. or Semsemc /ltstas  Senxalci < QLEla places them i n a cradle and rocks them. After she ceases rocking them, the children are sent down to our world. She also rocks the young of a l l animals; and when she stops, Senx sends them down to our world to be born. (Boas, 1898;. p. 31) Boas does not mention the Supernatural Carpenters with respect to the actual creation of humankind but instead relegates them to a follow-up p o s i t i o n : 21 These four brothers... are engaged i n carving and painting. I t i s said that they gave man his arts. They taught him to b u i l d canoes, to make boxes, to > b u i l d houses and to carve i n wood and to.paint. They taught him the methods of hunting, and, according to some, they made the f i s h . The B e l l a Coola say, when carving a design, that Masmasala^nix gives them the idea which they are working out. (Boas 1898, pp.32-33) Boas contends that Senx and Mquntam are separate d e i t i e s and that they are of 'equal importance 1. I am i n c l i n e d to concur with Mcllwraith i n supporting the view that they are merely d i f f e r e n t names for the same being, as a number of the myths recorded by Boas correspond pr e c i s e l y to those recorded by Mcllwraith with the single exception of Senx being replaced by A3lquntam. Interestingly, Mcllwraith points out that: Evidence c o l l e c t e d i n the f i e l d does not make clear whether the b e l i e f s of the B e l l a Coola i l l u s t r a t e an incomplete transformation of a single deity into a number of minor ones, or whether they represent the almost complete fusion of a number of beings into one. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.33) He then goes on to say that " [following] the practice of the great majority of the B e l l a Coola, the supreme deity w i l l be referred to as A^quntam". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pw33). At t h i s point i t i s important torremember that when Mcllwraith did his:"fieldwork the f o r t y - f i v e to f i f t y former Be l l a Coola v i l l a g e communities had been reduced to one, and that that one had undergone a thorough process of missionization. Hence i t i s not surprising that the remaining B e l l a Coola would adopt the notion of a supreme deity and that that notion would be incorporated i n t h e i r myths. One i n d i c a t i o n that t h i s may 22 indeed be the case i s noted by Mcllwraith with respect to the gaining of shamanic power d i r e c t l y from A3:quntam: In view of the manner i n which b i b l i c a l t a l e s , introduced by Europeans, have spread from t r i b e to ' t r i b e i n d i s t o r t e d form, i t i s not improbable that a l l such examples of the d i r e c t appearence of the supreme being can be traced to t h i s source. Having heard from the white man of cases •.'/where the deity has appeared to men, the Indian would be only too ready and w i l l i n g to accept and transmit such a t a l e , since i t belongs to t h e i r general culture pattern. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.588) Both Boas and Mcllwraith point out that with the exception of Senx/AZquntam, there i s no sort of hierarchy among s i u t . Thus Boas: " Senx and alk>unta/'m might be c a l l e d the rulers of mankind....A number of i n f e r i o r d e i t i e s l i v e i n the House of Myths. They might be c a l l e d the assistants of the p r i n c i p a l d e i t i e s " . (Boas, 1898, p.30). And Mcllwraith: "Compared with *» it A-3:quntam, other supernatural beings are i n s i g n i f i c a n t . The B e l l a Coola do not regard them as a hierarchy with d e f i n i t e l y graded rank and power; accordingly, the order i n which they are described i s immaterial". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.39). Now the most careful analysis of the extant B e l l a Coola myths does not indicate that AJTqunta'm i s i n any way superior to any other s i u t . Even Mcllwraith must admit that "AJTquntam, in spite of his strength, shares the l i m i t a t i o n s of any other chief, and i s not invariably successful. The B e l l a Coola delight i n t e l l i n g stories of how supernatural beings, e s p e c i a l l y the Raven, outwitted and defeated him. Even human beings, i n the beginning of time when they were semi-supernatural, sometimes prevailed against him". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.38-39). The point i s that given that vthe myths do not attribute to AJrquntam any s p e c i f i c powers that are. not also attributed to a l l other s i u t , and given that A3fquntam exhibits no more control over other s i u t than do they over him, I think i t reasonable to con-clude that the designating of AJiquntam as a supreme deity i s quite l i k e l y attributable to C h r i s t i a n influence and i n any case does not t r u l y r e f l e c t the nature of AJEquntam' as he functions within B e l l a Coola mythology. And even though, as Mcllwraith notes, "...the word AJrquntam i s said to be derived from ixquntam, 'foreman', or 'chief'" (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.32), i t must be remembered that hyperbole i s a standard and accepted con-vention within B e l l a Coola culture and i s by no means necessarily meant to be taken l i t e r a l l y . Hence Raven, whose many bunglings are well known, may nonetheless be referred -to as Kita<rxamxius 'The Wise One'; a f i r s t ancestor gives his grandchild the name staltimx 'chief', yet no-one takes the c h i l d for a chief; the eldest supernatural carver i s named Yulatimut 'He Who Completes Any Task With A Single Smoothing Motion' and yet i t takes him four days to make a wooden whale for Raven. These examples may be extended ad infinitum, and thus one should be wary of making a too l i t e r a l reading of what amounts to a poetic convention. The myths themselves attest to the fact that AZquntam bequeaths neither more nor less power than any other s i u t and should there-fore not be considered as inherently superior to them. Having established t h i s , i t i s now convenient to turn to the r e l a t i o n -ship between s i u t and the B e l l a Coola themselves. I t i s important to r e a l i z e that the B e l l a Coola do not regard s i u t as being all-powerful. (Mcllwraith, 194 8, Vol.1, p. 31). Siut. d i f f e r from B e l l a Coola i n that they constitute uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y -- but uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y i s not synonymous with i n t e l l i g e n c e , and i t i s through i n t e l l i g e n c e , a matching of wits, that the Be l l a Coola s t r i v e with s i u t . When the f i r s t ancestors descend-ed from Nusmat.a they brought with them a l l that they needed to know with regard to dealing with s i u t . As Eve commented to Adam while being expelled from Eden upon having eaten of the tree of knowledge, "If we keep on using t h i s knowledge, I think we'll be back'"'"'" so the B e l l a Coola, through the c a r e f u l l y transmitted knowledge of t h e i r f i r s t ancestors, are, under certain circum-stances, able to return b r i e f l y to Nusmat•a. Siut are neither ca t e g o r i c a l l y good nor ca t e g o r i c a l l y e v i l . Like the weather (which indeed, i s i t s e l f merely one of the innumerable manifes-tations of s i u t ) , they are simply there; unpredictable but ever-present. And l i k e the weather, depending on how they are dealt with, s i u t may be eithe r b e n e f i c i a l or harmful to humankind. The B e l l a Coola may well often f e e l themselves to be strangers i n a strange land for they are the only l i v i n g creatures who are not ac t i v e l y s i u t . And herein l i e s t h e i r humanity --they are human because they are not s i u t . In.order to remain human, i n order not to be destroyed as human beings, the B e l l a Coola must take care not to be re-absorbed into the realm of s i u t . This would seemsclear enough, however i t i s seriously complicated when one considers that, while holding themselves at a distance from s i u t , the B e l l a Coola must at the same time acr. knowledge t h e i r kinship to them. The B e l l a Coola o r i g i n a l l y des-cended from Nusmat•a in the varied forms of the f i r s t ancestors. That i s to say, i n the beginning the B e l l a Coola were themselves s i u t . Upon death the s p i r i t (xixmanoas) travels back through i t s ancestors to the place where the f i r s t ancestor descended, where-upon i t takes the form of that ancestor and re-ascends to Nusmat-a. So i t i s u n i v e r s a l l y acknowledged that both the beginning and the ending of the B e l l a Coola i s i n the realm of s i u t . Further to t h i s , each B e l l a Coola contains within her/himself the super-natural element known as xixmanoas or s p i r i t throughout her/his entire period of earthly existence. According to Mcllwraith: The most important part of the human body i s the xixmanoas, s p i r i t . This i s small, but of great power, since i t belongs to the world of the supernatural; i n f a c t , the s p i r i t of man i s not mor-t a l , but s i u t . Everyone, man or woman, r i c h or poor, chief or slave, has one; without i t l i f e would be impossible. ; (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.94) Thus the B e l l a Coola would seemsto e x i s t i n a c l a s s i c double-bind: that which gives them l i f e (and so must be nurtured) i s also that which threatens t h e i r humanness (and so must be con-trolled) . Hence i t i s not simply a matter of the clash of two mutually exclusive realms, the s i u t and the human, but rather of a clash between unlimited and uncontrolled s i u t (supernat-ural beings) and limited and controlled s i u t (human beings). The uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y of the former, with i t s disregard of boundaries and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s , i s contrary and i n i m i c a l to the sense of order and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n that i s c r u c i a l to the l a t t e r . Whatever else human beings may be they are c u l t u r a l , and whatever else culture may be i t i s a bounded system of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s . Given that the B e l l a Coola themselves possess a supernatural element, and that i t i s thi s supernatural element which i s the source of l i f e , i t i s re a d i l y understandable that even i f they wished to metaphorically bar-ricade themselves away from the supernatural they would be unable to do so, for that from which they would be f l e e i n g i s , i n a very basic sense, the fear of the i r own transformational p o t e n t i a l , and that p o t e n t i a l i s within them as well as without. The only feasible way for the B e l l a Coola to come to terms with t h e i r own transformational potential (which, taken to extremes results i n the death of the human and t o t a l re-absorption into the supernatural), i s not only to confront, but to immerse themselves i n the supernatural and, armed with the knowledge handed down to them from t h e i r f irst-.ancestors, through a f f i r -mation rather than denial, control the force of chaos (uncon-t r o l l e d transformational a c t i v i t y ) and hence ensure that i t i s conducive rather than detrimental to the human. There are a number of myths that record how a supernatural being, annoyed at being avoided or otherwise inappropriately dealt with, not only does not favour the i n d i v i d u a l with super-natural power, but causes the person's destruction or near destruction. 'One story t e l l s how two men came upon the nest of a matsqus, an enormous toad-like creature with a blazing glow i n i t s throat, but hesitated overly long before approaching i t , and as they procrastinated the nest disappeared. The two men, 27 <t ...continued their journey, each chiding the other for his f a i l u r e to take advantage of the opportunity put i n his path. Before long they saw a footprint where no man had been and knew that i t must be that of Twa£at<lit, the supernatural hunter of mountain goats. In spite of remonstrances, the comrade scraped up a l i t t l e d i r t from the track into his handkerchief. In this he did wrong, esp e c i a l l y as he had f a i l e d to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him by the nest of the monster toad. That night as the two were encamped a s l i d e came thundering down beside them, and they barely escaped with t h e i r l i v e s . Not long afterwards the erring man died, insane, a calamity unquestion-ably due to his recklessness i n handling the earth where a supernatural one had trod. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp. 528-529) Conversely a number of myths record how a supernatural being responds favourably to being confronted and appropriately dealt with. For example, when four brothers who had been swimming clambered aboard a large log and f e l l asleep, the log d r i f t e d into the salmon-weir of Nuskiaxek, the supernatural l o r d of the land of ashes. Previous to t h i s , the youngest brother had been drowned, and his body was seen hanging i n the house of Nuskiaxek, where the remaining three brothers were conducted upon t h e i r capture. An old woman cautioned the brothers that i f t h e i r noses sweated Nuskiaxek and his companions would say 'what fine salmon' and proceed to devour them. She provided the eldest brother with a piece of jadeite and to l d him that i f , when the f i r e i n the house became so hot that they began to sweat, he pulled t h i s object out from his arm-pit, he and his brothers would cease to f e e l the heat. This the boy, did, with the re s u l t that, "[when] Nuskiaxek r e a l i z e d that he had no power over his guests he became f r i e n d l y . At th e i r request he restored to l i f e the youngest brother whom, moreover, he 28 made a shaman". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.470-471). The fact that the Bel l a Coola know how to deal with s i u t and know the consequences of not doing so appropriately, lends credence to the view that s i u t are not regarded so much as the Other (for i f they were completely Other they would be imper-ceptible and hence unknowable) as the unformed (non-human) source and force of l i f e . I t may be argued that i f s i u t are in fact viewed as l i f e before i t has s o l i d i f i e d into the human, how i s i t that, even though they may a l t e r t h e i r form at w i l l , many s i u t are nonetheless thought to have a form which i s spec-i f i c to them alone? For example, Tl'itcaplitan. a i s thought to have a snout-like mouth and long, pendant breasts; Sxaiaxwas i s thought to be blackffaced and repulsive. I would suggest that, as with any culture, the B e l l a Coola pantheon of super-natural beings constitutes the concretization of abstract p h i l -osophical concepts. The fact that i n Greek mythology Chaos is personified as the progenitor of Earth does not make i t any the less chaotic. The B e l l a Coola approach t h e i r most pro-found concepts as a l l cultures do --.by way of metaphor and symbol, for one of the q u a l i t i e s of the profound i s that i t must be approached obliquely. And thi s i s by no means^sur-prising:,,:;:,for a culture's most profound concepts, serving as they do as tan explanation of the e s s e n t i a l l y unexplainable, the meaning of l i f e and death and the true nature of r e a l i t y , always e n t a i l a large degree of mystery. And mystery, to remain mysterious, can only be approached with eyes averted. Thus within the B e l l a Coola universe s i u t , representing the 29 non-human and the force of l i f e , are thought capable of taking on a l i m i t l e s s array of forms and are at a l l times approached with due care and ceremony. The fact that certain s i u t are thought to have forms that are s p e c i f i c to themselves alone simply makes them more re a d i l y discussable -- i t i n no way detracts from what they symbolize. Leaving aside the xixmanoas, the f i r s t ancestors are the B e l l a Coola's most d i r e c t l i n k to the supernatural and as such deserve considerable attention. As has been said, the f i r s t ancestors descended from Nusmat-a i n the beginning of time. These beings cameddown i n various forms at various places and they brought with them knowledge of the denizens of Nusmat•a, a knowledge which i s most graphically displayed in the Winter Ceremonial. Before these f i r s t ancestors be-came f u l l y human they engaged i n uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y — they returned to Nusmat•a at w i l l and they altered t h e i r own form and that of others at w i l l . They were, i n fact supernatural. Thus i n an o r i g i n myth of Stuix, one of the B e l l a Coola village-communities: "By means of t h e i r supernatur power, for they were not yet mortal, the f i r s t ancestors re-duced the firmament to such small compass that i t was r e a l l y a house to them, with the star^-illuminated sky as roof". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.310). And i n an o r i g i n myth of Snut£li the f i r s t ancestor K a l i a k i s assumes raven form and re-turns to Nusmat-a to release the sunlight. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.301). -Before proceeding any farther i t i s necessary to clear 30 up some confusion over o r i g i n or ancestral myths (which are the exclusive property of thej.ancestral family to which they apply) and myths which are available to and may be t o l d by anyone. According to Boas: A clan legend which i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n the sisauVk ceremonial i s c a l l e d by the B e l l a Coola ' ' Semsma' or ' Sma^yusta' . These tra--ditions are the exclusive property of each clan. (Boas, 1898, p.116) Mcllwraith, on the other hand, has t h i s to say: Boas (p.116) states that the terms smaiusta and simsma are synonymous. The writer f e e l s certain that t h i s i s an error. I t was discussed repeatedly with various B e l l a Coola, a l l of whom agreed that a simsma i s a mere story which can be t o l d by anyone, whereas a smaiusta i s a myth possessed by the i n d i v i d u a l or i n d i v i d u a l s , whose prerogatives are derived from i t . To the B e l l a Coola the two are ^ .utterly d i f f e r e n t . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.293) On the surface t h i s does not seem l i k e a serious problem. After a l l , both ethnographers agree that there i s a clear difference between myths that are ancestral family s p e c i f i c and those which are common property. Having established t h i s i t should be a r e l a t i v e l y simple matter to dismiss the smaiusta/simsma entangle-ment as a mere problem of terminology. However, the crux of the problem i s that Boas tends to record certain t r a d i t i o n s as ancestral family s p e c i f i c o r i g i n myths when they are c l e a r l y a combination of what Mcllwraith would term smaiusta and simsma. According to Mcllwraith: ...there i s no doubt that records of the past change from one category to the other. A wealthy chief, eager to give a potlatch, but lacking the mythical authorization, must frequently have used a simsma, claiming the hero as an ancestor....The two versions of the myth given (Vol.I, pp.313-19) i s a case i n point. The f i r s t was t o l d as a smaiusta by a woman who claimed to be a descendant of the people f i g u r i n g i n i t ; the second, as a story, simsma, by a man. In view of the r e l i a b i l i t y of both informants, i t seems highly probable that t h i s i s a story, p a r t l y converted to a myth. (Mcllwraith, 194 8, Vol.1, pp.293-294) The constituent elements of an o r i g i n or ancestral myth (smaiusta) are quite d i s t i n c t from those of an ordinary myth (simsma) . The::former t e l l s of the coming down from Nusmat • a of the f i r s t ancestors, the prerogatives which they brought with them, t h e i r wanderings and the i r f i n a l place of settlement whereas the l a t t e r t e l l s of the gaining of supernatural power by l a t e r B e l l a Coola and/or the adventures of non-human earthly phenomena (usually, but not always, animals). The fa c t that a simsma has crept into a smaiusta accounts for a number of sup-posed o r i g i n myths recorded by Boas (and one or two by Mcllwraith) wherein the f i r s t ancestors gain supernatural power through contact with a bear, sniniq or whatever. I t i s my contention that i t would be\impossible for the f i r s t ancestors to gain supernatural power because they already have i t — i t i s some-thing which they r e l i n q u i s h , not which they gain. I f one i s aware that any myth which records the gaining of supernatural power by a f i r s t ancestor i s c l e a r l y a blending of smaiusta and simsma then the occurence of such myths need occasion no problem. Unfortunately, for the most part smaiusta are available in only extremely fragmented form. This i s no doubt due to a combination of the secret nature of these myths and the c u l t u r a l decimation which the B e l l a Coola suffered before they were recorded. In any case what we are l e f t with i s "£anj abbreviated and often pointless series of anecdotes...which can be no more than a small part of the r i c h f i e l d which must once have existed among the B e l l a Coola". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.292). Be t h i s as i t may, i t i s nonetheless possible to i s o l a t e c e r t a i n features which are s p e c i f i c and i n t e g r a l to smaiusta per se. As has been said, these features are: the coming down from Nusmat* a of the f i r s t ancestors, the prerogatives which they brought with them, t h e i r wanderings, and the i r f i n a l s e t t l i n g . The f i r s t ancestors descended to earth from the House of Myths i n a bewildering variety of forms ranging from frog to wolf and K i l l e r Whale to eagle. Some of them even descended i n human form (here i t i s important to r e a l i z e that the key word i s form -- these ancestors were no more 'human' than were those who descended as wasps or k i n g - f i s h e r s ) . These f i r s t ancestors were supernatural, and as such were a c t i v e l y trans-formational: ...Ninitsamlaix £a f i r s t ancestor} plucked a number of twigs from the branches of a spruce tree near the ocean. These twigs became the people over whom he was chief. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.326) Or again: "Sometimes as jJBmaoanj t r a v e l l e d he assumed therform of the sun, for he was so powerful that nothing was impossible to him". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.333). I t i s only when the ancestors f i n d a place of f i n a l settlement that they r e l i n -quish t h e i r transformational a c t i v i t i e s and become f u l l y human. 33 It i s c r u c i a l to understand that the relinquishing of trans-formational a c t i v i t y i s done w i l l i n g l y . In fact, a f i r s t ances-tor showing some reticence toward becoming human i s cause for great consternation and i s usually accounted for by the ances-tor i n question not yet being as'sured that the environment i s suitable for human habitation. Thus, [Smaoan, i n the form of an eagle] perched on a tree near his brother's almost completed salmon-weir. "Why don't you change yourself to a human being?" Omqomkilika inquired. "I am waiting for our food to be more p l e n t i f u l , " Smaoan re p l i e d . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.333) And i n a myth recorded by Boas when, after the passage ofpsome time, Isyu uot sees his brother s t i l l i n eagle form he asks him to account for his not becoming human. Xe^mtsiwa's reply i s , "...I could not do so, because t h i s place i s too danger-ous". (Boas, 189 8, p.6). However, both Smaoan and Xe^mtsiwa become human when they are f i n a l l y s a t i s f i e d that t h e i r chosen location i s habitable. In instances wherein a f i r s t ancestor obstinately refuses to become human she or he i s considered to be e v i l and i s to be scrupulously avoided. Thus i n an o r i g i n myth of Nutleax: A number of f i r s t ancestors came to earth as golden eagles.... The youngest s i s t e r refused to change her form, and wandered around i n a semi-human condition, becoming frenzied at the s l i g h t e s t excuse. At length her disgruntled brothers and s i s t e r s united to get >rrid of her; she.became p e t r i f i e d i n the valley which s t i l l bears her name, and which s t i l l has an e v i l reputation as the coldest place i n the v i c i n i t y of B e l l a Coola. Thence come the cold winds. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.306-307) 34 And i n a smaiusta obtained through marriage with the Be l l a B e l l a f i r s t ancestor who retains the form of a g r i z z l y bear disrupt a ceremonial and k i l l s many of the part i c i p a n t s . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.347). Thus the process of humanization, of accepting boundaries (place of f i n a l settlement) and c o n t r o l l i n g transformational a c t i v i t y (accepting human form as permanent), i s a process i n which the f i r s t ancestors a c t i v e l y and w i l l i n g l y engage. The human condition i s something which i s sought from the beginning not, as i n the gentle teachings of C h r i s t i a n i t y , something that comes into being as a punishment for an o r i g i n a l s i n . Of course whereas i t i s true that humanness i s dependent upon an acceptance of order which precludes the acting out of uncontrol led transformational a b i l i t y , i t i s also true that i t i s depen-dent upon continual access to t h i s a b i l i t y . This access i s provided not only by the xixmanoas, but by the prerogatives which were brought down from Nusmat•a by the f i r s t ancestors. Among these prerogatives (which included such things as t o o l s , provender, etc.) was, i n the" form of sisaok and kusiut ceremon-i a l s , knowledge of the realm of the supernatural. The sisaok ceremonial w i l l be dealt with, i n chapter four and the kusiut ceremonial i n chapter two, but, very b r i e f l y , the former em-bodies knowledge of the f i r s t ancestors whereas the l a t t e r em-bodies knowledge of the denizens of Nusmat•a. It i s t h i s know-ledge that enables the Be l l a Coola to control t h e i r transforma-t i o n a l p o t e n t i a l and hence to maintain th e i r humanness, and i t i s t h i s knowledge which i s the subject of the following chapter 35 CHAPTER ONE: FOOTNOTES F.R. Scott, "Eden", i n F.R. Scott: Selected Poems, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1966. 36 I I . . THE KUSIUT SOCIETY The Winter Ceremonial season begins four days afte r the September moon i s f u l l and l a s t s u n t i l sometime i n March. During t h i s period the normal s o c i a l organization of the B e l l a Coola i s suspended and village-community l i f e becomes subject to the absolute j u r i s d i c t i o n of the members of the kusiut society. According to Mcllwraith: The word kusiut i s connected etymologically, according to native b e l i e f , with s i u t , the term for a supernatural being. Thus the meaning of the society's designation i s 'The Supernatural', or 'The Learned', for s i u t has both these s i g n i f i c a t i o n s . A member of the society i s likewise c a l l e d a kusiut, p l u r a l , kukusiut. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.l) Active p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a l l areas of t h i s society i s open to both women and men, to chief, commoner and slave a l i k e . Member-ship i s determined by whether or not a person has one or more kusiut prerogatives embedded i n t h e i r ancestral myths. Besides having the re q u i s i t e ancestral prerogative a person must have enough wealth with which to validate i t . However, the wealth required i s minimal and even a poor person i s not barred from becoming a kusiut. The necessary ancestral prerogatives may be bequeathed to whomsoever the possessors choose, with the r e s u l t that even slaves need not necessarily be excluded from membership in the society. In actual practice (at least i n pre-contact times) there appears to have been an approximately equal balance between kusiut members and non-members in any given village-community: ...formerly no-one was admitted u n t i l he or 37 she had reached an age of d i s c r e t i o n . Some informants went so far as to say that the hair of an i n i t i a t e must have begun to turn grey, and a l l agreed that no-one was ever admitted u n t i l at least twenty or more often, thwenty-five years of age. I n i t i a t e s were frequently s t i l l older; one woman, for example, stated that her mother was past the age of child-bearing before admission. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.2) Thus although at any given time only certain B e l l a Coola are kukusiut, and even fewer are under the active and d i r e c t i n f l u -ence of a supernatural being or beings, a l l are at a l l times imbued i n an atmosphere that bespeaks of the ever-present pos-s i b i l i t y of such influence becoming a personal r e a l i t y . In other words, the Winter Ceremonial season, with i t s attendant secret society (kusiut)dances, i s a graphic manifestation of the B e l l a Coola attitude toward transformation. I w i l l b r i e f l y outline the main features of a t y p i c a l kusiut ceremony and then go on to discuss the implications of s p e c i f i c r i t e s and in d i v i d u a l dances. The reader should bear i n mind that during the Winter Ceremonial season various kusiut dances may occur simultaneously i n a l l of the B e l l a Coola v i l l a g e -communities and that i t i s at t h i s time that the always ubiquit-ous awareness of the supernatural i s heightened to i t s most intense p i t c h . The usual kusiut ceremony consists of four main stages which occur on a corresponding number of days (although there may or may not be a time lapse between these days depending on which p a r t i c u l a r dance i s being performed). The f i r s t day is termed tsixtamem and i t i s at thi s time that the prospective 38 dancer receives her/his yeix or ' c a l l 1 . This c a l l i s i n fact the possession of the i n d i v i d u a l by a p a r t i c u l a r supernatural being. Upon receipt of the yeix the person "...utters a low c a l l , sometimes.begins to walk i n c i r c l e s with bent head, or to act i n some other peculiar manner, while a whistle sounds repeatedly". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.25). If t h i s occurs within a house (and i t appears that i t usually does) the non-kusiut members are at once ejected and the kukusiut attempt to calm the possessed one with a four-times repeated f r e n e t i c but regular beating of sticks upon the ground. When thi s has been concluded certain kukusiut begin to sing of the House of Myths and/or the supernatural being that has come upon the i n d i v i d u a l i n question. Eventually the person dances to t h i s i song whereupon tsixtamem comes to an end. The second day i s termed nusiutalsap and a number of kuku-si u t go into the forest to cut wood for masks. In the evening a l l the kukusiut gather i n the house where the dancer received her/his c a l l and proceed to practice singing that individual's songs. Mask-making i s a l l o t t e d to cer t a i n kukusiut and nusiut-sap draws to a close. The t h i r d day i s termed qotilm and most of t h i s day i s devoted to the carving of masks and the building of a platform with raised sides which i s situated behind the central f i r e and wherein the dancer may conceal her/himself. Towards evening a l l the kukusiut assemble i n t h i s house whereupon the non-kusiut members are i n v i t e d to witness the proceedings. At t h i s time' the dancer performs to the accompaniment of her/his 39 song(s). Once th i s has been done the singers beat out the songs of a l l the kukusiut who have received c a l l s during the ceremonial season and, upon hearing her/his p a r t i c u l a r tune, each person dances. The non-kusiut members are then expelled from the house and qotjrim concludes with the dancer who has most recently received a c a l l once again dancing to her/his song. The fourth and f i n a l day i s termed ngbusam and during the morning and afternoon the making of the masks i s completed. During the evening the non-kusiut members are summoned to the dance house and are enjoined to witness a masked performance which features the supernatural being(s) encountered by the person who received her/his c a l l on r.sixtamem. Upon the com-plet i o n of t h i s performance the non-kusiut members are expelled and the masks are burned. At t h i s time the possessed i n d i v i d u a l i s exorcised and her/his c a l l i s sent back to the House of Myths. According to Mcllwraith, " [frequently] another kusiut now receives a c a l l , so that the n&busam of one dancer i s likewise j the tsixtamem for another". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.27). And thus the cycle repeats i t s e l f . From the foregoing s k e l e t a l outline i t can be seen that the kusiut dances serve to promulgate the idea that the un-controlled transformational a c t i v i t y which constitutes the realm of the supernatural i s both e s s e n t i a l f o r , and dangerous to, the continuance of the human community. Remembering that each kusiut prerogative i s embedded in an ancestral myth, hence pos-sessing the status of being e s s e n t i a l to the maintenance of 40 that p a r t i c u l a r ancestral family's well-being, and that each kusiut under the influence of a c a l l must be surrounded and purged by her/his human cohorts, hence demonstrating the danger of acquiescing to the supernatural, one may appreciate the importance of the kusiut society to the B e l l a Coola -- i t pro-vides them with a forum wherein they may o b j e c t i f y and thus resolve (at least temporarily) the dilemma of l i f e and death through the acting out of a concept of transformation which by d e f i n i t i o n embodies both horns of that dilemma. In order to c l a r i f y and confirm t h i s c r u c i a l point i t i s necessary to turn to a somewhat detailed examination of s p e c i f i c kusiut dances. According to Mcllwraith: Of a l l kusiut dances, the one of which the un i n i t i a t e d are most a f r a i d . . . i s the Cannibal dance. It i s believed that the performer i s exposed to greater dangers than i n any other r i t e , and observers have the most spectacular ocular demonstrations of fher/his] powers.... The B e l l a Coola consider that a person i s equally a Cannibal whether [she/he] has the prerogative of eating corpses, b i t i n g the l i v i n g , eating dogs or raw salmon, or b i t i n g jher/himself J . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.71) Although I w i l l provide an account of a Cannibal who has the prerogative of b i t i n g the l i v i n g i t should be kept i n mind that the essentials of this account are applicable to a l l B e l l a Coola cannibals. Furthermore, even though i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r account the Cannibal i s male and hence the use of the male pronoun, i t must be remembered that women were also Cannibal dancers. The c a l l i s presaged by continuous whistling which appears to come from the surrounding mountains. A kusiut herald goes throughout the village-community announcing that 'something strange' has come upon the i n d i v i d u a l i n question and a l l the kukusiut proceed to gather i n his house wherein he " . . . i s acting as i f demented, b i t i n g any of [his] associates except other Cannibals, Scratchers, Breakers or those whose patrons are ghosts." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.73). Throughout the day the Cannibal v i s i t s a l l the houses i n the village-community acting as though crazed with the desire for human blood and t e r r o r i z i n g the non-kukusiut. Upon returning to his house the Cannibal i s surrounded by kukusiut members who attempt to soothe him with the beating of s t i c k s , droning and c a l l s of 'hoip'."'" Eventually the kukusiut attempt to r e s t r a i n the dancer by means of a rope. However, the power of the Cannibal i s too strong and, i n front of the house, i n f u l l view of the non-kukusiut, 2 the dancer escapes and begins his journey to the House of Myths. Kukusiut who have been positioned i n the mountains begin to growl and the non-kukusiut know that t h i s i s the sound of the Cannibal going a l o f t . At this point a kusiut c a l l s out, "'Go a l o f t on the r i g h t road. Your power w i l l enable you to escape the dangers. But do not stray from the narrow t r a i l ' . " (Mcll-wraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.74). The Cannibal may remain above for "... a week to two months 3 or more." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.76). In any case, during t h i s time the kukusiut p e r i o d i c a l l y express t h e i r fear and concern for the dancer's well being. The Cannibal's return i s heralded by whistling, a thump on the roof (which always occurs during the nfbusam of some kusiut dance) and a cry of 'Xwa• 42 xwa», xwa.', which indicates a desire for human f l e s h . The kukusiut rush onto the roof to capture the Cannibal but he once again escapes to Nusmat•a. The following morning whistles are heard from the mountains and soon the Cannibal, clad i n a g r i z z l y -bear skin, i s seen dashing about i n the fore s t . A number of kukusiut, also clad i n grizzly-bear skins, p e r i o d i c a l l y appear at various points i n the forest and along the r i v e r , thus giving the impression that the Cannibal i s covering vast amounts of t e r r i t o r y i n a remarkably short space of time. After much chasing and struggling the kukusiut f i n a l l y manage to capture the Cannibal and bring him to the v i l l a g e , whereupon: The Cannibal acts l i k e a demoniac animal, struggling, kicking, and b i t i n g as i f his adventures had e n t i r e l y destroyed his reason. He drags his captors, a number of strong kukusiut, to the various houses, and they are barely,able to r e s t r a i n him within the doorways and to force him out, b i t i n g and raving at them. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.78) After v i s i t i n g a l l the houses i n the v i l l a g e the Cannibal i s returned to his own house and, under the watchful eyes of the non-kusiut memberswwho- crowd around the doorway, the kukusiut proceed to cure him. This i s done by beating time on two long, thin sounding boards as well as on the f l o o r of the house. This continual beating calms the Cannibal and at length, aft e r four rounds of beating, the head of an eagle, wolf or bear appears from under the Cannibal's blanket and vomits what appears to be human fl e s h into a prepared container. This head i s thought to be one manifestation of the supernatural being that has entered the Cannibal. After t h i s being has finished vomiting, 43 . . . a l l the kukusiut present stand up and c a l l o u t 'ye...'^four times. After the fourth shout the animal's head i s concealed, the u n i n i t i a t e d believe that i t has returned to the land above whence i t came to enter X. The Cannibal i s now tolerably sane; his guardians no longer press so closely about him and non-members and many of the kukusiut leave the house. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.79) On the evening of t h i s day both u n i n i t i a t e d and kukusiut return to the Cannibal's house at which time the singers sing of how the wolf's head has returned to Nusmat•a. The dancer then appears to talk to the singers of his experiences i n Nusmat-a and the singers proceed to r e i t e r a t e t h i s information i n the form of two songs.^ After these songs have been performed the non-kusiut members are expelled and the kukusiut leave shortly thereafter. About an hour before dawn on the following day the cry 'xwa«, xwa-, xwa.,' i s heard and the Cannibal, accompanied by twenty or so kukusiut, runs back and forth between two spots behind the v i l l a g e and provides the singers with his t h i r d song. Once th i s has been done he i s again returned to his own house. However: For four days the u n i n i t i a t e d remain i n a constant state of ter r o r . Although the expulsion of the c a n n i b a l i s t i c incubus has tended to restore X's sanity, he i s s t i l l w ild, unable either to eat or sleep. Twice every night .the madness conquers him, and he dashes from his house, barely restrained by his f a i t h f u l kukusiut attendants. Eager for the fl e s h of human beings, he rushes at the doors, knocks them down i f they should be closed, growling f u r i o u s l y , but his guardians always succeed i n dragging him'hout before he does any r e a l damage. This i s repeated at every house, of the v i l l a g e . ...During the day he remains within his own house, concealed, on a platform b u i l t for him between the f i r e and back room. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p. 82) On the fourth evening the kukusiut gather to cure the Cannibal with the beating of s t i c k s . After t h i s he remains hidden i n his enclosure for the ensuing four days and nights. At the conclusion of t h i s time the kukusiut go about the v i l l a g e gathering human urine and grease from the heads of sock-eye salmon. The Cannibal i s doused i n t h i s l i q u i d and i s then taken and four times submerged i n the r i v e r . That evening the Cannibal surrounded by beating, singing and c a l l s of hoip, dances before the non-kusiut members. _ After the Cannibal completes his dance a kusiut shaman approaches him and, amid cries of hoip, induces him to both eat and drink. Remembering that the Cannibal has supposedly eaten nothing but human fl e s h since his return from Nusmat•a, i t may be understood that his partaking of 'normal' food i s taken as a sign of his returning humanness. At th i s point the Cannibal rushes out of the house, whistles sound loudly, "...and a l l the kukusiut crowd close about him on the sidewalk without. As many as possible press upwards against his body with t h e i r hands, while they shout, ye..., t r y i n g to expel the c a l l upwards. On the fourth r e p e t i t i o n i t i s supposed to have been driven fo r t h , and i n answer to the tumultuous shout of the kukusiut, there i s heard the sound of a whistle from above." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.88). After the completion of t h i s r i t u a l i t i s thought that the Cannibal i s manageably 'normal', but throughout the remainder of the ceremonial season he i s subject to f i t s of frenzy which may be brought on by such things as the a r r i v a l of strangers or a contravention of cere-monial decorum. 45 Something that may s t r i k e the reader as peculiar about the foregoing account i s that the Cannibal appears to be twice exorcised — once when the sa.»rpsta (wolf's head incubus) i s sent back to Nusmat* a and once when the yeix or c a l l i s s i m i l a r l y returned. Mcllwraith defines sa -^psta as "...the power i n form of an animal which, having entered a man, compels him to eat strange foods" (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.78) whereas the yeix i s that which i s sent down to a given i n d i v i d u a l by a super-natural omatuts (Mcllwraith-glosses t h i s as 'patron') and i s defined as both "...something physical within the dancer's body" (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.62) and as "...the power necessary to perform [a kusiut ceremony] ." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.6). Unfortunately Mcllwraith i s rather vague and almost off-handed i n providing what would seem to be c r u c i a l d e f i n i t i o n s . However, a c a r e f u l reading of the B e l l a Coola material leads one to the conclusion that the c a l l i s i n fact the power or essence of a supernatural being or beings and given that, as I have argued i n Chapter One, This power i s uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , i t follows that the sa -jfpsta (in t h i s p a r t i c u l a r case a wolf) i s merely one of the transformations of the super-natural power that i s thought to be i n possession of the dancer. Thus the preliminary exorcism i s i n fact unsuccessful -- one pa r t i c u l a r manifestation of the c a l l disappears but the c a l l i t s e l f remains. Further to t h i s , even once the c a l l has been 'successfully' sent back to Nusmat-a the effects of that c a l l remain, for the Cannibal dancer i s s t i l l subject to occasional .frenzy. This would coincide with my contention that once an i n d i v i d u a l gives vent to her/his own transformational p o t e n t i a l through receipt of a c a l l from the supernatural, then that i n d i v i d u a l leaves the realm of the human and i n point of fact becomes supernatural. Mcllwraith himself acknowledges t h i s when speaking of a Fungas dancer who, ...through l y i n g quiet for four days communing with the supernatural beings, has r e a l l y become one, as i s indeed the case with a l l kukusiut who ascend  to the land above or experience other peculiar  Incidents i n the course of t h e i r performances. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p. 165)(emphasis mine) This being the case, i t i s not surprising that the Cannibal dancer would remain subject to frenzy, for he has experienced the f u l l range of his transformational potential and i t i s only to be expected that, even though under the watchful care of his human companions he i s able to re-enter the human community, the knowledge he has gained w i l l mark him for l i f e . ("After such knowledge, what forgiveness?")^ Once the Cannibal dancer receives his c a l l his immediate reaction i s one of uncontrollable raving and overtly destructive behaviour. He has become non-human and hence his attitude and actions are correspondingly seen to be non or anti-human. The kukusiut attempt to soothe him, to re-humanize him, through such various forms of r i t u a l i z e d behaviour as the beating of s t i c k s and c r i e s of 'hoip'. When t h i s appears to f a i l they resort to an attempt at p h y s i c a l l y r e s t r a i n i n g him, but t h i s , too, i s i n vain. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that once the Cannibal has escaped to Nusmat -a the attitude of the kukusiut (and indeed, of the non-kukusiut) i s one of fear and concern regarding the dangers to which he w i l l be exposed. It i s understood that the Cannibal has entered the realm of the supernatural and that he w i l l survive as a human-being only i f he 'does not stray from the narrow t r a i l ' . That i s , i f he retains s u f f i c i e n t pre-sence of mind to avoid complete re-absorption into the super-natural. I t i s assumed that i f a Cannibal does not return from Nusmat•a i t i s because he has become so possessed by the supernatural that he loses his humanness altogether. This i s , of course, experienced by the human community as the death of one of i t s members. Because the Cannibal actualizes his hitherto merely p o t e n t i a l transformational a b i l i t y , he crosses the l i n e that separates humanity from s i u t and i n so doing serves to i l l u s t r a t e what can happen to any B e l l a Coola. I f thi s exper-ience i s to be b e n e f i c i a l rather than detrimental to the human community the Cannibal must return and be properly tamed. He must bring to the human community f i r s t hand knowledge of Nusma't• a -- of the supernatural. In other words he must success-f u l l y undergo death (entry into the supernatural) and r e b i r t h (re-entry into the human community) and through th i s process both reinforce the uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y which i s the source of l i f e and yet see that i t i s made palatable to humanity through the superimposition of order and control. When the Cannibal returns >if rom Nusmat - a he provides the B e l l a Coola with songs which t e l l of "...the land above and the dangers which fhej has survived." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.81). According to Mcllwraith: 48 The singers add new facts and information to vary the monotony, but the subjects usually described are: The f l a t land above with i t s many t r a i l s and the r i v e r that flows through i t . The gale constantly raging there which has blown the hair from his head and the d i r t from his body. The t r a i l acorss a yawning chasm over which his supernatural strength enabled him to leap. I f a Cannibal dies when i n concealment, the kukusiut bury the corpse secretly and t e l l the u n i n i t i a t e d that his power f a i l e d him on the other side of the abyss so that he was unable to return. A^quntam under his various names. How his patron helped him to escape the Atskam, "They of the Huge Jaws", e v i l beings who t r i e d to k i l l [him] by sucking him into t h e i r gaping mouths. The tide f l a t s which are found at the edge of the f l a t land above. The kindly being Sinunukala£im, who gave him the necessary power to recross the chasm. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.81) F i r s t of a l l I would contend that Mcllwraith misinterprets what occurs- when a Cannibal does not re-cross the chasm. This would be due not to a f a i l u r e of supernatural power but to an excess of that power. It must be remembered that the Cannibal i s possessed by the supernatural and that i t i s t h i s possession that compels his to journey to Nusmat•a i n the f i r s t place. What compels him to return to earth i s the r e c o l l e c t i o n of his humanity, and t h i s i s human rather than supernatural power. The kukusiut have warned him to 'stay on the narrow path' — to be wary of giving f u l l vent to the supernatural l e s t he be forever l o s t to the human. Thus when a Cannibal f a i l s to re-cross the chasm i t i s due to his t o t a l reabsorption into the realm of s i u t . Furthermore, the mention of the ' e v i l ' supernatural being with the gaping jaws along with the 'good1 supernatural being who provides a way back to earth serves to reinforce the point that s i u t are neither ca t e g o r i c a l l y e v i l nor ca t e g o r i c a l l y good they may be either or both or neither. What they are i s depen-dent upon how any given human deals with them. I f they are dealt with appropriately, through the accepted r i t u a l i z e d acts (in this case metaphorically expressed through the admonition not to stray from the narrow t r a i l ) then they may be controlled and hence b e n e f i c i a l ; i f they are inappropriately dealt with they are uncontrollable and hence detrimental. In any event, the fact that the Cannibal returns from above with songs that depict his experiences i n Nusmat -a, and that he teaches these songs to the B e l l a Coola, demonstrates the importance of gaining and preserving knowledge of the supernatural. This knowledge i s gained through first-hand experience and i s rendered under-standable through the superimposition of human control. I t i s a f t e r the Cannibal has been soothed by the beating of sti c k s and the expulsion of one manifestation of the supernatural power that has possessed him that he i s able to relate his songs. These songs are rendered at every qotirim throughout the cere-monial season so that the information which they contain i s firmly impressed upon a l l B e l l a Coola. The preliminaries to the Cannibal's f i n a l exorcism consist of being doused i n human urine as well as the grease from the heads of sock-eye salmon and then being immersed i n the r i v e r . I t i s to be expected that supernatural beings abhor anything that i s steeped i n human essence (the qu i n t e s s e n t i a l l y human 50 being as unacceptable to s i u t as the quinte s s e n t i a l l y super-7 natural i s to humans) and that human urine would be used to enjoin the departure of a p a r t i c u l a r l y tenacious supernatural g hold. The dousing i n the r i v e r i s a t y p i c a l act of p u r i f i c a -tion and i s performed on those occasions when human beings wish to present themselves .to the supernatural i n a p a r t i c u l a r l y pleasing l i g h t . I t may at f i r s t appear contradictory that the Cannibal would be both doused i n urine and grease (displeas-ing to the supernatural) and then cleansed i n water (pleasing to the supernatural) but i n fact t h i s serves to s t r i k e a meta-phoric balance between the supernatural and the human which i s greatly to be desired. As I have said before, these two realms are not and cannot be mutually exculsive -- the human must both embrace and distance the supernatural i n order to remain both a l i v e (embrace) and human (distance). After the foregoing ablutions the Cannibal's songs are sung and his dance, i s danced. After t h i s . h i s consumption of acceptable human food indicates his returning humanness. The f i n a l expulsion of the c a l l augurs his re-entry into the human community and his remaining propensity to bouts of frenzy serves to reinforce the notion that the human and the supernatural, l i k e l i f e and death, are inseparable, and that i t i s only through acts of controlled transformation that one i s able to achieve a viable balance between them. I would now l i k e to look at the Kusiotcm or Self-Destroying dances. In these dances i t i s thought that the dancer i s pos-sessed by the supernatural being Kutstkakmidjut, who performs 51 these dances i n Nusmat'a. According to Mcllwraith: In these the dancer undergoes mutilation and death, but his (sic) supernatural power enables him to return to l i f e . . . . The f i v e dances known as KusiotEm are: The Stomach-Cutting Dance; The Beheading Dance; The Drowning Dance; The Burning Dance; and The Swallowing of Hot Stones Dance. Each of these comprises a d i s t i n c t ceremonial of great complexity, but only one prerogative i s required. That i s , a man who has the KusiotCm r i g h t may allow his stomach to be cut one year, and when he next performs w i l l choose to display his a b i l i t y to swallow hot stones. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.128) Again, the reader should be cautioned that although the male pronoun i s used these dances were performed by women as well as men. I w i l l provide an account of the Stomach-Cutting Dance and then go on to present my analysis. Whistling i s heard from the mountains during the nCbusam of some"other dancer, the non-kusiut members are expelled, and the Kusiotfm dancer (for whom th i s i s tsixtamem) responds with a low hooting whistle and eventually jerks back abruptly as the c a l l enters him. There i s a frenzied beating of sticks after which the KusiotCm, amid a crowd of kukusiut, goes to every house i n the v i l l a g e crying, "Please say what you want; I w i l l do i t . " (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.131). The c i r c u i t of the v i l l a g e i s repeated four times and on the fourth occasion the KusiotCm i s holding a knife, thus making i t clear that he i s to be disembowelled, "...and the kukusiut show signs of gr i e f at the danger to which t h e i r fellow i s about to be exposed." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.131). The Kusiot£m then returns to his house-and the kukusiut spend the rest of tsixtamem com-posing a song for the dancer, the theme of which i s always of Nusmat•a and i t s denizens. On nusiutalsap (the following day) a second song i s com-9 posed and wood i s cut for the making of masks and puppets. Certain kukusiut are also a l l o t t e d the task of preparing a wooden frame over which i s stretched a dog or deer skin and which w i l l f i t over the KusiotEm's stomach. Four women are selected to sing four mourning songs and the rest of nusiutalsap i s spent i n the composition and rehersal of these tunes. On the morning of gotMm a two foot long band of dyed and undyed cedar bark i s hung outside the dancer's house above the doorway. This serves as a warning to the non-kusiut members that the kukusiut are working within and that under no c i r -cumstances are they to be disturbed. The central f i r e i s moved forward and two mat enclosures are b u i l t i n each rear corner of the house. During the evening .the two songs of the Kusiotf m and the..four songs of the women mourners are practiced and then " . . . a l l s i t s i l e n t as i f i n g r i e f , while the women occasion-a l l y utter mournful ejaculations, dreading the danger to which [the dancer] w i l l be exposed." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.134). At th i s point the non-kusiut members arrive and, as a l l wait i n intense silen c e , an anuy£x (a kusiut who has the a b i l i t y to summon the appearance of a 'puppet-patron' or 'patrons') suddenly c a l l s forth her/his 'puppet-patron'"^ while the kukusiut commence to drone and to loudly and rapidly beat t h e i r s t i c k s . One by one a number of:;.anuyCx c a l l forth t h e i r respective 53 puppet-patrons while the heralds comment on the proceedings. When thi s has been concluded the non-kusiut members are expelled and the kukusiut depart shortly thereafter. Here i t should be mentioned that "£thej KusiotEm ceremony resembles a double kusiut r i t e since i t comprises two sets of four days and nights." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.141). Thus, in keeping withcthe general pattern of kusiut performances, the next day i s both ngbusam (the f i n a l day i n the f i r s t set of days) and tsixtamem (the f i r s t day i n the f i n a l set of days). On t h i s day behind the central f i r e of the dance house a hole i s . dug which w i l l accomodate both the KusiotCm dancer and his assistant. The KusiotCm stands waist-deep i n thi s hole while his assistant situates himself with his head at the dancer's feet and his outspread legs protruding i n such a way that i t appears as though only one man i s s i t t i n g on the f l o o r . At th i s point the non-kusiut members are c a l l e d i n and the KusiotCm arises and c i r c l e s the f i r e four times before returning and once again taking up his position i n the hole. Now an anuy&x c a l l s forth her/his puppet-patron and, £a^J whistle sounds, the kukusiut women drone and the uni n i t i a t e d see one of the puppet figurines move across the back of the house, though they do not see the concealed ropes by which th i s i s managed. The figure disappears as i f i t had entered i t s owner who goes to £the Kusiotfmj and makes the motion of passing something into him. The other anuyCx do likewise. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.136) When this has been completed a number of non-kusiut members are induced to come forward and examine the KusiotCm. As these people approach the Kusiotgm a kusiut "...kneads with [her/hisj fingers against the back of the neck of each to strengthen her/hisj s p i r i t so that i t w i l l not be drawn from him with f a t a l r e s u l t s . " (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.138). A non-kusiut member i s then chosen to s l i t the KusiotCm's stomach by drawing a copper or obsidian knife from just below the l e f t lower r i b to just below the rig h t lower r i b . The intestines of dogs (which have been placed i n the protective covering over the KusiotCm's stomach) s p i l l onto the f l o o r and the dancer f a l l s back as though dead. According to Mcllwraith: As soon as [the Kusiotgm] has f a l l e n , pandemonium breaks out i n the house. The kukusiut women weep and wail, whistles sound at i n t e r v a l s , and the e f f e c t i s l i k e bedlam. Presently two or three of the u n i n i t i a t e d move to the door and harangue the kukusiut i n t h i s fashion: "You have gone too f a r , you powerful people. We know you are powerful and i n league with the super-natural ones, but now you have s l a i n a man. Your power i s too great, i t i s dangerous. Unless he i s returned to l i f e before dawn we w i l l slay you." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, pp.137-138) The non-kusiut members who speak the foregoing words are actually 13 kukusiut spies and th e i r supposed confreres are duly astounded at t h e i r daring. As the commotion dies down a number of non-kusiut members are allowed to c i r c l e the f i r e sun-wise and observe the Kusiot£m's corpse. Mcllwraith states that: At this juncture, the old women selected for the purpose sing the mourning song, of which the words and tune never vary; they are believed to have been handed down from time immemorial. The theme i s of Snitsman *a, a kindly supernatural woman who restores to l i f e kukusiut k i l l e d i n the performance of t h e i r r i t e s . The singer i n the upper, eastern corner of the house sings the following words: 55 Nunusxgqsam 'ixwakotsk* yao desiaiyakmidjutnu Perhaps you saw corr e c t l y hence you did so; i syaZaqai'fc'oaots sawanutciyCkCltst i t i s too much that has been given to you After a short i n t e r v a l , she i s answered by the singer i n the lower, western, rear corner of the house as follows: Saqankotsamitwaiwit itlasmitsman•aatdj a Let there come to each the voice of Snitsman•a i skap • alpalxalosdus diyairakaixim* i t s u l d a i to revive the one who has. so injured himself (Mcllwraith, 194 8, Vol.11, pp.138-139) Once the singing has been completed there f a l l s a silence which i s eventually broken by whistling. A kusiut herald informs the non-kusiut members that this i s the sound of one of the puppet-patrons which had been previously inserted into the Kusiotfrn now leaving him to journey to Nusmat•a. Once a l l the puppet-patrons have l e f t the dancer they begin to return. The return of each of these ceremonial objects i s s i g n a l l e d by a thud on the roof and the commencement of whistling. Again r e f e r r i n g to Mcllwraith's account: Sometimes the puppet-patrons return to the KusiotCm but more often to the invoker, and the transference previously enacted i s repeated over the body of the dancer who continues to l i e as i f l i f e l e s s . Now and then the u n i n i t i a t e d are i n v i t e d forward to look at him and they notice that the gaping wound i s slowly closin g , an easy matter to arrange i n the dim l i g h t of the house. At i n t e r v a l s the puppet-patrons go and return from the land above, and the proceedings are sometimes enlivened by the owners t e l l i n g a herald, who i n turn informs the audience, what the puppet patron saw on i t s journey a l o f t . Usually each goes and returns four times i n the course of the night. Each of the women selected to sing the mourning songs performs once, standing i n accorner of the house and waving a wand wound with alternate bands ofldyed and undyed cedar bark. So the long night passes. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, pp.139) 56 At dawn sustained whistling i s taken to be the voice of Snits-man•a. The KusiotCm begins to move and eventually, in. a very weak voice, he starts to sing. The kukusiut singers appear to l i s t e n c a r e f u l l y to the words of t h i s song and then they too begin to sing i t . There i s general r e j o i c i n g and the anuyCx, pressing cupped hands onto the Kusiotem and c a l l i n g 'hoip', extract t h e i r puppet-patrons and send them back to Nusmat* a. The non-kusiut are now ejected from the house after which the kukusiut themselves r e t i r e . The following day i s the second nusiutalsap and a number of kukusiut are sent to gather wood for the making of masks. By s t i c k beating and cries of 'hoip' the power of the KusiotC m (who i s considered to be too weakened by his experiences to attend i n person) i s transferred to a kusiut who i s going on the wood-cutting expedition and i s re-transferred by the same method upon the individual's return. The mask-making duties are now given out and as the Kusiotrm (like most kusiut performer " . . . i s e n t i t l e d to show as many of the beings i n the B e l l a Coola pantheon as he desires" (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.141) t h e i r duties are numerous. Once th i s has been completed, ...the kukusiut practice a number of songs composed by the singers. One, or sometimes two, prepared for the KusiotXm i s couched as i f he himself were t e l l i n g what he had seen i n the upper regions. They describe AJTquntam, his messanger Oqoiikts_. . . and, e s p e c i a l l y Kulslkakmidjut, the supernatural being whose stomach i s p e r i o d i c a l l y cut i n the land above.... The singers have also composed a song for each of the anuyf x and these too must be practiced.... The words of each of these songs, i s . (sic) - of ; the-manhfer. i n which the patron helped [the Kusiot£m] to survive his ordeal. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11 pp.141-142) 57 When the kukusiut decide that they have s u f f i c i e n t l y rehearsed they disperse for the evening and nusiutalsap comes to a close. Due to the number of masks which must be made (" the p r i n c i p a l supernatural beings are always shown, and any animals, since a l l are supernatural, can likewise be displayed" (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.142)) the next day, qot£im, often expands into at least two days. At any rate, i n the evening of the day upon which the mask-making i s completed the non-kusiut members are summoned into the dance house. F i r s t the female mourners dance i n d i v i d u a l l y to t h e i r songs, then the anuy£x perform i n l i k e manner and f i n a l l y the Kusiot£m himself dances to the accompani-ment of his songs. The l a t t e r dances feebly, as though not yet f u l l y recovered from grievous wounds. Once th i s has been completed a l l the kukusiut who have received c a l l s during the ceremonial season dance to t h e i r s p e c i f i c songs. This being done, the evening's events are concluded. The next and f i n a l day i s nCbusam and towards evening a dancer representing Oqorikts (the supernatural messenger) v i s i t s each house i n the village-community "four times, announcing the coming performance i n the dance house. This being's tour of the houses i s always presaged by "...the f r a n t i c , but measured, beating of sticks that always accompanies a curing ceremony." (Mcllwraith, 1948 , Vol.11, p.144). After Oqolfikts ' s fourth v i s i t throughout the v i l l a g e the non-kusiut members are c a l l e d into the dance-, house. Once within the dance house the non-kusiut members witness a dazzling array of masked performers whom they know to be supernatural beings. In his account 58 Mcllwraith l i s t s the following beings (although i t should be kept i n mind that there i s no fixed l i m i t to the number that may appear): OqOiEikts. . . stands at one side of the space behind the f i r e while the inevi t a b l e An"likwotsaix moves to and f r o , keeping up a constant flow of conversa-t i o n . Sometimes Kulslkakmidjut stands behind the f i r e ; on other occasions he has been known to walk through the house, accompanied by two assistants blowing eagle down over him. He moves his face as i f i n pain, and then l i e s down behind the f i r e ; where the u n i n i t i a t e d can see his stomach contracting and expanding as i f i t had been ripped to expose the e n t r a i l s . . . . 0qo3d.kts s i t s down behind the f i r e and another supernatural being comes from one of the enclosures. As 'far as could be learnt, the order of t h e i r appearance on the occasion when £this p a r t i c u l a r dancerj. performed was as follows, though there i s no ceremonial significance attached thereto: Oqolikts" « ° Arquntam..^ Snusilkals appears and stands near Alquntam, his nose and forehead wrinkled i n degp, thought. Skxsgxkalaix joins the group.... Anumintsknim. Three or four masked figures appear together to portray these-beings. Their function i s to remind Aiquntam of those whom he should i n v i t e to his ceremonials above. Sniniq. As t h i s dreaded monster appears, the un-i n i t i a t e d cower convulsively and the kukusiut women drone. Several masked figures accompany the Sniniq around the f i r e , blowing eagle down over the creature, and An°likwotsaix explains to the un i n i t i a t e d that this i s to protect them from the monster. The heralds  as usual echo her remarks....Haohao. This super-natural, mythological denizen of the mountains, i s in the form of an enormous bi r d with long beak and bony wings.... Alxwolatinim. This i s the supernatural herald for Thunder, the leading kusiut among supernatural beings... Thunder. The mask representing t h i s creature i s large and of fearsome appearance, with hooked beak and overhanging forehead.... Sxnxncsaxs. Twelve of these beings appear together, disguised behind masks representing young g i r l s . They are the pre-adolescent children of various supernatural beings i n the land above who play toget-her outside Nusmat^a.... The Hermaphrodite. This being wears a mask repre-senting a cast of countenance midway between "a man 59 and a woman" , aijid speaks i n a nasal tone d i f f i c u l t to describe.... Sxaiaxwax wears a mask representing an ugly and l i c e n t i o u s man and carries beneat^his bear-skin robe a p a r t l y concealed s t i c k . . . . As before stated, the number of supernatural beings shown depends on the wishes of [the KusiotCm dancer}. On the occasion now being described, the informants agreed that more had been used, but which they were had been forgotten. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, pp.145-148)(emphasis mine) Once these performances have been completed the non-kusiut members are ejected from the dance house and the kukusiut burn the masks. During the remainder of the ceremonial season the KusiotCm i s expected to conduct himself as one who has gained dignity and knowledge through personal experience with the supernatural. c In order to avoid needless r e p e t i t i o n I s h a l l discuss only those features of the Ku'siotc m dance which have not been discussed with regard to the, Cannibal dance. As with a l l kusiut dances, the coming of the c a l l i s heralded by whistling and i t i s only when one of t h e i r number begins to act i n a r i t u a l l y a n t i - s o c i a l manner that the B e l l a Coola know who the r e c i p i e n t w i l l be. Further to t h i s , the possessed one then goes to each house i n the v i l l a g e crying, "Please say what you want; I w i l l do i t . " (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.131), and i t i s only on his fourth and f i n a l c i r c u i t that the presence of the knife c l a r i f i e s which ceremony w i l l soon occur. What i s of i n t e r e s t here i s the f l u i d nature of the supernatural. I have argued that what distinguishes the supernatural from the human i s uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y and I have further argued 60 that although uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y i s the force of l i f e , being a state of ceaseless orderless flux (chaos/ unstructured energy), i t i s by d e f i n i t i o n non-human. I t f o l -lows .that the B e l l a Coola regard the supernatural beings as non-hierarchical -- what i s of ultimate significance i s not that a s p e c i f i c supernatural being possesses a given i n d i v i d u a l , but that the supernatural does. In other words, the form in which the supernatural manifests i t s e l f i s in c i d e n t a l — i t . i s capable of a l l forms. What i s respected and honoured i s the power behind the form. Thus at f i r s t the Kusiotem dancer only knows that he has been possessed by the supernatural. He asks for s p e c i f i c instructions because, just as the concept of s p e c i f i c supernatural beings enables the Be l l a Coola to ob-j e c t i f y and hence deal with t h e i r universe, so s p e c i f i c i n struc-tions enable the dancer to o b j e c t i f y and hence deal with his possession. A p a r t i c u l a r manifestation of the supernatural i s dealt with i n a p a r t i c u l a r way. This i s i n keeping with the knowledge that the supernatural may display i t s e l f i n end-less forms. The fact that each supernatural form incurs human behaviour which sets i t apart from other supernatural forms enables the Be l l a Coola to both c o l l e c t i v i z e and d i f f e r e n t i a t e , to embrace and distance the supernatural at one and the same time (consequently allowing them to acknowledge the force of l i f e without f o r f e i t i n g t h e i r humanity). Thus whistling, s t i c k -beating and possession are common to a l l kusiut performances (collectivize/embrace) while c e r t a i n features are exclusive to s p e c i f i c kusiut performances (differentiate/distance). 61 An i n t e r e s t i n g feature of the Kusiotem ceremony i s that the anuycx (who possess ancestral myths which contain t h i s p a r t i c u l a r prerogative) c a l l forth the supernatural i n the form of 'puppet-patrons' which they are able to i n s e r t into the dancer. This provides an e x p l i c i t instance of the super-natural origins of the B e l l a Coola for i t i s the only occasion on which human beings attempt to control the supernatural through supernatural rather'.than human agencies. On a l l other occasions the B e l l a Coola attempt to cajole, beseech or p l a i n out-wit the supernatural but i n the case of the anuycx they blatantly p i t the supernatural against i t s e l f . This i s c l e a r l y a throw-back to the time before the f i r s t ancestors became human, to the time when they could transform others as well as themselves at w i l l . The fact that the anuycx can c a l l forth t h e i r puppet-patrons at w i l l , without going through s p e c i f i c forms of r i t u a l i z e d behaviour, graphically reaffirms the B e l l a Coola l i n k with the,:supernatural. Upon the death of the Kusiotem dancer the puppet-patrons journey to Nusmat- a and then return, usually to the anuycx, who re-inserts them into the dancer. It i s at t h i s time that the dancer returns to l i f e and, having done so, the anuygx withdraw t h e i r 'puppet-patrons' and send them back to the land above. The anuysx and t h e i r puppet-patrons function as a vehicle whereby the B e l l a Coola may re-experience the world of t h e i r f i r s t ancestors — a world where l i f e and death had not yet become d i s t i n c t e n t i t i e s ("After a l l the pretty contrast of l i f e andtideath / Proves that these opposite things [partook! of one") , ^ and where uncontrolled transforma-t i o n a l a c t i v i t y ruled supreme. In that world the appearance of l i f e i s not l i f e as i t i s humanly known and the appearance of death i s not death as i t i s humanly known. In order for things to be humanly known they must be c l a s s i f i a b l e and hence at least reasonably predictable. Of course the idea of c l a s -s i f i c a t i o n implies the idea of order and indeed, the Be l l a Coola recognize that humanity and order came into being concomitantly. Before that time everything was chaos -- a seething, i n d i s t i n g u i s h -able tumult of pure energy, neither l i f e nor death but partaking of both. In other words, everything existed i n a state of un-controlled transformational a c t i v i t y . The anuy ex's use of the puppet-patron, being an i s o l a t e d instance of human a b i l i t y to c a l l into being and d i r e c t supernatural phenomena at w i l l , harks back to the pre-human. But the f a c t that the anuy ex i s human, and that her/his a c t i v i t i e s take place within a wider human ceremonial (the Kusiotcm ceremony), ensures that her/his exhib-i t i o n of pre-human transformational a c t i v i t y i s s t r i c t l y controlled and hence b e n e f i c i a l rather than detrimental to the human. Nonetheless, to the B e l l a Coola the phenomenon of the anuy£x and t h e i r puppet-patrons i s c l e a r l y symbolic of past power. Another feature which i s peculiar to the KusiotCm ceremony 21 i s that i t presents the only occasion on, which the non-kukusiut openly oppose the kukusiut. With the words,."You have gone too f a r , you powerful people....Your power i s too great, i t i s dangerous. Unless he i s returned to l i f e before dawn we w i l l slay you" (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, pp.137-138), the non-kusiut members reaffirm the value of the human amidst an atmosphere of the supernatural. What i s note-worthy i s that the most fundamentally human, the average u n i n i t i a t e d B e l l a Coola, i s shown to have the f i n a l word as to how the kukusiut, the feared and respected intermediaries between the human and the super-natural, should conduct themselves. The outspokenness of these non-kukusiut serves as a reminder to a l l B e l l a Coola that, 22 impressive as the powers of the kukusiut might be, they are not s u f f i c i e n t compensation for the loss of a human l i f e . The kukusiut are expected to u t i l i z e t h e i r intimacy with the super-natural i n order to strengthen the human community. I f , due to being c a r r i e d away with the power of t h e i r p o s i t i o n ("you have gone too f a r " ) , the kukusiut threaten more harm than good to the human community, they are severely punished ("..we w i l l slay you"). The B e l l a Coola are, above a l l else, anthropocentric. With respect to the appearance of various supernatural beings on ng.busam, there are two things which i t i s c r u c i a l to keep i n mind. F i r s t l y , there i s no ceremonial s i g n i f i c a n c e attached to the order of t h e i r appearance, and secondly, there i s no fixed l i m i t to the number of beings that may appear. Both these facts underscore the f l u i d nature of uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y . Thus both the beginning and the ending of the Kusiotem ceremony reinforce the notion that the supernatural, as opposedito the human, i s i n i m i c a l to concepts of hierarchy and concrete c l a s s i f i c a t i o n . With regard to kusiut masks Mcllwraith points out that although a few representations are reasonably standardized ( i . e . An^likwotsaix, Echo, Thunder, the Hermaphrodite, the haohao and the Laugher), 64 ...so much v a r i a t i o n occurs in others that even a kusiut of much experience cannot always t e l l what being i s represented. The masks are painted, and sometimes the designs indicate the being, even though the carving f a i l s to do so; v e r i s i m i l i t u d e i s not considered necessary. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, pp.27-28)(emphasis mine) This tends to confirm my contention regarding the B e l l a Coola attitude and thought toward the supernatural. Given the endless number of supernatural phenomena which make up the B e l l a Coola universe, i t i s of obvious significance that so few are even remotely standardized. Of those that are, l e t me point out that An<* likwotsaix functions primarily as an interpreter of other supernatural phenomena and consequently her standardiza-tion tends to prove rather than disprove the f l u i d nature of the supernatural; Echo and Thunder together represent the gamut of sound from the f a i n t e s t whisper to the most e a r - s p l i t t i n g crash and thus underscore multitude rather than s i n g u l a r i t y ; the Hermaphrodite, embodying both female and male, may be seen to emphasize f l u i d i t y rather than c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ; and f i n a l l y , the haohao, unlike other supernatural phenomena, was s t i l l remoured to have been seen by many Be l l a Coola at the time Mc-l l w r a i t h c o l l e c t e d his material (1922). This being the case, 23 i t s standardization is<jquite l i k e l y a recent development. Further to t h i s , the fact that not the form of the mask i t s e l f , but an abstract design along with an explanation from both the heralds and the i n d i v i d u a l representing An alikwotsaix serve to designate which supernatural phenomenon i s being man-i f e s t e d , strongly supports the idea that what i s of c r u c i a l 65 importance to the B e l l a Coola i s not the notion of concrete i n d i v i d u a l supernatural beings, but the notion that with respect to the supernatural (uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y ) the form oft the manifestation i s always in c i d e n t a l to the man-i f e s t a t i o n i t s e l f . F i n a l l y , the Self-Destroying dance stands as an e x p l i c i t comment on the nature of l i f e and death. B e l l a Coola mythology i s r i f e with instances of the mutilation and subsequent restor-ation of supernatural beings. This i s not, as Mcllwraith would have us believe, due to inconsistency or lack of l o g i c , but to the fundamental B e l l a Coola concept of transformation. L i f e and death, l i k e a l l other c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s , are human rather than supernatural phenomena. In the realm of the ac t i v e l y trans-formational such d i s t i n c t i o n s are meaningless. Through the idea that Kulslkakmidjut i s p e r i o d i c a l l y mutilated and restored in Nusmat•a, the Be l l a Coola are able to ob j e c t i f y t h e i r thoughts concerning the supernatural. Being human, the KusiotCm dancer, once possessed by Kulslkakmidjut, experiences an actual human death. As with the Cannibal dancer, i t i s only through the superimposition of human control that the Kusiotcm dancer i s able to return to l i f e and to re-enter the realm of d i s t i n c t i o n s . And, as with the Cannibal, once the Kusiotem has survived his exper-iences with s i u t he i s able to provide the B e l l a Coola with the knowledge that acts of controlled transformation make i t possible to gain strength from the supernatural while reaffirming the human. Although analyzing more dances would serve to further em-24 phasize my contentions regarding the kusiut ceremonies I believe that my main points are more than adequately demonstrated i n my discussion of the Cannibal and KusiotCm ceremonies and that dwelling on other dances may be more r e p e t i t i v e than i n -formative — to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, a person who sets out to exhaust her topic invariably ends up exhausting her audi-ence. Therefore I w i l l now conclude t h i s chapter with some general observations concerning the kusiut society. The essence of the kusiut society i s that i t embodies both the a b i l i t y of and the necessity for the B e l l a Coola to mediate between the realms of the supernatural and the human. In other words, i t presents a forum wherein the B e l l a Coola may both witness and pa r t i c i p a t e i n acts.of controlled trans-formation, thus reaffirming t h e i r l i n k with the supernatural (transformation) while emphasizing t h e i r humanity (control). Given that the supernatural, being uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , i s the.source of l i f e (creation being one face of transformation) and yet non-human (orderless transformation being chaos), i t - f o l l o w s that, i n order to survive, the human community must acknowledge i t s supernatural source through the superimposition of human control, thus recognizing and cele-brating both realms of power. For indeed, as far as the B e l l a Coola are concerned, these realms-are inseparable. CHAPTER TWO: FOOTNOTES An untranslatable word which isssupposed to exercise a calming e f f e c t . "Actually the dancer i s hidden within a box-drum and carried back into the house.. 3 In a c t u a l i t y the cannibal remains hidden i n the woods for t h i s period of time. ^The cry 'ye...' i s thought to expedite the journey of any being who travels to Nusmat-a. 5 Although these songs have i n fact been previously composed, the idea i s that they are the spontaneous rendering of the Cannibal's account of Nusmat•a. 6T.S. E l i o t , "Gerontion", i n Collected Poems 1909-1962, London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1963. 7 The entire question of human as opposed to supernatural power i s dealt with i n chapter three, where I discuss the concept of sxetsta or ceremonial chastity. Very briefly^: the opposition between the supernatural and the human i s the opposition between chaos and order. Just as the d e f i n i t i v e l y supernatural (chaos) i s abhorrent to humans, so the d e f i n i t i v e l y human (order) i s abhorrent to the supernatural. Q The use of grease from the heads of sock-eye salmon i s not quite so clear. I t i s possible that salmon are viewed as meta-ph o r i c a l l y human (as i n the case of the Cannibal who eatsrraw salmon and the b i r t h of twins being due to a salmon entering the human mother) and therefore t h e i r grease being somehow equivalent to human urine. 9 These puppets appear to be unique to the Kusiotem dances and are thought to be the manifestations of various supernatural phenomena having the form of anything from snake and toad to human being and hummingbird. These beings may be summoned by certain kukusiut known as anuycx and may be injected into the Kusiotem dancer at w i l l . 10 I suspect that t h i s i s an extremely poor gloos on the part of Mcllwraith as the word 'puppet' has a t r i v i a l i z i n g e f f e c t . I use i t grudgingly. 11 See pp. 39-40 of t h i s chapter. 68 12 I t w i l l be remembered that the B e l l a Coola thought a person's xixmanoas to be situated at the back of the neck. 13 Certain kukusiut serve s o l e l y as spies among the non-kukusiut. It i s t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to ensure that no non-member gain too much knowledge regarding the functioning of the kusiut society. 14 Mcllwraith's further gloss reads: "You performed your dance in accordance with what you saw....You have received power that i s too great and too dangerous." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p. 138). An"likwotsaix travels only during the ceremonial season when she i s present at every kusiut dance i n the form of a woman with a long, thin face and pointed chin..., who 'explains' the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the figures to the un i n i t i a t e d i n a peculiar high-pitched voice." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.9). Snusilkals i s known as the 'Wise One' or 'He of Whom Questions are Asked'. This being i s thought to decide "...points of r i t u a l i n the dances i n the land above." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.143). 17 S £xs£xka'laix i s thought to have the form of a G r i z z l y Bear and to advise Al'quntam on any kusiut matters. 18 The Hermaphrodite i s thought to be the guardian of the Sxnxn-esaxs. 19 The sight of Sxaiaxwax often causes a human being to bleed profusely from a l l bodily o r i f i c e s and to die shortly thereafter. 20 Wallace Stevens, "Connoisseur of Chaos", i n Poems by Wallace  Stevens, New York: Vintage Books, 1959. 21 The fact that these supposed non-kukusiut are i n r e a l i t y kuku-s i u t spies i s immaterial. The idea i s that the non-kukusiut oppose the kukusiut and i t i s the idea with which I am concerned. 22 These powers, of course, derive from the kukusiut association with the supernatural. 69 23 As I have been unable to f i n d anything other than a passing mention of the Laugher i n the extant B e l l a Coola material i t i s not possible for me to comment of the sign i f i c a n c e of i t s standardization. 24 For example, the Mystery Dance, wherein an i n d i v i d u a l i s possessed by three p a r t i c u l a r supernatural manifestations, a l l of which must be i d e n t i f i e d by some member of the human community before the dancer may be exorcised, emphasizes both the f l u i d i t y of the supernatural and the necessity of human control; the Ghost Dance, wherein the four main days of a kusiut ceremony are reversed and the performers t e r r i f y the non-kusiut members, emphasizes both the un p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of the supernatural and the fear which i t i n s p i r e s , and so on. 70 I I I . SHAMANISM In discussing shamanism I would l i k e f i r s t to deal with i t s occurrence i n myth and then go on to examine i t s occurrence in the d a i l y l i f e of the B e l l a Coola. 1 Like every other aspect of B e l l a Coola culture shamanism has i t s expression i n myth, and therefore an analysis of the l a t t e r i s an e s s e n t i a l pre-requisite to the understanding of the former. According to Mcllwraith, The B e l l a Coola believe that long ago men (sic) were so much more powerful than at present, and so close to the supernatural, that a l l were v i r t u a l l y shamans. The prowess and adventures of these demi-gods are favourite themes for s t o r i e s . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.539-540) As the reader w i l l r e c a l l , i n chapter one I argue that the f i r s t ancestors, before they become human, are supernatural, and that i t follows that smaiusta (origin/ancestral myths)' deal with the rel i n q u i s h i n g rather than the gaining of supernatural power. It i s i n simsma, myths which deal with post f i r s t ancestor B e l l a Coola and which are not ancestral-family s p e c i f i c , that one encounters instances of the gaining of shamanic power. As most of the myths are r e l a t i v e l y short, I w i l l provide synopses of a number of them before going on to o f f e r my analysis. 2 "The Fortunes of Qwun ?a" t e l l s of a man who had been a 3 highly successful hunter before he l o s t his sight. One day Qwun•a s i t s beside his wife as she busies herself gaffing sock-eye salmon from a shallow creek. The wife t e l l s Qwun•a that she sees a black bear on the other side of the water. Qwun *a asks her to bring him his bow and arrow and then further instructs 71 her to point his hands i n the r i g h t d i r e c t i o n , wereupon he f i r e s the arrow and k i l l s the bear. However, his wife t e l l s him that he has missed and she s u r r e p t i t i o u s l y skins and cuts up the bear, intending to consume a l l the meat herself. At th i s point, "...a Supernatural being, who had seen Qwun- a's misfortunes, took pity on him and rubbed his hands over his eyes, restoring t h e i r sight." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.661). Qwun•a sees his wife b o i l i n g the bear meat and i s so angry that he, [tears] her clothing, her f l e s h , even her bones into small fragments which he scatters to the winds i n a l l d i r e c t i o n s . "From t h i s time f o r t h " , he said, "you w i l l appear to humans only as Lynx." Owing to the power which Qwun»a had obtained his words came true; each fragment became a lynx and the animals so created were the progenitors of a l l lynxes. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp. 661-662) In another adventure Qwun•a i s abandoned upon a small islan d by two brothers who are jealous of his hunting a b i l i t y . Lost and alone, \he~\ was very disconsolate. A l l night he wept, so miserable that he could not sleep. The next night as he lay sobbing with eyes closed he f e l t someone kick his foot, and heard a woman's voice. "Come, get up," i t said. "Come to our chief's house, he wants to see you." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.662) Qwun«a does not open his eyes i n time to see his v i s i t o r and he c r i e s himself to sleep. Again he i s aroused i n the same manner and t h i s time he catches sight of1 the woman: "I see you," he c a l l e d out from beneath his cape, "don't run away." The g i r l did not vanish, but repeated her i n v i t a t i o n . Qwun.a got up and followed his strange guide, who pushed against the stone which he had been using as 72 a support for his back and head. I t reversed, revealing a house, with a chief s i t t i n g behind the f i r e . I t was the home of the sea-lions. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.663) The sea-lion chief provides Qwun <• a with his canoe, a sea-lion's stomach. In t h i s vehicle Qwun •>a reaches his home where he k i l l s the two men who had abandoned him. He "...was able to make the strange voyage because Sea-Lion had made him a shaman." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.663). In "The Lad Who Was Made A Shaman By the Salmon", Anutsit-iam i s playing a game with some other boys which consists of hopping from one chunk of floating.:.ice to another. Eventually he goes to©far and finds himself being carried out to sea. Unable to return to shore Anutsitlam d r i f t s aimlessly about u n t i l he finds himself i n the land of the salmon, where the f i s h appear i n human form. Here he lands and, ...being hungry, made his way to the house of the chief who to l d him to take a young boy and a young g i r l and throw them into the water....As soon as the boy touched the water he changed to a salmon, jumped above the surface four times, and swam back as a f i s h to the shore so that the thrower could l i f t him from the water with his hands. When he threw i n the l i t t l e g i r l exactly the same thing happened. Following tthe instructions of the salmon chief, Anur.si-t3:am cooked the male salmon without cutting o f f either the head or the t a i l . After eating the f l e s h he threw a l l of the bones back into the water, where they at once assembled to form a l i v e salmon which jumped four times, then became a boy once more and swam back to the beach. In l i k e manner he cooked the female salmon, ate as much as he desired and threw the bones into the water, where they formed a salmon which jumped four times and swam back to shore as a g i r l ; but when she landed Anutsitlfam discovered that she was bl i n d i n one eye. He searched where he had been eating and found a morsel of the white of the salmon's eye which had f a l l e n to the ground and been overlooked with the 73 other debris. He took t h i s and threw i t back with the g i r l into the water. Then she returned to the shore with both eyes normal. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.664) At th i s point Anutsit£am transforms himself into a f i s h and decides to accompany the salmon on th e i r journey to his home v i l l a g e . Anutsitlam s father, Ximpdimut, sees a large, beauti-f u l spring salmon and, not knowing that i t i s his son, he greatly desires to capture i t . The next day Anutsi^Zam allows his father to capture him whereupon Ximpdimut, ... c a l l e d out to his eldest son: "I have caught the salmon I spoke about yesterday, i t i s a beauty." His son went out to see the wonderful catch and c r i e d out i n wonder: "Why, i t i s my younger brother." Anu£sit:3ra'm had again assumed human form. . . . He carried a s t i c k with which he had only to go through the motion of casting i t at anything, and the creature at which i t was pointed f e l l dead. Accompanied by his brother, the shaman set out to hunt mergansers. He k i l l e d so many by means of his supernatural power that the shelter i n which, they were staying was soon f i l l e d with feathers. Then Anutsif;3ra'm, saying that he desired to go a l o f t , t o l d his brother to beat with a s t i c k upon the feathers and continue doing so u n t i l he, the shaman, had disappeared from sight. As the lad started beating, Anutsi-b3ram became l i g h t e r and l i g h t e r and f i n a l l y he d r i f t e d up above. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.665) Anutsit^am t e l l s his brother that he w i l l return i n one day, but as a day i s a year i n the land of the supernatural, he does not come back for some time. His eventual return i s her-alded by a thud on the roof after which he dances and sings of his experiences i n the land above. Anutsit:Jram' s fame soon spreads throughout the area for "...[hunting] was so easy for [him] that he k i l l e d and gave meat to anyone who asked him to do so, £andj i n due course he became a wealthy chief." (McEfL:•/:.' Ilwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.665). In "The Lad Who Was Helped By A Salmon" a number of chiefs sons throw a destitute orphan over a w a t e r f a l l . A cohoe salmon rescues the boy and t e l l s him to, ...gather s p l i n t e r s from firewood and touch with one of them the big toe of each of the youths who had thrown him i n . He further t o l d his guest to take his own name, Wai >s, Cohoe Salmon, and with i t the prerogative of a kusiut dance. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol. p.666) With his newly acquired shaman's power the boy returns to his home and k i l l s his previous tormentors. According to the myth, " finj l a t e r years he received visions and became a noted shaman (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.666). In "The Man Who Was Helped By A Raven", ...a certain man was very sick and ready to die. Weary of l i f e he went off and lay down i n the forest on the south side of North Bentick Arm, not far from i t s head. A raven came to him and picked out one of his eyes, saying as he did so: "Get up! Get up! You are a l l r i g h t now, take the name Qwaxqwax•wanim." This means, "Restored to L i f e through the Raven. The man returned to his v i l l a g e a successful shaman, and gave a shaman's dance i n the usual manner but thenceforth he had only one eye. His benefactor was T l i c a p l i t a n * a , who had thus helped him, appearing in the guise of a raven. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.666-667) "The Four Brothers" t e l l s of four s i b l i n g s who set out on a journey and come upon a s o l i t a r y house i n the forest. The occupant of the house, an old woman, ...gave them food and help. "There i s great danger where you are going," she said, "but i f you are brave you w i l l come to no 75 harm." Turning to the youngest brother she continued: "Take these two mountain goat bladders. One w i l l give you heat when you need i t ; the other cold. You are now a shaman." The woman was a supernatural being. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.669) As the brothers continue t h e i r wandering they come upon Great Blue Heron, who i s f i s h i n g along the bank of a r i v e r . The shaman transforms himself into a salmon and tempts Great Blue Heron to t r a n s f i x him with his harpoon. When Great Blue Heron does so, the shaman cuts loose the harpoon head, rejoins his brothers and reassumes human form, leaving the former to bemoan the loss of his precious f i s h i n g gear. Later on, the brothers v i s i t Great Blue Heron and o f f e r to trade the harpoon-head for his 'rainbow eye', which enables him to see salmon at any depth, however murky the water. Great Blue Heron, who does not r e a l i z e that the harpoon head i s i n fact his own, reluctantly agrees to the trade, whereupon the brothers continue on t h e i r way. 4 Soon they meet the son of ixt£-xwan * i whom they bury up to his neck i n sand. Amused by t h e i r prank they continue on u n t i l they meet ixt£xwan•i, who suspects that they have harmed her c h i l d . They continually deny that they have met the boy u n t i l , ...becoming s t i l l more angry, J i x t c ^ xwan«i] used her supernatural power to c h i l l the house. I t became colder and colder u n t i l everything was coated with i c e , while a whirlwind c a r r i e d the brothers up into the four corners of the house. At th i s the shaman used his heat-giving bladder to drive away the cold and the four dropped to earth, none the worse for t h e i r experience. Then they t o l d the truth to the angry mother. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.671) 76 ixtE-xwan • i was so pleased that her son had not been harmed that she forgave the brothers and "...they a l l had a pleasant time together." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.671). The next and f i n a l portion of t h i s myth i s very i n t e r e s t i n g and deserves to be quoted i n f u l l : The brothers now continued t h e i r journey u n t i l they came to a house with a man s i t t i n g inside. They did not r e a l i z e that they had been ascending and that t h i s was AiTquntam' s abode. He i n v i t e d them to enter and gave them his daughter as a j o i n t wife. Soon the house began to grow unbearably hot. A-£quntam was conspiring to roast the mortals, and would have succeeded had not the shaman used the cold-producing bladder to lower the temperature. That night the four stayed with t h e i r j o i n t wife. A'^quntam did not r e a l i z e that his guests were too strong for him. In the morning he set them what he considered impossible tasks, such as hunting large numbers of goats on the mountains; thanks to the shaman's power, however, the four young men were able to accomplish them a l l . Their wife t r i e d to injure her husbands by transforming herself into a ferocious'bear, which attacked them, but before the arrows of the youngest brother, i t f e l l dead. Again she changed herself into a goat and succeeded i n but-ti n g the shaman over the edge of a pre c i p i c e , but he merely assumed the form of eagle down and floated up again. They brought back to A<£quntam' s house a vast amount of goat f l e s h . The shaman announced that he was proof against a l l Alquntam's wiles, but the l a t t e r , not convinced, t r i e d once more to roast the brothers by building a f i r e beneath the house; thi s time, as before, the heat was powerless against the cold-giving power of the bladder. Next day A-Tquntam asked the shaman, whom he r i g h t l y judged to be the cause of his f a i l u r e to slay the four, to accompany him to cut firewood. The two went off i n a canoe, while the three other brothers stayed i n the house with t h e i r wife. A-Fquntam guided the canoe to the very centre of the ocean, where he asked the shaman to drive i n a post he had brought with him. He did t h i s e a s i l y with a sledge-hammer such as i s used for d r i v i n g stakes for olachen-nets, but at almost the l a s t stroke i t slipped from his grasp to the bottom of the sea. Then AJfquntam burst out angrily: "I have had that hammer for a very long time. I t i s a favourite of mine. I hate to lose i t . " 77 "I am very sorry, but i t was an accident," r e p l i e d his son-in-law. "Can you not recover i t ? " asked AJrquntam. "I w i l l t r y , " answered the younj. man. Accordingly he dived into the sea. Alfquntam, wwho had been hoping for t h i s , caused a thick coating of ice to form over the whole surface of the ocean, and went home, thinking he had seen the l a s t of the troublesome young man. Such was not the case, for the shaman merely changed himself into a salmon, picked up the hammer i n his mouth and swam away, looking for a crack i n the i c e . Finding one at l a s t he crawled up on top, where he became human again and returned to his father-in-law's house very angry. Miquntam was s i t t i n g warming himself before the f i r e , but when the shaman threw the hammer on the ground before him he disintegrated into dust, dead. Thus the four brothers returned home, leaving t h e i r e v i l wife behind them. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.671-672) "The Woman Who Married A Bear" t e l l s of a young woman who, while wandering alone i n the forest, inadvertently steps in some bear's dung. A l i t t l e while l a t e r she meets a bear 5 i n human form who takes her to his home and marries her. Many months l a t e r the woman t e l l s her mate that she would l i k e her eldest brother to come and v i s i t her. However, the bear w i l l only consent to a v i s i t by the youngest, as he i s the one who has taken the most care to be ceremonially pure. The youngest brother appears, k i l l s the woman's mate, and a l l the v i l l a g e r s come to skin the bear and cut up the meat. The woman instructs the v i l l a g e r s as follows: "Go ahead with the f l e s h ; I w i l l follow with the skin." This she draped over herself and began to imitate a bear so successfully that the dogs barked at her, s t a r t l i n g the people who had gone ahead. At the v i l l a g e she t o l d them to dry and stretch the p e l t c a r e f u l l y ; when these instructions had been carried out, the woman took the teeth and leg-bones, clothed herself i n the skin and forthwith became a bear. In 78 t h i s shape she slew a l l the v i l l a g e r s except a younger s i s t e r and the youngest of her brothers, who was out hunting at the time. Through her marriage with the bear she had obtained such power that a l l were helpless before her except the younger s i s t e r , who was immune owing to being secluded on reaching puberty; her menstrual blood was her protection. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.681) The younger s i s t e r t e l l s the shaman that she knows that except for one part of her body she, (the shaman), i s invulnerable. On the pretext of protecting her the younger s i s t e r convinces the shaman to disclose that her weakness i s located i n the palm of one hand. The young g i r l informs her brother of t h i s weak spot and then persuades the shaman to hold her palms up to;,warm them at the f i r e . The brother, who i s watching through a knot-hole, f i r e s an arrow into the palm of the shaman's hand and thus k i l l s her. "The Lads Who V i s i t e d The Home Of The Dead" t e l l s of two brothers who, despised and neglected by t h e i r parents, set o f f into the mountains. A porcupine.leads them to a cave which they enter and, " . . . f i n a l l y [emerge] into daylight, to f i n d themselves i n a new world, a land i n which there [ i s ] a large r i v e r and a sky resembling that above earth, but d i f f e r e n t . " (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.582). The two brothers see a number of people on the opposite side of the r i v e r , but no matter how loudly they shout, they are unable to e l i c i t any kind of response. F i n a l l y one of the brothers yawns, with the r e s u l t that the people immediately send over a canoe to fetch them. As i t appears that this canoe has no bottom, the elder brother refuses to board i t , but the younger brother, whose name i s K i p i t x s , leaps i n and heads o f f to what he now r e a l i z e s i s the land of the dead. The elder brother wanders on and eventually comes to the home of the wolves where he i s eaten, regurgitated and given the power to distinguish the d i f f e r e n t colours of smoke that arise from the homes of the various 6 ' animals. He then returns to where he had l e f t K i p i t x s , ...and began to weep b i t t e r l y , thinking that he must be dead. But presently he heard the sound of footsteps inside the cave through which the porcupine had guided them; they drew nearer u n t i l the younger boy emerged. The elder was overjoyed, but his delight soon turned to dismay when he saw that his brother's face was green and haggard, with a strange expression; that he had l o s t a l l the f l e s h from his body, and that his clothes, the same that he had worn when they parted company, were torn to t a t t e r s . His brother's appearance affected him so much that he f e l l down dead. The younger lad, however, had been made a shaman by the dead, so he quickly restored his brother. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.584) The two brothers return to t h e i r parents' home and sneak into t h e i r beds. Since the boys had disappeared the parents had had a change of heart and mourned t h e i r missing children so excessively that many of the -village people were contemptuous of them. It i s the boys' younger s i s t e r who f i r s t notices that they have returned and she f i n a l l y convinces her parents to come and look for themselves. The elder brother maintains that he does not know what happened to his younger brother, but i n t h e i r joy at the reappearance of at least one of t h e i r sons, the parents become r e v i t a l i z e d . Although the brothers remain concealed, i t i s f i n a l l y generally known that both have returned 80 and that the younger has been made a shaman of the dead. However, [ a j malicious chief made the statement that he did not believe t h i s and cast insinuations as to why a shaman should conceal himself. Kipitxs used his power to i n j e c t sickness into the man and af t e r a few days he died, though no-one knew the cause. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.586) Just before the man i s to be buried Kipitxs appears and revives him. A l i t t l e while l a t e r , yet another person expresses doubt and he, too, i s k i l l e d and restored by the young shaman. After this proof of his power there i s universal consent that Kipitxs i s a true shaman of the dead. Again i t must be kept i n mind that l i k e smaiusta, the a v a i l -able simsma are extremely fragmentary and are but the remnants of a once extensive and complex mythology. Nonetheless, from the foregoing myths, which may be taken as a representative sampling of the extant material, one i s able to i s o l a t e .the following features: f i r s t , the main character(s) i s always i n a l i m i n a l p o s i t i o n with respect to the human community (e.g. orphaned, abandoned, sick, alone on the sea or i n the woods); second, the main character(s) always enters the realm of the supernatural (e.g. Nusmat-a, land of the salmon, land of the dead, encounter with a supernatural being) and always returns to the' human community; and t h i r d , the acquired power of the main character(s) i s always of a transformational nature (e.g. the a b i l i t y to transform her/himself into a bear, salmon, eagle down or whatever, the a b i l i t y to transform heat to cold or cold to heat, the a b i l i t y to transform a human being into a lynx) 81 and must always be of benefit to the human community (e.g. restoring i t s members to l i f e , ridding the community of e v i l influences, supplying the community with food and prestige). If the character who has acquired power i s not of benefit to the human community (as i n the case of the bear-woman) then she/he must be destroyed. I w i l l now go on to analyse each of these points separately. In "The Fortunes of Qwun•a" the main character i s f i r s t of a l l b l i n d , and then abandoned on an is l a n d . In "The Lad Who Was Made A Shaman By the Salmon", Anutsitlam i s a d r i f t on a block of i c e . In "The Lad Who Was Helped By A Salmon" and "The Lads Who V i s i t e d The Home Of'The Dead" the main characters are either orphaned and henceidestitute or unappreciated by their parents and hence destitute. In The Man Who Was Helped By A Raven" the main character i s sick and dying, while in "The Four Brothers" and "The Woman Who Married A Bear" the main char-acter i s alone i n the forest. A l l of these situations may be seen as l i m i n a l with respect to the human community. The main characters are a l l , by reason of geographical location, s o c i a l position or state of health, set apart from the mainstream of humanity. Remembering that to the Be l l a Coola anything that i s not human i s supernatural, i t i s not surprising that the characters in these myths, being i n various ways set apart from the human community, find themselves p a r t i c u l a r l y suscep-t i b l e to supernatural experiences. Just as the human i s defined by c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and order, so the supernatural i s defined by absence of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and order. In presenting instances 82 wherein the main characters are neither f u l l y a part of the human world nor f u l l y a part of the supernatural world, where they are, i n fa c t , 'betwixt and between1 both realms, the myths •provide a recognizable t r a n s i t i o n a l phase straddling two modes of being. In a culture which emphasizes the community over the i n d i v i d u a l i t follows that to be is o l a t e d either p h y s i c a l l y or psychologically i s seen as dehumanizing i n i t s most l i t e r a l sense. And since to re l i n q u i s h the human i s to embrace the supernatural i t i s only l o g i c a l that mythic shamanic experiences are preceded by the depiction of a pronounced gap between the main characters and the i r respective village-communities. Moving on to the entry into the realm of the supernatural and re-entry into the human community, i n "The Fortunes of Qwun•a" the main character enters the supernatural f i r s t l y v i a the appearance, of a being who restores his sight and secondly when he i s led to the land of the sea-lions. In "The Lad Who Was Made A Shaman By The Salmon" and "The Lad Who Was Helped By A Salmon" the main characters both enter the realm of the supernatural when they arrive i n the land of the salmon. In "The Four Brothers" the main characters enter the realm of the supernatural through t h e i r encounter with a being i n the form of an old woman, thei r encounter with ixtf.xwan»i, and th e i r stay in Nusmat- a. In "The Man Who Was Helped By A Raven" the main character enters the supernatural through his encounter with T l i c a p l i t a n - a i n the form of a raven. In "The Lads Who V i s i t e d The Home Of The Dead" the elder brother enters the realm of the supernatural when he v i s i t s the home of the wolves 83 while his younger brother does so when he v i s i t s .the land of the dead. And f i n a l l y , i n "The Woman Who Married A Bear" the main character enters the realm of the supernatural when she enters the home of the bear. This sampling of supernatural encounters serves to emphasize the ubiquity of s i u t f or i t includes the earth, the land above, the land below and the sea -- i n other words i t emcompasses the entire B e l l a Coola universe. This i s extremely important for: i t underscores the fact that one may encounter a pointed manifestation of the supernatural in any form, at any place and at any time. As I have indicated i n chapter one, the Be l l a Coola must continually be on th e i r guard l e s t they be reabsorbed into the realm of s i u t ; that i s , l e s t they be unable to control the activating of t h e i r latent transformational p o t e n t i a l which may be caused by an open encounter with the supernatural and hence, being unable to maintain the balance between the super-7 natural and the human, slxp t o t a l l y into the former. Due to the appropriateness of th e i r behaviour i n c a r e f u l l y following any instructions which they receive, a l l of the characters i n these myths are able to control t h e i r transformational a c t i v i t y and to re-enter the human community. What t h e i r humanity gives them i s a sense of order and control; what t h e i r supernatural experience gives them i s access to uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y ; what the two together r e s u l t i n i s controlled trans-formational a c t i v i t y which celebrates both the d i s t i n c t i v e l y supernatural (uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y ) and the d i s t i n c t i v e l y human (control) and thus epitomizes the desired 84 balance which the B e l l a Coola must s t r i k e between these two opposing and yet complementary realms i n order to at t a i n the ide a l human condition. It now remains to examine these par-t i c u l a r mythic transformations i n more d e t a i l . As I have said, the power which the main characters acquire i s always of a transformational nature and must always be of p r a c t i c a l benefit to the human community. Further, i t w i l l be remembered that uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y inc-ludes the a b i l i t y to transform the shape of oneself as well as others (this encompasses transforming such phenomena as the weather and supposedly inanimate objects); the a b i l i t y to both k i l l and bring to l i f e ; and the a b i l i t y to tr a v e l back and forth between the sphere of the supernatural and the sphere of the human. In other words, i t i s a state of unboundedness — of chaos. Although, given the fragmentary nature of the obtain-able myths, i t i s u n r e a l i s t i c to expect to find s p e c i f i c instances of a l l forms of transformational a c t i v i t y i n each fragment, i t i s nonetheless s i g n i f i c a n t that when these myths are looked at.as a whole, a l l forms are s t r i k i n g l y present. Thus i t i s clear that the varied forms of transformational a c t i v i t y are not mutually exclusive — just as a supernatural being i s capable of a l l forms of transformational a c t i v i t y (indeed, that i s preci s e l y what constitutes the supernatural), so a human being who, through a supernatural experience temporarily becomes her/ himself supernatural, i s capable of a l l forms of transformational a c t i v i t y as well. I t i s only upon re-entry into the sphere of the human that this transformational a c t i v i t y becomes tempered 85 so that i t may prove to be b e n e f i c i a l rather than detrimental to the human community. Thus i n "The Fortunes of Qwun•a" the main character trans-forms his wife into lynx and then proceeds to t r a v e l from the realm of the supernatural (home of the sea-lions) to the realm of the human and to benefit the human community by k i l l i n g the two e v i l brothers. In "The Lad Who Was Made A Shaman By The Salmon" the main character transforms himself into both a spring salmon and a b a l l of duck's down, travels from the human commun-i t y to the land of the salmon and back again, i s able to k i l l anything by pointing a s t i c k at i t and hence benefits the human community through his superior hunting a b i l i t y . In "The Lad Who Was Helped By A Salmon" the main character enters the land of the salmon and then returns to and benefits the human commun-i t y by k i l l i n g the people who had thrown him over the w a t e r f a l l . The main character i n '.'The Man Who Was Helped By A Raven" enters J the supernatural through his encounter with T l i c a p l i t a n • a and returns to his village-community "a successful shaman" (the implication obviously being that the human community benefits through this man's power). The main character in "The Four Brothers" transforms himself into a salmon and h b a l l of eagle down, transforms cold to heat and heat to cold, i s able to k i l l both A-£guntam and his daughter, and travels from the human sphere to Nusmat•a and back again. This myth serves as a good example of the non-hierarchical nature of uncontrolled trans-formation a c t i v i t y for i t shows that once a human being activates her/his supernatural power she/he i s on a par with A3rquntam. 86 Also, i t should be noted that i n another version of "The Four Brothers", £awedj by th e i r experiences, the four brothers J returned to Be l l a Coola. Owing to the successful c o n f l i c t with A3fquntam, the f r o s t and cold of winter annually return to vanquish the heat of summer, which otherwise would destroy a l l l i f e . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.677) Thus the benefit to the human community i s abundantly clear. With respect to "The Lads Who V i s i t e d The Home Of The Dead" the elder brother enters the home of the wolves and returns to the human community with supernatural hunting prowess while the younger brother enters the land of the dead and returns to the human community with the a b i l i t y to both k i l l and restore l i f e . "The Woman Who Married A Bear" i s in t e r e s t i n g because although the main character i s able to enter the sphere of the supernatural and return to the sphere of the human, and i s able, to -transform"*herself into a bear and'to k i l l with seeming impunity, she nonetheless comes to gr i e f due to her adverse e f f e c t on the human community. I t i s her younger s i s t e r who, made powerful through her association with that most human of a l l essences, menstrual blood, i s able to set the scene for 9 her (the shaman's) demise. This demonstrates the inestimable importance of c o n t r o l l i n g transformational a c t i v i t y f o r , as. I argue throughout t h i s t h esis, uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , being without order or boundaries, i s non-human, and unless i t i s controlled i t can only lead to the utter negation of the human community. Just as the majority of myths show that controlled transformational a c t i v i t y serves to r e v i t a l i z e 87 the human community, so "The Woman Who Married A Bear" shows that uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y brings only destruc-ti o n . Taken as a whole, the myths pertaining to shamanism portray the necessity of balancing the d i s t i n c t i v e l y supernatural with the d i s t i n c t i v e l y human. The human being who enters the realm of the supernatural, i f she/he i s to maintain her/his humanness, must not only return to the human community but must be of active benefit to that community. That i s , a person cannot enter and return from the sphere of the supernatural and remain unchanged -- either t h e i r transformational a c t i v i t y i s too strong ( i . e . uncontrolled) and must r e s u l t i n their death, or thei r transformational a c t i v i t y i s tempered by the superimpos-i t i o n of human control and results i n the mutual strengthening of both i n d i v i d u a l and community. It i s now time to look at shamanism as i t i s practiced by the B e l l a Coola themselves. According to Mcllwraith, More important to the B e l l a Coola than any other manifestation of the supernatural i s that power which makes an in d i v i d u a l either an alukwala or an askankots. The former i s a person who, owing to a b i l i t y granted her/him by a supernatural being, i s able to perform miraculous feats, e s p e c i a l l y i n curing the sick; the l a t t e r i s one with s i m i l a r powers obtained from a ghost. I t i s impossible to translate either of these terms accurately; the designation "shaman" i s accordingly used i n this monograph to describe both types of supernaturally endowed in d i v i d u a l s . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.539) Bearing i n mind that the only, difference between an alukwala and an askankots i s that the l a t t e r obtains her/his power from ghosts (and i s therefore considered to be an expert regarding 88 the land of the dead) the reader may assume that the following information and analyses apply equally to both. Mcllwraith maintains that: Although the powers ascribed to modern shamans are less than those attributed to t h e i r fellows of old, yet a shaman i s a person endowed with myster-ious a b i l i t y and wonderful knowledge, due to personal contact with supernatural beings. Hence, she/he i s regarded as somewhat uncanny and, though respected, i s likewise feared. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.547) . The s p e c i f i c manifestations of a B e l l a Coola shaman's a b i l i t i e s may indeed be less spectacular than those recorded in myths, but the c r u c i a l point i s that they are si m i l a r i n kind — that i s , they are both manifestations of transformational a b i l i t y . With respect to t h i s , the transformation of water to blood"'"*"' i s every b i t as impressive as the transformation of a human being to lynx. A miracle i s a miracle — just as one should not deride Moses for parting the Red Sea rather than the A t l a n t i c Ocean, so one should not deride a B e l l a Coola shaman for transforming water to blood rather than people to lynx. What i s important i s that the power of the shaman i s the power of the supernatural, and that power i s transformational a c t i v i t y — the difference being that with respect to the former i t i s controlled whereas with the l a t t e r i t i s uncontrolled. Shamanic power i s not inheritable•and "...anyone, man or woman, r i c h or poor, young or old, slave or member of an ancient family, may become a shaman." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.547). Once again t h i s underscores the fact that a l l B e l l a Coola are equally subject to encounters with the supernatural. 89 As the reader w i l l r e c a l l , t h i s i s i n keeping with the idea that human beings and the supernatural are inextricably bound together — the l i f e - g i v i n g xixmanoa's ( s p i r i t ) i s supernatural, and given that a l l human beings possess a xixmanoa's i t follows that a l l human beings must be susceptible to the supernatural. As I indicated in chapter one, being susceptible to the super-natural i s no guarantee that a person may actually encounter a s p e c i f i c supernatural manifestation. The point i s not that one always w i l l , but that one always might -- whether one wants to or not. For the moment I w i l l deal with the person who a c t i v e l y seeks shamanic a b i l i t y . To begin with, this person w i l l con-scientiously practice sxetsta, which Mcllwraith glosses as Ceremonial Chastity, and the basis of which i s , ...that a person must not hold intercourse except after certain periods of continence. To understand t h i s , i t i s necessary to under-stand the attitude of the B e l l a Coola to the sexual act i t s e l f . Although i t i s a normal part of l i f e . . . y e t the union of man and woman does not lack import, since i t s very humanness distinguishes those who practice i t i n the eyes of supernatural beings.... Those who indulge excessively become so over-charged with t h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c that t h e i r undertakings are certain to f a i l , whereas those who remain con-tinent for a considerable period are so freed from the contagion of mankind that they become almost supernatural themselves and always succeed in t h e i r ventures. I f , aft e r a period of r e s t r a i n t , a person holds intercourse, t h e i r e s s e n t i a l l y human act adds t y p i c a l human strength to that accumulated by chastity. Chastity alone gives power; but chastity consummated by intercourse ^ at the proper period increases that power enormously. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.110-111) Further to t h i s a person w i l l spend an inordinate amount of time i n secluded spots i n the forest where, £ she/he] l i e s down sometimes for several days, with evergreen boughs spread beneath and above [^her/him) . These are clean and n u l l i f y the mortal odour so objectionable to supernatural beings, so that [her/his]] chance, of obtaining a v i s i t a t i o n i s increased. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.548) There are numerous means of p u r i f i c a t i o n , the most common of which are r i t u a l bathing, scrubbing the body with Devil's Club, hemlock branches and/or smooth stones found i n creek beds, eat-ing f a l s e hellebore root and thus inducing vomiting, and so on. It must be remembered that none of these methods, including sxetsta, necessarily ensure the p r a c t i t i o n e r of a supernatural experience. I t i s thought that they make such an experience more l i k e l y , but the B e l l a Coola hold that the supernatural may also manifest i t s e l f to one who has observed none of the prescribed methods of p u r i f i c a t i o n and who has no desire what-soever to get involved with such powers. For example, i t i s generally agreed that, [the] most common method of becoming a shaman i s through the appearance of T l i c a p l i t a n a when a person i s i l l . . . . S h e , or some other supernatural being, may appear to a sick person ir r e s p e c t i v e of sex, whether or not ceremonial chastity has been observed. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.550) When a supernatural being appears to one who i s sick i t f i r s t 12 cures that person and then provides her/him with both a name and a song or songs. No matter what the circumstances under which a person receives shamanic power the usual procedure i s 13 for the singers to be c a l l e d i n and for the person who has 91 undergone the supernatural experience to teach them the songs which she/he has been given. S i m i l a r l y , a l l recipients of shamanic power must wear a c o l l a r woven of alternating strands of dyed and undyed cedar-bark and must give a public ceremonial wherein they perform t h e i r songs, give t h e i r dance, o f f e r a display of t h e i r power, and d i s t r i b u t e g i f t s , thus o f f i c i a l l y v a l i d a t i n g t h e i r status as shaman. Once th i s has been done, because [ t h e r ^ i s thought to be actually within the new shaman's body, some peculiar power which i s too potent to allow him (sic) to mix with others he accordingly- wears the d i s t i n c t i v e c o l l a r , which serves as a warning to menstru-ating women and others who are unclean to remain at a distance, and he spends much of his time alone i n the forest. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.558) Thus i t can be seen that, as i n the myths, the person who receives shamanic power i s i n a l i m i n a l p osition with respect to the human community, be i t through the use of various r i t e s of p u r i f i c a t i o n or through the v u l n e r a b i l i t y of sickness. Further tb t h i s , once the person has undergone a supernatural experience she/he i s immediately hedged around with ceremony. That i s , through the public display of singing and dancing, etc., the shaman i s subjected to the superimposition of human control with the r e s u l t that the supernatural i s rendered b e n e f i c i a l to the human. Hence rather than constituting a threat due to being too supernatural and consequently anti-human, the shaman i s able to straddle the realm of s i u t and the realm of human beings and so function to help maintain the es s e n t i a l balance 92 between both spheres. I w i l l now describe and analyse various methods of shamanic curing. According to Mcllwraith: When a person i s i l l one of [her/his] r e l a t i v e s comes to request a shaman to cure [her/him] . "I w i l l help the mortal," answers the shaman, as though [she/he] were jjier/himself] a super-natural being. Indeed [she/he] considers [her/himself] to be removed from the ranks of ordinary mortals and refers to the being from whom [she/he-] has received jher/his"] power as "comrade". (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.559) Il l n e s s i s thought to be caused either by the intrusion of a foreign object into the body or the loss of the individual's xixmanoas ( s p i r i t ) . Both of these occurrences may be due to the actions of a supernatural being or the machinations of 14 a sorcerer. I t i s important to r e a l i z e that even i f the cause of i l l n e s s i s not prec i s e l y known the B e l l a Coola always attribute i t to some kind of supernatural agency. In the case of s p i r i t l o s s , ...a shaman takes off his (sic) cape, hangs i t l i k e a pouch on his s t i c k , and points i t i n a l l directions as he sings his shaman's song. F i n a l l y he locates what i s missing, and traps i t i n his cloak, which he places around the sick person. This restores the s p i r i t and the sufferer recovers immediately. Another method i s for the shaman to press the back of the patient's neck, and by blowing and s p i t t i n g cause the wandering s p i r i t to return. Either cure must be performed by a shaman because of the supernatural power required. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.96) In the case of the intrusion of a foreign object into the body the shaman may, [by] ejecting a flow of s a l i v a over the sick person...[insert] his (sic) own power into the sufferer, who at once begins to imitate the chattering and to shake his (sic) hands. Then the shaman proceeds to r e c a l l the power to him-s e l f by scooping i t up with half-cupped hands. Endowed as he i s , the sickness i s harmless to him. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.559) A method which i s often used when a person seems seriously i l l consists of the shaman both kneading the patient with her/his fingers and occasionally s p r i n k l i n g them with water from a 15 washbasin. While the shaman i s thus occupied, ...another shaman, or someone accustomed to lead the singers, ranges the bystanders into two rows, facing each other between the door and the central f i r e . Each i s provided with a beating s t i c k such as the singers use, and a sounding board i s placed before each row. The person who... leads the... stick-beating stands near the door and the musicians take t h e i r time from his (sic) movements. F i r s t he slowly raises both arms and all-beat time s o f t l y , then, . ,\s he sways::from side to side as i f car r i e d away by the music; as he does so the people toward whom he leans i n t e n s i f y t h e i r beating, while those on the other side decrease. Back and forth he sways followed by the beating; nearing the climax he treads mincingly, whereat the noise r i s e s to thunder-pitch, then jumps twice, and as he str i k e s the ground the drums beat and a l l the sticks come down with a f i n a l e a r - s p l i t t i n g crash.... This elab-orate beating of time i s repeated four times, on each occasion concluding with the double jump which c a l l s forth the double thunder of drums and s t i c k s . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.560) Intermingled with the drum and stick-beating are c a l l s of 'hoip' and the o v e r a l l e f f e c t i s one of the greatest din possible F i n a l l y the shaman, with cupped hands, leaves the sick person and moves to either the door or the smoke-hole. At t h i s point there i s utter silen c e , and as the shaman's hands slowly open 94 he c a l l s out 'hoip' and blows the sickness back whence i t came. There are a number of variations with respect to methods of curing patients who have a non-human substance lodged within t h e i r bodies but a l l of them have as t h e i r basic element the attempt of the shaman to somehow extract and dispose of t h i s foreign presence. I w i l l c i t e only one more instance of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r genre: After throwing himself (sic) on top of the patient the shaman sucks v i o l e n t l y , and produces such an object as a toad, a s n a i l , or a st i c k of wood, which he claims to have been the cause of the malady.... In such cases he works with his fingers to force the substance near the surface. It i s believed that some shamans are so powerful they can draw forth foreign substances by the mere application of t h e i r s t i c k to the part a f f l i c t e d . In such a case the object, a toad for example, becomes v i s i b l e at the end of the s t a f f . . . . I t i s said that when two r i v a l shamans once disputed about t h e i r prowess, one of them cast his s t i c k on the ground and i t be.came a snake, whereupon the other did likewise; and his became a toad which hopped a f t e r the snake. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.563-564) From the foregoing accounts i t i s evident that due to her/ his knowledge of the supernatural the shaman i s thought to be able to maintain the health of the i n d i v i d u a l members of the human community. With respect to s p i r i t l o s s , the singing of the shaman's song (which has been vouchsafed to her/him v i a a supernatural experience) emphasizes the shaman's intimacy with and hence knowledge of the supernatural, while the point-ing of the s t i c k i n a l l directions indicates the vastness of the non-human realm. Remembering that the defining feature of uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y i s that i t i s not amenable to boundaries or c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and that supernatural beings, unlike human beings, are thus able to t r a v e l between the spheres of the supernatural and the human at w i l l , one can see that the shaman's a b i l i t y to enter the sphere of the super-natural i n order to retrieve a wayward s p i r i t i s i n fact a super natural act. In other words, when a shaman enters the domain of the supernatural she/he undergoes a transformation from human being to supernatural being. However, unlike supernatural beings per se, the shaman always remains rooted i n the human, for her/his curing a c t i v i t i e s are always public and s p e c i f i c r i t u a l s are always followed. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident i n the removal of a non-human substance from a victim's body. The presence of members of the human community plus the r i t u a l dancing and stick-beating adds a d i s t i n c t l y human aspect to shamanic proceedings. As with Winter Ceremonial performances, th i s human aspect provides shamanic endeavours with an element of control which ensures that the shaman, along with her/his patient, w i l l not s l i p completely into the supernatural and hence be l o s t to the human community. Also reminiscent of the Winter Ceremonial performances i s the return of the non-human substance to the realm of the supernatural. These s i m i l i a r i t i e s are not at a l l surprising for i n both cases a shaman i s ridding an i n d i v i d u a l of a supernatural presence that i s threatening to engulf that 16 i n d i v i d u a l e n t i r e l y . Of course i n doing this the shaman places her/himself i n a very dangerous p o s i t i o n , for i n order to expel the threatening supernatural presence she/he must her/ himself enter the supernatural sphere, hence e n t a i l i n g the r i s k that she/he may not be able to return to the human. Just as i n the myths the successful a c q u i s i t i o n of shamanic power i s often dependent upon the shaman's exact observance of specif i n s t r u c t i o n s , so i n the B e l l a Coola community per se a success-f u l shamanic endeavour i s dependent upon the exact application of s p e c i f i c techniques. Both the mythic instructions and the shamanic techniques serve to underscore s p e c i f i c dos and don'ts — that i s boundaries. Given that what distinguishes the super natural from the human i s the l a t t e r ' s observance of boundaries and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s i t can be seen that the instructions and techniques provide theLhuman element of control which enables the shaman to enter the supernatural without losing touch with the human. In other words, the shaman i s able to mediate bet-ween the supernatural and the human prec i s e l y because, unlike the average B e l l a Coola (whose transformational a b i l i t i e s are l a t e n t ) , she/he i s ac t i v e l y involved i n both realms. At t h i s point I would l i k e to discuss shamanic ceremonies that are not s p e c i f i c a l l y concerned with curing, but f i r s t i t should be mentioned that there i s some haziness i n Mcllwraith's account. Mcllwraith maintains that: ...many shamans lack the power to cure, but they may have seen some feat during a dream, or during a v i s i t a t i o n from T l i c a p l i t a n • a . It enhances a man's (sic) s o c i a l prestige i f he can graphically display whatever he has observed. It follows that  the r i t e s about to be described are often, perhaps  usually, performed by a person unable to cure the  sick, but i t must be remembered that to the B e l l a Coola there i s no s o c i a l difference between a shaman who can cure... and one who lacks t h i s power. Each has merely received a d i f f e r e n t g i f t from his super-natural benefactor. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.: p. 564) (emphasis mine) 97 As t h i s i s stated i t seems to me that one could interpret Mcllwraith to mean that shamans who are able to cure the sick do not perform the r i t e s which he i s about to describe. I 17 am certain that such an int e r p r e t a t i o n would be erroneous and that what i s actually meant i s that because there are more shamans who do not e f f e c t cures than there are those who do, i t follows that the r i t e s he i s about to describe are more often performed by the former than the l a t t e r . With this i n mind, since I must present some rather i n t r i c a t e descriptions of shamanic performances before proceeding to analyse them, i t i s most convenient and probably less^ssusceptible to confusion to simply transcribe Mcllwraith: On one occasion Ninitsamlaix £the shamanj pre-pared two boxes, apparently the ordinary wooden sort used for cooking; across each he arranged a diagonal cross-piece so that the receptacle contained two water-tight compartments. Previous to the perform-ance, Ninitsamlaix poured water, dyed red with the bark of the alder, into one section of one of the boxes, and put eagle down i n one compartment of the other. When the time came to carry out the r i t e he asked an accomplice, another shaman, to bring some water and pour i t into his box. This was done, the assistant taking, care to put i t into the empty ha l f , not into that which contained the dyed water. Ninitsamlaix shook the box and poured out some of the l i q u i d to prove that i t r e a l l y was water, and then drank. - The spectators, unaware of the cross-piece, did not notice that he did so from the corner opposite to that from which he had poured the water. He had, of course, drunk the dyed f l u i d . Ninitsamlaix cried out that what he had swallowed was paining him, and proceeded to vomit the red water, much to the surprise of the u n i n i t i a t e d , who readi l y believed his claim that what he had drunk had turned to blood. Again the performer asked his assistant to bring i n some water which he poured into the empty section of the other box, of which the other half contained eagle down. Ninitsamlaix moved to and f r o , shaking the box to s p i l l some of the l i q u i d , and then announced that there was so much he could not drink i t a l l , but would pour some on the f i r e . As before, he t i l t e d 98 the opposite side of the box, so that, instead of water, the eagle down came f l o a t i n g f o r t h . The un-i n i t i a t e d , firmly convinced that the performer was endowed with supernatural power, never suspected that they were being deceived. For her performance a...shaman once s p l i t a long, green s t i c k , and gouged out the centre, so that i t formed a narrow tube-like receptacle i n which she l a i d a piece of undyed cedar bark covered with eagle down. With wooden pegs she fastened the s t i c k together so that i t appeared to be an ordinary branch. When ready to perform, the woman asked some people to p i l e more wood on the f i r e and, among others, an accomplice threw on the prepared s t i c k with i t s butt protruding at the edge of the flames. As the f i r e blazed f i e r c e l y the...shaman danced; then the assistant announced that she wished to draw something from the flames, whereupon the woman seized the end of the cedar-bark from i t s enclosure i n the projecting butt of the s t i c k , and drew i t forth. The u n i n i t i a t e d , ignorant of the prepared s t i c k , were greatly impressed and puzzled as to how such an inflammable material could have been i n a f i r e without being consumed. Ninitsamlaix used his s k i l l as a carpenter to carry out elaborate t r i c k s . On one occasion he sawed the boards surrounding the smoke-vent of his house, and fi x e d them with skin hinges so that they could be raised by ropes from outside the building. To show his supernatural power he threw several large baskets up towards the roof. As he did so his as s i s -tants outside pulled the ropes so that the opening was enlarged and allowed the baskets to pass through. In the gloom of the house, the spectators could not see the manner i n which the hole was increased i n size . I t had been too small to permit the passage of the baskets at the time they were thrown, and i t was s t i l l the same siz e a f t e r the feat was accomplished; hence supernatural means must have been used to force them through the roof. Thus ran the l o g i c of the u n i n i t i a t e d . An informant, when acting as a kusiut spy... once assisted four accomplices of a shaman who had obtained a stone from one of the lakes above Nutleax. Many landslides f a l l into t h i s , bringing down stones which are f u l l of holes and f l o a t i n water. Unless closely examined, the r i d d l i n g i s not evident, so that an ordinary r i v e r stone of the same size and colouring can ea s i l y be confused with i t . Previous to dancing, the shaman had placed a few embers i n the recesses of his stone, covered them with pounded cedar-bark, and concealed the object near the f i r e . When a l l was ready, he asked the informant, whom the un i n i t i a t e d did not know to be 99 an accomplice, to fetch him a stone. This he did, bringing one previously chosen as clo s e l y resembling the prepared one from the lake. This ordinary stone was passed around among the spectators and then given to the shaman who, unobserved, palmed i t off for the other as he began to dance. At i n t e r v a l s he blew on the stone u n t i l the embers ignited the dry bark; f i r s t smoke appeared, then sparks, and f i n a l l y a mass of flame. The shaman dropped i t as i f i t had become too hot, choosing the spot where lay the r i v e r pebble; and again passed the l a t t e r from hand to hand through the audience,.who could not understand how flames had been made to appear from an ordinary r i v e r stone. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.567-569) With respect to the foregoing shamanic ceremonies i t i s evident that a l l four examples serve to demonstrate the fact that the power of the shaman i s the power of transformation. In one case Ninitsamlaix transforms water to blood and water to eagle down and i n another case he overcomes physical boun-daries by passing large baskets through the roof of a house; for t h e i r part the other two shamans both defy natural boundaries by on the one hand producing a combustible substance from flames and on the other producing flames from an incom-bustible substance. The reader w i l l r e c a l l that the a b i l i t y to disregard boundaries i s q u i n t e s s e n t i a l l y transformational. The very essence of uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y i s that i t i s not subject to boundaries or c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and i s hence non-human. By exercising her/his a b i l i t y to disregard humanly accepted boundaries the shaman manifests uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y ; by doing so within a public cere-monial framework the shaman t a c i t l y acknowledges the human and thus manifests controlled transformational a c t i v i t y . As with the curing ceremonies the shaman mediates the supernatural (un-100 controlled transformational a c t i v i t y ) and the human and thus serves to ensure that the B e l l a Coola are able to maintain the necessary balance between both spheres. In dealing with shamanism among the B e l l a Coola i t i s important to recognize i t s intimate relationship with the 18 kusiut society. Consider the following quotations: £when a person i s i n i t i a t e d into the kusiut society during the non-winter ceremonial seasorj the u n i n i t -iated are t o l d that £she/hej has had a shaman's ex-perience. With the aid of the older kukusiut [she/hej then performs a dance and conjuring feafc (sic) of the type already described (I, p.564), and i s secluded u n t i l the next autumn, meanwhile wearing the d i s t i n c t i v e c o l l a r of a shaman....When winter comes [she/he] i s formally i n i t i a t e d into the.society. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.11) When a person has been i n i t i a t e d [ i n t o the kusiut s o c i e t y l , either i n the proper manner during the [winterj ceremonial season or as a "shaman" during the summer, [[she/he] i s known as a t s i x , a novice, u n t i l the kusiut dances of the following winter. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.11, p.23) U n t i l [[she/he] gives [ h e r / h i s j f i r s t dance a newly created shaman i s known as a t s i x , the same word that i s used for a kusiut i n i t i a t e , and during t h i s period [[she/he] wears the shaman's c o l l a r of intertwined dyed and undyed cedar-bark. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, . . p.581) [ A person who has just validated her/his shamanic status through a public ceremony w i l l wear the c o l l a r of intertwined dyed and undyed cedar bark] u n t i l the next kusiut dance season when the coming to [her/him] of a yeix (II, p.6) frees £her/himj from r e s t r a i n t , since the one supernatural power drives out the other. If the shaman [her/himself]] i s unwilling to have a yeix, i t i s s u f f i c i e n t i f one comes to a...near r e l a t i v e . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.558) 101 A shaman i s a person who has come i n contact with the supernatural; hence [she/he i s akin to the members of the kusiut society who, therefore, support [her/himj during [her/his] r i t e . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.565) And f i n a l l y , "...a shaman i s often termed a kusiut, 'A Learned One'." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.547). Further to the above quotations i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that when a kusiut gives a performance i t i s thought that she/he i s possessed to the point of being out of control (the entire kusiut ceremony consists of the attempts of the non-possessed kukusiut to exorcise or re-humanize t h e i r e c s t a t i c companion) whereas when a shaman engages i n a public ceremony she/he i s not thought of as being out of control. In fact the performing shaman appears to operate i n the same capacity as the non-possessed kusiut -- that i s to say, just as the l a t t e r attempts to cure the dancer of her/his supernatural possession, so the former attempts to cure the sick person of her/his sickness (which, i t w i l l be remembered, i s always of a supernatural nature). It has already been stated that the Winter Ceremonial may beoseen as a graphic symbolic demonstration of the quintessen-20 t i a l B e l l a Coola dilemma and i t s resolution. The dilemma i s that the human must acknowledge i t s kinship with the super-natural (uncontrolled transformational activity/chaos) while maintaining the d e f i n i t i v e l y human element of order. This metaphysical contradiction resolves i t s e l f i n what I have c a l l e d controlled transformational a c t i v i t y . Thus the possessed dancer represents uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , the kukusiut 102 represent order, and the exorcised dancer represents controlled transformational a c t i v i t y , which i s to say the successful resolution of chaos and order. Whereas the Winter Ceremonial i s a grandiose display of the philosophical underpinnings of B e l l a Coola culture, shamanism i s one form of the p r a c t i c a l application of those underpinnings. And herein l i e s the root of the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p between shamanism and the kusiut society: the Winter Ceremonial i s the theory, shamanism i s the practice. Shamans do, i n the everyday l i f e of the B e l l a Coola, what the kukusiut do during the Winter Ceremonial -- they resolve the tension between chaos and order and i n so doing maintain the well-being of the human. When a person i s sick i t i s due either to the intrusion of a non-human substance into the body (excess of the supernatural) or s p i r i t loss (absence of the supernatural). In either case there i s a marked imbalance which threatens the death of the i n d i v i d u a l i n question, for the human i s defined neither s o l e l y by uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y (spirit/chaos/supernatural) nor s o l e l y by order, but by both. The supernatural without order i s chaos; order without the supernatural would be s t a s i s ; either state taken separately constitutes the non-human; both states taken together constitute the human. Both the shaman and the kusiut are people who, due to s p e c i f i c encounters with the supernatural, are more knowledge-able of the realm of the non-human than the average B e l l a Coola and are thus more able to redress recurring imbalances within the human community that may be caused by too much or too l i t t l e supernatural presence. In other words the kusiut and the shaman 103 are the B e l l a Coola experts regarding the supernatural — they are indeed the 'Learned Ones'-For some time I was puzzled by Mcllwraith's contention that the newly validated shaman's period of r e s t r a i n t concludes when she/he receives a yeix (' c a l l ' or supernatural possession) during the next Winter Ceremonial season "since the one super-natural power drives out the other." The reason I had such d i f f i c u l t y understanding this was that I could not see how i f , as I have argued, the shaman and the kusiut have s i m i l a r super-n a t u r a l power (as indeed they must, for a l l supernatural power i s by d e f i n i t i o n transformational), the supernatural power of the one could drive out the supernatural power of the other because i t i s the same power. I t now seems to me quite evident that what occurs i s not the driv i n g out of one supernatural power by another but the fact that having once experienced a s p e c i f i c supernatural encounter the in d i v i d u a l concerned i s , due to a heightened s e n s i t i v i t y , simply more l i k e l y to exper-ience other supernatural encounters. As Mcllwraith himself says, "...a shaman need not be a kusiut, but v i s i t a t i o n s usually come only to those of r e l i g i o u s and imaginative temperaments, who are i n the majority of cases already members of the society." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.65). Thus the kusiut and the shaman complement and reinforce each other. F i n a l l y I would l i k e to take a b r i e f look at the r e l a t i o n -ship between shamanism and sorcery. According to Mcllwraith, Shamans frequently use magical means i n curing the sick and are highly regarded by the community, but medicines of the same kind may be used to k i l l 104 and those who have knowledge of them are sorcerers. Even a person of t h i s kind i s not outside the pale of society unless [she/he] practises i n d i s -criminantly; members of the kusiut society, for example, frequently employ one to k i l l an i n d i v i d -ual who has offended against t h e i r regulations (I, p.740). A [person] i s regarded as a sorcerer not on account of the ends to which [she/he] applies i t . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.694-695) Further to t h i s , Sorcerers display considerable ingenuity i n ar-ranging that t h e i r s k i l l s s h a l l bring them pecuniary benefits as well as the g r a t i f i c a t i o n of k i l l i n g t h e i r enemies. To achieve t h i s end, a member of the family claims to be a shaman and [her/his] r e l a t i v e s loudly proclaim [her/himj. I t i s not d i f f i c u l t for a person with s k i l l i n conjuring to perform some simple dramatic act, probably one carried out by an ancient shaman, which [she/heJ announces has been shown to [her/him] by a supernatural being who has given (her/him] power to cure the sick. Then the sorcerer selects a suitable victim and causes [her/him] to become i l l by placing something taken from [her/him] in contact with [her/his] medicine. If the malefactor i s fortunate, the v i c t i m w i l l consult the "shaman" who w i l l e f f e c t a cure and be paid for i t , ignor-ant of the fact that [her/his] recovery i s due to the removal of the a r t i c l e by the p r a c t i t i o n e r ' s ac-complice. This deception i s e s p e c i a l l y d i f f i c u l t to expose i f the sorcerer has a box containing grease b o i l e d from human bodies, since the sickness increases or diminishes according to the depth to which the a r t i c l e i s sunk. This i s one of the ways in which some shamans have b u i l t up great reputa-tions as curers. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, pp.743-744) It must be pointed out that there i s a d e f i n i t e d i s t i n c t i o n between the shaman and the sorcerer -- they are not, as i s some-times thought, simply the obverse of each other. The shaman's power i s gained through a s p e c i f i c supernatural encounter whereas the sorcerer's power i s gained through the a c q u i s i t i o n of a 105 secret method or methods of k i l l i n g -- there i s no supernatural encounter. It follows that shamanism i s non-hereditary and that sorcery i s "...transmitted from generation to generation, sometimes without the s l i g h t e s t i n k l i n g of i t becoming known." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.743). The f a c t that a sorcerer may pose as a shaman does not make her/him a shaman any more than the fact that a shaman may happen to be a sorcerer neces-si t a t e s the contention that the two are inseparable. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that the B e l l a Coola word for 21 sorcer/sorcerer i s scak (sc - bad; ak - hand) or bad-handing whereas the B e l l a Coola word for shamanism/shaman i s kusiut (siut - supernatural) or 'learned ones'. Thus the etymology of these words tends to confirm the view that shamanism has to do with knowledge of the supernatural whereas sorcery has to do with the a c q u i s i t i o n and application of s p e c i f i c techniques which are available without the need for d i r e c t access to the supernatural. Thus i t i s not surprising that Mcllwraith discusses shamanism in a chapter e n t i t l e d "Relations With the Supernatural" and relegates sorcery to a chapter e n t i t l e d "Med-i c i n e , Magic, Taboo". The shaman i s i n the p o s i t i o n of having gained power through intimate contact with the supernatural; the sorcerer i s in the position of having gained power through the verbal transmission of known techniques. 106 CHAPTER THREE: FOOTNOTES It w i l l be remembered that I am using the ethnographic present. In the i n t e r e s t of c l a r i t y I w i l l use Mcllwraith 1s t i t l e s throughout t h i s section. The myth does not indicate how th i s came about. ixt&xwan•i i s a f i r s t ancestor who refused to assume human form and who was consequently banished to a remote part of the B e l l a Coola v a l l e y , where she was thought to be respon-s i b l e for the b i t t e r cold winds. In Boas's version of this myth the bear f i r s t asks the woman to defecate, i n s i s t i n g that his faeces are superior to hers. The woman s u r r e p t i t i o u s l y substitutes mountain goat grease for her excrement and, impressed by t h i s , the bear takes her home. "To understand t h i s the reader must remember the firm B e l l a Coola b e l i e f that a l l animals can assume d i f f e r e n t forms.... An i n d i v i d u a l who i s able to see the smoke of th e i r f i r e s w i l l have no d i f f i c u l t y in finding the homes of the animals and hence w i l l have great success i n hunting." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.I, p.584). See chapter one, pp. 25-27. See chapter one, pp. 27-28. f t i s in t e r e s t i n g that i n Boas's version of thi s myth the bear-woman i s k i l l e d once by having an arrow shot through her hands but revives and pursues her brother and s i s t e r . She i s then k i l l e d by being t r i c k e d into f a l l i n g into a chasm but she again revives and continues her pursuit. I t i s only when she i s tricked into boarding a log to cross a r i v e r and i s eaten by barnacles and sea-worms that she does not return. 'see p. 100 of t h i s chapter. Thus sxetsta may be seen 'to be yet another instance of the Be l l a Coola need to balance the supernatural and the human. Excessive sexual intimacy i s too human and leads to f a i l u r e ; excessive sexual abstinence i s too supernatural and^leads to only li m i t e d success; however sexual abstinence capped by 107 sexual intimicy combines both the power of the supernatural and the power of the human and hence leads to the greatest success of a l l . I t should be noted that sxetsta i s practiced by anyone who wishes to gain supernatural favour, be i t for successful hunting, successful journeying, the attainment of shamanic power or whatever. 12 Sometimes the person feels her/himself being shaken by the supernatural one and i s able to f e e l the sickness f a l l i n g from the body; sometimes the person hears the supernatural one singing and finds that the sickness vanishes; but appar-ently the most usual occurence i s that the person feels the supernatural one i n j e c t power into her/his body and that t h i s power expels the sickness. 13 . " . These are the same singers who perform xn kusiut ceremonies. 14 See pp. 108-110 of t h i s chapter. 15 Shamans who cure the sick frequently possess t h e i r own personal wash-basin. B e l l a Coola thought holds that there i s a large wash basin (nusk€lusta) i n the land above and that each B e l l a Coola i s somehow inextricably connected to a part of that basin and that t h i s connection d i r e c t l y influences the course of the individual's l i f e . Thus "...as long as [the b a s i n j remains i n motion the owner continues i n good health and prosperity, but i f i t becomes sluggish [she/hej f a l l s i l l . Long ago, shamans knew how to reanimate a wash-basin..." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.103). This no doubt accounts for the shaman's wash basin. 16 It w i l l be remembered that the kusiut shaman i s said to 'cure' the Winter Ceremonial performer. See chapter two, • 17 Mcllwraith himself l a t e r speaks of shamans "...who have had marked success i n both curing the sick and i n giving conjuring exhibitions." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.572).. 18 See chapter two. 19 See this chapter, pp. 100-102. 20 See chapter two. 21 Personal correspondence with Margaret Siwallace and Grant Edwards. 108 IV. THE SISAOK SOCIETY The l i t e r a t u r e on the potlatch i s extr a o r d i n a r i l y exten-sive and varied. It includes economics (e.g. Boas's'idea that "the underlying p r i n c i p l e of the potlatch i s that of the i n t e r -est bearing investment of property"),"'" ecology (e.g. Piddocke's contention that the potlatch i s a way of dealing with resource 2 i n e q u i t i e s ) , exchange theory (e.g. Rosman and Rubel's idea that the potlatch i s a way of maintaining a balance between d i f f e r e n t clans and/or communities through exchange of goods and t i t l e s ) , warfare (e.g. Helen Codere's idea that the basic element of the potlatch i s 'fighting with property' and hence 4 gaining status and prestige through economic warfare), r e l -igion (e.g. Goldman's contention that the Kwakiutl are a fun-damentally r e l i g i o u s people and that therefore "..."potlatches", even as they deal i n "property", even as they bind outsiders into formal exchanges, even as they r e f l e c t on the prestige 5 of c h i e f s , are b a s i c a l l y and decidedly r e l i g i o u s actions.") and psychology (e.g. Dundes 1s idea that the Kwakuitl are anal-compulsive, that they equate wealth with faeces, and that con-sequently the potlatch constitutes the symbolic wiping of the anus), to name but a few. Of course one of the problems i s that the term 'potlatch' (which i s Chinook jargon for "to give") i s so vague that i t provides a v e r i t a b l e paradise for everyone and t h e i r favourite theory or theories. I t seems that the only point upon which the extant material on the potlatch i s l i k e l y to agree i s that the extant material on the potlatch i s both vast and diverse. 109 Rather than enter t h i s mire of t h e o r e t i c a l debate (which would e n t a i l numerous asides and draw th i s thesis out to an un-conscionable length) I s h a l l r e s t r i c t myself to some general comments regarding the B e l l a Coola potlatch and devote the main portion of t h i s f i n a l chapter to an analysis of the sisaok society. According to Mcllwraith, In s c i e n t i f i c and popular writings a l i k e , the term "potlatch" has been applied both to the public giving of presents, and to the r i t e s at which th i s occurs. But among the B e l l a Coola, such d i s t r i b u t i o n of g i f t s i s necessary at every  ceremonial; accordingly, each i s e s s e n t i a l l y a  potlatch. There i s one, however, which the inhabitants regard as the most important of a l l , the goal which every ambitious person"aims to reach, the r i t e i n which [her/his} ancestral myth can^be displayed. fThis r i t e i s referred to asj the Zim-. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1 pp.182-183)(emphasis mi Here it.' i s necessary to emphasize that among the B e l l a Coola s o c i a l prestige i s determined s o l e l y by the a b i l i t y to give potlatches. Mcllwraith points out that, [chieftainship} depends on the number and value of presents d i s t r i b u t e d at, any kind of ceremonial. To the B e l l a Coola, every r i t e , whether i t be a marriage, the bestowal of a name, a dance, a type of funeral, or admission into a secret society, i s a prerogative intimately associated with the myth by which the performance i s authorized. Ac-cordingly the host i s r e a l l y displaying the g l o r i e s of [her/his] ancestors before the eyes of the guests present at the ceremony. To the B e l l a Coola i t i s unthinkable for such to be performed without the giving of presents to a l l ; f a i l u r e to do so would destroy the value of the prerogative. The 3:im i s the ceremonial at which the most l a v i s h generosity i s displayed.... In consequence, the aim of every am-bitio u s person i s to hold a iim , since (Vier/hisl status i n the community v i r t u a l l y rests on [her/his! a b i l i t y i n t h i s respect. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1 p.163) 110 Although i n practice, due to t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to accumulate the necessary wealth, r e l a t i v e l y few B e l l a Coola actually a t t a i n positions of c h i e f t a i n s h i p , what i s in t e r e s t i n g i s that i n theory anyone may do so. For the e s s e n t i a l r e q u i s i t e s , posses-sion of an ancestral myth and supernatural assistance, are a part of every B e l l a Coola's very being. This i s a c r u c i a l point for i t demonstrates that B e l l a Coola thought regarding the extreme f l u i d i t y of the realm of the supernatural i s c l e a r l y r e f l e c t e d i n thexr s o c i a l organization. Just as no p a r t i c u l a r supernatural phenomenon i s p o t e n t i a l l y more powerful than any other supernatural phenomenon, so no B e l l a Coola i s p o t e n t i a l l y more powerful than any other B e l l a Coola. The f a c t that at one time a p a r t i c u l a r person(s) occupies a position of chief-tainship and at another time someone else does i s consistant with the idea that d i f f e r e n t supernatural phenomena manifest themselves i n d i f f e r e n t places and at d i f f e r e n t times'^ — the pot e n t i a l i s constant; i t i s only the manifestation that varies. Thus potlatching i s a means of actu a l i z i n g innate po-t e n t i a l and t h i s p o t e n t i a l i s nothing more nor less than the awareness and celebration of mythic power which i s , of course, the awareness and celebration of transformational a c t i v i t y . In keeping with the foregoing Mcllwraith maintains that, "the fundamental concept of [a i i m j i s the i n v i t i n g of guests from abroad to witness r i t e s i n connection with an ancestral myth...." (Mcllwraith, 194 8, Vol.1, p.184). Through an anal-ysis of one of these r i t e s , the ceremony performed by the sisaok society, I hope to illuminate the sacred nature of the potlatch I l l by demonstrating ;the way in which these performances complement the kusiut performances of the Winter Ceremonial. The sisaok society i s open to both women and men who are able to afford the considerable d i s t r i b u t i o n of wealth which t h e i r performances invariably e n t a i l . These ceremonies may occur at any kind of potlatch but are noticeably absent during the Winter Ceremonial season. The basic theme of a l l sisaok performances i s the celebration of s p e c i f i c ancestral myths through the earthly manifestation of one or more of the per-formers' a n c e s t o r s . 1 1 Bearing t h i s i n mind I w i l l now go on to present a description of a sisaok i n i t i a t i o n and performance and then proceed to provide my analysis. 12 The donor of a 3;im holds a preliminary ceremony whereat a number of people are i n i t i a t e d into the sisaok society and for which she/he provides the necessary wealth. According to Mcllwraith, "X's f i r s t choice w i l l be [^her/his] own children, f a i l i n g those the sons and daughters of a brother or s i s t e r , or of [her/his spouse'sj r e l a t i v e s , or i f none of these are available, those of a f r i e n d . " (Mcllwraith, 1948, V o l . 1 , p.198). From the parents of those about to be i n i t i a t e d X receives a sisaok name which she/he w i l l subsequently bestow upon the i n -i t i a t e . The p g o p l e chosen are "...always members of old-estab-li s h e d f a m i l i e s . " (Mcllwraith, 1948., V o l . 1 , p.198). A few nights afte r t h i s has been done X sends a herald to i n v i t e a l l the sisaok members to her/his house whereupon, i n the presence of the singers as well as the sisaok, the r e l a t i v e s of those who are about to be i n i t i a t e d recount the general features of the ancestral myth which contains the sisaok name that i s to be 13 conferred. Once th i s has been done for a l l the i n i t i a t e s the singers spend the next few days composing two songs for 14 each of them. Once the songs are ready X decides which of the i n i t i a t e s w i l l be f i r s t to be confined to the back-room of her/his house and duly warns t h i s i n d i v i d u a l of what i s about'.to take place. During the early part of the evening on which Y i s to be confined i n the back-room of X's house a sisaok whistle sounds from the nearby woods. At t h i s point a number of sisaok members surround Y and conduct her/him to her/his place of confinement. This event occurs i n f u l l view of non-sisaok members who are free to enter X's house and watch the proceedings. Once Y has been confined sisaok whistles again sound from the woods and t h i s time i t i s clear to the u n i n i t i a t e d that the whistling i s rapidly approaching X's house 16 When the whistling i s r i g h t outside the door a senior sisaok rushes out and, ...returns i n a moment, followed, amid the breathless excitement of the u n i n i t i a t e d , by a figure masked as a b i r d or animal. The design represents Y's crest....A member of the society has carved the mask, another wears i t , but t h i s the u n i n i t i a t e d do not know. "It i s a tutwinam," they gasp. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol. p.200) The figure approaches the singers and appears to whisper some-thing to them. Soon the singers perform the song that has 18 apparently just been taught them. The tutwinam, accompanied by a number of senior sisaok, dances to this song and, upon the completion of t h i s performance, enters the back-room un-113 accompanied. After a b r i e f period the tutwinam reappears and leaves the house amidst a f l u r r y of whistling. According to Mcllwraith: In some cases the [tutwinami does not appear u n t i l after the singing of the f i r s t song, and the u n i n i t i a t e d are t o l d that i t has been attracted by the music. In t h i s case i t passes into the back-room, l a t e r to reappear and leave by the front door. An announcement i s made that i t has brought a strange power, that Y has become peculiar, and that her/his name i s now, for example, Qwaqwasila. A herald bears th i s name .through the v i l l a g e . A second song i s then sung in due course. '(Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.201) In any case, af t e r the disappearance of the tutwinam the songs concerning Y's ancestry are always sung. After the singing of the f i n a l song, ...some chief or chiefs may make a laudatory speech concerning Y's family history. Then the singers again sing the f i r s t song, and sisaok members of the audience j o i n i n . S i m i l a r l y , the second song i s practiced....When the singers con-sider that Cthe songs have been properly mastered J, they t e l l X, who communicates with the sisaok {member] outside who has the whistle, and again i t s eerie notes are heard.... some of the sisaok conduct to the back-room the second i n i t i a t e whose songs are to be sung that night. The procedure i n [her/his] case i s i d e n t i c a l with that described for Y. Usually i t i s considered s u f f i c i e n t to seclude two on one night, though three may be attempted. When the songs of the l a s t have been sung, food i s d i s t r i b u t e d and the people disperse. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.202) The i n i t i a t e must stay i n the back-room anywhere from two weeks to four months depending on when the Urn i s to be held. Mcllwraith points out that before white-contact Jrims were r e l a t i v e l y rare occurrences as i t took considerable time and 114 energy to amass the wealth which was necessary for t h e i r per-formance. Consequently sisaok neophytes often had t h e i r f i r s t performance validated at smaller potlatches where there were few, i f any, foreign guests. However, given that i t was always preferable to hold sisaok performances at a i i m , i t i s to be understood that the following account conforms to the B e l l a Coola i d e a l . 19 . . . On the f i n a l evening of the 2:im the sisaok i n i t i a t e s make the i r appearance. The singers beat out the time to a p a r t i c u l a r i n i t i a t e ' s song and that person emerges from the 20 back-room and proceeds to dance. During t h i s dance a speaker di r e c t s X's spouse (or other near relative) to, "...bring f o r -ward goods as 'cedar-bark mats for [her/him] to stand upon', or 'cedar-bark mats to make soft [her/his| seat'." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.237). Upon the conclusion of her/his dance the i n i t i a t e returns to the back-room accompanied by a senior sisaok. This sisaok soon emerges announcing that the i n i t i a t e has now • "assumed the form of one of her/his ancestral crests. According to Mcllwraith: There now emerges a figure masked to represent an eagle, or whatever b i r d or animal i t may be, with a long blanket covering a l l but the feet.... The 'eagle' bends down beside the singers as i f whisper-ing a song to them, though i n r e a l i t y they have themselves composed i t . They sing t h i s as the masked figure moves around the f i r e , imitating the gait of an eagle with considerable dramatic s k i l l , while an assistant blows a whistle, sounding l i k e an eagle. When the figure has disappeared into the back-room, the heralds discuss with one another i n a loud tone of voice how that was the form i n which the i n i t i a t e ' s ancestor appeared long ago. (Mcllwraith, 194 8, Vol.1, p.238) 115 At t h i s point a sisaok member instructs X to "...bring forward goods, 'to sh i e l d our eyes from the supernatural being'." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.238). These goods are p i l e d beside those which have been brought forward by X's spouse. Now the singers begin the i n i t i a t e ' s second song and she/he once again emerges to dance before once more returning to the back-room. At thi s time: The two assortments of goods are... d i s t r i b u t e d . F i r s t those provided by X are presented to the singers who composed the songs for the i n i t i a t e s , to the carpenters who made the masks, the heralds, and announcers, and any others who have assisted; i f any remain they are presented to the stranger-guests. Then the goods which are "mats for the dancer's feet" are di s t r i b u t e d , e n t i r e l y to the guests, and are said to have"become nothing" or to have"flowed away" i n the transaction. Neither set of goods i s returnable. These presents validate i n the eyes of the guests, the ri g h t of the i n i t i a t e to membership i n the sisaok society. (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.238) Once a l l the i n i t i a t e s have gone through the foregoing process the sisaok members j o i n them i n the back-room whereupon the ancestral crest i s returned to Nusmat•a "without any elaborate 21 ceremony." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.239). With respect to analyzing the foregoing material the f i r s t thing one notices i s that the sisaok society, unlike the kusiut society, i s e n t i r e l y ancestral family oriented. Remembering that any given B e l l a Coola may trace her/his ancestral family back to the time when the supernatural f i r s t ancestors came down from Nusmat•a and began t h e i r earthly wanderings i t i s evident that the sisaok society i s a li n k to and celebration of the supernatural (transformational) p o t e n t i a l that l i e s with-116 i n each person. With respect to having as t h e i r core concern the celebration of transformational potential the kusiut and sisaok s o c i e t i e s are s i m i l a r . The essential difference between them i s that the kusiut society i s primarily concerned with the dangerous and destructive aspect of transformational a b i l i t y , whereas the sisaok society i s primarily concerned with the strengthening and creative aspect of transformational a b i l i t y . The reader w i l l r e c a l l that the B e l l a Coola must resolve the tension between uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y (the supernatural/that which i s unbounded) and the necessary accep-tance of and regard for boundaries (order/the concrete). Taken separately each of these states i s non-human, but taken together they create the human condition. As has been shown i n chapters two and three, the tension brought about by the necessary clash of these two states i s resolved through controlled transform-ational a c t i v i t y -- through myths and ceremonies that have as t h e i r basis the coming together of the supernatural and the human, which i s to say the symbolic coming together of chaos and boundedness. The r e s u l t of t h i s coming together i s a recog-n i t i o n of the fundamental need to both constantly recognize and yet constantly control the transformational p o t e n t i a l that l i e s within each B e l l a Coola. A consideration of the kusiut society provides an instance wherein the supernatural c l e a r l y presents i t s e l f i n i t s danger-ous and destructive aspect. Possession i s always unexpected and i s always of a v i o l e n t , traumatic nature. The emphasis which i s placed on elaborate ceremonies of public exorcism under-117 scores the fact that the supernatural i s seen as a l i e n and as ultimately destructive. Further to t h i s the supernatural manifestations that occur during the Winter Ceremonial are not ancestral family s p e c i f i c and hence t h e i r a l i e n nature i s again emphasized, as i s the v u l n e r a b i l i t y of a l l human beings, B e l l a Coola and slaves a l i k e . With respect to the sisaok society the i n d i v i d u a l who i s to be i n i t i a t e d into the society i s known to be aware of her/ his impending possession and when i t f i n a l l y does occur i t i s non-violent. In f a c t the word possession seems inappropriate i n t h i s context as i t appears that what i s actually experienced i s more an aggravated or exaggerated remembering than an a l i e n possession, for the i n d i v i d u a l i n question i s intimately f a m i l i a r with her/his ancestral myth — indeed i t i s sections of t h i s myth that the individual's r e l a t i v e s relate to the singers and the sisaok society at large. The i n i t i a t e and everyone else within the B e l l a Coola community know that they e x i s t as ex-tensions of t h e i r ancestors and that as such a celebration of the ancestral bond serves as a reaffirmation of each person's o r i g i n a l and s t i l l extant (albeit latent) power. Because the ancestral bond i s perceived as highly personal i t does not carry with i t the threat that i s i m p l i c i t within other mani-festations of the supernatural. Since i t i s well known that the f i r s t ancestors chose to give up t h e i r uncontrolled trans-formational a c t i v i t y (symbolized by the return of t h e i r animal/ b i r d or whatever forms to Nusmat-a), to embrace boundedness and thus create the human condition, and since they did this 118 without undue c o n f l i c t or struggle, they represent the i d e a l of harmony for which the B e l l a Coola constantly s t r i v e . Through celebrating the f i r s t ancestors the B e l l a Coola are celebrating t h e i r own p o t e n t i a l for an i d e a l resolution of the c o n f l i c t between chaos and s t a s i s . Consider the phenomenon of the tutwinam. I t i s known that the tutwinam i s the manifestation of the i n i t i a t e ' s an-cestor i n non-human form. This being i s seen to sepak to the singers and to enter the back-room to v i s i t the i n i t i a t e . After t h i s v i s i t the tutwinam leaves of i t s own accord. There i s no frenzy of exorcism, and although a healthy respect i s exacted from the u n i n i t i a t e d , undue terror i s not. One can see that the general atmosphere of fear and urgency which pervades the Winter Ceremonial i s quite absent during the sisaok performances. Unlike the various manifestations of the supernatural that occur during the Winter Ceremonial the tutwinam i s an object of pride rather than fear. It assures the B e l l a Coola of the strength and power of t h e i r ancestors and hence of t h e i r own inner poten-t i a l . I t i s noteworthy that tutwinam are often purposely sum-moned by the singing of songs. Again t h i s emphasizes the p o s i t i v e rapport between the f i r s t ancestors and the B e l l a Coola. To purposely summon supernatural possession at a kusiut ceremony i s unheard of -- the emphasis i s d d e f i n i t e l y an exorcism. At the actual Mm the sisaok i n i t i a t e , to the accompaniment of her/his p a r t i c u l a r ancestral songs, dances before the assemb-lage of foreign guests. She/he dances i n both human and animal/ b i r d form and goods are d i s t r i b u t e d to a l l present. This i s a 119 clear demonstration of the i n i t i a t e ' s s o c i a l as .well as super-natural status. The metaphoric r e f e r r a l to goods as cedar-bark mats denotes s o c i e t a l prestige (cedar-bark mats being universally acknowledged items of s o c i a l exchange) while the metaphoric r e f e r r a l to goods as shielding the eyes from the supernatural being denotes the prestige associated with .the supernatural. Unlike the kusiut society, which deliberately underplays the s o c i e t a l positions of i t s participants (the reader w i l l r e c a l l that members of the society come from a l l walks of l i f e and that a bare minimum of wealth i s required), the sisaok society d e l i b e r a t e l y underscores the s o c i e t a l positions of i t s participants (members of the society are necessarily s o c i a l l y affluent as an enormous amount of wealth i s required). In fact whereas the kusiut society i s often thought of as 'the society of shamans' the sisaok society i s often thought of as 'the society of c h i e f s ' . (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.181). Further to t h i s , while the songs of the kusiut society are a l l concerned with non-ancestral family s p e c i f i c supernatural occur-rences the songs of the sisaok society are a l l concerned with the actions of i t s members' f i r s t ancestors. Again one sees that the sisaok society contains a strong personal element that i s e n t i r e l y lacking i n the kusiut society. I t i s the a b i l i t y to act as t h e i r f i r s t ancestors did, to combine the power of chaos with the power of the concrete and thus create the i d e a l human condition, that the B e l l a Coola celebrate and demonstrate to foreign guests through the i n s t i t u t i o n of the sisaok society. The kusiut society, having nothing to do with s o c i a l prestige, 120 does not perform i n the presence of foreign guests. Why should i t ? The B e l l a Coola know that a l l people everywhere are i n -discriminately subject to the same supernatural forces, what-ever manifestations they may take. What they are not subject to i s a si m i l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p to an ancestral family. And hence i t i s the ancestral family, the point of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n between the B e l l a Coola and a l l other people, and of course d i f f e r e n -t i a t i o n i s the beginning of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , of s o c i a l prestige, or order, that i s appropriately presented to foreign guests. The generous d i s t r i b u t i o n of g i f t s (an es s e n t i a l ingredient of B e l l a Coola s o c i a l prestige) which occurs at the conclusion of the sisaok masked performance, blends the qui n t e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l with the qu i n t e s s e n t i a l l y supernatural (the transform-ation of the i n i t i a t e into the animal/bird form of a f i r s t ancestor) and so presents the audience with a graphic demon-st r a t i o n of the harmonious balance that constitutes the i d e a l human condition. It i s i n regard to exorcism that the d i s t i n c t i o n between the atmosphere of the kusiut and sisaok s o c i e t i e s i s perhaps most evident. Kusiut exorcisms are lengthy, tension-ridden, public exhibitions. Everyone i s aware that t h i s i s an extremely dangerous time, for unless the supernatural manifestation i s expelled from the dancer she/he w i l l die. On the other hand, 22 sisaok expulsions take place xn private wxth very l x t t l e ceremony and with no fear of danger. The f i r s t ancestor who comes to re-unite with the i n i t i a t e i s c l e a r l y seen as an ex-tension of the i n i t i a t e her/himself and therefore as non-threaten-121 ing. As I argue i n chapter two, the public nature of kusiut exorcism serves to reinforce the notion of the necessity of human order and control. With respect to sisaok expulsions t h i s isnnot necessary for i t i s known that i t was the f i r s t ancestors who i n i t i a l l y brought about a state or order -- con-sequently t h e i r manifestation within t h e i r descendants reinforces rather than threatens t h i s notion. In fact I suspect that sisaok expulsions are actually symbolic gestures of good w i l l — that i s to say t h e i r human descendants, who w i l l i n g l y receive them, merely support the f i r s t ancestors i n t h e i r return to Nusmat-a. The table at the end of thi s chapter provides a summation of the d i s t i n c t i o n between the sisaok and kusiut s o c i e t i e s . However i t i s extremely important to r e a l i z e that ultimately the kusiut and sisaok ceremonies, l i k e the Winter Ceremonial and the potlatch, do not oppose so much as complement one another. They are both concerned with transformational poten-t i a l , the difference being that the kusiut society and Winter Ceremonial stress the destructive aspect of that p o t e n t i a l whereas the sisaok society and the potlatch stress the creative aspect. Given the nature of the supernatural, of uncontrolled trans-formational a c t i v i t y ( i . e . that i t contains the potential for human l i f e and yet at the same time smothers i t i n chaos), i t i s to be expected that the two major B e l l a Coola secret s o c i e t i e s , with t h e i r separate ceremonial seasons, r e f l e c t both the des-tru c t i v e (dissolution of the human) and creative ( r e v i t a l i z i n g of the human) aspects of transformational p o t e n t i a l respectively. 122 TABLE I SISAOK SOCIETY 0 KUSIUT SOCIETY performances occur only during potlatches referred to as 'society chiefs 1 deals exclusively with ancestors foreign guests usually present at performances emphasis i s placed on the creative: the l i n k (kinship) between the supernatural and the human i s stressed masked depict songs and dances ancestral family s p e c i f i c possession i s sometimes sought and i s never of a vi o l e n t , traumatic nature expulsion takes place i n private and i s accompanied by very l i t t l e ceremony excessive wealth needed to validate sisaok prerogatives (Confirmation of s o c i a l status) performances occur only during Winter Ceremonial foreign guests usually not present at performances emphasis i s placed on the destructive: the gap between the supernatural and the human i s stressed - songs and dances not an-ce s t r a l family s p e c i f i c - possession i s always unsought and i s always of a vio l e n t traumatic nature - exorcism takes place i n public and i s accompanied by elaborate ceremony - minimal wealth needed to validate kusiut prerogatives (Dissolution of s o c i a l status) of - referred to as 'society of shamans' f i r s t - deals exclusively with supernatural beings who are not f i r s t ancestors dances (masks always - masked dances (masks always f i r s t ancestors) depict supernatural beings who are not f i r s t ancestors) 123 CHAPTER FOUR: FOOTNOTES "''Franz Boas, "the Potlatch", i n Indians of the North P a c i f i c  Coast. Tom McFeat, (ed.), Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966, p.72. 2 Stuart Piddocke, "The Potlatch System of the Southern Kwakiutl: A New Perspective", i n Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Vol.21, No. 2., 1965. 3 A. Rosman & P. Rubel, Feasting With Mine Enemies. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971. 4 Helen Codere, "Fighting with Property: A Study of Kwakiutl Potlatching and Warfare, 1792-1930". Monographs of the Amer-ican Ethnological Society, Vol.XVIII, pp.118-125. ^Irving Goldman, The Mouth of Heaven. New York: John'Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1975, p.8. 6' 'Alan Dundes, "Heads or T a i l s : A Psychoanalytic Study of Pot-l a t c h " , i n The Journal of Psychological Anthropology, Vol.2, No.4, F a l l , 1979. 7 Thus the 3rim i s merely a large potlatch at which the doners' ancestral myths are displayed before foreign guests. 8 The B e l l a Coola indicate that "...the B e l l a B e l l a consider the B e l l a Coola practice of each one endeavouring to make [her/himselfJ a chief to be f o o l i s h i n the extreme." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.176). 9 Indeed at one point Mcllwraith comments, "...without question these myths... have... a great influence on the l i v e s of the people. In fact the s o c i a l structure of the [ B e l l a Coola tends] to conform to the myths." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.176). ^ I t should be noted that even once a person acquires a pos i t i o n of c h i e f t a i n s h i p the maintenance of that position i s dependent upon her/his continued a b i l i t y to give potlatches. Thus B e l l a Coola chieftanship i s i n a constant state of flux. '""'"Being without recognized ancestry slaves are never admitted to the sisaok society. 124 12 I am using the context of the Urn rather than another type of potlatch because i t i s t h i s event for which Mcllwraith provides the greatest amount of data. Following Mcllwraith's usage I w i l l henceforth r e f e r to the .iim donor as X. However i t should be noted that one person i s never so l e l y responsible for the giving of a 3:im -- i t i s always a j o i n t e f f o r t and the prestige of a successful :^im r e f l e c t s on a l l who have contributed towards i t . 13 . • Usually around seven people w i l l be i n i t i a t e d . 14 The content of these songs i s of course taken from the previously recounted ancestral myths. "''"'Again following Mcllwraith's usage the i n i t i a t e w i l l henceforth be referred to as Y. 16 Mcllwraith c a l l s t h i s person a s i k i , "the one who cures". However, as the position of s i k i was adopted from the B e l l a B e l l a i n the l a t e 19th century i t i s more i n keeping with t r a d i t i o n a l B e l l a Coola practices to refer to a senior sisaok. Thus Mcllwraith: "In t h i s account of a potlatch i t i s assumed that a s i k i i s functioning on a l l occasions, but i n many cases any senior sisaok i s considered s u f f i c i e n t l y close to the supernatural beings to act s a t i s f a c t o r i l y . U n t i l about 1870  i t i s clear that any sisaok was regarded as capable of doing so." (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.197)(emphasis mine). 17 "Meaning, 'what i s displayed', or 'a mate r i a l i z a t i o n ' . " (Mcllwraith, 1948, Vol.1, p.200). 18 This song i s , of course, one that they have previously learned and which concerns Y's ancestral myth. 19 Preparations for a -3rim may take months or even years but when a l l i s f i n a l l y i n readiness the actual performances are 20 usually concluded i n three days, From a l l indications .this person i s always a chief and a sisaok member. 21 At the time Mcllwraith c o l l e c t e d his material there was a public ceremony of expulsion. However given that, as Mcllwraith himself emphasizes, th i s was c l e a r l y a recent addition to the sisaok ceremony, I have disregarded i t . 22 . Exorcism, with i t s connotation of e v i l and danger, i s not an appropriate word i n thi s context. 1 24a CONCLUSION What t h i s thesis attempts to do i s to analyse how a s p e c i f i c group of people, the B e l l a Coola, make sense of t h e i r l i v e s . A thorough examination of the extant B e l l a Coola material has led me to the conclusion that the concept of transformation i s the thread that enables one to navigate what may appear to be a labyrinth of contradictions and dead-ends. The B e l l a Coola universe, l i k e a l l human universes, i s fraught with the constant need to come to terms with l i f e and death. Into t h i s basic dichotomy the B e l l a Coola introduce a t h i r d term, the concept of transformation, which resolves the li f e / d e a t h op-position by rendering i t p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y manageable. Uncontrolled transformational a c t i v i t y , the supernatural, i s a state of chaos — a state of unrealized p o t e n t i a l . I t i s the superim-position of order, of control, upon transofrmational a c t i v i t y that brings about the creation of the human. Thus the human condition may be seen as one of controlled or ordered trans-formational a c t i v i t y , of constantly balancing two states, that of chaos (absolute transformation) and that of stasis (absolute order), either of which taken separately e n t a i l s the o b l i t e r -ation of the human. Death i s seen as a giving over to the supernatural -- as being reabsorbed into chaos. However because chaos, being unstructured force, i s a state of unlimited but unrealized p o t e n t i a l , i t i s possible, by observing prescribed r i t u a l actions ( i . e . by superimposing order upon the super-natural) to bring about a b i r t h . In other words, although the dead are indeed l o s t to the human, i t i s possible to consider the loss as temporary. Thus by observing c e r t a i n r i t u a l actions 126 such as taking a stone from a cemetery and placing i t under her bed ( i . e . providing the element of order) a woman who has recently l o s t her c h i l d may again conceive. That i s to say, reabsorption into the supernatural (destruction/death) may be redressed by the superimposition of order and again r e s u l t i n the human (creation/birth), It would be in t e r e s t i n g to compare t h i s analysis of B e l l a Coola cosmology with other North West Coast groups. Such a comparison would undoubtedly pose many questions and provide numerous avenues to further research. For example, i s trans-formation as central a concept to the T l i n g i t or Haida as i t i s to the.BiBella Coola? And i f not, what role^does_ i t play and why? What does th i s t e l l us about the cultures under scrutiny? In any case, my research has led me to the conclusion that the power of transformation i s at the centre of every B e l l a Coola i n s t i t u t i o n -- sometimes (as i n the kusiut society) the emphasis i s on the destructive aspect of that power; some-times (as i n the sisaok society) i t i s on the. creative aspect. But always the endeavour i s to est a b l i s h a harmonious balance within the whirlwind of transformation. Truly, "the miracle i s to make i t s o l i d . " 127 BIBLIOGRAPHY Atwood, Margaret. L i f e Before Man. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. , 19 80. 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