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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Haida raven : a zoological and symbolic interpretation Von Hopffgarten, Daphne


This study is about the Haida raven. It is both a zoological and symbolic study: of the raven bird (Corvus corax principalis) which is an ubiquitous natural presence throughout the Queen Charlotte Islands, and also of the personified Raven, the trickster transformer character Nañkî'lsLas. Thus, the study looks at the natural attributes of the bird, and the ethnographic literature, with references to the myths, and most specifically, at the material representations' abstractions of the attributes of the raven. As a result of this correlation, it becomes clear that these different dimensions of expressions of the Raven/raven interrelate in such a way as to support a wider and more comprehensive understanding of this complex figure of the Haida culture. In conclusion, the raven is discussed as a primary symbolic animal of the Haida culture, who is perhaps, in a metaphorical sense, a reflection of man's conception of his own self in the universe; who is, Raven/raven, the 'one who makes things happen by his word'.

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