I chose ravens for my topic because of a carving on a petroglyph I saw at the museum. Ravens are a significant part of Native Alaskan folklore and their image has become immensely symbolic of cunning wit, mischief, and power.
I have been interested in ravens since I was a child. I remember sitting in my fleece pajamas, listening to my mother read from a book of Native Alaskan bedtime stories. The one that has stayed with me most clearly is the tale of the raven who stole the sun.
Ravens are very prominent in stories from cultures around the world. Because of their dark coloring, mournful cry, and their tendency to eat the flesh of dead animals, they are often thought to be an ill omen or a sign of death. The raven shares the same meaning in many Native Alaskan tribes, such as a trickster, the creator of the world, and the bringer of light. I find it interesting that Native Alaskans believed that the one who created the world would also be a troublemaker. In the story of the raven who stole the sun he deceives the Native people, though his antics eventually lead to a world with light where there once was none. In some retellings of the story, the raven starts out with pure white feathers, and his unleashing of the sun leaves his perfect feathers charred and black.
I am fascinated by how important ravens have been in centuries of folklore from cultures anywhere ravens and humans have lived together. I think it would be interesting to combine elements of many different cultures into one story. I believe it would enhance the museum because ravens have been so significant in so many stories from around the world, and play such an important role in the history of folklore.