The Trickster

New Rav Pic.jpg

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.



2 thoughts on “The Trickster

  1. Very interesting! Especially the note about the creator of the World being a Trickster, makes sense given how complex life tends to be, especially in Human terms. Where we have deceit, honesty, and so on, makes a great creator story as opposed to one supreme being that is inherently good or bad.

    Though, I will ask what you wish to achieve with this topic? Specifically about Ravens and how they’ve impacted Native American culture? Or following all stories of the Raven? Or just about it’s trickster nature? I’d suggest looking for more stories that deal with Ravens, maybe involving the Trickster element, and perhaps linking to other cultures if need be.


  2. Birds have always been an interesting animal to me, especially ravens in Alaska. The reason that at night you don’t really see Ravens in Fairbanks is because they actually all live and sleep in a large group somewhere along Goldstream rd and Ivory Jacks. They live out there so that they can protect the young. The story of the Raven who stole the sun was one of my favorite books to read while I grew up. I really enjoyed your project and I think you did a very good job on your final about Ravens.I hope you enjoyed writing this because I enjoyed reading it, good job!


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