There are actually four collective stories that I would like to focus on. The stories are those that are frequently summaries because they are normally passed down through oral tradition. Although it took some digging in the Rasmussen library’s ALASKA section, I found some written forms of these stories.
To begin at the beginning, the god, or sometimes demigod, Nanaboozhoo created the world according to traditions of a native group in Canada (Lövgren, 34). After he gave his creation some instructions on how to live he retreated to the north of the North. He promised to remind them of his presence, and to show that he remembered them, by lighting a huge fire that they could see reflected on the night sky.
Another story that I enjoyed was that of a chieftain and his son. The son decided to leave his tribe to travel, and then was gone for days with no sight of return. Eventually his mother told his father, the chieftain, that she was concerned and suggested he find him. The chieftain followed after him and discovered a beautiful land with a great many people who spoke another language. A man who understood his language helped him to find his son and they watched him play a ball game. Once the ball game is over they are honored and sent home on two large birds. The story ends with a sentence saying that “It is that those very few who travel to the land of the northern lights… remember the remarkable journey.” (Lövgren, 40)
The last two are similar tales that I hope to connect in my final retelling. There is the movie by Disney called “Brother Bear” where a younger brother doesn’t respect tradition and pays the price by becoming a bear (Walker). This story shows the spirits of the aurora directly interacting with people. Another more traditional story from Finmark is similar with brothers interactions with the lights above. The younger brother is qutoed to be saying a mocking poem at the lights and his older brother warns him to stop. Because the younger brother does not stop, he is killed by the lights.
Brekke, Asgeir, Alv Egeland, and A. Brekke. The Northern Light: From Mythology to Space Research. Germany: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K, 1 Sept. 1983. Print.
Brother Bear. Disney Movies, n.d. Film. 11 Feb. 2016.
Lövgren, Torbjorn. Das Polarlicht. N.p.: Geistesleben, 1983. Print.
Brother Bear. Dir. Aaron BlaiseRobert Walker. 5 Dec. 2003. Film. 11 Feb. 2016.