Thunderbird & Killer Whale Plaque
Made by William (Billy) Cook
24"h. x 12"w. x 1.5"d.
Thunderbird in Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Mythology
After the defeat of his family, the only surviving Thunderbird moves to the Upper World from a place near Kalugwis. Thunder is the result of the Thunderbird moving from the winter side to the summer side of his house, or vice versa. It is also an omen of an impending death of someone who belongs to a family, which has the rights to the Thunderbird crest.
Thunderbird hunts the double-headed serpent using a weir. He also feeds on whales, which are his salmon. His blanket is made from wormwood and produces lightening. When the Thunderbird soars there is lightening and he also has the ability to produce wind storms. At last, he is the chief of the village of the birds at Kunwaas.
Killer Whale in Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Mythology
The Killer Whale lives in the west at the outer side of the world, where he has two canoes. One is named One-Tide-canoe because it takes only one tide to travel to Knight Inlet and back. The other canoe, One-Day-Canoe, takes only one day to travel to the Skeena River and return. The dolphins are his warriors, and help him to bring back his daughter when the Chief-of-the-Ancients tries to steal her. Sea Lion is his messenger and slave.
The Killer Whale may emerge as ancestors. The Kwakwaka'wakw respect Killer Whales because they view them as reincarnations of deceased chiefs and are used as Imas in the potlatch. They are also associated with coppers, property disposition, and wealth.
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