Inuit Art of Canada

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Sedna myth of the Igloolik region

A girl would not take a husband, and at last her father in anger said that she would take a dog. One night a dog came in and took her as a wife.

SednaWhen the girl became pregnant, the father isolated her on a small island, but the dog swam over to join her. It would swim in from time to time with the pack saddle to get meat from the father. The girl bore a litter - some dog children, some children in human form . One day, feeling sorry for her, the father loaded the dog with stones, concealed with meat on top. When the dog swam out, he sank and drowned. Then the father used to take the meat over to the island.

Next the angry daughter told her dog children to attack their grandfather's kayak, but he managed to escape back to the mainland. He dared not go to the island anymore. Now in need, the girl put her dog children in a boot setting three straws for masts, and they drifted out to sea to become the ancestors of the white man. She put her human form children in the additionnal outer sole of a boot and sent them drifting to the land to give rise to the Chipewyan Indians. Then she returned home to live with her parents once more.

One day while the father was away hunting, a kayak arrived and a fine big man called the girl out to go off with him; which she did. Stopping by an ice float en route, the kayaker got out and removed his sun goggles, whereupon the girl burst into tears for the man was punny, having only been sitting tall on a high seat, and had ugly eyes, a northern fulmar in human form. They went on to the bird's sealskin tent where they lived together and had a child.

But her sorrowing father set out in a boat to look for her and arrived one day while the fulmar was out hunting. He took her away in his boat. The fulmar, in bird form, caught up and swooping close it raised such a storm with its wings that the boat nearly capsised. In fear the father threw the girl overboard to her husband, but she clung to the gunwale. So he chopped off her first finger joints, and they bobbed up in the water as small seals. Again she grasped the boat's edge, so the father hacked off the next finger joints which became bearded seals. Still the girl hung on, and the last joints were cut off, forming the walruses .Then she sank to become a spirit, the mother of the sea beasts. The father got home, but in remorse he laid down at the water's edge under a skin, and the tide swept him out to join his daughter and the dog in a house at the bottom of the sea.

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