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An Aboriginal Presence

Our Origins

Wealth of Stories - Sa-Klu-Nazetti (The Sun Taken in a Snare)

A long, long time ago a brother and sister lived all alone. They made their living just as we do now; that is, by hunting and fishing.

Every day, the sister tended her snares in the trees to capture pheasants, snow ptarmigans, white rabbits and even lynx.

But she, as well as her brother, noticed with terror that the days and nights followed each other at shorter and shorter intervals; that the days were getting ever shorter; that the Sun (Sa) hardly showed itself, and soon hid itself beneath the earth's disc in the south-southwest where the "mouth-of-the-earth" (nni-odhae) is.

Then they understood fearfully that the earth was going to freeze, and that all life on its surface would be extinguished.

Then both of them resolved to set it right. One day the sister, tending her lynx snares as usual in the spruce forest, noticed in one of the snares the round purplish face of the sun which had been caught there and was being strangled.

She warned her brother; they hurried to catch the sun and strangle it completely. But he pleaded for his life... "If you let me live," he said to them, "henceforth I will prolong my course. I will make the days get longer and I will diffuse life again with warmth on the Earth."

On this condition, they let the sun go and from that time on, they say, you can see the sun shine so long in the vault of the heavens.

Told by Alexis Enna-aze, Chippewayan, November, 1880, in Emile Petitot, Indian Legends of North-Western Canada

Gopher Snare
Southern Tutchone
Before 1960
Eagle feather, moosehide, sinew and wood
Canadian Museum of Civilization, VI-Q-151, CD98-27-067

Gopher Snare - VI-Q-151 - CD98-27-067
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