Sedna Picture

SEDNA

Canadian Inuit, Post-Contact



A hunter, whose wife had died, lived alone with his only child, Sedna. She grew to be a beautiful young woman and soon many young men came looking to marry her. Sedna would not have any of them, though, and her father became upset and worried that his daughter would never marry. Time and time again, she refused all suitors, until nobody came anymore.
One day, a handsome young man, dressed all in white, came to Sedna and asked her to be his wife. She was impressed, but asked why she should leave her home to join him. He answered that he would give her a good home with many warm furs and much food and she accepted. When her father returned home that day, he found her gone and saw her and her new husband sailing away out of sight.
Far away they went, to her husband’s island home. On this rocky place, swarming with birds, she found only a ragged tent and hard hides to sleep on. Instead of the good meat her husband promised, he brought her only bad fish to eat. When he flew away with the other birds to go fishing, she knew that her husband was really a Fulmar, or Storm Petrel.


Sedna’s father came looking for her and found her there, cold and miserable. Taking pity on his daughter, he put her in his boat and began to take her home. Out at sea, the waters began to get rough. Waves heaved higher and higher and the winds began to blow harder. Adrift in a terrible storm, the father knew that the Fulmar-husband was causing it all, angry at being abandoned by Sedna. So the father tried to calm the storm and escape by casting Sedna out of the boat and into the sea.
Sedna grabbed onto the side of the boat and tried to climb back in. The father took his knife and cut at her hands. He cut her first part of her fingers off, and they fell into the water and turned into ringed seals. Again she tried to climb into the boat, and he cut her middle parts of her fingers, which turned into the large seals. One last time she tried to climb in and he cut off the third part of her fingers and her thumbs and they turned into the walruses and the whales. Sedna then slipped under the waves and went deep into the sea, no longer a woman, but now a spirit.
Sedna lives there now, in her world beneath the sea. From there, she sends her children, the sea creatures, up to live and play and mate and provide for The People. But if Sedna is offended, she will hold them back and let The People go hungry until she is appeased and calmed again. So the hunters of The People must always pay respect to Sedna, the great sea-mother.



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From part of a project I'm doing for Mythology studies.

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