Southeast Wind has ten brothers (in some accounts, nephews), or different manifestations of his powerful force. Ethnologist John R. Swanton recorded a story in the winter of 1900 about Master-Carpenter, who went to war with Southeast Wind because he was sending too much rainy, stormy weather to the people. After four failed attempts to make a seaworthy canoe, Master-Carpenter succeeded and set out on his mission. He seized the matted hair (kelp) of Southeast Wind and pulled him into the canoe. Southeast Wind sent the first of his brothers, Red Storm Cloud, who turned the sky red, followed by Taker Off of the Tree Tops, who blew so hard that tree branches came down around Master-Carpenter in his canoe. Next, Pebble Rattler brought rolling waves, Canoe Breaker violently tossed the canoe, and Tidal Wave covered the canoe with water. Others brought mist and melted ice. All this time, Master-Carpenter was putting medicine on himself that he brought with him for the task.
Exposed as their villages are to currents and wind, Haida travelers and fishermen are keenly observant of the weather. Davidson sees an analogy between uncertain weather and preparing for the unknown, such as performing a new song or creating a work of art. Southeast Wind is represented here by an image of the killer whale, which becomes human when on land. A humanlike nose and eye signal this transformative nature. The large ovoid is its head, and a black tri-neg forms the edge of the lower jaw. Black U-shapes with red ovals indicate the pectoral and dorsal fins, and the tail is shown at the very top. The entire image is dematerialized but not disjointed.
CM, OBC, RCA
Tsahl Eagle Clan
Robert Davidson is one of the most decorated Canadian artists today. He has received such prestigious awards as the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
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