Arctic String Figures

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This is not an area of expertise, but one of fascination.

Class at Harvard Divinity called The Deep.

For class, she did a report on Sedna a goodess of ocean. Oral Inuit tradition, therefore many variants but core features. Baffin islands, Canada, and Greenland?

There is always a young woman and a father. She is always rejecting husbands for some reason.

Father somehow is led to say 'youa re spoiled you are marrying the next thing to come by' which is always a dog. Or sometimes she gets tricked into marrying a bird husband.

eventually get stuck on an island

father somehow returns, either to check up on her, or to make sure she is still there.

husband gets angry and puts chase, which causes a storm.

father tries to throw her overboard, she clings on and he starts cutting off her fingers clinging to the edge of the boat. each finger becomes a sea mammal.

eventually no fingers left, she sinks do the bottom, transforms to a sea goddess

as inuit people break taboos, her face and hair get dirtier. she can't clean herself without fingers. she gets angry and start punishing by withholding animals.

Inuit shamans talk to her and ask what they have done wrong, and bargain to appease Sedna

In another version, the shaman reaches down and pulls her up and interrogates her, moreviolent

in a third, shaman visits her under water. He kind of assaults her, and then takes care of her, grooming her hair etc, than they bargain and figure out what went wrong.

"The See can Wash Away all Evils". prof's book. gets involved in modern pollution

"The inuit Imagination" storytelling is integral to everyday life. everyone does it, but there are also highly skilled ones that train. performative events

string figures are a manifestation of art behind this project.

kind of like cat's cradles

Anna Mudd:

Genki ads that in Japan this is called ayatori. Both have presence on youtube