Category Archives: First Nations

First Nations belief, folklore, and legend, predominantly Vancouver Island

The Origin of Fire: A Nanaimo First Nations Ghost Story

This is a short First Nations ghost story taken from Franz Boas’ 1895 text, Indian Myths and Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America, which was translated from German by Dietrich Bertz. The city of Nanaimo – where I live – … Continue reading

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The Girl and the Ghosts

The following is a short Nuu-Chah-Nulth legend from the 1895 German book ‘Indian Myths and Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America’ by Franz Boas ~ Dietrich Bertz translation. What fascinated me the most about the Girl and the … Continue reading

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Artist and Chief James Swan: on funerary rites, putting spirits to rest and the thunderbird (Part 3/3)

(Safe Journey. James UuKwaqum Swan*) James, you were talking about letting the spirit of a person go after they’ve died by practicing what you called “dealing with things the right way…” In our culture, we have a song called the … Continue reading

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Artist and Chief James Swan: on First Nations ghosts, prayer and black magic (Part 2/3)

(Take Back Our Children mural detail. James UuKwaqum Swan) James, do the Nuu-chah-nulth people believe in wandering spirits, or are there First Nations ghosts? Whether I believe in it or not, there are ghosts. In our culture ghosts are stuck. They … Continue reading

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Artist and Chief James Swan: on First Nations legendary creatures and animal spirits (Part 1/3)

(True Reflections. James UuKwaqum Swan) Ahousaht is located on Flores Island, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The community is only accessible by boat or air, but as anyone who has ever been there can tell you, it’s well … Continue reading

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