Warren George shared some Koyukon Athabascan stories and beliefs on Facebook recently and gave me permission to share it on the Athabascan Woman Blog. Warren is originally from Nulato and now lives in Fairbanks.
I was always told to always respect the land and animals. There was always rules you had to follow when handling animals that you have killed. Little things like if you get blood on the floor try and wipe it up as soon as possible. Do not walk all over the blood.
Even before you went out hunting you had to show respect. You were not supposed to boast about how you are going to get an animal or how you were going to shoot it. Somehow the animal would know you were coming supposedly and you would not have any luck. Even after you bring an animal home if you had luck.
You had to follow certain rules. Like after eating bear meat you have to burn the bones of the bear. Or you can’t feed bear meat to a dog because it will make it mean. Or you can’t throw bear bones into the river because it will change the rivers channel and a sand bar would appear where you threw the bones. Or rules on what women can or can’t eat of a bear.
Our elders used to have to follow these rules year after year and this is how they passed this knowledge on from generation to generation. We can only speculate who made these rules (maybe it was between the animal spirit and man). Maybe it was just learned over time.
We are a generation that does not totally live off the land and we are chancing the possibility that we could lose parts of our traditions. It would be nice if our elders could somehow document it. There are a lot of rules about trapping and hunting out there.
-Warren George, Koyukon Athabascan
Thank you Warren George for sharing some Koyukon Athabascan traditions and beliefs. I think it is important to share them with the younger generation.