Whale of a Tale

Resource close-up: Raven And The Whale

Raven is an important being throughout Alaska Native cultures. He created the earth, brought fresh water to the world, and brought light to the world. He was a creator -- but he was also a trickster, an individual with great appetites who was often interested only in what would benefit him personally. In fact, his creations on behalf of humankind were often accidental, occurring as a by-product of his quest for food or some other end.

This page contains two versions of a well-known Raven story. The first comes from the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska. To learn more about them, click this link.

"Raven in The Whale" can be found at this link: http://jukebox.uaf.edu/drybay/htm/ravwhale.htm. It does not have an audio component, but you can read the story aloud to your class.  You may also want to include pictures of Alaskan landscapes from the southeastern portion of the state.

Using Handout B and Handout C compare and contrast this story with the other whale stories from Massachusetts, Alaska, and Hawai'i.

The version of Raven and the Whale in this video clip comes from the Canadian Inuit. Have students locate the homeland of the Inuit.

After students watch the video, discuss the visuals: did they add to the experience?  Then compare and contrast the story, using Handout B and Handout C, with the Tlingit Raven story and with whale stories from Hawai'i and Massachusetts.

Other Raven Stories

Another Raven Story, "How Raven Gave Light to the World," is depicted in another Learning Center (click on the highlighted words to go there) on this web site.