Why the Raven is Black

The Tulugak (raven) is one of the very few birds that stay with us even in the harshest of winters. They do not migrate. There are so many stories about them with their intelligence and trickster spirit. Even one of our legends (or prophecies) about the end of the world, is about the Tulugak.

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This old Inuit belief states that the day a white raven is seen, the world will come to an end.

Do you have any legends or stories about birds that you could share with me? What birds do you have that are important to you and your people and culture?

One of my favourite times to watch Tulugaks is during high winds. They are extremely playful and its such fun to watch them use the wind to play their games and pull their ariel stunts!

My panik (daughter) use to say she could talk to them. A Tulugak would fly by crowing and cawing and she’d ask them, where are you going? What do you see? I asked her not too long ago if she can still speak with them, but she said no and that she lost their language.

So, in honour of the raven, I thought today I’d share with you one of my favourite songs from my childhood about how the raven became black. I remember this animation as being one of the first Inuk things I’d ever seen on a television set and so I was completely amazed by it.

uppik – owl

tulugak – raven

pisiq/aijaja – traditional Inuit song …we use aijaja (pronounced aiyaya) a lot (or variations of it it), in our traditional songs.


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