Tag Archives: Raven Trickster

Piper or Trickster

Raven is a “trickster” in Native American stories and myths, especially in the Northwest region of North America. He’s sometimes a hero, sometimes a troublemaker, sometimes a buffoon … but he ALWAYS has a lesson to teach, Wisdom to pass on, in the end.

RavenPiper

The most common manifestation of the trickster is the raven. There are many stories attributed to this trickster and he is seen throughout northwestern native mythology as a figure of great import. Nearly all of the tribes of the American northwest have an oral tradition about the raven and how his actions have affected human development. The Inuit of Alaska have a creation story that tells of a great struggle between Raven and a sea creature of indeterminable size and scope. Using his harpoon, Raven captured the creature and it thus became the land.

In another story, Raven brings sunlight to a dark world. The Tsimshian of British Columbia and Alaska were given light by the raven, who tricked a tribal chief along the Nass River. The chief kept the light in a box in his lodging and the raven conceived an intricate scheme to obtain it. Raven transformed himself into a spruce needle and then fell from the sky into a cup of water that the chief’s daughter was drinking and impregnated her. Born into human form, Raven stole the chief’s box and then transformed into his original shape. As he flew away with his prize, he encountered a group of fishermen. Hungry, Raven asked the group if he could have some of their catch. When they refused, he flew off and released the daylight. In this story, early native oral tradition blends both the trickster with the transformer figure, another important aspect of native religious development; one often seen with trickster stories.