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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Whaler's Wife


File:Sombrero de jefe de balleneros Nutka (M. América Inv.13570) 01.jpg

The whaler's wife represents the whale
she has to cover her bed
with brand new mats
and lie quiet while
the hunt's going on
to keep the whale from
getting too restless

A slug placed on top of the mats
will go in the direction
in which the whale
will turn

Whales are attracted
to whaler's wives
whale towing chants
address the whale
as 'Chief's wife'
or 'Queen'

Whales aren't easy to tow
you can try offering the whale
a drink of fresh water
one Ahousat towing
song goes

'Take it easy, Queen'

File:Nuu-chah-nulth mats (UBC-2010).jpg

Hat of a chief whaler, cedar fibre, made by Nootka indigenous people, Northwest Coast, 18th century (Museum of the Americas, Madrid): photo by Luis Garcia, 2008
Set of traditional Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootkan) mats (UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver): photo by Leoboudv, 2010

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