Balladeer’s Blog has already examined all the major gods and goddesses of the Inuit so here is a look at another one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE
ILAGANIQ – The Inuit hero Ilaganiq was born in the village of Imitchaq, which was famous for being right near the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. Ever since he was very young Ilaganiq and his brothers were subjected to extensive physical conditioning by their father.
Ilaganiq’s father Aapaang hoped that one of his sons would be the hero to destroy the Amikuk, or “the Skin Octopus” a monster which terrorized the region. The creature was called the Skin Octopus because of its flat body, like a seal-skin stretched and drying in the sun.
Despite its flat body the beast had tentacles like a traditional octopus and it had caused much loss of life as well as many sunken kayaks and umiaks. Aapaang’s youngest son Ilaganiq had been born with webbed hands and feet, making him the fastest swimmer of the family. Continue reading
It’s been awhile since I’ve covered Inuit myths. I’ve already examined all the major gods and goddesses so here is a look at one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE
INUURAQ – Like many of the heroes in Inuit myths Inuuraq overcomes the disadvantage of being orphaned and goes on to achieve greatness. Inuuraq lived so long ago that it was before the wind and weather god Sila had made war on the giants and reduced them all to three feet tall. (After that the giants were the Inuit version of elves and were called Ishigaq.)
The chief of Inuuraq’s village had sent his son and two other men off together to hunt caribou. Many days had gone by and the trio were presumed to have fallen into the hands of the roving giants. The chief asked for volunteers to search for his son and the other missing hunters, but only Inuuraq was courageous enough.
As an orphan the young man had no kayak or weapons of his own so he had his grandmother Nengzurluung go to the chief and his wife to tell them that her grandson was brave enough to search for the missing trio but would need a kayak and weapons.
The chief was grateful that at last a volunteer had come forward. He allowed Inuuraq to have the pick of his (the chief’s) boats and weapons. Our hero selected a fine kayak, a bow and arrows and an ulu: a bladed weapon longer than a knife but not quite as long as a sword. (It is the kind of weapon used by the Inuit disemboweling goddess Ululijarnaq.) Continue reading