Juŋkil’s first BEAR HUNT
My mind’s eye looked back to earlier today.
Juŋkil had been up before the rest of us.
This would be his first bear hunt.
Not every person will have the responsibility of such a task in their lifetime.
Of all the creatures one must hunt, a bear is the most dangerous. Not only is it dangerous for the hunter, but it is dangerous for the world around him. Angering a bear can alter the attitudes of other creatures around him or her. Hunting a bear with any desire of vanity or neglect to the guidance of a shaman makes such a hunt the most dangerous. If the wrong bear is speared, he or she could tell all the other creatures to not cooperate with our people and harmony would be disrupted. I came upon Juŋkil as he was fastening a sharp iron pike to a pole.
He looked sad. I told him about the joy I felt on the morning of my first bear hunt. With his calloused hands, he took up the Bear Pole that lay down beside the spear. The five brass rings attached to the end of it jingled. His eyes gazed upon the rings which shined slightly in the soft morning sunlight. The ring with 4 divets on it was one of the rings Vaarvaa used on her drum during the Stallo War long, long ago. I prodded him to speak about how he was feeling: “Come out with it, Juŋkil.” “This bear hunt…” he said, nodding slightly in disapproval. “I do not want to do it.”
This is an historical fiction account by the character with the same name who stars in the graphic novel Badin and the Secret of the Saami. These diary entries are about their lives leading up to the events in the graphic novel. All of the diary entries take place in Sweden between May 1, 1761 and May 1, 1762. The events of the graphic novel take place after that time period.
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Sámi Religious Traditions at University of Texas: