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Shamans and Kushtakas: North Coast Tales of the Supernaturalby Mary Giraudo Beck
Synopses & Reviews
Shaman and Kushtaka, both struck terror in the hearts of the Tlingit and Haida, for both possessed frightening supernatural powers. Among the Natives of the Pacific Northwest Coast, the shaman was honored as a person who could heal the body and spirit as well as see into the future. In his struggles to protect his people, he fought the kushtaka---an evil spirit-being who was half human and half land hotter---for the souls of dying persons. Theirs was a battle between the forces of good and evil, and today it remains a cornerstone in Tlingit and Haida mythology. Mary Giraudo Beck provides a powerful mix of history, legend, and adventure to dramatize the values and traditions of Tlingit and Haida societies. The heroic and wondrous incidents in these stories transcend time and culture and, as tales of myth and magic, provide compelling reading for young and old alike.
“The stories in this work have been repeated to me by various Tlingit and Haida friends and students over the more than forty years I lived in Ketchikan. Often the tellers related only parts of the stories, or the same stories would be repeated with varying details and outcomes. Therefore, as a guide to retelling the basic story, I made use of several written sources, at the same time weaving in details or outcomes from oral sources.” ---From Acknowledgements, Mary G. Beck
A powerful mix of history and legend dramatizes the values and traditions of Tlingit and Haida societies in Southeast Alaska.
About the Author
Mary G. Beck lives with her husband in Bellevue, Washington.
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