Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Robert Teske, Lynwood Montell, Albert Petersen
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
Master of Arts
A comparative study was conducted of several variants of the Raven cycle of myths as manifested among the Tlingit Indians of the Northwest Coast. The results of this folkloristic study indicate that the myths serve several didactic functions. In addition to the manifest function of explaining the origin of the present order of the world the myths also serve to provide members of the society with a classificatory system through which they are able to relate to observable phenomena within their environment. The myths also provide institutionalized behavioral alternatives available to the society as manifested by the actions of Raven, the principal character in Tlingit mythology. In the role of Culture Hero, Raven's motives for his actions are altruistic, and in this context are to be emulated, while in the role of Trickster his motives are selfishness and greed and because they are ultimately destructive to society, are not to be condoned.
Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Folklore | Indigenous Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Poyser, Stephen, "Latent Didactic Functions of Tlingit Mythology: A Re-Evaluation of Raven's Role in Northwest Coast Culture" (1978). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 2722.