WARNING: Spoiler Alert…kind of
One of the only reasons I wanted to spend my weekend off in Anchorage was to watch Mad Max: Fury Road. I watched it twice. It was that good. (Jurassic World, meanwhile, was just okay.)
There’s one scene in the movie where there is a patch of land that used to be the green place. A fertile land, but when Furiosa and Mad Max drive past it, it is a creepy place where the water turned to poison and it is inhabited only by ravens and some humanoid creatures. But it’s really the birds that caught my attention. See, in Alaskan native folklore it is the raven that created the world. So I thought the juxtaposition of that myth with the scene of a barren wasteland was a neat concept although I’m 90% certain that wasn’t where George Miller was going with that scene. But that’s where I’m taking it with this blog post.
Before coming to Alaska, I had never heard of a culture that was created by a bird, and of all birds, the raven? I’ve seen them everywhere but never stopped to pay more attention. Once I did, I saw this bird in a whole other light. I knew they were intelligent, but they’re also very playful and a bit of a risk taker. They’ll attack much bigger birds to defend their territory. I’ve seen some do barrel rolls and fly upside down for a period of time. I’ve read that the younger birds will fly up high with a stick in their beak and then drop the stick to try to catch it in midair.
The raven in the Alaskan mythos is portrayed in many different ways. My favorite story is the one with the fog woman because it tells the story of how the salmon came up the streams. Raven in that story takes a back seat to the awesome and mysterious powers of a woman (woot woot). However, I also really enjoyed this version of the Raven’s creation tale.