A story passed on to me by friends when I was visiting in Emmonak, Alaska:
Hey, you want to hear shaman story? Youbetya? OK by golly, I’ll tell you story:
Long long time ago, nobody here, just the people, no white men, no snow machines, no four wheelers, plenty fish, plenty birds, plenty game, plenty of mosquitoes!
Good life, good fishing good hunting, the people were happy. Tell the time, you look at the sky. The sky, the winds, the sun, the clouds, they all tell you when it’s time to hunt, to berry pick, to hunker down for winter, to fish… So.
So that day, one day, one of the people would look up and say, “Hey, it’s fish time!” and all the people would pack up, the elders, the children, everybody and head to Emmonak, the place where the black fish gather, and set up fish camp.
Way back then fishing was good, everybody full and happy… but one of the elders started telling how when he was young and everybody came here the mosquitoes were not as many were not as bad, did not bite as hard.
Well the people all started talking; “Hey, it;s good here, fish are plenty, weather’s fine but the mosquitoes!”
So they grumbled and complained and grumbled and finally went to the shaman.
The shaman said; “Hey what’s up?”
The people tell him; “Life is real good here, the fishing is good, weather’s fine but can you do somthin’ about those darn mosquitoes?”
The shaman asked; “You want me to get mosquitoes to stop biting?”
The people say; “Yes!”
The shaman asked: “You sure, are you really really sure?”
The people say: “Yes, yes, yes!”
So the shaman tells them OK, if that’s what you want I will do it and he takes out his magic seal bone needle and he takes out his magic caribou sinew thread, and he calls the mosquitoes one by one and he sews their little beaks shut.
So. That season the fishing was good, the people were happy and hauled in all winter’s supply of fish and the mosquitoes didn’t bite!
All summer the mosquitoes did not bite and the people were happy.
Well, the next year, one of the people looked up and said, “Hey, it’s fish time!” and all the people packed up, the elders, the children, everybody and headed to Emmonak, and set up fish camp.
They got there, they found no mosquitoes but also they found no fish! They fished and fished and fished all season but they got no fish, the people would be hungry come winter!
Finally they said: “Hey this is not right, we need to ask the shaman to fix it!” So the did.
The shaman said: “Hey what’s up, the mosquitoes are gone aren’t you happy?”
The people said: “No we’re not! There are no fish.”
The shaman said: “Of course there are no fish, the fish eat the mosquitoes and you asked me to take care of the mosquitoes so I did!”
The people said: ” uh-oh, we did not know that, please please can you bring the mosquitoes back?”
The shaman said: “You want me to?”
The people said: “Yes.”
The shaman said: “Are you sure?”
THe people said: “Yes, yes, yes!”
The shaman said he could, the shaman said he would.
He took out his magic raven feather and the ash of magic caribou sinew thread, blew the ash in to the air and waved the raven feather to send it all flying all over the world! Well the magic dust dissolved the thread and the mosquitoes started eating and breeding again.
That winter the people were hungry, but next year and all years thereafter up until today, this very year, every single year the black fish and the mosquitoes, and the people returned to Emmonak and the people are happy!