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Raven and Indian Art from the Pacific Northwest

The most important symbol to many Pacific Northwest Native Canadian people as shown in their Indian art is the Raven bird who is considered the Creator's assistant. It is said that the Raven could transform himself into anything. He was responsible for supplying the rivers and seas with fish as well as putting the sun into the sky. This is why the Raven is sometimes referred to as the 'Bringer of Light'. Interestingly enough, the Raven's antics were thought to be motivated by greed.

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It was also said that he loved to tease and trick which gave him the reputation of being the 'trickster'. Despite his selfishness, the Raven is also a cultural hero since his mischievous actions always helped the world.

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Pacific Northwest Native Canadian Indian Art Carving
of a Raven by Paul Joseph

According to one Pacific Northwest Native Canadian legend, an old chief hid the sun away in a box. The Raven transformed into a pine needle which dropped into the drinking water which the chief's daughter drank. She became pregnant and a son was born.

One day, the chief finally gave into the Raven's (now disguised as his grandson) whining and allowed him to play with the sun in the box. Once the box was outside, the Raven broke it and transformed back to his original bird form. He then took the sun into his beak and flew up to the sky putting the sun back in its right place.

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Pacific Northwest Native Canadian Indian Art
Carving of a Raven by Peter Charlie

According to the Pacific Northwest Native Canadian people, gifts featuring the prestigious Raven symbol are appropriate for someone respected or considered a hero.

Northwest Native Canadian artists are producing some stunning art including ravens and other birds these days. Imagine displaying such a carving in your home. See Native Canadian bird carvings at very affordable online prices at Free Spirit Gallery.

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