Nick Jans - The Last Night Breaking - Maniilaq Part 2
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Nick Jans - The Last Night Breaking
Disobeying or showing disrespect to an anjatkut was unthinkable; when a group of these men challenged Maniilaq, he should have been terrified. Beatrice Mouse, 87 years old herself in 1978, remembers what her mother told her as a child:
The people of Qala and Suluppuaugaqruuq gathered together at Paa. . . . [They] had heard, with apparent disbelief, about Maniilaq referring to his "source of intelligence." When they had gathered, Maniilaq appeared calm as he rested in a prone position and told the anjatkut to go ahead and summon their spirits. He did not become uncomfortable as the anjatkut chanted their incantations and performed their rituals. . . . They sang all night long, offering oil and food into a fire. . . . In the meantime, Maniilaq remained calm and undisturbed.
When they were done, they turned to him and sarcastically asked him, "'What is the matter? Are you too frightened to speak? Are you afraid now? Why don't you talk about the one you are always referring to as your source of intelligence?" There were many who taunted him and ridiculed him.
Finally, he stood up and began to pace in a circle . “Hi, hiii! Yaiy!" he exclaimed, adding, "My dear source of intelligence, you have blessed me with another day. .. ."
Mother was among those sitting on the floor who saw and heard him as he paced in a circle and spoke in front of the audience. Once again he exclaimed, "Hi hii,you all will come to know and understand my source of intelligence. However, it does not matter what I say now. You will not comprehend my meaning." That is what he said to them, adding, "When the necessities of life become easier to obtain and survival becomes easier, then you will understand. . . . Even the practice itself of being an anjatkut shall disappear."
Enraged at this impertinence, the anjatkut stalked off into the darkness. The watchers soon followed, certain that Maniilaq would be dead by morning. But he and his family went home to bed as if nothing had happened.
The elders tell how, later that night, the anjatkut returned, travelling in their astral forms, intent on "swallowing" Maniilaq's soul. They searched for it, but they found themselves blinded by an intense glow that surrounded his home. They groped about all night, murder in their hearts, searching for an opening to squeeze through. All the while, Maniilaq and his family slept peacefully behind their shield of light.
This was the first of dozens of attempts that the anjatkut made on Maniilaq's life. His lack of fear was insulting, his defiance unsettling.
Singly and in groups they tried to "swallow" him, but the elders say that even the most powerful, Ayaunigruaq and Tuulug, could not penetrate his brilliant aura. In a celebrated confrontation near present day Kotzebue, Maniilaq told these anjatkut he could "swallow" them if he wished, and still no harm came to him. As this news spread, people began to nod when Maniilaq's name was mentioned.