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Robert Nasruk Cleveland and Donald Foote - Stories of the Black River People



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Robert Nasruk Cleveland and Donald Foote, Stories of the Black River People

It is said that when [Tikigilaq] decided that he wanted to go up the Kobuk River while he was still down there on the coast, he swam up with the sheefish. He [his spirit] went inside the body of a sheefish.

As the sheefish journeyed up the river, they often got caught in seining nets. As it was, the two sheefish who were his tukkuq (meaning spirit helpers) lifted the net aside each time they were caught so that Tikigilaq would not get caught.

They did this every time there was a seining net blocking the way. Each time they did this, Tikigilaq swam below the net and escaped. That was how he had the sheefish help him journey up the river.

It is said that he carefully observed the people seining each time in hopes of finding a woman to be born from.  Each time he didn’t find anyone to stay in he escaped.

This happened until they reached people seining way up along the Upper Kobuk. There he saw a tiny woman whose interior was very becoming. It was bright inside her. Because he liked what he saw, he decided to stop there. He allowed himself to be caught in the seining net and as they were about to work on the sheefish, he moved from the sheefish and into the woman. Thus, he had found a mother.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit helper


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Activity not known