Long ago, it was believed by our native people that the Sea Serpent was a supernatural creature who lived exclusively in the ocean. A long standing rule was that a mortal could not see a supernatural in its true form. Therefore, when the Sea Serpent sensed a mortal nearby, it changed into an island or a log. If the Sea Serpent thought a mortal had discovered its true identity, it would then sink the mortal’s canoe.
This picture depicts the Sea Serpent in both his disguise and his true form. He is preparing to create a storm; hence, the storm moon in the background.
The Sea Serpent has been and contiues to be a leading figure in our culture, particularly in a ceremonial dance called the HinKeets. The Serpent was very revered and is integrated into the family crests of chiefs of the West Coast Native People’s nation.
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