I. S. Sh. R., 1st Conference (Shamans & Cultures). Part III : "North America".


III.1 (pp. 131-5) Otto J. von Sadovszky : "Wintu Shaman". [Upper Sacramento valley, CA]

p. 131 affinity

"The Wintu ... are closely related to Nomlaki and Patwin to the south in Lower Sacramento Valley ... . With the Maiduan, Yokutsans, Miwokans and Costanoans (or Ohlones) they constitute the California Penutian family.

Comparative evidence (Sadovszky ... 1993) indicates that they are related to the Uralians in Eurasia". {perhaps most similar to Yukaghir?}

Sadovszky 1993 = Otto von Sadovszky : The Discovery of California. Budapest. ISTOR Book 3, Budapest.

pp. 131-2 induction into shamanhood




"communal earth lodge search for the guardian spirit. ... a well-established shaman sent out an invitation to an initiation dance (laha-conas). ... Some candidates already had dreams or experience. ... The shaman and the candidates danced naked around the fire and sang to invoke the spirits. The dancing lasted all night. ...

The arrival of the spirit was announced by a whistling sound above the smoke hole in the ceremonial lodge (Sadovszky 1989:170), and entered the body of the candidate through his ears. The candidate ... had convulsions ... . ...


On the last day of the ceremony, the shamans, new and old, ... carried and waved feathered sticks, flowers, mountain-squirrel skins and other regalia."

Sadovszky 1989 = Otto von Sadovszky : "... Central California Indian Shamanism". In :- Hoppa`l & Sadovszky (edd.) : Shamanism, Past and Present. Budapest.

pp. 132-3 shamanic healing of the sick




"The shaman .. goes into trance. His spirits are summoned by the interpreter-assistant. ... The disease-objects can be extracted by sucking (winine) or by massage (semiu). The soul can be recaptured by (el)-dilna (‘soul-capture’). The evil spirit can be involved in the soul dance (tes-conos). ...

The ‘soul capture’ (el-dilna) treatment is employed by the shaman only when the patient is very ill or near death. It is possible that the person’s soul (tes) has already left his or her body. The shaman must go in search of the soul. ... . ... he looks to the left and right and wanders about as if looking for something. If his spirit succeeds in locating the lost soul, ... the shaman ... outs the soul back into the patient by placing his hand over the patient’s heart. ...


In the ‘soul dance’ (tes-conos) the ‘poison’ is captured from the air; the patient is massaged ... . When he grasps the ‘poison’ he quickly puts his hand into cold water because the poison removed from the patient is very hot."

p. 133 other shamanic accomplishments; esoteric language

"Shamans prophecized before a major undertaking. They predicted the outcome of a hunt, the future of the world ..., the possible recovery of a lost object, even the outcome of a lawsuit ... . Shamans go into trance in order to end bad weather. "They know everything. even if you try to hide something, ... they can see it" (Du Bois 1938:107)."

"When the seance is in progress, the shamans and their audience feel the need of an interpreter. The shaman might use esoteric language, complex figures of speech ... (... Schlichter 1951:95 ...)."

Du Bois 1938 = Cora du Bois : "Wintu Ethnography". U OF CA PUBLICATIONS IN AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY AND ETHNOLOGY, vol. 36, IV:1-148.

Schlichter 1951 = Alice Schlichter : "Notes on the Wintu Shamanistic Jargon". Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, Report 1. Berkeley.

p. 133 shaman’s helping-spirits

"The types of spirits which possess and direct shamans were

(1) human souls,

(2) the genii loci, mountain lakes (sawal),

(3) animals spirits (especially birds : such as cranes, swallows, woodpeckers), the sucker fish and

(4) nature spirits such as the spirit of the sun, moon, morning star, thunder and lightning."

pp. 133-4 shamanic paraphernalia




"Among the shamanistic regalia we find ... feathers of large birds : those of the California condor (wuk wuk), eagles and cranes are especially powerful."


"Certain staffs, called ‘soul-dance sticks’ were used by the shaman when dancing in seances." "A ‘pain’ container was made of the hollow bones of a bird. Cocoon rattles were made from the cocoon of the California ‘giant’ moth filled with pebbles. It produced a fine high-pitched tone somewhat similar to the sound of the rattlesnake."


III.2 (136-46) Bill B. Brunton : "Kootenai [Kutenai] Shamanism". [former distribution : from Columbia Lakes region (in British Columbia), to Kootenai Lake (also in British Columbia)]

p. 136 praesent localities of tribe

The Kutenai = Sa`nka reside "near Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, ... and ... in Elmo, Montana".

p. 137 Kutenai deities

"The religion of the Kootenai is an animistic one ..., involving belief in beings (nupi`k>a) who represent all aspects of nature (including man-made things). {spirits of man-made objects are likewise believed in by the Eskimo, and by other tribes in northwestern North America} The majority of these spirits, who preceded humans into the world, are ... available as lifelong helpers through the vision quest.

The exceptions to this are the Owl and Human Skeleton spirits, who are both bearers of bad tidings involving someone close to the person being contacted. ... This contact usually occurs when the person is alone in the forest. Human Skeleton is said to have a ‘hollow laugh’ that is frightening. Owl is said to snatch children and keep them imprisoned in her nest. A child is admonish to behave, or ‘old lady owl will get you’."

pp. 137-9 vision-quaest; obtaining of spirit-power

p. 137

"The quest is undertaken at night. The spirits desire things to be as natural as possible, so the candidate wears no clothing or other artifacts of human

p. 138

manufacture. ... An item from a relative’s medicine bundle may be taken along in order to attract a particular spirit. ...

A successful visionary is approached by a nupi`k>a either as a voice, or ‘visually’ ... as a ... falling asleep ... . ... The spirit may come singing a song. It usually first appears in human form and later reverts to its ‘nature’ form (Curtis 1911:128-129). The encounter is usually frightening, but the seeker is stopped from fleeing by the spirit’s entrancing gaze, which transfixes him/her and appears as ‘sparks’ or ‘rays’ coming from the eyes (... Brunton 1974:85-86). While in contact with the visionary, the spirit instructs the person about the power being granted, gives rules to be followed for life and instructions for making a medicine bundle, and teaches a song and a dance. The number of these gifts (sometimes referred to as ‘marks’) symbolize the amount of power granted by the spirit. The highest number of gifts is seven ... . ... The power is put into the person in a particular place. This is the "spirit place" (... Brunton 1974:90). Those who receive power from a spirit are said to have been ‘pitied’ by the nupi`k>a ... . Following a successful quest, the seeker returns to the village. The person’s sponsor knows whether the quest was successful, either by having observed it clairvoyantly, or by looking into the person’s eyes where the spirit can be seen by one with power ... . ... However, all details of the quest are private and are never discussed".

p. 139

"Power also can come to adults spontaneously when they hear a spirit singing. The spirit then speaks to them and grants them a specific power. Dreams are regarded as prophetic and as a source of ‘dream power’ for individuals ... . ... Once a person has had a successful vision, more quests can be taken throughout life. This is particularly true for shamans, who quest regularly. Shamans are also likely to have more than one spirit helping them".

Curtis 1911 = E. S. Curtis : The North American Indian. vol. 7, pp. 117-55 & 167-79.

Brunton 1974 = Bill B. Brunton : The Stick Game in Kotenai Culture. Diss, WA State U.

p. 139 death & metempsychosis

Death results in releasing the nupi`k>a from its bodily connection with its human counterpart. ... The individual’s ... soul, also leaves the body. It lingers nearby and will be reborn in a child to live another lifespan".

pp. 139-41 caerimonies

p. 139

"the key ceremonies of the Kootenai were the Sweatlodge, the Blanket Dance (also known ... as ‘Putting-up-the-Blanket.), the Sun Dance, the Bluejay Dance, and the Jump Dance. In addition, there were ... game-calling ceremonies and a ceremony for clearing bears from berrying grounds."


"For the Blanket Dance, shamans (wa`mu) were called ... . ... . At the beginning of the ceremony one of the shamans

p. 140

performed a feat of power similar to that of yuwipi men among the Siouans of the Great Plains by being rolled up and bound in a robe and placed behind a ‘blanket’ screen that was hung across the back of the lodge. Like the Siouan case, he was freed from his bonds without human aid ... . It was this person who was carried about by the Owl spirits during the course of the ceremony on a clairvoyant journey ... . Spirit songs were sung to summon the nupi`k>a. When they entered the area behind the blanket, it shook and the noise of deer dew claws affixed to it told those in the lodge that a spirit had entered. When a spirit was in the lodge, ... each participant then asked a question. The spirits were said to ‘scream’ their answers in an archaic form of Kootenai and these were translated by the shamans who remained in front of the blanket with the other participants."


"The Kootenai Sun Dance ... was sponsored by a man who had been approached by the Sun Dance Spirit and told to lead this ceremony."


"The sweatlodge ceremony normally involves both men and women. ... While the heat and songs fill the lodge, the participants concentrate on petitioning the Sweatlodge Spirit for help."

p. 141

"The Bluejay Dance is ... in the evening ... held at first one village and then another throughout the winter. ... Shamans with power from Bluejay lead the ceremony, which include power demonstrations such as embracing red-hot wood stoves ... . A centerpiece of this ceremony is the transformation of the Bluejay shamans into their power animal [the bluejay]... perched in the rafters and entered and left the lodge through the smokehole." {Viz., bluejays are invited and summoned by Bluejay-shamans to enter and to exit the lodge via its smokehole, and to perch on its rafters?}


"The Jump Dance is also a midwinter observance ... . It involves people coming together in the evening for ... three days ... to dance, sing and pray to the spirits. ... Naming occurs during this ceremony, which is distinguished by being the only one to which outsiders are welcome."

p. 143 shamanic journey

"When Kootenai shamans do ‘journey’ ..., they do so in the Middleworld in a clairvoyant journey. They are either carried about by the Owl Spirits and see things over all the area or they journey to locate any number of things such as lost property or people".


III.3 (147-59) S. A. Mousalimas : "... ‘C^ugas^ Shaman’ (Alaska)".

pp. 151-2, 154 shaman’s rites in 3 southern Alaskan tribes


shamanic rite


"(1) a shaman’s rite from Kodiak Island ...;

(2) a weather changing rite from Unalaska Island ...;

(3) the ‘Chugach shaman’."


(1) [quoted from Gideon 1989:59-60] "The shaman, sometimes naked, sometimes dressed or painted in the strangest manner, jumps about, goes through gyrations of the body, howls at the top of his voice, naming the evil spirit, and runs around the dwelling."


(2) [quoted from Sarychev 1807:67-8] "Towards evening, I suddenly heard a drum beating ..., and was informed ... that the Tojas [toions] and Shamans were conjuring a spirit for favourable weather. At the expiration of a quarter of an hour, the Shaman began to cry aloud ...; a crowd surrounded him, ... and conjured the spirit to spare the good Shaman", who thereupon "informed the bystanders that he had summon the spirit into his presence, and commanded him to send fine weather".


(3) [quoted from Birket-Smith 1953:131] "that ... bird on Middleton Island that I made alive". {the wild bird may temporarily felt itself tamed by the shaman’s spiritual power, and thus allowed the shaman to handle it for a while before flying away. I had a similar experience with a wild bird at the southeast corner of the state capitol building here : southeast is the direction of Agni, the fire-god (cf. the [Norse] turs who in the guise of a bird flew over the flaming wall of A`s-gard).}

Gideon 1989 = Lydia T. Black (transl.) : The Round the World Voyage of Hieromonk Gideon, 1803-1809. pp. 33-71 "Kad’iak".

Sarychev 1807 = Gavriil Sarychev (Gawrila Saryschew) : Account of a Voyage to ... the Northeast Sea. London.

Birket-Smith 1953 = Kaj Birket-Smith : The Chugach Eskimo. Copenhagen.


III.4 (pp. 160-8) Bernard Saladin d’Anglure : "Sila, the Ordering Principle of the Inuit Cosmology". ["cosmology peculiar to the Inuit of Igloolik"]

p. 160 meaning of /sila/

/sila/ ‘prudence, intelligence’.

/sila-tujuq/ ‘astute, endowed with common sense’.

pp. 160-1 bubble enclosing the soul

p. 160

"All human beings are said to contain a certain amount of Sila encapsulated with their soul inside a sort of bubble (pullaq). When a child is born the soul ... settles into the bubble together with surrounding air marked by the sign of that day’s climatic conditions. ... This characteristic will bring about at an individual’s death the same meteorological conditions of his or her birth. At death, the bubble actually bursts open, the soul escapes into

p. 161

the nether world, and the air inside the bubble returns to the ambient atmosphere ... its influence ... . ... If bad weather lasts too long one can also ask a silattiavak – i.e. someone born on a day of good weather – to go outside, strip naked, raise his/her hands above his/her head so as to be recognized by Sila, and roll about on the ground shouting ... . Such behaviour is supposed to bring the good weather back."

pp. 161-2 children of Sila

p. 161

"In Igloolik the term Silaat (children of Sila) is given to certain fantastic animals often white in colour and unusually large ... . ... These creatures are claimed to be born from Silaksait (embryos of Sila), a kind of large egg believed to come out of the ground. ...

p. 162

From these eggs are born the Silaat, grey-brown ... males ... . From smaller eggs, or Pukiksait are born Pukit, white ... females. Pukit and Silaat are closely related to the Ijiqqat (the invisible beings) who live in the mountains of the hinterland and who ... are descended from ‘the girl and the dog’. {cf. "the Panhu myth (wherein a dog married a girl and they became ancestors of some southern ethnic peoples)." (HChM, p. 41)} The Ijiqqat ... have the ability to cause fog to descend in order to elude their pursuers. In their human form, they are invisible to common mortals but can be seen by shamans."

HChM = Handbook of Chinese Mythology. Oxford U Pr, 2005.

pp. 162-3 deities of winds and of fog

p. 162

"Turner (1894:123) points out that the Ungava Inuit had two wind systems. One was controlled by male spirits and comprised the winds from the west, the north-west, the north, and the north-east. The other, under the power of female spirits, encompassed the winds from the east, the south-east, the south, and the south-west. Zeilich-Jensen (1974:34, 40) reports from the Pond Inlet area that the winds are grouped in pairs (male/female) each of which he associates with a cardinal point on the compass. ... In Igloolik the terms for the winds are ... grouped two by two because of their opposing directions : Uannaq (north-west wind) / Nigiq (south-east wind) ... – one is male, Uannaq, the other female, Nigiq ... . ...

p. 163

Inuit fear these two winds the most ... . When these winds blew for long periods, a shaman would have to be called in to try to calm them down. ...


Uannaq ... is clothed in a laced-up hide and ... the wind comes from air escaping out whenever the lacing gets overstretched. ...

As for Nogiiq {Nigiq}, she lives in an igloo with her oil lamp. When the temperature becomes too hot inside, the walls of the igloo start to melt and holes open up – thereby letting out the warm south-east wind. The shaman must proceed to stop the wind by plugging up the holes. These operations take place at public shamanistic seances during which a hide is placed as a screen between the shaman and the audience. {cf. " ‘blanket’ screen that was hung" to separate shaman from audience in the Kutenai se’ance (supra, p. 140).} The hide represents the laced-up pice of clothing when Uannaq is involved, in which case the shaman has to see to it that the lacing is tied up again. The hide represents the wall of an igloo when Nigiiq in involved, in which case the shaman must repair the holes. ... This system is brought to light in the account ... for ... these two winds ... controlled by the moon and sun."

Turner 1894 = Lucien Turner : "Ethnology of the Ungava District". BUREAU OF AMERICAN ETHNOLOGY, ANNUAL REPORT 11, 1889-90.

Zeilich-Jensen 1974 = Leif Zeilich-Jensen : Den Centraleskimaiska Varldsbilden. Vasteras.

pp. 163-4 symbolic adultery with Fog-Master’s wife; temporary spouse-trading

p. 163

A male "adolescent to attach an artificial penis ... . He would hold it in an erect position and make suggestive gestures, as if making love, saying : ... I’ve had the fog master’s wife! At the same time he would walk in the direction ... of the sun, by going around in a large circle. the purpose was to shame the fog".

p. 164

"When the winter solstice festivities were held in the depth of the sunless period, the ritual consisting of going about in the direction of the sun was ... used. In Igloolik it was undertaken during the festive occasion of Tivajuut, at which time a generalized exchange of spouses was organized. each of the newly-formed couples arising from this occasion had to walk several times in the direction of the sun around the oil lamp, placed in the middle of the ceremonial igloo, without showing the least trace of a smile (... Saladin d’Anglure 1989)."

d’Anglure 1989 = Saladin d’Anglure : "... le communisme sexuel inuit dans l’arctique central canadien." JOURNAL DE LA SOCIE’TE’ DES AME’RICANISTES 75:133-71.

p. 165 direction of the corpse’s feet in burials (according to Hooper 1823:795)

feet of __










very elderly


Hooper 1823 = "Journal" Manuscrit ine’dit, Microfilm, Archives Publiques du Canada.

p. 166 eclipse of sun-goddess

At the occasion of a solar eclipse, " "The sun came down to earth to bear a child!" At that time, ... people feared for ... the collapse of the pillars holding up the earth and the sky."

"even in narratives where shamans talk about Inuit impregnated by Brother Moon, the women always come back down to earth to bear the child after their being taken away to the moon’s dwelling place."

p. 167 competitive teams for ball-game

"those born in an igloo or during the igloo season were called

the Aqiggiarjuit (the Ptarmigans) and

those born in a tent or when people live in tents were called

the Aggiarjuit (the long-tailed ducks).

They were pitted against each other either in team competitions or in tournaments. ...

To win,

the Aqiggiarjuit, i.e. the land birds, had to

push the ball as far inland as possible.

The Aggiarjuit, i.e. the sea birds, had to

push it in the opposite direction onto the pack ice and towards the open sea.

If the first team won,

spring and summer would be cold ... .

If the second team won,

spring and summer would be warm."

pp. 167-8 cat’s-cradle game; cup-and-ball game; paradoxical smile

p. 167

"The Cat’s-cradle game (Ajaraq), mainly for women, was not supposed to be practised in the presence of Sister Sun, for it might ... make her bleed.

Consequently, it was played above all during the period of Tauvijjuaq (the great darkness) when the sun is completely absent (cf. Comer in Boas, 1901, 1907 ...).

Playing the Cat’s-cradle game during this period of darkness served to hold back the sun in order to keep it from going away for good. On this point, there is a myth which provides an account by Sister Sun of how her knees came to be furrowed with scars. The scene takes place in the double igloo of the Moon and the Sun in which an Inuit woman ... has taken refuge. The visitor sees the scar-covered knees of Sister Sun who ... tells her that she had been made to stumble and fall by those who played the Cat’s-cradle game.


This game would cease to be played after the sun’s return and another more masculine one would take its place, the game of cup and ball (Ajaqaq).

Its purpose was to make the sun climb higher in the sky."

p. 168

"Everyone was required to smile strangely by twisting his or her mouth {cf. twisted mouths of Iroquois "False Faces"} at the sun when it first appeared in January.

The aim was to encourage the newly-risen sun by making fun of it with a half-sad half-joyful face.


... in traditional Yupik pictographic art a sad countenance usually indicates a female face and a joyful one a male face.’

Boas, 1901, 1907 = "The Eskimo of Baffin Island and Hudson Bay". BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, Vol. 15, parts I & II.


INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR TRANSOCEANIC RESEARCH BOOKS, Vol. 5 = Miha`ly Hoppa`l & Keith Howard : Shamans and Cultures. Akade`miai Kiado`, Budapest, 1993. [1st CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR SHAMANISTIC RESEARCH, held in 1991 at Seoul.]