BNA: Beliefs

You can lear more about the Nuxalk people (sometimes called the Bellacoola) at Wikipedia. Their name for the goddess you will read about here is Qamaits. She is a formidable goddess!

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the British North America unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson (1917).

Bella Coola

THE Bella Coola believe there are five worlds, one above the other. The middle one is our own world, the earth.

Above it are two upper worlds, one the home of Afraid of Nothing, and the one below that is the House of the Sun.

Below our earth are two lower worlds. The first is the Ghost Land; the second is the home of those who die a second time.

The upper heaven, which is the home of "Our Woman," or "Afraid of Nothing," as others call her, is a prairie without any trees upon it. In order to reach it, one must pass through the House of the Sun, though some people say that the sky is rent and one must pass through the great hole to reach the upper world.

The house of "Afraid of Nothing" stands in the far east. A strong wind blows always toward it across the open prairie, so that everything rolls to her house, but immediately around the house it is quite calm. In front of the house stands a post in the shape of a large winged monster, and its mouth is the entrance.

"Afraid of Nothing" created the whole world. A long time ago she also had a great war with the mountains. In the beginning of the world the mountains were of great height. They were human, and they made the world uninhabitable. "Afraid of Nothing" made war upon them and defeated them. She made them much smaller than they used to be. During this fight she broke off the nose of one mountain, and its face may be recognized even now. It is near the Bella Coola River.

There were two mountains near the headwaters of the Bella Coola River, and one kept always a fire burning in his house. One could see the smoke, and this fire warned its master, the mountain, whenever an enemy appeared. When "Afraid of Nothing" came down in her canoe, the fire gave warning. When she approached, the mountain broke her canoe and turned it into stone. So she returned to heaven. The canoe is still there at the foot of the mountain.

"Afraid of Nothing" is a great warrior. She visits the earth now and then, but when she does, her visits cause sickness and death.

Under the world where she lives is the House of the Sun. Our own earth is an island swimming in the ocean.

(400 words)

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