Browse By

The Great Badness of the Kwakiutl

In his ethnography of the Kwakiutl people native to the northwestern corner of North America, Franz Boas described belief in a a monster known as the Ia’k-im. He wrote,

The Ia’k-im (badness) is a water monster which obstructs rivers, and endangers lakes and the sea, and swallows and upsets canoes.

Song Of The Ia’k-im

The great Ia’k-im will rise from below.
He will make the sea boil, the great Ia’k-im. We are afraid.
He will upheave the seas, the great Ia’k-im. We shall be afraid.
He will throw blanklets from out of the sea, the great Ia’k-im.
He will distribute blankets among all tribes, the great Ia’k-im.
We fear him, the great Ia’k-im.

Another terrible creature known to the Kwakiutl was the Bukwus, a skeletal spirit known for its habit of drowning people out at sea. People who ate food offered by the Bukwus would become Bukwus themselves.

Tsunukwa was a kind of female Krampus for the Kwakiutl. She would grab children and throw them into a basket she carried on her back, and then eat them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Psst... what kind of person doesn't support pacifism?

Fight the Republican beast!