The Shanaghan How did the Shanaghan help her people?

Sarah Abel’s story of shanaghan and the people who didn’t share

One man had no food. There was no food and he had a young child, big enough to eat food. His grandmother was living: the man was married to the shanaghan’s daughter but she died.

Grandchild, ch’idreedhoh vał is a toboggan made from the skin of the caribou leg bones. They made one, put in a fur blanket, and in it he pulled the child, they said.

The shanaghan’s other daughter had a big family, too. She had lots of children. They had a hard time hunting so that man hunted for them. They did something bad. While he pulled his child [to their camp] in the dark, they said, “You are not coming in here. Don’t come in,” the other daughter told him from inside.

Well, grandchild, if he went inside, she would kill him. Long ago it was like that. So he couldn’t go in. So even though it was dark, he put on his snowshoes and he pulled his child.

He walked in the dark beside a small valley and came to a small spruce tree all by itself. He leaned against it with his head. He put branches in it, put the baby in there and went away, they say. He walked a ways and daagoo came out from under some brush. He stepped on one of the daagoo with his big snowshoes and killed it. That was his food and he took it back to his child.

The shanaghan, mother of his wife who died, had followed him. She pulled a small tent after the child. They say she was a smart shanaghan. She came upon the child sitting there. She dug out the snow, laid branches in there and put the little tent over him to make a shelter. Then she collected wood and made a fire while her son-in-law, the child’s father, was coming back.

“Ah!” she told him. “I am going to warm the child inside, that’s what I’m doing.” He asked her, “Why did you come after me?” “I’m going to teach him everything,” she told her son-in-law, and she did. He gave her hot daagoo and made daagoo broth for his child, so the child ate. Him, too, he ate a little but he made the child drink the daagoo broth. After that, in the early morning, he left, saying “Follow and where I make a mark, stop with the child and make a fire.”

Near there was a river and lots of wood. He made a sign and there they camped. He killed winter vadzaih , they said. The shanaghan gathered blood for his child. They made broth from the blood and gave it to the child to drink. He did that for him and he ate; then the child grew.

The child was smart as he grew up. All the people relied on him for hunting for food. The people who told him, “Don’t come in here” froze, they say, because they had no food.

Lots of people who had no food stayed with the child, his grandmother and his father. There were lots of people but there was not much food.