Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 14, 2004 - Issue 119


pictograph divider


Blue Jay and His Companions


Quinalt Story


Bluejay and his chief, with Land Otter, Beaver, and another man, used to go out Seal hunting together. In the same house with them, but at the other end, lived Gull, who was a widower with a lot of children, and he spent most of his time in the woods building a canoe. Every trip that the five men made, they caught five Seals, very fat ones; but they gave nothing but the poor, lean parts to Gull. Bluejay was at the bottom of this, and kept saying that fat was too good for Gull; and he poked fun at him and sneered at him whenever he was about. Gull never said a word, but took what was given him without complaining.

One day Gull made a wooden Seal, carving it out of cedar, and burning it until it was black. Then he talked to the Seal, and told it what it was to do; and it dived down into the water and went out to sea.

Next day before daylight, the five men started out, and about sunrise came upon a big Seal , and speared it. The Seal dived, and swam to the westward, dragging the canoe after it until they were out of sight of land. The spear man tried to get rid of it, but could not; and when night came they were still rushing westward, and when they waked in the morning they were still going, but not so fast. Not long afterward the line slackened, and they heard something butting against the canoe. Bluejay looked over, and saw a wooden Seal with the harpoon sticking into it just behind the flipper. Then his chief began to scold Bluejay, and said, "I know this is Gull's work. He is angry because we gave him no fat, and because you talked to him so much." Bluejay could only hang his head and say nothing.

They cut the line and began to paddle back, but had no idea where they were going. Three days and two nights they paddled, and the third night they all fell asleep from exhaustion. When they waked in the morning, the canoe was stuck fast and they thought they were ashore, and one of them, the fifth man, jumped out, but he sank and was drowned; and, then they saw that they
were not ashore, but that the seaweed was so thick that they had stuck fast in it. So now there were only four of them, and they paddled on. On the fourth night they did not feel like sleeping, for they thought they could see the hills back of Quinault. In the morning they could discern the coast plainly, and after paddling all day they reached the shore, and landed at a place quite strange to them. Next morning they went on again in what they thought was a southerly direction, and suddenly, as they rounded a point, came upon a village. Several canoes came out through the surf and helped them ashore, and they were taken up to the village.

In the center of the village was a tall smooth pole which the people said was Squirrel's pole, which he used for climbing; and they said that Squirrel would like to have a climbing-match with Bluejay. Bluejay's master said to him, "Now don't get frightened, but go in and do your best. You know you can climb well, and if you are beaten we may all be killed." Then both Squirrel and Bluejay took sharp bones, so that if one got ahead he could hit the one behind on the head and they started to climb. All the people crowded around to see the contest, for the pole was high and the two were well matched. At last the people saw them reach the top, and saw one of them strike the other on the head so that he came tumbling down; and all the people shouted, for they thought it was Bluejay. But when he reached the ground, they found it was Squirrel who had lost. So now, since Bluejay had beaten their best climber, they let him and his companions go.

They paddled on down the coast, and after some time they rounded a point, and come upon another village, much like the first. Here Sea Lion challenged Bluejay to a diving match, and Bluejay found himself in a difficult position, for he was no diver at all. But his master turned the canoe over and washed it out, leaving the brush from the bottom floating about it on the water. Then he told Bluejay to accept the challenge and dive, but to come up under the brush and lie there concealed, and not to show himself. So both Bluejay and Sea Lion dived; and Bluejay came up immediately under the brush, and floated there where no one could see him. He waited until he shivered so with the cold that the brush moved with his shaking, and his master began to be afraid the people would notice it: so he rocked the canoe and made waves to conceal the motion of the brush, and no one suspected that Bluejay was hidden there. Now, they had agreed, that, when the sun had passed from one tree to another not far off, each was to have the right to hit the other in the head with a sharp bone. So, when Bluejay saw that the sun had reached the second tree, he dived down, and found Sea Lion lying with his head down close to the bottom. Bluejay jabbed him with the bone before Sea Lion knew what was happening, and Sea Lion came floating up to the surface. All the people shouted, "Bluejay's up!" But it turned out to be Sea Lion, while Bluejay went back under the brush without showing himself There he waited about half an hour longer, and then came out shouting and laughing, and saying that he felt splendidly and not tired at all. In that way Sea Lion was beaten, and the people let Bluejay and his party go on again.

They paddled on as before until they came to another village, and there the people challenged the four wanderers to go into a sweat-house with four of their people and see which could stand the most heat. So four of the village people went into one corner of the sweat-house, and the four travelers into the other. Then the door was closed so that it was pitch dark, and soon it became very hot. But Beaver and Land Otter began to dig, and in a very short time they had tunneled to the river. Then all four got into the water and were as comfortable as could be, while the four men from the village were nearly baked. When the time was up, Bluejay and his friends came back into the sweat-house, and when the door was opened they all jumped out. Bluejay and his friends were as fresh as possible, while the four men from the village were nearly cooked, and their eyes were all white from the heat. So, having beaten the people at their own game, they were allowed to go on, and, paddling as hard as they could, before they knew it they had rounded another point, and come upon a village as before. They ran the canoe clear up on the beach and tied it, and, taking their paddles, went into one of the houses.

The people immediately challenged the new arrivals to sit up five days and five nights without sleeping, against four of their own number. The friends were afraid not to accept, so they started the match. One party sat on one side of the house and the other on the other. The men from the village had spears, and when any one of them was falling asleep, they would prod him with a spear and wake him. They kept calling out to each other all night, " Are you awake? Are you still awake? " And they reviled each other constantly. Bluejay did all the talking for his side, and was hardly quiet a minute. All the next day they jeered at each other, and so they did the next night. Bluejay and the spokesman of the other side kept talking back and forth the whole time. The next day they did the same thing, and so on the third night; and the fourth day and the fourth night it was still the same. On that night the men from the village nearly went to sleep; but Bluejay's men were all right as yet. Bluejay himself was almost done up; but hismaster would pull his ears and kept him awake, for Bluejay's master was the best man of them all. The fifth night the men of the village went to sleep, and Bluejay's master told Land Otter and Beaver to dig so that they could get out. They did so, and fetched four pieces of old wood with phosphorescent spots on them; and they placed the pieces where they had been sitting, one piece for each man; and the spots looked like eyes. Then, while the other crowd was still sleeping, they got out, and, taking everything they could lay their hands on, they stole away in the canoe. Just before daylight one of the other four waked, and called Bluejay several times, but got no answer. So he waked the others, and, taking their spears, they speared what they thought were their rivals. But when daylight came, they saw that they had been fooled, and that their spears were sticking into wood.

There was great excitement, and the people decided to give chase, and, making ready their canoes, they started after the fugitives. Along in the afternoon, Bluejay's master said, "I feel sure some one is following us," and, looking back, they saw a lot of canoes in pursuit. Then they paddled with all their might; and Bluejay's master paddled so hard that at every stroke he broke a paddle, until he had broken all they had, and they floated helpless. Then the others turned to Bluejay and said, "You are always talking about your tamanous. Make use of him now, if you have one, for we are in a bad fix." But Bluejay could only hang his head, for he had no tamanous.

Then Land Otter called on his tamanous, and a little wind arose. Then Beaver called upon his, and the wind became a little stronger; but all the time the other canoes were drawing closer. Then Bluejay's master called upon his tamanous, and there swept down a great storm and a fog. The storm lasted only a short time, and when it had passed, they looked about them and saw hundreds of capsized canoes, but not a man living; for all the people had been drowned. They went around and gathered up all the paddles they wanted, and went on, and at last reached the Quinault country, and were among good people. Finally they reached their home near Damon's Point, and after that, whenever they came in from Sealing, they were careful to give Gull the biggest and fattest Seal.

Print and Color Your Own Sea Lion
Sea Lion

pictograph divider

Stellar Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)

The Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) is the largest member of the Otariid (eared seal) family. Males may be up to 325 cm (10-11 ft) in length and can weigh up to 1,100 kg (2,400 lb). Females are smaller than males, 240-290 cm (7.5-9.5 ft) in length and up to 350 kg (770 lb) in mass. Males and females are light buff to reddish brown and slightly darker on the chest and abdomen; naked parts of the skin are black. Wet animals usually appear darker than dry ones. Pups are about 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and 16-23 kg (35-50 lb) at birth and grow to about 30-40 kg (65-90 lb) after 6-10 weeks. Pups are dark brown to black until 4 to 6 months old when they molt to a lighter brown. By the end of their second year, pups have taken on the same pelage color as adults.

Bulls become mature between 3 and 8 years of age, but typically are not massive enough to hold territory successfully until 9 or 10 years old. Females reproduce for the first time at 4 to 6 years of age, bearing at most a single pup each year. Pups are born from late May through early July, with peak numbers of births during the second or third week of June. Females stay with their pups for about 9 days before beginning a regular routine of foraging trips to sea. Females mate 11 to 14 days after giving birth. Implantation takes place in late September or early October, after a 3-4 month delay. Weaning is not sharply defined as it is for most other pinniped species, but probably takes place gradually during the winter and spring prior to the following breeding season. It is not uncommon to observe 1- or 2-year-old sea lions suckling from an adult female.

Steller sea lion are distributed across the North Pacific Ocean rim from northern Hokkaido, Japan, through the Kuril Islands, Okhotsk Sea, and Commander Islands in Russia, the Aleutian Islands, central Bering Sea, and southern coast of Alaska, and south to the Channel Islands off California. During the May-to-July breeding season, Steller sea lions congregate at more that 40 rookeries, where adult males defend territories, pups are born, and mating takes place. Non-reproductive animals congregate to rest at more than 200 haul-out sites where little or no breeding takes place. Sea lions continue to gather at both rookeries and haul-out sites outside of the breeding season. You can view live video images from haul-out sites at Benjamin Island, near Juneau, Alaska, or the Chiswell Islands near Seward, Alaska, through [requires Internet Explorer 5 or higher].

The world population of Steller sea lions includes two stocks divided at 144° W longitude (Cape Suckling, just east of Prince William Sound, Alaska). The stock differentiation is based primarily on differences in mitochondrial DNA, but also on differing population trends in the two regions.

Steller sea lions are opportunistic predators, feeding primarily of a wide variety of fishes and cephalopods. Prey varies geographically and seasonally. Some of the more important prey species in Alaska include walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius), Pacific herring (Clupea harengus), Capelin (Mallotus villosus), Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), and salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). Steller sea lions have been known to prey on harbor seal, fur seal, ringed seal, and possibly sea otter pups, but this would represent only a supplemental component to the diet.

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!