by Ses Saunders

Alder, paint, bark (13”x9”x4”)


Moon - The Moon dance can take place at any time during the ceremonial season. The song that accompanies the dance describes the following supernatural beings. Asiutanen: A woman who lives in the Moon and who can be seen in certain of its phases, always carrying a bucket of water. The two Aiqwaiust: These two beings are able periodically to blacken the Moon’s face, thus causing an eclipse. The two Snitsman-a: These kindly women clean the Moon’s face after it has been blackened.Before the dance a large mat is spread across the back wall of the house and on it a disk representing the Moon, with a human face in the middle. Each Snitsman-a remains standing alone in the two back corners of the house, while the two Aiqwaiust are in the central space behind the fire, constantly waving their arms to and fro. Suddenly the Moon itself appears against the matting. A carpenter, concealed behind the screen, directs its course so that it moves in a short arc across the background and disappears. This is the track of the new Moon, low down on the horizon. A second time it “rises”, and moves across in a higher and longer curve. This is the longer orbit of the waxing Moon. On its third course it is still higher, and on its fourth appearance it moves across the full width of the house near the roof which is the course of the full Moon, far above the mountains. (McIlwraith)