Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Doggies, Cars, the Spirit of Money & Chilkat Robes


Yesterday I had an indigenous moment. My car had the ambiance of just plain old happy doggie smell. I've been taking our 3 Labradoodles on walks lately by putting them in the car and taking them to a remote country road not far from our house. It allows them to blast off like three doggie rockets and jet around creation. Talk about pure bliss.

Anyway, when I brought my car in to be washed (this required a pro industrial job, not the usual lightweight self-wash) and gave the attendant the keys, he asked what smell I'd like for my car. The question kind of threw me for a moment and I just blurted out "Fresh 100 dollar bills of course.... a whole stack of them." Oops. Sometimes I do that when I'm a bit tired.

Mmmmmm. I love the smell of fresh money in the morning. It smells like... victory...

The above remided me of a story that Jennie Thlanaut (one of the last of the old-time traditional Chilkat weavers from my home village of Klukwan who passed on some time ago) once told a gathering of traditional Chilkat weavers. I was present to photograph it. She told them that as a young woman she was paid a 50 dollar gold piece for her first Chilkat weaving back in the early 20th century. She said that it is a traditional Tlingit belief that there is indeed such a thing as the sprit of money, and that to get it to like you, you need to hold on to your money for as long as possible, especially if you were paid a special commission for your art.

After I heard that I carried around a 20 dollar bill in my pocket for a long time. It didn't quite work for me. Instead of getting the spirit of money to like me, I just got it to shoot me a cursory suspicious glance every now and then on its way to someone else. Dang.

(Photo by T'naa McNeil)

1 comment:

M said...

Gunalcheesh for sharing this old tlingit tradition. I will remember it when I make a commision for my art. (If that ever happens.)