Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Legend of Gooscap's Door

“Glooscap’s Door” Oil on Canvas by Dozay:
"When I did this piece, the Mi’kmaq were protesting plans to mine granite on Kelly’s Mountain. It would have destroyed Glooscap’s Door forever..."

There is a doorway to Glooscap's domain
Where you throw dry punk and fish
For his fire and food.
But you must not enter
Though you may leave a gift on stone
Waiting to feel goodness.
This is the way the legend goes
So the Micmac elders say.

At Cape North on a mountain you whisper,
"My grandfather
I have just come to your door
I need your help."
Then you leave something you treasure
Taking three stones.
This is your luck.
This is the way the legend goes
So the Micmac elders say.

At Cape Dolphin near Big Bras d'Or
There is a hole through a cliff
It is Glooscap's door.
And on the outside a flat stone
It is his table.
The Indians on a hunt leave on table
Tobacco and eels.
This brings them luck, so the story goes
The legend live on.

Song of Eskasoni, Rita Joe



Journal of American folklore, Volume 28 pg 59

Gluskap was the god of the Micmacs. The great deity, Ktcini'sxam, made him out of earth and then breathed on him, and he was made. This was at Cape North (KtE'dnuk, "At the North Mountain"), Cape Breton, on the eastern side. Gluskap's home was at Fairy Holes (Gluska'be wi'gw6m, "Gluskap's wigwam") [1]. Just in front of the caves at this headland are three little islands in a straight line, long and narrow, known as Ciboux Islands. These are the remains of Gluskap's canoe, where he left it when it was broken.
Glooscap's Canoe Airbrush with acrylics by Dozay

Near here is a small island, which is the pot in which he cooked the beaver; and there, too, is another rock, near Pot Rock, which is Gluskap's dog left behind at this time. Turtle (Mi'ktcik) was Gluskap's uncle. Here with his pot and dog he turned Turtle into a rock, and left them all there. Near where he killed the beaver are still to be seen the bones turned to rock...The Micmacs are Gluskap's children. As he prophesied it came true, for in 1610 the first Micmacs were baptized and became Christians. Gluskap had departed just a little before them, because he knew he had to make room for Christ; but he is the Micmac's god, and will come to help them if they ever need him. When Peary discovered the North Pole, he saw Gluskap sitting at the top of the Pole, and spoke to him.
One time when Gluskap had become the Indian's god, Christ wanted to try him to see if he was fit: so he took Gluskap to the ocean, and told him to close his eyes. Then Christ moved close to the shore an island which lay far out to sea. When Gluskap opened his eyes, he saw it. Christ asked him if he could do as much as that. Then Gluskap told Christ to close his eyes a while. When Christ opened his eyes, he found that Gluskap had moved it back to its place again...
[1] This is now known as Fairy Holes, between St. Ann's Bay and Great Bras d'or. The Micmacs tell how, forty-two years ago, five Indians — Joe Bernard, Francis Bernard, Clement Bernard, Joe Newell, and Tom Newell — entered the caves which honeycomb this headland, carrying seven torches. They walked as far as the torches would light them, about a mile and a half, found eight brooks in the caves, and when they came out discovered how a rock three hundred feet wide had moved since they had entered. The Indians regard these caves as very mysterious.

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