We Respect The Crow

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Project by GnarlyErik posted 06-13-2014 05:51 PM 1591 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a notion to dress up my fishing car a little and decided to make a decorative plate for the front. It is a simple pine panel with a white ash frame and a crow carved in bas relief from walnut, which is blind screwed to the panel. All have several coats of varnish for protection. The assembly is blind fastened to the vehicle to prevent casual thievery. I call it my “We Respect The Crow ‘ panel. Why the crow as subject? Well, first it is suitable in both size and orientation, but there is a second very good reason too.

Some years ago I drove across the Yukon Territory in Canada – great trip! I had an old friend and traveling buddy with me and he was a real outdoorsman and hunter. We came to a village named Teslin Lake in the Yukon and noticed there were many, many crows. There were thousands of them everywhere you looked. They were perched on tops of houses – hundreds at a time it seemed, and in most of the trees, just everywhere it seemed. Neither of us had never seen so many crows in one place. It was obvious someone, probably many people, were feeding and encouraging them.

It was a leisurely trip – 17 days from Florida to Alaska – and we stopped when and where we liked to explore as much as we felt like – no hurry, no worries. At Teslin Lake there was a small museum featuring pictures and artifacts of the native people there, Athabascan Indians. As I recall it was before noon and almost no one was in the museum except a couple of young local Indian guys and ourselves. The Indians appeared to be in their early twenties, cleanly dressed in jeans and colorful shirts, and each had a long radiantly black ponytail hanging to their waists in back, tied behind their heads. We four went in a small amphitheater there to watch about a thirty minute film about the Athabascans, their culture, history and legends.

The film was well done and interesting, and heavily featured The Crow – ‘The Trickster’ in Northwest Indian legends. When the film finished, my friend asked one of the Indians – innocently enough it seemed to me at the time since I knew him so well – ‘Does anyone ever hunt crows around here?’ But, I also knew at that moment the question was a real faux pas, based on the film we had just watched, which idea had somehow not registered with my friend.

There was a long silence before one of the Indians spoke in a very dignified but unmistakably significant way, “We Respect The Crow!”. We were both thoroughly chagrined and embarrassed, though I knew my friend meant nothing untoward by his question. But, that young man’s words were indelibly burned in my brain and I have never forgotten that answer to this day, and think of that moment every time I see a crow. I have always been fascinated by crows anyway, which are very intelligent animals. If you doubt that, check out some videos on YouTube and read a book called ‘Bird Brains’. You might gain a new respect for these creatures.

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

3 comments so far

View Bob817's profile


679 posts in 3192 days

#1 posted 06-13-2014 06:24 PM

That’s a Nice decorative plate for your vehicle and a very good story Erik! Did you find out why all the crows were hanging around?

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3102 days

#2 posted 06-13-2014 07:23 PM

Pretty fancy and interesting write up.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View shipwright's profile


8573 posts in 3608 days

#3 posted 06-13-2014 08:59 PM

On the West Coast Raven is the creator. Good thing your friend didn’t ask about hunting ravens. This particular legend from the Haida also refers to him as the trickster but I’m quite sure I’ve heard that name associated with the crow as well. First Nations mythology here has it they they remain around the settlements because they are the spirits of the deceased ancestors.
For this and for their intelligence, they deserve our respect.

Well done.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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