Inuit Legend About The Balance Between Nature And Humans

This is a story about balance that has its roots in an ancient legend of the Inuit, or Eskimos. This people has always had to deal with hostile and threatening geographical conditions.
Inuit legend about the balance between nature and humans

This Inuit legend is handed down by the peoples inhabiting northern Canada and Greenland. The Arctic region is an enormously difficult territory, those who inhabit it have had to bravely face nature to survive. Therefore this legend is a story about the balance, what should exist between man and the environment for life to resist on planet Earth.

This story tells us about balance. Kaila was for the Inuit the god of the skies, no one had power anymore. The heavens hold water, fire and earth, which is why Kaila was the true ruler of the kingdom. He decided to create man and woman together to populate the Earth. In the beginning, they were both completely alone, but they were also totally free.

The man and the woman saw that it was all depopulated and were disconcerted. Then Kaila entrusted the woman with the task of populating the Earth and being the guardian of life. Immediately he told her to make a hole in the ice, from there the animals whose job was to accompany humans began to come out. Last came the reindeer or caribou.

A story about the balance of origins

This story tells us about balance, because the man and the woman were very happy when they saw the new beings who would share the earth with them. Then the god Kaila told the woman that the reindeer, the last animal to come out, was an important gift from the gods. He added that that animal would feed them with its flesh and shelter with its skin. “It will feed you and your family,” he added.

Since then,  the reindeer became the most prized possession for the Inuit. His flesh fed them like no other. His skin allowed them to get clothes and build tents to shelter from the harsh cold. Reindeer abounded, and so they learned to hunt them and their life became much easier.

The reindeer multiplied incessantly by order of the woman. Kaila had, in fact, granted her that power. When the man and woman had children, they taught them to hunt those animals. The young always wanted to kill the largest and fattest specimens, so they would get more nutrition and more shelter for all. Here was a great harmony in the world.

Close-up of a reindeer.

The importance of balance in Inuit legend

Inuit legend has it that humans hunted so many large and strong reindeers that suddenly only the worst of them began to remain alive  . The smallest and the weakest survived the hunt , so the man and woman began to worry.

They were soon forced to consume the flesh and skin of the rather gaunt specimens. They didn’t taste good and their skin was enough for a few clothes.

And so came the time of hunger. No other animal was capable of satisfying the needs of human beings. The woman’s children began to lose weight, suffering a hunger never known before.

A desperate plea

Faced with such a situation, the woman found no other remedy than to roll her eyes and ask Kaila for help. The god felt a little offended. “I gave you the best of gifts,” he said. “But you wasted it,” he added. However, he promised her that he would help her.

According to this Inuit legend, Kaila thought she was talking to Amarok, master and lord of the wolves, who in turn was one of the wonderful beings. Kaila asked him to deliver to humans a group of wolves, animals that until then had only lived in the realm of the gods. Amarok understood the situation and gave humans a pack of wolves.

Herd of wolves.

These reached the frozen plains and discreetly approached the caribou, which grazed peacefully. But when the wolves drew closer, the caribou noticed them. The reindeer then decided to protect the weaker specimens . The older ones formed a circle around them to prevent the wolves from attacking them.

Despite this, the wolves pounced on them. Only the strongest reindeer survived, and they had to reproduce to survive. Since then, the wolf spirit has ruled over the Great Northern Kingdom and the smaller reindeer belong to him. This is why when the wolves want to eat them, the Inuit let them do it. They know that everything has a balance, and that wolves protect it.

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