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Skates are native to both the east and west coasts of North America, and many Native American tribes eat them as seafood, though few of these tribes attribute much mythological importance to skates. The exception is southern Alaska tribes such as the Tlingit. In Tlingit mythology, skates are said to be the steeds or boats of the dreaded Land-Otter-Men, malevolent spirits who drown humans and steal their souls. Because of this association, Tlingit people viewed skates with discomfort and dread, considering them akin to ghosts. Traditional Tlingit people never ate skates. The Quinault also called the constellation we know as Orion by the name Skate.
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