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Legendary Native American Figures: Sedna (Sanna)

Name: Sedna
Tribal affiliation: Inuit (Eskimo)
Pronunciation: sedd-nah
Also known as: Sanna, Nerrivik, Nuliajuq, Arnarquagssaq
Type: Goddess, sea, underworld

Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the sea. According to most versions of the legend Sedna was once a beautiful mortal woman who became the ruler of Adlivun (the Inuit underworld at the bottom of the sea) after her father threw her out of his kayak into the ocean. Sedna's fingers, which her father had to cut off to keep her from clinging to the side of the boat, are often said to have turned into the first sea mammals. The other details of Sedna's story are told differently in different Inuit/Eskimo communities-- sometimes she provoked her father's rage by attacking him or violating cultural taboos, while other times her father was selfishly trying to save his own life by sacrificing Sedna.

Native Sedna Stories

*Sedna, Mistress of the Underworld:
    Legend about the early life of the Inuit goddess Sedna.

Recommended Books of Sedna Legends

Sedna: Goddess of the Sea:
    Book of stories about the life and deeds of the Inuit sea goddess Sedna.
The Sea Woman: Sedna in Inuit Shamanism and Art:
    Interesting photo-essay on traditional Inuit religion with a focus on sculptures and carvings of the sea goddess Sedna.
Tales of Ticasuk: Eskimo Legends and Stories:
    Collection of traditional stories told by an Inuit author.
A Treasury of Eskimo Tales:
    A classic collection of Inuit legends and folktales.

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Additional Resources

 Ancient Peoples and Places: The Eskimos and Aleuts
 Inuit myths
 Inuktitut language
 Inuit words
 Alaska Native people
 Arctic culture
 Eskimo languages



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