Native American Legends
Raven: The Brave Warrior
A Squamish Legend as told by Louis Miranda
What I will be relating here is something that was often told to
me by my late mother and many of my older relatives. I also heard
it told to a group by the storyteller and this is how they would
start: This was something that was suppose to happen in the long
ago when all birds and animals were human beings.
It was said that this must have been summertime and Raven was at
home with his parents and friends. There came a day when a lot of
women got together and said, "If we only had a man to steer
and paddle the canoe for us, we would go picking blackberries."
To get to where the blackberries were, was some distance.
The Raven must have overheard the remark and immediately he said,
"Why worry, I am here. I will go and paddle the canoe for you
all of you, wherever you want to go. I want all of you, my younger
sister's, to know that as long as I am here with all of you, and
if you want anything done, do not hesitate to ask me. I would be
glad to go and paddle the canoe for all of you, if you want to go
and look for blackberries. I would also like to tell you all, with
me you have no fear of anything or anyone. I would be there to protect
you and see that you all would arrive safely home with all your
So, the women got aboard their canoe with the great man who is
going to paddle their canoe for them to their destination. The great
paddle and protector sat in the stern of the canoe and all he done
was steer the canoe, not once did he take a paddle stroke.
One of his sisters said to him, " Why is it that you just
sit there? Why do you not help us by doing some paddling?"
Their brave and willing helper said it's a very hard job to keep
the canoe going straight and avoid bumping any driftwood. I am also
keeping a close look-out along the shore and the bushes in case
of lurking enemies who would be spying on us. So, why are you talking
? You all are having it to easy. All you are doing is paddling,
talking and laughing. And here, I have the hardest work to do, keep
the canoe straight and also protecting you all from the enemy,"
So, the women said no more and continued their paddling while their
brave protector and willing helper sat in the stern of the canoe,
Finally, they arrived at the place where the blackberries were.
They beached their canoe, picked up their baskets and struck off.
But, before they left, their bother said, "Do not fear, I will
stay here and protect the canoe. Whenever you get your baskets full
you can bring it down and I will see that no harm will happen to
When the women took off, their brave brother and protector made
himself comfortable and in a good position to protect his sisters
and he went sleep. Whenever one of the sisters got a basket full
of berries and brought it down to the canoe so that it would be
protected, they would see that their great protector would be sound
asleep. They would strike the side of the canoe to wake up their
When he awoke, he would say, " I must have been concentrating
so hard on the enemy that I was not aware of you when you were coming
down." So again, he said, "You all have nothing to fear.
Put your berries in the canoe and no harm shall happen to them.
For, I will be here and should the enemy arrive I will protect your
berries with my life.
The women would put the berries in the canoe and take off again,
and as soon as the berry pickers would disappear, the brave warrior
would go back to sleep. So, this time, he did not sleep too long.
He woke up and he felt hungry, really hungry, but he had no lunch
with him and there was nothing for him to eat.
Then, he seen the berries and he thought , "Why not, I got
real tired paddling, steering and also protecting them from the
enemy, and all they did was talk and laugh. Here I am again, driving
the enemy. Ready to give up my life to protect them and their berries
and as a reward for my strenuous labor, I see no harm in taking
a few berries."
So he began, he took one, sat there and another one. He took two
and again he took three berries, finally, he was taking them by
the handful and he kept on until the berries were about all gone.
he left a few in the basket and these he crushed. Then, he took
the basket and the crushed berries and emptied it on his head, face
and his entire body.
This done, he sat there feeling a little sick but he didn't dare
go to sleep, and not long after that battle he heard his sisters
coming down towards their canoe. He laid down in the bottom of the
canoe and started to groan when the women arrived. They seen their
dear brother layer in the bottom of the canoe and seen that all
of their berries were gone.
They approached their great warrior brother and he replied, "You
all are standing there asking what happened and here I am, dying.
I know I am going to die, but I will be satisfied to know that I
am dying for a good cause, trying to protect your berries from the
enemy. Since, I fought so hard but I lost, I am asking a favor from
you all. I want you to take, this, your brave warrior brother who
gave up his life to protect your berries, take me lay there until
I die. I do not want anyone to be near me when I am dying."
So, the sisters waited for their oldest sister, who was very feeble
and therefor very slow in anything that she was doing. She finally
arrived, so they got aboard the canoe and paddled their brave dying
warrior of a brother to the little island. He pointed out and complying
to his dying request, they paddled and when they arrived at the
island, They put ashore their brave warrior dying brother.
They started to wept over the one who gave up his life trying to
protects their berries, so their brave dying brother said , "I
am satisfied that I am dying, knowing that you are all showing your
respect by weeping over me. "he done it, he done it our brave
warrior brother, he done it,he done it, our brave warrior brother."
I want you all to say that when you cry and mourn over me."
The sisters said the word the words that he told them to say. The
dying warrior said, "Good! My younger sisters, good. I want
you all to say that." The oldest sister (the snail), who was
very slow and unable to go far from the beach seen all what their
brother was doing. She started to weep and this is what she said,
"He done it, he done it, in his sly minky ways, he done it,
he done it, in his sly minky ways."
The dying warrior said, "No younger sister, don't say that,
don't say that . Say this, say this: He done it, he done it, our
brave warrior brother, he done it, he done it, our brave warrior
brother, you say that." Again the snail started to weep and
again she said, "He done it, in his sly minky ways, my brother."
When she stopped weeping her sister got mad at her.
They said to her, "Why do you say that, yet, you can see that
our brave warrior brother is dying from trying to protect us and
our berries." The snail sister said, "you all know that
I am very slow when I am walking so I just along the beach. I could
see all that was happening at the canoe. Yes, he did have a big
battle, this brave warrior brother of ours. His great enemy name
is Raven. That is the enemy our dying warrior was battling, it was
himself that ate all our berries, then he spilt the juice from the
berries all aver his head, his face and his entire body. Then he
sat there and waited. When he heard you all coming down to the canoe,
he laid down and started to groan, so there lays the enemy."
She started to beat the great warrior and when he went to stand
up to get away, all of the other sisters started to beat him up.
When he passed out they took him and threw him into the beach and
they left him there. But, Raven knew that there were a lot of sea
eggs, clams, and also a lot of berries on that island. This was
his reason for asking to be put ashore there, so he could die in
peace. So ends the story of the brave warrior as the story was told
to them, then told to us.
The legend of Raven and the Blackberries is as told by the late much loved Elder, Chief, Uncle Louis Miranda after the traditional storytelling of our People, the Skwxw˙7mesh ┌xwumixw ~ the Squamish Nation. Located in modern times as SW British Columbia, Canada.
Native American Legends
Back to Top
Other Native American Legends