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NOTES

1. sleeping platforms (taa’x'): "Only in smaller houses is the inside on a level with the ground. In larger buildings the center is dug down about one meter so that there is an earthen bank about two meters broad running the length of the house and closed off from the excavated area with boards or blankets and mats hanging from the beams. In this way a vestibule is created which one enters and from which one descends a few steps into the inner space.

"This also sets off separate sleeping quarters and storage rooms along the side of the bank walls. Then there is a second tier which is lined with planks as well and serves the same purpose." The Tlingit Indians, by Aurel Krause.

2. fort (noo`w): Such forts were typically constructed on small islands with rock faces, which were easily defensible. This word can also refer to the island itself. In this story, the only access to the fort was by the ravine mentioned in line 122. The enemy had to wait until low tide when the isthmus connecting the main island with the island where the fort was located was uncovered, and then run down from the woods, across the sand of the isthmus, and up the ravine to attack the fort.

3. Landmarks (kwei·y): Tlingits used to, and still do, find the location of their fishing sites as shown in the drawing below, by noting two pairs of landmarks, such that the members of one pair (being distant from each other) are seen in line or nearly in line with each other from the point of view of the fishing site and likewise for the other pair. Thus the fishing site is at the intersection of the two lines.

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4. blocks: David W. Ellis in "The Ethnozoology of the Skidegate Haida" reports how these were made from mussels there: "Several dozen mussels were impaled on five sticks. These … were laid parallel to each other, and three more sticks ran through the mussels at right angles to the five main sticks … thus holding them together and making a 'platter' …."

5. moss (s'ix'gaa`): This word can also mean 'for dishes'. The origin of the word for moss is thus alluded to in this line with a play on words.

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