In our culture, Inuit shamans were known to travel to different afterworlds. When hunters were unable to catch food from the sea, they would transform themselves into fish in order to reach the bottom of the ocean. There they would find Sedna, and would comb her long tangled hair & weave it into braids to soothe her trauma and showcase compassion.
The story of Sedna begins with an unrequited love and arranged marriage between a hunter and a beautiful Inuit woman named Sedna. The hunter won the approval of Sedna’s widowed father by claiming he could provide plentiful food & furs.
After their arranged marriage, the hunter brought Sedna by boat to a remote and deserted island. This was when the hunter revealed his true self; a spirit bird disguised as a human.
Shortly after, Sedna’s father came by kayak to visit and check up on his daughter. After seeing his daughter in complete distress and agony, he agreed to bring her back home. Yet when the sprit bird caught the two attempting to flea, the spirit flapped its wings and created a great storm. Through defeat and panic, her father realized how big of a mistake it was to upset the bird spirit, so he chose to sacrifice his daughter by throwing her into the ocean. In attempt to survive, she clung to the kayak. Fearing the boat would tip, her father then cut each of her fingers off. From each of her cut fingers became all the different sea creatures – whales, seals, narwhales and so on.