Lingit Latseen

Namgis hereditary chief Beau Dick has broken a copper shield to shame the Canadian government and draw attention to environmental issues in the region that threaten Native people. Among my tribe, the Tlingit, we call such copper shields Tináa and all along the Pacific Northwest they are a symbol of wealth and status. To break or cut Tináa is a display of power. It can be used to shame a rival clan or, in this case, the Canadian government. The deliberate destruction of wealth in the name of an enemy or rival showed power, and was seen as a direct challenge to the offender.

In Raven’s bioregion, as I like to call it, there are many ways for a clan or tribe to shame or taunt another people. The raising of a shame totem pool was a common practice. To this day some clans among the Tlingit claim ownership…

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