One of the most awesome creatures in both real life and in Pacific Northwest coast art is the orca or killer whale. Feared many years ago but now loved by millions of people around the world, the killer whale is one of the most prominent subjects for Pacific Northwest coast artists. The killer whale is regarded as the guardian as well as the ruler of the sea because of its sheer size and power. The killer whale is also seen as the best hunter of the sea.
Killer whales are symbols of longevity and romance since they are believed to mate for life. It is said that if fishermen ever injure a killer whale, it will capsize the canoe sinking the fishermen to the Village of the Whales. It is here where the fishermen will be transformed into whales themselves. Whales near the shore are believed to be humans who were transformed trying to communicate with their previous human families ashore. Others believe that killer whales are reincarnations of deceased native chiefs. Some legends claim that the first killer whale was previously a supernatural white wolf that entered the sea and transformed into a whale. Mother Earth painted
markings on the side of the killer whale as a reminder that it used to be a member of the wolf family. Indeed, both the killer whale and wolf share similar characteristics as they both have similar coloring. They both also stay and hunt in family packs. There are also legends that describe the killer whale being able to transform back and forth into a wolf.
Killer whales are thought to be the prey of the mythical thunderbird who is powerful enough to capture and carry a killer whale back to the mountains. The geography of some parts of the Pacific Northwest coast region is thought to be the result of a legendary battle between the killer whale and thunderbird. The Haida have a legend about a raven finned killer whale who is a whale chief carrying a raven perched on top of his dorsal fin.
The orca or killer whale is one of the most popular subjects of Pacific Northwest Coast art. A piece of Pacific Northwest Coast art or jewelry featuring a killer whale is considered a most appropriate gift of romance or a present for an individual who brings harmony into one’s life.
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* Which East African lake that drains into the Ruzizi River contains large quantities of dissolved methane gas that could generate electricity for millions?
Twelve-year-old Rishi Nair of Florida gave the correct answer to that final-round final question, becoming the winner of the 2016 National Geographic Bee, a title that comes with a ,000 college scholarship, a trip to Alaska, and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.
Saketh Jonnalagadda, 14, Massachusetts’ champion, came in second, winning a ,000 scholarship.
An earlier round narrowed the field from the state-level champs. Tie-breaking questions included: The Paraguay River flows into which other river near the city of Corrientes? The answer: Paraná River.
Journalist and writer Mo Rocca served as contest moderator.
Read about the 2016 Geographic Bee:
Can You Answer This Geo Bee Final Question From 2015?:
Watch the National Geographic Bee on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27.
Can You Answer the 2016 Geography Bee’s Winning Question?