Native North American Mythologies

The Native American Great Goddess

Who is Sedna?

Sedna (Nuliajuk) is an Inuit sea spirit who plays a significant role in the creation of food. Sedna is one of many animistic goddesses, such as Corn Mother, for example, whose body becomes in some sense sustenance for her people. Some Inuit teach that Sedna, as a young girl, lived with her father, Anguta, until a giant sea bird, the fulmar, seduced her, convincing her to live with him in his nest across the sea. But the nest was foul and there was little food. Disgusted by the conditions, Sedna sent messages to her father, begging to be rescued. It took Anguta a year to arrive on the scene, but when he did get there he immediately killed the fulmar, and he and his daughter began their trip home in his boat. But, enraged by the murder of their leader, other fulmars used violent winds to chase Anguta’s boat. Now, hoping to save himself from the storm by lessening the boat’s weight, Anguta threw his daughter overboard. When she tried to hang on to the boat, he cut off her fingers, which instantly became the whales, seals, and other sea creatures on which the people still depend for food. After the storm Sedna swam up from the depths and climbed back into the boat. Her father was sleeping so she ordered his dogs to eat his hands and feet. When Anguta woke up, he was so furious that earth itself swallowed him.


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