Have you heard of our new furry friend, the god of bears?
Nanook's (also known as Tornarssuk) origins come from the Innuit mythology, and he is known as a patron of hunters who gets to decide who among them are worthy enough to be granted his blessing.
Inuits are indigenous people that live in communities and can be found in Alaska, Greenland, the eastern coast of Russia and Northern Canada where the myth of Nanook took its root.
Inuit folklore claims that if the carcass of a polar bear is treated properly by the hunter who has hunted it down by paying it respect by utilising all the meat, body parts and the pelt, he would have success in the upcoming bear hunt as well. The pelt of the bear was to be hanged in the designated place inside of the igloo where it would stay for a couple of days. During this time, various token items were used as an offering to the spirit, mostly weapons and tools (such as knives, needle cases or scrapers). The offerings depended on the gender of the animal.
By failing to adhere to these traditions, the mistreated spirit of the slain beast would then speak to the other bears and warn them to avoid the dishonourable huntsman.
Vice versa, if the hunter has taken the proper means of honouring his prey, it would then speak in his favour.
Due to polar bears having 5 fingers on each of their paws and their ability to stand upright, from a great distance, they might resemble a human shape. Myth believes that Nanook was able to assume human form.
This led several Inuits tribes to believe that they are the descendants of bears and had become one of their major totem animals.
There is a legend that says that once, Nanook was chased by a pack of hunting dogs to the very edge of the world.
Thanks to his cunningness, he tricked them to fall down the cliff, right into the star sky, forming the Pleiades constellation.
The constellation next to it is Ursa Major, though, for Inuits, this one does not represent a bear but a giant caribou.
(Ursa stands for a Bear in Latin)
Nanook or Nanuk means polar bear in Inuktitut.
In Slovak, Nanuk means popsicle.
Diggy met Nanook during his adventures in the Terra region.
We hope that you will enjoy your time with the Great Polar Bear Spirit.
Does Nanook resemble any mythologic/folklore character or characters from your own culture?
Feel free to share it with us and the rest of your fellow diggers in the comments below 🙂
P.S.: We are well aware that our Nanook has 4 fingers.
"NANOOK: The Deity from Native American Mythology." Godchecker.com Web. 23 Feb. 2010.
Paisley, Susanna, and Nicholas J. Saunders. Taylor & Francis Online. N.p., 23 Apr. 2010. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.