Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Orca Clan and Storm Boy

The Orca in our midst are quite possibly one of the oldest life forms inhabiting these Islands. The species spans the globe and is thought to have been around for 5 million years. They are sophisticated social animals that travel in matrilineal family groups distinguished from other groups by their unique dialects. The first humans to inhabit the Pacific Northwest traveled the same waters as the Orca and the whales figured into their cosmology as symbols of mysticism. The majestic creatures are associated with strength, dignity, prosperity and longevity.

Detail from Storm Boy written and illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis

Paul Owen Lewis beautifully interprets the link between native peoples of the Pacific Northwest and the Orca in his award winning children’s book Storm Boy. A chief’s son goes fishing alone and falls into the sea. He spends the next year with the Orca people exchanging stories and dances before returning home only to find that just one day has passed for his family on the shore.

Detail from Storm Boy written and illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis

Storm Boy was awarded: Northwest Book Award, Best Book of the Year; American Book Award, Best Children’s Book of the Pacific Northwest and the Washington State Governor’s Award. The book is available at the Whale Museum where you can also see a life size Storm Boy exhibit.

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