K°a'alaqs (Blue Jays), 2019
Artist Lyle Wilson
Paper size 16" x 13.5"
Image size 9.75" x 7.75"
Edition of 50
K°a'alaqs (Blue Jays) by Lyle Wilson
When NOO-GWA (I/me) was 6 or 7 years old, NOO-GWA was taught to use a PAH-PAH-GUY-O (bird-trap). It was a simple wooden frame on which netting was loosely fastened. A shallow hole was dug, some breadcrumbs sprinkled in and the frame laid over the hole. One end of the frame was propped up with a short stick, a length of string tied to the middle of the stick and the string stretched to a hiding place.
The small birds would see the bread crumbs, come to investigate and eventually be lured into the hole. Once the bird was in the hole the string was pulled, yanking the stick out from the frame, and leaving the poor bird trapped in the hole.
The net-mesh was very loose so no bird was ever harmed and as soon as our youthful curiosity was satisfied, the bird was let go, alive --- maybe frightened but unharmed.
We caught many birds this way: CHOO-ACH-QWA (robin), AUCH-AUCH-NEE (thrush), JUS-GEN (wren), JA-JU-THLUM (chick-a-dee), JUH-JES-PEEK-CA (woodpecker) and my personal favorite, the K°a'alaqs (blue jay)!
The K°a'alaqs is an intelligent and strikingly beautiful bird: the head is usually black that blends into the eye-catching, bright-blue feathers of it’s body, wings and tail. The top of it’s head has a crest of feathers that really stand upright when it is angry or agitated.
When we did catch a K°a'alaqs, it was very angry and agitated indeed, so when let go, we got to see them flying around with their crests on full display --- not to mention hearing their non-stop, sharp, indignant, cries of outrage at our youthful indiscretion of catching them in our PAH-PAH-GUY-O!
There is no traditional HAISLA story regarding the K°a'alaqs that NOO-GWA am aware of, but in a broader sense, this print relates to part of HAISLA history because in those earlier times the HAISLA still retained an extremely strong hunting point-of-view. The PAH-PAH-GUY-O was one way to gently introduce young HAISLA males to the HAISLA hunting way-of-life of those times.
Now, usually YOU-DOO-CH (3) K°a'alaqs visit our backyard and remind NOO-GWA of those early PAH-PAH-GUY-O times.