Sunday, January 30, 2011

Maniilaq: A New Picture?

Maniilaq was born in the area of Qala, which is uninhabited now, but was in the upper Kobuk River area, near present day Kobuk and Shungnak. His birth date is uncertain, but most place it in the early 1830's

I have picked up some interesting facts in my reading that would somewhat alter the traditional view of this godly man. The first fact is that nothing is ever said about his father though his mother and sisters are well-documented with their names and the names of his sisters' descendants.

The second fact is that at about the time Maniilaq was born Qala was an Athabascan village, not an Inupiaq one. Athbascans and Eskimos have traditionally been enemies. Could it be that none of the Inupiat elders, who are the source of all we know of Maniilaq, know anything of his father because he was not Inupiat, but Athabascan?

The last fact is that at least one of the elders recounted that Maniilaq sometimes talked in a language that no one could understand. Being of the persuasion that the gift of tongues is given to help people who speak different languages better understand each other, this was uncomfortable for me to read. But it does fit perfectly if Maniilaq's father was not an Eskimo and thus Maniilaq was bilingual.

Maniilaq's story is full of unexplored details that we can not know the answers to until we meet him and his family in heaven. Then every tongue and tribe and nation will praise God together in one mighty voice and I know that many of Maniilaq's family will be there among them.

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