Weekly Deity: Kwatee


Kwatee is a Native American deity from the tribes of the Pacific Northwest region.  He’s considered something of a trickster god.  I don’t know very much about Native American gods or mythology, but I do my best to choose from various pantheons for the Weekly Deity articles, and Native American gods should be included.  I apologize for any errors that may follow.

Attributes

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any images of Kwatee to tell you what he looks like.  There were also no descriptions in the passages I found in my research that would give any clue to his figure.  If anyone is able to find something, please let me know, and I will add it to the post!

Myths

Kwatee is most well known, apparently, for defeating the monster in Lake Quinault.  One variation of the story says that the monster had swallowed his mother, and that’s why Kwatee fought it.  Another says that the monster did swallow his mother, and Kwatee’s brother, Tihtipihin, attempted a rescue.  But when the monster also swallowed Tihtipihin and his canoe, Kwatee threw hot rocks into the lake, which boiled the monster and killed it.  Kwatee then slit the monster’s belly open and released his brother, who had become the father of the hermit crabs.

Kwatee is the god of change and transformation.  He was supposed to have changed the world into what it is today, though not without opposition to the changes.  The myths do say that Kwatee tried to change the world for the better.  The giant animal people, such as Spider, Ant, Fox, and Beaver, were the most vocal against Kwatee’s changes, and so he changed them into the normal animals we have today.  He was also said to have created the first people, made from dirt and sweat of his own body.

Light Side

On the up side, Kwatee is a god of change and transformation.  Changes can be great.  I think it was a good idea to size down the giant animal people.  Transformations, such as those that turn a caterpillar into a butterfly, are positive changes, and Kwatee is said to have done his best to make positive changes in the world.  So his Light side is change.  Without change there would be stagnancy, things would rot and die and become festering wounds.  The natural world is full of change in and of itself–trees grow, fruits ripen and vegetables become edible.  Those are all changes, and Kwatee is the god of change.  He’s also a creator.

Dark Side

Since he is something of a minor trickster god as well as creator and transformer, he could also be viewed with some animosity.  Few enjoy having tricks played on them.  But since this seems to be a minor part of Kwatee’s personality, it doesn’t factor in quite as much as it would for, say, Coyote.  Still, tricksters are partially negative for the harm they could potentially do and the chaos they could potentially cause.  Changes as well are not entirely positive.  There are such things as bad changes, and although Kwatee attempted to make positive changes, that implies that he didn’t always succeed.  Just as there is potential for positive change and transformation, there is the potential for negative change and stagnancy or reversal.

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One response to “Weekly Deity: Kwatee

  1. Well, it also looks like Kwatee didn’t take dissent or adversity too well..I mean, he shrunk his dissenters. It is wonderful to learn about a whole new deity outside of any of the pantheons I’ve ever studied. Wonderful job!

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