This is a classic Haida story illustrated in a Hand Carved Sterling Silver Octopus Bracelet by Owen Walker that carries a message about how we humans are meant to interact with our fellow creatures here on the Earth. In Chinook Jargon it would start “Hiyu lally ankutie” Which in English means something like “Once upon a time”. There was a beautiful woman from the Raven side of the village who took a canoe and went to dig roots. She was gone for such a long time that her people went to look for her and found only her empty canoe floating between some islands across from the village.
The Village shaman or spirit doctor had seen this woman while doing his magic, and told the Raven people that she was alive and living in the Octopus village under the sea, which news eased their sorrow somewhat. While playing on the beach some children found a baby octopus swimming along the ebb tide, looking for a place to hide himself. Unknown to the children this octopus was their cousin who had come to visit the night before when he had transformed himself into his human form to visit his grandparents, but they did not recognize him and therefore paid no attention to him. The children playing on the beach began poking the octopus with long sticks, forgetting what they had been taught about harming living things, they tried to flip him up onto the beach. He finally escaped back into the water and swam home to the octopus village. His mother was the missing Raven woman.
The Octopus people were very upset at how their baby had been treated by the people and decided they must have revenge or payment. The Spirit doctor had a vision of what was to happen and warned the Raven people what the Octopus people were planning, so the Raven people were able to seal their house and be ready for an attack. The Octopus people came at night and tried to cover Brown Bear House and suffocate the Raven People within, but they were not able to seal the whole house and by morning they gave up and went back to the sea. To commemorate these events and to make peace with the Octopus people the Raven chief called a great potlatch and invited the Octopus people, where they honored the Raven woman and her son the Octopus prince. Thus peace was established, the naughty children were punished and the balance of the world was restored. This is a Pacific Northwest Coast Haida story.
One Octopus(D42) is shown in profile, which means you only see one side of her face. I do another Octopus design(D82) that shows her face straight on so you see both eyes, I designed that bracelet on the request of some Tlingit folks from Juneau, I’m not sure if it is their family crest or they just wanted a face-on Octopus. Since I have known this story for many years I like to think that the profile Octopus (D42) is the young prince and the face on Octopus (D82) is the Raven woman transformed into her Octopus form.