Life in the Village: Chapter 5

Green prickly pear pads with red fruit.
Prickly pear with fruit/tunas. By Stan Shebs [CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

The mood in the village is somber—the fight with the otter hunters has reduced the number of men from 42 to 15. Those who died at Coral Cove are buried after the storm subsides.

A new chief, an elderly man named Kimki, is chosen. He directs everyone, including the women, to hunt and gather food to last through autumn and winter. The women work hard to fish, collect shellfish, and hunt birds. They are very successful at their new tasks, despite the fact that hunting is considered men’s work. But the men are unhappy with the idea of women as hunters, and the chief declares that men will do all the hunting from that time forward.

In the spring, Kimki decides that he will paddle a canoe and go alone to a country many days journey to the east, to a land that he visited as a boy. He says that he will find a new place for the people of the village to live. Kimki paddles out of the cove and the villagers wonder if he will reach his destination, and if he will return for them.

Karana and Ulape collect and prepare abalone, an important shellfish food for the villagers. Ramo keeps sea gulls and wild dogs away from the red meat of the abalone as it dries on the rocks. Other women collect scarlet apples—the red fruit of prickly pear cactus—for winter food.

Last updated: July 22, 2019