#7 Man’s Two Souls: The Afterlife
     (Franz Boas, 1883-84)

The Eskimo believe that man has two souls. One of these stays with the body, and may enter temporarily the body of a child which is given the name of the departed. The other soul goes to one of the lands of the souls. Of these there are several. There are three heavens, one above another, of which the highest is the brightest and best. Those who die by violence go to the lowest heaven. Those who die by disease go to Sedna’s house first, where they stay for a year. Sedna restores their souls to full health, and then she sends them up to the second heaven. They become inhabitants of Omiktu, in which place there are many whales. It is not quite certain that the second heaven and Omiktu are the same, as it is also stated that only the lighter souls that leave Sedna’s house ascend to the second heaven. Those who die by drowning go to the third heaven. Their souls are very strong and healthy. People who commit suicide go to a place in which it is always dark, called “Kumetoon,” and where they go about with their tongues lolling. Women who have had premature births go to Sedna’s abode, and stay in Alipā’q, the lowest world, which is under the sea, and not far from Sedna’s house. It is said that some souls go to Tukeychwen, a place of which no full description is given.

[#7] Franz Boas, “The Eskimo of Baffin Land and Hudson Bay,” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. XV, 1907): 130.

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