To what extent, if any, is Sedna’s father justified in killing Sedna?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a couple of elements have to be stated.  The first is that it is really difficult to assess justification in myths or creation elements that belong to a particular group of people.  In this case, the Inuit understanding of the underworld is so profound that it is difficult to assess the role of justification.  For example, in whatever version of the narrative is accepted, had Sedna's father not ensured that Sedna not reenter the boat, the underworld does not have a goddess, the sea creatures are not present, and  basic element of cosmology is absent.  Certainly, it is easy for us to be able to say that Sedna's father should not have thrown her over the boat or cut off her hands/ fingers when his child tried to reenter.  Yet, I think that in issues of cosmology and cosmological design, one has moved beyond justification from human points of view.  It is evident that Sedna's father's actions help to set in motion the protection of the underworld and a basic element that constructed the creatures of the sea, as her severed fingers/ hands help to establish the seals and other animals of the sea that provide vital elements to the Inuit.  In this, one struggles to assess mortal judgments to a condition of being in the world, a cosmological reality.

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