Raven is one of the most important creatures in Northwest Coast mythology and art. He is a powerful, cultural focus and symbol in many communities and to First Nation peoples along the Northwest coast of North America; both as a crest figure, and as a guardian spirit.
Raven is cunning and a schemer. He is mischievous and curious, selfish, and a glutton. Always looking for an angle, Raven is known as a trickster. As such, he will deceive anyone to advance his own self interests.
Raven is a magical creature that can easily assume any shape. He can be human, an animal, or any inanimate object. There are many stories told of Raven explaining how things came to be, or as lessons about right and wrong.
The Haida tell stories of how Raven discovered and freed the first men who had been trapped in a clam shell. He then freed the first women from another shell and put the men and the women together. Raven also stole salmon and deposited them in the rivers all along the coast to provide food for the people. Another story explains that Raven played a significant role in transforming the world by first stealing, then placing the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky.
In First Nations mythology of the Northwest Coast, Raven has two sides. On one hand he is creative, intelligent and adventurous. On the other hand he can be extremely self serving and mischievous.
Raven is of the utmost importance as a central character in Northwest Coast creationist stories. As a result he is depicted in many Northwest Coast art pieces.