Touching Spirit Bear


Ben Mikaelsen

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Tlingit Term Analysis

The Tlingit Nation is a tribe of Native Americans who live on the coast of the Pacific Northwest, especially in Southeast Alaska. Garvey and Edwin, both of whom are Tlingit, introduce Cole to several aspects of Tlingit culture over the course of the novel. The Tlingit have been using restorative justice practices (alternatives to traditional jail sentences) for centuries, and the titular Spirit Bear is an important animal within Tlingit legends and spiritual practices. The Tlingit are known for their carved totem poles and woven blankets, like the at.óow blanket that Garvey gives Cole.
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Tlingit Term Timeline in Touching Spirit Bear

The timeline below shows where the term Tlingit appears in Touching Spirit Bear. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...his yearlong banishment in Southeast Alaska—the only way to avoid jail in Minneapolis. Garvey, a Tlingit Indian and Cole’s parole officer, sits in the middle of the boat. Cole doesn’t trust... (full context)
Chapter 12
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...Edwin step forward. Garvey says plainly that the fallen tree must’ve gotten Cole, but a Tlingit woman steps up, pulls down the blanket, and says that a bear attacked Cole. Garvey... (full context)
Chapter 13
Fear, Power, and Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Justice and Responsibility Theme Icon
...out to take Cole to Ketchikan until morning due to the weather. Edwin introduces the Tlingit nurse as Rosey, the best and only nurse in Drake. When Cole shivers, Garvey passes... (full context)