The Claw Shooter

by Jasper Blowsnake


Jasper Blowsnake

(137) An old man of the Medicine Rite knew something. Everyone in the Medicine Rite, as many as there were, used to be afraid of this man. When they performed the Medicine Rite, if he did sit in the first seat, he would take the front seat away from them. (138) And if they did not let him, then a day of reckoning would be appointed for the one who did it. At that very time, you would die. As soon as he said it, at that time they would die. Plainly, the meant to kill him, and they would go to him, but he would shoot them with claws, and they would make them fall short of their destination. Again, if he didn't do that, he would shoot striped feathers at them. He would make them fall short of their lodges, as before they could get there, they would die. If someone lived completely alone, without children, without a wife, he did this to them. Even such as he was killed.

There was a young man, a holy one, to whom they offered tobacco, who took his arrows and made the Heroka breathings towards the lodge to which he had come. That old man shot his claws, but he did not kill him, as he had caught the claws as he walked. He had a handful of claws and striped feathers. (139) "Koté, old man, if you're in the habit of using these things, then take them back," he said to him, and gave them back. Then he circled the fire breathing, and he did the Heroka breathings, and into the middle of the fire he shot an arrow. The old man lurched forward. He landed head first into the middle of the fire. He killed him, but his life-engendering greetings, these very ones that he used to use, are the ones that we use today.1


Commentary. "the Heroka breathings" — these are made by chanting, ahahe, ahahe.

"into the middle of the fire" — after having done the Heroka breathings into the middle of the fire, he was able to kill the man by merely shooting into the fire over which he had uttered the sacred syllables.


Links: Heroka, Witches.


Stories: pertaining to the Medicine Rite: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Messengers of Hare, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, Maize Origin Myth, The Necessity for Death, Peace of Mind Regained, The Island Weight Songs, Hog's Adventures, Great Walker's Warpath, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Great Walker and the Anishinaabe Witches, The Petition to Earthmaker, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Completion Song Origin, The Sweetened Drink Song, A Wife for Knowledge, The Diving Contest, The Tap the Head Medicine, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle; featuring the Heroka as characters: The Chief of the Heroka, The Red Man, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Little Human Head, Morning Star and His Friend, Redhorn's Sons, The Origins of the Milky Way; about seers: The Seer, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, Witches, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, A Prophecy, Great Walker and the Anishinaabe Witches, The Tap the Head Medicine, The Diving Contest; mentioning witches or warlocks: The Witch Men's Desert, The Thunder Charm, The Wild Rose, The Seer, Turtle and the Witches, Great Walker and the Anishinaabe Witches, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Migistéga’s Magic, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Migistéga's Death, The Mesquaki Magician, The Tap the Head Medicine, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, The Hills of La Crosse, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara (v. 2), Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, Potato Magic, Young Rogue's Magic; pertaining to the Medicine Rite: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Holy Song, Holy Song II, Maize Origin Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hog's Adventures, Great Walker's Warpath, see also Other Stories from Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite.

Stories from Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite (The Road of Life and Death) in notebook order: The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Historical Origins of the Medicine Rite, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), The Creation of the World (v. 12), The Creation of Man (v. 8), Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), Testing the Slave, South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 1), The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 2), East Shakes the Messenger, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 4), The Messengers of Hare (v. 2), North Shakes His Gourd, Grandmother's Gifts, South Seizes the Messenger, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Messengers of Hare (v. 1), The Island Weight Songs, The Petition to Earthmaker, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Completion Song Origin, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Great Walker and the Anishinaabe Witches, The Diving Contest, The Sweetened Drink Song, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 3), The Tap the Head Medicine, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 4), Peace of Mind Regained, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 5), A Wife for Knowledge, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), Death Enters the World.


Themes: shooting claws: Mijistéga and the Sauks, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, Redhorn Contests the Giants; a seer makes true predictions down to unusual details: The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, Witches, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Fox-Hočąk War, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, A Prophecy, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store; two (groups of) holy men contest one another with supernatural power: Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, Great Walker and the Anishinaabeg Witches, The Tap the Head Medicine.


Notes

1 Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 156. The original texts are found in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago III, #1: 137-139 (original handwritten text with trs.); Winnebago II, #1: 159-160 (handwritten phonetic text, no trs.); Winnebago II, #5: 173-174 (typed and corrected version of the phonetic text, no trs.).