The Creation of the World

retold by Richard L. Dieterle


Version 1 (of the Medicine Rite). When our Father came to consciousness, no one can say upon what he was seated. There was nothing about, so he began to weep. He took a small portion of what he sat upon and created a mound of earth which he cast below. And it began to look like this earth, only it was not quiet, but spun about incessantly. The earth was devoid of covering, so he took a pinch of weed where he was sitting and made grass as a pelt for the bare earth. Yet the earth continued to spin around. So he created four brothers to stand at the four corners of this creation, yet they too could not stop it from spinning. Then he made four Waterspirits and placed them as Island Weights at its corners, and to give it added weight, he cast down female spirits who went deep into the earth until only their heads showed above the surface. These spirits were the rocks and stones. Thus at last did the earth become quiet. In this cosmos Day stood still and no cloud floated in the sky, only the waves of heat drifted by like air born cobwebs. He next made the birds of the sky and the animals, and even the insects. Only last of all did he make man, and so it is that humans are weak, weaker even than the fly.1 [story continued]


Version 2 (of the Thunderbird Clan). Earthmaker came to consciousness and found that he was alone in the void, and he began to weep. As the tears fell below, they began to collect and formed the sparkling waters. Earthmaker then wished for solid ground to appear, and in the midst of the waters land arose. Yet the creation was not quiet, but moved as waves in the sea. He then covered the land in stones and grass, yet it was still not quiet. Next he made the four winds and placed them at the cardinal points, but the earth was still not at rest. Finally he made four giant serpents and cast them headlong each into one of the four corners of the earth. Then the earth at last came to rest.2


This story was related by Šoǧogᵋnįka, a chief in the tribe.

Šoǧogᵋnįka

Version 3, of the Buffalo Clan. The Great Spirit awoke as from a dream, and found that he was alone. He created the four winds by taking a piece of flesh from near his heart and mixing it with the substance upon which he sat. For these brothers he created a woman, our Grandmother the earth. She was sent down below, but she was unstable, and rocked about violently. To steady the world below, the Great Spirit sent down four giant snakes and four giant animals of another kind, and they were able to hold down the corners of the earth (see inset3). However, when the winds blew across this creation, it fell back into unsteady motion again; so he created a gigantic buffalo, who is the land, and placed it in the center of the earth to make it steady.4


Version 4 of Taninuka (the Smoker). "The Great Spirit created the Earth, and looked down upon it, and it was bare. He then made the trees and grass and herbs to grow. After the Earth was made, it rolled about, and the Great Spirit made four Spirits, and placed these under the four corners of the Earth to keep it steady. He then put four kings under the Earth, to support it. The four kings were two Snakes and two Waw-chuk-kaws [Wákąčą́ka]."5


Version 5 (of the Bear Clan). Earthmaker created everything. First among living things, he made all the plants, then the animals, and only last did he make man. The newly formed world spun so fast that its rotation could not be stopped. So he created four Island Weights who were the four great bear spirits. They are one and the same as the four winds, and were the first animals created: White Bear is in the North, Blue Bear is in the east, Black Bear is in the south, and Red Bear is in the West. These wind-bears helped stop the spinning of creation. Then he created all the other kinds of animals, giving each a peculiar power all its own. The Creator fashioned all living things that man might use them, and tobacco was given to him alone as a special sacrament.6


Version 6 (of the Bear Clan). Mą'una (Earthmaker) awoke into existence. His first thought was of the substance upon which he was sitting. When he looked around, he saw nothing but the void, which made him weep. So he took some of what he was sitting upon and made it into a great ball, and the sphere he cast down into the emptiness. The ball rotated ceaselessly, yet it was a lifeless land, so Mą'una decided to make living creatures so that it might truly flourish.7


Version 7 (Oliver LaMère of the Bear Clan). "Earthmaker woke up. He thought of the substance upon which he was sitting. He saw nothing. There was nothing anywhere. He wept. Then he took some of the substance upon which he was sitting. He made a little piece of earth for our fathers. He cast it down from the high place upon which he sat. Then he looked down on it. Nothing grew upon it. It was bare, but not quiet. It kept turning round and round."8


Version 7b (of the Medicine Rite, by Oliver LaMère of the Bear Clan). [This is part of the Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 5)] (409) The Creator was lying flat on his back, when he became conscious. He sat up and looked about Him, and saw nothing, and as He sat there looking, He was aware that He was alone, so He wept and after a few moments He looked below Him and saw that the tears which had dropped from His cheeks had become the seas, as they are now; and he thought how much greater anything could be if He wished it to be, as the seas were even formed without His wish, so He thought He would create an earth; therefore He took from His body a piece of earth and rolled it into a ball in the palms of his hands, and then He threw it below Him, and it became the earth, but it revolved around and around.

So He wondered how He should stop it, and He first thought He would make it hair, as He called the grass, trees and all other growths which cover the earth; but this did not stop it, so He took from there He sat a large boulder or stone and this he threw down to weight the earth, but the velocity of the fall caused it to burst into a thousand pieces, even when it had gone half way to the earth; so the Creator created four spiritual beings and these he placed in the four direction of the earth: east, west, south and north. But still the (410) earth revolved; so He erected four more spiritual beings and He pierced them through the earth from the west to the east and this stopped the earth's revolution. The four spiritual beings that were placed in the four directions of the earth were empowered to govern the winds and they were also empowered to bless mankind their particular kind of power or strength.

Then He created all things and placed the humans here on earth in the midst of them. He placed all forms of animal life, and at the head of each species or kind He placed a Manitou to govern that particular kind, and in addition to the animal Manitous He placed the Thunder Being to govern the wars, and the Water Monster to govern the waters of the earth.9


Version 8 (Medicine Rite via the Nebraska Hočągara). In the beginning Mą’ųna was siting up in space (wangéjera) when suddenly he had consciousness about him (ksap kitinąk). When he saw himself, he realized that he had nothing to do. This thought grieved him so much that he began to weep. As his tears fell into space, a great sphere of water formed. Then from somewhere he gathered the material from which the land was made. But his creation was unstable, so he had to get some of his helpers to weigh down wij te(e), "this island," on which we live.10


Version 9 (of the Snake Clan). = The First Snakes.


Version 10 (fragmentary). After Earthmaker created the waters and the land, he saw that his creation was not stable. It was always in motion and would not stop. To put the earth at rest, he fashioned four trees, and these he hurled down to the four quarters that they might anchor the earth. The first of these was an oak of very smooth bark, and it anchored the south. It was the first tree ever created. After this, the earth was more stable.11


Version 11a (incomplete — collected ca. 1945). (58) "Our Father came to know (to consciousness) while sitting on what, he didn't know. And he wept. He did not think long, he did not see anything. Nowhere was there anything, not a thing. He didn't know what he sat on. There, from what he sat on, he took something. Out of that which he took, there he made a little bit of this earth. That which he sat on, he sent below. After he looked at his own creation, this earth came like this. And nothing manifested itself. It was bare. And it was not still. This earth was turning. 'And if I do thus, it will get still,' he thought, and he did it with it. There he took a grass leaf from that in which he sat and he did it with it. He sent it to earth. Thus he did and when he looked on his own creation, it was not still. ..."12

Next part of the story.

The whole story as presented by Lipkind's source.

Version 11a Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


Version 11b (collected before 1914). This story is a mere variant of v. 11a above. Although it is in English, it was told well before its Hočąk variant.

"When Earth-maker came to consciousness, he thought of the substance upon which he was sitting. He saw nothing anywhere. Therefore his tears flowed. He wept. But not long did he think of it. He took some of the substance upon which he was sitting; so he made a little piece of earth for our fathers. He cast this down from the high place on which he sat. Then he looked at what he had made. It had become something like our earth. Nothing grew upon it. Bare it was, but not quiet. It kept turning. 'How shall I make it become quiet?' thought Earth-maker. Then he took some grass from the substance he was sitting upon and cast it down upon the earth. Yet it was not quiet."13

Next part of the story.

The story continues in exact parallel with the Hočąk verson collected over 30 years later by Lipkind. See the complete story.


Version 12 of the Medicine Rite. There above someone lay stretched out. He came into consciousness. He said to himself, "What am I?" Then he took pity upon himself and his tears flowed in profusion to the expanse below. He moved each of his four limbs in succession. "I wonder if it shall be good?" he asked himself. He took a small piece of flesh out of his right side and stretched it until he had formed a ball out of it. This he cast down below. It shown forth with light so that all about was illuminated. There he saw it like a globe falling into an earthless void. He watched it as it moved east, north, west, and south across worlds without horizon. He was pleased with what he had created. Then he decided to create a world where he himself could dwell. Thereafter he created a second and third world. Finally, he created a smaller fourth world, which he made into a globe. He took his thumb and pressed it flat so that it would not bob up and down in the waters below. Yet this fourth world did not remain still, so Earthmaker asked himself, "How can I keep this world quiet?" So he took four Island Weights and placed the first in the east. The second he placed where the cold comes from, and that one was in control of very white life. The third he placed in the west, and the youngest he placed where the sun straightens out. South was given charge over the most amount of life. Yet the earth was not quiet, so Earthmaker created four great Waterspirits and placed them beneath Grandmother in a row in the east. Even so, the earth was not quiet. Therefore, Earthmaker made four Spirit Walkers, serpents, and sewed the earth so that their tails were seen in the east and their head protruded above ground in the west. Nevertheless, the earth was not quiet. So he created a large sacred woman out of some flesh he took from the right part of his body. He cast her down, and she struck the ground with immense force directly below Earthmaker, and the force of her impact broke her into many pieces. Great was the noise and the light that shown forth. Yet the earth was not quiet. Then with his own hands Earthmaker created four immense trees. These he cast down, and they too fragmented into a myriad of smaller trees that were spread over the whole earth. Then he created smaller trees. "That will be good," he said to himself. Then he created with his own hands something čo (blue/green). And he cast this down and like everything before it, it too shattered into a myriad of pieces. These became the grasses and herbs, including those from which medicines may be made. Only then did the earth become still. Our Grandmother was beautiful in her covering of verdant green. "This is it, and it is good," said Earthmaker to himself. [Continuation of the story.]14


Version 13 of Šoǧogᵋnįka (Buffalo Clan). This was originally collected by John E. Fletcher and published in Schoolcraft's magnum opus.

Preface by George Gale — The classical nations of high antiquity all claimed a fabulous origin from their venerated Gods, and the most of their early history are but traditions of gods and goddesses and their corrupt associations with men and women. Even as late as 1676 Audigier published at Paris the history of the French, in which he claimed that Gallus, the founder of Gaul was Noah the good captain of the Ark at the time of the flood, and that the gods Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune were originally only kings of Gaul. With these high examples of antiquity the reader will not be surprised at the traditions of the O-chunk-o-raw, as given by their chief Sho-go-nick-kaw, or Little Hill, about 1850, of the origin of that nation. He remarked that:

(1) "The Great Spirit at first waked up as from a dream, and found himself (2) sitting on a chair. On finding himself alone, he took a piece of his body, near his breast, and a piece of earth, and from them made a man. He then proceeded to make three other men. After talking awhile with the men he had created, the Great Spirit made a woman who was this earth, which is the grandmother of the Indians. The four men which were first created are the four winds — east, west, north, and south. The earth, after it was created, rocked about; and the Great Spirit made four beasts and four snakes, and put them under the earth, to steady and support it. But when the winds blew, the beasts and snakes could not keep the earth steady. And the Great Spirit made a great buffalo, and put him under the earth. This buffalo is the land which keeps the earth steady." [Continuation of the story.]15


Version 14, from the Chief of the Tribe, 1823. "According to the ideas of these Indians, the earth is a plane, resting upon the water: that it was imperfectly formed, and moved like a balance, with the motion of the waters, to remedy which the great spirit formed the four winds and placed them upon the four corners of the earth, commanding them to rest there and keep the earth in its proper position, since which time it has always retained its place. This description applies peculiarly to America, which is supposed to be an island, surrounded by a vast sea, on the opposite side of which in an easterly direction, is a very large country bounded at its eastern extremity by the skies."16


Commentary. General — Why is the creative act expressed in terms of spinning? One explanation might lie in the most important creative act among humans: the starting of fire. Fire, whether ignited by a fire drill or by hand, causes a stick to spin back and forth with such speed that fire results from friction.

Version 1 — The members of the Medicine Rite were a special society that believed that the rituals associated with the Medicine Dance would give them immortal life. This version, although it was collected most recently, is the least influenced by Christianity, and is therefore the oldest.

Version 3 —"[inset]" — This is a Mississippian pictograph of four snake-Waterspirits quartered around a symbol of the Center contained within a double set of concentric circles (representing the earth, presumeably). The rim around the "Earthmaker Cross" probably represents the Ocean Sea (Te Ją) which encircles the earth, and over which Waterspirits would hold governance. The heads are "panther-like" and have teeth appropriate to mammals and not serpents. This helps identify them as Waterspirits, which are also known as "Water Panthers." The tear-drop design around the eyes may indicate salt water, a reinforcement of their positioning at the oceanic rim of the world. The Waterspirits come in two varieties, those with speckled heads and those that do not. This corresponds to the distinction between Good and Bad Waterspirits, the latter having bodies that are speckled. They might be better described as Piasa, since they have wings, a feature lacking in Hočąk Waterspirits as far as is known. However, the wings might indicate their celestial origins, since the Great Spirit cast them down from above.

Version 4 — The word Waw-chuk-kaws used for the earth supporters mentioned above, seems to be an approximation to Wákąčą́ka, "Holy Ones" (and not of Wakjexi, "Waterspirits" as I had formerly suggested). For more on the nature of "Holy Ones," see the Commentary to "Holy One and His Brother."

Version 5 — The Bear Spirits are appropriate to stopping the spinning chaos most likely because of the police function of the Hočąk Bear Clan.

Version 6 —- This version is perhaps influenced by modern science in portraying the earth as a sphere. It favors the earth moiety by accentuating the fact that Earthmaker is seated upon the same substance that shall come to form the earth.

Version 7a"Manitou" — an Algonquian word meaning "Spirit," more widely familiar to Midwesterners in the early XXᵀᴴ century than alternative words.

"Water Monster" — that is, a Wakjexi or Waterspirit.

Version 8 —- The portrayal of the earth as a globe (as a round tear) may be a recent influence, but since there are subterranean paradises stacked one atop the other, it follows that the earth is not just a saucer.

Version 10 — In all the creation stories, instability functions as a political metaphor. Waterspirits bring stability because they are the chiefs of the Earth Moiety; the Bears bring stability because they are the soldiers (police) and therefore enforce the law. In this version, the oak tree represents the clan to which it is particularly associated: the Thunderbird Clan. This is the clan from which the chief of the tribe comes and it is his office that gives the ultimate stability. Youth is associated with strength, so the oak is the youngest of the Island Weights.

Version 11"grass" — the word xąwį can also be translated as "grass, hay, flower, and growth generally."

Version 12"sacred woman" — by this is meant the rocks of the earth which are seen as a female spirit.

Version 13"four beasts" — elsewhere these are said to be Waterspirits (Wakjexi).

"when the winds blew" — the Bear Clan claims that the first four bears that were created had the role of the winds at the cardinal points. This is the only place where it is suggested that these winds destablized the earth.

"this buffalo is the land which keeps the earth steady" — this is the unique perspective of the Buffalo Clan, as no one else makes this contention. That the buffalo counteracts the destablizing effects of the winds suggests, if we read between the lines, that it is the Buffalo Clan that checks the destablizing effects of the Bear Clan.


Internal Isomorphism. The basic creation story has an interesting internal set of correspondences.

Elements Episode 1 Episode 2
Sui Generis Creation vs. Agental Cessation Earthmaker comes into consciousness, The earth spins ceaselessly, The Waterspirits stop the spinning.
Up and Down and creates the earth by casting below some of the substance upon which he sits. or rocks from side to side.  
Alone vs. Not Alone He finds that he is alone. Earthmaker creates four other beings  
Perception of Imperfection He feels grief. so that he might stop the spinning.  
Creation of Water He weeps. These creatures are Waterspirits.  
Descent of Water His tears fall below. He sends the Waterspirits to Earth.  
Distribution of Water His tears form the oceans. They occupy the cardinal points.  

We also have the theme of circularity, as spinning is motion in a circle, and the spatial situation of the four Waterspirits is in the form of a circle in space. The awakening of Earthmaker in solitude is a form of reflexivity, since he has become aware of himself as his initial perception. This perception of his solitude as if in a mirror connects to water, since the most common mirror in nature is the reflective surface of water. Water has no intrinsic form other than what it settles within, and consciousness has no form other than its object, what it "settles upon." Those who wish blessing from the spirits weep in solitude that the spirits might pity them and grant them what they lack. Earthmaker does this sui generis as well, since his sense of lack creates self pity and tears, which constitute the first object of creation, the very blessing that finally supplies his deficiency.


Comparative Material. The related Lakota have a very similar story. "To create Maka [Earth], Iñyañ [Rock] took so much from himself that he opened his veins, and all his blood flowed from him so that he shrank and became hard and powerless. As his blood flowed from him, it became blue waters that are the waters upon the earth. But the powers cannot abide in waters; and when the blood of 'Iñyañ' became the waters, the powers separated themselves from it and assumed another shape. This other being took the form of a great blue dome whose edge is at, but not upon, the edge of Maka."17

The Pima have a creation account in which Earth Doctor made the sky and earth, but they were not attached to one another. The earth stretched and shook, so that it was unsafe for any creature. Therefore, Earth Doctor sent a gray spider to sew the heavenly vault to the rim of the earth, and when all this was acccomplished, the Earth became firm and the heavens stable.18

It is interesting that the four quarters in Aztec mythology are also associated with the same set of colors (blue, white, red, black), but the assignment of each color to a quadrant is different.

Hočąk Aztec
Quarter Color Deity Color Deity
East Blue Blue Bear Red Xipe Totec
North White White Bear Black/Yellow Tezcatlipoca
West Red Red Bear White Quetzalcoatl
South Black/Yellow Black/Yellow Bear Blue Huitzilopochtli

These four Aztec deities were also known respectively as Red Tezcatlipoca, Black Tezcatlipoca, White Tezcatlipoca, and Blue Tezcatlipoca.19


Links: Earthmaker, Spirits, Island Weights, Herešgúnina, The Creation of Man, Buffalo Spirits, Waterspirits, Bear Spirits, Blue Bear, Red Bear, White Bear, Black Bear, Tree Spirits, Day, Earth, Snakes, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map.


Stories: about the creation of the world: Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Šųgepaga; alluding to the creation of man: The Creation of Man, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Elk Clan Origin Myth, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolves and Humans, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth; mentioning Island Weights: The Island Weight Songs, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, East Shakes the Messenger, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, North Shakes His Gourd, Wolves and Humans, Šųgepaga, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 2), The Lost Blanket, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, South Seizes the Messenger, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Messengers of Hare, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Petition to Earthmaker; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hočąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hočągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, Turtle and the Giant, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Creation of Evil, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; about buffaloes and Buffalo Spirits: Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, White Fisher, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Bluehorn's Nephews, Redhorn's Father, The Woman who became an Ant, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, The Buffalo's Walk, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, The Blessing of Šokeboka, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Red Feather, Wazųka, Holy One and His Brother, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse; mentioning snakes: The First Snakes, The Woman who Married a Snake, Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief, Snake Clan Origins, The Omahas who turned into Snakes, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Serpents of Trempealeau, Rattlesnake Ledge, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Two Boys, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Waruǧápara, The Green Man, Holy One and His Brother, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Turtle and the Merchant, The Lost Blanket, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth; in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, Holy One and His Brother, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 2), The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧápara, Ocean Duck, The Twin Sisters, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The King Bird, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Heną́ga and Star Girl, Peace of Mind Regained, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; mentioning (spirit) bears (other than were-bears): White Bear, Blue Bear, Black Bear, Red Bear, Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Shaggy Man, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The Messengers of Hare, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Red Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Two Boys, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Spider's Eyes, Little Priest's Game, Little Priest, How He went out as a Soldier, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Warbundle Maker, cf. Fourth Universe; mentioning Red Bear: Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Spotted Grizzly Man, The Journey to Spiritland, Bear Clan Origin Myth (v. 7), Red Bear; featuring Grandmother Earth as a character: Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Maize Origin Myth, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Grandmother's Gifts, Owl Goes Hunting, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Necessity for Death, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Steals the Fish, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Kills Flint, The Gift of Shooting, The Creation of Man (vv 4, 6), Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Redhorn's Father (?), featuring Herešgúnina (the Bad Spirit or One Legged One) as a character: The Creation of Evil, The Creation of Man, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Woman Who Became an Ant, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Šųgepaga, The Spirit of Gambling, Bladder and His Brothers, The Two Brothers, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Buffalo's Walk; see also Black and White Moons, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara; mentioning trees or Tree Spirits: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, Visit of the Wood Spirit, The Boy who would be Immortal, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Woman who Became a Walnut Tree, The Old Woman and the Maple Tree Spirit, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, The Pointing Man, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Baldness of the Buzzard, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Loses His Meal, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 2), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Waruǧápara, The Chief of the Heroka, The Red Man, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Blessing of the Bow, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Spirit of Gambling, Peace of Mind Regained, The Necessity for Death; mentioning Rock Spirits: The Big Stone, The Green Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Seer, The Roaster, Wojijé, The Raccoon Coat, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Hare Kills Flint, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, A Woman Turns into a Rock, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle; mentioning the Female (Stone) Spirit: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth; A Woman Turns into a Rock; 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 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, The Claw Shooter, 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: a body of water is created by tears falling from above: Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Holy One and His Brother, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 1); something is of a (symbolic) pure white color: White Bear, Deer Spirits, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), White Flower, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Fleetfooted Man, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Worúxega, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket (white spirits), Skunk Origin Myth, He Who Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Messengers of Hare, The Brown Squirrel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Bladder and His Brothers, White Thunder's Warpath, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Dipper, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Descent of the Drum, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), The Diving Contest, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Grandmother's Gifts, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Completion Song Origin, North Shakes His Gourd, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Peace of Mind Regained; the youngest offspring is superior: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Young Man Gambles Often, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Twins Cycle, The Two Boys, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Children of the Sun, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Sun and the Big Eater, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 4, 7), Snake Clan Origins, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, Snake Clan Origins, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth.


Notes

1 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 302-303.

2 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 164.

3 Henry W. Hamilton, "The Spiro Mound," Missouri Archaeologist, 14 (1952): 235, plate 111.

4 Henry Schoolcraft, Information respecting the Historical Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States (J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1852-1854) 4:229. Informant: Šoǧoknįka, "Little Hill," a chief in the tribe. A variant is given in Ellen Russell Emerson, Indian Myths, or Legends, Traditions, and Symbols of the Aborigines of America (Boston: James R. Osgood 1884) 118.

5 Schoolcraft, Information respecting the Historical Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes, 4:230 - 231; Thomas Foster, Foster's Indian Record and Historical Data (Washington, D. C.: 1876-1877) vol. 1, #3, p. 2, coll. 3-4. The source of this version is Taninuka [Tániną́ka?], the Smoker, "one of the oldest chiefs of the tribe."

6 Walter W. Funmaker, The Bear in Winnebago Culture: A Study in Cosmology and Society (Master Thesis, University of Minnesota: June, 1974 [MnU-M 74-29]) 12-13, 17, 59. His informant is Walking Soldier (1900-1977) of the Bear Clan. Walter Funmaker, The Winnebago Black Bear Subclan: a Defended Culture (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota: December, 1986 [MnU-D 86-361]]) 47. Informant: One Who Wins of the Winnebago Bear Clan.

7 Emily L. Smith (Bear Clan), "Ma-ona and the Creation of the World," in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 13-14.

8 Oliver LaMère, "Winnebago Legends," Wisconsin Archeologist, ns 1, #2 (1920): 66-68.

9 Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagos (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923) 409-410.

10 Kathleen Danker and Felix White, Sr., The Hollow of Echoes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978) 59. Informant: Felix White, Sr.

11 Paul Radin, The Evolution of an American Indian Prose Epic. A Study in Comparative Literature, Part I (Basil: Ethnographical Museum, Basil Switzerland, 1954) 9.

12 William Lipkind, Winnebago Grammar (New York: King's Crown Press, 1945) 58.

13 Katharine B. Judson, Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes (Chicago: A. C. McClung, 1914), reprinted as Native American Legends of the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000) 31.

14 Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 252-255.

15 Henry R. Schoolcraft, Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, Vol. IV (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1854) 229. "The Creation Narrative of the Ho-Chunk Indians" from the papers of George Gale (1816-1868) at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (Wis. Mss GJ, box 1, folder 2), I-II, "as given by their chief Sho-go-nick-kaw [Šoǧoknįka], or Little Hill, about 1850" (Gale's note).

16 Charles C. Trowbridge, "Manners, Customs, and International Laws of the Win-nee-baa-goa Nation," (1823), Winnebago Manuscripts, in MS/I4ME, Charles Christopher Trowbridge Collection (02611), Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, p. 96.

17 Quoted from Ronald Goodman, Lakota Star Knowledge: Studies in Lakota Stellar Theology (Rosebud Sioux Reservation: Siñte Gleska University, 1992) 25; itself taken from James R. Walker, Lakota Belief and Ritual, edited by Raymond J. DeMallie and Elaine A. Jahner (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980) 206-207.

19 "The Creation of the World," in Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest, Compiled and Edited by Katharine Berry Judson (1912). From the Earth Bow website, http://www.earthbow.com/native/frames.htm (under "Pima").

20 Charles Phillips, The Mythology of the Aztec and Maya (London: Southwater, 2006) 14a-14b.