Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka
narrated by Sam Blowsnake
Hočąk-English Interlinear Text
Sam Blowsnake told the following story about his forefather Jobenągiwįxka as part of the ritual of the Thunderbird Warbundle Feast.
(426) Grandfather Jobenągiwįxka [was blessed] by a being who is in control of death, who dwells on the southern side, who is a great one and who among the spirits, as many as there are, controls a little more war power than the rest. He is one who controls life and he is one who controls death. He said to grandfather that he blessed him with war and life when he met him as the sun stood straight (noon). And he said, "If I should ever anticipate action, your roots (descendants), up to as far as it will have thus far been, and wherever they are, I will not tread upon them if they should get sick; (428/429) I grant you they they will not get sick. And they have the means to obtain life by their mouths and by offerings of tobacco and a flute." Disease Giver did it himself, he himself made them holy (wak’ą́čąk). If they had some debilitating evil, they would obtain life; also if at the same they time made a sacrifice of offerings by mouth, by reed flutes, kettles, tobacco, feathers, and a white dog.
"A holy flute I made for you, I forbade you to blow upon it, but you did. If you perform the skin offerings, you may blow upon the flute. If you do that, you will be able to lead a different kind of life. Any bad disease that has been thus far caused, you will be able to cut off. Not ever will this one have a bad disease." He himself, the one who causes bad diseases, said it would be so. That is how he blessed grandfather Jobenągiwįxka.1
Commentary. Apparently, Disease Giver originally blessed Jobenągiwįxka so that none of his descendant would ever fall ill. All he had to do was make certain offerings. He gave Jobenągiwįxka a flute, but forbade him to play it (except under certain conditions ?). Nevertheless, he violated the prohibition. Just the same, Disease Giver gave him an alternate blessing which would enable him to free any person of a fatal disease provided he carried out the proper ritual, which involves this sacred flute.
Notes to the Text. their mouths — Radin remarks, "i.e., either by speeches, prayers, or singing. The expression would hardly be permitted in ordinary Winnebago."2
by offering ... a flute — Paul Radin: "He does not mean by offering flutes, but by playing on them. Reed flutes are generally contained in the blessings of most spirits, but they seem to be more closely connected with the Disease-giver and the Buffalo."3
Links: Disease Giver.
Stories:featuring Disease Giver as a character: The Man who Defied Disease Giver, Bow Meets Disease Giver; mentioning Jobenągiwįxka: The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka; about fasting blessings:about fasting blessings: Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Difficult Blessing, The Boy Who Became a Robin, The Boy who would be Immortal, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Seer, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Great Walker's Medicine, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, Holy Song, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Blessing of Šokeboka, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The Tap the Head Medicine, The Sweetened Drink Song, Ancient Blessing; mentioning dog sacrifice: Wolf Clan Origin Myth (v. 5), Redhorn's Sons, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, see also Wolf & Dog Spirits; mentioning flutes: The Love Blessing, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Partridge's Older Brother, The Were-fish (v. 1), Disease Giver, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Redhorn's Sons.
Themes: a spirit is quoted as he gives someone a blessing: Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Great Walker's Medicine, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Completion Song Origin, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Difficult Blessing, The Blessing of Šokeboka, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bow Meets Disease Giver, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Sunset Point, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, A Peyote Vision, The Healing Blessing; spirits bless a man with an artifact: Waruǧábᵉra (warbundle, warclub), The Warbundle of the Eight Generations (warbundle, flute), The Blessing of a Bear Clansman (warbundle), The Thunderbird (warclub), The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds (warclub), The Rounded Wood Origin Myth (ceremonial object), Origin of the Decorah Family (drum), Paint Medicine Origin Myth (magical paint), The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth (flute and gourd), Ancient Blessing (pot, ax, spoon), The Blessing of the Bow (bow and arrows), Heną́ga and Star Girl (Thunderbird Medicine, arrow); violating the terms of a blessing does harm: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, White Wolf, The Dog that became a Panther, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Greedy Woman, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark (meadow lark), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle.
1 Sam Blowsnake, The Warbundle Feast of the Thunderbird Clan, in Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 ) 399-481 [426-429].
2 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 429, nt. 77.
3 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, nt. 78.