Loons

by Richard L. Dieterle


Loon is one of the good spirits associated with the aquatic realm. We may infer that his mother was a Waterspirit, since he addressed members of that tribe as "uncle." When Įčorúšika was captured by the Waterspirits, Loon, along with Otter, petitioned for clemency on his behalf. Because of this righteous act, Loon was allowed to leave the underworld and live on the surface of the earth.1 On another occasion, Loon and Soft Shelled Turtle were appointed as guards over the hearts of certain evil spirits which were hidden on an island in the middle of the sea. However, when the Meteor Spirit (Wojijéga) descended to take these hearts, they recognized him as their chief and gave him their cooperation.2

Another Loon Spirit once blessed a man with a purgative herb that grew out of the loon's back. Those who owned the herb were required to offer the Loon Spirit a white feather, tobacco, red feathers, and a white deerskin before they could dig the plant up.3


Links: The Meteor Spirit, Otter, Wears Sparrows for a Coat.


Stories: mentioning loons: Old Man and Wears White Feather, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Medicine, The Raccoon Coat; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, The Boy Who Became a Robin, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Foolish Hunter, Ocean Duck, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hočąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Holy One and His Brother (blackbirds, woodpeckers, hawks), Porcupine and His Brothers (Ocean Sucker), Turtle's Warparty (Thunderbirds, eagles, kaǧi, pelicans, sparrows), The Dipper (Thunderbirds, kingfishers, hummingbirds, black hawks), Kaǧiga and Lone Man (kaǧi), The Old Man and the Giants (kaǧi, bluebirds), The Bungling Host (snipe, woodpecker), The Red Feather, Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Waruǧápara, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Black and White Moons, The Markings on the Moon, The Creation Council, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Blue Jay, The Baldness of the Buzzard, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster (turkey buzzard), The Shaggy Man (blackbirds), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (blackbirds), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Įčorúšika and His Brothers (Loon), Great Walker's Medicine (loon), Roaster (woodsplitter), The Spirit of Gambling, The Big Stone (a partridge), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Green Man (owls), The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds, and the sources cited there.


Notes

1 Paul Radin, "Inčohorucika," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #14: 1-67.

2 Paul Radin, "Coon Skin Fur Coat," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #59: 1-122.

3 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 24-25.