The Sons of Redhorn

by Richard L. Dieterle

The sons of Redhorn are very similar to the Twins: they are twin brothers (although not identical), and they are possessed of powers more extraordinary than those of their father. The elder twin, who is the son of the Woman in the White Beaverskin Wrap is clearly more powerful and active than the younger, who is the offspring of the Giantess known as "Pretty Woman." While both brothers marry, the elder is too holy to have children. The elder is himself called "Redhorn" just like his father, but his identity extends beyond the name to embrace some underlying mystical union. Like the first Redhorn, the second Redhorn has two miniature heads, one under each ear where his earlobes ought to be. His brother also has these heads, but they are found where his nipples should be. Their major feat was the capture of the severed heads of the great spirits killed by the Giants, and the resurrection of these spirits. It was they who first received the Thunderbird Warbundle on behalf of humanity.1

It has been suggested (see Redhorn) that Redhorn represents the cardinal directions, particularly those defined by the path of the sun (east-west). If the miniature heads represent the rising and setting suns, then the body of the younger son of Redhorn represents the orientation of north-south. The elder brother should represent up and down, since the Hocągara recognize six cardinal directions. His command over the up-down axis is reflected in his ability to descend beneath the lodge pole, which itself can represent a microcosmic axis mundi. It is the elder brother who receives the suppliant's pipe, just as in Hocąk offerings to the spirits, the articles are passed upwards through the smoke hole of the lodge. This explains his extraordinary powers: he is the set of cardinal directions through which the upper and lower worlds communicate, and through which the spirits exert their powers.

Links: The Sons of Earthmaker, Redhorn, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map, Pretty Woman, Twins, Turtle, Storms as He Walks, The Cardinal Points, Giants, Iron Spirits, Flint.

Stories: featuring the sons of Redhorn as characters: The Redhorn Cycle, Redhorn's Sons, The Adventures of Redhorn's Sons, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, Redhorn's Father.

Themes: a spirit has faces on each earlobe: Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Dipper (hummingbirds), Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Redhorn's Father, Morning Star and His Friend, The Hocągara Contest the Giants; a being has red hair: Redhorn's Sons, Redhorn's Father, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (vv. 1 & 2), The Hocągara Contest the Giants, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle.


1 Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 132-136.