South Wind (Rekuhuhi, "Wind Going with the Stream")

by Richard L. Dieterle

The South Wind is a minor war deity.1 The Bear Clan at least considers the South Wind to be a manifestation of the Island Weight, Black Bear.2 His emblem, painted on white, sacrificial deerskins, is the same as Disease Giver's, save that it is green instead of red [inset].3

Once near the beginning of time there were four brothers the oldest of whom, Kunu, ceased to move or speak. His other brothers traveled the world trying to find out what had come over Kunu. They came across four spirit lodges in succession, but the occupants of each could not tell them what was wrong and referred the brothers to the next lodge. These were the winds of the cardinal points. Only when they reached the last sacred lodge did the spirit within know what had happened to Kunu. This was South Wind. He told them not to worry, that Kunu was provided for and that death had been ordained by Earthmaker himself. "Bury him so deep that not even the worms can reach him," he told them. Thus South Wind decreed the first burial of a human being.4

The Bird Clans show their identity with this spirit through the personal clan name Rekuhuhiga, "South Wind."5

Links: North Wind, Bear Spirits, Black Bear, Island Weights, Disease Giver.


1 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 392.

2 Walter Funmaker, The Winnebago Black Bear Subclan: a Defended Culture (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota: December, 1986 [MnU-D 86-361]) 49. Informant: One Who Wins of the Winnebago Bear Clan. 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]) 14, 61, 65-66. His informant was Walking Soldier (1900-1977) who is a member of the Black Bear Subclan.

3 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 395.

4 Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 320.

5 Rev. James Owen Dorsey, "Winnebago Gentes, including Personal Names Belonging to each Gens" (National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution: T.D., 1878-79?), cat. #4800 DORSEY PAPERS, Winnebago (319).