Spirits (Waxopini)

by Richard L. Dieterle


The Hočąk term for spirits is waxopini, which derives ultimately from the term xop. Xop appears to be almost exactly the same as the ancient Germanic wodh, a concept at the root of the name of their god Wodhen. Xop is a kind of frenzy that takes over the consciousness of sapient beings, the apparent product of an influx of religious power beyond the measure of mortal control.1 It causes a kind of temporary insanity, but one whose chaos is channeled like a dry stream bed that receives a violent influx of waters, the flood itself being chaotic in its nature, but the channel forming a direction and purpose expressing the divine source whence it came. This immense, mind-seizing power, originates with the waxopini, and marks the essential divide that separates them from the limits of the impoverished human condition. Waxopini, at least once meant "the good xop-possessing ones." There have always been bad spirits who are in possession of xop, and such spirits are now called waxopini as well. Thus the term has changed meaning since its etymological beginnings.

Waxopini, on the face of it, would seem to be distinguished from ghosts, the wanąǧi, who are the departed souls of humans. However, this distinction is not absolute. The ghosts are controlled by the Wanąǧi Monąč, waxopini who assume the form of ghosts, and who are seen wandering the earth in that form.2 Furthermore, there are reported cases of ghosts blessing people, which seems to be a uniquely spiritual role.3 They may also attend the feasts given at wakes.4 Animal souls depart for the Spiritland of their species where they live as waxopini. We might go so far as to suggest that all wanąǧi are waxopini, but not all waxopini are wanąǧi.

For those waxopini who are not of the nature of ghosts, there still remain interesting similarities. One of these is that they do not live in full view of humans, generally living in places that are completely inaccessible under normal conditions. Waterspirits, for instance, live in caves lined with white minerals that form a network under the surface of the earth. They may also live behind waterfalls, or more typically at the bottom of lakes and rivers. They are also known to live in hills like almost all spirits of the earth. (see Waterspirits) Thunderbirds and Nightspirits, who are creatures of the firmament, live at the opposite extremes of the earth. In the west the Thunders live atop the huge precipitous cliffs that form the border of the Ocean Sea surrounding the island-earth.

Another similarity among waxopini is their strange and selective dull-wittedness.5 This may derive from the belief that ghosts have undergone a degradation of intellect, which in many cultures is thought to be partly extinguished at death. The belief may derive from the fact that dead bodies are often seen to move, yet they never seem to regain their ability to act coherently or to speak. Although wanąǧi and waxopini can speak and act in complex and purposeful ways, still they do not possess the "cleverness" of humans. They have a kind of intellectual blind spot which prevents them from mastering tasks that humans take for granted. Thunderbirds, for instance, do not even understand how sticks can be used in the process of roasting meat, and the human ability to roast meat from sticks anchored in the ground is considered by them to be nothing short of a wonder.6 They also have great difficulty finding Waterspirits to kill and eat, a talent that comes easily to their humans visitors.

The divinity who created all the original spirits was Earthmaker (Mą’ųna). He himself was sui generis, having simply come into consciousness rather like a person awakening from a sleep. He has an opposite known as "Herešgúnina." Herešgúnina was the first person that Earthmaker created, but he either lost a leg, or his legs were accidentally fused, or was found to have his feet on backwards, and consequently was thrown away.7 His physical condition symbolizes the defective way in which he walks the Path of Life and Death. Herešgúnina created the evil spirits as negative counterparts to the good spirits created by Earthmaker. Despite his defects, Herešgúnina is one of the Great Spirits. Among their number is Earthmaker, Sun, Moon, Earth, Fire, Bluehorn, the Twins, Disease Giver, Morning Star, Redhorn (who is also Heroka), Turtle, Trickster, Bladder, and Hare. In addition there are prominent tribes of Spirits, the major ones being Thunderbirds, Nightspirits, and Waterspirits.

When Earthmaker's creation was still young, the balance of power on earth became so tilted towards the evil spirits that he found it necessary to create a spirit who was to go down to the world below and rescue mankind from extinction. This being was Trickster, who completely failed in his mission owing to his innate foolishness. Earthmaker then created a second soteriological spirit, Turtle, who went down to earth and taught mankind the art of war. This had the opposite effect from what Earthmaker had desired, so he created a third savior, Bladder. But Bladder squandered his resources, and allowed all his brothers to be killed before he took any action himself. Earthmaker then made Redhorn, but this spirit, great as he was, was killed by the evil spirits and could be restored only after his head was recaptured by his sons. Earthmaker then made Hare who was ultimately successful. He drove the evil spirits of the air high up into the firmament, and the evil spirits of the earth he trampled farther into the ground. However, he unwittingly lost for mankind the blessings of immortality in the flesh and freedom from labor, although he was able to offset these failings by instituting the Medicine Rite, which allowed the initiates the fullest powers of life and even the power of rebirth. These five spirits, because they were created by the hands of Earthmaker himself, were known as the "The Sons of Earthmaker." Much later Earthmaker caused the Twins to be created because the head of Bluehorn, their uncle, had been taken by Herešgúnina. The Twins were made from a little bit of the power of each of the Great Spirits including Earthmaker himself. They succeeded in restoring Bluehorn to wholeness, but their power was so great and their self control so limited, that the Twins soon began to attack Earthmaker's creation. They killed holy beings such as snakes, Thunderbirds, and Waterspirits; so Earthmaker sent the king of birds, the turkey Rušewe, against them. He filled them with such an irrational fear that they sought refuge with Earthmaker, who then restricted their power so that they were no longer a threat to creation.

The normal relation between the spirits and humanity is, we often think, one of unidirectional blessings; but we have seen that humans can do things that spirits find difficult. Humans can make sacrificial offerings of things that waxopini find difficult to acquire on their own initiative. These include the standard offerings of red feathers, white deerskins, dogs, and tobacco. Humans may make offerings of special items, such as headdresses whose magnificence is greatly appreciated by some spirits.8 The spirits in their turn have the power to create artifacts that are of especial value to humans. Spirits have given humans such things as drums which then can be used in rituals with a unique power expressive of their divine origins. Many times spirits give humans knowledge of plants, or even the plant itself.9 Plants with curative or poisonous powers are within the control of the waxopini and can be given to select humans who have merited their sacred attention. Humans, however, ironically possess the one plant that all spirits most crave. This plant is tobacco. Earthmaker gave this to humans alone, because he had made our race puny and without natural weapons, nor the powers of foresight that even insects possess. Tobacco is the compensation for the fact that humans are the least and last of creation. So compelling is tobacco to the waxopini, that when humans offer it, whatever they wish will be granted if the spirits accept the offering.10 By this means humans are able to tap into the powers that would normally be reserved for the waxopini, the highest order of creation.

The basic power over which waxopini have control is life itself. This control manifests itself in two forms: the power to add life and the power to subtract life. Thus the waxopini grant powers of life and powers of war. They also grant a power to accumulate life through the killing of animals, a power that is at once both life and death. War powers, like hunting powers, are also connected to life, since the killing of enemies means that the enemy's power to kill the people has been reduced and along with it their ability to shorten people's lives. These powers are of the sort that we might call "magical." Some of these powers are granted for an occasion, such as a particular warpath or some other limited context; but powers may also be granted for life. When humans reach the boundary period of puberty, they go out to seek the powers that they will need in their adult lives to be successful and to attain old age. They must induce the waxopini to give them these powers, special powers which are not to be obtained by mere sacrificial offerings. To do this they must recreate the condition which originally led Earthmaker to give humans the tobacco plant by which they could tap into the powers of the waxopini. By making themselves "pitiable," the vision seekers appeal to the compassion of the waxopini for the human condition. One way in which this is done is by fasting. Since the waxopini have no problem feeding themselves, they feel a special pity for human weakness in this respect, especially since it is a deficit easy for them to remedy. The vision seekers also put charcoal on their faces. They therefore blacken their faces completely with ashes. In Hočąk the word for ash, xoč, also means "grave." Therefore, blackening the face is symbolic of mortality, a condition alien to spirits, who are immortal. Many spirits may be moved to pity such a suppliant, and each bestows his own peculiar powers on the vision seeker. Quite often a particular family will be blessed by certain spirits one generation after another, which suggests that the spirits are not only moved by a pity for the human condition, but act out of some affection for the members of a lineage. This is true of clans as well: members of the Thunderbird Clan will expect to be blessed by Thunderbirds, and those of the Bear Clan are almost always blessed by bears. However, many spirits may bless a person, and they do not sort by clans, as a person of the Waterspirit Clan may even be blessed by Thunderbirds. However, the vision seeker is often put through an ordeal of deception. Many spirits may come forward pretending to be something else, and in this guise offer false blessings.11 Waterspirits are often believed to do this, and blessings from Waterspirits are examined carefully for authenticity. Quite often pernicious little birds masquerade as greater spirits, but are usually found out by the imperfection of their fraud.12 Some people have confessed that they received no blessings at all, but merely pretended that they had.13 However, when they needed to call upon superhuman powers, as before a battle, they have come to regret their lack of persistence.

Humans can live as spirits of sorts when they die and become ghosts. However, more than one human has become a spirit without dying. The Thunderbird who causes the rain was in origin a human being.14 This kind of transformation, however, is exceedingly rare. Humans normally visit Spiritland the same way that spirits visit humans: in the course of a dream.15 Just as the visit of waxopini is real in a vision or "dream," so the visit of a human to the spirit abode in his sleep is also real. Sometimes during sleep a human is ordered by a spirit-messenger to depart from his body to answer the summons of a spirit. After his soul completes the visit, it returns to his body. Waxopini, on the other hand, have such powers of life and transformation, that they can be born as humans and lead a more or less normal human life. They allow themselves to be born as humans for much the same reason as the avatars of the Hindu gods: to fight the inroads made by the bad spirits against the humans. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) The motivation for this may stem from a prejudice in favor of the human race, or it may be a concern for maintaining the order of the cosmos set down by the Earthmaker. Often when a good spirit triumphs over an evil spirit on earth, he will say such things as, "because you have abused the humans, you shall henceforth live as [some kind of animal]"; or he will say, "Earthmaker did not create you for this purpose ..." Birth in human form is not restricted to good spirits. Occasionally bad spirits like One Legged One appear on earth as humans. The only way that they can be stopped is for a good spirit to be born as a human and to kill the evil spirits and dispose of their bodies in a prescribed way. The only effective way to annihilate an avatar of a spirit is to burn him up completely and to powder his bones. By placing these powdered remains in human lodges, it is possible to resurrect those people that the bad spirit had killed in his human form. (1, 2, 3, 4) Once disposed of in this manner, the spirit cannot reconstitute himself in that particular form again. Good spirits will at the end of their earthly sojourn, which is to say when their mission has been completed, ascend to heaven or their spirit abode without dying. They just leave for Spiritland in human form and resume their spiritual role in whatever form suits them. How spirits born as humans come to understand that they are spirits and what their mission is, is not perfectly clear in every case. Many humans have claimed, even within recent times, to have been reincarnated spirits, a revelation that they received in vision quests. It may be such pursuits that allow for the spirit that has been born as a human to discover his true mission. However, some spirits come into existence without parents and without having been born. They have no knowledge of who they are or how they got to where they found themselves, but eventually they do come to understand their real nature and mission. Morning Star suddenly found himself as an adult human being, but he did not know anything about human culture nor did he know how he came to be where he was.16 Wears White Feather is another such spirit. He had no idea who he was or what he was to do until he chanced upon his brother the Forked Man, who revealed to him his spiritual history and mission.17 Other spirits, especially Animal Spirits, are reborn as humans simply because they want to lead the human lifestyle. At least one was incarnated because he wanted to experience human food, which is of high variety and often cooked. Some spirits, such as Thunderbirds, eat taboo foods like snakes, and when they marry a human, they have to be gradually weaned off their inverted diet. Once they have become used to human food, they find it superior. Giants, who have the obnoxious diet of man-eaters, are found to be cannibals because they have ice embedded in their stomachs. Once this ice is disgorged, they assume a normal human diet. Animal Spirits are routinely incarnated in their particular animal form. Buffalo Spirits assume the form of buffalo on earth, and Wolf Spirits prefer the form of the wolf when they are reborn. When such waxopini are incarnated they stay in that form until they die, whereupon they resume their life as a spirit. If a Buffalo Spirit, for instance, accepts an offering from a human, which is hard to refuse, even if it is tobacco, he becomes obliged to assume the form of an earthly and mortal buffalo and to be slain by humans for their benefit.18 In essence, if he accepts an offering, he must become an offering. This is acceptable to the Buffalo Spirits who thus volunteer to be food for humans and to supply many of their other material wants, from the same compassionate motive that moves all spirits to bless humans. They live as buffalo because that form suits their inner nature, it is their preferred mode of existence. Inasmuch as they must die to return to their spirit home, they choose to die in a way that is useful to human beings. Thus (strangely to the Western mind) every animal that dies is rather like a Christ figure: he dies so that humans may live. The odd Western idea that there is a law of metaphysics that dictates that humans must be redeemed from their sins before they can enjoy an afterlife, is alien to the more sensible Indians nations, who believe that Earthmaker did not make men morally defective by nature, but merely powerless. Thus to the Hočągara, for whom the sacred is a kind of power, the human failing is not original sin, but original powerlessness. Animal Spirits sacrifice themselves both out of compassion and out of gratitude for what humans have given them in offerings. Far from being like a punishment, human life on earth is to be highly desired. Those humans who have sacrificed themselves rather like the Animal Spirits, get a similar choice, the choice to go home again. When warriors are killed in action, they have volunteered to give up their lives to save the lives of their countrymen; so when they reach Spiritland as ghosts they have the option of staying in one of the many paradises they encounter on their journey, or going all the way to Earthmaker's lodge and there exercising the option of being reborn in any form that they choose. They always choose to be reborn in their own tribe, and eschew paradise for renewal of their life on earth. Even though life is difficult, no mere paradise can compare to it for the heroic soul. In a similar way, the Animal Spirit can choose either to continue to live in Spiritland, or accept the pleasures offered up by humans, and return to earth to live and die for the people; the hero can choose either to live in Spiritland or choose the pleasures offered by human life and return to earth to live and die again for the people. The difference is that the human must eschew the temptations offered him in Spiritland, whereas the Animal Spirit must succumb to them.


Links: Ghosts, Wanąǧi Monąč, Supernatural Power, Herešgúnina, Earthmaker, The Sons of Earthmaker, Trickster, Bladder, Turtle, Redhorn, Hare, The Twins, Thunderbirds, Waterspirits, The Waterspirit of Green Lake, Nightspirits, Heroka, Little Children Spirits, Bird Spirits, Buffalo Spirits, Wolf & Dog Spirits, Deer Spirits, Bear Spirits, Snakes, Fish Spirits, Celestial Spirits, The Meteor Spirit, Iron Spirits, Rock Spirits, Tree Spirits, Wood Spirits, Island Weights, The Creation Council, Creation of Man, Creation of the World, Cosmography, Introduction.


Stories: mentioning ghosts: The Journey to Spiritland, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Holy One and His Brother, Worúxega, Little Human Head, Little Fox and the Ghost, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Lame Friend, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Hare Steals the Fish, The Difficult Blessing, A Man's Revenge, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Two Roads to Spiritland, Sunset Point; 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, Disease Giver Blesses 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.

For other stories about spirits, see the catagories under "links" above.


Themes: visiting Earthmaker: The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Lame Friend, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Twins Get into Hot Water, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins; Earthmaker appoints one being after another to accomplish a mission, but must recall each in turn save the last: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Spider's Eyes; spirits meet in a council: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Black and White Moons, Holy One and His Brother, The Creation Council, The Children of the Sun, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), The Gift of Shooting, East Shakes the Messenger, The Descent of the Drum, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal; spirits come together to pool their resources to give humans power over their enemies: Waruǧápara, Maize Origin Myth, The Children of the Sun; spirits come to earth in order to rescue humanity from enemies who threaten their existence: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Bladder and His Brothers, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Grandfather's Two Families, The Hare Cycle, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Raccoon Coat, Redhorn's Sons, The Redhorn Cycle, The Roaster, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Spirit of Gambling, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Trickster Cycle, Wojijé, Redhorn's Father; good spirits rescue women held by an evil spirit: Hare Gets Swallowed, The Spirit of Gambling, The Green Man, Iron Staff and His Companions; a malevolent spirit chases after a group of women: The Woman Who Became an Ant, Little Human Head, The Seven Maidens; a spirit comes into existence as a fully mature human being but in a state of total amnesia: Morning Star and His Friend, The Nannyberry Picker, Wears White Feather on His Head, Little Human Head; a spirit-being comes from a stump or hollow log: The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, The Were-fish, The Birth of the Twins, The Dipper; spirits can be followed by stepping in their first four footprints: Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Chief of the Heroka, Snowshoe Strings; a young man leaves his uncle and mother behind and goes off to visit the father he has never met in the spirit abode where he lives: The Shaggy Man, The Children of the Sun; a spirit has faces on each earlobe: Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Dipper (hummingbirds), Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Redhorn's Father, Morning Star and His Friend, The Hočągara Contest the Giants; a spirit has four arms: Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Forked Man; a spirit is of a red color: Wears White Feather on His Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun; each son of Earthmaker is appointed to rule over his own paradise: Cosmography, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The Cosmic Ages of the Hočągara; a doorway is unexpectedly found in the side of a hill which serves as a lodge for a powerful spirit: Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Shaggy Man, Bluehorn's Nephews, Thunderbird and White Horse; a human being physically travels to Spiritland without having died: The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Sunset Point, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Star Husband, White Wolf, Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Shaggy Man, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, Rainbow and the Stone Arch (v. 2), Trickster Concludes His Mission; four spirit beings help those who travel to Spiritland: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Lame Friend, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman; a messenger leads a man to Spiritland: The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Foolish Hunter, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief; a messenger summons an evil doer to Spiritland where he is reprimanded: The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Foolish Hunter; a mortal is returned to earth from the spirit village that he is visiting: Waruǧápara, The Thunderbird, Two Roads to Spiritland, The Shaggy Man, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Snowshoe Strings, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, White Wolf, The Foolish Hunter, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Petition to Earthmaker; a human marries a spirit: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (a Thunderbird, a Nightspirit, and two Waterspirits), The Thunderbird (a Thunderbird), How the Thunders Met the Nights (a Nightspirit), The Shaggy Man (a Bear Spirit), White Wolf (a Wolf Spirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (a Snake Spirit), The Star Husband (stars), Little Human Head (a Louse Spirit), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (Buffalo Spirit), The Phantom Woman (Waterspirit); a human is transformed into a Thunderbird (or vice-versa): Waruǧápara (human > Thunder), The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird (Thunder > human); a human is a reincarnated Thunderbird: The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird; powerful spirit beings act somewhat dim witted: How the Thunders Met the Nights, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Thunderbird, Partridge's Older Brother, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Dipper; a person who fasts receives blessings from the spirits: The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Redhorn's Sons, The Boy Who Became a Robin, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, The Seer, Maize Comes to the Hočągara, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Boy who would be Immortal, The Thunderbird, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, Great Walker's Medicine, Šųgepaga, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, Heną́ga and Star Girl, A Man's Revenge, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, The Man who Defied Disease Giver, White Thunder's Warpath, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Diving Contest, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Holy Song, The Tap the Head Medicine, The Blessing of Šokeboka, The Completion Song Origin, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, Sunset Point, Song to Earthmaker, First Contact (v. 1), The Horse Spirit of Eagle Heights; a spirit has a (fasting) dream of a human: White Wolf, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Thunderbird; two girls dream (have a fasting vision) of a particular spirit: The Markings on the Moon (v. 2), Old Man and Wears White Feather; false promises of blessings from a spirit: The Greedy Woman, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from "Disease-Giver," The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega); spirits bless a man with an artifact: Waruǧápara (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), Paint Medicine Origin Myth (magical paint), Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka (flute), Ancient Blessing (pot, ax, spoon), The Blessing of the Bow (bow and arrows), Heną́ga and Star Girl (Thunderbird Medicine, arrow); a spirit blesses a man with knowledge of a sacred dance: Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth; a spirit blesses a man with knowledge of sacred songs: Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), Holy Song, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, The Island Weight Songs, A Snake Song Origin Myth, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Song to Earthmaker, The Completion Song Origin, The Sweetened Drink Song, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman; a spirit is quoted as he gives someone a blessing: Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, 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, A Peyote Vision, The Healing Blessing.


Notes

1 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 234. Cf. the Osage xúbe, "holy, supernatural power," with the added meaning, "sanctity." Francis LaFlesche, A Dictionary of the Osage Language, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 109 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1932) 221, sv. xúbe.

2 R. G., Ghost Dance, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, #79 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1909?) 1-5.

3 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 269.

4 Paul Radin, "The Two Friends Who Became Reincarnated: The Origin of the Four Nights Wake," The Culture of the Winnebago as Described by Themselves (Baltimore: Special Publications of the Bollingen Foundation, #1, 1949) 38 nt 23, 40 nt 34.

5 Paul Radin, "Mązeniabera," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #21: 1-134; Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 93-98; Paul Radin, "Partridge's Older Brother," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #7; Paul Radin, "The Thunderbird," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #16; Paul Radin, "Dear Ankle Smelling Feet," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #20, 1-146; Paul Radin, "The Dipper," Notebook Winnebago IV, #8 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Story 8r: 1-29 = Paul Radin, "The Dipper," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #49-50: 1-267.

6 Radin, "Mązeniabera"; Paul Radin, "The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #44: 1 - 74; Paul Radin, "The Thunderbird," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #16.

7 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]) 30. Dr. Funmaker is a member of the Bear Clan of the Winnebago tribe. Oliver LaMère and Harold B. Shinn, Winnebago Stories (New York, Chicago: Rand, McNally and Co., 1928) 75-86. Informant: Oliver LaMère of the Bear Clan.

8 See, for instance, Paul Radin, "Dear Ankle Smelling Feet," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #20, 1-146.

9 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 24-25, 256-259.

10 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 18, cf. p. 389; Kathleen Danker and Felix White, Sr., The Hollow of Echoes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978) 31. Informant: Felix White, Sr.

11 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 254-256, 399-481, 497; Pat Smith Medina, "The Selfish Woman," in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 88-89;

12 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 497.

13 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 260-261.

14 Paul Radin, "Mązeniabera," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #21: 1-134.

15 Oliver LaMère and Harold B. Shinn, Winnebago Stories (New York, Chicago: Rand, McNally and Co., 1928) 38-45; Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 21-25, 248-250, 256-259.

16 John Harrison, The Giant or The Morning Star, translated by Oliver LaMere, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago III, #11a, Story 8: 92-117.

17 Paul Radin, "Wears White Feather on His Head," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #4: 1-50.

18 Paul Radin, "Dear Ankle Smelling Feet," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #20, 1-146.