Black Otter's Warpath

by Abel Green, Bear Clan
translated by Mitchell Red Cloud, Sr.

See the essay on this story by Frank Weinhold.

Tōšą́nąksépka (Black Otter), my ancestor, paternal great-grandfather, originally was from the Thunderbirds, and he came to live among the people, and he told this story himself.

When he came to live among the people he was conceived by a woman who had passed her climacteric. Therefore his was a premature birth. Therefore he was very small, and his skull was not hard. And the mother died immediately after his birth.

One of his brothers, Pų́zakexètega (Big Sand) they called him, brought him up. His brother's wife was barren, and this woman brought him up. And because he was an orphan, in brin[g]ing him up they never had him fast.  And he lived with them all during the time until he was grown.  One time when he was able to walk and run and understand and talk, Big Sand had visitors, and they had the little boy go after water. It was winter, and he fell through the hole in the ice where they dipped out the water. When he fell through the ice, he stayed there under water until he came out through another hole, downstream.  As he was floating downstream under the ice, he was thinking that he was walking through a long-lodge. There was another Indian boy who came down to the river to get water, and as the boy came out through the hole, he asked who he was, what people he belonged to. He told him that he was brother to Big Sand.  So they took him back.  It was quite a long distance below where he fell in, When they brought him back, they saw that he was all wet; he had been under water for some time.  His brother never said a word when they brought him back.  From then on, they never let the little boy go after water or do any kind of work.

Then, one morning when they woke up, they saw that he was fasting; his face was blackened with charcoal.  From then on he always fasted.  At the first he just fasted until noon, and later he fasted all day long.  Then as he got accustomed, he fasted for three, four, five days at a time.  This went along until during the summer he used to fast for a month at a time.  Then, about harvest time, he stopped fasting.  It was believed by the people that no one should fast after harvest time, so they had to stop then.1

Then, one time, while the boy and his brother and ever[y]body was sleeping, a man came to them at night.  They had come to invite him to go on a war path.  He saw that his brother got up and prepared, so he got up and prepared himself.  They had invited only his brother, but when his brother left, he just went along with him.  His brother just took along his war club, and Black Otter took his bow and arrows.  It was late when this man came, but they traveled quite a long distance that night.  Then as they went along, they heard many cries of different animals and birds on all sides; red foxes and squirrels and others.  Then, in the direction they were going, they heard the howl of a wolf.  So, soon, they came where the wolf was.  After they reached this place they built a big fire and they counted all the warriors who were present; and from there they left and went on until daylight, and covered some distance.  Then they had something to eat when they had stopped.

After that, as they went along, Big Sand walked along beside Black Otter, talking with him.  This party was called Tōcą́ksįk (a small war-party).  As they were going along, Big Sand told the little brother that they did not know how they would come out, whether they would be all killed or whether some would come back alive.  And he also told that if most of the war party were killed and only one lived, it would be himself, Big Sand.  He also said that if there were three who returned, he would be one of them.  He told his little brother that his wife would be alone while they were away, so he sent the little boy back to stay with her.  He walked along a little way, then he told the little boy that it was believed by the people that no two brothers should go together on a small war-path.  And he told him the Šųgépaga (Dog Head) was going on a path in the spring, then everyone would go, and that he could go with them at that time.  So they went on a little further, and then Black Otter turned back.

When he left the war party, he traveled during the day and slept that night. The next day he came back.  And when he came back, his sister-in-law was along, and she was wondering where all the men had gone.  From then on he stayed with his b[ro]ther's wife; he always helped in some way or another, carrying corn, storing away crops for winter use. And whenever Black Otter fasted for any number of days, his sister-in-law used to do the same.

Some of the men in that village went out to a lake nearby and killed ducks, and this woman wanted some duck meat too. Then, sometime later, this woman asked the little boy to go along with her to shoot ducks, because she wanted some ducks very badly. When they left to go hunting ducks, they intended to stay overnight, When they had got to the lake, before they could do any shooting it began to rain, so they built a shelter and stayed there.  Black Otter was asked if he would like to have some duck meat for supper; they could prepare him some if he wanted it.  But he said he would rather fast overnight.

During the night, while he was sleeping, some one told Black Otter that he was to eat two birds.  Early in the morning, the little boy was crying for the Thunderbirds (crying for them to take pity on him — wa,dja'iri).  When he was crying, his sister-in-law was lying across the fireplace and she was crying also.  Just about sunrise two little birds came flying in, and they lit in the water, and Black Otter saw them.  He took his gun and shot and killed them, and brought them back into the shelter. These two little birds were called kisacge (wood-ducks).  One of the two was larger than the other, and the woman asked if she could dress one, so he gave her one; and later s[h]e asked if she could eat one, so Black Otter told her to keep the one that she was dressing. When they had eaten their breakfast, they mo[v]ed on.  They started back for their village that they had left. When they had got back, they began gathering all different kinds of roots, herbs and lotus roots, and sį̄póro and Wą̄kšík tō.

When they had done all this, late in the fall Big Sand came back from the war-path, very greatly emaciated. All winter long the three of them fasted.  They fasted all winter until spring came.  It was not long after they stopped fasting, when Dog Head named the date when his war party was to be.  They waited until the weeds were long enough to tie one another (about 1 ft. high); then it was time for the war party to leave, and they gave a feast. Then late that evening, after the feast was over, the Death Dance was held all during the night.  Just before daylight they started on the warpath, and they made their first stop (higiǧá stopping-place) at the edge of the village. While they were stopped here, all the women relatives of the men came, and brought them moccasins and all different kinds of clothing they had made for them.  They were to start immediately, so they gave their men relatives moccasins.

While the Death Dance had been going on, a certain old man came and danced naked, carrying a sawed-off gun. When he stopped dancing, he fired the gun into the air. He went up and spoke to the war-leader, Dog Head.  He said that, however large the village he would attack, this gun would be heard first after the battle had started. He also said that he had asked his daughter to sacrifice a dog that she owned (before the war-party left), and she replied that she was depending on this dog for all the food that she ate, and she would not offer it. Therefore, not being considered as a parent by his daughter, he was going into the enemy's village and leave himself there ([to] be killed). They told the old man that it was not proper to say such things, but he said it was his intention to do that, and he was going.

A Bone-Bead Belt  

Immediately after the women came to the first stopping-place, the war-party left. After they walked all the first day, they were going up into the Missouri valley. Walking day after day, all the old warriors went ahead; all the young men who had never been on a warpath before bringing up the rear. And his two older brothers, one Big Sand and the other Ną̄ǧíga (4th son) were along with the others.  And a nephew of the three brothers was doing all the cooking for the war party.  He was a tall young man.  Sometimes when they stopped to cook meat in the evening, when they had eaten they went down to the water to swim, and young Black Otter went along.  As he was going along an old buffalo trail, he met a man named ’Kąjánįka (Young Thunder).  When they met, Young Thunder said, “Well! Did you just come?”  Both of these young men had come from the same place in the skies, and they had started about the same time to come among the people.  Black Otter told him that he had somehow lost his way and had gone down among the Buffalo Spirits, and so he was late in being born.  Young Thunder asked what had become of the person they had started out with[, since] from up there three had started from the sky.  Black Otter thought that he might have been born among a different tribe, because he was not among the Winnebago.  All those who happened to be along, stood there listening to their talk.  They talked like strangers who had met in different parts of the country, and they were speaking of other worlds. And Young Thunder said that he had been in a good many battles among the people, and he noticed that Black Otter was on his first war party. And Young Thunder told his friend Black Otter that he wished he would get the prize that would come to the first warrior of that war-party — it was to be a bone-bead necklace. He told him to try the best he could, and the young man told him that he would do that.

And they slept there that night.  On the following day they left again.  And next evening when they had stopped and had supper, they gathered all the young men who were on their first war-party, and had them tell about what they were relying on in this war-party; what they had faith in to carry them through. And a good many of these young men said that as long as Dog Head had fasted for four years, and he had won a victory over the enemy; his men had all come back, and they too would come back. And Black Otter was given tobacco, and they told him to say what he had faith in. Then he told them how there was a path laid by the T[h]underbirds and the Night Spirits; and how at the end of the path there was this prize, which was a bone-bead belt (used for carrying bundles); it was hung up at the end of the path, and he was to take that and return with it. This he had seen in his dream.  When he had said that, the old men told him, “Boy, you are fortunate!” so he did not say anything further, but just poured the tobacco into the fire.

And the next morning they started out again.  They were going day after day like that; they had a long distance to go.  And one time they were near the Miss. River.  Then that night, when they had stopped to camp, word went out that they would inquire about certain things that night.  There were a good many Sauks who were along, having joined the party after they had left their village.  And they were to ask these certain things of Dog Head and one of his cousins.  These two were the leaders of the war party.  Then, when they had asked Dog Head's cousin, he told them that he was going after the occupants of three long-lodges.

What he meant was three long-lodges of the Osage tribe; and the warriors told him that that was not enough scalps to go around. Then they asked Dog Head, and he said he was going after a large pile of driftwood; and the warriors were satisfied with it, because they thought that would be more. And the next morning they started out again.

And a young man, a friend of Black Otter who was along, said that he would not come back when the party returned. He said the distance was so great that he did not care to come back; and when they told him that it was not the proper thing to say, he replied that his sister had a dog, and he wanted to give that little dog in sacrifice, but she refused; so he was going to remain in the enemy's village. Black Otter tried to persuade him but the other boy had decided to be killed there.

And on a certain day when they had left in the morning, about noon they came to the Mississippi River.  There was a large island out in the river, and on this island was a large Indian village, and when the people had begun whispering, it sounded as if it could be heard for a long way. While they were sitting there, they appointed from among the party two scouts.  Then Dog Head told his warriors that there was a certain man who would come near them; and if this man should run, they were to kill him; and if he was not afraid of them, they should not molest him.  One of the scouts had climbed a tree and the other was still on the ground. They saw a certain man coming from the east, carrying a deer on his back. When the scouts saw that this man had seen them, they jumped to the ground and they made sounds like a bear. This man thought he saw that they were bears, but he knew that they were enemy scouts. But he did not run, he just kept on walking.  When he came up near to where the scouts were, he stopped and shifted the deer over to one side and rested a while.  As they looked on, this man waded across to the island and entered the village.  After this man had entered the village, he told some of his relatives that he had seen a large war party, and some did not believe that he had seen what he said, but anyway he took his relatives and fled from the village. And after they had heard that there was a large war party across the river, some of them said, “If these should happen to be Winnebagoes, we will just take them over to where the three long lodges of Osage are, and there we will kill all of them.”  And this hunter who had just returned to the village was telling about how he had seen these two scouts in the trees, and how they had jumped to the ground and preten[d]ed to be bears, and how he had pretended not to be afraid and had just walked past.

They (Winnebago) stayed there all afternoon until evening and about dusk they would enter the village, they planned.  In the evening they started.  It was very quiet on this evening and when the war party approached, they could be heard a long way.  And just as they started wading, when they had reached a depth where the water reached above the knees, Dog Head, the leader, had cramps just then.  When that happened he cried out, “I have some cramps in my legs!” and being quiet, it could be heard over in the village.  And some of the warriors said, “The night is not very dark, and we should have a little cloud and a little rain to help us cover up.”  So they offered Dog Head some tobacco.  Then Dog Head told how there were some Night Spirit warriors who had blessed him. When he spoke he began to sing, and when he had finished singing, a strong night wind came up. Then, when it had g[ro]wn dark, all the Sauk that were in the war party surrounded one half of the village, and the Winnebago surrounded the other half; and they almost met on the other end.  There were some warriors who walked all along the line of these men who were lying down, and told them the attack would commence immediately at dawn.  As they were lying down it blew cold, and young Black Otter was shivering, and he was afraid.

Young Black Otter forgot all the spirits that had blessed him. He knew that he was to make an offering of tobacco, but he did not know to whom he was going to make this offering. Then he made an offering of tobacco to the head of the Thunderbirds, and promised that when he returned safely to his village, he had a little dog that he had left back home, and he would offer this in sacrifice.

Just before daylight there was a heavy fog all around. Just before the attack began, just before they were to give the signal whoop, they heard a gun shot in the village.  It was made by the old man who had said he was going to be the first to be heard in the battle; so they did not take time to give a whoop, but they made the attack immediately, So when they had all started at once, it sounded like thunder, When the battle began, there were all sorts of noises to be heard, the flutes of the warbundles, the cry of the eagle and the blackhawk, and all the different animals represented in the Warbundles, they were all crying out; and the cry of the people was also heard.

Young Black Otter was running about the village. He was not trying to kill anyone, he just went running around.  As he entered a certain round-lodge, he found his nephew who was cooking for them, wounded, lying on the ground, with arrows and spears piercing his body, and part of his body was in the fireplace.  As he was running around, he came to the banks of the river, and he saw a fight going on there also, in the water.  He could see the heads of men bobbing up and down. [And he saw a canoe] floating by, with a buffalo pelt covered over it.  So when he saw this, he threw his bow and arrows on the ground, and dove in and came to where the canoe was floating, and seized it. When he had looked underneath the buffalo pelt, he saw two little children lying in the bottom of the canoe.  Their heads were shaved.  Just as he pulled out the older of the two children, another man (his sister-in-law's brother) came running out from the shore and took this child away from him, so he seized the other. Taking this boy with him, he came to where he had laid his bow and arrows and entered the village.  Then he remembered, after one little captive was taken away from him, that one time when he went duck hunting with his sister-in-law; and how he had killed two wood ducks and his sister had eaten one —- he remembered that this older boy who was taken away from him was the bird that his sister-in-law had eaten.  It was his sister-in-law's brother who had taken it away from him.  So Black Otter started out looking for Dog Head, with his captive. As he went looking for Dog Head, he met a warrior named Thunderbird; and when this man saw that Black Otter had the little boy captive, he tried to take him away from him, but Black Otter just hung on to his prisoner.  Then this man (who was Waką́jaga, who had taken the little girl captive,) started running away with her. Black Otter called for Dog Head, and Dog Head answered somewhere off in the distance, and Black Otter began running in that direction.  When he got to the place where Dog Head was, he found him standing there singing; and when he had presented the little boy captive to Dog Head, they put the bone-bead belt on Black Otter, for bringing the first captive given to the chief of the war party.  When Black Otter looked at Dog Head, he saw that his body was all painted black, except his hands and his forearm, these were painted red; and also his feet and ankles up to the garter line were all painted red; and he was painted red also from the ends of the mouth at each side, and the eyes. This was called waru a'p (“Warbundle paint”).  The corners of his mouth painted red signified that he had rokike' — swallowed a whole Indian village — the blood of the people he had killed.

And Black Otter set out looking for his brother, and went through the village again. He thought that some one might want to take the belt away from him, so he took his shirt off and wrapped it around his body, and put the shirt on again.  When he had entered a certain lodge, he saw a man sitting there eating what they called sour hominy.  When the man saw the boy looking, he told him to come in and also to help himself to this hominy; because when they returned from the battle they would have to run for four days and four nights; and when they returned, this would be a great story worth while telling among his people. “When we have returned to the village, we can say that while there was a big battle going on, we were eating; and when they have set up a victory pole and they ask us to talk, we can tell them what we did here today.”  After he ate some of this hominy, he asked (the man) if he had seen his brother anywhere, that he was looking for him. The man said that he had seen the brother at the other end of the village, so the boy went there, and there he saw his brother.  When the older brother saw his little brother there, he asked him what he had done.  He said that there were so many killed, that he s[h]ould have killed one by that time.  So Black Otter replied that he had been given the bone-bead belt.  He was asked three times what he had done, but he always said that he had received the belt.  The brother asked what he had done with the belt, to whom he had given it; so the boy pulled up his shirt and the brother saw that it was all wrapped around his body.  When he had seen this, Big Sand, holding his palms out to the rising sun, began to sing a song of thanksgiving.  Then as they stood there talking, Big Sand said to his little brother, “When we get back to own own village, what are you going to do?”

And Black Otter said that when they had returned, they would consider his brother's wife their sister.  And Big Sand thanked the boy for saying that, and also he said that he had been in a number of battles, but he had never won any distinctions; that is there had never been one time when people would know just what he had done.  Now when they returned to the village, the people would hear that Black Otter had the distinction of being in the first of that war party — he (Big Sand) would have the distinction of having his name mentioned whenever this boy's deeds were told — how Big Sand's little brother had won first honors in that particular battle.  His name would be mentioned before they mentioned the boy.

As they stood there, there was a great deal of shooting going on toward the river, so they went over in that direction.  When they reached the banks of the river, they saw the little boy who was angry because his sister had not given her dog for sacrifice.  He was being shot at by a man in a canoe filled with women.  Every time he was shot at, the boy dove, and he was not hit; so the man's friends on the shore were shooting at the little boy.  The man in the boat took his bow and arrow and shot the boy in the ribs; and after he had done that he jumped in the river and swam to shore, pulling the boat after him. When the boy was shot, he cried out that whenever the story was told, there was a boy named Two Crows who had captured a canoe filled with the enemy.  He knew that he was going to die, but he wanted someone to hear it, so they would always tell what he did and how he died.  This arrow that he had been hit with, had pierced clear through his body, the point coming out on the other side and just the feathers sticking out where it had entered him. He was calling for someone to pull it out, but they told him to wait for those who had the Stench Earth medicine. They had been called and they would be coming. Before these medicine men could come, the boy took hold of the arrow and pulled it out, and this arrow having a point on the end, the point remained inside his body.  When he had pulled the arrow out, he said, “This arrow is not very hard to [t]ake out, Why were you afraid?”  After having said that, although they told him not to, he went down to the river and drank water.  He came back and sat down, and he died.  After a little while these medicine men came singing; but they were already too late, and they could not do anything.

They had made a woman of the Nųjaci (the people of the village) captive; and she was crying, and they found that she spoke their own language — this village was another band of the Winnebago, who had been out on a hunt.  They had wiped out a village of their own tribe.

When Two Crows died, they told him that he would walk like a warrior. So they set him against a tree in a sitting position, and he was not buried. The little captive that Black Otter had given was placed before the body of the young Two Crows, and there he was to be killed — this young captive was to be offered in sacrifice.  And Dog Head, the leader, was there to sing the death song, and a man who was to kill the boy with a club was there, and a man who was to cut the little boy up was there, and the man who was to give the war whoop as a signal for the ceremony, he was there.  When Dog Head had begun to sing, and when he had finished, this man gave a war whoop.  When the war whoop was given, the man with the club immediately killed the little boy.  He lay on the ground, the body was quivering. Then they laid the pieces of the body before Two Crow's body as it sat against the tree; and they started back. And the woman captive was brought along when they returned.

When they began to return, they started running all day and all night.  They started running in the morning, and stopped at noon to smoke a while, and run again; and in the [e]venings they stopped to smoke, and ran again all night long.  They ran for four days and four nights, until they stopped.  Eight men were named to go on a hunt. They were to stop at noon and give a feast when the hunters had returned.  There were eight men on the hunt, one of Dog Head's nephews named Green Grass, Black Otter's brother Na[ǧ]íga, and two Sauk and four others.  Where they were stopping, some of the men were getting the milk-weed tops, and eating them; but Black Otter and his brother Big Sand just sat there, although they were hungry.  His brother said, “It may be that these weeds are good to eat, Go over and try some.” So Black Otter took some that were already opened, and found that they were bitter, and did not know that those which had not opened were sweet.  Just as he was sitting there, Green Grass came back with a deer, Black Otter said to him, “I wish that you would give me the liver of this deer.” Green Grass replied that the deer all belonged to Black Otter, but he said, “Your brother is coming back with another deer.” So Black Otter ran back to his brother Big Sand, and told him that his brother was coming back, and would be back immediately, with a deer.  When they had brought the deer back to camp, cut them in pieces and begun cooking; it reminded them of their dead nephew who was killed in that battle.  He was not there to do the cooking. They all sat and thought about him deeply.

As they sat there eating, they had eaten all but one leg of the deer, and they saw a member of the Sauk coming to them. He was coming to get some of what Big Sand was eating. When this Sauk had come to where they were sitting, he took his bow and rapped on one of the sti[c]ks in the fire.  He pointed in the direction they had come, and gave a war whoop; then he took the leg of deer and started back for his own camp.  While he was talking in his own tongue, he was saying that he did not know how he would ever come to the village of the Winnebago.  He had always heard that Big Sand gave feasts frequently; but he could not attend these feasts, and they did not have anything to eat just then; so he was taking this leg of deer with him back to his camp.  Before they started, they were counting scalps, both the Winnebagoes and the Sauk, and the Winnebago saw that the Sauk had the scalp of the old man who had been [angry ?] at his daughter and was going to remain in the village they had attacked. These Sauk thought that he belonged to the enemy, and they had taken his scalp; his name was Mana'xeni nka (little Stench-Earth?). When they had finished eating, they started back again; but the Sauk warriors left them at this place.

Some time after that they crossed the Mississippi River. After crossing the Mississippi River, they traveled for some time until they came back to their own village. When they had returned to their village and were dancing the scalp dance, it was announced that Big Sand's wife had been adopted sister by her own husband, Black Otter and Ną̄ǧíga; and she was dancing with the bone-bead belt around her neck. And this woman told the people that one time when she was alone after Black Otter had left on the war party, there was a storm, and there was a very loud crash of lightning; and Black Otter's dog had run out in the storm; and the next morning she had gone out and found that dog dead.

Black Otter, having fasted so many days at a time during the summer months, and having gone through this battle and being blessed by all the different spirits, at this time he first made up his Warbundle.  And when they came back, after he made up his Warbundle, he told this story. End.2

Commentary. "Tōšą́nąksépka (Black Otter)" — the text has DocA'nAksEpga, an older, eccentric orthography. The name comes from tōšą́nąk, "otter"; sep, "black, dark"; and -ka, a definite article suffix used in personal names. "Black Otter" is written as “Black Water” throughout. This arose as a confusion in hearing "otter" as "water" in accented English, as the words in Hocąk are respectively tōšą́nąk and . Black Otter claimed that he was a reincarnated Thunderbird, yet his name is clearly not Upper Moiety, but is hard to contemplate being anything other than a Waterspirit Clan name. People could acquire names by some feat later in life: an honorific. However, "Black Otter" does not evoke images of any great feat. On the other hand, the Waterspirit Clan has the names "White Otter" and "Little Otter." His older brother Big Sand(bar) may have a Waterspirit name, since Waterspirits are famed for sunning themselves on sandbars. Furthermore, the mythological Otter was the nephew and Warbundle Bearer of the Chief of the Waterspirits, as we learn in "Įcohorúšika and His Brothers." This is hardly surprising, since otters in nature are highly aquatic. Given Black Otter's childhood feat of traveling a long way underwater without drowning, we are led to conclude that he and his brothers belonged to the Waterspirit Clan. However, the Green family is said to be of the Bear Clan, and they are direct paternal descendants of Black Otter, so they should belong to the same clan as their ancestor. This would mean that Black Otter and Big Sand were members of the Bear Clan, although their names do not seem appropriate to that clan.

In 1832, Black Otter was a prominent man in Upper Barribault [Baraboo] Village, No. 3, where he lived in a large lodge with two men, three women, and four children.

"paternal great-grandfather" — this is inserted into the typescript by hand.

"Thunderbirds" — many people claimed to be incarnated Spirits, so Black Otter's claim is not particularly unusual. However, since Waterspirits and Thunderbirds are mortal enemies, it does seem strange that a member of the Waterspirit Clan, or any clan of the Lower Moiety, would consider themselves to be an incarnate Thunderbird. This aside, the Thunderbirds are considered the greatest warriors among the Spirits, and therefore a man reputed for prowess in battle might plausibly claim such a spiritual nature.

"a premature birth" — it is true that older women are more likely to give birth prematurely, as this graph demonstrates:

However, this seems to be tinged a bit with the supernatural, as by definition a woman beyond her climacteric cannot conceive at all. His contention is aimed to show that he is of remarkable origins. However, we should note that women who have reached their climacteric are considered the "same as men." Therefore, it is as if Black Otter were the product of two men, perhaps a way of saying that although born small he could be expected to be more endowed with manliness.

"Pų́zakexètega (Big Sand)" — the text has Poza'kax,Etiga. Pų́zake means "sand," but some older sources also give the meaning "sandbar." Xete means, "big, large"; and -ga is a definite article suffix used in personal names. This name is attested in the Wolf Clan, but may also have been found in the Waterspirit Clan.

"they never had him fast" — young people are notoriously disinclined to fast, and their father will put a great deal of pressure on them to do so. The father's role is that of teacher and disciplinarian and in contradistinction, it is the mother's brother who is the light-hearted, joking relative who showers his nephews and nieces with affection and indulgence. With the father gone, there is no one whose role it is to force compliance with the social norm of adolescent fasting. Although his brothers cared deeply about him, they did not have such a relationship where forcing their will on him would be socially and culturally acceptable. As we might say today, they did not have a right to insist on it.

"a long-lodge" — since being underwater is like being in a lodge to the Waterspirits, this reinforces the conclusion that Black Otter was a member of the Waterspirit Clan.

"work" — in mythological tales, characters who do not work always prove to be holy, that is, they are either incarnate Spirits, or have been unusually blessed by the same.

"as" — the text has "has".

"a month" — people who fast for great lengths of time can expect to receive very great blessings from the Spirits. Therefore, if a man has done very well in war, people will reason that he must have been greatly blessed, which suggests extraordinary fasting as its prerequisite.

"Tōcą́ksįk" — the text has Dota,'ksik. This is from tōcą́, "warparty"; and ksįk, "small."

"Šųgépaga" — the text has C,unge'page. This is from šų̄k, "dog"; , "the front end of anything, nose, head"; and -ga, a definite article suffix used in personal names. So the name can mean "Dog Head" or "Dog Nose." See below for a full discussion of the man.

"spring" — this is somewhat unusual, as almost all warpaths were conducted in the winter.

"wa,dja'iri" — for wąjaíri. This word is inscrutable. There is a word used for "crying" in this sense: jājá, which actually means, "to talk loudly, to keep on talking, to be always talking, to announce something, to jabber." Wajajaíre would mean, "they cried to them." Perhaps this is what the intended word was.

Mdf   James St. John    
Kisacge (Sandpiper)   To (Indian Potato, Apios americana)   Sį̄péro (Sagittaria latifolia)

"kisacge (wood-ducks)" — the text has ki,satcgE, which in the present orthography would be kisacge. According to Kingswan, kisacge (KAi rrtt KAe) means "sandpiper."3 According to Dorsey,4 kį́skèra is the word for wood ducks. Kį́skèra is from kįs, "to squeak"; ke, ge, a suffix denoting a kind of thing (that); and -ra, the definite article.

"sį̄póro" — the text has si,pW'ro, apparently a typo for si,pE'ro. This would transliterate to sį̄péro, which is clearly for sį̄póro, "arrowhead lily root, Indian potatoes."

"Wą̄kšík tō" — the text has wa nkci'kDo, a typo for wa,nkci'kDo. Wą̄kšík tō is the Indian potato (Apios americana).

J. O. Lewis
Dog Head (Sarcel, Teal, Little Duck)

"Dog Head"Šųgépaga whose name we encountered above. A famous warrior and chief, he quickly became legendary, as we see from semi-mythological accounts of his life in the stories Great Walker's Medicine, The Warbundle Maker, and The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara. "The Warbundle Maker" says, "There was a man named Šųgépaga, who belonged to the Eagle Clan."5 The name "Dog Head" is clearly not an Eagle Clan name, and must be a nickname. Prior to the War of 1812, he was known to the French by this same name, Tête de Chien. So what was his Eagle Clan name? The French also knew him by his clan name, which they rendered as Sarcelle, which means "Teal." George recorded the word for teal as being hunašizka, which is for hunašiske, from huna, "to come hither"; šis, "to shoot"; and -ke, a suffix indicating a kind of thing. So a teal is "the kind of thing that comes hither to be shot." So it appears that his Eagle Clan name was Hunašiskega. The Anglos rendered his clan name as "Sarcel," "Teal," or "Little Duck." Col. McDouall in writing to Gen. Drummond in 1814, says of him,

the Susell or tete de Chien, [is] a distinguished Chief of the Winnebago Nation (who came to supplicate assistance) ... The solemn & impressive eloquence of the tete de Chien, excited a general enthusiasm, & never was more zeal or unanimity shown amongst them, this chief is scarcely inferior to Tecumseth, & I doubt not will act a distinguished part in the campaign ...6

Brisbois remarks that, "One of the Carimaunee family of Winnebagoes was known as Tête de Chien, or Dog's Head. He lived in 1827, at English Prairie, now Muscoda (ca. 43.210370, -90.30401). He was a prominent man, of considerable good sense, and very honest. The Indians cultivated some fields there, and lived there as one of their changeable localities."7 This means that he was related in some way to the famous chief Nąga (Wood), known as the "Elder Keramąnį," who was standing next to Tecumseh when the latter was struck dead by a stray bullet. Lurie's informants told her that the Keramąnįs were originally of Fox or Sauk extraction. Foreign captives who are spared are always put into the Thunderbird Clan, or may enter it through marriage. Mrs. Kinzie said that this name meant, "Walking Rain." This is due to the fact that the name has a double meaning in Hocąk: Ke-ra-mąnį means literally, "The Turtle Walking," where -ra is the definite article. On the face of it, this name is rather peculiar, since the -ga attached to the end of it to indicate that it's a personal name is also a definite article. This leads to the rather stilted translation, "The Walking One Who is the Turtle." However, the same name differently parsed, Kera-mąnį, means "Walking Cloud," where kera, like the more common mąxí, means both "cloud" and "sky." It could be that Kera-mąnį-ga was originally a Thunderbird Clan name for the ancestor of the lineage, but members of that family liked the mystical association that the double meaning gave them to the God of War. Sometime before 1832, Dog Head had moved to Big Green Lake (43.813354, -88.934092), where he lived in a large lodge with three other men, five women, and six children.8 Grignon says, "Sarcel, or The Teal, resided at the Winnebago village at Green Lake, in Marquette county; in his younger days his reputation was not good, but he afterwards became a very good Indian. I have already adverted to his war services. I think he died at Green Lake, before the emigration of his people west of the Mississippi."9

"Death Dance" — more commonly called a "War Dance." The term "Death Dance" (wągenįke-į) is usually reserved for the dance that as prisoner must perform before his is put to death by torture.

"(higiǧá stopping-place)" — the text has higi a', omitting /ǧ/. Higiǧá is defined as, "camp; stopping place on the warpath."

"sacrifice a dog" — dogs were objects of great affection, and were allowed to eat off plates with the family. A dog could be substituted for a human sacrifice. Dogs were often sacrificed as a cure for disease, and before they were dispatched (by hanging) they were given a message to relay to Disease Giver.

"depending on this dog for all the food that she ate" — this probably means that this was a hunting dog that her husband relied upon. There was, for instance, such a thing as a "bear dog," that was bred specifically for hunting bears. The idea that she herself was dependent upon the dog would suggest that dogs could be used for sniffing out tubers or other food that is not readily observable to the eye. However, this seems unlikely.

"Ną̄ǧíga (4th son)" — the text has Na i'ga, omitting the /ǧ/. It is the birth order name given to the fourth son, regardless of his clan. It is probably derived from nąǧi, "soul, ghost, spirit."

"’Kąjánįka (Young Thunder)" — the text has 'Ka,dja'ni nka, for 'Ka,dja'ni,nka. ’Kąjánįka is a thus far unencountered nickname, a hypocorism created by an initial clipping from Wakąjánįka, like "Bert" from "Albert." Wakąjánįka is from Wakąjá, Thunderbird"; nįk, "little, young"; and -ka, a definite article suffix used in personal names. However, as is so often the case, he was also known by the synonymous name Wakąjaxųnųga, where xųnų means more specifically "young." Many years later in 1832, we find him living with his wife and four children in the same village as Black Otter on the upper Baraboo River.10 He was prominent enough to have signed the Treaties of 1829, 1837, 1846, and 1855. In the first two treaties he used the synonymous name Wakająnįka.11

"Buffalo Spirits" — the stars are said to be Buffalo Spirits, since they travel across a vast plain in the night sky as a herd. The Thunderbirds are allied to the Nightspirits (both are concerned with empyrean darkness), so this may be the sense in which Black Otter, as a Thunderbird, strayed into this other spiritual realm. The lodge of the Buffalo Spirits is not in the sky, but is entered through a door that opens into a hill. After a night of running through the sky, they rest in the earth in which they set.

"T[h]underbirds and the Night Spirits" — these two bands of Spirits share darkness as a common bond. The Thunderbirds inhabit and animate the dark clouds with lightning; the Night Spirits sow the darkness that covers the nocturnal sky. The darkness of night was considered as a real, positive entity, like its opposite, light. The Thunders and Nights formed a kind of dual moiety with each other, exclusively marrying their opposites. This opposition expressed itself in the Nights residing in the east where the Sun rises, and the Thunders living in the west, where the Sun sets. The Thunders and Nights combined to fight the white cranes who disfigured the faces of the Nights with pock marks (stars) inflicted by their spear-like bills. The light producing weapon of the Thunders, the Thunderbird Warclub, completely subdued them. So it is quite natural for someone to attribute an action to the combined efforts of the Thunderbirds and Night Spirits.

"dream" — the term hą̄té not only denoted the dream of sleep, but the hallucinations or visions that occurred during the fasting ritual, in which the supplicant blackened his face as in mourning, and cried to the Spirit that they might have pity on him and give him a blessing. The visions and attendant blessings were not always authentic, as it was widely understood that bad Spirits would frequently take the opportunity to imposture and offer false blessings. The faster had the option of continuing the fast and thereby rejecting the tendered blessing, or by stopping, to accept it. The adolescent faster was therefore dependent on the advice of older people as to which course of action should be taken in any given case.

"Miss." — a handwritten period is added and “ouri” is scratched out. The translator leans towards the idea that this river is the Mississippi rather than the Missouri River. Part of the confusion may lie in the fact that the warparty would have to have crossed the Mississippi River before reaching the Missouri's banks.

"a large pile of driftwood" — this imagery, which is meant to reference the large village of the Missouria (Nųjaci) tribe, uses driftwood as a symbol of both the fact that the village is located on an island, and that its lodges are (counterfactually ?) covered in bark.

"she refused" — this is the second time that we have encountered the theme of the sister refusing to sacrifice a dog for the benefit of a male family member. The implication is that she loved the dog more than her brother.

"Mississippi" — this should be “Missouri”.

"two scouts" — in all accounts of warparties, it is always said that they appoint a pair of scouts. We may speculate that this gives the scouting party a better chance should they encounter a random hunter while advancing on the enemy. It also allows for verification of the scout's report.

"they could be heard a long way" — this is partly due to the fact that there is no screen of trees to muffle the sound, as the village is situated on an island surrounded by relatively still waters.

"Night Spirit warriors" — these are the Night Soldiers (Hąhé Maną́pe). The daughters of the Night Soldiers have the power to unleash cold winds, and being allied to the Thunders by marriage, the Night Soldiers could be expected to elicit their power to generate rain.

"sing" — many blessings take the form of songs or rituals which, if enacted, will produce the power with which the supplicant was blessed.

"it blew cold" — as mentioned in a previous comment, this is a power of the Night Soldier women.

"the head of the Thunderbirds" — this is Great Blackhawk (q.v.). This would be the natural offering of someone who thought himself to be an incarnate Thunderbird.

"a heavy fog" — a sign that his offering and remembrance of the Thunderbirds yielded concrete results, since the Thunderbirds are responsible for fog. For this role of Thunderbirds, consider the Thunderbird Clan name, Nižuxocgewį́ga, "Drizzling Fog Woman."

"part" — the text has "party".

"And he saw a canoe" — this had been x'ed out.

"child away from him" — this replaced an original "boy away from him," which had been x'ed out.

George Catlin  
Thunderbird of Big Green Lake  

"remembered" — this is the incident related above. It is recalled here because in retrospect the otherwise trivial incident has now proven to have been prophetic. We can now understand why the birds were sandpipers. These birds are very small, like the children taken captive; and they are wading birds that inhabit the shorelines, just like the children were when Black Otter was approached by Thunderbird. For another foreshadowing event involving his sister-in-law, see below.

"Waką́jaga" — the text has Waka 'djago, for Waka'djago, corrected to the form given. The name means "Thunderbird." The narration is confusing. What happened is that Black Otter had two captives, a girl and a boy. His sister-in-law's brother took the girl captive away from him, but when he saw that he had another captive, he tried to take him as well, but Black Otter was able to hold on to him. This is almost certainly the Waką́jaga ("Thunderbird") living in Dog Head's village at Big Green Lake with another man, three women, and three children. We learn that he is the brother-in-law (hišik’é) of Big Sand. This means that the woman who had married Big Sand was a member of Dog Head's village, inasmuch as her brother Thunderbird was from his village. Big Sand had a "joking relationship" with his brother-in-law just as Black Otter had one with Thunderbird's sister (= Big Sand's wife), who was his sister-in-law. People had a joking relationship with their mother's brother, and with brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law. This meant that their personal relationship was affectionate and humorous. Any joking insult (ražic) or practical joke (ružíc) was to be taken without offense.12 However, one could still commit a sin or offense in this system. This occurs in the story "Black as Sin." Once a young woman was taking some delicious food to her uncle but ate it herself on the way. When this was found out, she was greatly ashamed.13 So, is his sister-in-law taking a snipe to eat for herself just part of the leeway given to joking relatives, or is it an offense? Black Otter seems to think that his sister-in-law was not particularly out of line, and decides to apply this analogy to Thunderbird's taking one of his captives. After all, he had two of them, so what does it matter if he shares one with his joking relative's brother? Yet it is at the edge of this relationship, and can be disputed philosophically at length.

"waruǧáp (“Warbundle paint”)"waru a'p is for waruǧa'p. The word waruǧáp means "Warbundle"; the word for paint, wasé, is not present.

"rokike'" — this is missing its last syllable: rōkíkewé. This word means, "he painted himself."

"sister" — the underlining of "their" is in the text. It really doesn't make much sense. If Big Sand were to consider his wife to be his sister, then it would in effect dissolve his marriage, or transform into incest. We might think that "their" was underlined to express skepticism over its accuracy, or to suggest that the narrator misspoke; but this is made explicit further on. That Black Otter would change his sister-in-law into a sister to all the brothers would mean that she would be in his clan, that he could not at some future time, should his brother die, marry her. It would also mean that she no longer had a joking relationship with him, and that henceforth he was obliged to defend her and her honor. In victory ceremonies, she would also get to parade about with the symbols of his war honors, such as scalps, or more to the point, his bone and bead belt. This would also be an honor to Big Sand. It would also have the odd effect of making Thunderbird, the brother of Big Sand's wife, a clan brother. This would not be too easy to effect in a rigorous and thorough going way, inasmuch as Big Sand and Thunderbird have a joking relationship to one another.

"first honors" — the idea that the First War Honor belongs to the person who is first to bring a captive to the Warleader is contrary to what was recorded by Paul Radin:

The widely-known Plains custom of "counting coup" is also practiced among the Winnebago. The individual who strikes the dead body of the enemy first obtains the first honor, the one striking it second the second honor, the one striking it third the third honor, and the one who actually killed the enemy obtaining the fourth and least important honor.14

In a mêlée like the one described here, it may be impossible to say who touched a slain enemy first. The advantage of using a captive in this case is that satisfying the criterion is incontestable: the prisoner is presented to the Warleader and that is sufficient for the prize. In a different context, set piece battles, where two tribes face off with a shower of arrows, are remarkably like the Bronze Age battles described in the Iliad. There the great prize is the armor of the slain opponent. The honor goes to whomever reaches the body and carries off its armor, not to whomever it was who happened to have killed him. The reason for this is that the greatest danger attends the seizing of the slain body, since the opposing force is trying to retrieve it to prevent any dishonor being done to the corpse. This is a common feature to both Bronze Age Europe and pre-Columbian America. It seems likely that the Warleader who had a prize at hand also had the ability to set the criterion for the First War Honor recognized by receiving that prize. This, plus shifting contexts, would explain the discrepancies between the criteria for honors seen here and in Radin's work.

"the story" — this story serves to illustrate how dangerous, and therefore how brave, it was for Black Otter to have swum to the canoe with the buffalo hide draped over it. Had that concealed two warriors instead of two children, he would have ended up like Two Crows.

"Two Crows"Kaǧinųpaga, a name in the Bird clans.

"Stench Earth medicine" — called mąną́x, from , "earth"; and nąx, "to stink." Paul Radin quotes a story about the origins of the Stench Earth medicines:

If a person had been shot and one blessed with the stench-earth medicine was called, he could be cured. In the same manner, if one is stabbed in what would generally be considered a fatal way and if a man blessed with stench-earth was called in time he would save him. The same cure is effected in cases of broken arms and of patients who are on the point of death. It is for this reason that those blessed with the stench-earth medicines are always praised, and that the people say, "They surely are in charge of life; for their blessings really come from the spirits, just as they claim."15

Those who were called to doctor the wounded boy were almost certainly of the Bear Clan, since that clan had the function of being the tribal physicians. Here we see that they function as medics, which dovetails with their status as Soldiers.

"the point remained inside his body" — the normal procedure in this case would be to have pulled the arrow out from the back, dragging the feathered end through the wound. It is done this way precisely to prevent the point from breaking off deep inside the body. Dragging the feathered end through the wound instead could result in contamination of the wound and resultant sepsis. So, there are really no good options in this case.

"Nųjaci" — the text has, Nu,djatci. The Hocąk, according to Gatschet, is Niut’aci, which matches the phonetic Niutachi of the Missouria themselves according to Weinhold. Citing Mooney, Gatschet says that the Missouria called themselves Nutöca.

"she spoke their own language" — this sentence is at least superficially contradictory: how can the woman be of the Missouria tribe and the village be that of the Winnebago? They said that this rested on the fact that she spoke their language. Putting it this way may be a way of expressing the fact that the Jiwere languages, of which Missouria is one, are all close to Hocąk. The woman's remarks may have been intelligible, but if the village was that of the Nųjaci, then it was not, nor would it sound exactly like Hocąk. The narrator may be using this technique as a way of saying that here the Hocągara had killed people who were so closely related to them, that they could be considered members of the Hocąk Nation broadly construed, especially given the fact that the Jiwere and even the Dhegiha addressed the Hocągara as "elder brother."

ⓒ 2007 Derek Ramsey,
GNU Free Documentation License
Mąhį́c Buds  

"milk-weed tops" — both the tall milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) and the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) are both referred to indifferently as mąhį́c. "This plant is used for food at three stages of its growth — the young sprouts in early spring, like asparagus sprouts; the clusters of floral buds; and the young fruits while firm and green. It is prepared by boiling."16 The buds referred to here as being sweet, are collected and many are dried and preserved for the winter. They are usually boiled and served with meat.17

"opened" — the text has "ocpened".

"Mana'xeni nka (little Stench-Earth?)" — this is probably for Mąną́pĕnįka, "Little Soldier," a fairly common name in the Bear Clan.

"told" — Black Otter had promised the Chief of the Thunders (Great Blackhawk) that he would sacrifice to him the little dog that he had left behind when he went on the warpath. This dog, presumably, was the one struck by lightning. It was believed that when lightning struck something, that the Thunders were "eating" it. So, in effect, the little dog was eaten by one of the Thunders (presumably Great Blackhawk himself), and that the offering had been accepted and its terms granted.

There is another meaning to the dog being struck by lightning. Here again the sister-in-law has in her own actions foretold an important event. In eating the second sandpiper caught by Black Otter, she had foretold Thunderbird's theft of the little girl that he had captured. It may be recalled that the nephew of the brothers was found dead with one foot in the fire. Given the affection tendered dogs and their substitution for humans in sacrifice, it is clear that the sister-in-law had found the dog in a way that foreshadowed the fate that was to overtake their sister's son. The two incidents involving her show that she could symbolically exemplify a future course of action in war, and that she was therefore, in some sense, holy (wakącą́k). As such she could not function in a joking relationship such as she enjoyed with her husband and his brothers, but had to be promoted to a position of higher honor commensurate with the fact that the Spirits were revealing the future through her.

"Warbundle" — now in the possession of Monte Green.

Comparative Material. ...

Links: Thunderbirds, Nightspirits, Buffalo Spirits,

Stories: mentioning Thunderbirds: The Thunderbird, Waruǧábᵉra, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Thunderbird and White Horse, Bluehorn's Nephews, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (vv. 1, 2), The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, The Thunder Charm, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Story of the Thunder Names, The Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Pigeon Clan Origins, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Adventures of Redhorn's Sons, Brave Man, Ocean Duck, Turtle's Warparty, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Quail Hunter, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Redhorn's Sons, The Dipper, The Stone that Became a Frog, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Origin of the Hocąk Chief, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Aracgéga's Blessings, Kunu's Warpath, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Glory of the Morning, The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga, The Green Waterspirit of the Wisconsin Dells, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Big Stone, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Song to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; about the interrelationship between Thunderbirds and Nightspirits: How the Thunders Met the Nights, Ocean Duck, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Sun and the Big Eater, The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga; mentioning Nightspirits: The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga, The Origins of the Sore Eye Dance, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, The Big Stone, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Fourth Universe, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Ocean Duck, The Origins of the Nightspirit Starting Songs, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Sun and the Big Eater; mentioning Great Black Hawk: Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Chief of the Heroka, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, Waruǧábᵉra, The Lost Blanket, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Redhorn's Sons, The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga; about buffaloes and Buffalo Spirits: Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, White Fisher, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Bluehorn's Nephews, Redhorn's Father, The Woman who became an Ant, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, The Buffalo's Walk, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, The Blessing of Šokeboka, The Creation of the World (v. 3), The Annihilation of the Hocągara I, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Red Feather, Wazųka, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Holy One and His Brother, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Story of the Medicine Rite; relating to dogs or wolves: The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, A Man and His Three Dogs, White Wolf, Wolves and Humans, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, Worúxega, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog that became a Panther, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Wild Rose, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Canine Warrior, The Dog Who Saved His Master, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, The Big Eater, Why Dogs Sniff One Another, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Loses His Meal, Sun and the Big Eater, Redhorn's Sons, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Hog's Adventures, Holy One and His Brother, The Messengers of Hare, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Grandmother's Gifts, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Bladder and His Brothers, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Kunu's Warpath, Morning Star and His Friend, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk; Peace of Mind Regained (?); mentioning dog sacrifice: Wolf Clan Origin Myth (v. 5), Redhorn's Sons, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, see also Wolf & Dog Spirits; mentioning Stench-Earth medicine: The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth; 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, Aracgéga'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, A Deer Story; mentioning feasts: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (Chief Feast), The Creation Council (Eagle Feast), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (Eagle Feast), Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth (Waterspirit Feast), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (Mąką́wohą, Waną́cĕrehí), Bear Clan Origin Myth (Bear Feast), The Woman Who Fought the Bear (Bear Feast), Grandfather's Two Families (Bear Feast), Wolf Clan Origin Myth (Wolf Feast), Buffalo Clan Origin Myth (Buffalo Feast), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Feast), Buffalo Dance Origin Myth (Buffalo Feast), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (Buffalo Feast), The Blessing of Šokeboka (Feast to the Buffalo Tail), Snake Clan Origins (Snake Feast), Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief (Snake Feast), Rattlesnake Ledge (Snake Feast), The Thunderbird (for the granting of a war weapon), Turtle's Warparty (War Weapons Feast, Warpath Feast), Porcupine and His Brothers (War Weapons Feast), Black Otter's Warpath (Warpath Feast), Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega) (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), White Thunder's Warpath (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Fox-Hocąk War (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), Šųgepaga (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (Warbundle Feast, Warpath Feast), Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (Warpath Feast), Kunu's Warpath (Warpath Feast), Trickster's Warpath (Warpath Feast), The Masaxe War (Warpath Feast), Redhorn's Sons (Warpath Feast, Fast-Breaking Feast), The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits (Fast-Breaking Feast), The Chief of the Heroka (Sick Offering Feast), The Dipper (Sick Offering Feast, Warclub Feast), The Four Slumbers Origin Myth (Four Slumbers Feast), The Journey to Spiritland (Four Slumbers Feast), The First Snakes (Snake Feast), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (unspecified), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (unnamed); about the (post-Columbian) history of the Hocągara: The Cosmic Ages of the Hocągara, The Hocągara Migrate South, The Annihilation of the Hocągara I, Annihilation of the Hocągara II, First Contact, Origin of the Decorah Family, The Glory of the Morning, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Fox-Hocąk War, The Masaxe War, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara, Great Walker's Medicine, Great Walker's Warpath, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, The Spanish Fight, The Man who Fought against Forty, The Origin of Big Canoe's Name, Jarrot's Aborted Raid, They Owe a Bullet, Origin of the Name "Milwaukee," A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Origin of the Hocąk Name for "Chicago"; about famous Hocąk warriors and warleaders: How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, The Masaxe War (Hogimasąga), Wazųka, Great Walker's Warpath (Great Walker), Great Walker's Medicine (Great Walker, Smoke Walker, Dog Head, Small Snake), Šųgepaga (Dog Head), The Warbundle Maker (Dog Head), The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara (Smoke Walker, Dog Head, Small Snake), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath (Big Thunder, Cap’ósgaga), The Osage Massacre (Big Thunder, Cap’ósgaga), The Fox-Hocąk War (Cap’ósgaga), The Origin of Big Canoe's Name, White Thunder's Warpath, Four Legs, The Man who Fought against Forty (Mącosepka), Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, The Hills of La Crosse (Yellow Thunder), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Fighting Retreat, Mitchell Red Cloud, jr. Wins the Medal of Honor (Mitchell Red Cloud, jr.), How Jarrot Got His Name, Jerrot's Temperance Pledge — A Poem, Jarrot's Aborted Raid, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation, They Owe a Bullet (Pawnee Shooter); about Šųgépaga (Dog Head = Sarcel = Teal = Little Duck): Šųgepaga, The Warbundle Maker, Great Walker's Medicine, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara – see also Kinzie's Receipt Roll; mentioning the Missouria: Ioway & Missouria Origins, Introduction; mentioning the Osage: The Osage Massacre, Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath, The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2), First Contact (v. 2), Introduction; mentioning the Sauk (Sac, Sagi): The First Fox and Sauk War, Mijistéga and the Sauks, The Annihilation of the Hocągara I (v. 2), Annihilation of the Hocągara II, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, Little Priest's Game, Gatschet's Hocank hit’e (St. Peet ...), A Peyote Story, Introduction; mentioning Medicine Men: Visit of the Medicine Man, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, Holy One and His Brother, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather, Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, The Phantom Woman; mentioning Warbundles: Waruǧábᵉra (Thunderbird), The Adventures of Redhorn's Sons (Thunderbird), Redhorn's Sons (Thunderbird), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Thunderbird), The Warbundle of the Eight Generations (Thunderbird), Wanihéga Becomes a Sak’į (Thunderbird), Šųgepaga (Eagle), The Warbundle Maker (Eagle), The Masaxe War (Eagle?), The Blessing of a Bear Clansman (Bear), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo), Paint Medicine Origin Myth (Hit’énųk’e Paint), The Blessing of Kerexųsaka (Sauk), Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store (Potawatomi), A Man's Revenge (enemy); mentioning wampum: The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Little Human Head, Turtle and the Giant, Snowshoe Strings, The Chief of the Heroka, The Markings on the Moon, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2), Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka; in which dancing plays a role: Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Little Priest's Game, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Migistéga’s Magic, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Trickster and the Dancers, Wolves and Humans, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; about scalping: The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, The Scalping Knife of Wakąšucka, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Moiety Origin Myth, Turtle's Warparty, White Fisher, The Dog that became a Panther, Wazųka, Great Walker's Warpath, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Fox-Hocąk War; set on the Mississippi (Nį Kuse): The Two Children, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Oto Origins, Bluehorn's Nephews, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Serpents of Trempealeau, The Story of the Medicine Rite, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle; set on the Missouri River (Nį̄šóc): Bluehorn's Nephews, Buffalo Dance Origins, The Captive Boys, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Little Priest’s Game, The Message the Fireballs Brought, Mijistéga and the Sauks.

Themes: a human is a reincarnated Thunderbird: The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga, The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird; 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 Hocągara, 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, The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, 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, Aracgéga'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, The Man Who Lost His Children to a Wood Spirit, 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 Ciwoit’éhiga, Sunset Point, Song to Earthmaker, First Contact (v. 1), The Horse Spirit of Eagle Heights; descriptions of human warfare: Annihilation of the Hocągara II, The Warbundle Maker, The First Fox and Sauk War, Great Walker's Medicine, The Annihilation of the Hocągara I, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Wazųka, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath, The Fox-Hocąk War, Great Walker's Warpath, White Fisher, The Lame Friend, White Thunder's Warpath, The Osage Massacre, A Man's Revenge, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, They Owe a Bullet, The Spanish Fight, Origin of the Name "Milwaukee," The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2), Tobacco Man and Married Man, The Scalping Knife of Wakąšucka; using body paint stored in a warbundle: Waruǧábᵉra, The Red Man, White Thunder's Warpath, Paint Medicine Origin Myth; someone is abducted and led off into captivity: The Captive Boys, A Man's Revenge, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Lost Child, Wears White Feather on His Head, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Bladder and His Brothers, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Green Man, Brave Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Šųgepaga, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, Wolves and Humans, The Woman Who Became an Ant, Thunderbird and White Horse, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), The Boy who Flew, Testing the Slave; someone falls through a hole in the ice into the water below: A Mink Tricks Trickster, The Ice Hole.


1 Another version of this opening story is found in "The Ice Hole."
2 Forrest and Monty Green, "Origin of Black Otter's War-Bundle" (December 14, 2001). Presented to the Hocąk Encyclopedia by Frank Weinhold, June 6, 2020.
3 Chuck Kingswan, AottnK wo w KH Ao tti KAe Le Ai dn, Winnebago Lexicon Starting Kit (1993). Words taken from Valdis J. Zeps, Zepisicon (Winnebago Lexicon), Unpublished MS, Baltic Studies Center, University of Wisconsin, 1996.
4 Rev. James Owen Dorsey, Winnebago-English Vocabulary and Winnebago Verbal Notes, 4800 Dorsey Papers: Winnebago (3.3.2) 321 [old no. 1226] (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives, 1888) 82 pp.
5 W. C. McKern, Winnebago Notebook (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1927) 167-174 [167].
6 Douglas Brymner, "The Capture of Fort M'Kay, Prairie du Chien, in 1814," Wisconsin Historical Collections, 11 (1888) 254-270 [260, 263].
7 B. W. Brisbois, "Recollections of Prairie du Chien," Wisconsin Historical Collections, IX (1882/1909): 282-302 [300].
8 See Kinzie's Rolls for Big Green Lake.
9 Augustin Grignon, "Seventy-two Years' Recollections of Wisconsin," Wisconsin Historical Collections, 3 (1857) 197-295 [288].
10 Kinzie's Rolls, 24. Upper Barribault [Baraboo] Village, No. 3.
11 Nancy Oestreich Lurie, "A Check List of Treaty Signers by Clan Affiliation," Journal of the Wisconsin Indians Research Institute, 2, #1 (June, 1966): 50-73 (64, #69).
12 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1923) 133-134, 174 nt. 19.
13 W. C. McKern, Winnebago Notebook (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1927) 203.
14 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 158.
15 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 264.
16 Melvin Randolph Gilmore, Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region, Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1911-12 (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1919) 109-110.
17 W. C. McKern, Winnebago Notebook (1927) from the Milwaukee Public Museum, 256.