A Dream

by Stella Stacy

(03:03) Once I dreamt. I dreamt that the world was ending. Just falling, everything was falling in. And soon, you know, the wind was so terrible [a] wind. The wind is blowing and the people are coming from there. They had big load on their back. (03:32) And that they were coming when they fell [as] they were running. When they fell down, they get right up and run again. And I thought, "I wonder where they are going? (03:45) There is no place here in this world that's a safe place. It's only Jesus that's a safe alive, where you could be safe. It's only Jesus," that's what I thought. (04:03) And I got up, and I got up and I pray. And then I now turned into an angel. And I was an angel.  (04:17) And my feet were on a standing, and I want to be fly way like an angel, but I couldn't lift my feet up off from the ground, because it isn't time for me to fly.1

Commentary. "I dreamt" — in the Native American Church, at least in the past, people used to get dreams or visions similar to those that had been obtained by their ancestors through fasting. However, these dreams were induced by the consumption of peyote cactus buttons which contain the hallucinagen mescalin. In Stella's case, what we are hearing here is probably an ordinary night dream. Nevertheless, as dreams are sometimes allegorical in nature, it may express concerns in her own life.

"the wind" — the Medicine Rite makes references to ill winds (maįtajéhišišík). These references are most likely derived from the Euro-American idea that miasma, or "bad air," was the chief agent of disease. However, in the present story, the problem with the wind is its strength, its power to destroy lodges despite their aerodynamic designs.

"it isn't time for me to fly" — in the Christian religion in the XXth century, it was a popular belief that when people died they "earned their wings" and became angels; but since she was not actually dead, she could not fly away, even though she had become an angel on account of her faith in Jesus. As an angel among the living who cannot fly she has one foot in the Otherworld as an angel, and the other foot in the dangerous profane world as one who cannot fly away. She, like her people generally, has become a hybrid, straddling two worlds. Taking the white man's religion in a hybrid way (with vision seeking), people can be angels under the eye of Jesus, and under his ultimate protection as insurance against the utter distruction of death.

Links: South Wind, North Wind (Waziregi Huhira).


1 03-02. Stacy, Stella. Fraenkel, Gerd. A story in Winnebago about a dream, with English translation. 1959-07-27, 1 .mp3; 00:04:33. Story given in Winnebago and then in English. English version begins at 3:02. Copy made by Gerd Fraenkel of an original tape held at the Archives of Languages of the World, Indiana University. Original tape 19, a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (sound tape reel) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.