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Pottawatomie Theology

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It is believed by the Pottawatomies, that there are two Great Spirits, who govern the world. One is called Kitchemonedo, or the Great Spirit, the other Matchêmonedo, or the Evil Spirit. The first is good and beneficent; the other wicked. Some believe that they are equally powerful, and they offer them homage and adoration through fear. Others doubt which of the two is most powerful, and endeavor to propitiate both. The greater part, however, believe as I, Podajokeed do, that Kitchemonedo is the true Great Spirit, who made the world, and called all things into being; and that Matchêmonedo ought to be despised.

When Kitchemonedo first made the world, he filled it with a class of beings who only looked like men, but they were perverse, ungrateful, wicked dogs, who never raised their eyes from the ground to thank him for anything. Seeing this, the Great Spirit plunged them, with the world itself, into a great lake, and drowned them. He then withdrew it from the water, and made a single man, a very handsome young man, who, as he was lonesome, appeared sad. Kitchemonedo took pity on him, and sent him a sister to cheer him in his loneliness.

After many years the young man had a dream which he told to his sister. Five young men, said he, will come to your lodge door this night, to visit you. The Great Spirit forbids you to answer or even look up and smile at the first four; but when the fifth comes, you may speak and laugh and show that you are pleased. She acted accordingly. The first of the five strangers that called was Usama, or tobacco, and having been repulsed he fell down and died; the second, Wapako, or a pumpkin, shared the same fate; the third, Eshkossimin, or melon, and the fourth, Kokees, or the bean, met the same fate. But when Tamin, or Montamin, which is maize, presented himself, she opened the skin tapestry door of her lodge, and laughed very heartily, and gave him a friendly reception. They were immediately married, and from this union the Indians sprung. Tamin forthwith buried the four unsuccessful suitors, and from their graves there grew tobacco, melons of all sorts, and beans; and in this manner the Great Spirit provided that the race which he had made, should have something to offer him as a gift in their feasts and ceremonies, and also something to put into their akeeks or kettles, along with their meat.

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