Topic: Mythology

Choctaw Beliefs About the Sun and Moon

To the unlettered and untutored mind of man through out the world, all things are endowed with individuality and life; from which arose, no doubt, the great number of mystic conceptions, regarding the sun, moon, stars, clouds, winds and storms, as being animate bodies, possessing life as all animate creatures. The traditions of some of the North American Indian tribes are said to state, that the sun was once caught in a snare by a great hunter, and was set free by the moles, but at the loss of their eyes from its intense light, and have ever since been blind. Perhaps the primitive fathers of those tribes possessed some knowledge of Joshua’s command to the orb of day. Brinton states in his “Myths of the New World,” page 55, which the legend of the Peruvian Incas, in regard to the sun, is “He is like a tethered beast that makes a daily round under the eye of a master.” Many of the North American Indian tribes believed, in regard to the eclipse of “the sun and moon, that some animal, wolf, dog, etc., was devouring the sun, and made every effort to drive him away. Some whipped their own dogs during an eclipse because a “Big dog” was eating the sun or moon, and believed the “Big dog” might be induced to postpone his meal by the howls...

Read More

The Story of Hohtak Lahba and his Choctaw Mother

Their laws (for they had laws,) though exceptional in some respects to the White Race, nevertheless, were good, and quite consistent with the nations of a primitive age. But like all others of their race, their severest law was that of blood revenge. Whosoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed was a statute rigidly enforced among all North American Indians. It was acknowledged among all, not only to be the right, but also the imperative duty of the nearest relative on the male side of the slain, to kill the slayer wherever and whenever a favorable opportunity was presented. Under many existing circumstances the law might, perhaps, have been just and salutary; but unfortunately it went too far, as any male member of the murderer s family, though innocent and even ignorant of the crime, might become the victim of the avenger of blood, if the guilty had fled; but such seldom occurred, as the murderer rarely ever made any effort whatever to escape, but passively submitted to his fate. Still, this law, revolting as it may appear to many, exercised a good influence among the Choctaws, as it had a salutary effect in restraining them in the heat of passion, by rendering them cautious in their disputes and quarrels, lest blood should be shed; knowing the absolute certainty of murder being avenged sooner or...

Read More

Choctaw War Against the Osage and other Legends

There were many traditions among all North American Indians, many of which bordered on the poetical and from which I will select one or two more, which shall suffice as examples of a few of the peculiarities of this peculiar yet interesting people. Thus says the tradition of “Ohoyo Osh Chisba,” (The Unknown Woman.) In the days of many moons ago, two Choctaw hunters were encamped for the night in the swamps of the bend of the Alabama River. But the scene was not without its romance. Dark, wild, and unlovely as a swamp is generally imagined to be, yet to the musing heart and contemplative spirit, it had its aspects of beauty, if not of brightness, which rose up before the mind as objects of serene delight, i speak from long personal experience. Its mysterious appearance; its little lakes and islands of repose: its silent and solemn solitudes; its green cane-breaks and lofty trees, all combined to present a picture of strange but harmonious combination to which a lover of nature in all its diversified phases could not be wholly insensible. The two hunters having been unsuccessful in the chase on that and the preceding day, found themselves without anything- on that night with which to satisfy the craving’s of hunger except a black hawk which they had shot with an arrow. Sad reflections filled their hearts as...

Read More

Traditions of the Great Flood by the Choctaw

The traditions of the Choctaws concerning the Oka Falama (Returned waters the Flood) is as follows: In ancient time, after many generations of mankind had lived and passed from the stage of being, the race became so corrupt and wicked brother fighting against brother and wars deluging the earth with human blood and carnage the Great Spirit became greatly displeased and finally determined to destroy the human race; therefore sent a great prophet to them who proclaimed from tribe to tribe, and from village to village, the fearful tidings that the human race was soon to be destroyed. None believed his words, and lived on in their wickedness as if they did not care, and the seasons came again and went. Then came the autumn of the year, followed by many succeeding cloudy days and nights, during which the sun by day and the moon and stars by night were concealed from the earth; then succeeded a total darkness, and the sun seemed to have been blotted out; while darkness and silence with a cold atmosphere took possession of earth. Mankind wearied and perplexed, but not repenting or reforming, slept in darkness but to awake in darkness; then the mutterings of distant thunder began to be heard, gradually becoming incessant, until it reverberated in all parts of the sky and seemed to echo back even from the deep center of...

Read More

The Biloxi and Pascagoulas

The French in making their voyages of discovery along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in 1712, under the command of Iberville, anchored one evening near an island (now known as Ship Island) which they discovered to be intersected with lagoons and inhabited by a strange and peculiar animal seemingly to hold the medium between the fox and cat, and they give it the name Cat Island, by which it is still known; thence they passed over the main land, where they discovered a tribe of Indians called Biloxi, among whom they afterwards located a town and gave it the name Biloxi now the oldest town in the State of Mississippi. This tribe of Indians proved to be a clan of the Choctaws, and the name Biloxi, a corruption of the Choctaw word Ba-luh-chi, signifying hickory bark. Thence going eastward they discovered another tribe which they called the Pascagoula’s, which also proved to be a clan of the Choctaws, and the name Pascagoula, a corruption of the two Choctaw words Puska (bread) and Okla (people), i. e: Bread People, or people having bread; but which has been erroneously interpreted to mean “Bread Eaters.” A remnant of the Ba-luh-chis still exist among the Choctaws, while the Puskaoklas have been long lost by uniting with other Choctaw clans. There was an ancient tradition among the Puskaoklas, which stated that, in the years long past, a small tribe of Indians of a lighter complexion than...

Read More

Micmac Customs And Traditions

My information about the customs and traditions of the Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia has been derived almost entirely from Abram and Newell Glode, the first a man of seventy-three years, the latter somewhat younger and of exceptionally pure blood for a time when none are wholly so. These two Indians have justly achieved a reputation among their tribe for intelligence and knowledge of their native lore. During the many days I have spent with them at Digby and elsewhere I have invariably found them as eager and interested in being questioned as I was in catechizing them. However,...

Read More

Traditions of their Wars with Monsters, Giants and Supernatural Phenomena

It is proposed to narrate a few passages of their early wars with monsters and giants, the two prominent objects in the foreground of their traditions. If it be thought, in perusing them, that mythology and superstition mingle too freely with real events or actions, to which the mind makes no exception, that is a matter upon which we have nothing to offer. Let it rather be considered as a proof of the authenticity of the narrative for certainly there could be no stronger-indication of a contrary character, than to find the Indian narrator relating a clear, consistent chain of indisputable facts and deductions to fill up the foreground of his history. What is said of such creations tallies admirably with their belief, at the present day, and harmonizes with itself, and with that state of proud heathendom, adventurous idolatry, and wild and roving independence in which they lived. Who but an Aonaod? who but an Iroquois? could enact such a part, or believe that his ancestors ever did? To be great, and admired and feared, they roved over half America in quest of beasts and men. Surely, the man should be allowed to tell his own story in his own way, with all the witchcraft and spirit-craft he has a mind to bring to bear upon it. No people in the world have ever, probably, so completely mingled...

Read More

The Graveyard Serpent and Corn Giant

Seneca tradition states that they formerly lived on the Chippewa River, near Niagara Falls, Canada. One year, while thus located, they were visited by a calamitous sickness, and their corn was blighted. Their prophet dreamt, one night, that a great serpent laid tinder the Tillage, with his head to the graveyard, and that it devoured all the bodies buried. This gave a most offensive breath, which was the cause of the sickness. He also dreamt that there was a great giant under the cornfield, who ate up the corn. When he revealed these dreams to the chiefs, they determined to abandon the town, and immediately removed to Buffalo Creek. The serpent soon followed them, and entered the mouth of the creek; but the Great Spirit, whose especial favorites they ever were, sent lightning to destroy it. The monster, however, proceeded up the stream, until the arrows from above fell so thick, that he was obliged to turn. His great size made him press against the shores, and break off the ground, and this is the cause of the expanse of the river three miles above its mouth. Before he reached the mouth of the stream, however, the arrows had cut him apart and thus they escaped this scourge. When they went back to visit their old town on the Chippewa River, they found the giant who had eaten up...

Read More

Yuchi Religion

In treating other subjects frequent mention has been made, heretofore, of various religious beliefs connected with different phases of life, of the ideas which the Yuchi hold regarding the supernatural realm, and how they maintain their relations with the latter by means of rites and ceremonies. An attempt will now be made to give as many of these beliefs as could be gotten in order to present as clearly as possible an idea of the religious life of the tribe. In the earliest mythological time about which anything at all is known, there existed only a certain realm of water and air called yubahé, ‘in the far heights.’ This expanse was boundless and fiat. It was inhabited by beings who lived in the water and beings who lived in the air. Just what their form was is not known for all, but some of those that are mentioned have animal names and show animal characteristics, such as Crawfish, Buzzard, Panther, Spider, etc. In other respects, however, they behaved much like human beings. That many mythical animals are conceived of as human in form is indicated by the use of the particle go, ‘human,’ with their names. Others, from what We are told, who bore the names of various natural objects had animal forms too. Among these, for instance, are Sun, and Moon. It would seem, apparently, that the interest...

Read More

Yuchi Mythology

Some of the most important mythologic accounts have been given in the description of religious beliefs and need not be repeated. If the following interpretation of Southern mythology be correct, it would seem that the myths of the Yuchi and the other southeastern tribes belong in one fairly homogeneous group, and that the fundamental myth elements, here somewhat specialized on account of local interests, also belong in the extensive common category widely distributed over the continent. The cosmogonic idea of the Yuchi, and the other tribes of the Southeast, is purely creational, in contrast to the transformational concept of the Algonkian, Siouan, and especially of the tribes of the northwest Pacific coast. The cosmogonic myth type of the Cherokee, Muskogi and Yuchi is, with a few exceptions, as follows: Water is everywhere. The only living creatures are flying beings and water beings. They dispute over existing conditions and some decide to make, a world. They induce Crawfish (Creek, Yuchi) or Beetle (Cherokee) to dive for it. When earth is brought up from the depths of the water, it is made to grow until it becomes the present earth. Buzzard is deputed to fly over, and flatten it, but he tires and so causes roughness in the form of mountains. After this comes the creation of sun, moon and stars for the benefit of the terrestrial creatures. Then follows the...

Read More

The Magic Circle In The Prairie

A young hunter found a circular path one day in a prairie, without any trail leading to, or from it. It was smooth and well-beaten, and looked as if footsteps had trod in it recently. This puzzled and amazed him. He hid himself in the grass near by, to see what this wonder should betoken. After waiting a short time, he thought he heard music in the air. He listened more attentively and could clearly distinguish the sound, but nothing could be seen but a mere speck, like something almost out of sight. In a short time it became plainer and plainer, and the music sweeter and sweeter. The object descended rapidly, and when it came near it proved to be a car or basket of ozier containing twelve beautiful girls, who each had a kind of little drum which was struck with the grace of an angel. It came down in the centre of the ring, and the instant it touched the ground they leapt out and began to dance in the circle, at the same time striking a shining ball. The young hunter had seen many a dance, but none that, equaled this. The music was sweeter than ever he had heard. But nothing could equal the beauty of the girls. He admired them all, but was most struck with the youngest. He determined to seize her,...

Read More

The Island of the Blessed – or the Hunter’s Dream

There was once a beautiful girl, who died suddenly on the day she was to have been married to a handsome young hunter. He had also proved his bravery in war, so that he enjoyed the praises of his tribe, but his heart was not proof against this loss. From the hour she was buried, there was no more joy or peace for him. He went often to visit the spot where the women had buried her, and sat musing there, when, it was thought by some of his friends, he would have done better to try and amuse himself in the chase, or by diverting his thoughts in the warpath. But war and hunting had lost their charms for him. His heart was already dead within him. He wholly neglected both his war-club and his bows and arrows. He had heard the old people say that there was a path that led to the land of souls, and he determined to follow it. He accordingly set out one morning, after having completed his preparations for the journey. At first he hardly knew which way to go. He was only guided by the tradition that he must go south. For a while he could see no change in the face of the country. Forests, and hills, and valleys, and streams, had the same looks which they wore in his...

Read More

Origin of Men of Mana-Bozho

At a certain time, a great Manito came on earth, and took a wife of men. She had four sons at a birth, and died in ushering them into the world. The first was Manabozho, who is the friend of the human race. The second Chibiabos, who has the care of the dead, and presides over the country of souls. The third Wabasso, who, as soon as he saw light, fled to the North, where he was changed into a white rabbit, and, under that form, is considered as a great spirit. The fourth was Chokanipok, or the man of flint, or the firestone. The first thing Manabozho did, when he grew up, was to go to war against Chokanipok, whom he accused of his mother s death. The contests between them were frightful and long continued, and wherever they had a combat the face of nature still shows signs of it. Fragments were cut from his flesh, which were transformed into stones, and he finally destroyed Chokanipok by tearing out his entrails, which were changed into vines. All the flint-stones which are scattered over the earth were produced in this way, and they supplied men with the principle of fire. Manabozho was the author of arts and improvements. He taught men how to make agakwuts, 1Axes. lances, and arrow-points, and all implements of bone and stone, and also how...

Read More

Origin of the Osages

The following tradition is taken from the official records of the St. Louis Superintendency. The Osages believe that the first man of their nation came out of a shell, and that this man, when walking on earth, met with the Great Spirit, who asked him where he resided, and what he eat. The Osage answered, that he had no place of residence, and that he eat nothing. The Great Spirit gave him a bow and arrows, and told him to go a-hunting. So soon as the Great Spirit left him, he killed a deer. The Great Spirit gave him fire, and told him to cook his meat, and to eat. He also told him to take the skin and cover himself with it, and also the skins of other animals that he would kill. One day, as the Osage was hunting, he came to a small river to drink. He saw in the river a beaver hut, on which was sitting the chief of the family. He asked the Osage what he was looking for, so near his lodge. The Osage answered that, being thirsty, he was forced to come and drink at that place. The beaver then asked him who he was, and from whence he came. The Osage answered, that he had come from hunting, and that he had no place of residence. “Well, then,” said the...

Read More

Iroquois Cosmogony

Iroquois Cosmogony: The tribes who compose this group of the Indians, concur in locating the beginning of creative power in the upper regions of space. Neo, or the Great Spirit of Life, is placed there. Atahocan is the master of heaven. Tarenyawagon, who is thought to be the same as Michabou, Chiabo, Manabozho, and the Great Hare, is called the keeper of the Heavens. Agreskoe 1Charlevoix sees a Greek root, as the origin of the word Agreskoe. is the god of war. Atahentsic is the woman of heaven. The beginning of the creation, or of man, is connected with her history. One of the six of the original number of created men of heaven was enamored of her immediately after seeing her. Atahocan, having discovered this amour, cast her out headlong to the earth. She was received below on the back of a great turtle lying on the waters, and was there delivered of twins. One of them was Inigorio, or the Good Mind; the other Anti-inigorio, or the Bad Mind. The good and the evil principles were thus introduced into the world. Both were equally active, but the latter perpetually employed himself in counteracting the acts of the former. The tortoise expanded more and more, and finally became the earth. Atahentsic afterwards had a daughter, who bore two sons, YOS-KE-KA and THO-IT-SA-RON. YOS-KE-KA in the end killed his brother, and...

Read More


Free Genealogy Archives

It takes a village to grow a family tree!
Genealogy Update - Keeping you up-to-date!
101 Best Websites 2016

Pin It on Pinterest