The Creation of Man

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

Harrison Family History
Captain John Harrison

Version 1, by John Harrison. When Earthmaker created the world, he faced east, but when it came time to create man, he turned towards the south. After he had fashioned man, he spoke to him, but this being could not make any reply, for he was without a tongue capable of speech. He was then still an animal. Today, when a man is spoken to but does not respond, he is said to be like this first man.1

Version 2a. Mą’una (Earthmaker) created the earth from his perch atop the sky, and when he was finished creating everything else, he decided to make a man. He carefully fashioned his creation, and set him by the fire to dry. That fire was the sun, and its heat was so intense that it caused the nearest leg to crack and break off. Earthmaker's first man was thus called, "One Legged One." This first defective creation he cast aside. Then he made another man, whom he called Kunu, which means "First Born." Earthmaker spoke and said,

Open your eyes and see,
Open your ears and hear!

Thereupon he came to consciousness. Then Earthmaker began to teach him a language, the Hocąk speech, which is therefore the oldest tongue in the world. Thereafter, he created for Kunu seven other brothers, each of whom was the founder of one of the Hocąk clans: Birds (Eagle, Hawk, Pigeon), Buffalo, Bears, Waterspirits, Fish, Deer-Elk, Wolves, and Thunderbirds.2

Version 2b (Medicine Rite). "But the version of the medicine lodge says the Monster was the first created, was made of stone, and had one leg or foot broken off, either by being dropped or by cracking off as he lay before the fire to dry, so another was made to be the progenitor of the human race, which thereby incurred his enmity."3

Version 3 (Thunderbird Clan). Earthmaker wished for the existence of our earth, and it came to be. The Creator liked what he saw, and decided to populate it with living beings. Earthmaker breathed life into the mucous that he blew on the earth from his nose. Those beings were the Thunderbird people, the War people (Wonáǧire Wąkšik), and others.4

Version 4 (Bear Clan). After Mą’una (Earthmaker) created the earth, he saw that it was lifeless. Eventually, he created the first Hocąk man, Turtle. Then Earthmaker first made other men, only later did he make women. He placed these primordial people upon earth and when he saw how they flourished he was very pleased with his creations. Earthmaker described the whole of his creation to Turtle, then sent him down to make earth a safe place to live for the two-legged walkers. Turtle found the people to be a bit too happy for his taste, and he set one against the other, and soon the whole world was at war. Earthmaker was greatly disappointed in Turtle and recalled him to heaven. Eventually Earthmaker sent Hare down to rescue the world. Hare was too successful: he not only killed the evil spirits, but gave mankind immortality. Grandmother (earth) scolded Hare: "The humans were not created for this. They have a spirit world that they may go to after death, otherwise the world would become so overcrowded with your aunts and uncles that they shall live in the misery of famine and strife." One day Grandmother led Hare on a walk around the edge of the world. She told him it would help the humans, but that he must never look back at her as they walked. Unfortunately, Hare was overcome with curiosity and looked over his shoulder at his grandmother. Then, unexpectedly, at that very moment death reentered the world of human beings.5

Version 5. "Their traditions say that the first Winnebago was created on the west shore of Lake Michigan. ... The Great Spirit made the first Winnebago of a piece of his own body, near his heart. The first woman he made was the earth, the mother of the Red men. He gave them the right of their country."6

Version 6 (Oliver LaMère, Bear Clan). "[After Earthmaker stabilized the earth,] he made man. He called him "Turtle." Then he made two-legged walkers, men and women. Earthmaker told Turtle all he had just created. He sent Turtle down to make the world quiet. He gave him a knife. When Turtle came to earth he began to make war. So Earthmaker took him back.

He sent Rabbit [Hare] down to earth to restore order. He gave the two-legged walkers everlasting life. He killed the evil spirits. His Grandmother objected to this. She said, 'Our father made death so there should be no lack of food in the world. He made death to prevent over-crowding. He also made a spirit world for them to live in.'

His Grandmother told him to walk along. She would walk behind him. He was not to look back. They started to go around the earth. All went well for a time. Then he got curious and turned his head a very little. Instantly everything caved in. So death came into the world."7

Version 7 (Medicine Rite, via the Nebraska Hocągra). The story of the creation of man is similar to the one related in the Hebrew Bible, except that the Creator breathed into the first man to give him life. Then this man opened his eyes and knew his Creator and walked with him. He walked with Him until their were many people. Then the people said, "We have become numerous, therefore we should do things this way and that way." They began to use their minds and therefore did things that were against the rules for animals to do. It is because man was given a mind with which to think, that he is the lowest of all living things. This is the opposite of what the Bible says.8

Version 8 (of the Medicine Rite)

by Jasper Blowsnake

Jasper Blowsnake

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

Earthmaker did this: he took a piece of mud and made a man. When he had finished this man, he did thus, and spoke to him. He did not answer, but sat there in silence. So he concluded that he did not have the faculty of hearing. He did this: he stuck his fingers into his own ears, then he worked them into this man's ears, and then he could hear. Then he spoke to him, but he still did not answer. Again he thought about it, and concluded that he could not see. He touched his own eyes, then touched his eyes, then he could see. Then he spoke to him again. Once more he did not answer. He turned towards him. He could hear and see, but he realized that he did not have speech. Then he did this: he put his fingers into his own mouth, then stuck his fingers into the mouth of that man. He knew how to speak, but he could not communicate. He realized that he was not able to think since he did not have a heart. He did this: he took a piece of mud and he took a piece of his own body and mixed them together. He rolled this up and made a heart. Thus he did, and he spoke, and said that it was good. They spoke nice and quietly to one another. Then he caused him to be sent to the earth. From above, where the center was, there he fragmented. When he came there, he split up and dispersed. This is how the different languages that spread over Our Grandmother came into existence. These were all of the various languages. Thus he did.9


Version 9 of Šoǧogᵋnįka (Buffalo Clan). "After the earth became steady, the Great Spirit took a piece of his heart, and made a man and then took a piece of his flesh, and made a woman. The man knew a great deal, but the woman knew but little. The Great Spirit then took some tobacco and tobacco-seed, and gave them to the man; and gave to the woman one seed of every kind of grain, and showed her every herb and root that was (3) good for food. The roots and herbs were made when the earth was made. When the Great Spirit gave tobacco to the man, he told him that when he wanted to speak to the winds or the beasts, to put tobacco in the fire, and they would hear him; and that the Great Spirit would answer him. After the Great Spirit gave these things to the man and woman, he told them to look down; and they looked down. And saw a child standing between them. The Great Spirit told them that they must take care of the children. The Great Spirit thus created one man and one woman of every tribe and tongue on the earth and told them, in O-chunk-e-raw [Hocągara], that they would live on the center of the earth. The Great Spirit then made the beasts and the birds for the use of man. He then looked down upon his children, and saw that they were happy. The great Spirit made the fire and tobacco for the O-chung-e-raw, and all the other Indians got their fire and tobacco from them; and this is the reason why all the other tribes call the O-chung-e-raw their dear brother.

(4) After the Great Spirit had made all these things, he did not look down on the earth again for 118 years. He then looked down and saw the old men and women coming out of their wigwams, gray-headed and stooping, and that they fell to pieces. The Great Spirit then thought that he had made the Indians to live too long, and that they increased too fast. He then changed his plan, and sent four Thunders down to tell the Indians that they must fight; and they did fight and kill each other. After that, the Indians did not increase so fast. The Good Spirit took the good Indians who were killed in battle to himself; but the bad Indians who were killed went to the west.

After a while, a bad spirit waked up and saw what the Good Spirit had done, and thought he could do as much: so he set to work and tried to make an Indian, and made a Negro. He then tried to make a bear, and made a grizzly bear. He then made some snakes, but they were all poisonous. The bad spirit made all the worthless trees, the thistles, and useless weeds that grow on the (5) earth. He also made a fire but it was not so good as the fire that the Good Spirit made and gave to the Indians.

The bad spirit tempted the Indians to steal, murder and lie; and when the Indians who committed these crimes died, they went to the Bad Spirit. The Good Spirit commanded the Indians to be good, and they were so until the Bad Spirit tempted them to do wrong." [Previous episode]10

Version 10a (of Taninąka, the Smoker). "The Great Spirit then created animals, and, after making the earth and animals, he thought of making people to live on the earth; and took a piece of his body, and of it made an Indian. He made him in heaven, and sent him down to the earth. The Great Spirit told the Indian to go down very slow; but the Indian came down like thunder and lightning, very fast; and when he landed on the earth, at the Red Banks on Lake Michigan, he had a war-club in one hand, and articles to make fire with in the other. This Indian was the first chief. The Great Spirit saw that this man was alone, and he made a woman, and sent her down to him. The Great Spirit then made another man, and sent him down to the earth to be a brother to the first man. This man came down in a thunder-storm, and the rain put out the fire which the first man had made. The first man then kindled another fire, and told his brother to keep it. The last man sent down, was the first war-chief. The Great Spirit then made another woman, and sent her down for a wife for the war-chief. The birds that fly in the air, were next made by the Great Spirit: and he then thought that he would make a man to spring from the earth. On a fair day, a man was seen springing from the middle of Lake Michigan. This man was the first land-holder. The Great Spirit then made a man from a he-bear, and made a woman from a she-bear. The man made from a bear was a runner to carry news. After these men were created, they held a council; and it was agreed that the second man that came down from heaven should be the war-chief; and that the man made from a bear should be his second in command.

After the Winnebagoes had lived a long time, the Great Spirit looked down upon them, and saw that they worked very hard with their stone axes and other tools made of stone; and he created the white man to make tools for the poor Indians."11

Version 10b (of Taninąka, the Smoker). Since the introduction of Christianity by the whites, Taw-nee-nuk-kaw, one of the oldest chiefs of the tribe, gives a similar tradition. — George Gale

"The first man [was] created in Heaven and sent down to the earth and landed on the Moke-kaw-shoots-raw [Mogašucra], or Red Banks, near the head of Green Bay. He also says that, after the O-chunk-a-raw [Hocągara] had lived a long time, the Great Spirit looked down upon them, and saw that they worked very hard with their stone axes and other tools made of stone; and he created the white man to make tools for the poor Indian.12

Version 11. "Having created the earth and the grass and the trees, the Great Spirit took a piece out of his heart, near which had been taken the earth, and formed the fragment into a man. The woman then was made, but a bit of flesh sufficed for her; therefore it is that the man became great in wisdom, but the woman very much wanting in sense. To the man was given the tobacco seed, that, thrown upon the fire, it might propitiate the messenger-manittos to convey prayers or supplications; to the woman a seed of every kind of grain was given, and to her were indicated the roots and herbs for medicine. Now the Spirit commanded the two to look down; and they looked down, when lo! there stood a child between them. Enjoining the pair to take care of all the children which they might obtain in the future, he created the male and female the first parents of all tribes upon the earth. He then informed them, in the language of the Winnebagos, that they should live in the centre of the earth. The Spirit afterward created the beasts and birds, for the use of all mankind; but the tobacco and fire were given to the Winnebagos."13

Version 12. "Ma-o-na [Mą-’ųna], the Earth Maker, made the earth and everything on it. He made a man, but the man was not good. Ma-o-na did not want to burn him up, so he tossed him to one side and went on with his work. This man became Wa-cho-pi-ni-Shi-shik [Waxopini-šišik], an evil spirit. He watched Ma-o-na at work, and everything that Ma-o-na made he copied; but whereas Ma-o-na's works were all good, those of Wa-cho-pi-ni-Shi-shik were evil. Ma-o-na made the deer and elk and buffalo; Wa-cho-pi-ni-Shi-shik made the huge animals, the monsters that devoured men. All bad things, evil spirits and the like, are the work of Wa-cho-pi-ni-Shi-shik. Ma-o-na sent his son, Wak-chung-kaka [Wakjąkaga], the Foolish One, to kill the monsters and make the earth fit for man. But Wak-chung-kaka could not destroy all the works of the evil spirit. Then Ma-o-na sent another son, Ke-chung-geka [Kecągega], the Tortoise, but he was too fond of war. So, too, was Wuh-te-huk [Watexuga], the third son. Last of all Ma-o-na sent his youngest son, Wash-ching-geka [Wašjįgéga], the Little Hare."14

Version 13. "Then Maura [Mą-’ųna] said: 'I will make one that is like me.' So he did and talked to it; but there was no answer. Then Maura looked and saw that it had no mind, and he made it a mind. So Maura talked again, but there was no answer. So he looked and saw that it had no tongue, and he made it a tongue. Then he talked to it again, but there was no answer. Then Maura, looked and saw that it had no soul, and he made it a soul. Then it almost said something, but it was unintelligible. So Maura breathed into its mouth, and it answered distinctly. Then Maura made seven others like it and sent them down to earth; but first he gave them two gifts. The one was a plant and he said: 'This shall you hold foremost in your life.' So he gave them the tobacco plant. Then he said also: 'This likewise I shall send with you. Use it as your life. It will take care of you. It shall stand in the center of your dwellings.' So he gave them the fire. Then Maura saw that they had nothing to eat and he prepared the animals for them. Then he prepared 'many spirits' and gave them much work to do in all the earth, and he went away and hid himself among the stars, and paid little more attention to the earth." [Previous episode]15

Commentary. Theories of anthropogenesis among the Hocągara appear not to be completely consistent. In the great creation myths, Earthmaker makes the originals of each kind of being (except evil spirits), including man. However, in the theory of the place of man in nature, the Hocągara clearly believe in a wide-ranging evolution. Each of the clans is said, at least in some myths, to be derived by physical descent from its totem animal, although there are differing opinions on the matter, with some holding that there is just a spiritual link to the clan animal. However, in a longer version of a Wolf Clan Origin Myth, it is said that the first Wolf Spirits were born of men, and that the men of the Wolf Clan were the evolutionary descendants of wolves. All wolves derive from the first Wolf Spirits, therefore all wolves derive from men. The defining characteristic is not origin, but constitution: a man is a being that thinks, feels, and behaves in the human way, whatever his origins, although there is a wide latitude in what psychology is distinctively human. Such is the nature of the world that spirits change the character of their flesh from animal to man and back in accord with their powers, because nature is a continuum of forms which certain spirits are free to assume. This same process takes place in phylogeny at remarkable times as well as in the ontogeny of remarkable spirits.

Version 1 — the first man is actually an animal, so that humans can still be said to have been created by Earthmaker in primordial times, but to have derived from animals just the same. The essential difference between man and animals is the ability to speak, but this is not so much an intellectual power as it is a mere physiological capability.

Version 3 "nose" — compare the origin of the Thunderbirds (et alia) with that of the Hindu Aśvins, who were born from the nose of a horse. The nose is analogous to the penis, and its mucous looks very much like semen. The difference is that the head is identified with height, status, and superiority.

Version 4, 6 — Hare's fatal mistake is looking back. This is what Charon the Greek ferryman of the dead does perpetually. It signifies that the dead have nothing further to look forward to, as their life now consists of nothing but memories. Hare looks back at earth: all the soul's earthly life is a thing of the past, a thing that can only be looked back upon in memory.

"the first Hocąk man, Turtle" — this implies that the Hocągara are the inventors of war and excell in it above all others. A battle cry used in one waiką was, "Sons of War!" Turtle is the spirit who created war, so it seems appropriate for the Hocągara to honor their warlike spirit by calling themselves the "sons of Turtle." This actually occurs in one worak.

Version 7 — this version also seems to be influenced by the Bible. It is the only one that has an episode about the fall of man which it attributes to the possession of a mind. In the more standard versions, man is the last and weakest of Earthmaker's creations, so he has nowhere to go but up.

Version 8 "a piece of mud" — it is tempting to see Christian influence here, but the word for mud, mąkáx, appears to be an expansion of the word mąką́, "medicine." This myth originates in the Medicine Rite (Mąką́nį), so the association is quite natural.

"he took a piece of mud and he took a piece of his own body and mixed them together. He rolled this up and made a heart" — the heart, of course, was believed to be the seat of the mind, whereas the brain and other marrow-like substances, were thought to be the seat of the life soul. The heart, being the essence of the individual, is made of the same substance as the person himself, but added to this is an element of the divine nature, showing that because mankind participates in the nature of the supreme deity, he has a spark of the divine in him. This reinacts the union of society itself in its two moieties, whose purpose is fundamentally reproduction through exogamy, which is an act of creation. The upper element (corresponding to the Upper Moiety) comes from on high in the very substance of Earthmaker himself; the mud, which is of the essence of the earth, corresponds to the Earth Moeity, and anchors the life of a man to This World. It is said that the deer has a heart of earth and that that is why deer are so easily frightened. However, although our hearts are made of dirt as well, the strengthening of them by the agency of the spirits — in this case the greatest of them — has given us a special strength to overcome the nature force of fear. It is responsible for our conquest of the earth, for we should recall that to overcome the greatest of the Evil Spirits, the Good Spirits created from their own substance, the Hero Twins, Ghost and Flesh, who restored the proper order of things. So too are we, therefore, a compound of Ghost (from Earthmaker) and Flesh (from the earth), in sum both perishable and immortal. That the essence of man, his heart, was made by rolling the composite of the Upper and Lower worlds, recalls the fact that when Earthmaker made the earth, his creative act caused it to spinning inertia, since this motion inscribes a circle, the perfect form with neither beginning nor end, the form of the Creator, he again imparted to the essence of the human body. Thus we may observe that the heart is always in motion, and when it ceases, the divine element, contributed by Earthmaker, returns to him in the form of a ghost. The two souls, the wanąǧí  (ghost) and nąǧírak (spirit, mind) are ultimately nąǧi, or "shadow." The shadow is ephemeral and incorporeal, yet it is dark and cast upon the earth. The man who casts it is from above, yet is corporal and substantial. He is a unity of ghost and flesh; the shadow is the essence of spirit, yet is one with the earth. Both are a composite of ghost and flesh, yet they are joined at their feet, the means of locomotion, the image of that by which we walk the Road of Life and Death.

"he fragmented" — he broke up into many individual men.

"Our Grandmother" — this is the earth who is an elderly woman.

Version 10a"like thunder and lightning" — Taninąka is making it abundantly clear that the first man, the first Hocąk, if not an actual and literal Thunderbird, is like them in almost every respect. This gives strong entitlement to the Thunderbird Clan to hold the sovereign position in the tribe.

"the first war-chief" — the Hocągara have both a peace chief and a war chief. This myth actually gives support to a claim by the latter to be supreme, but the fact that his is the second fire, and the statement that he gave it up to the peace chief, undermines any claim he might have to the sovereignty. The relationship among these clans is expressed elsewhere at about the time of this story as:

The war chief was at least ideally from the Hawk Clan, and in his attributes was the opposite in almost every way to the peace chief of the Thunderbird Clan.

"the first land-holder" — the Waterspirits are associated with clear days and, as their name asserts, with water. They are the opposites of the Thunderbirds of the dark sky, and are often taken as their Earth Moiety counterparts in Hocąk society. It is the assertion of this role that causes them to be identified as the first land-holders.

"a runner to carry news" — the man here referenced is the founder of the Bear Clan. This clan, all agree, formed the police or "soldiers" (mą́ną́pe). However, McKern, in opposition to Radin, firmly established that this clan was also the village criers for the chief (vide 1, 2).

Version 11"the messenger-manittos" — this is Algonquianized, as is seen in the word manitto itself. Furthermore, Hocąk sources do not mention interceding spirits in the fire sacrifice, it being believed that what enters the fire is conveyed to the Above World Spirits directly or through the intermediation of the rising smoke.

Version 12"Waxopini-šišik" — this means simply "Bad Spirit."

"the language of the Winnebagos" — this implies that Hocąk was the first language of humanity, which establishes the Hocągara as the senior and chief nation of mankind.

"the centre of the earth" — the center in space is equated to primacy in time. In villages, the chief dwells in the center of the circle of lodges. This demonstrates the identity of political primacy with centrality in space and primacy in time.

"fire" — fire is the symbol of sovereignty, and therefore is the possession of the Thunderbird Clan, the chief's clan among the Hocągara. This implies that all fires descend by allocation from the first fire possessed by the Hocągara.

Version 13"seven others" — for a total of eight, representing the complete set of Lower Moiety clans: 1) Waterspirit Clan, 2) Buffalo Clan, 3) Bear Clan, 4) Wolf Clan, 5) Deer Clan, 6) Elk Clan, 7) Snake Clan, and 8) Fish Clan. Version 2a gives an odd accounting of the clans to get to seven, conflating several clans and omitting the Snake Clan altogether. Version 10a, however, says that the Bird Clans were created separately, so the number eight may represent just the Lower Earth Moiety who are later joined by the Bird Clan which constitutes the whole of the Upper Moiety.

"hid himself" — this makes Earthmaker rather more otiose than he is conceived in most other accounts.

Comparative Material. The idea that the first creation of man did not work out is found in the Maya Popol Vuh. One of the creator gods, Huracán ("One Leg"), has the same name as the first man created by Earthmaker in the Hocąk versions. In the story, Huracán and the Plumed Serpent got together and created things by means of the words they used in their conversation. They had become disatisfied with the creation of animals because the brutes could not recognize and praise their creators, so they resolved to create another being, a man, out of mud (as in Version 8 above). However, the mud was easily washed away in water, so he was not viable. Next they created a race of men made of wood. This second race Huracán destroyed with a flood because, "They had no blood, no lymph. They had no sweat, no fat. Their complexions were dry, their faces were crusty. They flailed their legs and arms, their bodies were deformed." Today's monkeys are the image of this rejected people.16 As in the Hocąk version, people are created last, only after all the plants and animals had been made.

Version 2b has an Aztec parallel. The Aztec Evil Spirit is Tezcatlipoca, who strongly parallels One Legged One, an avatar of Herešgúnina. This is presented by Brundage:

Then there is the myth of Tezcatlipoca's fall from heaven.17 Here we are told that he had sinned and, like Lucifer, was hurled down from the ambrosial regions. It may well be that his foot was torn off in that cosmic episode. The sin for which he was exiled was lubricity, for it was he who had seduced the virgin goddess Xochiquetzal and, disguised as Xolotl, dragged her with him into the underworld.18 A variant of this fall has it that he stealthily let himself down to earth on a single cobweb.19

To version 2, compare the Comanche Creation Myth: "One day the Great Spirit collected swirls of dust from the four directions in order to create the Comanche people. These people formed from the earth had the strength of mighty storms. Unfortunately, a shape-shifting demon was also created and began to torment the people. The Great Spirit cast the demon into a bottomless pit. To seek revenge the demon took refuge in the fangs and stingers of poisonous creatures and continues to harm people every chance it gets."20

Links: Earthmaker, Spirits, The Sons of Earthmaker, Herešgúnina, One Legged One, Tobacco, Turtle, Earth, The Wazija, The Creation Council, The Creation of the World.

Stories: alluding to the creation of man: The Creation of the World, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Elk Clan Origin Myth, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolves and Humans, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hocąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hocągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, Turtle and the Giant, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Creation of Evil, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; featuring Turtle as a character: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Turtle's Warparty, Turtle and the Giant, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Turtle and the Merchant, Redhorn's Father, Redhorn's Sons, Turtle and the Witches, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Morning Star and His Friend, Grandfather's Two Families, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Kunu's Warpath, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn and His Brothers Marry, The Skunk Origin Myth, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, The Father of the Twins Attempts to Flee, The Chief of the Heroka, The Spirit of Gambling, The Nannyberry Picker, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Markings on the Moon (v. 2), The Green Man, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; featuring Grandmother Earth as a character: Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Maize Origin Myth, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Grandmother's Gifts, Owl Goes Hunting, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Necessity for Death, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Steals the Fish, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Kills Flint, The Gift of Shooting, The Creation of the World, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Redhorn's Father (?); featuring Herešgúnina (the Bad Spirit or One Legged One) as a character: The Creation of Evil, The Creation of the World, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Woman Who Became an Ant, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Šųgepaga, The Spirit of Gambling, Bladder and His Brothers, The Two Brothers, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Buffalo's Walk; see also Black and White Moons, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara; mentioning grizzly bears: Blue Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, The Spotted Grizzly Man, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Roaster, Wazųka, Little Priest's Game, The Story of How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Migistega's Magic, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, The Two Boys (giant black grizzly), Partridge's Older Brother, The Chief of the Heroka, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Dipper (white grizzly), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Creation of Evil, cp. The Woman Who Fought the Bear; featuring Pigeon as a character: Pigeon Clan Origins, Origin of the Hocąk Chief, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, Bird Spirits, The Creation Council; mentioning pigeons: Pigeon Clan Origins, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), Waruǧábᵉra, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Lost Blanket, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Bird Origin Myth, Origin of the Hocąk Chief, The Creation Council, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Gottschall: A New Interpretation; mentioning the Wazija: The Hocąk Migration Myth, Trickster and the Geese, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Hocągara Migrate South, The Cosmic Ages of the Hocągara, Deer Spirits, Waruǧábᵉra; set at Red Banks (Mógašúc): The Creation Council, Annihilation of the Hocągara II, The Great Lodge, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (vv. 1, 2, 3, 5), Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 2a, 3, 8, 11, 12), The Winnebago Fort, The Beginning of the Winnebago, Blue Bear, Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, The Hocąk Arrival Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Pigeon Clan Origins (fr. 1), Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), Deer Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief, Šųgepaga, Gatschet's Hocank hit’e ("St. Peet," "Hocąk Origins"), The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), The Seven Maidens, First Contact, Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath; pertaining to the Medicine Rite: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Holy Song, Holy Song II, Maize Origin Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hog's Adventures, Great Walker's Warpath.

Stories from Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite (The Road of Life and Death) in notebook order: The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Historical Origins of the Medicine Rite, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), The Creation of the World (v. 12), Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), Testing the Slave, South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 1), The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 2), East Shakes the Messenger, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 4), The Messengers of Hare (v. 2), North Shakes His Gourd, Grandmother's Gifts, South Seizes the Messenger, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Messengers of Hare (v. 1), The Island Weight Songs, The Petition to Earthmaker, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Completion Song Origin, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Great Walker and the Ojibwe Witches, The Diving Contest, The Sweetened Drink Song, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 3), The Tap the Head Medicine, The Claw Shooter, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 4), Peace of Mind Regained, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 5), A Wife for Knowledge, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), Death Enters the World.

Themes: the fallibility of Earthmaker: Bladder and His Brothers (v. 1), Lost Lake; the Hocągara are the first human beings: The Hocągara Migrate South; Hocąk is the first language: Hocąk Clans Origin Myth; the Hocągara as the People of Turtle: Hocąk Migration Myth; Grandmother's back caves in: Earthmaker Creates the World and Gives Turtle and Hare Their Missions, The Necessity for Death (v. 1), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, vv. 1, 4; someone's death would be caused by looking at someone whom spirits have forbidden to be seen: Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Man who Defied Disease Giver; Earthmaker gives humanity control over tobacco (to compensate for its powerlessness): Tobacco Origin Myth, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth (v. 2), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (vv. 1, 3).


1 John Harrison (b. 1865), Dorsey Papers: Winnebago Ethnography (National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, 4855 (102), 1883).

2 "The Morning Star, A Winnebago Legend," collected by Louis L. Meeker, Nov. 22, 1896 (National Anthropological Archives, 1405 Winnebago, A.D.S.); "The Morning Star," in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 105.

3 Louis L. Meeker, “Siouan Mythological Tales,” Journal of American Folklore, 14 (1901): 161-164.

4 David Lee Smith (Thunderbird Clan), "How the Valleys and Hills Came to Be," in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 100.

5 Emily L. Smith (Bear Clan), "Ma-ona and the Creation of the World," in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 13-14.

6 Mary Henderson Eastman, Chicóra: And Other Regions of the Conquerors and the Conquered (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Company, 1854) 19, 22.

7 Oliver LaMère, "Winnebago Legends," Wisconsin Archeologist, ns 1, #2 (1920): 66-68.

8 Kathleen Danker and Felix White, Sr., The Hollow of Echoes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978) 55. Informant: Felix White, Sr.

9 The original text with partial English interlinear translation is found in Paul Radin, Untitled, Freeman #3876 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society Library, n.d.) Winnebago II, #6: 163a.60-166a.71. A revised handwritten text is found in Paul Radin, Untitled, Freeman #3886 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society Library, n.d.) Winnebago III, #6: 355.52-357.64. For a revised text with an English translation, see Paul Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago: As Defined by Themselves, International Journal of American Linguistics, Memoirs, 3 (1950). For a loose English translation, see Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 255.

10 "The Creation Narrative of the Ho-Chunk Indians" from the papers of George Gale (1816-1868) at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (Wis. Mss GJ, box 1, folder 2) III-V. He actually took this verbatim from Henry R. Schoolcraft, Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, Vol. IV (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1854) 229.

11 Schoolcraft, Information Respecting the Historical Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes, 4:230 - 231.

12 "The Creation Narrative of the Ho-Chunk Indians" from the papers of George Gale (1816-1868) at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives (Wis. Mss GJ, box 1, folder 2) V.

13 Ellen Russell Emerson, Indian Myths, or Legends, Traditions, and Symbols of the Aborigines of America, Compared with Those of Other Countries, Including Hindostan, Egypt, Persia, Assyria, and China (Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1884) 128.

14 Natalie Curtis Burlin, The Indians' Book: an Offering by the American Indians of Indian Lore, Musical and Narrative, to Form a Record of the Songs and Legends of Their Race (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1907) 244.

15 Theodore P. Bolliger, The Wisconsin Winnebago Indians and the Mission of the Reformed Church (Cleveland, Ohio: Central Pub. House, 1922) 13-14.

16 Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life, trs. Dennis Tedlock. Revised Edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996 [1985]) 67-73.

17 Durán, 1:11. Juan de Torquemada, Monarquía indiana, 3 vols. (Mexico City: Editorial Leyenda, 1969) 2:79. Cf. Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 19r.

18 Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 19v.

19 Burr Cartwright Brundage, The Fifth Sun: Aztec Gods, Aztec World (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983) 94.

20 Of unknown provenience. Quoted from Earthbow website.