Tobacco Origin Myth

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

Version 1

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(6) They lived to have tobacco, and it is said that they thought it was the best thing that they had. After Earthmaker made all other things, then at the very last, he made human beings. (7) First of all the many things that he created, he created the various spirits. Even the very smallest insect can also see four days ahead. Therefore, he alone is the least, the human, the one who walks on twos, as he cannot foresee even one day ahead. (8) He made them last, and he made them poor.

Then he created something. There was a weed, and its odor was mighty good. All the spirits, the various ones there were, all of them clamored for it. They petitioned to take away a mere piece of it. (9) "I would be great if I could soon gain control over it. If I am the one, I will take it." And Earthmaker said, "You govern over all the things that I made for you. I allowed you to rule over the humans. And all of you like this weed that I created. Indeed, that's the way it is. I like it myself. Thus it is to use it," he said. (10) Then he took one of the leaves and mashed it, and he took a pipe and puffed on it. Guwa! the odor was mighty good. Everyone covetted it. He gave everyone a puff. No matter who asked for it when he was using it, they would not accomplish their purpose. "I myself — I who am speaking — not even I shall have control over this. (11) Also, if they give you a puff, whatever they ask for, that you must do for them. It is called 'tobacco' (tani). The humans, the two-legged walkers, they alone I made poor. I did not create for them a single thing to rule over. Therefore, they will retain possession of this very thing henceforth. (12) From there we will bring them hence. We will have one puff for ourselves, then as it is said, it will be the way that kind will be for them," said Earthmaker.

Therefore, the humans, the two-legged walkers, lived to have tobacco. These are the stories that have come down. (13) Therefore, humans have come to use tobacco offerings for war powers. Therefore, it is said of them that all they did was fight. It has come down to us that it is the Hocąks alone who are brave men. It was Earthmaker who gave tobacco to the Hocągara alone to take back, since Earthmaker it was who caused the Hocągara themselves to have tobacco. (14) Therefore, they lived in a clever way. This is what the old men have said.1

Version 2 (of the Nebraska Hocągara)

After Mą’ųna (Earthmaker) created the world, he fashioned all the living things that inhabit it: the birds, the animals, and the insects. To each of these he assigned a purpose, and ever after they have lived in pursuit of the ends they were given. When he had done with this, Mą’ųna created the two-legged walkers. He gave them free minds with which they could on their own discover their Creator and by which they could learn to do things for themselves. Yet Mą’ųna did not create the two-legged walkers with some specific purpose that they were to fulfill. This they had to find for themselves with their free minds.

It saddened Mą’ųna to see that the creatures with free mind were the lowest and weakest of all creatures, so he set out to bring some balance to the cadenza of his creation. Mą’ųna created a special plant which he gave to the two-legged walkers in order that they might obtains blessings through it. This plant was tobacco. Because of the odor of the smoke of this plant, Mą’ųna instilled in all other creatures a desire for it. He said to all the spirits, "Whenever the two-legged walkers offer you so much as a pipe full of tobacco, you are going to grant their wishes even before you have taken in the smell of its incense. You must bless them with what they request even before you receive their offering. Neither shall you have the power to take the tobacco from him, no matter what forces lie at your disposal. I, Mą’ųna, cannot take this gift from them. This is my promise."2

Version 3 (of the Medicine Rite)

by Jasper Blowsnake

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(164) Steam clouds burst forth on a clear day. And what they call "the Island" was covered in a pall of reddish smoke. The various spirits, as many as the Maker of Things had created, all sat there longing to taste it. Everyone, as many as there were within, sat there wishing that the good odor might come into the lodge. They sat thinking, "Who will he put in charge of it? Who else would take care of it? It can only be the one sitting in the east, perhaps he will let him take care of it there," they sat there thinking. And the one that we call "nephew" said, "My uncles and aunts are to have this, as they must live. (165) The ones who have gone in to fill the lodge, not even one of you will receive it from me. Up above the Maker of Things himself ordained this. Even if one full of tobacco was extended to the Maker of Things up above, not even he would take it from him until he had considered for them whatever it is that they long for. And all the spirits who have gone in to fill this lodge, if he pours for you a full one of tobacco, whatever he longs for, you will acquire it for him, and will smoke it, but not otherwise will you smoke. Up above the Maker of Things himself made this." (The various spirits, as many as there were, after he created it, they thought it was good for the humans, the two-legged walkers.) "To humans, the two-legged walkers, he gave a short life. We will use this life-asking one forever," he said to them.3

Version 4 (of the Medicine Rite)

by Jasper Blowsnake

Jasper Blowsnake

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(187) People were made naked. The Maker of Things, when he had finished making everything there was, we were made last. All the various spirits, as many as there are, and the walkers on light that stand on poles, little insects that are just barely visible, we are not equal to these. All those Earthmaker made in charge of Light-and-Life. We have but half a light of life, and cannot know a thing about what is ahead. We are far inferior to all of them. The Maker of Things created the spirits. He made the life-asking one for us to have. We will use the life-asking one. Without doubt our ancestors also used this life-asking one to ask for Light-and-Life. (188) It is because the Maker of Things himself said that, that we do this.4

Version 5 (of the Medicine Rite)

by Sam Blowsnake

Sam Blowsnake

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(53) And in the beginning the ancestors created it. Hare, his Grandmother, all of the spirits that there are, they were the creation of the Maker of Things. (54) When this ceremony was created, it is said that the Creation Lodge ran from east to west. (55) The various spirits who were placed up in the sky, those who were placed on the earth, and below it, the ones who were under the waters, these all rose higher, and it is said that they packed the lodge. (56) And only on the place where they put their feet did the spirits keep my eyes pointed. They were holy. How the lights of the lodge lay shining. (57) And in the center of the lodge there was a mound. Like a nipple, they knew that from there would come things of life. And there it broke through the earth. Some kind of leaf grew up there. (58) The leaf-like thing looked very co. It had the skin of sunlight. It stood as the descendant of the Day. They all laid their eyes on it. (59) They knew that it was something that the Creator had thought. Its odor spread around. It was good. All of the various spirits sat up and lifted their heads. (60) And again a second leaf grew up. Again a third grew up. Again a fourth grew up. And it was how it was to be, in every respect, it was beautiful. (61) It smelled good. The blossoms were very white. All the various spirits who were seated there thought, "Which one of us is it to be? Maybe it will be mine?" (62) And some of them thought, "He made me great, so maybe I am going to manage it." And a little bird came there to the blossoms. (63) It came humming. That little bird looked pretty. That little bird came to the leaves that are the offspring of the Day. He stood fixed around the blossom. (64) He stood around.

Then Hare himself got up. His friends did it. He took the back of the tobacco stem, a red stone stem, and gave it to him. (65) Then he went around the fire, pulling the leaves off the husks, and he started to handle them, crushing them up. He dried it, and put it in the pipe. (66) Then he returned, facing the fire towards the east. And he said, "My dear friends, you various spirits who are my own relatives, you sit in this lodge. (67) And this came from Earthmaker's own thought. Because life is poor for my uncles and aunts, he sent me. (68) From above my father sent me. And all of you who are in the lodge, put your thoughts here. (69) My uncles and aunts will have this, it will be for people. No one acting of his own accord will attain the use of this thing. They are going to use it to ask for life. (70) If anyone calls us by name, and offers us a full pipe, we will grant what was asked, and take it. Earthmaker himself made it, but even he is the same as the rest of us. (71) If they call on father by name, and if correctly, if they make an offering to him, then what they ask for he will answer, and he will take it. And if he turned towards the west, and asks, I will place it, and by means of it all shall have life. (72) He will truly put our power into this rite. And we mean that it is put in it. If the witness in the middle of the lodge tells Earthmaker, then we will do it. (73) Because the two-legged walkers, the humans, are poor, in reply I wish that we would answer with this for them." Then Hare sang,

Té heréną. Hąp ta'ųną.
This is the one. It makes a wish for Light-and-Life.

Wąkšíko'į-hitará, Wąkšík š'įkjánąháwiną́.
With the life-asking one, You humans will live.

(74) And he saluted the whole lodge. They all answered. Then he took a firebrand and lit his pipe, and after he puffed on it, the light from the east appeared very white. (75) And he faced towards the northern direction, and there he puffed, and the light appeared very white again. And so again when he puffed towards the west, thus it was. (76) And again towards the south he puffed, and thus it was. And then the light (or day) became beautiful. And the first one near the door put it in his mouth. (77) He puffed four times. Each one did it that way by making a circuit of the lodge. They performed ruhįc to them, and as each received it, he would puff four times. (78) And when he was done, the pipe went to a new one, a human made to do this, and that pipe came to him. "Our ancestors, I give you ruhįc. And I am speaking this way because I heard the doing of the life-asking according to this precept. (79) Because the new man is coming back in charge of Light-and-Life, this is the greatest story. I say this to him so that he might get life."

(80) And the various spirits' own Messenger, who stood side by side with them, he did it, and without speaking, he took it. And he talked about it, and would pass it on. (81) And from up in the sky there came a great noise. It came through four earths. And they knew that Earthmaker had done it through his thought. (82) And it came up from the underworlds, and all the power of the underworlds came up to the center of the lodge. Something it was that showed its face. (83) And water, and earth, and wood, and standing trees on earth, all these were to be used for himself. And this one, Hare, had something here to hit it with, and (84) facing toward the east, he hit it. Then when the sound rose, the earth shook. Thus it seemed. Then whatever was in the earth started to grow, and everyone rose. (85) A second time he hit it, and again it did that way. What grew in the earth came out and showed itself. The clouds started to move to one side. The third time that he hit it, again it was the same. (86) All the things of the fields, the sprouts of the leaves, all there are whatever of the herbs that stand with Light-and-Life, they came up. When it came up the fourth time, it was heard as far up in the sky as the Maker of Things. (87) It was heard as far as the underworld, all the way to the bottom. And all the way to the eastern extremity of the world they heard it. (88) And again it was heard all the way at the western end of the world. And then everything in the world ripened. Everything that moved on the earth outside was beautiful. (89) It was good to listen as all the beings with wings began to sound their voices. The day sky had no clouds anywhere. (90) The day stood shimmering. The spider stood suspended. Then life, creation, manifested itself as repleat with goodness. (91) And when he kept sounding the voice of the Messenger, what stands with Light-and-Life on this earth swayed a little.5

Commentary. "Island" — like the ancient Greeks, most American Indians believed that the earth was a vast island surrounded by the Ocean Sea. Other tribes refer to it as "Turtle Island," as it is homologized to a turtle floating in a lake. The Hocągara themselves refer to the Ocean Sea as "the Encircling Lake" (Teją).

"a pall of reddish smoke" — this renders the Hocąk word šojožú, "to fill with reddish smoke" (Marino). This is a compound word, šoc-hožú, where the second element of the compound means "to fill." It also means, "to plant; to put in (loose stuff, e.g., tobacco); to load a gun" (Miner). Since the smoke is that of tobacco, it is apropos that it be characterized by the word hožú, itself strongly associated with the loading of a pipe. The word šoc means "smoke" (Marino), "murky" (Marino), "to be hazy, clouded (of liquids)" (Lipkind, Miner). The word coc itself seems to have derived from a compound, šo-šuc, "thick reddish" (Marino). Therefore, it is appropriate to speak of it as "a pall of reddish smoke."

Radin in The Road of Life and Death, takes the first two sentences to be part of the speech of the ritual enactor, and translates them this way. "The atmosphere of this Island-Lodge, as far as it streches, is murky with tobacco smoke."6 A more literal translation strongly suggests that these sentences are integral to the myth, and that Earthmaker had already introduced tobacco on earth, the smoke of which the assembled spirits could see from their heavenly perch.

"the Maker of Things" — usually translated as "the Creator," from Wažą-gųs-ra, where wažą means "things"; gųs, "he makes"; and -ra, "the one such that"; giving us, "the one who makes things." This is Earthmaker (Mą’ųna).

"the one sitting in the east" — probably a reference to the Sun, since he is, as Hąpwira, the likely candidate to govern Hąp, "Light-and-Life." However, it is conceivable that they could be thinking of the Waterspirit who is the Island Weight of the East.

"naked" — meaning not merely lacking in clothing, but lacking natural possession, most especially any natural means of defence.

"walkers on light" — a kenning for birds used in the literature of the Medicine Rite.

"Light-and-Life" — this translation of Hąp, which in origin means both "light" and "day," follows Radin, whose "Light-and-Life" recognizes that the metaphorical meaning as "life" flows from the primary meaning "light." The Sun, the primary source of both light and life, is called hąpwira, "the day luminary." The use of "light" to signify life is also known in early Christianity, especially among the Gnostics. The now orthodox sects of Christianity also have this metaphor in their gospels: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'." (John 8:12) "In him was life, and that life was the light of men." (John 1:4) The identity of light and life is also found in the Hebrew Bible: ""God does all these things to a man — twice, even three times — to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him." (Job 33:29-30; cf. Psalm 49:19, Psalm 56:13, Isaiah 53:11).

"the life-asking one" — tobacco. This could also be rendered as, "the light-asking one," since the word hąp can be translated as either "light" or "life" (see the previous note).

"ancestors" — the word so translated is š'ak-nį-wį-ra, which means "our elders." The standard word for parents in Hocąk is "the old folks," and this doubles to denote all one's ancestors as well.

"ceremony (wošgą)" — this refers to the Medicine Rite. The word wošgą means "religion." This shows that a sacred rite or activity of some kind was called "a religion"; or to look at it from particular to general, religion just is sacred activity.

"very white" — as can be seen from the scientific illustration of the plant above, the flowers themselves are pinkish, although the sheaths of the blossoms are white. White is the particular color of holiness. That the plant displays whiteness can only be interpreted as an expression of its sacred nature.

"humming" — in the previous sentence, we are told that it is "a little bird," in Hocąk, wanįginįkižą. Susman translates it thus in her interlinear text, but in the free translation, renders it "hummingbird." This inference is justified by the present word, ǧįk, which Miner recorded as meaning, "the sound of something moving fast, a bullet ricocheting, an airplane humming, etc." This fits precisely the hummingbird, whose rapidly beating wings give rise to its name in English. The hummingbird in Hocąk is called tanikonąkonąge, from tani, "tobacco"; konąkoną, an emphatic form of koną, "to tremble" (a reference to its wings); and -ge, a suffix denoting a species of nonhuman life. So the hummingbird has a special connection to the sacred tobacco plant encoded in its very name.

"he stood fixed" — in other words, he hovered in midair at the blossom, as is the habit of hummingbirds. The succeeding sentence is of the same import.

"tobacco stem" — in Hocąk, tani hu-ižą. The words tani (tobacco) and hu (stem) are kept separate; when together as tanihu, the compound means "pipe." Here the thought is that the pipe stem (tanihu) is analogous to the stem of the tobacco plant (tani hu). In the previous reference to the stem in the same sentence, the word employed is nąksík, which ordinarily means "stick" or "twig," which is ironic, since the implement is apparently made of red pipestone. The reference to floral stems and branches keeps the image of the pipe as a spiritual botanic stalk in the forefront of the mind. It carries the refined tobacco leaves in culture just as much as the clades of the plant carry them in nature.

"the witness in the middle of the lodge" — this is the fire, which is always placed in the center of any lodge that contains a single fireplace. Tobacco was offered to the spirits, as were other things, by tossing them into the fire. The fire is an active agent that transmutes the offering and sends it in spiritual form up to the higher regions in its column of smoke.

"two-legged walkers" — in the stories within the Medicine Rite tradition, the favorite term that the spirits use for human beings is "the two-legged walkers" (hu-nųbi-mąnį-ra). This homologizes them to birds, who are, on land, also bipedal. In the Medicine Rite, birds are called hąp-hamąnį-ra, "the ones who walk on light." With tobacco, humans may also be said to walk on light (see next entry)."Light-and-Life" — this translation of Hąp, which in origin means both "light" and "day," follows Radin, whose "Light-and-Life" recognizes that the metaphorical meaning as "life" flows from the primary meaning "light." The Sun, the primary source of both light and life, is called hąpwira.

"the life-asking one" — this is tobacco, since it is used in supplications to the spirits that they might grant "life," that is, not only longevity, but the things necessary and desirable for a good life.

"saluted" & "ruhįc" — this is expressed in Hocąk as wakuruhįcrehí. The stem here is kuruhįc, which can mean "worship," but may also mean more specifically the same as its own stem, ruhįc, a term denoting a reverential greeting widespread among the Indian tribes. It was performed by slowly raising the outstreched right arm before the face of the person being greeted.7 The ruhįc exchanged by Hare and his audience was probably this silent gesture. For the ruhįc in connection with medicine, see "The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter." See also, The Sweetened Drink Song.

"very white" (skaxjį) — once again we have reference to the holy color white. This is the first puff of tobacco taken by a spirit in the history of the world, and it coincides, not coincidentally, with the eastern rise of the Sun (Hąpwira), the very source of Hąp, "Light-and-Life." As the Sun inaugurates a new beginning, the light it shines forth radiates holiness through its color.

"the first one near the door" — the door faces east, and in cyclical rituals, such as this passing of the pipe, the progression procedes east, north, south, and back to its starting point in the east. Therefore, the first person will necessarily be situated by the door of the Council Lodge.

"a human made to do this" — the Hocąk is wąkšikižą 'ųgiginąki. The first term means "a man." So after all the spirits have taken a puff of the tobacco, the very last among them is the very one who will come to possess it. The second term in this phrase can be analysed as, 'ų-gigi-nąk-gi. The word means "to make, to do, to be"; gigi is a causative; nąk is a verb suffix expressing the sitting position, which applies to things that are neither long nor tall, and adds little to the meaning in this case. The suffix -gi means, "while, when, if, after, having." So the phrase could mean that the human was created (caused to be made) for this particular purpose; or it could mean that he was made (enlisted) to do the activity in question. However, the prior expression cekjįra, here translated after Susman as, "the new one," seems to suggest that he was indeed freshly created. The compound (cek-xjį-ra) is almost always translated in terms of "first," as "first, the first, the first one, the first time, in the first place." However, the human was not first, but in the line of the procession of the pipe, he was the very last. Therefore, cek-xjį-ra cannot mean, "the first one" in this case. The Susman translation also seems appropriate when we consider that the stem cek-, in addition to meaning "first," can also mean, "new, to be new, fresh, young." Consequently, it would seem that the human being was specially created to inaugurate human participation in the acquisition and ceremonial use of tobacco.

"in charge of Light-and-Life" — since mankind has been granted stewardship of tobacco, the means by which the human race can obtain Life, so the symbolic "new man" is in charge of Hąp. As part of the mechanics of tobacco use on many occasions, it is necessary to "light up" the offering by a controlled ignition, so hąp, "light," plays a significant role in the matriculation of tobacco to the spirits. This helps bind tobacco to the physical hąp which is the outward manifestation of its spiritual reality as Life.

"Messenger" — the word Wijája denotes the crier, a member of the Buffalo Clan who went about anouncing important events or messages from the chief. Here it is a metaphor for the drum, which has its own voice that radiates vast distances, like a crier to goes everywhere with his message or anouncement. Consequently, in this context, it is translated conventionally as "Messenger" or "Anouncer" (see "The Descent of the Drum").

"four earths" — the standard weltbild has five "earths" or levels of the cosmos (see Cosmography). The highest is that of Earthmaker, below which is that of his eldest son, Trickster (Wakjąkaga). Beneath that is the middle earth of our own realm over which Hare rules. Beneath this is an underworld paradise governed by Turtle, and the earth beneath him belongs to his brother Bladder. This makes five earths, so the reference to the sound penetrating four earths may hint at a different scheme.

"that stand with Light-and-Life" (hąbinažįra) — a kenning that denotes medicinal herbs. Tobacco, if not counted as a curative, it is certainly a bearer of Light-and-Life.

"the spider stood suspended" — Radin has a note in Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite where he says, "When spider is working it's [a] sign of nice weather."8 This is especially true in the present context since wind makes it very difficult for the spider to hang suspended. For the spider, see the Commentary on "The Spider's Eyes."

Comparative Material. ...

Links: Tobacco, Fire, Hummingbirds, The Creation Council, Earthmaker, Hare, Grandmother, Spiders.

Stories: mentioning tobacco: Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth (v 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Grandmother's Gifts, The Thunderbird, First Contact, Peace of Mind Regained, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Dipper, The Masaxe War, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, 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, 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, Wonáǧire Wąkcik 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; mentioning hummingbirds: The Dipper, The Thunderbird, The Race for the Chief's Daughter; mentioning spiders: The Spider's Eyes, Hare Visits the Blind Men, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Descent of the Drum (v. 1), Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 1), East Shakes the Messenger; mentioning a small, sacred, earthen mound in the center of a lodge: Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game; mentioning drums: The Descent of the Drum, The Friendship Drum Origin Myth, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Buffalo's Walk, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Young Man Gambles Often, Trickster and the Dancers, Redhorn's Father, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Elk's Skull, Ghosts, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Great Walker's Medicine, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 1b), Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Trickster and the Geese, Turtle's Warparty, Snowshoe Strings, Ocean Duck, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Hog's Adventures, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; mentioning the ruhįc (ceremonial greeting): The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v.4), The Sweetened Drink Song, Hog's Adventures; about the Creation Council: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Wonáǧire Wąkcik Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Origin of the Winnebago Chief, Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Snake Clan Origins; 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), Keramanic'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), The Creation of Man (v. 8), 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 Wiches, The Diving Contest, The Sweetened Drink Song, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Tap the Head Medicine, The Claw Shooter, 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: Earthmaker gives humanity control over tobacco (to compensate for its powerlessness): Hocąk Clans Origin Myth (v. 2), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (vv. 1, 3), The Creation of Man (v. 11); something is of a (symbolic) pure white color: White Bear, Deer Spirits, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), White Flower, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Fleetfooted Man, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Worúxega, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket (white spirits), Skunk Origin Myth, He Who Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Messengers of Hare, The Brown Squirrel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Bladder and His Brothers, White Thunder's Warpath, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Dipper, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Creation of the World (v. 12), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Descent of the Drum, The Diving Contest, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Grandmother's Gifts, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Completion Song Origin, North Shakes His Gourd, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Peace of Mind Regained.


1 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 18, cf. p. 389. The original syllabic text is Paul Radin, "Winnebago Contact with the French," Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago V, #17, 6-14. For the context of this myth, see First Contact.

2 Kathleen Danker and Felix White, Sr., The Hollow of Echoes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978) 31. Informant: Felix White, Sr.

3 Jasper Blowsnake's Account of the Medicine Rite, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago II, #1.152-153, Winnebago II, #5: 164, Winnebago III, #1: 129-130. A loose English translation is published in Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 151.

4 Jasper Blowsnake's Account of the Medicine Rite, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago II, #1.171-172, Winnebago II, #5: 187-188, Winnebago III, #1: 150-151. A loose English translation is published in Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 163.

5 Sam Blowsnake, Unititled account of the Medicine Rite, in Amelia Susman, Notebooks (Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, January 13-17, 1939) Notebook 8, 52-91.

6 Radin, The Road of Life and Death, 151.

7 Paul Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago as Described by Themselves (Baltimore: Special Publications of the Bollingen Foundation, #1, 1949) 99-100 nt 33.

8 Jasper Blowsnake, Untitled, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3885 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library, n.d.) Winnebago II, #7: interstitial page 219/220.