Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

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Cherokee 40 Discovery of Wild Rice Ojibwa 42 Origin of Wild Rice Ojibwa 44 Origin of Winnebago Menomini 45 The Origin of Tobacco Menomini 49 Origin of Maple Sugar Menomini 51 Manabush and the Moose Menomini 53 Origin of Day and Night Menomini 54 Origin of the Bear Cherokee 56 Origin of the Word Chicago Ojibwa 58 Origin of the Word Chicago Menomini 60 The Coming of Manabush Menomini 61 [xii]The Story of Manabush Menomini 62 Manabozho and West Ojibwa 65 Manabush and the Great Fish Menomini 69 The Departure of Manabush Menomini 72 The Return of Manabush Menomini 74 The Request for Immortality Menomini 75 Peboan and Seegwun Ojibwa 77 The Grave Fires Ojibwa 79 The Death Trail Cherokee 82 The Duck and the North West Wind Ojibwa 84 How the Hunter Destroyed Snow Menomini 87 The Pipe of Peace Ojibwa 90 The Thunder’s Nest Ojibwa 92 The Pipestone Sioux 93 The Pipestone Knisteneaux 94 Pau-puk-kee-wis Ojibwa 95 Iagoo, the Boaster Ojibwa 102 Ojeeg, the Summer-Maker Ojibwa 104 Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting Cherokee 109 Rabbit and the Tar Baby Biloxi 111 Rabbit and Tar Wolf Cherokee 114 Rabbit and Panther Menomini 116 How Rabbit Stole Otter’s Coat Cherokee 118 Rabbit and Bear Biloxi 122 Why Deer Never Eat Men Menomini 125 How Rabbit Snared the Sun Biloxi 128 When the Orphan Trapped the Sun Ojibwa 130 The Hare and the Lynx Ojibwa 134 Welcome to a Baby Cherokee 137 Baby Song Cherokee 139 Song to the Firefly Ojibwa 140 Song of the Mother Bears Cherokee 141 The Man in the Stump Cherokee 143 [xiii]The Ants and the Katydids Biloxi 144 When the Owl Married Cherokee 145 The Kite and the Eagle 147 The Linnet and the Eagle Ojibwa 148 How Partridge got his Whistle Cherokee 149 How Kingfisher got his Bill Cherokee 151 Why the Blackbird Has Red Wings Chitimacha 153 Ball Game of the Birds and Animals Cherokee 155 Why the Birds Have Sharp Tails Biloxi 158 The Wildcat and the Turkeys Biloxi 159 The Brant and the Otter Biloxi 161 The Tiny Frog and the Panther 163 The Frightener of Hunters Choctaw (Bayou Lacomb) 166 The Hunter and the Alligator Choctaw (Bayou Lacomb) 167 The Groundhog Dance Cherokee 169 The Racoon Menomini 171 Why the Opossum Plays Dead Biloxi 172 Why the ’Possum’s Tail is Bare Cherokee 174 Why ’Possum Has a Large Mouth Choctaw (Bayou Lacomb) 176 The Porcupine and the Two Sisters Menomini 177 The Wolf and the Dog Cherokee 179 The Catfish and the Moose Menomini 180 Turtle Menomini 181 The Worship of the Sun Ojibwa 185 Tashka and Walo Choctaw (Bayou Lacomb) 189 Sun and Moon Menomini 192 The Moon Person Biloxi 193 The Star Creatures Cherokee 194 Meteors Menomini 195 The Aurora Borealis Menomini 196 The West Wind Chitimacha 197 The Lone Lightning Ojibwa 198 [xiv]The Thunders Cherokee 200 Months of the Year Natchez 201 Why the Oaks and Sumachs Redden Fox 202 The Man of Ice Cherokee 205 The Nunnehi Cherokee 207 The Little People Cherokee 210 War Song Ojibwa 212 The War Medicine Cherokee 213 The Coming of the White Man Wyandot 214



Early Indian drawing showing a wrestling bout Frontispiece
Early Indian pottery 20
Wild rice tied in bunches or sheaves 42
Wild rice kernels after threshing and winnowing 42
Birch-bark yoke, and sap buckets, used in maple sugar making 52
Picture writing. An Ojibwa Meda song 84
Permanent ash-bark wigwam of the wild rice gathering Ojibwa 104
Shell gorget showing eagle carving 128
Indian jar from the mounds of Arkansas 128
Spider gorgets 158
Shell pins made and used by Indians of the Mississippi Valley 176
Ojibwa dancer’s beaded medicine bag 198





WHEN Earth-maker came to consciousness, he thought of the substance upon which he was sitting. He saw nothing. There was nothing anywhere. Therefore his tears flowed. He wept. But not long did he think of it. He took some of the substance upon which he was sitting; so he made a little piece of earth for our fathers. He cast this down from the high place on which he sat. Then he looked at what he had made. It had become something like our earth. Nothing grew upon it. Bare it was, but not quiet. It kept turning.

“How shall I make it become quiet?” thought Earth-maker. Then he took some grass from the substance he was sitting upon and cast it down upon the earth. Yet it was not quiet.

[2] Then he made a man. When he had finished him, he called him Tortoise. At the end of all his thinking, after he came to consciousness, he made the two-legged walkers.

Then Earth-maker said to this man, “The evil spirits are abroad to destroy all I have just created. Tortoise, I shall send you to bring order into the world.” Then Earth-maker gave him a knife.

But when Tortoise came to earth, he began to make war. He did not look after Earth-maker’s creation. So Earth-maker took him back.