White Buffalo Calf Woman

(Ptecincala Ska Wakan) The Gift of the Sacred Pipe Before the appearance of the Buffalo Calf Woman, the Indian honored the Great Spirit. But for the Sioux, the coming of Buffalo Calf Woman brought a most important instrument, the pipe, which is now used in all ceremonies. The sacred pipe came into being many, many years ago. Two men of the Sioux tribe were hunting when they saw something approaching in the distance. As the figure grew close, they observed a maiden, attired in white buckskin, carrying a bundle wrapped in buffalo hide. As she walked slowly toward them she sang out and repeated; Behold me. Behold me, For in a sacred manner I am walking. One of the men had evil thoughts about this maiden and moved towards her. the other Sioux tried forcibly to restrain him, but the evil warrior pushed the good warrior away. A cloud […] Read More

Choctaw Corn Legend

The origin of corn is connected with a myth called by Cushman the story of 0hoyo 0sh Chisba (or 0hoyo osh chisba), “The Unknown Woman.” With Cushman’s usual emotional setting this runs as follows: 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… The two hunters, having been unsuccessful in the chase of that and the preceding day, found themselves on that night with nothing with which to satisfy the cravings of hunger except a black hawk which they had shot with an arrow. Sad reflections filled their hearts as they thought of their sad disappointments and of their suffering families at home. While the gloomy future spread over them its dark pall of despondency, all serving to render them unhappy indeed. They cooked the hawk and sat down to partake of their […] Read More

The Alligator And The Hunter

A Choctaw Legend There once was a man who had very bad luck when he hunted. Although the other hunters in his village were always able to bring home deer, this man never succeeded. He was the strongest of the men in the village and he knew the forest well, but his luck was never good. Each time he came close to the deer, something bad would happen. A jay would call from the trees and the deer would take flight. He would step on dry leaves and the deer would run before he could shoot. His arrow would glance off a twig and miss the deer. It seemed there was no end to his troubles. Finally the man decided he would go deep into the swamps where there were many deer. He would continue hunting until he either succeeded or lost his own life. The man hunted for […] Read More

Grandmother Spider Steals the Fire

(Creation story of the Choctaw People of Tennessee and Mississippi) The Choctaw People say that when the People first came-up out of the ground, People were encased in cocoons, their eyes closed, their limbs folded tightly to their bodies. And this was true of all People, the Bird People, the Animal People, the Insect People, and the Human People. The Great Spirit took pity on them and sent down someone to unfold their limbs, dry them off, and open their eyes. But the opened eyes saw nothing because the world was dark, no sun, no moon, not even any stars. All the People moved around by touch, and if they found something that didn’t eat them first, they ate it raw, for they had no fire to cook it. All the People met in a great Pow-wow, with the Animal and Bird People taking the lead, and the Human […] Read More

The Bear Warrior: A Native American Myth

One of my favorite Native American myths growing up was that of the Bear Warrior. According to legend, the warrior desperately wanted to find love. However, he did not want to be loved for his good looks, his family’s wealth, or even his skills. He wanted to be loved for his heart. The warrior prayed for guidance in finding his true love. In response, the Great Spirit turned the brave into a bear. “I don’t understand,” cried the young brave. “What did I do wrong? Is it bad to pray for true love?” The Great Spirit sent a deer to explain his actions to the warrior. “You said you didn’t want to be loved for your good looks, your family’s wealth, or your skills,” said deer. “In this form you will not be.” “But what maiden will want to marry a bear?” questioned the warrior. “I can’t even go home in this form. If I do, I will be […] Read More