Topic: Religion

The Iroquois Origin

Origin of the continent, of the animal creation, and of the Indian race: the introduction of the two principles of good and evil into the government of the world. Iroquois tradition opens with the notion that there were originally two worlds, or regions of space, namely, an upper and lower world. The upper was inhabited by beings similar to the human race; the lower by monsters, moving in the waters. When the human species were transferred below, and the lower sphere was about to be rendered fit for their residence, the act of their transference or reproduction is concentrated in

The Sacred Fire of the Iroquois

Sacred Fire. The Sun a Symbol of Divine Intelligence. It was a striking peculiarity of the ancient religious system of the Iroquois that, once a year, the priesthood supplied the people with sacred fire. For this purpose, a set time was announced for the ruling priest s visit. The entire village was apprized of this visit, and the master of each lodge was expected to be prepared for this annual rite. Preliminary to the visit, his lodge fire was carefully put out and ashes scattered about it, as a symbolic sign of desolation and want. Deprived of this element, they

Yuchi Folklore

Here are a few miscellaneous beliefs which were recorded in regard to the natural, supernatural, and animal world. They are given about as they were told by the Indians. “If a terrapin in his travels walks around a big tree it is a very bad thing for him. He will dry up. That’s why they never do it.” “The thunder or rain kills snakes. When a storm comes up they must all go back into the ground. If they do not, they will be killed. So if they are killing a calf (sic!) or anything, they must leave it as

Cahuilla Creation Story

With all their geographical proximity to the Yuma and Mohave, the Desert Cahuilla partake essentially of the native civilization of the Shoshonean coastal tribes of southern California. Birth of Mukat and Tamaioit 1The only previously recorded information on the Cahuilla origin story is the outline given by E. W. Gifford, Univ. Calif. Publ. Am. Arch. Ethn., xiv, 188, 189, 1918. T. T. Waterman has summarized and analyzed most of the literature on the origin myths of the southern California Indians in the American Anthropologist, u.s., xi, 41-55, 1909. In the beginning, there was no earth or sky or anything or

Religion of the Six Nation Tribes

With the exception of the Tuscaroras, each of the Six Nations has one or more council houses, in which the people assemble for business or purely Indian ceremonies, religious or social. There is also a council house or town hall on the Mount Hope road of the Tuscarora reservation, but the pagan party has no footing among this people. The council houses, formerly built of logs, are practically in disuse, and frame buildings, about 40 by 80 feet, with fireplace or simple chimney at each end, which allows separate sittings for the sexes, have taken their place. A new building

The Cherokee Religion

It is impossible to overestimate the ethnologic importance of the materials thus obtained. They are invaluable as the genuine production of the Indian mind, setting forth in the clearest light the state of the aboriginal religion before its contamination by contact with the whites. To the psychologist and the student of myths they are equally precious. In regard to their linguistic value we may quote the language of Brinton, speaking of the sacred books of the Mayas, already referred to: Another value they have… and it is one which will be properly appreciated by any student of languages. They are,

Great Spirit

An Indian hunter went forth to hunt, and as he wandered through the forest he heard a strain of beautiful music far off among the trees. He listened, but could not tell whence it came; he knew it could not be by any human voice, or from any instrument he had ever heard. As it came near it ceased. The next evening he went forth again, but he heard no music, and again, but in van. Then came the Great Spirit to him in a dream and told him to fast, wash himself till he was purified, then he might

The History of the Little Orphan who Carries the White Feather

A Dacota Legend There was an old man with his grandchild, whom he had taken when quite an infant, who lived in the middle of a forest. The child had no other relative. They had all been destroyed by six large giants, and he was not informed that he ever had any other parent or protector than his grandfather. The nation to whom he belonged had put up their children as a wager against those of the giants, upon a race, which the giants gained, and thus destroyed all the other children. Being the sixth child, he was called Chácopee.

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

The Fate Of The Redheaded Magician

Indian life is a life of vicissitudes the year round. As spring returns, the Indians who have been out during the winter, in the hunting grounds, come back to their villages in great numbers, and, in a short time, they have nothing to eat. Among them, however, there are always several who are willing to glean the neighboring woods for game; these remove from the large villages, and usually go off in separate families to support themselves. One of these families was composed of a man, his wife, and one son, who is called Odkshedoaph Waucheentonoah, which signifies The Child