Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Badger carries Darkness: Coyote and Bobcat scratch each other

A White Mountain Apache Legend
Coyote was traveling along. Badger always used to carry darkness on his back. Coyote met him. "My cross-cousin, what's in the bag you carry?" he asked. He was hungry and he thought Badger had food in his sack.

Because he thought there was food in there, Coyote wanted to stay around where Badger was and maybe get something to eat. So the two traveled on together for a way. Then Coyote was thinking he would offer to carry the load and let Badger rest.

After quite a while Coyote said, "My cross-cousin, you look tired. You have a heavy load there. Why don't you let me carry it and you rest ?" "No, I'm not tired. I always travel this way," Badger said.

After a while Coyote said again, "My cross-cousin, I think you are tired. Let me carry the load for you just a little way and you rest for a while." "All right, you carry this, my bed, if you want. I know you are thinking it's something to eat, but it's not. I carry this always. I'll let you have it, though." "I'm just saying this because I want to carry it for you and because you are giving out. I will carry it a little way," Coyote answered.

So Badger took his pack off and gave it to Coyote and they started on again. After a while Coyote said to Badger, "I want to stop to urinate behind this bush. You keep on ahead and don't bother to wait for me." So Badger went on ahead.

As soon as Coyote got behind the bush he started to untie the pack, as that was all he wanted to do in the first place. When he untied the pack, it started to get dark. Darkness was all coming out. Coyote got scared and hollered after Badger, "wa-'a, my cross-cousin, I'm having a bad time here. It must be that you are packing bad things with you. I can hardly see at all." Badger came back and said, "I told you not to open my pack. Now you have done it and started this. I already told you that there was no food in it. You have done something bad." Then Badger spread his arms and gathered in all the darkness and shoved it into the sack again, tying the mouth tight. Coyote felt mad on account of being fooled and said "You just carry badness."

Badger went on by himself. After a while he met Porcupine; The two sat down and told stories about old times. Badger said, "I was living when the sky fell out onto the earth," and he set his pack down. "That's quite a while ago but I was living before that," said Porcupine. "I was living when the sky and the earth were rubbing together. Do you know about the time when that happened ? Which of us is older now ?"

Later Coyote started on his way and met Bobcat. They stopped to talk to each other. Then they said, "Let's scratch each other's back in turn and see who has the sharpest claws." Bobcat said, "I have no claws," He had claws all right, but they were sheathed so you could not see them. "Let me see!" said Coyote. Bobcat let him look and it seemed as if he had no claws at all. Then Coyote let Bobcat look at his claws and there was far more of them showing than of Bobcat's. "If I scratch your back nothing will happen. It will just pull a little hair and skin off you. But if you scratch my back, you will rip me right down," Bobcat said. "I want you to scratch me first," Bobcat said. "No" Coyote said, "you come first." Finally after a long argument Coyote thought it would be all right to do it first, because he thought this was going to be an easy game for him. He told Bobcat to sit up so he could scratch him from neck to tail. When he was ready Coyote raked him down the back as hard as he could and pulled a lot of fur and hide off Bobcat's back. '"Eye'ya-, you hurt me, my cross-cousin, on my back," Bobcat said. Coyote just laughed at him and thought it was funny. It really did not hurt Bobcat at all, but he made believe it did. Now it was Bobcat's turn, and Coyote sat with his back to him. "My finger nails are not long, you will just barely feel them," Bobcat said. But when he got ready, he unsheathed his claws and gave Coyote a terrible rake with them, all down his back, taking off hide and flesh. Coyote jumped up and yelled, "You have killed me, my cross-cousin!"

Further on Skunk and Bear were sitting together, telling stories. Bear said to Skunk, "You stink too much where your rear end is." Skunk said, "You stink too much where your rear end is." They argued about it for a while and then said, "Let's see who is the worst one to stink. We will both try it and see which is the best at this." Skunk said, "I think that I am the best one. Come here and smell me." But Bear said, "When I break wind it is the most powerful. I think I am best." They kept on arguing, each saying he was the best one to make a bad smell. "It will knock you over, the smell I make," each said. "All right, you try it first!" said one "No, you try it first!" Finally they agreed and Skunk said, "I will put my head close to your buttocks so I will smell you well." Bear started now and blew out hard, all he had, ka+, ka+, ka+ it went and made a terrible smell. Skunk stuck his nose in the ground and shook himself. He got out of the way as quick as he could. After a while he recovered and came back, saying, "My cross-cousin, I think you are the best. You smell the worst, but I will try all the same to make a worse one." So Bear put his nose by Skunk's buttocks. Now Skunk started to squirt and blow out at the same time. It was terrible and when Bear smelt it he stuck his nose in the ground. It was as if he had had his senses knocked out. It pretty near killed him.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Apache Creation Legend

An Apache Legend
In the beginning nothing existed: no Earth, no Sky, no Sun, no Moon. Only darkness was everywhere.

Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above.

As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.

When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the East, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the West, tints of many colors appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colors.

Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.

"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without- Parents.

"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.

"From the East where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.

"Where is the Earth?" she asked.

"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.

Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small-Boy.

Creator, Sun-God, Girl-Without-Parents, and Small-Boy sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.

"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."

Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some Western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.

Creator sang, "Let us make Earth. I am thinking of the Earth, Earth, Earth; I am thinking of the Earth," he sang four times.

All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.

Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.

Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the East, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the South, a yellow cord to the West, and a white cord to the North. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the Earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.

Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.

"Fly North, South, East, and West and tell us what you see," said Creator.

"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The Earth is most beautiful, with water on the West side."

But the Earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support the Earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the Earth. The Earth sat still.

Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.

Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the Earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the Earth and sky.

He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.

Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweat house. Girl-Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the East doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.

Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweat house. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.

Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the Earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth- People.

Since the Earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the Earth will rise and cause a mighty flood."

Creator made a very tall pinion tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinion gum, creating a large, tight ball.

In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.

In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new Earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on Earth.

Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl-Without- Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.

"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.

"You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.

"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.

"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.

"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.

"You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."

Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.

Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the Earth.

Sun-God went East to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without-Parents departed Westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the South. Big Dipper can still be seen in the Northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Apache Medicine Dance

An Apache / Jicarilla Legend

This published story was found by his daughter, Kay F. Nordquist, in the effects of the late Dr. E. R. Fouts, M.D. It was a reminiscence of his 1898 internship among the Jicarilla-Apache tribes. While stationed as an intern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he met the white anthropologist / writer Frank Russell who published this legend in December 1898. At that time white men were not allowed to witness tribal ceremonies, but an Apache friend, Gunsi, arranged to smuggle the two white men into the celebration. Gunsi, a powerful leader, provided a hiding place and explained that as long as they "played a pretend game of not being seen," they would be overlooked. Besides, Gunsi had great confidence in the doctor of white man's medicine.

At present there are no men or women among the Jicarillas who have the power to heal the sick and perform other miracles that entitle them to rank as medicine men or medicine women-at least none who are in active practice and are popular. This being the case, medicine feasts have not been held for several years on the reservation. But in August and September 1898, two such feasts were conducted by the old Apache woman, Sotii, who now lives in Pueblo of San Ildefonso. Sotii made the journey of nearly a hundred miles to the Jicarillas on a burro. She was delayed for some time on the way by the high waters of Chama Creek, so rumors of her arrival were repeatedly spread for some weeks, before she actually appeared.

For festive dances, the U.S. Indian Agent or his representative, the clerk at Duke, issue extra rations of beef and flour, and the Indians themselves buy all the supplies from the traders that their scanty funds will permit. Edible supplies do not keep well in Indian camps, and successive postponements threatened to terminate a feast without adequate provisions. But fortunately Sotii arrived in time.

The preliminary arrangements were made by Sati, the husband of the invalid Kes-nos'-un-da, in whose behalf the ceremonies were to be performed. Sati presented Sotii with a pipe of ancient pattern, a short cylinder of clay; a few eagle feathers and a new basket as well. As the Jicarilla Apaches live in scattered tipi's and cabins about the reservation, there is no specified place, such as the plaza of a pueblo tribe, where religious ceremonies are performed. Sotii chose a spot in La Jara Canon where Sati and his friends built a medicine lodge with an enclosure surrounded by a pine brush fence. The lodge was begun on the morning of August 22 and the fence was completed by noon. The builders were served food by the women of Satl's family.

At noon of the 22nd, the first day, about a dozen of the older men gathered in the medicine lodge. According to Gunsi, these men were selected by Sotii because of their ability in outlining the dry paintings, which they made in the lodge under her direction. No one but Apaches are admitted to the medicine lodge, so that I have depended upon the account of it given by Gunsi in the following description:

"The ground was cleared at the back of the lodge between the fire and the western wall, over a space about six feet in diameter, and covered with a layer of clean gray sand. The sand painting the first day contained the figures of snakes only, having their heads directed toward the west, with the exception of the sun symbol, which was drawn each day during the ceremony around a shallow hole six or eight inches in diameter at the center of the painting.

"The sun was represented by a ring of white sand around the margin of the hole; next came a circle of black, and then a ring of red with white rays. After the painting had been completed, the invalid woman, in an ordinary gown not especially prepared for the occasion, entered the enclosure, laid aside her blanket, and passed into the lodge, on the floor of which four "bear tracks" had been made, leading to the dry painting. (Presumably because she had the snake and bear disease.)

'The patient stepped upon the footprints in going to the sand painting, on which she spread pollen [kut-u-tin] from the cattail flag, and sacred meal. She then sat down upon the painting, facing the east. Songs were sung and prayers were offered to the sun, after which the women brought food from the camps into the enclosure. Those within the lodge seated themselves around the wall and were served by the doorkeeper, who began at the left and carried food to each in turn. After all were served, the doorkeeper gathered a morsel of food from each and threw it outside the enclosure, as a sacrifice to the sun, followed by prayers to the sun. Then the doorkeeper joined the others in the lodge and ate his food, as did the invalid. All others dined within the enclosure. The remaining food was gathered for the next meal. The men carried the food vessels from the lodge into the enclosure, later removed by the women.

"When darkness fell in the evening, the men again painted snakes in the medicine lodge, where a fire had been built. A young pine tree was placed at the right and another at the left of the sand painting. The children were then expelled from the enclosure.

"The patient entered as in the morning, offering pollen and meal, then seated herself upon the painting. A terrifying figure rushed into the semidarkness of the lodge, lunged toward the invalid, but seemed unable to reach her, gave forth two or three cries similar to those uttered by the bear, and then made his exit.

"Gunsi admitted 'I was frightened, although I knew it was only one of the men in disguise, who had been painted black with charcoal and covered with pine branches. He wore no mask. Since the invalid suffered from snake and bear disease, the painting with prayer meal and pollen offerings represented snakes and the bear was called upon to drive away the disease.'

"While the bear was in the lodge the singing men yelled at the tops of their voices to scare the bear. The invalid fell shaking to the ground. An eagle feather was waved rapidly to and fro above her head as she continued to rise, fall, shake, and cry out. I thought she was dying. "Sotii then placed a live coal in a dish of blue corn meal and allowed the invalid to inhale the smoke. This quieted her somewhat as she sat upright but staring just like a drunk. Sotii then handed her the medicine pipe filled with 'Mexican' tobacco. After smoking this, the patient seemed to recover her senses. Two or three songs concluded the day's serious part of the ceremony. The ex-patient then moved to the north side of the lodge and remained there for the rest of the evening. An old buffalo hide was spread over the sand painting, and the sacred basket given to Sotii was inverted with the hide over the hole in the center of the painted area. The hide was then doubled over the basket, and the margin of the hide was held down by the feet of the men sitting around "The white basket was ornamented with conventional red butterflies.

The ex-patient removed her moccasins from a tight bundle and used them as drumsticks, striking four times upon the basket drum as a signal for the whole encampment to gather inside for the dance.

'Two notched sticks were placed upon the basket drum, a black one on the east, a white one on the west side. The sticks were laid with one end resting upon the drum and the other end upon the ground. A tarsal bone of a deer was rubbed across the notches, at the sound of which the young women began to dance.

"The women occupied the southern portion of the enclosure and the men arranged themselves along the wall opposite them. The lodge was brilliantly lighted by a circle of fires around the inside wall. The women's dance was ended by repetition of the same drum signal by which it had begun-four strokes upon the basket drum.

"When again the drum sounded, those afflicted with ailments of any kind placed their hands upon the affected part of their bodies and made a hand gesture of casting off the disease. When the sticks were scraped again, the women chose partners from the men and boys and all danced together. This became the lighter aspect of the ceremonies: serious thoughts, the desire to propitiate the gods, and the awe inspired by the priestess and the deity symbolized by the bear, all gave way to lighthearted, merrymaking spirit, which by no means exhausted itself before the sound of the drum ceased, about midnight, and the voice of one of the old men within the lodge was heard, directing the assembly to disperse.

"Second day ceremonies resembled those of the first, except the figures outlined upon the sand were of bears, foxes, and other animals, with here and there a snake. The same patient was not induced into a trance, nor was the general ceremony of casting off diseases performed. "The third day differed only in the character of the sand painting. Animals differed from those of the previous days. Sotii forbade representation of the horse or elk at any time.

"On the fourth day, the figures of two deities were drawn in the dry painting, along with all kinds of animals. A black circle outside the painting symbolized the ocean. The program of the evening consisted of two groups of men, painted and dressed in the manner prescribed by the rites in the tradition of Jicarillas.

"One party of six men were the clowns with bodies and limbs painted with white and black horizontal rings. Ragged remnants of old blankets served as loincloths. On necks and shoulders appeared necklaces and festoons of bread, which had been baked in small fantastic shapes. Four wore old buffalo-skin caps, with the skin sewed to look like buffalo horns, projecting laterally and downward; to one horn was attached an eagle feather, to the other a turkey feather. Two men dressed their hair in the shape of horns.

'The other group of twelve men, painted white with oblique black stripes extending downward from the inner comers of their eyes, wore necklaces and an eagle feather in their hair. Bands of pine brush were wrapped around their waists, arms, and ankles.

"As on the other evenings, the women began the dance; then the general dance followed in which the women selected their partners from among the men. Then the two deities entered the enclosure and marched directly to the medicine lodge, around which four circuits were made in a sunwise direction. The twelve then took positions on the south side of the pathway from the gate to the lodge. Clowns ran about among the crowd. Two men led the singing and also took the lead during the exit back through the medicine lodge. Clowns created much amusement for everyone. The dance continued until sunrise."

As the disc of the sun rose above the mountaintops, every man, woman, and child present joined in the dance. The ceremony again took on a serious nature, as the sun's rays clear and bright in that rare and arid atmosphere lit up the valley and the whole band of Jicarilla-Apaches marched in line out of the enclosure toward the sun.

Sotii led the way, carrying the two young pines from the ends of the dry sand painting, along with the sacred basket containing the meal. Each person marched past the old medicine woman, took a pinch of the meal from the basket, and cast it upon the pine trees. The line was re-formed, facing the lodge, then one of the older men stepped forward and shook his blanket four times. At this signal, all shook their blankets to frighten away diseases and then ran into the enclosure.

The ceremonies ended. Every tipi in that vicinity must be moved at once. The invalid was cured, but Sotii warned her not to sleep on a rope or string or the disease would return. No one should sing the medicine songs for some time or a bear would kill the offender. Severe illness would overtake the twelve should they forget and sleep with their heads toward any clay vessel.

Sotii accepted food only as remuneration for her services. Her terms were known in advance, so a considerable quantity of provisions were laid aside for her. The only article of food that was taboo during the four-day celebration was bread baked in ashes.

I did not see the invalid after the feast, but when I left the reservation three weeks later, the Indian of whom I inquired all insisted that she was then in perfect health.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A ga-n becomes Raven Old Man's Son-In-Law: The ga-n Disappear from Tse-gots'uk

A White Mountain Apache Legend
Long ago people, all kinds of birds and animals were people then were living up to the north of here somewhere. Hawk people were humans then. They did not know that ga-n people were living down on the earth, below. Then Raven Old Man was there with the Raven people. He had children and one of these was a beautiful daughter. The ga-n people below knew about her. The old man and his family were in their wickiup. Soon they heard something drop outside. Raven Old Man heard it. "What is that, cibi'lsis (a buck-skin pouch hung over one shoulder and resting on the hip on opposite side) maybe ?" the old man said. The girl went out and found two pack rats. She brought them in and they ate them.

Four days after this the old man heard something drop outside. "Go and see if cibi-Isis is there," he said, though all the time he knew his own was in the wickiup. So the daughter went outside and found two rabbits. She brought them in and they ate them up.

Four days after that they heard something drop again. "Go out and see if cibi'lsis is there," the old man told his daughter. She went out and found two jack rabbits. "Here are two jack rabbits," she said. "Well, bring them in and we will eat them," the old man told her.

Then four days later something dropped outside. The old man sent his daughter out to see if it was his pouch. When she got outside she found a black-tailed deer fawn. "Here is a black tail deer fawn" she said. "Well, bring it in," the old man told her. So they did and ate it up.

Four days after that something dropped once more outside. The old man sent his daughter out to see if it was his pouch. She went out and this time it was a black-tailed deer with two points on his horns. They butchered and ate him.

Then four days later something dropped outside again. "What's that, cibi-lsis ?" the old man said. He sent out his daughter and she found a big black-tailed deer. They butchered and ate him. Raven Old Man was very thankful for that.

Four days after that the old man heard something drop outside. He sent his daughter out. "See if this is cibi-lsis that has dropped there," he told her. So the girl went out and found an enormous black-tailed deer, the kind that is all fat and in good shape, like you get in the fall. They butchered and ate it Raven Old Man was thankful for this.

Then Raven Old Man said to this daughter. "Well, daughter, this is what I have raised you for. We have eaten a lot of meat from someone. Build a new wickiup over to one side here and we will find out who it is who is doing this," he told the girl. The new wickiup was built and standing not far off. No one was in it. The old man stayed with his family in their dwelling. Soon they saw someone in the new wickiup. The girl went over there. She stayed there with that man. He was her man now.

After they had stayed together for quite a while, the man and woman went out for a walk together. Then the man told his wife, "I belong to the ga-n people." Soon they came to a sulphur wheat bush. He started to kick it from the east side, then from the south side, then from the west and last from the north. The plant came up by its roots. In the hole that it left, the top of a spruce tree stuck up through. The man told his wife, "Step on this. Don't be afraid." But the woman shut her eyes and stepped on it. Then they found themselves way down below, where the ga-n people lived.

After they reached the bottom, they started to walk to the place the man's people were living. The woman had never seen people like this before. There were many of those people there. There were houses also, good ones. All kinds of farm crops were growing. There were corn drying racks. The crops were in all stages of growth; some were up just a little, some were half way up, some high and some harvested already. The woman's husband had many sisters and so she had a lot of sisters-in-law. The man's mother was there. She tested her daughter-in-law. She gave her a metate and mano and some corn to grind. "Let's see you grind some corn," she told her. But this woman could not grind corn well. She ground it but could not break the kernels up. For this reason the man's family did not like her. She was not strong enough and could not grind corn.

One day after they had arrived there, a ga-n came to them. He caught hold of the woman's hair and held her head back. "I want to see my relative-in-law's face. If she is pleasing I will go hunting for her," he said. Several of the ga-n did the same way. The last one was Gray ga-n (the clown) and he said, "Well, she is all right. I will go hunting for her like the others." The men who went hunting just brought in sinew. There was no meat, only a big pile of sinew there. Then one of the man's sisters was sent with the woman to bring in a horse, so they could ride back to Raven Old Man's place.

In a short distance they came to some bears. The woman saw them and was frightened. She started to run away, but her sister-in-law called to her, "Come back here. They won't harm you. They are good 'horses'. They are gentle." But the woman would not listen and ran back to the camp. Her sister-in-law got the 'horse' and led it back. They saddled it up for the man and his wife. The woman's mother-in-law told her, "Don't look back on your way out. Don't look back till you get on top. Don't think why this is. I don't want you to look back. Don't do it!"

The woman got on the bear, but her husband did not go along with her. She rode to the top almost. Then she thought to herself, "I wonder why she didn't want me to look back. I will try it." So she looked back; just a glance. As soon as she did that the bear started to roll down the hill. Clear to the bottom they tumbled. The old woman saw it and ran to her. "I told you not to do that. Now why did you do it ?" she said. When she was going up she had had just a load of sinew, but now after the fall, it had all turned to meat and meat was scattered along the trail where they had fallen. The old woman carried the meat up to the top for her daughter-in-law.

They packed the bear up again so that she could take it to her father. She went on alone from there, without her husband. When the woman came close to her home, her mother, an old woman, saw her riding the bear. Raven Old Man and all his children became frightened and ran off from camp. "Don't ride down this way," they said. She unpacked the bear all alone, put the meat up and turned the bear back. But her husband got mad because he heard that his horse had been struck by someone up there. [Though mounts were sometimes beaten, this was infrequent and people spoke harshly of those who did it.] On this account he did not return for two days and nights.

Then in two days someone was seen walking to the wickiup where this man had lived with his wife. Raven Old Man sent his daughter. "You better go over and build a fire," he told her. She went over to her wickiup. The man, she found lying on the bed. He was very thin and bony, not like her husband. His legs and arms had white stripes about them, like those on a bob-cat's tail.

The woman went back to her father and told him, "That man is not my husband. He is too thin for that and besides he has white stripes about his legs and arms." But her parents told her, "Maybe it is the same man and he has grown thin." "Why should he have white stripes about his arms and legs ? I know it's not he," the woman said. Raven Old Man said, "Well, I believe he must have gone stalking antelope and has painted his legs and arms to look like an antelope." "No, I know my husband better than you two. It is not he," the woman said. She did not like this man, but her father sent her over to him and so she went, staying there all that night.

The next morning this man went hunting. When he came back he brought some dried meat. It had been roasted already. The following morning he went hunting again. Raven Old Man told his son, "Follow this man and see where he gets this dried meat. Don't let him see you." So the son did this.

After the man had gone a way, his follower saw him stop and set fire to an old pitch-pine stump. On the side that the smoke blew, the man went. The snot started to run out of his nose and it was this he was taking and making into dried meat. The son came home and told his father about it.

After that Raven Old Man would not eat any more of this dried meat. "That is why it was salty," the old man said This man was from the Mosquito people. That is why he was so thin. All things were people in those days. The man went to sleep with the woman that night. Her real husband from the ga-n, knew who it was that had his wife. On account of this he shot them with an arrow of red stone that night. The arrow went right through both of them.

The woman used to get up early, but she had not yet appeared at her father's camp When the sun had risen high up, Raven Old Man sent one of his small daughters over to see what was the matter. She just looked inside the wickiup and thought that they were still asleep inside so she went back again. She told her father, "Well, they are still in bed.

About noon, the little girl went over there again. She came back and told her father, "They are still in bed." "Well go over there and uncover them," he said. So the little girl went inside and took the covers off. When she did she saw that both of them had bled at the nose. When she came back and said that they were dead. Raven Old Man and his wife started to quarrel. "You know I told you he was not her husband. You sent her over to him all the same. Now she is gone," they accused each other.

Then the Raven people were no longer there where they had been living. But ga-n people were still living down below in the earth Many ga-n died down there. Though it is just as if they travel together with lightning, yet they died there. On account of this, ga-n people began to search for a place where they would not die; where there was life without end. From here on for a bit the story is dangerous to recount, but I have to tell it to you just the same.

[It contains power and so is dangerous. Through the misuse of such power misfortune might befall those involved in the story telling.]

They moved to a place halfway between the earth and the sky There Mirage made an earth for them and they lived on this. But still they died there. They went through the sky to its other side but still they died there. From there they came down on earth to ntca'na-sk'id (a place somewhere about 35 miles east of Macnary Arizona). Wherever they had lived above, they had always had their agricultural crops with them. These were their food - corn, beans, and squash.

Then there were a poor people living near that place (ntca'na-sk'id) the Hawk people. They were of the 'iya''aiye clan. They were called Hawk people because the relatives of this clan are hawks. There were people of the na-dots'usn, bisza-ha, ndi'nde-zn and destcrdn clans there also. They were all a very poor people.

At dusk one day, they saw a light far off. They asked each other, Who is up there ? Who has made that fire ?" because everyone was at home and they could not think of who might be out there. They tried to mark the fire, so that they might go there in the morning and see what it was. This is dangerous, this story that I am telling you, but I tell it to you just as I heard it. It is very holy this part of the story, and if you or anyone should laugh at it, there ^danger of you or that person's mouth and eyes going crooked. There is danger of this happening to me on account of telling this tale.

One time there were two men, one blind, the other lame. The blind one carried the lame one on his back. They came this way to a group of people. When the people saw them coming, they laughed at them. The blind man clapped his hands together and part of the people became blind. The lame man drew up his leg to his body and then part of them became lame. That is the way with this story. We must not laugh at it. It is the same way with the songs of the ga-n curing ceremony which have to do with this part of the story.

The next morning these people sent one man over to where they thought they had seen the fire, but he could find nothing. Again that evening, after sunset, they could see the same fire. But the man who had been sent to investigate insisted that there was nothing over there. This time they cut a crotched stick and set it up in the ground. They laid an arrow in the crotch, pointing directly at the fire, so they would know just where it was in the morning. When morning came they looked to see where the arrow pointed.

A man went over there to try and find something, but he could not find even a blade of grass that had been stepped on and bent, or a broken twig. It was two times that they had made trips to find this fire without results, but that evening they could see the fire again in the same place. They had left the arrow there from the night before, and it still pointed right to the fire. So in the morning they sent a man over to try and find something. He went and looked about for a long time, but found no ashes nor any blades of broken grass. Halfway to ntca'na-sk'id he went. "I have found nothing," he told the people when he got home.

The next morning they sent someone over to search for the fourth time. He went to the same place the others had been. Then after a short distance he stopped and sat down, for he saw many people there, and many crops of all kinds and in all stages of growth; some just up, some ready to harvest and so on.

The ga-n people saw this man, where he had dropped down in the grass. They talked among themselves: "Someone has been sitting over there for a long time. Let one go over there and see him." So one went over towards him. He came as close as from here to the wickiup over there (20 yards). He did not say anything; just stood and looked at him.

The man from the poor people had two eagle tail feathers sticking up in his hair. His privates were covered with the shredded inner bark of juniper. The ga-n went back and told his people, "That man has some inner bark from juniper to cover his privates." "You better take back two buckskins with you, one for him to cover his shoulders with and one to wear about his waist," they told him.

So he took two buckskins over to the man and told him to wear them, one about his waist and one about the shoulders. The inner bark he had covering his privates he threw away. "Lets go back to my, people," the ga-n said. They went. They gave this man some food: corn and squash. He had eaten of ga-n food now.

After he had eaten, they talked to him. "Where did you come from?" they asked. The man pointed to where he lived. It was a long way back there. "Well, you are poor people. It's not right that you stay there. You better come here and live with us. We have lots of crops just going to waste," they told him. They gave him some corn and he started home with it. When he arrived, he had the corn with him and the people there ate it. This man told his people what he had seen. "I saw lots of people there. They were good. I have my belly full now. I ate all I wanted there and the chief of these people told me; 'You better come and live with us, because you people are poor.' He told me to tell this to you." The man could not sleep that night for thinking of all the ripe crops he had seen and the food he had eaten. The people were very hungry where he lived. They got up in the morning and moved away from tse-gots'uk (a place) where they had been living. When they arrived at the new place, the crops were all given to them. "Let them eat all they want," the ga-n said. They did eat all they wanted and now they had big bellies.

Thus these two peoples had lived for a long time together. Their children had become acquainted. The men went hunting together. The children played. They let them eat all they could from the farms, for the crops on them grew the year around, in all four stages, from just sprouting to ripeness. These people were the ga-n and Hawk peoples. I know the place they lived. I passed through there when I was a soldier in the U. S. army, on the way to Ft. Wingate. The children played together and some ga-n children became sick from the hawk illness. Their eyes became swollen and closed, they scratched like hawks and their faces were white like that of hawks.

Then the Hawk children became sick from the ga-n. They became unable to walk, as if paralyzed. [These are the symptoms of hawk and ga-n sickness.] The two kinds of children were able to cure each other by one touching the other where it hurt. When they did this they became well immediately. But the ga-n chief heard about it and did not like it. The ga-n had found the place where there was life without end.

That is why they had spread these sicknesses among the people, because they had found a good place. Then Talking ga-n was chief. He went up on top of ntca'na-sk'id every morning and talked to the people from there. "We have done nothing here for a long time. It is better that we go to tse-nodo-z surrounded by fire and tse-na-sbas surrounded by fire (places). Here it is as if we were herded together in a pasture. We would like to have some meat. We want to move to a place where people never die." That night they all collected together to talk it over. They gathered this way every night from there on.

All the ga-n people were divided into different kinds, just as we are divided into various clans. There were Black ga-n, ga-no-wan (meaning unknown), He Carries Pitch, Yellow ga-n. Weak ga-n, Hairy On One Side Of His Face, Big ga-n. Red ga-n, Hump Backed ga-n, and Gray ga-n. All these had daughters. They wanted to know who would leave his daughter behind. They asked each one if he would let his daughter stay behind with the Hawk People, but all liked their daughters too well for this. So it came back to Black ga-n, who was like the chief of these people, "Well, I guess I will have to leave my daughter." But he never told his daughter or anyone else that he was going to leave her. He made a doll of turquoise and one of white shell. He hid these before they were going to move.

The ga-n people spoke to the Hawk people. "We are going to leave you now. Look after our crops for us. We will be gone for sixty days. Then we will be back." Now they left. When they had gone about half a mile, the mother of the daughter of Black ga-n said to the girl: "Did you put your doll in the burden basket ? Is it there?" "No, no doll here," said the daughter. "Well, you better go back for it. We will go slow for you," the mother said. So the little girl started to run to the camp. She found the doll right away and ran back to join her mother. There was a large lake ahead. She followed the trail of her people. In a little way the tracks came to the edge of the lake and all went into the water. A lot of grass had been trodden down by the people passing over it. The little girl went around to the other side, but could not find where they had come out of the lake. So she went back to the old camp. The Hawk people saw her and said, "What is that little girl doing over there ?" They went with her to the lake, but they could not find where tracks came out of the water. They took her home with them. Every day she went to try and find her mother.

The Hawk people raised this little girl among them. After quite a while all the crops were gone and the people lived as before. They fed the little girl on wild seeds. The ga-n had made the crops grow and ripen by their wish alone. The little girl stayed at a ndi'nde-zn camp (clan). They raised her. She was big now, old enough to marry. So the man who brought her up said, "I didn't raise her for anyone else. It will be well for her to marry my son." That is the way it happened. After they had been married about a year, she bore a baby boy. The day he was born ga-n people came down from above and filled the wickiup. It was overcrowded, but ga-n said, "He never stops eating (even though full)," and this way more kept crowding in and shoving over to make room for others. The baby was the grandson of Black ga-n, who was lying outside, on his back. The ga-n picked the baby up and passed him from one to the other. Last of all they took him out to his grandfather. There he danced the baby up and down on his chest and sang; "cawa cawa ca."

Then he said to his daughter, "Well, daughter, here is deer medicine. Put it inside the hood of the cradle, by the baby." But the baby's mother said, "No, I don't want it. You threw this baby away long ago" (meaning herself). So she gave the deer medicine to her husband's mother. Black ga-n had brought the deer medicine so that when the baby grew up he could kill many deer. But instead of this the deer medicine was given to the ndi'nde-zn (the clan of the woman's mother-in-law). On account of this ndi'nde-zn clan always used to kill big deer, very big ones, whenever they went hunting. This still was true up till about 1880, but there are hardly any of this clan left now. [Deer is also the 'relative' of this clan] Black ga-n gave his grandson a name; naba-dzisnda-he (captive taken in war), because the ga-n had left his mother behind among these other people who had raised her.

They lived on there. Then in a year more another baby was born to the woman. The ga-n people came there again, just as they had before. Black ga-n came there to see his grandson. He gave this second boy a name also, but I have forgotten it. Then the boys started to grow up. They were so high and about ten years old, big enough to hunt birds. In the morning they went hunting. At sundown they returned home. After spending the night there, they went hunting again. Sometimes they would be gone for two days, sometimes for three or four. Then one man among the Hawk people became sick. They came to the mother of the boys about it. "My female relative-in-law, I wonder if you have anything to say that will cure this sick man. You might have something," they said. "I don't know anything. You people have known me since I was a little girl, left here and raised by you. If I knew something I could go ahead and say it over that sick man now, but I don't," she told them. Finally she said, "Well, ask those two boys. They are gone for a day or sometimes three or four days at a time. I believe they go to the ga-n, because they are relatives to them. You people better go after a deer. Run the deer down, don't shoot him. Bring the hide home and make buckskin of it.

Then get some downy eagle feathers and turquoise. Tie these to the forehead of the buckskin and put it on the boy's foot. See what they will say." So they went hunting and got a big deer by running it down. When the deer was all in, they caught it without shooting, as there must be no arrow holes in the buckskin. They killed it, cut it down the belly and by the next day they had made it into a buckskin. Then they put turquoise and a downy eagle feather on its forehead and placed it on the foot of the eldest of the two brothers. But he threw it to his younger brother, "Here is the one," he said. The younger brother threw it back to the other, saying, "You can do it." They did this several times and finally one said, "All right." When they had agreed to what the people asked of them, the boys told them, "Fix up a place; level it up so that there are no uneven places on the ground. We want a spruce tree put on each of the four sides and a pile of wood on each side also. Don't be afraid of anything you see, or run away." They knew that the people might fear the ga-n. "For the sick man, spread a buck-skin and let him sit on it. Tie him all over with strips of yucca leaves and let him sit there."

Then it was sundown and now it was dark. All the people came to the dance ground. Lots of fires were all about it. Then the boy who had consented, started to sing.

"Holy power, here sounding (making a noise)."

As he sang they saw lightning appear over ntca'na-sk'id on the east side, then on the south side, then west and then on the north side. Then from the four directions the bull roarer sounded. It shook the earth and the earth rumbled back in response. The people saw the flashes of lightning and thought they were far off, but soon the ga-n came down, upside down they were, feet up and head down. They picked up the sick man who sat there, and tossed him from one to the other. [The idea of the sick man being ignominiously tossed about greatly amused the listeners] Before, no man was sick, but this man became sick and from then on there were sicknesses. That night the sick man was cured. The ga-n left at dawn. One of the two brothers went with them. I don't known which of them it was.

Only one of the boys remained among the people.

When the ga-n arrived back at their home, they came together and talked about the youths and maidens. "We have many girls and boys here. Those people whom we left have many boys and girls also. It is not right for us to marry among ourselves. We better go there and get some of their boys and girls," they said. Then Black ga-n's grandson (the brother remaining among the people) was going to make another dance at ntca'na-sk'id. This time it was to be only a social dance. The ga-n people came to this dance. It was just for pleasure and was not dangerous as it had been before. Then as the dawn came, the dancers were raised up off the ground. Many youths and maidens from among the ga-n and Hawk peoples were dancing. The old people ran under them and said to their sons and daughters, "Come down, come back," but they kept moving upwards. Soon they were so high they could not hear the singing any longer, only the sound of the drum. Then they could not hear the drum any more. The people below lay on their backs in order to look upwards. They could see the dancers there like specks in the sky. They saw them a little while, then saw them no more.

This is how the good people were taken up above, to the place where life has no end. Both the brothers were gone now. The woman who was their mother went off for something and never returned. This is the end of the story. This is the way that the ga-n curing ceremony started.

Told by Francis Drake.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Turtle gets a Shell

An Anishnabe (Anishinabe) Legend
It was one of those days when Nanaboozhoo was in a strange mood. He had just awakened from a deep sleep that was disturbed by the noisy quarreling and scolding of the blue jays. He was a bit cranky; his sleep was disturbed and besides that, he was hungry. His first thought was to down to the village and find something to eat.

Entering the village, he came across some men cooking fish. They had their camp located close to the water and Nanaboozhoo spied many fish cooking over a fire. Now, being very hungry, he asked for something to eat. The men were happy to give him some, but cautioned him that is was hot. Not heeding their warning, he quickly grabbed the fish and burned his hand. He ran to the lake to cool it off in the water. Still unsteady from his deep sleep, he tripped on a stone and fell on Mi-she-kae (turtle) who was sunning on the beach. At that time, Mishekae was not as we know her today. She had no shell and was comprised of soft skin and bone.

Turtle complained loudly to Nanaboozhoo to watch where he was going. Now, Nanaboozhoo felt ashamed of his clumsiness and apologized to Mishekae. He wondered, "what can I do to make it up to her?" He wanted to do something to help his friend. "I'll have to sit and think it over,"he thought, as he followed the path back to his wigwam.

Sometime later, he returned to the beach and called for Mishekae. Turtle poked her head through the soft beach mud. Nanaboozhoo picked up two large shells from the shore and placed one on top of the other. He scooped up Mishekae and put her right in the middle, between the shells.

Nanaboozhoo took a deep breath and began. "You will never be injured like that again." he said slowly. "Whenever danger threatens," he continued, "you can pull your legs and head into the shell for protection"

Nanaboozhoo sat beside his friend on the beach and told Mishekae his thoughts. "The shell itself is round like Mother Earth. It was a round hump which resembles her hills and mountains. It is divided into segments, like martyrizes that are a part of her; each different and yet connected by her."

Mishekae seemed very pleased with and listened intently. "You have four legs, each representing the points of direction North, South, East and West." he said. "When the legs are all drawn in, all directions are lost. Your tail will show the many lands where the Anishnabek have been and your head will point in the direction to follow. "You will have advantages over the Anishnabek," he went on. "You will be able to live in the water as well as on land and you will be in your own house at all times."

Mishekae approved of her new self and thanked Nanaboozhoo for his wisdom. Moving now in a thick shell, she pushed herself along the shore and disappeared into the water.

So, ever since that accident long ago, Turtle has been special to the Anishnabek. To this day, she continues to grace Mother Earth, still proudly wearing those two shells.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How the Fly saved the River

An Anishnabe (Anishinabe) Legend
Many, many years ago when the world was new, there was a beautiful river. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink.

A giant moose heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big, and he drank so much, that soon the water began to sink lower and lower.

The beavers were worried. The water around their lodges was disappearing. Soon their homes would be destroyed.

The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? How could they live?

The fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they couldn't.

All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him.

At last the fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action.

He landed on the moose's foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up. Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. He dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn't get rid of that pesky fly. At last the moose fled from the river, and didn't come back.

The fly was very proud of his achievement, and boasted to the other animals.

"Even the small can fight the strong if they use their brains to think."