Tonight I do not tell "my" stories -- these are from other "storytellers".

Once again, one has to understand that the Native American expresses that the Spirit of God is not exclusively mankind's domain, but that the whole created universe shares in the immortal perfection of its Maker.

In the Sioux creation story, the Force, the great Mysterious One lies in the background. The Sun and the Earth, representing the male and the female principles, are involved in the creation. [I try to express it in the poetry I have heard it.] The glowing fire [warmth] of the Sun entered into the bosom of our Mother, the Earth, and she conceived and brought forth life, both vegetable and animal.

Finally, Ish-na-e-cha-ge, the "first born", mysteriously appeared. He was "man-like" but not yet man, more than man. He walked among the animals, understanding their ways and their language. His knowledge was necessary for their ways.

Becoming weary of the solitary life, the First-Born, formed a companion, a brother, from a splinter he drew from his big toe. This was "Little-Boy-Man", the wide-eyed innocent child, helpless and trusting [like the bison calf]. First-Born became his teacher, laying down the rules for every stage of human progress and development.

Among the animals, there was Unk-to-mee, the Spider, mischief maker, who was very observant. He noticed that "Little-Boy-Man" was quick in ingenuity and all things. He gave council to the animals to rid themselves of "Little-Boy-Man", for he will become master of all of us.

However, "Little-Boy-Man" was so well liked for his friendly ways that the animals did not listen. Only the monsters of the deep [the ocean] took the Spider's council and captured "Little-Boy- Man" and took his life, hiding him in the floor of the sea.

Now, First-Born, as told, was more than man and soon found and recovered the body, giving life again in the sacred vapor-bath. [I don't believe a definition is necessary here -- but steam bath would give you some idea.]

Little-Boy-Man, continued to roam among the animals, learning to sing like the birds, swim like the fishes, and become as sure-footed as the mountain sheep.

Hidden away in the Francis Parkman Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society, is a manuscript of Benjamin Franklin Stickney. Though there is a school in Toledo named for him and many other things to give him prominence in history, "progress" is "shelving" those things by which he should be remembered. As Indian Agent following the War of 1812, Mr Stickney, at the instruction of Lewis Cass, was to gather detailed history of the language and customs of the Indian Nations under his charge. The story of how a twenty-eight page manuscript ended in the Parkman Papers is a story in and of itself, which we will not divulge at present. It contained the following creation story as told in interviews by Mr Stickney with Pontiac's son, Otussa, and Pontiac's third wife Kan-tuck-ee-gon.

"The Creator created a male and female of the white, and one of each of the yellow [Ottaway term for themselves] skinned people. The creation of the whites took place first. When this creation took place is not known. But the Males and Females were found to wander apart and discover no disposition for any sexual connection. The Creator to produce an inclination for a more intimate association and to use the means of multiplication: he took a rib from the side of each of the white couple. And the rib of the male he replaced with that of the female, and the rib o the male was placed in the side of the female. And the red [sic: the transcriber's use, I'm sure.] skinned pair were treated in the same manner. This was found to produce an inclination for sexual intimacy.

"The creator clothed them. And when the two couple lie down to sleep at night he placed an apple by the side of each pair directing them not to touch or eat of them. In the morning it appeared that the woman of the yellow skin people had eaten the apple that was laid near the two, and they were naked. The white skinned people had not eaten the apple placed for a temptation; and their clothing remained upon them.

"The Creator now spoke to them and said. You, the yellow skinned people have transgressed by eating the apple I forbid you to eat. Therefore, your clothes are taken from you, and you are left naked. I give you the animals of the forest for your food and their skins to cover you. But, there shall be a time when you will require other clothing and then you shall call upon the people of white skins to give you assistance. Those of white skins were placed to the east of the great salt water, and the yellow skins to the west." [from "Tradition of the Ottaway Indians by Benjamin Franklin Stickney" by Kenneth Dickson, _Northwest Ohio Quarterly_, Vol 71, #3/4, Summer/Autumn 1999, pp62-80]

Last week I mentioned the idea that when asked for stories and traditions, one was likely to get a version you asked for. This creation story of 1823 by an Ottaway Chief seems to me to have been mixed with what missionaries might have wished impress "the Indian". I prefer the "Turtle Island" version.

Bill © 2000, by Bill Oliver
Back to Main Page