"While I Stood There, I saw more
than I can tell, and I understood
more than I saw; for I was
seeing in a sacred manner the
shapes of all things in the spirit,
and the shape of all shapes as
they must live together like
--Oglala Sioux holy man Black Elk
Black Elk reminds us that the quest is a vision and a
lamenting. The idea of lamenting is to go out in humility
in front of the great spirit to seek guidance. The
broken hearted are in a better position to hear the voice
than are the confident. Black Elk refers to how Crazy Horse
was both a priest and a wonderful chief.
There is a difference between a holy man (one with a special
relationship with a great spirit) and a medicineman (a person
with knowledge of herbs and healing).
Black Elk was both.
A long time ago my father told me what is father
had told him, that there was once a Lakota holy
man, called Drinks Water, who had dreamed what was
to be.... He dreamed that the four-leggeds were
going back to the Earth, and that a strange race
would weave a web all around the Lakotas. He
said, "You shall live in square gray houses, in a
barren land..." sometimes dreams are wiser than
I will do my best to give you the real stories
that were told to children and adults,
so that you the reader/viewer can learn as our
As in all American Indian Stories,
animals were used as the main charaters,
as they carried many of the same traits
(Note) New storys/history below!
Title: Boy and the Sun
Region: Northern Arizona
Object: Sun, Moon, Milky Way
A boy once lived with his mother's mother, for he
didn't know who his father was. His grandmother said to
ask the Sun about his father, surely the Sun would know.
One morning, the boy made a flour of crushed tortoise
shell, cornmeal, coral, and seashells. He threw the flour
upwards and it made a path into the sky (Milky Way). He
climbed the path and when he found the Sun he asked
"Who is my father?", and the Sun replied, "You have much
to learn." The boy fell to Earth. He then made a wooden
box from a Cottonwood tree and sealed himself in it as it
floated west down a river to find the Sun again. The box
washed ashore where two rivers join. He was freed from the
box by a young female rattlesnake. Together they traveled
west to find the Sun. They saw a meteor fall into the sea
on its way to the Sun's house. They asked it for a ride.
In this way they made it to the Sun's house. There they met
the Sun's mother (the Moon) who was working on a piece of
turquoise. That evening when the Sun came home from his days
work, the boy asked again, "Who is my father?"
And then the Sun replied "I think I am."
And I hope you enjoy this one as well as I do:
Title: Evening Star wins Morning Star
Tribe: Skidi Pawnee
In the beginning there was only Tirawahat,
which is the Universe and everything in it.
Morning Star (Venus,) and the Sun and the other
males in sky were in favor of creating the world, but
Evening Star (Venus,) and the Moon and the females
were against it. To win the debate it was clear that
Morning Star would have to win the heart of Evening Star.
Many had failed, she was guarded by the Wolf (Sirius),
Cougar (Auriga), Bear (Sagittarius), Bobcat (Procyon),
and worst of all, the Snake (Scorpius). One by one, Morning Star
defeated them and won the hand of Evening Star.
And so the world was created.
Here is an excerpt taken from the Book,
THE NATIVE AMERICANS: AN Illustrated History:
The above was a description of events based upon facts,
THE YEAR WAS 1849. The place, the California Trail
where it crossed the vast sagebrush and alkali desert
of Nevada. To the hordes of fortune hunters hurrying
from the East to the newly opened California gold mines,
no part of their route seemed more dangerous than this
inhospitable stretch. Not only were there few sources
of water, but the desolate land was full of "treacherous
savages" -- bands of horseless Northern Paiute, Bannock,
and Western Shoshone Indians. The whites compared them
unfavorably with the bold, mounted, buffalo-hunting tribes
of the plains and referred to them contemptuously as
"Diggers" because they dug with sticks for roots; a main
component of the diet that had sustained them in their
harsh Great Basin homeland for ten thousand years.
In the travelers' diaries, journals, and letters--
which served for generations afterwards as the prime
source of what white men knew about these Indians--
the writers described them as "wretched, degraded,
and despicable," "the meanest Indians in existence,
who hid from sight during the day but came out from
amongst the desert vegetation after dark to sneak into
the emigrants' camps along the trail and steal their food
and livestock". At night the fearful, travel-worn whites
had to mount guard, listening intently for every rustle
and sound in the desert. When they heard a suspicious
noise, they shot in the direction of it's source; and at
dawn they often found a dead Indian lying nearby. Sometimes
it was the body of a young child, a woman, or a gnarled
elder, and the travelers' stories circulated this
information as proof that all "Diggers" were skulking
thieves, no matter what their age or sex.
AS preceived by white settlers during that time period.
But every story has two sides. The other side of this one
was told by a very articulate Indian woman named
Sarah Winnemucca, who had been a five-year-old Paiute
child living with her family along the Oregon Trail
in 1849. She gives a very different view of events as they
occured during the period in question
What the whites had belived were "skulking" thieves and
murderers in the darkness were, in fact, hungry and terrified
Indian families trying to get safely across a road that the
white men had unwittingly cut directly through territory -
where for centuries the Indians had lived, gathered food,
and held their ceremonies. The bisecting road had crippled
the Indians' freedom of movement across their lands, for
they lived in mortal dread of the stream of trigger-happy
white travelers who shot at them as if they were rabbits.
Attempting to get past them, from one part of the territory
to another, to reach relatives or a desperately needed
wild food source, Indian fathers and mothers hid anxiously
with their children behind clumps of sage or other desert
brush during the day, then at night directed the young ones
to scamper silently across the road past the white men's
camps and hide on the other side untill all the elders,
one by one, also got across.
If the whites had been careless with their livestock, some
of the bolder young Indians, who naturally blamed the
intruders for overrunning and destroying their food-gathering
grounds and polluting their waterholes, saw no wrong in
helping themselves to one or two of the emigrants' cows--
as the Indians perceived it, an acceptable act of
reciprocality. These, in short, were what the travelers cursed
as "the meanest Indians in existence"--men, women, and
children, trying to surive, but whom the whites occasionally
heard in the night and killed.
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