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A Dakota Legend of Creation

A Dakota Legend of Creation


GODS -- Wakantanka -- the Chief God, the Great Spirit, the Creator, and the Executive.

The Superior Gods:

Inyan-the Rock--ancestor of all gods and all things; patron of the arts.
Maka-the Earth--mother of all living things.
Skan-the Sky--source of force and power; judge of gods and spirits.
Wi -the Sun--all-powerful Great God, ranked first; defender of bravery, fortitude, generosity and fidelity.

The Associate Gods:

Hanwi-the Moon--wife of the Sun; sets the time for important undertakings.
Tate-the Wind--serving the Sky (Skan); controls the seasons; admits the spirits to the Spirit Trail (Milky Way).
Whope--the associate of the Earth, daughter of the Sun and Moon; known as the Beautiful One. She is the Great Mediator, the patron of harmony and pleasure.

The Subordinate Gods: Buffalo, Bear, Four Winds, and the Whirlwind.

The Gods-Like--the Spirit, the Ghost, the Spirit-Like and the Potency.
Stars--the people of the Sky.
Buffalo--the people of the Sun.

The Evil Gods:

Iya - chief of all evil; personified in the cyclone.
Iktomi - first son of Rock (Inyan); known as the Trickster; a deposed god similar to Satan..
Waziya - the Old Man--lived beneath the earth with his wife.
Wakanka - the Witch
Anung-Ite - daughter of Waziya and Wakanka; the Double-faced Woman.

The creation story began long, long ago when Waziya, the Old Man, lived beneath the earth with his wife,Wakanka. Their daughter, Ite, grew to be the most beautiful of women, thereby captivating the attentionof one of the associate Gods, Tate, the Wind. Though not a Goddess, Ite became the wife of Tate wholived at the entrance of the Spirit Trail. She bore Tate four sons, quadruplets--the North, West, East andSouth Winds. The first son became cruel and hard to get along with, so Tate took his position as first sonand gave it to his boisterous second son, West Wind. Thus, the order of the Winds became West, North,East and South.

Because of the association with the influential good and helpful Gods through the marriage of Ite to Tate,Waziya became dissatisfied and yearned to have the power of the true Gods.

Iktomi, the Trickster, always anxious to further discontentment and promote ridicule, bargained withWaziya and Wakanka and Ite, promising them great power and further beauty for Ite if they would assisthim in making others ridiculous. He even promised Ite that her enhanced beauty would rival that of theGoddess Hanwi, the Moon, who was the pledged wife of the great Sun God, Wi. So Waziya, Wakankaand Ite agreed to Iktomi's bargain.

Possessed of a charm given her by Iktomi, Ite became more and more conscious of her beauty and less andless devoted to the welfare of her four sons, the Four Winds. At this time, Sun saw Ite and, struck by herincredible beauty, invited Ite to sit beside him at the feast of the Gods. When the time for the feastarrived, Ite came early. Finding the place next to the Sun vacant, she took it. Sun was pleased. WhenMoon finally arrived, she saw her seat had been taken, and she was so ashamed that she hid her face fromthe laughing people, covering it with a robe. And Iktomi, the planner of this event outlaughed everyone.

After the feast, Skan, the Sky God and judge of all the Gods, called a Council. He asked for the stories ofWi, the Sun, who had forsaken his wife; of Ite, who dared take the place of a Goddess; and of Wakankaand Waziya who had wished for godlike powers; and Iktomi, the schemer. Then Skan passed Judgement.

Sun was to lose the comfort of his wife, Moon. He was to rule only in the day, allowing Moon to rule atnight. Whenever they were together, Moon would always cover her face in shame. Ite's sentence wassevere because of her vanity and negligence of motherly and wifely duties. She would give prematurebirth to her next son, who would be unlike all other children, and her children would not live with her butwith their father, Tate. She was, furthermore, instructed to return to the world and live without friends. Still more, she would remain the most beautiful of women, but only half of her would be so. The otherhalf would be so horribly ugly that people would be terrified at the sight of her. Henceforth, she would becalled Anung-Ite, the Doublefaced Woman.

Wakanka and Waziya were banished to the edge of the world until they could learn to do good for youngchildren and old people. They too were renamed for their misconduct, becoming known as the Witch andthe Old Man, or Wizard.

Iktomi was also banished to the edge of the world where he was to remain forever friendless. He acceptedhis judgement with his usual smugness, reminding Skan that he still had the birds and the animals withwhom he could live and upon whom he could continue to play pranks.

Tate, who was also judged for marrying Ite, was instructed to raise his children properly and to do awoman's work. Thus he lived along with his four sons, the Winds, and his fifth son, little Yumni, theWhirlwind, in their home beyond the pines in the land of the ghosts. Each day his sons travel over theworld according to his instructions.

One day, as the Four Winds were on their tours away from home, a shining object appeared outside ofTate's tipi. Tate looked out and saw a lovely young woman, beautifully dressed. Tate asked her who shewas and where she came from. She replied that she came from the Star People, that her father was Sunand her mother, Moon, and that she had been sent to the world to find friends. She also told him that hername was Whope.

When the Four Winds and Whirlwind returned home, they were surprised to find that their father hadtaken a woman. But after Whope had prepared for each of them, her favorite meal, and no matter howmuch they ate, their plates remained full, they realized that she was supernaturally endowed. They learnedthat their father treated her, not as a wife, but as a daughter. They welcomed her into their lodge.

Soon, each brother wanted Whope as his woman and competed with one another in showing her favors. Tate decided to hold a feast, to which all the Gods should be invited. At this feast Tate honored his guestswith presents. Many told stories of their power and there was much dancing. Then the Gods asked Tatehow they might please him. He told them that if they honored his daughter, Whope, he himself would bepleased. Then they asked Whope what she wanted. Whope arose and stood by Okaga, the South Wind,who folded his robe around her. "I want a tipi for Okaga and myself, a place for him and his brothers." Soher wish was granted and Whope became Okaga's wife. And then, as a present for the couple, theGods made them the world and all there is in it.

The banished Waziya and his family were also involved in the story. In the beginning, the Wizard. theWitch, their daughter, the Double-faced Woman, and Iktomi, the Trickster, were the only people on earth. Iktomi grew tired of playing pranks on birds and animal's. He had fun doing it, but they never showed anyshame over their misfortunes. So he, again, went to Anung-Ite, asking her what she most desired. Shetold him that if she would tell him, he should never resort to tricks and pranks again. She explained that ifher people tasted meat and learned about clothes and tipis, they would want such things and come towhere they could be had. With these instructions, Iktomi then went to the wolves, seeking their aid inbringing mankind to earth. Again, in return for help, Iktomi swore to abandon his pranks. The wolvesagreed to this and Iktomi instructed them to drive moose, deer and bears to Anung-Ite's tipi, where shewould prepare food, clothing and tipis to entice mankind.

Then Iktomi gave to one of the wolves a packet, which Anung-Ite had prepared containing tasty meat andfancy clothing for the man and woman. He then directed the animal to take the packet to the entrance ofthe cave which opened into the world. The wolf did as instructed and when it saw a brave young manapart from the others., it presented the packet, telling the young man to taste the meat and advising himand his wife to wear the clothing. The wolf told the young man that the people also should be allowed totaste the meat and see the clothing, and that there were many such things as these on earth. The youngman, Tokahe, the First One, was pleased to do this, for now he would be considered a leader. When thepeople tasted the meat and saw the clothes Tokahe and his wife wore, they were envious and asked howthey too might obtain such things. The old man of the group then directed that three brave menaccompany Tokahe to find out where such good things came from and to prove that Tokahe was truthful.

The four young men set out and, led by the wolf, they entered the world from the cave. They were led to alake where Anung-Ite had pitched her tipi. She appeared to Tokahe and his companions as a beautifulyoung woman. Iktomi appeared as a handsome young man. The four young men were shown much gamewhich Iktomi had previously arranged with the wolves to have driven past. Anung-Ite gave them manytasty foods and many presents of fine clothing for them and for their people. Iktomi told them that he andhis wife were really very old, but by eating this earthly food they remained young and attractive.

When the four young men returned through the cave to their people, they described what they had seen. But an old woman, doubted such wonders, cautioned them to be wary. The people argued, some wishingto go with Tokahe, others saying that he was a wizard. When Tokahe offered to lead any who wished tofollow him up to the earth, the chief warned them that whoever ventured through the cave to the earthwould never find the way back. Nonetheless, six men and their wives and children joined Tokahe, andthey left the underworld guided by the wolf. When they reached the earth it was strange. They becamelost and tired, hungry and thirsty. Their children cried. Anung-Ite appeared and tried to comfort them, butthey saw the horrible side of her face and ran in terror. Iktomi appeared in his true form and laughed attheir misery. Their leader, Tokahe, was ashamed. The revelation of Iktomi's falsity and Anung-Ite'sugliness was then removed by the appearance of the Old Man and the Witch, who, according to theprophecy at the time of their banishment, had come to understand the qualities of mercy and tenderness. They appeared to Tokahe and his followers, bringing food and drink. They lead the disheartened group tothe land of the pines, to the world of the Ghosts. They showed them how to live as men now do. ThusTokahe and his followers were the first people on earth.

Their descendants are the Dakota.


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