Ho-Chunk mythology

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The Hocągara (Ho-Chungara) or Hocąks (Ho-Chunks) are a Siouan-speaking Indian Nation originally from Wisconsin and northern Illinois, but due to forced emigration, they are also found in Nebraska, where about half the nation now lives. They are most closely related to the Chiwere peoples (the Ioway, Oto, and Missouria), and more distantly to the Dhegiha (Quapaw, Kansa, Omaha, Ponca, and Osage).[1]

Migration myth[edit]

In the story that follows, the Bear Clan assumes the foundation role for the whole nation, and when they land they find the nation's friendship tribe, the Menominee. The Bear Clan is strongly associated with the kaǧi, a term that denotes the raven and northern crow. It is also the name by which the Hocągara know the Menominee.

On account of his vision, a great Menominee (Kaǧi) chief commanded that all manner of supplies be assembled at a white sand beach on Lake Michigan. And when all this had been done and set in order, as the sun reached its zenith the vision came to life: in the pure blue sky of the eastern horizon a single dark cloud began to form and move irresistibly towards them. It was a great flock of ravens (kaǧi), spirit birds with rainbow plumage of iridescent colors. The instant that the first of these landed, he materialized into a naked, kneeling man. The Menominee chief said to his people, "Give this man clothing, for he is a chief." And the others landed in like fashion, and were given great hospitality. They were the Hocąk nation, and that is how they came to Red Banks.[2]

Red Banks (Wisconsin) is the traditional homeland of the Hocąk Nation. It is situated on Green Bay, which the Hocągara called Te-rok, the "Within Lake".[3] Lake Michigan as a whole was called Te-šišik, "Bad Lake",[4] which may well have led the Algonquian peoples round about Lake Winnebago to call them "the people of the Bad Waters", or Winnibégo in Menominee.

Red Horn[edit]

A stone pipe bowl nicknamed "Big Boy" that some archaeologists think may depict Red Horn. It was found at the Spiro Site.

Red Horn (also known as 'He Who Wears (Human) Faces on His Ears'[5]) is found in the oral traditions of the Ioway,[6] and Hocągara (Winnebago) (whose ethnology was recorded by anthropologist Paul Radin, 1908–1912).[7] The Red Horn Cycle depicts his adventures with Turtle, the thunderbird Storms-as-He-Walks (Mą’e-manįga) and others who contest a race of giants, the Wąge-rucge or "Man-Eaters", who have been killing human beings whom Red Horn has pledged to help. Red Horn eventually took a red haired giant woman as a wife. Archaeologists have speculated that Red Horn is a mythic figure in Mississippian art, represented on a number of Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC) artifacts.[8] Hall has shown that the mythic cycle of Red Horn and his sons has some interesting analogies with the Hero Twins mythic cycle of Mesoamerica.[9]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ James W. Springer and Stanley R. Witkowski, "Siouan Historical Linguistics and Oneota Archaeology," in Oneota Studies, ed. Guy E. Gibbon, University of Minnesota Publications in Anthropology, 1 (1982) 69-83. The separation of Winnebago from Chiwere is calculated to 1500 AD, and this separation of this branch from Dhegiha was put at 1000 AD.
  2. ^ Walter Funmaker, The Winnebago Black Bear Subclan: a Defended Culture (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota: December, 1986 MnU-D 86-361) 6-7. Informant: One Who Wins of the Winnebago Bear Clan. This telling of the story reproduced by consent of the author, Richard Dieterle, 10/8/08. For this story in context, see Richard Dieterle, "Hotcâk Arrival Myth".
  3. ^ Untitled Clan Myths (Hotcâk-English Interlinear) in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notes, Winnebago V, #8, Freeman #3881 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1908) 23-28. "Deer Clan Origin Myth," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Winnebago III, #19a, Freeman number 3899 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) 1-13.
  4. ^ Thomas J. George, Winnebago Vocabulary, 4989 Winnebago (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives, 1885) s.v. Informants: Big Bear of Friendship, Wisconsin, and Big Thunder. Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagoes (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923) s.v.
  5. ^ Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 124. John Harrison, The Giant or The Morning Star, translated by Oliver LaMere, in Paul Radin, Notebooks, Winnebago III, #11a, Freeman Number 3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Story 8, pp. 92-117 [112-114], where he is called Wągíšjahorùšika, "Wears Man Faces on His Ears". Paul Radin, "Intcohorúcika," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society Library) #14, pp. 1-67 [65-67]. Thomas Foster, Foster's Indian Record and Historical Data (Washington, D. C.: 1876-1877) vol. 1, #3: p. 3 col. 1. Told by Little Decorah, a member of the Thunderbird Clan. Kathleen Danker and Felix White, Sr., The Hollow of Echoes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978) 24-25. Informant: Felix White, Sr. W. C. McKern, "A Winnebago Myth," Yearbook, Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee, 9 (1929): 215-230.
  6. ^ "6. Wąkx!istowi, the Man with the Human Head Earrings," Alanson Skinner, "Traditions of the Iowa Indians," The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 38, #150 (Oct.-Dec., 1925): 427-506 [457-458]. He also appears in a Twins myth, where his is called Wankistogre, "Man-in-the-Earring". Robert Small (Otoe, Wolf Clan) and Julia Small (Otoe), "Dore and Wahredua," in Alanson Skinner, "Traditions of the Iowa Indians," The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 38, #150 (Oct.-Dec., 1925): 427-506 [440-441].
  7. ^ For the ethnology of the Hocągara, see Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]).
  8. ^ F. Kent Reilly III, "The Petaloid Motif: A Celestial Symbolic Locative in the Shell Art of Spiro," in F. Kent Reilly and James Garber, ed. (2004). Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms. University of Texas Press. pp. 39–55. ISBN 978-0-292-71347-5.  In the same volume, it is argued that the Mississippian "Birdman" is also Red Horn. See James A. Brown, "On the Identity of the Birdman within Mississippian Period Art and Iconography", 56-106.
  9. ^ Robert L. Hall, "The Cultural Background of Mississippian Symbolism," in Patricia Galloway, ed., The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex: Artifacts and Analysis. The Cottonlandia Conference (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press) 239-278. Power, Susan (2004). Early Art of the Southeastern Indians-Feathered Serpents and Winged Beings. University of Georgia Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-8203-2501-5. 

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