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December 30, 2004

The Pawnee Creation Legend

The Pawnee Creation Legend

This story comes from "Of Wolves and Men" by Barry Holstun Lopez pg 133

It is told in the creation legend of the Pawnee that a great council was held to which all the animals were invited. For a reason no one remembers, the brightest star in the southern sky, the Wolf Star, was not invited. He watched from a distance, silent and angry, while everyone else decided how to make the earth. In the time after the great council the Wolf Star directed his resentment over this bad treatment at The Storm that Comes out of the West, who had been charged by the others with going around the earth, seeing to it that things went well. Storm carried a whirlwind bag with him as he travelled, inside of which were the first people. When he stopped to rest in the evening he would let the people out and they would set up camp and hunt buffalo.

One time the Wolf Star sent a gray wolf down to follow Storm around. Storm fell asleep and the wolf stole his whirlwind bag, thinking there might be something good to eat inside. He ran far away with it. When he opened it, all the people ran out. They set up camp but, suddenly, looking around, they saw there were no buffalo to hunt. When they realized it was a wolf and not Storm that had let them out of the bag they were very angry. They ran the wolf down and killed him.

When The Storm that Comes out of the West located the first people and saw what they had done he was very sad. He told them that by killing the wolf they had brought death into the world. That had not been the plan, but now it was this way.

The Storm that Comes out of the West told them to skin the wolf and make a sacred bundle with the pelt, enclosing in it the things that would always bring back the memory of what had happened. Thereafter, he told them, they would be known as the wolf people, the Skidi Pawnee.

The Wolf Star watched all this from the southern sky. The Pawnee call this star Fools the Wolves, because it rises just before the morning star and tricks the wolves into howling before the first light. In this way the Wolf Star continues to remind people that when it came time to build the earth, he was forgotten.

Posted by BlueWolf on December 30, 2004 11:42 AM