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Indian Legends

By       Message Kenneth Briggs     Permalink
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Indian Legends

There are many Indian legends from many tribes. A few of them appear in American Myths and Legends. Some of the most interesting are attributed to the Blackfoot. "The Blackfoot people were really three closely aligned Algonquian tribes- the Siksikas, or Blackfoot proper; the Bloods; and the Piegans. Siksikas means Blackfooted people, and they at

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one time have worn black; moccasins. The Bloods probably got their name from the vermilion color of their face paint. Piegan means People with Poor or Badly Dressed Robes.

These tribes drifted down from Canada into what is now Montana driving the Kootenay and Shoshoni before them. They were much feared by the early white trappers and fur traders, because they killed all white men who entered their hunting grounds in search of beaver. Though they inhabited the northern edge of the buffalo range, the Blackfoot tribes lived in tipis and hunted bison like other Plains Indians.

The Piegans’ main ceremonials were the sun dance and the All Comrades festival held by the warrior societies.

About 7,000 Blackfoot, 2,100 Piegans, and 2,000 Bloods now live on the Blackfoot reservation at Browning, Montana, at the southern edge of Glacier National Park, and some have joined the Piegan agency in Alberta, Canada. From AMERICAN INDIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS, Page 502

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Many legends have been identified as coming from the Blackfoot.

Perhaps one of the most interesting is HOW MEN AND WOMEN GOT TOGETHER attributed to the Blood-Piegan. Based on four fragments dating from 1883 to 1910. Ibid. Page 41.

Old Man had made the world and everything on it. He had done everything well, except that he had put the men in one place and the women in another, quite a distance away. The legend goes on to show how he managed to remedy the situation.

In another Blackfoot legend, this one from First People::Native American Legends A-B, is entitled OLD MAN AND OLD WOMAN.

Many years ago there were only two people in the world; Old Man and Old Woman. One time while they were traveling around the Earth, Old Woman said to Old Man, "Let’s come to an agreement of some kind. Let’s decide how the people should live when they come to this Earth."

"Well," said Old Man, "I should have the first say in everything."

"I agree with you, " said Old Woman. "That is, of course, if I may have the second say in everything."

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Then, Old Man began to make his plans. "The women shall have the job of tanning hides. They will rub the brains of the animals on the hides to make them soft , and scrape them with scraping tools. And they should do all of this very quickly, for it won’t be hard work."

"No," said Old Woman, "I won’t agree to this. They have to tan hides as you say, but it has to be hard work, so that the good workers can be found out and honored."

"Well," said Old Man, "we will let the people have eyes and mouths, set straight up and down in their faces in a nice, neat line."

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An OEN Editor. Born-03/20/1934, BA Pol. Sci.-U of Washington-1956, MBA-Seattle U-1970, Boeing-Program Control-1957-1971, State of Oregon-Mental Health Division-Deputy Admistrator-1971-1979, llinois Association of Community MH (more...)
 

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