Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Old Man Leads a Migration

Clark Wissler, D. C. Duvall
Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians
(New York: Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, 1908)
v. 2, part 1, pp. 19-21.

The first Indians were on the other side of the ocean, and Old Man [Napioa] decided to lead them to a better place. So he brought them over the ice to the far north. When they were crossing the ice, the Sarcee [Tsuu T'ina Athapascan speakers] were in the middle and there was a boy riding on a dog travois. As they were going along, this boy saw a horn of some animal sticking up through the ice. Now the boy wanted this horn, and began to cry. So his mother took an ax and cut it off. As she did so, the ice gave way, and only those on this side of the place where the horn was will ever get here.

Now Old Man led these people down to where the Blood Reserve [Blackfoot Kainai Reserve] now is, and told them that this would be a fine country for them, and that they would be very rich.

He said, "I will get all the people here."

All the people living there ate and lived like wild animals; but Old Man went among them and taught them all the arts of civilization. (When crossing the ice, only about thirty lodges succeeded in getting across, and among these were the representatives of all the tribes now in this country. At that time the Blackfoot were just one tribe.)

When he was through teaching them, he did not die, but went among the Sioux, where he remained for a time, but finally disappeared . He took his wife with him. He had no children.

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