Other Nations


Wampanoag (Mashpee) Literature




Mashpee Ghost Story

One night on Cape Cod at Gay Head, a Mashpee woman and her children were alone in their wigwam. The children were sound asleep in their blankets and their mother sat knitting beside her central fire-pit. As customary, her door-flap was wide open. Suddenly she became aware of someone approaching her doorway, and went to see who it might be.

A sailor stood outside. She asked him, “What do you want?” He replied, “I’d like to come inside and warm myself by your fire, because my clothes are wet and I feel chilled to the bone.”

She invited him inside and offered a place for him to sit beside the fire to dry out and warm himself. She placed another log on her fire, then resumed her knitting. As she watched the fire, she noticed that she could see the fire right through the sailor’s legs, which were stretched out between her and the fire–as if he were a ghost!

Her fear of him increased, but since she was a brave woman, she kept on with her knitting while keeping a suspicious eye toward the visitor. Finally the sailor turned to the Indian woman and said, “Do you want any money?”

Her first thought was not to answer his question. Then he repeated, “Do you want any money?” She replied, “Yes.”

The sailor explained, “If you really want a large amount of money, all you have to do is go outdoors behind your wigwam. Beside a rock there you will find buried a kettle full of money. I thank you for your hospitality. Good night.” He went away.

The Mashpee woman did not go outdoors immediately, as she wanted to think about the sailor’s proposal. She sat and knitted and thought for a while longer. Still, she felt frightened from the evening’s experience and was reluctant to leave her wigwam. More knitting time elapsed. Then she thought, “I might as well go out and see if the sailor spoke the truth–to see if there really is a kettle of money out there.”

She took her hoe and went outside to the back of her wigwam, and easily saw the place described by the sailor. She began to dig with her hoe. She realized that every time she struck her hoe into the ground, she heard her children cry out loudly, as if in great pain. She rushed indoors to see what was their trouble. They were soundly sleeping in their blankets.

Again and again she dug with her hoe; each time her children cried out loudly to her; each time she rushed in to comfort them, only to find them soundly asleep as she had left them.

After these episodes had occurred several times, the mother decided to give up digging for the night. She thought she would try again early next morning after bright daylight and her children were awake.

Morning came, but she wondered if she had only dreamed last night’s happenings. Her children were eating their breakfast when she went out to the digging place. There was her hoe, standing where she had left it. But she could see that someone else had been there in the meantime and had finished digging while she slept.

Before her, she saw a big round hole. She knew someone had dug up the hidden treasure. She was too late for the pot of gold promised by the ghostly sailor. But again she thought and wondered, “But was I really too late?”

Again she thought, “That sailor may have been the Evil Spirit in disguise–or even a real ghost. Perhaps he was tempting me to see whether I cared more for my children, or more for the gold?”

Nevertheless, the Mashpee woman and her children continued to live in their village for a long, long time, even without the benefit of the ghost’s kettle of gold.

Nauset or Cape Cod Indians, from the exposed position on the Cape, include the Mashpees of the Wampanoag tribe. Their entire territory came under the observation of many early explorers to the “New World,” including Samuel Champlain in 1606, and the English Captain Thomas Hunt in 1614-1615. Hunt kidnapped 27 Wampanoag Indians, all of whom were sold into slavery, a just cause perhaps why five years later the Pilgrims landed and first were met by wary, unfriendly Wampanoags. Later, their Chief Massasoit officially welcomed the Pilgrims at Plymouth and signed a treaty of friendship dated 1621.

Tall Oak (Everett Weeden)


This area had escaped a great smallpox epidemic of 1617. The Nausets increased in population as tribal members were driven from their original villages by whites toward 1700. Mashpee village became the principal location of Wampanoags, also referred to as Massasoits after their famous Chief Massasoit. Later, his second son succeeded him and was called King Philip, establishing a strong Indian confederacy. King Philip’s war against the whites, 1675-1676, in which the Chief was killed, resulted in the loss of central power of the New England tribes. Long established tribes on Martha’s Vineyard also belong to this Group, derived from the Algonquian linguistic family.

Yakama Literature


“The Creator made the Salmon. He planted the Salmon upon in the Rivers for the People. He taught them how to care for the Salmon which was created for them. “Do not neglect this important food,” he said. Always remember the Sacred Rules when you take care of Salmon. Never take more than you need, never lay a Salmon on the ground with his head toward the River. Place Salmon with his head facing away from the water.” Thus the Creator gave the People these Sacred Laws. All along the River lived many Different People. There were many, many People catching and drying Salmon. That was the way it was when the Creator first made Salmon for the People. The People had everything placed for them – all the Sacred Foods; the Salmon, Deer, Roots, Berries, everything!

Traditional Story

The Stick People

The Yakama Indians of the east slope of the Cascade Mountains of Washington State have a legend, persisting to this day, of the “Stick People” or little ones that live high in the hills. Some hills are sacred places for the Stick People and should not be trammeled. If they are visited, the Stick People will do you harm. Also, the Stick People do a lot of unprovoked mischief, such as stealing your car keys. [Stories told to me – Bruce G. Marcot, Ph.D. Research Wildlife Ecologist – during a May 1997 invited visit into the sacred Yakama forest land — by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists working closely with the Yakama Indian Nation.]

As noted by Robert Pyle,

A vast body of lore pertains to Ste-ye-hah’mah, also called Stick-shower Man or Stick Man. The Yakama word means a spirit hiding under the cover of the woods. Some say the “stick” refers to this habit, others that these creatures poke sticks into lodges to extract or harass victims, or rain sticks down upon them. In a recent Quinault story, women put out shallow baskets of salmon and other food, and See’atco takes the provender in exchange for firewood, which he places in the basket — another “stick” connection. Some Indians consider Stick Men to be spirits whose name should not even be mentioned; Don Smith — Lelooska — thinks the Stick Men have merely been conflated with Bigfoot. – Robert Michael Pyle, 1995, Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide, Mariner Books, Boston, p. 133.

Story: The Tah-tah-kle’-ah (Owl-Woman Monster)

Yakama Indian Nation

Yakama Indian Nation History

Yuchi Literature

(Euchee or Uchee)

Excerpts from
Who Were the Mysterious
Yuchi Indians
of Tennessee and the Southeast

“The Federal Government has never recognized the Yuchi tribe despite the fact that they are not related by language or culture to any other American Indian people. This is probably the result of never signing a treaty or fighting a war with the Yuchi. It seems they “obtained” title to Yuchi lands by treaty/purchase from the neighboring tribes. “

“That they were a distinct people is known from their insistence on descent from the Sun, a hold over from the mound building Sun worship. While they lived among several other tribes, they remained distinct and held themselves separate. More important the Uchean language has never been certainly classified, and bears little resemblance to any of the known tongues of the Americas. Only a half dozen speakers of the Uchean language remain alive. The Yuchi long built their homes half subterranean with palisaded walls around the village. They buried their dead laid out flat, often within wooden or stone lined pits. It is cultural traits like these that distinguishes their archaeological sites from their neighbors.”

“The Indian removal was the beginning of the end for the Yuchi tribe. Some Yuchi fled to Florida and joined the Seminole, where Uchee Billy was Chief a century ago. Others of mixed heritage successfully “passed as white,” and remained on their land. However, this required hiding all evidence of their Indian heritage.” . . . . “Today, the tribal Yuchi number a few hundred and are partly assimilated into the Creek and Seminole Nations.”

“In summary, the Yuchi language is nearly extinct with less than a dozen speakers. The tribe was expelled from East Tennessee before the settlers begin to record the area’s history. Reduced to only a small tribe, they were largely ignored by scholars. It is little wonder that their tie to this State (Tennessee) and its name has been nearly lost to us. Just a forgotten tribe and a nearly meaningless name hidden in a few musty records. If we ignore the Yuchi long enough they will be extinct, and therefore one less Indian problem to concern an arrogant majority bent on reducing them to naught but forgotten myths.”

Yuchi Town was a thriving Native American community in the 1700's on land now occupied by Fort Benning. This painting by Martin Pate draws on archeological research to portray how the town might have appeared.

David Hackett

In the Beginning

The Rosetta Project: Yuchi/Uchean
Scientific American: Preserving the Yuchi Language
South Carolina Indians – The Yuchi
Tsoyaha- “Children of the Sun”; Yuchi- “Faraway People”
Yuchi Ceremonial Life (Book)
Yuchi history
Yuchi Tribal Information
Yuchi or Uchee Indians
Extract from The Indian Tribes of North America by John R. Swanton
Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145ó1953

Following Report is posted on TNGenWeb.org

Bureau of Indian AffairsTECHNICAL REPORT

II Historical Background

The petitioning group, Yuchi Tribal Organization, Inc., is made up of individuals derived from the historical Yuchi tribe. This tribe joined the Muscogee (Creek) Confederacy, probably in two stages, in the late 18th or early 19th century (Wright 1951, Court of Claims 1956).(1)
Yuchis have maintained a political and legal relationship with the Muscogee (Creek) tribe since joining the Creek Confederacy. The Creek Confederacy united dozens of historic tribes yet preserved their ethnic distinctiveness by making them corporate groups responsible for most of their own affairs, particularly that of training and maintaining their own standing armies and maintaining their own ceremonial grounds. The incorporated tribes, which might consist of multiple settlements, were known as “talwas,” and later as “tribal towns.”
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, Yuchis were signatories to some Creek treaties with the United States. They were removed with the Creeks in the 1830’s from the banks of the Chattahoochee River in present-day Alabama to what is now Oklahoma.
The Yuchi and other Creek tribal towns reestablished themselves, along ethnic lines, in the tribe’s new homelands following the removal (Opler 1937, 22). There were four Yuchi settlements in Oklahoma, reduced after 1900 to three (Wright 1951, 267, Speck 1909, 9).

The tribal towns became the basis for representation in both the House of Kings and the House of Warriors of the bicameral legislature of a Creek Nation government which was developed in 1867 (Opler 1937, 12). The Yuchi were represented in this government as a single town, one of 44 in the confederacy (Wright 1951, 267). Yuchi leaders participated actively in its affairs (Wright 1951, 267). A Yuchi leader built the first Creek Council House, a double log structure in what is now downtown Okmulgee (Tulsa Daily World, 1939).
The Act of April 26, 1906 (34 Stat. 137) allotted Creek lands in severalty and provided for the dissolution of the Creek tribal government. Yuchis were enrolled as Creek Indians on the roll of the Creek Nation created by the Dawes Commission. This roll, under the 1906 act, became the “final roll” of the Creek Nation. In 1976, the Federal court in Harjo v. Kleppe (U.S. District Court 1976) determined that the dissolution of the Creek Tribal government had not been statutorily accomplished and that in fact the Creek government had been explicitly perpetuated.
There continued after 1906 to be some Creek government activities and also some continued functioning of the tribal towns, including two Yuchi settlements (Opler 1937, 36). A principal chief was appointed by the President under the 1906 Act, sometimes based on elections or recommendations by representative bodies of Creeks. Three of the tribal towns organized in the 1930’s under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act. Debo (1940) indicates that organization of the Yuchi under the act was considered, but was never done.

Interesting note:
Gujjars (of India) are also identified with the Kushans of Yuchi, a tribe of Tartars.

Yurok House, circa 1907-1930



“When you die, you will be spoken of as those in the sky, like the stars.”

Yurok Tribe Home Page

The Yurok live along the lower 36 miles of the Klamath River and the California coast from Wilson Creek to Trinidad Bay. Their main foods in past times were salmon, by building wooden traps across the river and scooping them up with large nets, and then cutting them into strips and drying them, and acorns, which were harvested in autumn and stored. They also gathered sea mollusks and fished with hook and line from the shore. They hunted animals such as deer with bow and arrow.

They used redwood dugout canoes to travel in their territory, and to reach their neighbors, the Hupa and the Karok, for trade and socialization. They supplied canoes to these people, as well as dried sea foods and shells. The Hupa also traded with the Shasta and the Wiyot nearby. The Yurok got skins from the Hupa, the Shasta and the Wiyot, and from the Karok they got dentalium shell, which has that name because it looks like a tooth. These shells were valuable to the people of this area, and were used as money. They also obtained abalone shell by a trading chain that reached to the south.

They lived in houses made of redwood or cedar, which have natural preservative oils in them, and would last a long time in the rainy climate. The Yurok had a way of life very similar to the Hupa and Karok. An unusual aspect of their culture is that a house site or a fishing site would have been privately owned, which is not common for Native American people. Kroeber thought that the original population of the Yurok might have been about 2500 people.

Yurok people still live in California, and they have several reservations in Northwest California, the Smith River Rancheria, the Elk Valley Rancheria, and the Resighini Rancheria in Del Norte County, and the Yurok Reservation, the Big Lagoon Rancheria, and the Tsurai (Trinidad) Rancheria in Humboldt County.

Amy Smoker, a Yurok weaver born in 1897 created baskets that are still used in ceremonies. One of her creations is shown in the California Native American Calendar for 1998 by Press.

The main traditional/religious rites are the World Renewal Ceremonial Cycle and include the White Deerskin Dance and the Jump Dance.

Yurok Woman in Contributions to North American Ethnology, Volume III. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1877.
Historical Dance Regalia Photos
Photographs of Yurok Indians
The Yurok California Historical Society
Yurok Page at Four Directions Institute
The Yurok: notes from “The North American Indian” by ES Curtis

Myths and Stories

Yurok Creation

Death and Afterlife

The Foxes and the Sun

Once upon a time, the Foxes were angry with Sun. They held a council about the matter. Then twelve Foxes were selected – twelve of the bravest to catch Sun and tie him down.They made ropes of sinew; then the twelve watched until the Sun, as he followed the downward trail in the sky, touched the top of a certain hill.

Then the Foxes caught Sun, and tied him fast to the hill. But the Indians saw them, and they killed the Foxes with arrows. Then they cut the sinews.

But the Sun had burned a great hole in the ground. The Indians know the story is true, because they can see the hole which Sun burned.

From: Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest

Compiled and Edited by Katharine Berry Judson, 1912

Zuni {zoon’-yee} Literature


“We are grateful, O Mother Earth, for the mountains and the streams where the deer, by command of Thy Breath of Life, wander. Wishing for you the fullness life, we shall go forth prayerfully upon the the trails of our Earth Mother.”

Zuni Prayer


Four Flutes
Swift-Runner and Trickster Tarantula
Zuñi Folk Tales
Foreword by JOHN WESLEY POWELL [1901]

The Zuni nation of North American Indians have lived in the area of the present states of New Mexico and Arizona over 1,000 years prior to the coming of the Europeans. They are thought to be direct descendants of the Anasazi.

A large, thriving Zuni Pueblo was discovered in 1500 by Franciscans from Mexico, who returned with glowing reports of the Zuni “Kingdom of Cibola” on the Zuni River. Concerned about attacks, Zuni leaders moved their women, children, and property to their stronghold Mesa, to which they escaped when Coronado tried to subjugate the nation. In 1629, about 10,000 Zunis were accounted for when the first mission was established in Hawikuh by the Franciscans. When first contacted by Spanish explorers during the 16th century, the Zuni were living in seven villages that came to be associated with the mythical Seven Golden Cities of CIBOLA. After the unsuccessful Pueblo rebellion against the Spanish in 1680, the Zuni were consolidated within the present pueblo, which was constructed (c.1695) on the site of one of the original villages.

Primarily farmers, the Zuni raise maize and wheat and engage in sheepherding on a large scale. Jewelrymaking has become an important additional source of income. Traditional Zuni life is oriented around a matrilineal clan system and a complex ceremonial system based on a belief in the ancestors (ancient ones). There are six specialized esoteric groups, each with restricted membership and its own priesthood, devoted to the worship of a particular group of supernaturals. During the well-known Shalako Festival, held in early winter, dancers wearing giant masks represent the couriers of the rain deities as they come to bless new homes. Today, they remain a strong nation, active on the Zuni Reservation in New Mexico. The Zuni population in 1991 was estimated at 8,546.

Zuni dancers: detail of photograph by Edward Curtis: 1914, [public domain]
Zuni dancers

Adding a Breath to Zuni Life
Zuni Fetish Collection
Zuni Pueblo “She-We-Na”
Zuni World View, on the Beautiful and the Dangerous

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