Posts made in May, 2016

An Arapaho Apocalypse

  The Distant Future: An Arapaho Apocalypse and Last Judgement According to old Arapaho beliefs about the apocalypse, the end of the world will happen with a great fire in the future and everyone will be burnt up. After this, the best of people, such as those who died in battle, will come to life again in the new world (wonooyoo’ biito’owu’). For the other people (3iikono’, ghosts), there will be an end forever. (Kroeber 2560, 2:3) Arapaho linguist, William C’Hair, refers to this same idea in the following story about the Arapaho Eagle Drum and its symbolism. (I have kept the transcription as Professor Cowell wrote it – in Arapaho and a close English translation.) Wootii heetceneeteeyoo’, heetceneeteeyoo’. Where it’s [painted] blue, where it’s blue. Neehii3ei’, noh heetkoo’einiini, koo’eino3onohoe’ini’ In the middle, where it is round, where it is illustrated with a circle, hee3 he’nihoonkoo’eino3onoh[u], hinee hiisiis neneenit. Where a yellow circle is depicted, that is the sun. ‘Oh niiyou heetohceneeteeyoo’ niiyou nuhu’ hono’ nenee’. And where it is blue, that is the sky. Hiiwoonhehe’ nee’eesoo’. That’s how it is today. Nee’- nee’- nee’eeneecxooyeiniine’etiino’ niiyou nuhu’ honouu’o’, That’s the stage of life we’re up to now, this is how [the sun] hangs, noosouniini, noosouceneeteeyoo’. [the sky] is still blue. niine’eehek hinee hiisiis, hinee noosounihooneihit. Here is the sun, it is still yellow. Wo’ei3 3ebiicxoo’einiihi’, 3ebiicxooyeiniihi’ he’iitnei’i, he’iitnei’i, he’iitnei’i But sometime is the future somewhere heetne’iini noo’uune’etiitowuno’. we will arrive at a certain point in life. noh no’uune’etiitowuno’ nuhu’ hoo3itootou’u. We will reach the point that [the elders] told stories about. Ne’ii3eckuu3oono’ niine’eehek nehe’ nii’eihii. Then we will turn this drum over. Niiyou nuh’uuno. Here is is [how it looks on the other side]. Nii-, niiyou nuhu’ wono- wonotoyeic. Here is this hide. Niiyou, niiyou nuhu’ heni’niisih’eihit, Here it is, brown due to [age?]. ne’nihooyoo’. Then [the blue part] is yellow. Ne’nihooyoo’. Then it is yellow. Neehii3ei’ oh’ ne’- ne’- ne’bo’3onoot. In the middle, then it’s red. Niiyou nuh’uuno hono’, heetne’noo’unoo’oo’. Here is the sky, it will catch fire. Heetne’- heetne’-, heetne’noo’unoo’oo’. It will catch fire. Noh neene’eehek hinee hiisiis, heetne’be’eihit. And there’s the sun, it will be red. Noh heetne’iini niine’eehek nehe’, niine’eehek nehe’ nii’eihii, And that’s when this eagle, this eagle, niine’eehek nehe’ nii’eihii heetne’ce’no’useet. This eagle [with a whole flock] will return. Ne’- heetniini, hinee cihcenohoe’einiihi’ heetnee’ee3no’useet. Then it will be from the east, that’s where they will arrive from. Noh heetno’xohoot hinee, hinee houu heetno’xohoot. And he will bring the Creator with him, he will bring him. Noh heet- noh heet- heetne’bee3- bee3iine’etiitooni’. And then our life will come to an end. Excerpted from Arapaho Stories of Creation, the Earth and the Sky, and the Heavens By...

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The Girl Who Became a Bear

The following story, The Girl Who Became a Bear, is believed to be the explanation of how the Big Dipper came to be in Arapaho mythology. Philip Rapid/Rabbit shared the story with Alfred Kroeber in Oklahoma on August 15, 1899. Professor Andrew Cowell, William C’Hair and Alonzo Moss explained some of the meanings behind the symbolism in their book, Arapaho Stories, Songs & Prayers. (pages 375-381) As you read the story, here are a few things to be aware of… Bear-claws are prominent in old Arapaho art according to Cowell and he believes the use of the bear claws is significant. He further theorizes that this story may be connected to Whirlwind Woman since the claw motif is linked to her and she is linked to the creation of the world. The Big Dipper which is referred to as a bear in many cultures, is known as “broken back” or “broken shoulder” in Arapaho. And the three stars ‘hanging in the sky’ also refer to those ‘left behind.’ Now, the story! A large tribe had set up camp. The children were pretending to be a bear in the sand. There was one who was an older girl. When they were playing, “Heti-ce3-oobe hit-eihotoo-no!” (Bring it’s claws!) said this girl. Then she tied its claws to her hands. She pretended to be a bear with its lodge in sandy hills – the mythical home of the dead. There were a lot of berries at her lodge. The children would come and pick berries. While they were picking the berries, the one who played bear would come out and pretend to charge furiously at them in attack. There was a willow area where she would sleep. This one who actually did turn into a bear, she ripped open her younger brother’s back. I guess she hurt him badly. In the evenings all the children went home. “Ceebeh-‘ei’tobee toh-woxuunoo’oo-noo.” (Don’t tell them that I have turned into a bear) this girl said. “Noottob-einooni neinoo, heti-yooton-oobe,” (When my mother asks about me, you must hide this from her),” she said. “Tooto’oe, heitobee-neehek, hoot-ne’-woteekoohu-noo,” (And anyway, if you tell, I’ll come storming into camp) the one who had turned into a bear said. When her younger brother went home, well, I guess he didn’t tell that he had been injured. Once it was night again, when everyone went to sleep, then this boy’s injuries were noticed. When he was asked about it, then he told how his older sister had turned into a bear. He was still in the process of telling the story, when every single dog in the camp started barking. Then the one who had turned into a bear came storming...

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