An Arapaho Apocalypse


Sunset representing End of World

The Sun is still with us until the End of the World

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?].


Then [the blue part] is yellow.


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 Andrew Cowell, in consultation with Alonzo Moss, Sr., pgs. 29-31

Contributing Elders: Edward Willow, Merle Haas, Richard Antelope, Marian Scott, Alvena Oldman, William C’Hair, Mark Soldierwolf

 This story was graciously shared by Andrew Cowell and is the story of the Eagle Drum.

Arapaho Drums

Arapaho Hand Drums


Hohou! – Jackie Dorothy 2016


1 Comment

  1. Ha’hou!

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