Wyandotte / Huron
These Wyandotte legends were collected by William Elsey Connelley. They were secured from the old people of the Wyandot tribe many years ago. Mr. Connelley was adopted by the Wyandot Deer Clan as a mark of favor for the work he did among them. They gave him the name Deh’-hehn-yahn’-teh, meaning ‘The Rainbow.’
The folk-lore of the Wyandots should be peculiarly interesting to Kansas students. It will be conceded that the emigrant tribes were in every way superior to the native tribes of Kansas Indians. The Wyandot were the recognized head of the emigrant tribes.
This superiority had been accorded them by the emigrant tribes themselves. As early as 1750 the Northwestern Confederacy was formed, and the Wyandots were made the keepers of the council-fire thereof.
In 1848 this Northwestern Confederacy was renewed in Kansas at a great council held near Fort Leavenworth, and the Wyandots confirmed in their ancient and honorable position.
As a tribe, the Wyandots favored the organization of Nebraska (Kansas) Territory. Indeed, they made the first effective efforts in this direction.
They established a Provisional government at the mouth of the Kansas river, in 1853. The first man to bear the title of Governor of Nebraska (Kansas) was William Walker, a Wyandot Indian, a gentleman of education, refinement, and great strength of character.
The metropolis of the State is but the development of a Wyandot village into a great modern city.
Twenty years ago, seeing that no collection of the folk-lore of this interesting people had ever been attempted, Mr. Connelley began to gather and record such of it as he could find. Most of it had then been lost by the tribe.
This will not seem strange when it is known that Wyandots were even at that time of more than one-half white blood. There is not so much as a half-blood Wyandot now living. The last full-blood Wyandot died in Canada about 1820. I
Mr Connelley began this collection of Wyandotte folk lore at a most fortunate time. There were then living many very old Wyandots who remembered much their tribal history and folk-lore.
The generation now living could furnish no folk-lore of value. Few of them speak their language. Not half a dozen of them can speak pure Wyandot.
Their reservation near Seneca, Missouri is not different from the well tilled portions of our country. They are good farmers, and have schools and churches. Stih-yeh’-stah, or Captain Bull-Head, was the last pagan Wyandot. He died in Wyandotte county, Kansas, about the year 1860.
In the Journal of American Folk-Lore for June, 1899, Mr. Connelley published a paper on the “Wyandot folk-lore.”
- The Moon And Her Children
- The Twins Who Were Gods
- Ska’ reh Makes The Winter And Se’ sta Makes The Summer
- The Beautiful Bridge To The Sky
- Why The Leaves Have Many Colors In Autumn
- Punishment Of The Rainbow
- How The Milky Way Was Put Into The Sky
- The Animals Go To The Land Of The Little People
- Why The Deer Sheds His Horns Every Year
- The Flood
- The Last Battle
- Making The World Again
- How A Man And His Daughter Became Stars
- Se’ sta Makes The Eagles
- The Death Song Of A Warrior
- The Singing Spring
- The Singing Maidens
- The First Garden
- The Golden Hornet
- Men di’ yos
- The Song of the Kingfisher
- The Untruthful Man
- The Bears of Red Mountain
- The Flying Heads
- The Game of Moccasin
- The Hoo’ stra doo’
- How The Dove Got Its Color And Its Song
- Ska’ reh Steals The Coats of All The Birds
- The Solemn Feast of the Dead
- The Wampum Bird
- The Witch Buffaloes, or How We Got The Cranberry
- Why Flowers Are Fragrant
Not so very long ago there was to be found living in the far West a quaint old man. He had seen many moons. His head was almost white from the frosts of some seventy winters. He was a Wyandot Indian, and he lived with his own people.
His house stood among the trees by a clear, swift river in the beautiful hills. At a great city far from his home he had some land. This land was worth much money. Some mean white men were about to take the land away from him. But a kind white man made them pay the Indian what the land was worth.
In the beginning, the people were all Wyandots. They lived in Heaven. Hoo-wah-yooh-wah-neh, The Great Spirit or mighty chief, led them.