The belief systems of the indigenous people of the continental United States often get twisted through the same condescending prism as the myths of the Inuit. Just as Balladeer’s Blog previously gave proper due to the deities of those people of the far north, this time around I hope to do the same with the figures from Choctaw mythology. 

Much material about Native American mythology still reflects the distortions of the Christian missionaries who did some of the first work in recording the oral traditions of native mythology and who imposed their own editorial slant on those belief systems. In their efforts to guide the Choctaws and other peoples away from what the missionaries saw as “pagan belief systems” an artificial elevation of one “Great Spirit” figure, (analogous to the missionaries’ monotheistic “God” ) took place. An equally artificial de-emphasis on the divinity of the other figures in those belief systems took place, again accomodating the prejudices of the white recorders of the myths without regard to objectivity.

Ironically, politically correct scholars often wind up reinforcing these distortions of Native American mythology through the mistaken notion that the indigenous peoples originally presented their belief systems in this way. Those scholars often believe it is “Eurocentric” to look for pantheons in the Americas, unaware that it is the “Great Spirit” approach that is really the white distortion, and not the original reflection of indigenous beliefs. See the list of source books on my Inuit Myth page for some excellent research guides in tracing this unfortunate twisting of Native American belief systems.

For brevity’s sake, let me just say that this list is intended to help restore the entities from Choctaw myths to their proper place alongside the figures from other pantheons around the world, figures like Odin, Isis, Aphrodite and Vishnu. As with all belief systems there are many alternate versions of these myths. MY SOURCE BOOKS ARE LISTED IN THE COMMENTS. 

For Inuit myths: 

For Navajo myths: 

For Hawaiian myths: 

11 and 12. HELOHA AND MELATHA – The Choctaw version of the  Thunderbirds. The chief deity Nanishta (or in some versions the sun god Hashtali since he and Nanishta are often conflated in the myths) assigned these two gigantic, intelligent birds the task of coming up with a way of warning human beings about the approach of storms. Heloha, the female Thunderbird, lays enormous eggs which roll around on the clouds, causing the rumblings of thunder. Her mate Melatha, darts around catching the eggs before they fall off and plummet to the Earth below. Melatha flies so swiftly his movements manifest as flashes of lightning. As with the Navajo rain god Tonenili, Heloha and Melatha are often comic relief figures in myths.

10. OHOYOCHISBA – The Choctaw corn goddess. This daughter of the sun god and moon goddess was a beautiful woman dressed entirely in white. Long ago she was roaming the Choctaw lands disguising herself as a decrepit, emaciated old woman without a family. Most of the people shunned this wandering figure and refused her pleas for food and drink. The only people who would take her in were two Choctaw brothers, themselves orphaned and poverty- stricken. The two shared their meager meal of hawk meat with the seemingly old woman and let her sleep in their home overnight, sheltered from the rain.

The next morning Ohoyochisba revealed her true form to the brothers and before leaving told them to go to the spot where they first saw her the previous day (in some versions she tells them to wait a month beore going there). They did so and found strange seeds that when planted produced the first harvest of corn, and from then on this gift of Ohoyochisba was a staple of the Choctaw diet. Ohoyochisba can still be seen wandering the corn fields in her pure white gown from time to time.

9. HVASHI – This moon goddess was the wife of the sun god and the mother of the corn goddess. Hvashi rode across the nighttime sky on a giant owl but her divine radiance made it impossible for the human eye to make out anything except the vague outlines of her astride her flying mount (the figures on the moon’s surface of course ). The owl would only fly at night to avoid ever encountering pigeons, the enemy of owls in Choctaw mythology.

Hvashi, like the other first generation Choctaw deities, was created by the chief deity Nanishta. When she and her gigantic owl first arrived among the company of other Choctaw gods they were puzzled by her because she was no one’s sister or mother so there was no word for her role. She joined with the sun god Hashtali in the very first marriage ceremony and became the first wife, the new word to describe this type of female relation. Hvashi would spend all the moonless nights of the year with her husband in his home in the west.    

8. ABOHLI – The goddess of the swamps and undergrowth. Abohli usually manifests herself as a human- sized swirling tornado of light floating through the swamps and carrying a pipe. Her children are the Na Losa Falaya, sort of like “will-o-the- wisps” (actually brightly lighted swamp gas despite Na Losa Falaya supposedly meaning “long black thing”) who, like their mother, glide through the marshes astonishing and sometimes frightening the human beings who see them. Unlike their mother, however, the Na Losa Falaya have to remove all of their intestines and internal organs and set them aside before they are light enough to float.

In ancient times thornbushes, reeds, brambles and sharply-ribbed vines were poisonous to the touch and would kill any people who came into contact with them. Abohli did not like to see this harm befall the Choctaw people, who began to stay far away from her domain’s poisonous vegetation, even avoiding the streams adjacent to the goddess’ marshland home. Abohli gave the poisonous venom of the plantlife to snakes, bees and hornets instead so forever after the thorns and spines of the undergrowth may still scrape the flesh of human beings but are no longer fatal. Some of the swamp vegetation is still poisonous if eaten, however, and medicine men know how to tell which kind to avoid. 

After the death of the stone-skinned demon Nunyunuwi Abohli transformed his remains into the gravel that often lines the very bottom of bayous.         

7. UNCTA – The great bronze-colored spider god. Uncta was able to appear in both human form and as a giant spider. In his human form he would often entertain visitors to his lair and dispense advice and/ or prophecies to them. Uncta was the only deity brave enough to steal some of the sun’s flames in order to provide the Choctaw people with fire. Uncta lived with his sister, who could also assume human form and who is sometimes the one credited with stealing fire for humans. 

Once when Uncta and his sister were in their human forms entertaining a visiting Choctaw couple the wife, named Crow, lusted after Uncta. Crow convinced his sister that her husband was actually her brother and that she was therefore unmarried and free to couple with the spider god. Uncta’s sister was fooled and informed Uncta of the woman’s attraction to him. The spider god and the mortal woman promptly had relations, disgusting the husband who immediately left. (What a sorehead!)  

That night Crow gave birth to Uncta’s son (you know mythology). This son, named Yallofalaiya, grew to adulthood by morning and was already fashioning arrows for himself. Uncta was angry at Crow for lying to him and his sister and told her to take Yallofalaiya and leave. Mother and son went to the village of Crow’s husband but he and his family wanted nothing to do with the evil woman and her offspring. Furious, Crow ordered her son to kill her husband and his family.

Yallofalaiya was so swift and strong he filled the bodies of his enemies with arrows while withstanding their own assault. The rest of the villagers now attacked and, spurred on by his mother, Yallofalaiya killed every man, woman and child who lived there. Beholding this evil, the chief deity Nanishta struck Crow dead, transforming her into her namesake birds, evil creatures who eat the freshly planted corn intended for Choctaw consumption. Yallofalaiya did not want to live without his mother, so he laid down and died on the spot. Uncta removed his son’s sinews from the corpse and taught Choctaw women how to sew and weave using his son’s sinews as thread the way Uncta himself used silk to spin his webs.

6. BOHPOLI – This diminutive, two foot tall figure was sort of the Choctaw equivalent of Pan from Greek myths or Bes from Egyptian myths. He lived in the forests and he would often toy impishly with visitors to his arborial domain by throwing sticks or stones at them before ducking out of sight. Any unusual sounds or movements in the forests were attributed to Bohpoli, who forever dwelt on the outskirts of the peripheral vision of the human victims of his pranks. 

Another of the figure’s favorite activities was to loudly bang on pine trees (yes, specifically pine trees) to wake up travelers who were camped for the night in his territory. Bohpoli – in some sources an entire race and not an individual – lived in the deepest reaches of the forest in a cave concealed by large rocks. The only human beings capable of seeing and conversing with Bohpoli were medicine men. 

The forest dweller began his relationship with these medicine men when they were children. He would select sensitive and enlightened youngsters and strike up a friendship with them. Since Bohpoli was so short he seemed like just another child to these future medicine men. As the relationship deepened Bohpoli would eventually take the children to visit his cavern home. 

Once inside, the forest dweller would introduce the child to three elderly spirits with white hair. The first one offered him a knife, the second one poisonous herbs and the third one medicinal herbs. If the child accepts the knife he will grow up to be a violent mad man and kill his fellow Choctaws (but they’re so cute at that age). If he accepts the poisonous herbs he will become an evil medicine man and if he accepts the medicinal herbs he will become a wise and good medicine man. 

Bohpoli and the spirits instruct the child in the esoteric teachings of whichever gift he selects and return him to his home. The child must  never discuss his encounter with Bohpoli and his associates until after becoming a man.        

5. ESKEILAY – The grasshopper goddess whose name means “mother of the unliving”. Eskeilay was human in form but with antennae . She sat with her limbs in the odd position that her grasshopper subjects imitated. This goddess ruled over the underground world, or Earth- womb, where the Choctaw people lived before emerging from the Earth at Nanih Waiya.  

Eskeilay’s subterranean domain wasn’t so much an afterlife, like that ruled over by Nanishta, but was more a realm of “pre-birth” where spirits came from to be born. The Choctaws lived in the world below with Eskeilay, her grasshopper subjects and the other life forms of the day. When that world became too crowded the life forms began emerging from this Earth-womb at Nanih Waiya.

In the rush of the evacuation to the world above humans accidentally trampled and crushed many grasshoppers, including the grasshopper goddess’ own mother. Infuriated, Eskeilay called out to the chief deity Nanishta, who blocked the opening at Nanih Waiya to end the mad stampede. Many human beings were trapped in the underground world and the still-angry grasshopper goddess transformed them into ants, which is why ants also emerge from holes in the ground. In some traditions locusts are also among Eskeilay’s subjects for the same reason. 

The Crawfish band of people were also inhabitants of the grasshopper goddess’ realm. They started out living on the surface world and were a species of humanoid crawfish. The Choctaws removed their shells and hair, taught them to walk upright and tried to assimilate them into the Choctaw culture. The Crawfish people rebelled against this and longed for a return to their more primitive lifestyle, so they went to live underground, where  Eskeilay permitted them to live as they wished.         

4. HATAKACHAFA – Variously translated as “Nameless One”, “Nameless Man” or “One Man Alone”  this hunting god is also considered a wolf divinity even though he is not known as a creator of wolves but as a companion to the very first wolf in the world, whom he taught to howl. Like Herakles in Greek myths Hatakachafa was elevated to godhood after his life of adventure and tragedy. 

Hatakachafa was the only son of the war chief of the Choctaw village of Eyasho. The hero was noted far and wide for his handsomeness, his  oratorical skills, his boundless courage and his incomparable  hunting ability. He had outgrown his boyhood name but had not yet been given his adult name because, by sheer mischance, he had yet to kill a foe of the Choctaws in wartime. That was why he was known only as the Nameless One or the other variations listed above. 

Hatakachafa and Imma, the most beautiful (of course) maiden of the tribe, were deeply in love and with his hunting skill he always placed large quantities of game animals at the door of her family’s lodge. The two often shared private moments together but could not marry until the young man had won his adult name in battle. After the usual four nights of rituals preceding a war, the Choctaws were about to launch a campaign against the Osages and Hatakachafa hoped to finally earn his manly name. 

The hero and his lady love said their goodbyes atop a hill heavy with pine trees and she watched him depart with the four hundred other braves to face the enemy. Days later the party led by Hatakachafa sought refuge for the night in a huge cave in Osage country. Overnight stealthy Osage warriors killed the sentries and erected a smokey fire, using the fumes to suffocate many members of the Choctaw war party in the cave and using arrows to strike down any coughing and choking survivors as they emerged. 

Hatakachafa sought shelter from the smoke deeper and deeper in the cave and wound up wandering for countless days before emerging, half-starved, from a different mouth of the labyrinthine cavern in a strange part of the world no Choctaw had ever seen before.  Armed with the traditional Choctaw weapons of a blowgun and a bow and arrows our hero spent a full year trying to find his way home and slew many monsters and had many adventures along the way. 

First Hatakachafa encountered a horse-sized white wolf, the very first wolf in the world. After fighting, the two were so impressed with each other’s martial skill that they became loyal companions and the wolf let the heroic Choctaw ride him like a horse in their travels.

Hatakachafa’s other adventures included: killing a one- eyed monster terrorizing a forest … slaying a giant eagle that would snatch up babies and devour them in mid- air … destroying an ancient, headless ghost that would tear off the heads of people or animals that crossed its path … driving off Hoklonote’she, a telepathic shape-changer who stalked and preyed on hunters as they did with their quarries … killing a cannibalistic Kashikanchak and its monstrous child  … surviving an encounter with Kashehotapolo, a figure with a shriveled face, the body of a man and the legs and hooves of a deer …  saving children from the Okwa Nahollo, fish-people who live in ponds and streams and who replenish their numbers by pulling children into the water and turning them into fish- people themselves … killing a monstrous black cow (yes, a cow) with red eyes … and slaying an evil medicine man whose lodge was surrounded by ravenous bears, wildcats and alligators on leashes tied to trees.

Returning home one year to the day of his departure Hatakachafa learned that he had been given up for dead and his beloved Imma had immediately died from grief. She had lain down and died atop the pine-choked hill where the two lovers had said goodbye. Hatakachafa and his giant wolf went there and the mighty Choctaw hunter knelt down and let out long, mournful howls over and over again before falling down dead himself.

The wolf sadly imitated the howls of his lost companion before loping off into the night. He would mate with dogs and spawn all the smaller wolves in the world, teaching all of them the melancholy howl of his late Choctaw friend. It is said that for years afterward even the pine trees atop the hill would howl like wolves to commemorate the poignant story. Nanishta welcomed Hatakachafa to the afterlife and many Choctaws would pray to the figure for success in hunting. Imma herself was also canonized and is known as the beautiful idol of warriors, whose successes are dedicated to her.                 

3. CHOCTAW – This eponymous first man and progenitor of the Choctaw people is one of the world’s textbook examples of the worshipped ancestor and founder figure. Choctaw and his brother Chickasaw were the first human beings created by Nanishta when all life forms still dwelt in the grasshopper goddess’ underground world.

Choctaw and Chickasaw eventually led all their people in the exodus of life forms from the underground world, emerging from the world womb at Nanih Waiya. The people began building new homes for themselves around the place of emergence, but Nanishta kept causing the winds to blow down the structures overnight. Even when they tried building homes out of stone the winds simply increased in strength and blew those down, too. 

Nanishta told Choctaw and Chickasaw that he was striking down their structures because they had failed to consult with him on their chosen place to live before beginning construction. He instructed them to plant a sacred red pole before camping for the night at every place they rested. If the pole stood straight up come morning the people would know that the spot was where Nanishta had decreed they could build their homes. If the pole leaned then they were to continue their journey in whichever direction the pole was inclined toward. 

Assuming all this meant that Nanishta did not approve of the land around Nanih Waiya as their home, the people set off without bothering to try the pole where they were already trying to build homes. Led by the brothers Choctaw and Chickasaw the people traveled far and wide for years, their numbers growing due to births along the way. At every stop the sacred pole failed to stay upright come morning and so they journeyed on, for decades. Smaller groups of people grew weary of this nomadic existence and dropped off from the main group, establishing settlements and forming each of the world’s other tribes. 

Generations came and went but Choctaw and Chickasaw, the favorites of Nanishta, still lived and  retained their youthful strength as they led the ongoing migration. At long last their wandering brought them back to the area around Nanih Waiya. Initially despairing, Choctaw then remembered that he and Chickasaw had failed to plant the red pole in the ground before departing the territory way back when. (“D’OH!”)

Naturally this time the sacred pole was still upright come daylight and the people began erecting homes which this time were not blown down by Nanishta. The bones of all the people who had died along the long, long journey were buried in a mound around the lip of the entrance from the world womb at Nanih Waiya ( near present-day Philadelphia, MS).

Choctaw and Chickasaw gave the people all the laws and customs and ways of worshipping the gods. One day Misha Shipokni, “the river older than time” (the Mississippi ), overflowed its banks, flooding much of the area and permanently separating the people under Chickasaw from those under Choctaw. That is why the two tribes are separate to this very day.             

2. HASHTALI – Also called Aba and other names, Hashtali was the sun god of the Choctaw people. Each day he rode his giant buzzard across the sky, but since his brightness was so much more intense than his wife the moon goddess’ was, human eyes were too weak to behold even an outline of him at the center of the brilliant light.

The god’s association with buzzards was part of his role as the psychopomp of the Choctaw pantheon. Dead bodies were laid out in the sun, where Hashtali’s sweltering heat and his familiar buzzards would nibble away at the dead person’s earthly remains. This accomodated the spirit’s journey to the afterlife and left it with no body to return home to even if it was so inclined.

When the spider god Uncta stole flames from the sun in order to provide humans with fire each individual fire ever started anywhere in the world was considered still faithful to Hashtali and reported to him everything that they witnessed. In  this way Hashtali was aware of everything that happened in the world. Choctaw chiefs and statesmen would only conduct affairs of state on sunny days, deeming cloudy days to be signs that the sun god did not want them to convene.  

All the stars in the sky were the daughters of Hashtali and his wife Hvashi. Moonless nights were the nights the moon goddess spent with her husband in his home in the west. The sun god’s greatest enemy was the giant black squirrel who would periodically try to devour him and the giant buzzard he rode. These battles were eclipses and Choctaw mothers would encourage their children to make as much noise as possible during eclipses to help Hashtali drive away his monstrous foe. (This is similar to myths in the Philippines, Vietnam and elsewhere in which noises are made to bring an end to an eclipse) 

One day ages ago Choctaw realized that the only thing he could not yet teach his people was what happened to the sun god at the end of his daily journey. Two braves named Tashka and Walo (brothers of course)  volunteered to follow the sun and find the answer for their revered ancestor. Leaving the area around Nanih Waiya the brothers spent long years following Hashtali by day and sleeping by night. 

Tashka and Walo were both very old men by the time they reached the far western waters which the sun god and his mount dive into each night. Because the two brothers had learned much magic in their journey they were able to walk across the waters (like Nayanazgeni and Tobadzistsini in Navajo myths) and eventually reached the entrance to Hashtali’s home. This entrance was a doorway floating on the waters. Tashka and Walo climbed down through this door in the roof of the sun god’s house. 

Once inside they encountered Hashtali and since it was a moonless night his wife Hvashi was there, too. The couple were startled because no human had ever reached their home before. The two gods questioned Tashka and Walo about their journey and its purpose. In addition Hashtali decided to test the brothers’ worthiness by having his wife boil a huge pot of water and submerging the two elderly men in it. (“My host hath strange notions of hospitality.”) 

After the brothers survived being boiled Hashtali rubbed their skin until it was red and chafed, but still they did not cry out. Judging them worthy he welcomed them to stay overnight and presented them to each of his daughters. Come morning he allowed Tashka and Walo to ride with him on his giant buzzard as they flew out of the other doorway of the sun god’s home, the one that opened on the waters in the east. 

Flying along, Hashtali informed his passengers that he would drop them off at the Choctaw people’s home near Nanih Waiya but that they would die if they ever told anyone about what they had witnessed in the sun god’s house. Tashka and Walo were welcomed back by Choctaw, who hadn’t aged a bit, but when they realized that everyone they had known and loved had died during their decades-long journey to the house of the sun god they decided they did not want to live anymore.

At the huge dinner Choctaw feasted the brothers with that night they told him all about everything they had seen and, as Hashtali had warned, they promptly died. The sun god welcomed them into his celestial court to marry some of his daughters and they were thenceforth worshipped by men, one as the god of the dawn and the other as the god of dusk, to herald the sun’s emergence in the morning and to welcome him home in the evening. Their skin was forever reddened by the boiling and scraping  Hashtali had subjected them to and that is why the sky is often red near sunrise and near sunset. 

1. NANISHTA – Also called Chitokaka, Shilup Chito Osh and other names, this chief deity of the Choctaw pantheon was less active after the initial ages of creation and his role and identity was in some traditions conflated with that of the sun god as time went on. First Nanishta created the sun and the moon, the underground world of the grasshopper goddess and the surface world of the Earth. 

Next he created the plant and animal life forms, then created water for the ducks, geese  and fishes. Then he comingled Earth and water to form the swamplands for the frogs and alligators and put the goddess Abohli in command. Following that he created the brothers Choctaw and Chickasaw. After 70 years of being the only human beings in the underground world the ageless brothers asked Nanishta for mates so that they might multiply like the other life forms. 

Nanishta agreed and used the same yellow clay he had used in creating the other life forms to sculpt the first human women. He gave to each of the women a heart more like his own than the hearts he had  given to Choctaw and Chickasaw and warned the men that since women had his more tender heart they should be treated gently by men and respected by them. (This is probably why the early Choctaw culture was matriarchal, OR it’s a myth coined to justify WHY it was matriarchal) 

The females were little girls, just as Choctaw and Chickasaw had been little boys when they were first created, so Nanishta sang an aging song to accelerate their development so they quickly reached womanhood and could be taken as wives. When those first wives died the ageless brothers Choctaw and Chickasaw took new wives and so on for generations until the human population crowded the underground world so much that Nanishta ordered the mass exodus through the Earth womb at Nanih Waiya. The other Choctaws, both men and women, all had limited lifespans like the first wives of Choctaw and Chickasaw.

Eventually the day came when Nanishta decreed that the people led by Choctaw and Chickasaw should become separate, but still kindred, nations. He caused the Misha Shipokni ( “river older than time”) to overflow its banks in the great autumn flood that drove a wedge between the Choctaw people and the Chickasaw people and forced the Chickasaw to evacuate to higher ground far away. 

The flood was also indirectly responsible for the red feathers on the heads of the birds called tcalantak by the Choctaws. These birds flew so high in their rush to escape the rising water from the overflowing river that they came too close to Hashtali the sun god and their head- feathers were singed, remaining red to this very day.

When Choctaw men and women began marrying people of other races it was warned that Nanishta would cause the children born from such unions to have spotted skin. Once again we are reminded that all of the world’s belief systems contain elements of some form of bigotry.

Nanishta eventually retired into a much less active role, aside from occassional actions like transforming the evil woman Crow into her namesake birds. However, there is a powerful end of the world tradition in Choctaw myths which finds Nanishta back in action. 

There will come a year when Nanishta prevents summer from coming and allows most of the trees to disappear. Days will become shorter. He will cause the hair of all children to turn white as if from old age. The land will become unfarmable causing widespread famine. Nanishta will come back down to the Earth for what is called the Third Removal. He will gather all the Choctaws and Chickasaws who have not abandoned their heritage and begin leading them toward the mountains, where game animals of all kinds have already been evacuated to.

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

Along the way the Choctaw people will begin crying, like so many did on the Trail of Tears long ago. (It wasn’t just the Cherokee who were forced on the Trail of Tears like most people think. The Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles  and  Muskogee tribes were also involved) Nanishta will transform those falling tears into a flood that will kill all the other people of the world. The Choctaws and Chickasaws will be safe in the mountains but everyone else will die trying to reach higher ground. When the flood waters subside the Choctaws and Chickasaws will come back down to repopulate the Earth while nature heals itself to the point where the land is as lush and green as it was centuries ago.


© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Filed under Mythology


  1. Rose

    Wow, this by far is my favorite of your mythology postings. I will think of Hatakachafa now whenever I hear a wolf howling.

  2. Really cool article! Luv the detail which is deeper than any other online Choctaw myths page. Luv the way u make it clear ur not a brain-dead liberal or a brain-dead conservative! Big ups, dude!

  3. Wow what a great post. The story of Hatakachafa and Imma will haunt me forever

    • Thank you Jo! And your special post is still coming!

      • Yippee…just talked someone in to naming their clay oxen…wait for it…”Hatakachafa and Imma”

        Hoping I get to be Godmother…I think I should don’t you ???? So how do you actually pronouce those names Ed ???

        Check ’em out…they are so cute.

        I’d make an excellent clay oxen Godmother.

      • LOL Buckshot, you are such a character! Thanks for thinking of the Choctaw myths and talking your friend into using those names. And yes, they had better let you be godmother in my opinion. Those pics are adorable!

        They’re pronounced Ha- tawk – uh- chuh- fuh for the man and Im- muh, with no accent on either syllable, for the woman.

        You are the best , Jo!

  4. Pingback: Popular Myth-Conceptions: Subverting Mythology to Enrich Your Campaign | Game Knight Reviews

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  6. Pingback: On Fathers Day to Celebrate The Children’s Fire and The Father Sky. 2012 | Gold Within

  7. I have fallen in love with this article! I think it is the best one since the Inuit one.

  8. Wonderful to learn about these gods and goddesses!

  9. Excellent article! You make these myths sound so good I wish people would make movies out of them!

  10. Sarah B.

    Could you tell me where you found your source information? I’ve been trying to do research into the original mythology but information is sorely lacking it seems.

    • I know what you mean! I had to do some heavy digging! I’ve got over 100 first time commentors to catch up on so I’ll post a list of my source books here at this post later today or tomorrow or so! Just keep checking back and it will be here! Thanks!

  11. Gretta

    Magnificent stuff! luved these new goddesses!

  12. You always have such wonderful out of the way listings! This is the best article I’ve ever read about Choctaw mythology.

  13. What a wonderfully written article! This really got me interested in Choctaw myths.

  14. This was brilliant! I could read a whole book about Choctaw myths by you.

  15. The moon goddess is my favorite!

  16. Alicia

    Very interesting. Could you post one about the Creek (Muskogee) gods and goddesses?

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  18. Hello! I’m packing in so much info from so many sources that it’s taking longer than I thought to complete the Muskogee Creek . In the meantime here’s two more entries on Choctaw deities –

  19. u make these myths so interesting! I could read ur blog articles on gods and goddeses all day long

  20. That flood of tears myth stays with u

  21. Fascinating look at forgotten myths!

  22. Abohli was my favorite!

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  24. u make so many goddesses that have been forgotten better known. I hope they bless u 4 it

  25. I could have used more feminine divinities but this was very interesting!

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  27. Very nice mythical sagas from the Choctaw!

  28. Ur an incredible blogger! I deeply admire this Choctaw post and can’t get enough of ur mythology posts!

  29. Incredible post! u r like a modern-day Homer!

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  31. Sara

    You don’t have Oklahoma shaded on the map even though the south east is Choctaw territory. Do the myths reflect this too (ie: are these primarily Mississippi based myths or did they go with the Oklahoma Choctaw as well)? Very interesting reading though I’m also wondering about sources – thank you!

    • Hello! Some of the myths went ot Oklahoma with them, but with all the negative connotations to the forced relocation to OK I went with a map that instead showed where they themselves had naturally settled.

      I forgot all about the person who asked for sources til you said that! I promise I will add my list of source books within the next few days.

  32. LIST OF SOURCE BOOKS FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ASKED – Legends of Nanih Waiya — History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians — Choctaw Tales — Choctaw Genesis — The Choctaw Robin Goodfellow (article) — Choctaw Spirit Tales: Tribal Folklore, Legend and Myth — Choctaw Folklore — A Choctaw Migration Legend — Choctaw Tales and Legends — Nanih Waiya — The Second Choctaw Removal — Choctaw Myths — Sun Worship in the American Southeast — American Folklore: An Encyclopedia — Analysis of the Cosmological Myths of the Indigenous American Tribes (article)

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  34. Galilee Mills

    100% corn oil is self -applied to my body,early, every morning. I call it my Sun Goddess ritual. Now, after reading about OHOYOCHISBA – The Choctaw corn goddess.,I am very pleased. (Chief Coleman Cole was my great-grandfather’s great-grandfather! I wondered about that, “Great Spirit” as being too compact for the People. Thank you.

    • Thank you very much for this nice comment! I shed light on the actual pantheons of the Iroquois, Navajo, Muscogee Creek, Inuit and Hawaiians as well.

      That is very interesting about your ancestor!

  35. I really enjoyed this! Especiall Hatakachaffa

  36. Ivan

    I love your mythology posts. I would like to know more on the Hopi gods and I am still stuck with kachinas and lack of lore.

    • Thank you! Okay, the Hopi myths are one of the many pantheons I have been preparing and its in draft form now. I will focus on it and try to have it completed and up within the next 3-4 weeks.

  37. You could certainly see your love of this subkject! I really liked the hunting god.

  38. When someone writes an article he/she maintains the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand
    it. Thus that’s why this post is perfect. Thanks!

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  40. *** A commenter we’ll call N.G. to spare them embarrassment left a very immature and pointlessly sarcastic comment. I think they were just being a troll but just in case they weren’t I will address the issues they raised in case other, more mature people are wondering the same things.

    * Anybody can claim to be 100% whatever they want on the internet. I have no way of knowing if this individual really is. The fact that they claim that they never heard of any of these stories would indicate they are NOT what they claimed.

    * My many source books for this blog post are listed above. Many of those books were written by people who REALLY WERE Choctaws or who heard these tales from people who REALLY WERE Choctaws. When myths survive in largely oral format for so long before being committed to writing there are often variations or entire stories one particular person has not heard.

    That is not remarkable. For example just being born Greek doesn’t mean someone will automatically know ALL Greek myths or be as well-versed in the Orphic Hymns as they are in the Homeric Hymns.

    So a claim of blood, even IF it’s true does not make the bearer an automatic authority on every aspect of their people’s belief system. A full-blooded Greek person dismissing the Orphic variations of Greek mythology as “inauthentic” just because they personally are not familiar with them would be just as silly as N.G. is being.

    * N.G. made a big deal of announcing that Hatakachafa meant “one man”, not “one man alone” or its variants. N.G. is also showing their lack of familiarity with the way language works. “One man”, One Man Alone”, “One Solitary Man” and any other variations I referred to were used interchangeably by the Choctaws who wrote or were the sources of the many books I listed above.

    To even pretend there is a huge difference in those terms is silly and made me even more sure that N.G. might be a troll or very immature. Besides, there was a polite way to say every single thing N.G. said in their comment and the way they immediately resorted to snarkiness was counterproductive.

  41. this article is awesome!

  42. mike

    Which area tribes do theae stories relate to. Do you have references for the materials you used to get these myths?

  43. Halley

    Do you now the religion for Choctaw people and in ten years old


  45. Different gods and goddeses from all over the world are always so fascinating!

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  49. Mark

    I’m interested in the Ishkitini, or the horned owl, was believed to prowl about at night killing men and animals. (copied from Wiki) anyway, I’ve actually seen one of these creatures and had it fly right over my head. I’m only part Choctaw, but easily recognized what this was. it looked just like a regular horned owl, but was easily 3-4 feet tall and al least as big around.
    It scared the crap out of me! As it flew over (about 12ft in altitude) it was completely silent but I could feel the wind from it’s wings. It Flew out of a barn we were building and about 100 yards to a tree by our pond and perched for what seemed like several minutes while I stared and watched. it then flew out of sight. I would estimate it’s wingspan was between 12 to 15 feet. I know that sounds crazy, but I really did see it. If you’ve heard of any other actual accounts of this creature I would like to research them.
    Thanks Mark

    • Hello! Thank you for commenting!

      I spent a couple hours searching through some of my books on American Mythology and Cryptozoology and unfortunately did not come across any other sightings of this particular figure.
      I found plenty under Piasa Bird sightings but many of those came from areas of Illinois and seem connected to the Marquette Monster that was taken from Native American lore.

      Hope you can find more info on it!

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  51. as an adolescent in Michigan the names Choctaw and Chickasaw fascinated my young mind, how mysterious and far away the names sounded. like the mysteries of the heavens, how the vastness came to be i wonder how these stories of deities in Choctaw mythology, Greek, Navajo, and similars came about. writers at heart just no modern convenience to note them?

  52. Thank you for sharing these stories. I’m a Sakti-Houma Choctaw and this brings me closer to my ancestors. I also appreciate your indigenous-centrist perspective when writing on indigenous subjects. A lot of history and written recordings of Indigenous culture have been skewed by a Euro-centrist perspective and it affects our cultural identity as children and colors a negative picture of our people, culture and history. I remind myself daily that my people’s history didn’t start when Europeans invaded and this has helped me greatly to better appreciate my true culture.

  53. The sun god and moon goddess are my favorite!

  54. Edwin

    Great idea. Print it off and post it next to your computer so that you never run out of ideas on how to build up your social media empire ??

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  57. Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thank you

  58. Doing some research on Greek Mythology I was led back to Ferlin Husky’s old song “Wings of a Dove” written by Bob Ferguson back in 1958. Bob was also a Choctaw historian. Shall read all of this soon after a brief scan and I’m sure a reread. Retention at my old age is difficult at times. Thanks for the information.

  59. I like the tears flooding the world part.

  60. You have a real talent for making these myths stay with you.

  61. Kimberly

    What deities or spirit…comforts people while sick…take things..and sets at ones foot of the bed..and throws things




  65. Reed

    That end of the world myth is chilling.

  66. ASHmellow

    This was amazing. The notes at the end of myth-cliché sentences were quite funny. The writing itself is mystical and modern at the same time. You’ve re-interested me in mythology, and I thank you very much for that.

  67. Stephanie

    Choctaw myths are so interesting!

  68. Jane

    Fantastic presentation of my people’s beliefs! Thank you!

  69. Henry

    You messed up the name of will o wisps, the Na Lisa Falaya are demons, literal shadow creatures that will eat your soul, the will o wisps are Hashok Okwa Hui’ga

  70. Dylan

    This is amazing stuff!! Thank you so much for the research you’ve done and the time you’ve put into sharing this information. Did you find any resources about the Choctaw people’s horned serpent diety Sint-Holo?

    • Thank you very much for the kind words! No, I did not happen upon that information, I’m afraid.

      • Max

        I’ve been transfixed by your description of Hatakachafa, and have been trying to research it. Is there any chance you could point me in the right direction of where to read more about that story?

      • Sorry for the late reply. My list of Choctaw books are here in these comments. Some elements of Hatakachafa come from some of those books, other elements from others. This many years later I’m afraid I don’t remember which exact book had which exact elements.

  71. gwengrant

    Such very beautiful and comprehensive myths. They must make you joyful.

  72. The wealth of information on your site is incredible. Such an interesting read!

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