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: https://glitternight.com/inuit-myth/
For Navajo myths: https://glitternight.com/navajo-myth-clear/
For Hawaiian myths: https://glitternight.com/hawaiian-myth/
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 Continue reading