It's day 2 of my celebration week and Tina Ferraro is up!
Like many Americans, my family hails from several countries. Mostly European, but my maternal grandfather had been part American Indian. My mother didn’t know much about his background--he had died when she was young and they’d lost contact with that side of the family--but she told me what she thought to be the tribal name.
Years passed, and I became curious about my Indian roots. I researched the tribal name my mother told me, but found that tribe had never lived anywhere near her hometown. So I made some phone calls, and found a relative who told me with certainty that the tribe was the Sauk and Fox. I checked the history on this tribe, and yes, they had originally resided in the exact Illinois/Iowa area.
From there, I proceed to learn all I could about the tribe, and to try to make their history feel like part of my own. In fact, the Sauk and Fox have a reservation in Oklahoma now, with annual reunions in July, and one of these days you might catch me attending!
In the meantime, Id love to share a legend relayed by the Sauk chief, Black Hawk, who made his name by leading a band of warriors against the U.S. forces (including a soldier named Abraham Lincoln). This is from his 1833 autobiography (with thanks to www.native-languages.org):
I will relate the manner in which corn first came. According to tradition handed down to our people, a beautiful woman was seen to descend from the clouds, and alight upon the earth, by two of our ancestors who had killed a deer, and were sitting by a fire roasting a part of it to eat. They were astonished at seeing her, and concluded that she was hungry and had smelt the meat. They immediately went to her, taking with them a piece of the roasted venison. They presented it to her, she ate it, telling them to return to the spot where she was sitting at the end of one year, and they would find a reward for their kindness and generosity. She then ascended to the clouds and disappeared. The men returned to their village, and explained to the tribe what they had seen, done and heard, but were laughed at by their people. When the period had arrived for them to visit this consecrated ground, where they were to find a reward for their attention to the beautiful woman of the clouds, they went with a large party, and found where her right hand had rested on the ground corn growing, where the left hand had rested beans, and immediately where she had been seated, tobacco.
I think this is a wonderful way to explaining the arrival of crops, from the beautiful woman, to the hunters returning with a large party as witnesses. Almost makes me wonder if my own gift for storytelling didn’t derive from my American Indian roots.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look at Sauk and Fox legend, and many thanks to Yan for giving me the opportunity to present it.
Tina was generous enough to offer a copy of her latest book The ABC's of Kissing Boys!
1. +1 entry for commenting on this post
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This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway! It will end on February 14th! Please leave a way for me to contact you as well.
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