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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Some Little People Across North America

Hi dear friends and followers.
I have pieced and rewritten some parts of the history on North American Native legends of the Little people here for you. 
I hope you find it as interesting as I have. Have a great read and if you wish to ask any questions or offer any Ideas I would be pleased to accommodate you as best I can

Some Little People Across North America

Just as fae-folk and elfin creatures existed in the mythologies and folklore across Europe, similar creatures are a part of traditional folk custom all around the world. The North American continent is full of these stories, and they are just as unique and varied as the unique regional tales found across Europe.

From East to West, Native American tribes told stories of Little People, and some claim to see them today! Many of the stories show similarities to Irish leprechaun tales, leading some early researchers to believe that that stories seeped into Native culture from early Irish immigrants. This has been proven false, however. It is now understood that these stories are indigenous to the Americas and independent of European influence.

What follows here is a collection of stories from three sources: Charlie Perry, Haskell University, Lawrence, Kansas; the HubPages Blog of Carolyn Emerick; and the author, Mabel Powers. Also used: Wikipedia Article, Early Localization Native Americans NY.

Native Culture: Little People.

By Charlie Perry

There are many different and unique things that make a Native American, from rich histories to deeply rooted traditions, and tribal cultures. Some tribal traditions are very much the same, while others differ greatly. With that being said I will be writing an occasional analysis of traditions and folklore that many Native tribes share in an attempt to illustrate that though we may be of different tribes, we are still one great people.

Since I’ve been at Haskell I’ve actively discussed many different cultural viewpoints with fellow students from a wide variety of tribes, spanning from the blue, ever flowing waters of the Great Lakes, to the rocky and rich soils of the Southwest. My peers share many different views on life and what it is to be a Native American, yet one thing they all are akin to is their standing belief in the existence of Little People.

Little People are in essence small fairy like creatures, or in some case dwarf like, that share many of the same features of humans. They span from eight inches to four feet in height and dress in a quaint Native traditional fashion. Little People live in hiding as they stand ever vigilant over their individual tribes, helping to ward off evil spirits and disease. They are also geared towards a bit of mischief at times towards adult Natives, such as hiding objects and whispering in a Native dreamer’s ear to influence their journey through the dream world. The Little People’s paramount objective is the protection and well-being of children and they will become violent with anyone who threatens or attempts harm to a child.

There have been thousands of sightings and stories from all walks of Native life over the last few hundred years involving these fairly-like protectors.

One such story from the Mohegans tells of a great storm ripping through the surrounding forests causing much destruction and sickness. In the midst of the chaos a Mohegan woman heard a knock at her door. Upon opening it she bore witness to a tiny man who was in urgent need of help for his wife. Thinking this was just a child playing a game, the Mohegan woman followed the little man deep into the forest where they eventually found his home. Walking through the small house to find a small sick lady, the Mohegan woman knew that in fact she was in the presence of Little People. Tending the wounds of the little woman was successful. Very pleased, the little man blindfolded the woman and led her back to her camp. Over the course of the next few days the woman would open her door to find many small gifts as thanks for her charitable service in time of great need.

Another such story from the Menomini Tribe tells of a little man who looks much like a human being standing three to four feet high who turns invisible at will. He has one purpose: to bring slumber to those he encounters. When dusk comes he begins his work, staring at a person they cannot help but fall asleep. For those who are already in their beds, he softly hits them in the head with a pillow, starting with babies and moving forward to the older people. He is called the Master of the Night and it is said that those who feel his strike will live a very long life. This story may seem familiar to many of us and is most likely the basis of what most Americans know today as the "Sandman.”

The most famous story of a Little People encounter was passed down from the legendary Crow chief Plenty Coups (Aleek-chea-ahoosh). Plenty Coups tells a tale happening to him shortly after his brother, a great and noble warrior, was killed in battle by raiding Lakotas when Plenty Coups was nine years old. Feeling much heartache for his lost brother, Aleek-chea-ahoosh fasted for four days, used the sweat lodge, rubbed his body with sage and cedar and ventured into the nearby hills to have a vision.

In this vision he encountered the chief of the Little People who took him into a spirit-world lodge and showed him all the beauty of nature. The little chief demanded Plenty Coups count his great deeds, yet he was but nine years old and had no great deeds to count. The little chief made it clear to Plenty Coups he would accomplish two great deeds for his people among many others. One of which was that he would become chief of his people if he used his wits. The other was that Plenty Coups would help deliver his people from pain and suffering brought on by settlers. Upon returning to his tribe Plenty Coups now had a clear mind and a clear mission.

When Plenty Coups was eleven he had his second and most influential vision involving the little chief. After fasting for two days and walking the Bear Tooth Mountains hoping for a vision, he found none. He returned home a few days later where he cut off the tip of his left index finger as an offering to the spirit world. That night the chief of the Little People came to him in a dream where he was introduced to a buffalo that turned into a man with buffalo like features (the buffalo-man) who led him underground, down tunnels towards the Pryor Mountains of present day Montana. Plenty Coups saw many great bison coming out of the tunnels only to disappear into the light.

A voice told Aleek-chea-ahoosh that the time of the Plains Indians was ending and that the white man would swarm over the land like buffalo and the only way to survive the change would be to listen to the Earth. Plenty Coups did just that securing the land seen in his vision around the Pryor Mountains and holding it for the Crow people to this very day.

Physical remains of little human like people have been reportedly found in numerous locations around the United States, particularly Montana and Wyoming. They have also been uncovered in Southwestern states such as Arizona and New Mexico. They are usually described as being “perfectly formed” and dwarf-sized, helping to contribute to public belief in the existence of groups of a little prehistoric people. Though some are elaborate hoaxes or deemed mummified children, other discoveries to this day cannot be explained.

Many Americans look at Little People as no more than a fairy tale. In this day and age of I-pads and smart phones it’s usually deemed silly to believe in magic. Yet we as a Native people are much different. Not only do we all believe in Mother Earth and Father Sky alongside the spirit world, we actively pay homage and invite magic into our cultures and lives. Being a Native in itself is magic regardless of tribal affiliation. So if you see a Little Person don’t be afraid because we are one of the few that has our eyes open enough to do so.


The Haudenosaunee People

Most readers are familiar with the Iroquois but many people do not know that "Iroquois" is a name that was given to them by Europeans. Today, these people prefer to use the word from their own language for themselves: Haudenosaunee, which means "People of the Long House."

The Iroquois Confederacy was originally formed when five smaller nations, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas (becoming the Six Nations in the 18th century when the Tuscarora migrated back north to New York) united with a goal to peacefully solve conflict. It is known as the first democracy in North America. They held a wide range of land mainly in New York, and thus have a very diverse and rich tradition of myths and legends.

Iroquois Little People

Stories about "Little People" are quite often found in many collections of Iroquois folk tales. Haudenosaunee Little People are called Jogah, and these fairy-like nature spirits come in several different categories.

One type are the Gahongas, which means Stone Throwers or Stone Rollers, who live in rocky places such as caves and riverbeds. Though they are only three to four feet tall, they are incredibly strong and can rip a tall tree straight out of its roots. Rockfalls, and other natural events that move the earth, are said to be caused by them.

A friendly form of nature spirit are the Gandayah. Their name means "Drum Dancers," which is due to the fact that they are invisible, so the only way that the Iroquois people knew of their presence was by the sound of their drums. If the Gandayah are pleased, they will help the Iroquois farmers, and crops will grow more successfully. They are guardians of nutritious plants, such as fruit and grains.

The third type of Little People in Iroquois lore are the Ohdows. They are similar to dwarves in European folklore in that they live underground. Their job is to keep underground creatures like snakes, and more fearsome creatures of legend, under control.

A Jogah Fairy Tale

How the Jogah Wove Their Magic – Carolyn Emerick Hub Pages Blog

Once upon a time there was a young Haudenosaunee girl who was very sad, indeed. The girl was forced to live with her wicked aunt and uncle after the Great Spirit had taken her mother and father out of this world. Her relatives did not want her,and so they were very cruel, often sending her to bed without a meal, only giving her scraps. One day, her uncle brought home a large deer from the hunt. But, as her aunt began preparations for a feast, she told the girl to get out! The poor girl was told there was no room in the lodge and there would be no meat left for her. She ran from the lodge into a cornfield and

began to cry.

Suddenly, Little People emerged from the cornstalks and began to surround the girl, comforting her. "Dear Earth Child, do not cry!" said one little person, stroking the girl's head. "We know the reason for your sadness for we watch over all the children of the Earth. Come with us, for we have a great feast prepared! We will show you wonderful things that you have never imagined, and we will take care of you."

The girl dried her eyes and smiled for the first time in ages. "Who are you, who are so very kind to me?" she asked just as they wrapped the girl in a warm, yet invisible, blanket. Slipping winged moccasins on their tiny feet, they replied "we are the Jogah! And we will show you our world!"

One of the Little People placed an enchanted corn plume in her hair. Suddenly the little girl shrank to the same size as the Jogah, and then they all lifted up into the air! Over the village and into the wilderness lands they flew until they reached a rocky ledge. Two great boulders rolled away to reveal the entrance to the great lodge of the Jogah. The fragrance of freshly baked bread and roasting meat made the Earth Girl's stomach growl. The kind Jogah mothers had prepared a feast in her honor.

The little girl had not been treated with such kindness since she lost her parents. After she had eaten her fill, the Jogah chief approached her. The girl said to him, "Your people are so kind to me. And, I am amazed by their powers! Can you go wherever, and do whatever you wish?" she asked the Chief.

The Jogah Chief said to Earth Girl, "Yes, although we are small, our strength is large. Come with us so we can show you what wonders we can do!" And with that, he took her hand and they again lifted into the air.

With a small host of Little People, Earth Girl and the Chief flew back to her village. At first, the girl worried as they neared the longhouse of her cruel aunt and uncle. But then she realized that she trusted these Little People, for they were so kind to her.

It was now nighttime, and the village was fast asleep. The girl could see the deer hung outside of the longhouse. The Chief pointed to the deer and said, "We can speak to our wolf friends, and will tell them there is a fat, tasty deer just waiting to be eaten. What a surprise your wicked relatives will have tomorrow when the food for their feast is gone!" The little girl furrowed her brows in thought. It had been years since any wolves had been seen in these woods. But, with a signal from the Little People, a pack of wolves came out of the woods and ran straight toward the deer! Within moments the deer was torn to shreds and the meat was completely gone. As the girl returned to the Jogah lodge, she wished that she could live with them forever.

A few days had passed when the Jogah Chief approached Earth Girl again. "Now that you have rested, are you ready to see more wonders?" Of course she said yes.

The Chief took the girl to the creekside where a tiny canoe was waiting. They rowed until the creek met the river, and continued on for some time. When the Chief brought them ashore, the girl saw that they were approaching a gigantic tree.

"A great black bear lives within this tree," said the Chief. Earth Girl looked up and saw a doorway up high on the trunk. "I will use my magic to lock that door so the bear cannot come out. And then I will send a deep sleep upon him. Black Bear will sleep soundly for many moons until the Spring comes." And with those words, the Chief threw a stone at the bear's tree. The stone burst into a flame that spread over the door like a blanket, but did not burn the wood. He did this again, and then a third time. Earth Girl heard the bear roar from inside the tree and claw at the door. But, after the third stone, there was silence.

The Chief spoke again. "Our friend, Black Bear, will now sleep peacefully through the winter. Come, Earth Girl, let us continue our journey." Back in the canoe, the girl felt an invisible blanket beside her, and wrapped it tightly about her shoulders for the cold winds were beginning to blow.

"That is not all I have to show you," said the Chief. With a wave of his hands, the invisible sails on the canoe stretched out wide . The little girl was surprised when the canoe began to rise into the air, and soon they were flying with the birds. The birds were very friendly with the Jogah, and they called out for a race. "Let's go!" cried the Chief, and the canoe shot through the sky like lightning! The canoe was faster than them all, even the eagle could not catch them! She was having so much fun, the little girl wished she could be a Little Person and live with the Jogah forever.

Then the magical canoe began to drift lower and descend to land. The Jogah Chief brought little Earth Girl back to the cornfield near her home. "I don't want to go back!" Earth Girl cried. The Chief hushed her and said, "Do not be afraid, Earth Girl. Your aunt and uncle have been very worried about you. They saw the remains of the deer and feared that the wolves had dragged you away from your village. We have softened their hearts and heard them pray for the Great Spirit to bring you home." They both stepped out of the canoe and the Jogah Chief gave her a hug before returning her to her right size.

The little girl walked slowly toward her village with sadness in her heart. She did not want to leave the Jogah and was afraid to return to her wicked family. How surprised she was when her aunt came running to greet her! All fear and sadness left Earth Girl's heart as she was swept up in her aunt's arms. "We were so worried about you! Where have you been?"

The little girl never told her aunt and uncle about her adventures with the Jogah. But, she was much happier at home now and her aunt and uncle treated her with love and kindness for the rest of their days.

This story was adapted from "How The Fairies Worked Their Magic" from 'Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children' by Mabel Powers. The story above is retold in my own words.

Thank you dear friends for reading this post. It is about believing, do you believe my dear?.

With love from the Fairy Lady

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