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Legendary Native American Figures: Deer Woman (Deer Lady)



Name: Deer Woman
Tribal affiliation: Potawatomi, Creek, Omaha, Ponca
Also known as: Deer Lady, Deer-Woman, Deerwoman
Type: Deer spirit, monster, shape-shifter

Deer Woman is a deer spirit of the eastern Woodlands and Central Plains tribes, associated with fertility and love. Like many Native American animal spirits, Deer Woman is sometimes depicted in animal form, other times in human form, and sometimes as a mixture between the two. Although Deer Woman was usually considered a benign spirit who might help women conceive children, some stories portray her as a more dangerous being who might seduce men, especially adulterous or promiscuous men, and either lead them to their deaths or leave them to pine away from lovesickness.

Among contemporary Native American people of Oklahoma, Deer Woman often plays a "bogeyman" sort of role, said to trample incautious people to death, especially girl-crazy young men or disobedient children. Some people say that this more violent version of Deer Woman is actually a human woman who either transformed into a deer after being raped, or was brought back to life by the original Deer Woman spirit after being murdered. Others say she is the same old Deer Woman, and just has a few good reasons to be in a worse mood these days!

Deer Woman Stories

*Deer Woman and the Living Myth of the Dreamtime:
    Interesting article by a Native author on the mythology of the Deer Woman.
*Deer Lady:
    Wikipedia article with an overview of the Deer Woman legend.
*The Deer Woman:
    Collection of a few Deer Lady stories.
*The Deer Women:
    Hitchiti Indian legend about a man who married two Deer-Women.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror:
    Horror stories about Native American monsters, told by an Abenaki Indian storyteller.

Additional Resources

 Potawatomi stories
 Omaha myths
 Creek words
 Oklahoma Indian tribes
 Southeastern Woodland tribes



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