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Native American Legends and Stories About The Great Spirit

"The Great Spirit" is the English translation of the name of the creator god in many Native American traditions, particularly Algonquian and Siouan tribes. Since Algonquian tribes were the first Native American cultures encountered by English speakers, "Great Spirit" became a common term referring to Native American creator deities in general, and was also frequently used as the word for "God" in translations of Christian texts into Native American languages. Indeed, many Native American people consider the Great Spirit and the Christian God to be one and the same. Other Native American people are less receptive to this idea, believing that today's notion of the Great Spirit was mostly constructed by missionaries. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle-- many Native American tribal traditions definitely did include some form of Great Spirit in their creation myths and religious rituals, but some tribes never had such traditions until after colonization. And in other tribes, while there had always been the belief in a Great Spirit or Great Mystery that provided order to the spiritual world, this belief system became significantly altered after contact with Christianity and modern conceptions of the Native American Great Spirit may not be a very accurate representation of the original Native spirituality.

Native American Names For The Great Spirit

Above Old Man (Wiyot Indian Great Spirit)
Apistotoke (Blackfoot Great Spirit)
Caddi-Ayo (Caddo Great Spirit)
Chebbeniathan (Arapaho Great Spirit)
Gici Niwaskw (Abenaki Great Spirit)
Gitchi Manitou (Ojibwe Great Spirit)
Ha-Wen-Neyu (Huron Indian Great Spirit)
Kisulkw (Micmac Indian Great Spirit)
Ketanitowet (Lenape Indian Great Spirit)
Maheo (Cheyenne Indian Great Spirit)
Orenda (Iroquois Indian Great Spirit)
Sky-Chief (Carib Indian Great Spirit)
Spider of Heaven (Gros Ventre Great Spirit)
Tirawa Atius (Pawnee Indian Great Spirit)
Utakke (Carrier Great Spirit)
Wakantanka (Sioux Indian Great Spirit)
Wakonda (Omaha Indian Great Spirit)

Native American Stories About The Great Spirit

*The Great Spirit and the Creation:
    Mythology about the Ottawa Indian Creator god, Gizhemanidoo (Great Spirit.)
*Abenaki Creation Story * Kloskurbeh and the Great Spirit:
    Abenaki stories about the creation of the world by Gici Niwaskw (the Great Spirit.)
*The Creator Visits:
    Micmac story about the Great Spirit Kisuklw blessing a poor family for their hospitality.
*Wunzh, Father of Indian Corn * Mon-Daw-Min * The Legend of Indian Corn:
    Ojibwe legends about the Great Spirit sending corn to the Native Americans.
*The Origin of Tobacco:
    Potawatomi story about the American Indian Great Spirit teaching an elder the secrets of tobacco.
*Wakan Tanka of the Plains People:
    Article about the Plains Indian Great Spirit.
*Nipmuc Creation Story:
    Nipmuc legend about the Muskrat helping the Great Spirit to create the earth.
*Grandmother's Creation Story:
    Cree legend about the Great Spirit making the first animals and the first people.
*The Great Spirit and the Humans:
    Chickasaw myth about the Great Spirit assigning the elements different roles to play in the lives of men and women.
*The Great Medicine Dance:
    Cheyenne tale about the Great Spirit teaching a medicine man the mysteries of the Sundance.
*Faith:
    Oral history from a Cree elder illustrating traditional beliefs about the Native American Great Spirit.

Recommended Books about the Great Spirit in Native American Mythology

Manitou and God:
    Interesting book on the similarities and differences between Algonquian and European views of God.

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