Native American Indian languages
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Native American Horned Serpents of Myth and Legend
Horned serpents are a type of mythological freshwater serpent common to many tribes of the eastern United States and Canada.
Horned serpent legends vary somewhat from tribe to tribe, but they are usually described as huge, scaly, dragon-like serpents with
horns and long teeth. Sometimes they move about on the land, but are more often found in lakes and rivers.
The ubiquity of horned serpent stories in this region has led some people to speculate that they are based on a real animal
(such as some sort of now-extinct giant crocodile.) However, in Native American myths and legends, horned serpents are
usually very supernatural in character-- possessing magical abilities such as shape-shifting, invisibility, or hypnotic powers;
bestowing powerful medicine upon humans who defeat them or help them; controlling storms and weather, and so on-- and
were venerated as gods or spirit beings in some tribes. And unlike other animals such as crocodiles and snakes, horned serpents
are not included in common Woodland Indian folktales about the animal kingdom. So it is likely that horned serpents have
always been viewed as mythological spirits, not as animals, and that belief in them was simply very widespread in the eastern
part of the country. Indeed, horned serpent mythology may trace back to ancestors of Eastern Native American tribes such as
the Hopewell, Mississippian, and other mound-builder civilizations, as stylized serpent motifs have been found in their
earthworks and artifacts which bear some resemblance to the horned serpents of historical Native American tribes.
Native American Horned Serpents from Various Tribes
Big Water Snake (Blackfoot)
Horned Serpent Stories
Encyclopedia article about horned serpents in the folklore of various Native American tribes.
Champy, the Canadian Lake Monster Champ and Other Local Legends Champ History From Ancient Times:
Articles about the Abenaki Indian horned serpent Tatoskog and its connection to the modern folk monster Champ.
Jipijka'm and Weewillmekq':
Stories about Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Indian horned serpents.
Iyash and the Horned Serpent:
Severn Ojibwe legend about the Horned Serpent and the Thunderbirds.
Potawatomi legend about a battle between a thunderbird and a horned serpent.
Overview of Shawnee oral traditions, including two tales of the Great Horned Serpent.
Shawnee story about a woman who unwittingly married a Great Horned Serpent.
The Deserted Children:
Gros Ventre legend about a horned serpent who helped two children escape from an ghost-witch.
The Warrior That Ate The Horned Snake:
Blackfoot legend about a man who offended the Horned Snakes and was turned into one as punishment.
Recommended Books Including Stories About Horned Serpents
Lake Monster Mysteries:
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Interesting book considering the origin of lake-monster stories in Native American and other world mythology.
Encyclopedia of Lake and River Monsters:
A thorough reference book on horned serpents and other water-serpent monsters in all corners of the world.
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