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Legendary Native American Figures: Iktomi (Inktomi)
Also spelled: Inktomi, Iktome, Unktomi
Tribal affiliation: Sioux
Pronunciation: usually eek-toh-mee, although there are other dialect variants
Also known as: Spider-Man
Type: Trickster, spider
Related figures in other tribes: Veeho (Cheyenne),
Nihansan (Arapaho), Nihant (Gros Ventre)
Iktomi is the trickster figure of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Sioux tribes. The name "Iktomi" literally means "spider,"
and he is sometimes called Spider or Spider-Man in English, but he is usually depicted as a human man in Sioux legends.
Like many Plains Indian trickster figures, Iktomi is a negative role model who behaves as socially inappropriately as
possible by Sioux standards. Most Sioux stories about Iktomi are consequently very funny, ranging from light-hearted
fables about buffoonish behavior to ribald jokes. But sometimes Iktomi's misbehavior is more serious
and violent, and the stories become cautionary tales about the dangers of the world.
Iktome and Rabbit Boy:
Lakota Indian legend about Iktome unsuccessfully trying to murder a powerful young hero.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Iktomi and the Ducks:
Lively retelling of a Sioux tale about the trickster Iktomi outwitting a group of gullible ducks.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
Great compilation of more than a hundred Iktomi and other trickster stories from many different tribes.
Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.
Singing for a Spirit
Lakota and Dakota legends
Minnesota Indian tribes
Plains Indian cultures
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