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Legendary Native American Figures: Flint (Tawiscara, Hahgwehdaetgan, Warty)

Name: Flint
Tribal affiliation: Iroquois, Huron, Anishinabe
Native names: Tawiscara, Tawiskara, Tawiscaron, Tawiskarong, Tawiskala, Tawiscala, Thawiskaron, Tawis-karong, Taweskare, Tawiskalu, Tawiskaru, Tawisara, Taweskara, Tawiskaron, Tawihskaron, Tawihskare, Awiscaron, Ta'weh-ska'roongk, Ta'we-ska'roongk, Ta-wehskah-sooh-nyk, Ta'we-ska'reh, Tah-weh-skah-reh, Sawiskera; Hahgwehdaetgan, Hawgwehdaetgah, Ma-Negoategeh; Othagwenda, Otragwenda; Chakekenapok, Chokanipok, Mikwam
Also known as: Warty, Bad Mind, Bad Spirit, Left-Handed Twin
Type: Evil spirit, stone
Related figures in other tribes: Malsum (Wabanaki)

In many Iroquoian and some Algonquian legends, the culture hero has a twin brother or younger brother named Flint who killed their mother in childbirth, usually by intentionally cutting his way out rather than waiting to be born. In Iroquois stories this spirit is often malevolent and goes on to create hardships for humans and fight with his brother. In Algonquian legends, the character of Flint does not generally commit any further crimes or problems other than the death of his mother. In many tribes, Flint is associated with winter, night, and death.

In Iroquois mythology, Flint (Tawiscara or Tawiskaron in the Iroquois languages) is one of the twin grandsons of the mother goddess Sky Woman. He is often, though not always, associated with evil, like the Bad Spirit or Evil Mind of the Cayugas. Flint's brother is the creator god Sky-Holder. Sometimes they are said to have created humans together, thus explaining why people have both good and evil nature. In some Iroquois myths, Flint is a sociopathic villain, intentionally killing his own mother and deceiving his grandmother into believing his brother was the killer. Eventually, he must be defeated and imprisoned by his brother. In other Iroquois traditions, Flint is more of a trickster figure than a villain, and causes destruction merely because of his chaotic nature. Flint and Sky-Holder are sometimes said to exist in a kind of cosmic balance, with both light and darkness being necessary for life.

Flint is less prominent in Algonquian mythology, but is sometimes described as the youngest brother of the Anishinabe hero Nanabozho or the twin brother of the Wabanaki hero Glooscap. Some of his Algonquian names are Chakekenapok (Potawatomi) and Mikwam (Ojibwe.) In some stories the culture hero kills him to avenge their mother's death in childbirth, but in other stories, Flint remains as one of the seasonal or directional demigods.

Flint Stories

* Three versions of the Iroquois Creation Story:
    A comparison of three Iroquois myths about the birth of Sapling and Flint.
*Iroquoian Cosmogony:
    The Onondaga creation myth and the rivalry between Flint and Sapling.
*The Creation:
    Cayuga myth about Sky Woman and her sons Sapling and Flint.
*Iroquois Creation Myth:
    Another version of the Cayuga origin story, in which Flint tries to kill his brother.
*Huron Creation Myth:
    A Huron myth about a divine woman killed by her son Tawis-karong (Flint.)
*The Woman Who Fell From The Sky:
    The Seneca myth about Djuskaha (Little Sprout) and Othagwenda (Flint) creating the natural world.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

The Oneida Creation Story:
    Several versions of the Oneida myth of creation.
Legends of the Iroquois:
    Legends and traditional stories told by a Mohawk elder.
The Woman Who Fell from the Sky:
    Children's picture book telling the story of Sky Woman, Flint, and Sapling.
Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois:
    Collection of Iroquois legends and oral history told by a Tuscarora chief.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
    Traditional stories from the Iroquois tribes.

Additional Resources

 Iroquois mythology
 Iroquois Confederation
 Mohawk language
 Oneida language
 Indian reservations in New York
 Eastern Woodland tribes
 Iroquoians



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