Native American Legends: Good Spirit
Name: Good Spirit
Native names: Enigorio; Ka'tikenhrakwahst, Got-ti-gah-rah-quast
Also known as: Good Mind, Right-Handed Twin
Tribal affiliation: Cayuga, Oneida, Tuscarora
Type: Culture hero, Native American god
Related figures in other tribes: Sky Holder (Iroquois), Sapling (Huron), Nanabush (Anishinabe)
In the mythology of some Cayuga and Tuscarora communities, Good Spirit is one of the
sons of the mother goddess Sky Woman.
In the mythology of other Iroquois tribes, Sky Woman was the
grandmother of the legendary twins instead. Good Spirit was the protector, and according to some stories the creator,
of the Iroquois people. He slew monsters, taught the people the arts of civilization, and adapted the world to help them.
Meanwhile his brother, Bad Spirit,
sabotaged him by undoing his work and creating dangerous and destructive things. According to most versions of the
myth the two brothers eventually fought, and Good Spirit was victorious.
Other details of the Good Spirit myth vary greatly depending on the community and the storyteller.
In some versions, Good Spirit is nearly identical to the Huron
Ioskeha, with his mother
dying in childbirth due to his wicked brother. But in many versions, Sky Woman survives and tries to mediate
between her sons-- most often she advocates for balance, saying that there must be both good and evil in the
world, but sometimes she takes the part of Good Spirit and helps to imprison Bad Spirit, and other times she
favors Bad Spirit and rejects Good Spirit for defeating him.
In some Iroquois traditions, Good Spirit is considered to be the same as the high god, known as
Good Spirit Stories
Three versions of the Iroquois Creation Story:
A comparison of three Iroquois myths about the birth of Good Mind and Bad Mind.
The Birth of Good and Evil:
Oneida myth about Sky Woman's twin grandchildren.
Haudenosaunee Creation Story:
A different Oneida version of the myth about Good Spirit and Bad Spirit.
Cayuga myth about Sky Woman and her sons Good Spirit and Bad Spirit.
Tuscarora creation myth including Good Mind (Enigorio's) defeat of his brother.
Seek Your Father:
Seneca legend about the Bad-Minded and Good-Minded Twins.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
The Oneida Creation Story:
Several versions of the Oneida myth of creation.
Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Long House:
Book on the mythological traditions, ceremonies, and religious life of the Cayuga Indians.
Oneida Iroquois Folklore, Myth, And History:
Book of Oneida legends and oral history.
Iroquois Indian Myths And Legends:
Collection of legends from the Cayuga, Oneida and other Iroquois tribes.
People of the Longhouse
Native Americans in New York
Northeast Native Americans
The Iroquoian language family
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