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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), Ioskeha (Huron), Nanabush (Anishinabe)

In the mythology of some Cayuga and Tuscarora communities, Good Spirit is one of the Twin Gods, 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 Sky-Holder.

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.
*The Creation:
    Cayuga myth about Sky Woman and her sons Good Spirit and Bad Spirit.
*The Creation:
    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.

Sponsored Links

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

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.

Additional Resources

 Iroquois myth
 Iroquois League
 Cayuga tribe
 Oneida tribe
 Native Americans in New York
 Northeast Native Americans
 Iroquoian language family

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