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Native Languages of the Americas:
Sauk (Sac) Legends, Myths, and Stories

This is our collection of links to Sauk folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American folklore section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Sauk tribe, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Meskwaki and Menominee are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Sauk legend for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please let us know.

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Important Sauk Mythological Figures

Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Sauk mythology.

Wisahkeha (also spelled Wisakeha and other ways.) Wisakeha is the benevolent culture hero of the Sac and Fox tribes (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.) His name is pronounced similar to wee-zah-keh-hah. Wisakeha is the same character as the Cree Wisakejak and shares some similarities with other Algonquian heroes such as the Wabanaki Kluscap and Anishinabe Nanabush; many of the same stories are told in different Algonquian tribes with only the identity of the protagonist differing.

Kehci Manito (also spelled Gichi Manitoa and several other ways.) This means "Great Spirit" in the Sauk language, and is the Sauk name for the Creator (God.) Kehci Manito is a divine spirit with no human form or attributes (including gender) and is never personified in Sauk folklore. The name is pronounced similar to keh-chee muh-nih-toh.

Thunder Beings: Powerful storm spirits that live in the sky and cause thunder and lightning. Although they are associated with birds, particularly in artwork, Thunder Beings are described as having human form in most Sac mythology.

Manetoa (or Mah-she-ken-a-peck): A fearsome horned serpent that lurks in lakes and rivers and eats people. The only thing they fear is thunder, for the Thunder Beings are their sworn enemies and have the ability to strike them dead with thunderbolts.

Paissa (or Apayashiha): Magical little people of the forest, similar to European gnomes or fairies. These names, which literally mean "Little People" or "Little Ones," sometimes also include the boy heroes Lodge Boy and Thrown Away (see below), who are "little" by virtue of being magical children. Sac stories usually portray Little People as mischievous but benign nature spirits, who may play tricks on people but are not dangerous.

Lodge-Boy and Thrown-Away. These mythical twins, born when their pregnant mother was killed by a monster, are common to the folklore of many Midwestern and Plains tribes. They are generally portrayed as heroic monster-slayers in Sauk legends.

Underground Panther (Namipeshiwa or Nah-me-pa-she): A powerful mythological creature something like a cross between a cougar and a dragon. It is a dangerous monster who lives in deep water and causes men and women to drown.

Sauk Indian Folklore

*The Coming of Corn:
    Sauk legend narrated by Chief Black Hawk.
*Legends and Folklore of the Northern Lights:
    Aurora Borealis stories from the Sac-Fox, Mandan, and Algonquin tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Books of Native American legends
 Native American spirituality
 Sauk Indian religion
 Sauk and Fox words
 Indian tribes of Michigan
 Northeastern Indians
 Algonquian languages
 Sauk culture
 American Indian groups

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