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Legendary Native American Figures: Thunder Beings

Name: Thunder Beings
Tribal affiliation: Lenape, Sauk-Fox, Kickapoo, Miami, Illini, Narragansett
Native names: Pèthakhuweyok, Pèthakhuwe, Pethakowe'jàk, Pehtakuweyok, Pethakhuweyok, Pëlesëwok, Plethoak, Nenemehkia, Nenemehkiwa, Neneme'kiwa, Ciinkwia, Neimpaûog
Pronunciation: varies by dialect: usually peh-thock-hoo-way-yok or pet-hock-hoo-way-yock. Pèthakhuwe is a singular form, referring to just one Thunder Being; the rest are plural nouns. Nenemehkia is pronounced neh-neh-meh-kee-uh, and Ciinkwia is pronounced cheenk-wee-uh.
Also Known As: Thunders, Thunder-Being, Thunderers
Type: Nature spirit, thunder, lightning
Related figures in other tribes: Thunderbirds, Animiki, Wakinyan, Seven Thunders

The Thunder Beings are a race of powerful storm spirits from Algonquian mythology that live in the sky and cause thunder and lightning. They are strongly associated with birds, particularly in artwork, but may appear in legends as anthropomorphic sky-beings, giant eagles, or an intermediate form between the two, such as a bird with a human head. Thunder Beings are dangerous spirits who sometimes kill people with their powers, but they are also sworn enemies of the horned serpents and sometimes rescue people from those monsters.

Thunder Being Stories

*The Man Who Visited the Thunder-Beings:
    Lenape legend about a man who journeyed to the land of the Thunderers.
*Grandfather Thunder:
    Lenape myth about the Thunder People protecting the Earth from Maxa'xâk.
*The Girl Who Joined The Thunders:
    Legend about how the Thunder Beings rescued a Lenape girl from the land of snakes.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

Legends of the Delawares:
    Collection of Delaware Indian folktales including four in Lenape (with English translation.)
Mythology of the Lenape:
    An overview of the Lenape worldview and belief system including several legends and traditional stories.
The White Deer:
    Collection of Lenape and Munsee Delaware folktales.
Algonquian Spirit:
    Excellent anthology of stories, songs, and oral history from the Lenape and other Algonquian tribes.

Additional Resources

 Lenape mythology
 Delaware language
 Munsee language
 Lenape words
 Lenni Lenape people
 New Jersey Indians
 Northeast Woodland Native cultures
 Algonquian language family



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