Sacred Legend: What a great story! The Omaha were probably unaware of just how right they were in terms of evolution, coming from the water, not having clothes in the beginning, evolving to make tools and fire, etc. This story tells of people becoming repeatedly tired of their current circumstances and looking towards innovation and ingenuity to make their lives better. The desire for something better and using our intelligence to service our desires/needs is probably the most fundamental trait of human beings. The people build weapons and tools to easier kill animals, then create fire to cook their meat and stay warm, then build grass houses to stay warmer, then tire of fire-cooked meat so a man builds a pot out of clay for stew. The people tire of their grass clothes so they make clothes out of hides and pelts. They tire of their grass huts so they build tepees. Then they discover farming. The list goes on.
The Tradition of the Calumet: I like how this story and the “the legend of the peace pipes” both have elements of interpreting natural events as omens. In this story a great white bird flies above the head of the chief’s daughter, which makes her hear a voice in her heart to call together all the chiefs and warriors. She tells them that the Mysterious One is sad because they seek the scalps of the Lenni-Lenapi people. She tells the warriors to wash their hands in fawn blood and then take presents to the people they intended to harm.
Legend of the Corn: I like this story in that the hunter waits patiently for the buffalo, expecting meat out of this excursion. His patience and attentiveness beat out his ignorance to the true nature of the situation. He’s able to discern that the plant was a gift from Wahkoda (I assume a buffalo god?) When they are scared to touch the sacred plant, a man takes the plunge for the group and volunteers to touch and eat the plant. He lives, and the people know that this plant was sent by Wahkoda for food. They then share their findings with other tribes.
image source Native American Scalp Dance
bibliography source Myth-Folklore Unit: Great Plains