Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Great Hare

[The] 'Great Hare' or 'chimerical beast,' as one of the missionaries called it, figured centrally in the religion of the geographically widespread Algonquin tribes, including the Powhatans of Virginia, the Lenni Lenape of the Delaware, various tribes of New England, as well as western tribes and the Ottawa of the far north. In another early recorded testimony, as reported by one of the first French missionaries to arrive, the Ottawa were said to have been formed by three families, the first that of the Great Hare who, after forming the earth was inspired by a spider to invent fishing nets, and who set forth burial rights for his descendents. Other early and subsequent accounts expanded upon the Great Hare's role as both principal deity and culture hero, crediting him with the creation of habitable land from a grain of sand taken from the bottom of the ocean; the invention of picture-writing and of many charms and signs used in the hunt (and even of originally sorting game from non-game species), as well as founding the culturally important 'medicine society' or Meda.

– Simon Carnell
p. 82

Image: "Navabush! The Great Hare" by Puma Ghostcat.

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