Author Topic: Wakan Tanka  (Read 971 times)

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Offline Exzyle2k

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Wakan Tanka
« on: Sep 24 2009 - 01:19AM »
Taken from "In the Sioux tradition, Wakan Tanka is the term for the "sacred" or the "divine". It is often translated as "The Great Spirit". However, its meaning is closer to "Great Mystery" as Lakota spirituality is not monotheistic. Before the attempted conversion to Christianity, Wakȟŋ Tȟŋka was used to refer an organization of sacred entities whose ways were mysterious; thus the meaning of "the Great Mystery". It is typically understood as the power or the sacredness which resides in everything, similar to many animistic and pantheistic notions. This term describes every creature and object as wakȟŋ ("holy") or having aspects that are wakȟŋ."

I have a friend who is part Cherokee and sits on a council, and he tells me that they have a Wanka Tanka as well. He described the diety as Great Spirit or Great Protector.

The Spirit would take the form of an animal, to investigate the happenings in a certain area. If it was a mountainous region, the Spirit would become a mountain lion. If it was open prairie, the Spirit would become an eagle. Woodlands would be a wolf, deep forest would be a bear, lakes would be a fish. The Spirit always chose the top form it could, which is why it would be a wolf instead of a squirrel, or a muskellunge instead of a bluegill.

The Spirit would patrol the area it was in, in an attempt to level the playing field. It was seen as the balancing force among nature. Many people claim to have seen a giant black bear (muckwah) in the woods that shows no fear. Others talk of a giant fish that broke their lines, or snapped their poles, or seemed longer than their boat. From what I've been told, the Spirit can never be captured, never be killed, and is never witnessed by two or more people at the same time. It keeps itself protected this way, because if a dozen people saw a 500lb black bear in the woods, the hunt for it would be on and more damage would be caused. Lakes would be overfished in an attempt to catch a 12 foot muskie, birds would be shot from the sky in hopes of catching the elusive eagle, and so forth.
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Offline Colleen2510

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Re: Wakan Tanka
« Reply #1 on: Sep 27 2009 - 12:09PM »
That's quite interesting. I have not done a lot of reading on the Cherokee in many years and I've forgotten most of what I learned as a young child and early teenager.  My grandmother was full Cherokee Indian and lived on a reservation. She was actually the Cheif's eldest daughter and was the Princess of the tribe.  My grandfather called her Ruth but that was not her given name. She would never tell us her Indian name. She said that she had shamed her people by leaving the reservation and marrying an Irishman. Her father completely forgave her and wanted to have contact with her. I remember men coming from the reservation with letters from her father to deliver to her asking her to come to see him but she wouldn't because the tribal council had taken away her name. I was only 5 and 6 years old at the time but I do remember begging her to take me there to see the "Indian Cheif" but she never did go back there. She was so beautiful with the longest blackest hair that I'd ever seen. She still had a lot of Indian ways at that time and brushing her hair with a strange brush every evening was one of them. It was made from animal claws.. Qu  She also cooked strangely even tho I didn't realize it so much back then as I do now. I lived right next door to her so it was all sort of normal to me even tho I knew it was different. Once my grandfather passed away she retreated back to a lot of her Indian ways drastically but succumbed to Alchoholism and died a few short years later. By that time I was totally interested in her heritage as I was around 13 but she had already reached a point that she didn't communicate any more.   
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