Canku Ota logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 6, 2001 - Issue 46


pictograph divider


 Legends of the Fall


 excerpts from an article by Karen Heuiser of the Owatonna, MN People's Press


photo of Eli Taylor at Mahkato Education Day

The change of seasons has become something to look forward to, or perhaps something to dread. Regardless, the changes have been a subject of study since the birth of humanity.

Countless stories and legends have been passed down throught the centuries of what causes the temperatures to ebb and flow and the changes the earth experiences each year.

As the cool brisk air closes in, various peoples of the past began sharing their legends of the fall.

"There's scientific explanations, but that takes the fun out of it," says Bill Taylor, a Dakota Sioux tribal member.

Native American cultures have a vast array of stories corresponding to nature as well. Whether the leaves are dropping from the trees to keep the animals on the ground warm, or other reasons, Native Americans have an answer to it all.

Taylor is an excellent example of how legends have been passed from one generation to the next. His grandfather Eli was a Dakota, so he spent his childhood listening to Eli weave stories, keeping his attention at even an early age.

His grandfather said, "Seasons have to change. Things change because this is the way the Creator wants it to be," retold Taylor.

Seasons aren't the only things that need to change directions from time to time, however, "We have to change things about ourselves," said Taylor. "As spring cleanses the earth, our bodies also must renew themselves."

As the leaves changed colors and the air grew cool, Taylor's grandfather would begin "sitting back and watching Mother Nature and the finer things."

His grandfather believed that the changing colors of leaves on the trees were a promise that it would once again be warm, someday.

The Native Americans pay close attention to the earth, and change is taken as a sign. But, when the "season started to change (in the fall) that's when they knew it was going to get hot one more time," said Taylor. THis is often dubbed Indian summer, although Taylor doesn't know why, other than the fact that European settlers may have named it that specifically for the reason that the Native Americans helped them in getting them ready for the winter months and they knew "it would get warm one last time before the weather gets really cold and the leaves die and fall off the trees."

"Mother Nature has its way of telling you it's time to start preparing for the winter...It was one last show of beauty before she would lay down to sleep as Mother Nature paints the world, the countryside with green and flowers, blue rivers and streams," said Taylor.

After Indian summer, the Earth would "curl up with a blanket of snow. She also needs to rest, too," said Taylor. "At one point, everybody needs to take a rest, even the Earth."

Taylor's grandfather also had an explanation for why the birds flew south in V-shaped formations. "Aman who does things backwards and is a trickster saw a bunch of geese swimming in a lake one day. The man became greedy and not only wanted one of the geese for food, but wanted them all," said Taylor. "Taking a piece of rawhide string and swimming beneath all of the geese, he tied their feet together in an attemp to catch them all."

"But, as the geese began to take flight, the man held on tight, to the rawhide, and was lifted off the ground. He had no choice. He was lifted higher and higher and finally let go."

"When the greedy man let go, the geese formed a V form above the trickster.

"That was their victory over man. V for victory." said Taylor.

Photosynthesis, energy, and life
This is photosynthesis made easy! Amazing! Astonishing! The most important life giving process for all of us. You'll never look at plants or slime the same.

pictograph divider



pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


Canku Ota logo


Canku Ota logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.