English, Department of


Date of this Version



Copyright © 1979

Experimental, royalty-free, non-commercial edition for school use. Published by the Nebraska Curriculum Development Center, in conjunction with the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Told by Many Nineteenth Century Santee and by Edna Peniska and Paul Robertson of the Modern Santee.

Gathered and Edited by Robert Frerichs and Paul A. Olson.

The fact that every known culture and civilization has acquired some sort of set of sacred stories is important. The eleven sacred stories in this work have multiple purposes. They possess a value as sheer entertainment; they also tell truths and lessons which explain the meaning of existence. Thus the Santee listener could fmd his place in the world and achieve an inner harmony through hearing stories. The characters in these stories are teachers. They display the need for order, the necessity of reverence, and the effects of disobeying the old ways. The characters are often found in common, human struggles and predicaments, and, by observing the results of their actions, the listener can learn what to do. Power is another concept that is continually stressed in these Santee sacred stories, and the power transfers and disputes which occur are also present as teaching examples.


Foreword ........ 1

The Story of Fallen Star ...... 8

The Blood-Clot Boy ...... 17

Unktomi and the Hoodwinked Ducks ......... 24

The Story of the Five Brothers ........ 27

The Seven Brothers ....... 34

The Story of the Unvisited Island ....... 39

The Golden Head ...... 51

The Old Woman and Her Son, "He Will Kill an Enemy" ....... 53

The Santee Creation Story ....... 56

A Legend of Devil's Lake ........ 62

The Stone Boy ....69