Published on October 25, 2012 by Casey
Name: Big Water Snake
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Tribal affiliation: Blackfoot
Names in Blackfoot: Omachk-soyis-ksiksinai, Omahksoyisksiksina
Pronunciation: similar to oh-mock-soh-yisk-sick-sin-uh.
Also known as: Horned Snake, Water-Monster, Horned Monster, Great Serpent,
Type: Lake monster, giant serpent
Related figures in other tribes: Mishi-Ginebig (Anishinabe), Gitaskog (Abenaki), Maneto (Fox), Mihni (Cheyenne)
Big Water Snake is an underwater horned serpent, common to the legends of most Algonquian tribes. “Big Water Snake” is a literal translation of its Blackfoot name, Omahksoyisksiksina. Big Water Snakes are dangerous man-eating creatures known for lurking in lakes and rivers and attacking unwary travelers. Their sworn enemies are the Thunderbirds, who can kill them with bolts of thunder. Despite their fearsome appearance and deadly behavior towards humans, Big Water Snakes are respected spirit beings and Blackfoot people sometimes used protective Water Snake designs on sacred objects such as tipi covers, pipe bags and medicine pouches.