Native American Sun Legends: Turkey Buzzard and the Sun

Published on January 5, 2013 by Casey

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Turkey Buzzard and the Sun
Turkey Buzzard and the Sun

Native American Sun Legends: Turkey Buzzard and the Sun

As told to Tèmakamoxkomëhèt by his friend Jack Many Colors

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There was a time, long, long ago when the Sun drew very near the Earth. Soon plants began to wither and die, streams began to dry up, and all the creatures on Kukna, our Mother Earth, began to fear death from hunger and thirst.

The animals held a council, to decide how to put the Sun back in the sky where it belonged. A volunteer was sought to accomplish this task.

The opossum was the first animal to volunteer to move the Sun back into the sky where it belonged. Now at this time, the opossum had a bushy tail, like the fox. So it was that the opossum wrapped his long bushy tail around the Sun and began to pull the Sun back into the sky where it belonged. But the Sun burned all the fur off the opossum’s tail, so that he released the Sun and did not succeed at his task. And so it is that the opossum has a long hairless tail to this day.

The fox was next to volunteer to move the Sun back into the sky where it belonged. He put the Sun into his mouth and began to carry it back into the sky where it belonged. But the Sun began to burn the fox’s mouth, so that he dropped the Sun and did not succeed at his task. As he turned to return to the Earth, the Sun also burned the tip of his bushy tail. And so it is that the fox has a blackened mouth and lips and the tip of his tail is blackened to this day.

The animals did not know what to do; twice they had failed to put the Sun back into the sky where it belonged. And so it was that they once more began to seek a volunteer among them to accomplish this task.

Now there was at this time a beautiful bird who was widely respected, for he soared high above all other birds carrying messages to the Creator. His beauty and nobility were known throughout all of Creation. He was next to volunteer to accomplish the task of putting the Sun back into the sky where it belonged.

And so it was that he flew up and placed his head against the Sun, and began to flap his mighty wings to push the Sun back into the sky where it belonged. As he pushed, the Sun burned the feathers off his head, and charred his beautiful plumage. Yet the bird pushed onward, soaring higher and higher into the sky, until the Sun was returned to where it belonged.

When the noble bird returned to the Earth, the other animals drew away from it in horror. Now its beautiful head was featherless and red from being burned by the Sun. Now its beautiful feathers were charred black and ugly. The other animals could not look on their savior, for he was now frightful to behold.

So it is that now the turkey buzzard is a solitary creature. You will not see the turkey buzzard with any other living animal, for they cannot look on him. But if you are fortunate enough to be gifted a feather from this bird, you will see on the underside the beautiful plumage that he once wore, where the Sun was not able to char.

And this is why the Lenapé regard this bird highly, for he gave greatly of himself to save all of Creation.

Source: nativeamericanembassy

NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged
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NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com, "Native American Sun Legends: Turkey Buzzard and the Sun" in NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged. Source location: Native American Encyclopedia http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/native-american-sun-legends-turkey-buzzard-and-the-sun/. Available: http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com. Accessed: October 30, 2014.

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@ article {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com2014,
    title = {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com Unabridged},
    month = Oct,
    day = 30,
    year = 2014,
    url = {http://nativeamericanencyclopedia.com/native-american-sun-legends-turkey-buzzard-and-the-sun/},
}
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