Published on January 19, 2013 by Casey
When the Creator was finished making the earth, he gave responsibility for the four quarters of the earth to four powerful beings, or mani’towuk. Their duty was to take care of these regions. These beings caused the winds to blow from different directions, and are responsible for other phenomena as well. Winter is the result of a game of bowl and dice between the mani’towuk of the north and the mani’towuk of the south. When it is cold for a long time and the winds blow fiercely, it is the result of the successes of the mani’towuk of the north in the game. These mani’towuk are called Grandfather at the East, Grandmother at the South, Grandfather at the West, and Grandfather at the North. Each year their story is told, and people who gather herbs or prepare medicines pray to them and offer tobacco.
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(Adapted from Mark Raymond Harrington, 1921, Religion and Ceremonies of the Lenape, New York: Museum of the American Indian.)