Choctaw Mythology

A while back, my family traced some genealogy. Apparently, I have ties to four Native American tribes, two from my grandmother, two from my grandfather.

Amusingly, my grandfather’s side was Lakota and Cheyenne. I say amusingly because I’ve been fascinated by the Plains cultures from a very young age. So I’ve done a decent amount of reading and research on Plain’s cultures.

From my grandmother’s side though, we get the Choctaw and…something else. Damned if I can remember what at the moment. Never really researched that much.

But, I needed some beasties for a horror story today. So…I decided to check out Choctaw myth, since I was planning to set this story in the South.

Oh my.

Wikipedia: The Choctaws have stories about Shadow beings. “Nalusa chito”, also known as an “Impa shilup,” was the soul eater, great black being, or devil.[1] If you allowed evil thoughts or depression to enter your mind, it would creep inside you and eat your soul.

“Nalusa Falaya” (long black being) resembled a man, but with very small eyes and long, pointed ears. He sometimes frightened hunters or transferred his power of doing harm. Some believed that “Nalusa Falaya” preferred to approach men by sliding on his stomach like a snake.

That’s…pleasant. Some perfect stories there, but I’ll pass on meeting those critters. But that brought something to mind that I’d never really thought of before.

Plains myths tend to be fairly open and optimistic. There aren’t really all that many nasties in them, and if there are, they get killed by some hero. It’s a very sun-lit sort of mythology.

The Eastern/Southern myths have much nastier creatures in them. Shadow beings, things that actively work to destroy a human’s heart or soul. They are often filled with horror stories, but the hero usually does overcome the evil.

There’s not much point to that ramble, just that it’s interesting to see the difference in mood between cultures who are distantly related.

And I think I’ll stick to the Plains and West Coast myths, thank you.

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2 Responses to “Choctaw Mythology”

  1. Then again, you could always use those two creatures and do another of your short stories about hell with them. Or something like that.

  2. Jaym Gates Says:

    *grin* That’s why the research. The story is titled, for the moment, “No Excuses”.

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