June 14, 2010

Native tornado lore

Surprising facts swirl around tornado folklore

By Larry EskridgeLast weekend area residents were reminded just how quickly things can change because of the weather. What happened in Elmwood roused memories of residents of Lewistown and Canton who had their lives and towns turned upside down by what the Osage tribe called "the Big Wind" according to Mark Svenvold in his book "Big Weather."

Tornadoes were nothing new to Native Americans, says Svenvold. The Blackfeet called it Windsucker, while the Seneca described it as a giant crashing through the forest. The Kiowa explained the phenomenon as a large horse, Red Wind, which was created by a medicine man to cool his people but was punished for its unruly behavior by being banished to the sky. Every now and then, however, the horse escaped to take some revenge.

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