March 08, 2016

Whiskey Jack in American Gods

With Starz planning a TV series of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, it's a good time to review the novel's Native aspects. It's been awhile since I read it, but I believe Whiskey Jack is the most prominent Native character:

WisakedjakWisakedjak (Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīhsakecāhkw in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Manitou found in northern Algonquian and Dene storytelling, similar to the trickster god Nanabozho in Ojibwa aadizookaanan (sacred stories) and Inktonme in Assiniboine myth. He is generally portrayed as being responsible for a great flood which destroyed the world originally made by the Creator, as well as the one who created the current world with magic, either on his own or with powers given to him by the Creator for that specific purpose.

Wisakedjak is a character in the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman, where he is frequently referred to as "Whiskey Jack" as a corruption of the name. In the book, he appears as a native old man, who lives in a mobile home, somewhere near a Lakota reservation in the badlands with Johnney Appleseed.
Comment:  For more on Neil Gaiman, see Gaiman Wrong on Graveyard Book and Neil Gaiman on "Dead Indians."

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