A Lakota Story .... The Creation of The Universe
~ Jerry Pope

At first there was only Inyan, Rock, who was soft and

had no shape. Inyan was all-powerful, but he had nothing

to use his powers on. So he opened his veins and created

Maka, the Earth. His blood was blue, and as it flowed

from him it made the waters and the great sky, Skan.

This made Inyan shrink and become hard, and he lost

his power. Maka was unhappy because there was darkness everywhere, but she wanted to see herself. So Skan, the source of all energy, divided the darkness in half and made Han (Darkness) and Anp (Light). Han was sent to the underworld and Anp was placed on top of the world to make everything visible.

Now Maka could see, but she was cold. So Skan made Wi (the Sun) and gave Wi a spirit called Wi-Akan (Sun Spirit). And Wi shone on the whole world and gave warmth to all things.

Maka was still not satisfied. She wanted relief from the heat, and Wi wanted some rest for himself. To appease them, Skan divided time into two equal parts. One part he gave to Anp, as the day, when Wi would do his work and Maka would be warm. The other part he gave to Han, as the night, when Wi could rest and Maka could cool off.

Even then, things were not peaceful because Maka tried to order Wi around, which Wi resented. They began to argue. Skan, the final judge of all things, called them all together and said: "I, Skan, and you, Inyan, Maka, and Wi are all Tunkasilas and come from the same source. Although we are four, we are really only ONE being. That ONE being is Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit." Skan then gave each of them a role and a color by which to identify themselves.

But it was lonely for them, so Skan let each to create a companion. Wi made Han Hepi Wi (the Moon), a pale, feminine version of himself. Maka formed a beautiful being called Unk (Passion). Unk's son, Gnas (Demon) was also beautiful but cunning. Maka soon became jealous of Unk and threw her into the waters. Skan created a spirit being called Tate (Wind), who became his messenger and traveled all over the world. Inyan made a shapeless and terrible creature, Wakinyan (the Winged One, or Thunderstorm). Since anyone who saw Wakinyan became heyoka (silly), Skan showed him how to hide himself in clouds.


Inyan was very pleased with Wakinyan and together they created a wise and friendly being named Ksa (Wisdom). Skan gave Ksa a nagi (spirit), and Tate gave it a wanagi (ghost).

But with Tate gone all the time, Skan was still lonely. So he created a daughter for himself and named her Woohpe (Peace), the most beautiful and pleasing of all beings. Finally, Skan made the Wican (star people) so he would have spirit people to talk with and to light the way for Tate when it was night.
After all this was done, Ksa and Woohpe held a great feast. Each guest gave Skan a special token, which entitled them to make a request of Skan Wi was first and asked to become a patron of bravery, endurance, fortitude, contests, honesty and reliance. Wi Win became patroness of constancy, kinship, motherhood and all feminine things.Maka became the patroness of food, shelter, protection, contentment, comfort, and happiness. Inyan became patron of construction and destruction, offense and defense, and permanence and change. Wakinyan (as Heyoka) was awarded power to combat harmful things, to destroy evil and nourish good and to promote growth.Tate wanted simply to remain the constant companion of Skan and to do his will.

Unk had no desire to be subject to the will of anyone and demanded total freedom. She became the patroness of the waters. Gnas asked to be made beautiful and to be given the powers of persuasion. He became the patron of plots and schemes.

When all the tokens had been satisfied, Skan asked Ksa and Woohpe, who had no tokens, what they wanted. Woohpe asked only to create pleasure and harmony for others. Ksa stood up and said that Woohpe had served until she was exhausted, which was not fitting for the daughter of Skan, and suggested that Skan create beings to serve them. So Skan made the Pte Oyate (Buffalo People), and Ksa taught them how to live and serve.

In the meantime, Maka had become unhappy again. To make Maka look silly, Gnas (the Schemer) convinced her to ask for her own servants and for beautiful things. At the next feast, she stood and asked for all these things. Skan knew she had been put up to this, so to teach Gnas a lesson, he decided to give her everything she asked for. He gave Ksa, Woohpe, Tate and Wakinyan the task of making Maka happy. He also gave them powers to create plants and animals. They made Maka's domain green with trees and grasses and flowers and nourished them with the rain. Then they created animals for the land and for the world underwater.

After all this was done, the trees and flowers, shrubs and grasses spoke in harmony with the birds, and all the insects chirped joyfully. Only the fishes and reptiles remained silent. There was a feast with music and dancing, and Skan declared the creation was complete. Hok!!! Hecitu welo!!!