Friday, January 16, 2009

North American porcupine

Goal for the week 13.75 hours
sand boxes
look into February Cons

photo by Enoch Ross
The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) takes a strangely power role in many mythologies. For the Iroquois porcupine led all of the animals through the virtue of his even temper and determined the rotation of night and day. The porcupine also was the leader of all of the animals for the Tsimshian after impressing them all by biting off his own thumbs and he determined the flow of the seasons. In an Algonquin legend a porcupine summoned a snowstorm to punish to women that were stealing his quills. The moon took the form of a porcupine to lure a human bride into pursuing his valuable quills up a tree into the sky in an Arapaho story . There are also a number of stories about how the porcupine got his quills. The Menominee claim they were a punishment for his vanity and the quills now cover the porcupine's once beautiful fur. To contrast this for the Chippewa the quills were a gift to the porcupine from Nanabezho for cleverly thwarting a bear by covering himself with spiny Hawthorne branches.

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