Star Seed & the Beaver King

(Editor’s note: After studying documents at the Missouri History Museum Research Library and speaking with a member of Osage Nation, Matt Ankney authored an original folktale in the vein of Native American oral traditions out of respect and admiration for their fascinating culture. This is the second in a four-part series.)

By Matt Ankney

“I will go,” said confident Wa-zhin-ga pa Pileated Woodpecker.

Village drums sounded, as their sacred symbol of war volunteered.

Osage women chanted high-pitched battle wails exalting the red, white, and black colored bird’s brave gesture. 

Dire Wolf slunk away unnoticed, never to be seen again. 

“I will go,” said Chief Giant Alligator Snapping Turtle.

“No, it is not safe, Great One,” an alarmed turtle warrior protested.

“Leaders tread where others fear,” responded Chief Giant Alligator Snapping Turtle.

Star Seed honed the final flaked edge of his violet-colored obsidian blade.

Holding it high above his head, arms outstretched to the sun, the women’s wails grew louder, pounding drums intensified. 

Excavations at Graham Cave in Montgomery County, Mo., revealed important clues to the lifestyle of Archaic Native Americans, becoming the first archaeological site in the United States designated a National Historic Landmark. 

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