” ‘We move on,’ said the Indian, gazing tolerantly at the bluffs. ‘The “Little People” want us to leave some fish for them.’
“The pale face followed his glance to the top of the bluffs, but saw only the cliff-cut sky above. Perhaps, had he glanced a bit quicker, he would have caught a glimpse of the elusory fairies of the Cherokees, for it was the ‘Little People’ who had sent the boulder down in protest.
“Information concerning the red men’s fairies was obtained from S.W. Ross, 64-year-old resident of Park Hill.”
This definition of Cherokee fairies is taken from the website www.native-languages.org/cherokee-legends.htm:
” ‘Yunwi Tsunsdi’ (Little People): A race of small humanoid nature spirits, sometimes referred to in English as ‘dwarves’ or ‘fairies.’ They are usually invisible but sometimes reveal themselves as miniature child-sized people. Yunwi Tsunsdi are benevolent creatures who frequently help humans in Cherokee stories, but they have magical powers and are said to harshly punish people who are disrespectful or aggressive towards them. Their name is pronounced similar to yun-wee joon-stee (or yun-wee joon-stee-gah,) which literally means ‘little people.’ The singular form is Yvwi Usdi (pronounced yun-wee oon-stee.)”
The WPA (Works Progress Administration) Writers’ project put many people to work and saved many stories from being lost during the Great Depression.
S.W. Ross was a Cherokee Indian writer born in 1871. He was a contributor to The Oklahoman’s editorial page, and his multi-faceted life will be examined in a future Archivist column.
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