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Encyclopedia > Thunderbird (mythology)
Depiction of a Thunderbird on a Totem Pole
Depiction of a Thunderbird on a Totem Pole

The mythological Thunderbird is a mythical creature common to Indigenous spirituality in North America . According to the book "Mythological Monsters", its wing span is 3 miles long, and it has a head that grows from its chest. It is a popular concept in northwestern coastal artwork of indigenous origin, often appearing on totem poles. Thunderbird on top of Totem Pole in Thunderbird Park in Victoria, BC Canada. ... Thunderbird on top of Totem Pole in Thunderbird Park in Victoria, BC Canada. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A Hupa man. ... Example of Northwest Coast art Northwest Coast art is the term commonly applied to a style of art created primarily by artists from Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakwakawakw and Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations of the northwest coast of North America, from pre-European-contact times up to the present. ... Totem poles are carved from great trees, most often Western Redcedar, along the Pacific coast of North America. ...

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Indigenous Peoples History

The thunderbird's name comes from that common supposition that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. The Lakota name for the Thunderbird is "Wakinyan," a word formed from "kinyan," meaning "winged," and "wakan," "sacred." The Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) called him "Jojo," and the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) called him "Kw-Uhnx-Wa." The Ojibwa word for a thunderbird that is closely associated with thunder is "animikii", while large thunderous birds are "binesi." It is described as being two canoe-lengths from wingtip to wingtip, and it creates storms as it flies. Clouds are pulled together by its wingbeats, the sound of thunder is its wings clapping, sheet lightning is the light flashing from its eyes when it blinks, and individual lightning bolts are glowing snakes that it carries with it. In masks, it is depicted as many-colored, with two curling horns, and sometimes with teeth within its beak. Eddie Plenty Holes, a Sioux Indian photographed about 1899. ... Kwakwakawakw (also Kwakiutl, pronounced Kwa-gyu-thl) is a term used to describe a group of Canadian First Nations people, numbering about 5,500, who live in British Columbia on northern Vancouver Island and the mainland. ... The Nuu-chah-nulth (pronounced New-cha-nulth) (also formerly referred to as the Nootka, Nutka, Aht, West Coast, T’aat’aaqsapa, Nuuchahnulth) people are indigenous peoples of Canada. ... Chippewa redirects here. ...


Depending on the people telling the story, the Thunderbird is either a singular entity or a species. In both cases, it is intelligent, powerful, and wrathful. All agree that one should go out of one's way to keep from getting thunderbirds angry.


The singular Thunderbird (as the Nuu-chah-nulth believed) was said to reside on the top of a mountain, and was the servant of the Great Spirit. The Thunderbird only flew about to carry messages from one spirit to another.[citation needed] The Nuu-chah-nulth (pronounced New-cha-nulth) (also formerly referred to as the Nootka, Nutka, Aht, West Coast, T’aat’aaqsapa, Nuuchahnulth) people are indigenous peoples of Canada. ... The Great Spiritpoo is a conception of a supreme being prevalent among Native American and First Nations cultures. ...


The plural thunderbirds (as the Kwakwaka'wakw and Cowichan tribes believed) could shapeshift to human form by tilting back their beak as if it were only a mask, and by removing their feathers as if it were a feather-covered blanket. There are stories of thunderbirds in human form marrying into human families; some families may trace their lineage to such an event. Families of thunderbirds who kept to themselves but wore human form were said to have lived along the northern tip of Vancouver Island. The story goes that other tribes soon forgot the nature of one of these thunderbird families, and when one tribe tried to take them as slaves the thunderbirds put on their feather blankets and transformed to take vengeance upon their foolish captors. Kwakwakawakw (also Kwakiutl, pronounced Kwa-gyu-thl) is a term used to describe a group of Canadian First Nations people, numbering about 5,500, who live in British Columbia on northern Vancouver Island and the mainland. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Shapeshifting, transformation , transmogrification or morphing is a change in the form or shape of a person, especially: a change from human form to animal form and vice versa a change in appearance from one person to another Shapeshifting is not considered scientifically or medically possible for humans (and animal shapeshifting... Vancouver Island is separated from mainland British Columbia by the Strait of Georgia and the Queen Charlotte Strait, and from Washington by the Juan De Fuca Strait. ...


The Sioux believed that in "old times" the thunderbirds destroyed dangerous reptilian monsters called the Unktehila. Wahktageli (Gallant Warrior), a Yankton Sioux chief (Karl Bodmer) Funeral scaffold of a Sioux chief (Karl Bodmer) Horse racing of the Sioux Indians (Karl Bodmer) The Sioux (IPA ) are a Native American people. ... The Unktehila are dangerous reptilian water monsters that lived in old times, according to Sioux belief. ...


A famous story of the Thunderbird is "Thunderbird and Whale." The Thunderbird mythology parallels tales of the Roc from around the Indian Ocean; as the roc, it is generally assumed to be based on real (though mythically altered) species of birds, specifically the Bald Eagle, which is very common on the Northwest Coast and can grow to immense size. Thunderbird and Whale is a story belonging to Native American mythology. ... This article is about the Roc, a mythical bird. ... Binomial name Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Linnaeus, 1766) Subspecies (Linnaeus, 1766) Southern Bald Eagle Audubon, 1827) Northern Bald Eagle or Washingtons Eagle Synonyms Falco leucocephalus Linnaeus, 1766 The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), also known in North America as the American Eagle, is a bird of prey found in North America, most... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ...


Contemporary Cryptozoological sightings

There is a story that in April 1890, two cowboys in Arizona killed a giant birdlike creature with an enormous wingspan. It was said it had smooth skin, and featherless wings like a bat. Its face resembled an alligator. This description has more than a cursory similarity to the prehistoric pterodactyl. They dragged the carcass back to town, and it was pinned, wings outstretched across the entire length of a barn. There is supposed to be a picture of this event, that may or may not have been published in the local newspaper, the Tombstone Epitaph. Despite numerous people who have claimed to have seen this photograph recently, no one has ever been able to produce a copy of the picture nor make historic corroboration that this event ever occurred, and it is most likely an urban legend. Ivan Sanderson is perhaps the best-known person who claimed to have seen this Thunderbird Photograph. Thunderbird is a term used in cryptozoology to describe large, bird-like creatures, generally identified with the Thunderbird of Native American myth and folklore. ... 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see Cowboy (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English Capital Phoenix Largest city Phoenix Area  Ranked 6th  - Total 113,998 sq mi (295,254 km²)  - Width 310 miles (500 km)  - Length 400 miles (645 km)  - % water 0. ... Suborders Megachiroptera Microchiroptera See text for families. ... Species Alligator mississippiensis Alligator sinensis An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... An urban legend or urban myth is a kind of modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... Ivan Terrance Sanderson (January 30, 1911 – February 19, 1973) was a naturalist and writer born in Edinburgh, Scotland. ...


There have also been thunderbird sightings more recently. In the 1960s and 1970s, sightings of a large bird the size of a Piper Cub airplane were made in Washington, Utah, and Idaho. On occasion, such reports were accompanied by large footprints or other purported evidence. The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... Template:A year The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... Piper Cub. ... “Washington State” redirects here. ... Official language(s) English Capital Salt Lake City Largest city Salt Lake City Area  Ranked 13th  - Total 84,876 sq mi (219,887 km²)  - Width 270 miles (435 km)  - Length 350 miles (565 km)  - % water 3. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Among the most controversial reports is a July 25, 1977 account from Lawndale, Illinois. About 9 p.m. a group of three boys were at play in a residential back yard. Two large birds approached, and chased the boys. Two escaped unharmed, but the third boy, ten-year-old Marlon Lowe, did not. One of the birds reportedly clamped his shoulder with its claws, then lifted Lowe about two feet off the ground, carrying him some distance. Lowe fought against the bird, which released him.[1] July 25 is the 206th day (207th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 159 days remaining. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Lawndale, Illinois is a community northeast of Springfield, Illinois. ...


Viewed by some as a tall tale, the descriptions given by the witnesses of these birds match that of a California condor: a large black bird with a wingspan up to 10 feet. In South America, some Andean condors are purported to attack and carry away newborns when very hungry or otherwise starved, but it is unknown whether this is based in fact as condors do not hunt live prey. Tall Tale, also known as Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill is a 1995 family Western movie starring Patrick Swayze, Nick Stahl, Oliver Platt, Roger Aaron Brown, Scott Glenn, Catherine OHara, and Jared Harris. ... Genera Vultur Gymnogyps Condor is the name for the largest species of New World vultures. ... Binomial name Vultur gryphus (Linnaeus, 1758) Synonyms Vultur fossilis Moreno & Mercerat, 1891 Vultur patruus Lönnberg, 1902 Vultur pratruus Emslie, 1988 (lapsus) The Andean Condor, Vultur gryphus, is a species of bird in one of the vulture families. ...


In 2002, a new sighting in Alaska was announced; the most probable explanation was a stray Steller's Sea Eagle. For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Official language(s) English Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Area  Ranked 1st  - Total 663,267 sq mi (1,717,855 km²)  - Width 808 miles (1,300 km)  - Length 1,479 miles (2,380 km)  - % water 13. ... lots of issues | leave me a message 08:32, 27 May 2005 (UTC) COMMON NAMES In English, Stellers sea eagle, Pacific eagle or white-shouldered eagle. ...


Merriam's Teratorn

Some cryptozoologists first theorized that the thunderbird myth is based on sightings of a real animal. Regarding the question whether such a large bird could have flown at all, the prehistoric vulture-like Aiolornis incredibilis (previously known as Teratornis) which was described in 1909 had a wingspan of around 5 m (16 ft) and was capable of flight, but probably would have favored heavy winds to facilitate takeoff. This bird, however, was almost certainly never seen alive by human beings, but a slightly smaller relative, Teratornis merriami must have been frequently encountered by early Amerindians. Cryptozoology is the search for animals that are rumored to exist, but for which conclusive proof is missing. ... Binomial name Aiolornis incredibilis (Howard, 1952) Synonyms Aiornis (a very common lapsus) Teratornis incredibilis Howard, 1952 Aiolornis incredibilis (formerly Teratornis incredibilis), the Incredible Teratorn, of the teratorn family, was the largest known North American flight-capable bird, with a wingspan of 5. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Binomial name Teratornis merriami L. H. Miller, 1909 Synonyms Pleistogyps rex L. H. Miller, 1910 Teratornis merriami, Merriams Teratorn, was a huge North American bird, with a wingspan of around 3. ... Native Americans (also Indians, Aboriginal Peoples, American Indians, First Nations, Alaskan Natives, or Indigenous Peoples of America) are the indigenous inhabitants of The Americas prior to the European colonization, and their modern descendants. ...


It is generally believed that Merriam's Teratorn was a dynamic soarer, riding upcurrents of heated air. Their finger bones have adapted to bear the load of huge primaries, allowing them to maneuver expertly in strong updrafts, as typically found associated with storms (Campbell & Tonni, 1983). SOAR (also spelled Soar) is a symbolic cognitive architecture, created by John Laird, Allen Newell, and Paul Rosenbloom at Carnegie Mellon University. ... Remiges are a birds flight feathers which are attached to the rear portion of the wing bones. ...


Paleontologists reject the continuing existence of a large and conspicuous bird like Aiolornis or Teratornis in modern times, and anthropologists point out that American Indian thunderbirds were not especially similar to this creature (and usually not very similar to birds at all). The changes of "thunderbird" records over the years - from pterodactyl-like beings in the late 19th and early 20th century to teratorn-like birds becoming prominent from the middle 20th century onwards, as reconstructions of teratorns were reaching a wider audience - suggest that most records are considerably shaped by underlying expectations. In a similar vein, cryptozoologist John Keel states that his mapping of Thunderbird sightings corresponded chronologically and geographically with storms moving across the United States, but this is only to be expected in either case. A paleontologist carefully chips rock from a column of dinosaur vertebrae. ... Anthropology is the study of the anatomical and mental composition of humanity through the examination of historical and present geographical distribution, cultural history, acculturation, cultural relationships, and racial classifications. ... John A. Keel. ...


It is furthermore telling that thunderbirds are commonly described as condor-like; while an old vernacular name of Aiolornis is "Giant Condor", this is erroneous since the two birds are not very closely related, and while many early reconstructions of teratorns show condor-like birds, it is far from certain that the birds looked very alike, and indeed even considered not likely at all today.


However, it is generally accepted that the first people that settled North America did in fact encounter Teratornis merriami, making it the largest flying bird ever seen alive by man. American Indian tales of mammoth-like animals suggest that it is possible for oral tradition of an incredible creature to survive 10,000 years. Thus, the most likely explanation for the Thunderbird legends is that they are mythologically expanded narratives based on the Teratornis encounters 12 millennia ago. Midden remains[citation needed] prove that Merriam's Teratorns were hunted and eaten by Amerindian settlers. There is also some sort of picture of the Thunderbird in El Paso, Texas on the Franklin Mountains. Species Mammuthus africanavus African mammoth Mammuthus columbi Columbian mammoth Mammuthus exilis Pygmy mammoth Mammuthus jeffersonii Jeffersonian mammoth Mammuthus trogontherii Steppe mammoth Mammuthus meridionalis Mammuthus subplanifrons South African mammoth Mammuthus primigenius Woolly mammoth Mammuthus lamarmorae Sardinian Dwarf Mammoth A mammoth is any of a number of an extinct genus of proboscidean... A midden, also known as kitchen middens, is a dump for domestic waste. ... Nickname: Star of the Southwest, The Sun City, and Land of the Sun Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: County El Paso County Government  - Mayor John Cook Area  - City  250. ... Several mountain ranges are called the Franklin Mountains. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
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The marks distinguishing the Thunderbird from other sky beings are the supernatural horns that adorn his head and the curved, humped and massive upper beak over a curved lower one.
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Thunderbird (mythology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1190 words)
The singular Thunderbird (as the Nootka believed) was said to reside on the top of a mountain, and was the servant of the Great Spirit.
The plural thunderbirds (as the Kwakiutl and Cowichan tribes believed) could shapeshift to human form by tilting back their beak as if it were only a mask, and by removing their feathers as if it were a feather-covered blanket.
A famous story of the Thunderbird is "Thunderbird and Whale." The Thunderbird mythology parallels tales of the Roc from around the Indian Ocean; the roc is generally assumed to be based on real species of birds (though in its mythical form, it is an exaggeration).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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