Saturday, November 22, 2014

The "High God"of the Algonquians

The definition of such a god was not found in any credo of theirs. Had a tourist gone among them in the old days and asked them the distinct question, Have you a High God? the answer would probably have been No. The High God of the Algonquians can be found in their ceremonies and customs that presuppose him, and in the metaphors of their prayers and songs. From the study of such emerges a god, called by the anthropologists a High God. He is one whose picture cannot be drawn. He needs nothing, can do all, knows all. He cannot be bargained with as a spirit or power—in the Algonquians tongues a manitu—can be bargained with.
— Daniel Sargeant, Catherine Tekakwitha, NY, 1936, p. 11.