The Origin of the Panther Clan

    In the long-ago "Smooth Shell Days," before the Turtle's back was broken, and even before there were people moving about on Earth, Creator and all Beings often talked with one another, visited about and spent happy hours together as each and every Being, Animal or Plant, received its first instructions from Creator personally. In this manner each and every Being came to know its own special place and purpose. It was during this time Panther became aware of his own rights and responsibities and received his habits and customs which we know today. The story is told in this manner.

    In the first times, Creator had certain animal favorites--among them, the Panther, which we call Kowake Rakko (koh-wahk-kee H'lah-koh) the "Big Cat." This animal is quite beautiful to gaze upon. It moves about with stealth and can crawl low to the ground, Mother Earth, when it hunts. In every way, it is a pleasure to watch and a great teacher by example. Panther would come close to Creator and snuggle up tightly so that Creator could easily reach out and stroke Panther's beautiful soft back. Of course, Panther loved to have its ears scratched, too.
    It was Creator's custom to gift each Being, Animal or Plant, with not only original instructions to govern their behavior in life but also to place within each Being a special power unique to that species. "Of all the Cats in your land," spoke Creator, "you are to be the first leader and the first to walk about because you have great Courage, Strength, Patience and Endurance. Your clan will learn the healing powers of certain herbs from you and warriors will study your habits to become great like you."
    So saying, Creator reached out to stroke the great Panther and to admire its beauty once more. When Creator touched Panther and its long sleek tail, all these things came to be as spoken. Then, Creator carefully picked up Panther by its wondrously long tail, swung it over the edge of the vault of Sky-Kingdom and dropped it gently into the newly created world. There is to this day, a crook in its tail where Creator swung the cat by the tip of its tail and placed it gently down upon Earth to prowl in the dense fog of that first morning to await the arrival of the Sun and Wind. Now Sun and Wind were Beings who would uncover the shiny new Earth that Turtle had found beneath the Waters and brought up to dry. Soon, the tasks of Sun and Wind were complete, and new Earth could be seen by all.
    Later on, Panther came across some freshly dried people, the last Beings to be created. Panther said to them, "Behold, we are related now because I have seen you first and claim you for my own family." In this manner, the Panther Clan came to be. As Creator had spoken, so it also come to be. This is how the Panther Clan began and this is why some members of this clan often serve as healers and keepers of the Great Ceremonies. It is one of the ways in which Creator said things would be done. Now, you know why Panther is special and how it tail got its little kink at the end.

Panther has many names, among them--Kowv, Kowake (Koh-wah-kee), Kowvkuce (Koh-wah-guh-jee), Kowa Chobe (Koh wah Jo-bee) and Ko-ot Chobe (Koh-oat Jo-bee). The People of Pine Arbor and most other Muskogee Peoples not only know and use the actual names of all Creatures and Beings but also know and use their special story names and well. Panther's story name just happens to be Hvcce-Cvpko, Ol' Mr. Long Tail. Of course, the Bobcat is called Mr. short-Tail, can you say that in Creek?

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