Crotalus viridis (Rafinesque)
Wés'a sathú (Umónhon)
A contemporary Lakota fellow writes about eating rattlesnake: “Our ancestors didn’t let anything that moved or lived on the prairie be dismissed as a food source. Especially since the recipes” in the traditional tribal documents that he’s examining “have a number of preparation methods for the rattlesnake. If you can imagine a bony fish, that’s what you’re basically eating.” And of course: “If eating without flavor added, some people say it tastes like a chicken” (Iron Cloud, “Rattlesnake, it’s what’s for dinner!,” in Lakota Times).
Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus)
Nicholas Black Elk was only nine years old when he had the “Great Vision” that is the centerpiece of the famous autobiography Black Elk Speaks. His actual haŋbléčheya (vision quest) was several years later: there, instead of the expected horses, or eagles, or other imposing animals of power, the Lakota people going to battle appeared as a “swarm of many-colored butterflies hovering all around and over” their enemy. Maybe as strangely, they soon change into “storm-driven swallows” in their pursuit of their foes. The identification with these small birds is less surprising, since in the four-directional cosmology of the Lakota, swallows—associated with thunderstorms—were the akíčhita (warriors) of the West.