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worak narratives. Winnebago folklore. Encyclopedia of World Writers, Beginnings To 20th Century

Worak narratives comprise one of two stylistically
distinct forms of Winnebago Native American
prose; the other is WAIKAN NARRATIVES. They are secular
in nature in that their subject matter focuses
on the real world and historical events. The worak
(meaning “what is told or recounted”) are treated
less seriously than their waikan counterparts. Anyone
in the tribe is allowed to relate a worak, and the
stories can be told at any time of year. In addition,
characters in the worak narratives are always
human. Heroes are either human or divine beings
who have thrown in their lot with man. The action
in woraks always takes place within the memory of
mankind, and the tales always end tragically.
Some worak stories include “The Annihilation
of the Hotcâgara” (Hotcâk meaning “Winnebago”),
a story about how yellow fever wiped out many
Winnebago; “The Blessing of a Bear Clansman,” a
story in which a member of the Bear clan of the
Winnebago is blessed by divine spirits to be successful
in war; “The Great Fish,” which explains
why Lake Winnebago is full of sturgeon; and “Vita
Springs,” an account of a hot springs that the Winnebago
believed to have healing powers. Like the
waikan narratives, these and other worak stories
have preserved much of the history, culture, and
traditions of the Winnebago.

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