Contributing Writer

Thanks to a number of great contributors, Chris gets a break occasionally. For more about past contributors to Exploring Upstate, checkout the "Meet" link under "About" in the main menu.

10 Comments

  1. Cassandra CerJanic
    February 3, 2016 @ 9:18 pm

    Great read! Your research into this is impressive, I can’t wait to read part 2!

    Reply

  2. Martin Brasted
    February 23, 2016 @ 8:49 pm

    How do you explain the ‘Y’ shape of Keuka Lake–not quite finger shaped ????

    Reply

    • Michael Brewster (@BrewCuse)
      February 29, 2016 @ 10:55 am

      Exactly! The stories always have a hard time explaining the ol’ Crooked Lake… in Part II, the geologists classify it the same as the other lakes, so that’s good enough for me.

      Reply

  3. dtfranke
    February 24, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

    Love it. Bring on Part II!

    Reply

  4. How The Finger Lakes Was Named: Part 2 |
    March 1, 2016 @ 10:16 am

    […] The following post about how the Finger Lakes was named is the second in a two part series by regular Exploring Upstate contributor Michael Brewster. You can find Part 1 of this series here. […]

    Reply

  5. Local man debunks legend of “Finger Lakes” name | Frances Johnson
    March 11, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

    […] a website that allows writers to contribute stories and little-known facts about Upstate New York. Part one, published on Feb. 3, explains the Native American legend behind the name “Finger […]

    Reply

  6. Irene Battisti Scott
    August 26, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

    Did you happen to interview any of the native Indian tribes in the area to see if the legends were on face false?

    Reply

  7. Irene Battisti Scott
    August 26, 2016 @ 11:43 pm

    Sorry that should read ‘in fact false?’

    Reply

    • Michael Brewster
      August 29, 2017 @ 10:05 am

      Hi Irene,

      There is nowhere in Haudenosaunee tradition a story of a “Great Creator” who laid his hands upon the ground. The various creation stories, which vary with the Nations to be specific to themselves, note that the Twins— Good Mind and Bad Mind (Skywoman’s grandchildren)— created the features of the world.

      “Good Mind made all the beauty on our earth—he created the rivers , the mountains, the trees. He taught the birds to sing and the water animals to dance. He made rainbows and soft rains. Bad Mind watched his brother creating beauty and was envious.[cf. Satan?] He set out to create the opposite of all the good his brother had made. He put dangerous rapids in the rivers, created destructive hurricanes and powerful tornadoes. When Good Mind planted medicinal plants, Bad Mind planted poisonous roots and deadly berries.”

      The Haudenosaunee did not have a “Great Creator” (sometimes called ‘Manitou’) prior to contact with Christianity, and the traditional teachings are close to the paragraph I’ve quoted. However, I will note that even this particular version is associated with 19th-Century Chrisianized Haudenosaunee. The quoted paragraph is from http://coursesite.uhcl.edu/HSH/Whitec/texts/Amerind/origins/AmindorsIroquois.htm, which credits the Iroquois Museum website, but that hyperlink is no longer valid.

      thanks for the question,
      Michael

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *