Sint Holo

by Gerald Musinsky

Sint Holo is an invisible, great horned serpent, having spiritual and cultural significance among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and adjacent tribes. This "snake" might reveal its presence to any male youth who had demonstrated a marked degree of wisdom or intelligence beyond his peers. According to certain but vague accounts, Sequoya, regarded as the primary inventor and developer of the Cherokee written language, "must have seen Sint Holo, the horned reptile" in order to create the alphabet for the Cherokee.

Deep in a cave below the water, Sint Holo dwelt. He brought on heavy rains and could make a noise like thunder but could not make thunder, like the Thunderer spirit, its enemy. Only to those who showed they were wiser than the others, would he show himself and offer his old wisdom.

The Catawba also had many "snake tales."