At the mouth of Suck creek, on the Tennessee, about 8 miles below Chattanooga, is a series of dangerous whirlpools which is the reason it is known as “The Suck,” and noted among the Cherokee as the place where a gambler or Ûñtsaiyï’, lived many moons ago.
The Pools are called “Pot-in-the-water,” or Ûñ’tiguhï’ in Cherokee, for their surging, rolling waters suggest a boiling pot on a fire. It is said that long ago, the whirlpools moved and changed, so that the canoes attempting to pass the spot used stay close to the banks, having to keep watchful of the waters and the possible eruptions, slowing as the water would swirl savagely, pausing until they would once again quiet before attempting to travel the waterway.
On a particular day two men traveling the river in a canoe, as they neared the place of swirling waters rapidly approaching ahead of them. They pulled up to the side banks to wait until it once again calmed. Yet instead they were pulled into the whirlpool as it grew in wider and wider circles, until they were drawn into the strong pull of the vortex.
Tossing them from the canoe they were carried down under the water, where one of the men was grabbed by a great fish and was never seen again. The other was spun around and round and pulled down to the very bottom of the rushing whirlpool, when another circle grabbed at him and pushing outward and upward until he surfaced and floated out into the shallow water, and he slowly made his way to shore.
Afterword he spoke of what had happened to him, he said that when he was forced into the center of the water underneath the surface, it opened below him and he saw through the roof beams of a house. At the bottom of the river was a large group of people. They all looked up and called to him to join them, but as they reached up to pull him into the house, the fast current caught him and took him out of their reach.
It is said that these Spirits are that of our Ancestors who met with tragic ends as they attempted to guard our lands, still reside there today keeping watch over all those that try to steal the lands and cause others harm. So don’t venture too close to the waters edge or you might fall fate and get pulled to the depths of the Ûñ’tiguhï’…and become part of the family that resides there.
~ bear Medicinewalker
Swirling Smoke by Louie Gonnie available at Canyon Records http://www.canyonrecords.com/shop/index.php?app=ecom&ns=prodshow&ref=CR-6497