Mąxiwiga was born about 1851 according to the 1905 Indian census. His wife, however, was born ca. 1867. If his mother had been born around 1840-45, she would have been too young to have had him as a child. His brothers were born in 1863 and 1868, so Thundercloud may have exaggerated his age by about a decade. By 1930, he had declared himself to have been born in 1838. Such exaggeration was commonplace on the frontier by both Indians and pioneers.
"Thundercloud" is a unitary name and no Anglo name is supplied in the 1905 or 1912 censuses. It is meant to translate his Hocąk name of Ma Zhee Wee Kah, which is for Mąxiwiga, from mąxiwi, "cloud" (-ga is a definite article suffix used in personal names). So the name Mąxiwiga actually just means "Cloud." Jasper Blowsnake remarks that "Wągížą Mąxíwiga higaírenąⁿ, Mąhįxētē hit’é ražᵋra Thunder-Cloud higaíreną." (Radin, Pers. Rem. 303) A nearly literal translation would be: "A man that they call 'Cloud' is called in the Big Knife tongue by the name 'Thundercloud'."
The name Moheek, short for the Moheka of the 1937 census, appears to mean, "He Arrived on Earth", from mo, and archaic form of mą, "earth, ground, land"; hī , "to arrive going, to get there"; and -ga, a definite article suffix used in personal names. This may reference his shamanistic claim to have come to earth many times by cyclical rebirth.
Thundercloud had been married more than once. His second wife was Annie Blowsnake, the older sister of Jasper, Sam and Mountain Wolf Woman. They were probably married some time around 1879.
Thundercloud had the following children with his wife Annie (b. 1867):
He also had a child Daniel (b. 1890) with Maggie, who was later to be the wife of his brother Henry. (1930 census)
It was generally believed that Thundercloud had been blessed with extraordinary powers by the Spirits, and these included not only medical mastery, but powers that might be used in wizardry. As a consequence, he was not only respected for his skill as a doctor, but feared for his magical powers to effect ill. People accepted the idea that he had remembered past lives and previous journeys to the realm of Earthmaker, and that he had the power to bring four men with him after death to the Creator's paradise. So many vied for his favor. However, once the Native American Church became established, people ceased to view his powers in any positive terms, and for the remainder of his life, Thundercloud was feared as a wizard (waką́wąx) who could kill people by covert action at a distance. (Radin, 306-313)
He and his wife Annie are both recorded in the 1937 census, so they both lived beyond that date.
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