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Old 02-25-2001, 09:49 PM   #1
spiritwoman
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Post Creation Stories

Celebrate the diversity even among ourselves! If you haven't seen one tribal version of the Creation story over on the topic 'White Man' you should. It is beautiful and it illustrates how the creation of the world and its people 'differed' in the eyes of tribes from one end of this continent to another.

Why don't we share traditions here, let's start with Creation stories.

I can't claim the one that follows as mine, it's Piikani Blackfeet, however it will get the ball rolling. And, no doubt, different clans of Blackfeet might disagree with the cast of characters although they all refer to Old Man (Naapi/Napi) as the Creator....

A long time ago, Old Man and Old Woman made the world out of mud from beneath the water. Like all couples, the two did not always agree. When it came to deciding how people should live, Old Man (Naapi) claimed the right of the first say. "Let people have eyes and mouths in their faces lined up and down."

But Old Woman, who had settled for speaking second, said no, "let eyes and mouth be set crossways."

"Well then, people should have ten fingers on each hand."

No again, "too many, just four fingers and a thumb."

"The organs to make children should be at the navel."

"Too easy. If bearing children is too easy children may be neglected."

Old Man was beginning to see that he had made a bad bargain giving his wife the final word on creation. But there was one final matter: How long should people live? He proposed to throw a buffalo chip into the water, and if it floated, people would die for only four days before living again.

But Old Woman told him to use a stone. "If it sinks, people will die forever and we will know how to feel sorry for each other."

Mmmm



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Old 02-26-2001, 01:01 AM   #2
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SpiritWoman, I look at your post and it is real a great post. I can think of many different aspects of the Creation story of the Iroquois that could be shared. We have the beginning of creation, the coming of the human beings, the battle of the positive and negative, the arrival of death, etc. Wow so many possibilities. Let me do some thinking and I will post a bit tomorrow. It's a little too late tonight, at this time. Take care and stay strong. Onen.

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Old 02-26-2001, 04:02 PM   #3
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Joseph Riverwind - Muscogee Creek/Seminole Wind Clan Story as it was told me at Green Corn Dance in Florida.

At last the excitement had died down. The news that Crawfish had brought back to the Council from the new lands below was important. Birds, he explained, could live on the new lands; animals could find their food for their survival. The mighty Eagle walked to the center of the fire and began to speak: "We are all filled with joy in our hearts to find that we cannot only send fish, but also birds and animals. Now we must prepare the lands for the coming of the new creatures, for they cannot live on the lands as they are now. I have an idea. I will ask permission from the Great Council to help create better land below." "Yes, yes," the Council cried, "It is our wish that the lands be a good place to live."
The Eagle walked to the Crawfish and took the wet soil from between his claws. Round and round he rolled the soil between his powerful legs. Then, with a mighty flapping of his huge wings, he soared high above the Council. "What is he doing with the ball of earth in his legs?" Does he intend to steal it?" they cried. Then, with a mighty swish, he hurled the red ball of soil earthward. The soil traveled so fast that it looked like a great shooting star falling from the sky. A mighty roar sounded when the ball hit the oceans, making large waves that parted the water. The red soil spread out and flattened so much that the new land was made in one move.
At first, the lands were very wet, so the Eagle flew over them and dried them with his mighty wings and in some places the Eagle flew so close to the ground that great mounds of earth were pushed upwards from the force of his powerful wings making the mountains we see today. Soon the lands were dry enough to let the new creatures walk onto the land.
The Muscogee people were born out of the earth itself. They crawled up out of the ground through a hole like ants. In those days, we lived in a far western land beside tan mountains that reached the sky. Our ancestors called the mountains the Backbone Of The Earth. Then a thick fog descended upon the earth, sent by the Master of Breath, Hesakitaummesee. The Muscogee people could not see and they wandered around blindly, calling out to one another in fear. They drifted apart and became lost. Soon the whole people were separated into small groups, and these groups stayed close to one another in fear of being entirely alone. Finally, the Master had mercy on them. From the eastern edge of the world, where the sun rises, he began to blow away the fog. He blew and blew until the fog was completely gone and the people were joyful and sang a song of thanks to the Master of Breath. And in each of the groups, the people turned to one another and swore eternal brotherhood. They said that from then on these groups would be like large families. The members of each group would be as close to each other as brother and sister, father and son. The group that was farthest east and first to see the sun, praised the wind that had blown the fog away. They called themselves the Wind Family, or Wind Clan and these people hold a special responsibility as the orators of our people.
As the fog moved away from the other groups, they, too, gave themselves names. Each group chose the name of the first animal it saw. So they became the Bear, Deer, Alligator, Raccoon, and Bird Clans. However, the Wind Clan was always considered the first clan and the aristocracy of all the clans. The Master-of-Breath spoke to them: "You are the beginning of each one of your families and clans. Live up to your name. Never eat of your own clan, for it is your brother. You must never marry into your own clan. This will destroy your clan if you do. When a warrior marries, he must always move with his wife to her clan. There he must live and raise his family. The children will become members of their mother's clan. Follow these ways and the Muskogeans will always be a powerful force. When you forget, your clans will die as people."

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Old 02-26-2001, 05:04 PM   #4
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Very much shortened version from Seneca folklore:

Once, long long ago, there were a people who lived on a cloud and the cloud floated around in the sky. Among these people were the Sky Chief and his young wife who was expecting their first child. In the centre of the Sky Village grew a Great Tree that provided all manner of fruit and nuts, and on it's branches were orbs that shone brightly and illuminated the Sky World.

(Now, there are many accounts of how this came to be, but this is the first one I was told.) The young woman had a dram and her husband had to guess her dream and fulfil it. Her husband guessed her dream correctly and her dream was that he had to uproot the Great Tree, which he did. Sky Woman was overcome with curiosity and went to look in the hole. Her husband, overcome with anger that he had uprooted the Great Tree, pushed his wife into the hole.

Sky Woman, as she fell, grasped a handfull of earth at the hole's edge. She fell a great distance. As she fell, she met the Fire Dragon and he told her many things.

Finally, the birds of the air saw Sky Woman falling and they decided they must do something to save her, so they put their wings together and caught Sky Woman before she fell into the water.

The animals talked among themselves and decided to make a place for Sky Woman to live. Turtle offered his back and the water animals took turns diving deep under the water to find mud to put on the turtle's back for Sky Woman to live on. Many died trying to get the mud, but eventually Muskrat succeded.

In time, on Turtle's back, Sky Woman gave birth to a daughter and the girl grew into a young woman and one day Sky Woman realized her daughter was with child. She asked who the father was and her daughter told her that the Wind was the father of her child.

In time Sky Woman's daughter brought forth twin boys; Good Twin and Evil Twin. Good Twin made many good things and his brother Evil Twin corrupted many of the things and made them bad.

Eventually Sky Woman made man and woman. Good Twin made some people good and Evil Twin twisted some and made some bad.

(The whole story, properly told, would fill a small book or take hours to tell. But I just had to jump in here ahead of Tree and get things started on the right foot!)
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Old 02-26-2001, 06:09 PM   #5
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JRiverwind--I love it! Very moving and the imagery is incredible. I also like the explanation of when a Man marries he goes to his wife's people. It is interesting how this varies from tribe to tribe.

Dianne-Thanks for the Seneca spin; You and Tree can divide up all the great stories and between the two of you, satisfy our great curiosity!

Keep 'em coming, folks!
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Old 02-27-2001, 07:56 PM   #6
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Good job Dianne:
A friend of mine just lent me a book today that had some of the teachings of your Grandmother, Twyla Nitsch, a well respected Elder of the Seneca and daughter of Moses Shongo, one of the foremost Iroquois medicine men. I almost fell out of my chair. I never expected to see the teachings I was given about the head and the heart written down. But in this book titled, "In the Words of the Elders", she shared the same teachings that I was given by my Uncle Spike Draper, a co-founder of the Akwesasne Counselor Organization.

Here are her words...and I quote, "Native Spirituality is connected to the heart and the Earth. Foreign spirituality is connected to the head." This is what was being referred to when I shared the teachings of my Elders, when they teach about head people and heart people. These are teachings that are old time, many of the younger Elders of today have not been taught these things. Yet much of it is what Spike used to say..just plain common sense.

I thought I would share this with you since you beat me to the punch on the beginning part of the Creation story. So what comes next, huh???? You wanna tell the next part of the story while I go make some popcorn??? ha ha ha. Take care and stay strong. Onen.

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Skennen enhsenontonnionhake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.
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Old 03-01-2001, 04:41 PM   #7
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Hey, Dianne:
I got the popcorn made and I'm ready for the continuation of the story...ha ha ha.

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