In the beginning, before there were people before there were animals a lone woman lived in a cave. She lived on the roots and berries of the plants. One night a magical dog crept into her cave and stretched out on her bed beside her. As the night grew long the dog began to change. His body became smooth and almost hairless. His limbs grew long and straight. His features changed into those of a handsome warrior. Nine months later the woman birthed a child. He was the first Chippewa male and through him came the Chippewa peoples.
Near the beginning of time, five Seminole Indian men wanted to visit the sky to see the Great Spirit. They travelled to the East, walking for about a month. Finally, they arrived at land’s end. They tossed their baggage over the end and they, too, disappeared beyond earth’s edge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Down, down, down the Indians dropped for a while, before starting upward again toward the sky. For a long time they travelled westward. At last, they came to a lodge where lived an old, old woman. “Tell me, for whom are you looking?” she asked feebly. “We are on our way to see the Great Spirit Above,” they replied. “It is not possible to see him now,” she said. “You must stay here for a while first.” That night the five Seminole Indian men strolled a little distance from the old woman’s lodge, where they encountered a group of angels robed in white and wearing wings. They […]
From Maine and Nova Scotia to the Rocky Mountains, Indians told stories about the Great Serpent. More than a century ago the serpent was considered to be “a genuine spirit of evil.” Some version of the story of the Great Flood of long ago, as recounted here, is told around the world. Nanabozho (Nuna-bozo, accented on bozo) was the hero of many stories told by the Chippewa Indians. At one time they lived on the shores of Lake Superior, in what are now the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and the province of Ontario. One day when Nanabozho returned to his lodge after a long journey, he missed his young cousin who lived with him. He called the cousin’s name but heard no answer. Looking around on the sand for tracks, Nanabozho was startled by the trail of the Great Serpent. He then knew that his cousin had been seized by his enemy. Nanabozho picked up his bow and arrows and […]
At the beginning, there was a great mound. It was called Nanih Wiya. It was from this mound that the Creator fashioned the first of the people. These people crawled through a long, dark cave into daylight. They became the first Choctaw.
Anishnabe found himself alone on earth. The Creator told him to give everything a name, and he did this, accompanied by a wolf. He discovered that only he, among the many species, was alone, without a mate, and he was lonely. He traveled to the Great Lakes and while searching, heard a beautiful song coming across the water. The woman’s voice was singing that she was making a home for him. He fell in love with the voice and the song. In the days that followed, he learned how to cross the water and finally came to a lodge facing west. There lived a beautiful woman and her father, the Firekeeper. This was the first union – Anishabe and the Firekeeper’s Daughter. It determined the roles of men and women in marriage. They had four sons, who when they were grown traveled to the four directions of the earth. The son who traveled north had a hard […]
Talapas (Creator) gave life to the surface of the Earth. It grew in abundance. Later, he placed the animal forms of all the Totem Spirits on the surface of the Earth Mother, and they prospered. Talapas then instructed T’soona (Thunderbird) to carry these special eggs from the other place and place them on the top of Kaheese, a mountain near the Yakaitl-Wimakl (Columbia River). T’soona did so. The Old Giantess, not wanting these special eggs to hatch, began to break the eggs. The vengeful Spirit Bird swiftly swooped down from Otelagh (the sun) and pursued the Old Giantess, and consumed her with fire, in revenge for her injustice. Soon the remaining eggs became the T’sinuk (Chinook).
“One day the Great Spirit collected swirls of dust from the four directions in order to create the Commanche people. These people formed from the earth had the strength of mighty storms. Unfortunately, a shape-shifting demon was also created and began to torment the people. The Great Spirit cast the demon into a bottomless pit. To seek revenge the demon took refuge in the fangs and stingers of poisonous creatures and continues to harm people every chance it gets.”
Long, long ago, the Creator, the Great Chief Above, made the world. Then he made the animals and the birds and gave them their names — Coyote, Grizzly Bear, Deer, Fox, Eagle, the four Wolf Brothers, Magpie, Bluejay, Hummingbird, and all the others. When he had finished his work, the Creator called the animal people to him. “I am going to leave you,” he said. “But I will come back. When I come again, I will make human beings. They will be in charge of you.” The Great Chief returned to his home in the sky, and the animal people scattered to all parts of the world. After twelve moons, the animal people gathered to meet the Creator as he had directed. Some of them had complaints. Bluejay, Meadowlark, and Coyote did not like their names. Each of them asked to be some other creature. “No,” said the Creator. “I have given you your names. There is no change. My word is […]
There was another world before this one. But the people of that world did not behave themselves. Displeased, the Creating Power set out to make a new world. He sang several songs to bring rain, which poured stronger with each song. As he sang the fourth song, the earth split apart and water gushed up through the many cracks, causing a flood. By the time the rain stopped, all of the people and nearly all of the animals had drowned. Only Kangi the crow survived. Kangi pleaded with the Creating Power to make him a new place to rest. So the Creating Power decided the time had come to make his new world. From his huge pipe bag, which contained all types of animals and birds, the Creating Power selected four animals known for their ability to remain underwater for a long time. He sent each in turn to retrieve a lump of mud from beneath the […]