It’s a tradition in Native culture for older generations to pass down their knowledge and wisdom through the telling of stories. These myths and legends serve as explanations for how the world first began and why certain things are the way they are. Here are a few we can all enjoy.
A long time ago, there was a large island floating in the middle of a big ocean. This island was held by four big ropes, which hung from a solid rock sky. Because the sky was made out of rock, it was always dark on the island. There were no people; only animals.
Due to the darkness, the animals couldn’t see anything. To give them light, every day the animals would get the sun and place it on the path that stretched across from the east side of the island to the west. The Great Spirit did not approve of this.
One day, the Great Spirit came to the plants and the animals. The Great Spirit told them that they weren’t allowed to sleep for seven days straight and were instructed to remain awake.
However, some of the plants were too tired and fell asleep at night, such as the maple and oak. These plants that did not obey the Great Spirit were made to lose their leaves each winter, whereas the ones who stayed awake were rewarded with being able to keep their green color all year long. As for the animals, the ones who remained awake, such as the owl and the mountain lion, were given the ability to live comfortably in the dark. (1)
Mi’kmaq – Two Creators and their Conflicts
Before the earth was created, the only thing that existed in the universe was the sun. The sun split up the earth into several different sections that were separated by lakes. In each section, the sun allowed one man and one woman to be born. Each man and woman came together and gave birth to children.
After many years had passed by, the families were taken over by wicked powers. As a result, they slowly ended up killing each other, except for one family who survived.
The sun mourned and wept with grief. As the sun wept, its tears became the rain that falls from the skies. The sun continued to weep until the entire earth was covered in water.
The remaining family escaped from the flood in bark canoes to save themselves, but a violent wind tipped their boats over killing everyone except for the oldest man and woman. This couple was seen as the most good and they repopulated the earth. (2)
Creation, An Inuit Tale
In the beginning, before nearly anything had been created, one family existed – a father, mother and their son, Raven who was a human with a beak. One day when the waters shot up from under the ground, forcing the ground up with it, Raven stabbed the ground with his beak and fixed it into placed. This first bit of land is where the family lived.
In their home, a balloon-like object hung over the father’s bed. Raven pleaded with his father asking if he could play with it. Eventually, the father agreed. While Raven was playing with this object, he accidentally damaged it and a bright light appeared.
However, his father didn’t want this light to always be shining in their faces so he took the inflated object to prevent Raven from damaging it any more. This is how day and night began in the world. (3)
1. Native American Creation Myths. Retrieved from http://www.crystalinks.com/nativeamcreation.html
2. Creation Stories: Canadian First Nations. Retrieved from http://www.sd91.bc.ca/frenchj/Students/Creation%20Stories%20First%20Nations.html
3. First People: Native American Legends. Retrieved from http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/Creation_An_Inuit_Tale-Eskimo.html