Cultures and their Myths
Many different people believe different things about creation. Different Native American cultures, for example, have different stories to explain the mystery of creation. These stories often give insight into the values held by the culture that the story comes from. Although the stories may differ, the theme behind each of them often carry a similar message, and have values that are alike, such as respect for old age, or even a love for nature.
In “The Earth on the Turtle’s Back” the Skychief’s wife had a dream about the great tree being uprooted. When the Skychief hears of this, he mentions that it is the belief of their culture to make the dream come true. The Skychief states, “…as is our way, when one has such a powerful dream we must do all we can to make it true.” This shows the great emphasis the Onondaga put on the power of a person’s dreams. This tribe also has a deep respect for elders and old age, which can be seen in the interactions of the Great Turtle, who steps up to volunteer to hold the Earth on his back. This shows the belief that wisdom and strength come with old age.
In the Navajo Origin Legend, there is significant symbolism found in the connection between the wind and life. It is expressed in the excerpt that life comes from the wind, and without the wind, there is death. “It was the wind that gave them life…When this ceases to blow we die.” These statements express the appreciation that the Navajo tribe had for wind, and the way that they connected it to be necessary to life itself. Is also evident that the Navajo tribe held the practice of ritual in high regard. “…they placed the two ears of corn, with their tips to the east…The white wind blew from the east, and the yellow wind blew from the west…” This shows that the four gods follow a precise ritual involving the wind and the corn, and the direction in which the wind blew and the corn was laid.
The Modoc tribe’s creation myth, When...
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