The Legend

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Critical Thinking Questions
“The Earth on Turtle’s Back”

Comprehension

1. According to the myth, what existed before this Earth? 2. What starts the chain of events that eventually leads to the Earth’s creation? 3. What does the Sky Woman bring with her from Skyland, and how does it affect the Earth? Interpretation

1. Name at least two things that are lost or sacrificed in the Skyland so there would be life on Earth. 2. How do the animals in this myth exhibit human virtues? 3. Whom do you think the Onondaga ultimately credit with bringing the Earth into existence? 4. What can you conclude from the myth about the relationship between the Onondaga and their natural environment? Explain your answer.

Connections

1. Muskrat was willing to give up her life to save the Sky Woman. Describe someone you know from literature or real life who has also acted selflessly.

Critical Thinking Questions
“When Grizzlies Walked Upright”

Comprehension
1. According to the Modoc myth, how are the landscape and creates of the Earth formed?

Interpretation
1. In the eyes of the Modoc Sky Spirit, what was the true crime of the grizzly bears? What does this reaction reveal about him?

2. What is the meaning of the Modoc custom of marking the site where an Indian was killed by a grizzly?

Connections
1. Relate the girl being taken in by the bear to similar myths or legends in which a human is rescued or raised by caring animals.

2. Relate features of this story to elements of creation stories that you have in your own culture. What is the appeal of such straightforward explanations?

Critical Thinking Questions
“The Navajo Origin Legend”

Comprehension
1. Summarize the Navajo creation ceremony.

Interpretation

1. Why do the Navajo associate the tips of the fingers with the trail of the wind?

2. Find evidence in the passage that suggests that four is a sacred number for the Navajo....
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