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CREATION

MYTHS

CULTURE

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Acc. to Andrew Wiget, Culture is a system of beliefs and values through which a group of people structure their experience of the world.

the impact of ideology upon literature pluralize our notion of the world & understand that other peoples can organize their experience in different ways and dramatize their experience of the world through different symbolic forms

CULTURE

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If culture is a system of beliefs and values by which people organize their experience of the world,

then it follows that forms of expressive culture (literature) should embody the basic beliefs and values of the people who create them.

CULTURE

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These beliefs and values can be roughly organized in three areas:

(1) beliefs @ the nature of the physical world

(2) beliefs @ social order & appropriate behavior

(3) beliefs @ human nature & the problem of good and evil

CREATION MYTHS

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Stories about the Creation of the World

tell people who they are by telling where they came from” (21)

influence how they think about the world & treat it

their worldview

symbolic story about how the world was created & how humans came to be

CREATION MYTHS

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common traits:

advance a general cultural outlook perspectives on life ways to understand life also birth theme: start of life cycle higher power: a creator, catalyst innocence, sinlessness animals & humans together

CREATION MYTHS

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Natives:

spoken, narrated, sung, chanted (oral tradition)

mid- to late-1800s that Euro-Americans gained the linguistic skills & cultural understanding to translate them decently

& Natives collaborated in the recording of their myths & legends

Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni, 1879 Washington Matthews (army doc), Navajo, 1880s JW Fewkes, & JW Lloyd, Pima, 20 th C. David Cusick, a Tuscarora member of the Iroquois 6 Nations), 1825 – 1 st Native

IROQUOIS

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5 Nations:

Mohawks Seneca Oneida Onondaga Cayuga

6 th nation =

Tuscarora of North Carolina, early 1700s

IROQUOIS

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People of the Longhouse

Haudenosaunee referred to self longhouse

20 ft. wide 40-200 ft. wide several families in 1 shared cooking fires

IROQUOIS 9  “ People of the Longhouse ”  Haudenosaunee  referred to self 

IROQUOIS

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Iroquois:

French

English & Dutch: Mohawk, Seneca, Maqua

area:

northeast North America Erie & Ontario lakes St. Lawrence & Ottawa rivers Hudson River

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 11 MYTH

25 versions (oral tradition) 1623: Gabriel Sagard, French

1828, David Cusick – Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 12 MYTH

2 worlds

Lower World

of darkness the possession of the Great Monster

Upper World

of sky inhabited by “mankind”

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 13 MYTH

SKY WOMAN:

conceives TWINS

IROQUOIS CREATION 13 MYTH  SKY WOMAN :  conceives TWINS  sinks, pushed, falls from

sinks, pushed, falls from Upper World to Lower World

Lower World creatures see her falling, prepare her landing

get a patch of earth

turtle volunteers to catch her in the water

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 14 MYTH

TURTLE

grows to the size of an island w/bushes & trees

IROQUOIS CREATION 14 MYTH  TURTLE  grows to the size of an island  w/bushes

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 15 MYTH

TWINS

fight in the womb

evil one wants to burst out his mother’s side

good one prevents it

birth

she dies shortly after

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 16 MYTH

ENIGORIO

good son creator

sun from mother’s head moon from mother’s body stars creeks & rivers animals

“Adam & Eve” = “The Real People” (Ea-Gwe- Howe)

rain, vegetation, game animals

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 17 MYTH

ENIGONHAHETGEA

evil son

creates only bad things, tries to corrupt brother’s creations

mountains, valleys (rivers in only 1 direction) reptiles – poisonous to humans tries to create humans – but APES

tries again, brother stops, gives them life & souls

the most knowledge of Good & Evil” (25)

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 18 MYTH

Evil Son tries to contain all animals, to keep from humans – Good Son frees them

Final Battle

Evil Son challenges brother for governance of entire universe confess their weaknesses

Good’s = beaten w/corn stalks, rushes, reeds (a lie?) Bad’s = beaten w/deer antlers

2-day battle Bad = beaten w/antlers, crushed into the earth Bad’s last words –

he’ll become Evil Spirit (“Devil/Hades”) hold equal power over human souls after death

IROQUOIS CREATION

  • 19 MYTH

COMPARISON to BIBLE:

virgin birth good vs. evil struggles Creation Adam & Eve

ultimate battle, Good vs. Evil, Armageddon

Devil, Hades

NAVAJO

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Athabascan language

shared by Canadian & Alaskan tribes shared by Apaches

Navajo Nation

Din-e The People

Navajo = Spanish, Apaches who cultivate fields (Apachu de Nabajo)

NAVAJO

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migrated south west skills

farming & weaving - from Pueblos silver-working – from Mexicans

livestock – from Spanish

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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Washington Matthews, late 1800s complex 5 Worlds #1 theme =

HARMONY & BALANCE

gods & humans & creatures man & wife

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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1 st WORLD
1
st
WORLD

like an island floating mist” (26) red no sun, stars, people only light = the sky

in a sea of

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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1 st WORLD
1
st
WORLD

wind creatures (Nilchi Dine’e) the Holy People (Hashch’eeh Dine’e)

predecessors of Humans (we got their beauty & form)

4 colors of the day

white = eastern sky, dawn (rise & shine) blue = southern sky, day (work) yellow = western sky, evening (retire) black = northern sky, night (sleep)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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1 st WORLD
1
st
WORLD

north = death Great Fountain

#4

4 or 2 pairs

important pattern # to

Navajo

signifies completion, wholeness

Judeo-Christian #7

center of the world (axis mundi)

confluence of 3 rivers

12 TRIBES

4 in 3 directions ants, dragonflies, beetles, bats, locusts

not insects/animals

but spiritual beings

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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1 st WORLD
1
st
WORLD

4 GUARDIANS

in the water surrounding the 1 st World Water Monster, east Blue Heron, south Frog, west White Mountain Thunder, north

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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“FALL”

adultery

1 st WORLD
1
st
WORLD

resulted in deceit, jealousy, turmoil

* destroys the HARMONY between husband & wife

warned 3x, 4 th = banishment

but they were “lost in their wickedness & did not heed”

4 Guardians sent Great Flood

escape east, through small opening into a blue world

“strange blue head” in the sky

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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2 nd WORLD
2
nd
WORLD

blue barren & flat scouts (like Noah & raven & dove) Swallow People (blue beings)

(supernaturals who were precursors of today’s birds)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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2 nd WORLD
2
nd
WORLD

don’t learn their lesson:

take liberties with head Swallow’s wife (adultery #2)

kicked out #2

White Head appears, go south – crooked opening

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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3 rd WORLD
3
rd
WORLD

white Grasshopper People

(supernaturals who were precursors of today’s insects)

adultery #3 kicked out #3 Red Head, go west – winding entrance

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

black & white the Pueblos (the Kiis’annii) –

lived in pit houses, houses in the ground

Pueblos teach them @ agriculture

(corn, squash, pumpkin, beans)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

*Nilch’i Dine’e behave (no adultery, no kick out)

LESSON:

behave b/c learned a trade industry idle hands…

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

Holy People appear

3x just a voice – 4 th x = appear

White Body (Talking God) Blue Body (Water Sprinkler) Yellow Body (Calling God) Black Body (Fire God)

4 days, 4x a day – tried to speak w/gestures & signs – not understood

want to make more people, but in better forms

ND = formed like Holy People: teeth, 4 legs, claws like insects…

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

purify

“smell bad”

wash dry with sacred cornmeal –

white for men, yellow for women

Holy People return in 12 days

LESSON:

how to clean purifying ritual

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD st
4
th
WORLD
st

HUMANS

Creation of 1

2 buckskins 2 ears of corn (white, yellow) buckskin, ears, buckskin Sacred Wind came between buckskins

Mirage people appeared & walked around the buckskins

4 th turn of the MP man & woman replaced the ears

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD st HUMANS
4
th
WORLD
st
HUMANS

Creation of 1

ADAM & EVE

First Man, First Woman Altse Hastiin, Altse Asdzaan

make a shelter husband & wife rock crystal

to man symbol of clear thought to burn for fire

LESSON:

1 st humans

turquoise

to woman symbol of power of speech to burn

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

4 days TWINS

Nadleeh have both male & female spirit --???

hermaphrodites? men who did women’s work w/o stigma?

every 4 th day

4 more sets of twins (no more Naleeh)

LESSON:

populate the land

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

Instructions:

A&E taken to east mountains for 4 days children taken later, for 4 days how to live a good life how to conduct themselves (in a manner befitting their divine origins) Knowledge of Good & Evil

b/c Holy People were capable of G&E taught them witchcraft, too

LESSON:

Good & Evil in the world

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

rituals:

religious

A&E wore masks

prayed – long life, ample rain, abundant harvests

ceremonies: prayers, songs, ritualshave NOT changed

LESSON:

rituals ***

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

marriage:

children of A&E + Pueblos + Mirage People 4 days children

LESSON:

important cultural ritual

inventions

earthen dam

guardians = Nadleeh

Nadleeh made pottery, baskets while there

“Millennium”

period of peace

8 years (long time, 4x2)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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Trouble:

4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

Earth & Sky join COYOTE & BADGER bad & good omens

1 st argument

LESSON:

imbalance disharmony battle of sexes

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

1 st argument:

1 st Woman’s “ungrateful remark” regarding his hunting & providing other versions make it seem a “bawdy” joke

the vagina (the joosh) = responsible for the successful hunting & food provision

1 st Man moves away, separation =

loss of self-control (overreaction, pride)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

1 st argument:

1 st Man gathers all men take all their weapons & tools & move across river (with Nadleeh)

Let’s see how they “get along w/o us after all!”

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

1 st argument:

1 st winter:

women = OK b/c they harvest men’s crops

women taunt men too late in season for men to plant, ate mush

spring: men w/ bigger harvest (than before, than women)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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1 st argument:

4 th year:

men had so

4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

much they left most to rot in field

waste = taboo women = starving women miss men dildos of cacti & stones creation of monsters loss of self-control

reunion

for sake of species (no more children)

feast

to commemorate, celebrate = “community”

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

LESSONS

from 1 st argument:

imbalance, loss of self-control x2 taboo: waste food feasts = community pray to Holy People

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

3 women = missing

mother, 2 daughters

captured by Water Monster as they were rowing across the river

pray to Holy People

Coyote helps in search of water – 4 chambers of WM’s dwelling

found, retrieved, BUT Coyote steals WM’s child FLOOD

feast

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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4 th WORLD
4
th
WORLD

Flood b/c of Coyote’s trick

planted trees to climb to safety juniper, pinon, pine, spruce

Old Man, Young Man – w/sacred soil Great Reed

from 7 sacred mts. 32 reeds fused into 1 giant reed hole in east side of reed, climb in for safety, sealed escape through Sky Turkey = last out, white tail feathers = reminder of escape

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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glittering

5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

Holy People, Pueblos, A&E, Nadleeh, offspring

return Water Monster’s baby plant, build houses, scouts, multiply

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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divination

5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

HP do test to determine their future “magic shell” tossed into water: float = immortality, sunk = mortality Coyote tosses 2 nd stone in water when 1 st floated sinks If we do not die, we shall soon overrun the world. There will be no room for us all.”

people see wisdom, reluctantly agree Coyote = responsible for human mortality = across

Native Am. stories

LESSON:

why we die - mortality how to bury

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

1 st death & burial

Nadleah

Holy People instruct – prepare body, place in rocky crevice

Argument #2:

over seed corm brought from 4 th World vs. the Kiis’aannii

separation #2

borders, marked by 4 mountains, w/3 interior mts., by A&E

Naming Ceremony (by A&E) east, south, west, north

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

4 color changes of the sky (as before – see 1 st World)

need more light Sun & Moon = created

Old Man w/sacred soil, reward = Sun God, immortality, bears sun across sky

Young Man = Moon God, immortality, bears moon across the sky

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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MONSTERS

5 th WORLD :
5
th
WORLD
:

result of women’s unnatural acts in 4 th World (stones, cacti)

horned monster, kicked people off cliffs, killed w/eyes, flying monster

only 4 people remain

1 st Man still prays each morning faith in hardship (JOB)

4 th morning – White Body told 1 st man to go to mountain

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

CHANGING WOMAN:

the most beloved of all the deities

as a baby, 1 st Man takes her home 4 days = full growth, maturity – moves out birth to TWINS

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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TWINS:

5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

sons of Sun & Waterfall Born-for-Water, Monster Slayer

twins defeat the monsters (helped by Spider Woman, others)

MS slew, B4W stayed home protection spells

Sun gives special weapons to kill Giant, one of his sons/monsters b/c killing humans

weapons made of lighting, magic to walk on rainbow

Clash of the Titans

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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TWINS:

5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

last 4 monsters = PANDORA’S BOX-

Old Age, Poverty, Hunger, Cold

spared by the Twins so Humans would not get complacent

Twins go dwell w/Holy People

become protectors of Humans (still)

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

Sun & Changing Woman get married

after he agreed that she wouldn’t be long away from her people

made more people (replenish earth after the Monsters)

4 Original Clans

NAVAJO CREATION MYTH

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5 th WORLD
5
th
WORLD

Happy Ending:

Changing Woman makes more people

Twins become protectors of Humans (live w/Holy People)

Holy People leave but in touch through PRAYER & SONGS

Sacred Rainbow =

placed around Navajo homeland (Dine’bikeyah) protection blessing reminder of sacredness of that land

so long as Dine remain w/in this boundary, they have protection of Holy People

connection to the land

Political aspect of story:

(Jerusalem as “Holy Land”)

Andrew Jackson = becomes president promise to remove Indians from

LESSONS

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#4 industry cleansing/purification ritual how 1 st Man & 1 st Woman came to be prayer ceremonies & rituals why there’s good & evil marriage be fruitful & multiply harmony & balance loss of self-control & results waste = taboo (esp. waste of food)

LESSONS

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feasts to commemorate good times: symbol of community, celebration

flood why turkeys have white tail feathers why we die – mortality how to bury naming ceremony faith in woe, still pray sun & moon twins why there’s Old Age, Poverty, Hunger, Cold prayer & song holy connection to the land

COMPARISON to BIBLE

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axis mundi (Garden of Eden) 12 Tribes of Israel Sodom & Gomorrah Fall & banishment Great Flood scouts = dove & raven from Noah’s ark Adam & Eve

COMPARISON to BIBLE

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marriage industry, work be fruitful & multiply millennium fall, Serpent-trickster Job & monsters (faith in woe/crisis) Holy Land