The Iroquois Creation Myth

1190 Words Jul 8th, 2018 5 Pages
Many Native Americans tell stories of the creation of earth that explain how they came to be before the Europeans entered North America. Creation myths vary among all cultures; however, they all have one thing in common; heaven and earth. One of the most popular creation myths was the Iroquois creation myth. The Iroquois or Haudenosaunee meaning “People of the Longhouse” (Iroquois Indian Museum, n.d.) consists of six Indian nations that include the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora tribes. In the beginning, there was a belief that before the creation of earth, there were two realms, the sky, and the lower world that consisted of water and water creatures. From the sky, a young woman named the Sky Woman was
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He flung her head into the night sky and threw her body into the ocean, resulting in the Sky Woman becoming Grandmother moon.
The story of the Sky Woman, her daughter and twin grandsons depicts the beginning of the world and creates the belief that everyone is born with good and evil in them. The significance of nature influences how the Native Americans belief that nature, animals, and humans are equal counterparts. If it had not been for the help of the animals, Sky Woman would have died and the creation of earth would not exist. The twins play a significant role among the Iroquois that the good and evil are necessary for the world to be in balance. The belief that Sky Woman is the leader of all female life who “controls the rise and fall of the waters and a companion to the stars” (Olan, n.d.) and “regulates the monthly cycles of all females in which guarantees new life will be born” (Olan, n.d.). The myth signifies the Native American belief of how the creation and reincarnation of humans connects to the rise and fall of the sun and moon.
The Iroquois Creation Myth is a detailed and complex myth that has many different versions. The earliest complete transcription and translation of the Iroquois creation myth by David Cusick’s Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations (Cusick, 1828). In different versions of the myth, Sky Woman gives birth to twin boys, and in another, Sky Woman’s daughter gives birth. In similar sequence,
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