Creation by Women

Iroquois
In the beginning there was no earth. In the sky lived a woman who dreamed. One night, she dreamed of a tree filled with white flowers. When the flowers opened, the sky brightened, only to bring terrible darkness when the flowers closed.

The dream frightened the woman, and she begged the elders to pull up the tree. Misunderstanding, they’d dug around the roots to get more light. There was a terrible cracking noise, then the tree fell through the hole and disappeared. The light disappeared, leaving only darkness.

The old men were frightened and blamed the woman. They pushed her through the hole, and she plummeted down towards the water. A fish hawk swooped down, cradling her with his feathers and holding her above the water. But the fish talk wasn’t strong enough to hold her for long. He cried for help, seeking land for the dreaming woman.

A Hell diver, a small bird, dove down to the ocean floor and returned with a dab of mike in his beak. He smeared the mud onto the back of a turtle, then returned for more. Soon the ducks joined in, bringing more mud. The beavers, great builders, helped to make the small patch of land larger.

Together, the animals worked to create the countries and continents, building the earth while the woman sat safely on the back of the turtle. To this day, the turtle continues to hold up the earth.

Huron
At the beginning of time, there was no land, only water and water animals. A divine woman fell from a hole in the sky. Two loons saw her fall and flew under her, protecting her from the ocean. As balloons held her up, they cried for help.

The Snapping Turtle heard them, and called all the other animals to help save the woman’s life. They decided to create land for her to sit on. Turtle sent the other animals under water to seek out Earth.

Many animals went – Beaver, Muskrat, and others. Some stayed underwater too long and died. Others returned. When they came to the surface, Turtle peered into their mouths, but there was no dirt.

Finally, Toad went under water. He was gone a long time, and when he returned, he was close to death. However, when he returned, he also had in his mouth a little scrap of Earth. The woman spread the earth around on Turtle’s shell. That was the beginning of land, and stay by day it grew larger and larger. Eventually, it formed the earth as we know it – and Turtle continues to hold the earth on his shell.

In time, the divine woman gave birth to twin boys, one good and one evil. One was born in the normal way, while the other broke out at his mother’s side, causing her death. When the divine woman was laid to rest, plants sprang up around her. The pumpkin vine grew from her head, pole beans from her legs, and maize from her chest.

Inuit
Long ago, before people roamed the earth, the first man was tucked into a Peapod. Days passed, and on the fifth day he pushed with his feet. The pod broke under him and he tumbled to the ground. When he stood, he was a grown man. The pod swung gently on the vine, a hole in the bottom.

The man began to walk across the soft ground. The ground felt as if it were moving, and he began to feel ill. He stopped walking, and watched a pool of water develop near his feet. He sipped from the water, and felt refreshed.

When he stood, he saw something large and dark flapping toward him. It was Raven. Raven lifted his beak, raising it like a mask and changing into a man. He peered at the human and asked, “Who are you, and where did you come from?”

The first man pointed to the broken pod and said, “I came from the Peapod.”

Raven was surprised. He had created the vine, but never expected something so delightful to come out. He asked if the man had anything to eat. Upon finding that this man had only water, Raven disappeared. Four days later, he returned carrying two raspberries and two heathberries which the man ate.

Raven and Man walked to a small creek. Raven molded clay into two tiny mountain sheep. Man was interested, and thought they were beautiful. Raven flapped his wings over the clay figurines, giving them life. They bounded away, full of life.

Raven brought more animals to life, and Man was thrilled at them all. Raven began to worry that Man might kill and eat all the animals, so he decided to create an animal that would frighten Man. Taking a lump of clay, Raven created a bear. Both Man and Raven got out of the way quickly when Bear was around.

Raven didn’t want Man to be lonely, so he made one more clay figure. It was very much like Man’s, but yet different as well. He flapped his wings, and Woman came to life.

Raven said, “Now you have a helper and a mate.”

Man and Woman were very happy. Soon, the earth was filled with many animals and people, and all living things thrived.