Creation Myths

How The World Was Made

An origin myth is a myth that purports to describe the origin of some feature of the natural or social world. One type of origin myth is the cosmogonic myth, which describes the creation of the world.

Cheyenne Creation Myth

In the myth How the World Was Made there was an all Spirit named Maheo and he was the only one in the dark void. According to the myth, Maheo decided to create a world. From there, he created animals to help him create more life. He created land from mud and placed it upon Grandmother Turtle’s back to carry. Her hair became wonderful flowers and plants and eventually he saw her as Grandmother Earth. He did not want her to be alone and so he created a copy of himself. He pulled a rib from his right side and it formed into the first man. He, also, did not want this man to be alone so he pulled out a rib from his left side. This rib formed into the first woman. He sat back and thought. He decided to gift his creation with a buffalo to fulfill all their needs from food to warmth to clothing.

Blackfoot Creation Myth

There are several creation myths found within Native American culture. One of those is the creation myth involving Napioa. Napioa is mentioned in almost all Blackfoot myths and is considered an important figure in the Blackfoot mythology itself. Napioa is known by many names including the sun, Old man, and Napi (Nah-pee).

Napioa is said to have created the earth using the mud from a turtle’s mouth that was found on a river upon which napioa floated. He also created men and women and made the bison tame for the people to hunt. He is said to also have created the animals and the grass and everything else that is on the earth.

Miwok Creation Myth

Another creation story says that there is “no earth, only water”. Silver Fox (a female) feels lonely and mentions this in a prayer song, and then meets the Coyote. Silver Fox makes an artistic proposal: “We will sing the world”. They create the world together by dancing and singing. As they do so, the earth forms and takes shape.

Ohlone Creation Myth

One Ohlone creation myth begins with the demise of a previous world: When it was destroyed, the world was covered entirely in water, apart from a single peak, Pico Blanco (north of Big Sur) in the Rumsien version (or Mount Diablo in the northern Ohlone’s version) on which Coyote, Hummingbird, and Eagle stood. “When the water rose to their feet” the eagle carried them all to Sierra de Gabilin (near Fremont) where they waited “for the water to go down” and the world to dry out. Coyote was sent to investigate and found it was dry now.

After the flood, the eagle led Coyote to a beautiful girl inside or in the river and instructed him “she will be your wife in order that people may be raised again.” Eagle gave Coyote instruction how to make her pregnant in her belly. This first wife became pregnant by eating one of Coyote’s lice, but she was afraid and started running. Coyote could not persuade her or slow her down, she ran to the ocean with Coyote chasing her and she jumped into the ocean and turned into a sand flea or shrimp.[2]

Coyote married a second wife and this time had children who became the Ohlone people. This is how “people raised again”. The Coyote taught humanity the arts of survival.