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Myths and Legends of America’s Indigenous People

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Even though many believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, it was in fact a group of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson who first set foot on North American soil in approximately 1000 AD.

However, long before any outsiders arrived, there were indigenous tribes of people who freely roamed the Americas and were governed by their own ideas of the world around them.

These myths and legends weren’t formally recorded, but were instead handed down from one generation to another through a culture of oral history. Many of these stories centre on how the world came to be and are known as creation myths.

The Creation Myth of the Powhatan

According to the Powhatan tribe, there were 5 central gods led by the Great Hare while the other 4 gods were the winds from the 4 corners of the globe. The Great Hare created mankind and animals, but he was unsure as to what to do with them, so he placed them in a large bag.

Realising that mankind and the animals would need somewhere to live, he created rivers, lakes, and forests as well as deer to live in the forest. However, the other 4 gods were not happy with what the Great Hare had created and went into the forest to kill the deer.

The Great Hare discovered the slain dear and saddened, tossed the skins of the deer into the forest which caused many more deer to spring to life – much like how the popularity of online blackjack breathed life into many more online casinos.

The rest of the animals and mankind were then let out of the large bag and distributed throughout the forest to live with the deer.

The Fire Myth of the Alabama

According to the Alabama tribe, Fire was owned by Bear when the earth was very young. Bear was kept warm and illuminated by Fire and would carry it with him wherever he went, including to the forest where Bear and his family went exploring one day.

Leaving Fire at the entrance to the forest, Bear went deeper and deeper into the woods in search of acorns to eat, but Fire was running out of wood to keep on burning.

Fire called out to Bear for help, but to no avail. Just then, Man came along and asked if Fire needed help and brought the required wood to keep Fire burning. Man enjoyed the Fire’s warmth and illumination and when Bear returned, he was chased away by Fire and stayed with Man instead.

The Thunder Myth of the Cherokee

According to the Cherokee tribe, the god of thunder, Great Thunder, and his sons, the Thunder Boys, lived high up in the sky to the west and while they caused lightning and thunder to strike the earth, they also brought much-needed rain for the crops.

The medicine men of the Cherokee tribe prayed that the Thunders would bring gentle rain for their crops for sustenance and that the lightning would not harm the people of their tribe.