Native American myths are very intriguing. Many are poetic as well as thought provoking. I loved writing “A Native American Creation Myth,” about the Cherokee version of creation. It is one of my favorite stories.
However, the Cherokee are hardly alone in their interpretation of how the world was created. There are many such stories and each is unique. Over the course of time, I hope to share some of these stories with you. Here will we begin with one Apache interpretation of the creation myth.
As with most Native Americans, the Apache revered nature. They believed there was a purpose for everything in the heavens as well as on the earth and in the seas. While they did not fully understand it all, that hint of “supernatural” made them revere it even more.
They believed that there was nothing but a great void for a long time. There was no light, no movement, no life; nothing at all. One day; however, the Creator decided it was time to make something out of the void. To begin, he hurled a disc into the air. One side of the disc was yellow, while the other was creamy white.
As the disc touched the empty space, it caused the creation of a god who is usually referred to as The One That Lives Above. He turned the yellow part of the disc to the light and caused it to throw streaks of color outward to announce the first dawn. The white he turned to guard the dark and caused it to spit out sparks of light that created stars to light the night.
Next, the Creator used the sweat from his face to create a small girl, whom he named Girl Without Parents. Then doing it again he flung his arms apart to create Sun God and Small Boy.
With the four new gods now present, the cloud upon which the Creator sat became too small to hold them all. So he decided they needed a place to live. He entreated his new creations to join their sweat with his to create a tiny brown ball.
To enlarge it, the Creator gave it a swift kick. Girl Without Parents did the same, then Sun God and Small Boy. With each kick, the ball grew larger, but it was still not large enough for the new deities to inhabit. So the Creator entreated his companion, the Wind, to enter the ball and expand it even more from the inside out.
Another of the Creator’s companions, Tarantula, also wanted to help. So he wove a black cord and attached it to the big ball. Then running as fast as he could, he extended the ball to the east. He wove three more cords, one blue, one yellow and one white. With each attachment he repeated his earlier actions. The blue cord pulled the ball south. The yellow cord pulled it west. Finally, the white cord pulled it north until the ball was perfect cylindrical and large enough to hold whatever the Creator desired.
But the ball was empty. There was nothing inside or out. Worse yet, it kept rolling and had no direction.
To hold it in place, the Creator used four heavy posts. Wind carried them to the four corners as he was told and finally, the earth remained still. Now it was time to fill it.
Creator decided the earth needed a sky so he created 28 new workers to help paint one. Now it was blue on top and brown on bottom. But the Creator thought it needed more color so he commanded it be painted with green to form the grass and trees. Then he used his own sweat to create the seas.
That was still not enough so Creator commanded another companion, Lightning-Maker, to explore the planet for something he could use to create the guardians of the earth. Lightning-Maker came back with a turquoise shell. Inside it, the Creator found three tiny creatures. One was male and two were female. But they were not well formed. They had no faces or arms and legs.
The Creator decided the creatures would work so he finished them, giving them facial features, hands, fingers, feet and toes. With the help of Tarantula, he even managed to provide them with hair.
He named one of the males Sky Boy and put him over the realm of the sky. One of the two girls he called Earth Daughter. She was given the guardianship of nature. The last he named Pollen Girl. She was put charge of earth’s 28 people.
Then to finish what he began, the Creator thought up animals, birds and fish to populate earth and give his people a source of food, shelter and clothing. Still not satisfied, he raised some of the brown ground up to create hills and mountains. He pushed some of the green down to form valleys. Then he caused a flood the come upon the earth to willow out its many nooks and crannies.
Finally, the Creator was finished but for one final gift. He and Girl Without Parents rubbed their legs together to create fire. This he gave it to earth’s people. With his job done, he nodded his head in satisfaction and disappeared into the smoke.
With the Creator gone, Sun God traveled east to follow the path of the sun. Girl Without Parents went west to inhabit the horizon. Small Boy and Pollen Girl went south to oversee all the earth. They life there still, always keeping watch over creation.
Mythology of the American Nations by David M. Jones and Brian L. Molyneaux