“World on the Turtle’s Back” an Iroquois Creation Myth
DO NOW: Read pg. 32 and 33. What didyou learn about the Iroquois? In your own words, what is a creation myth? Creation Myth: story of origin, explains how the natural world works, reflects social customs and traditions, serves as a guide/teaches lessons, involves supernatural beings or events
Why are people so eager tounderstand the origin of their world?
Cause and Effect RelationshipsCause Effect• Pregnant woman wants • Husband makes a hole, she forbidden roots falls• Falling, she clutches at roots • Seeds in her fingernails• Muskrat gets dirt from the • Woman plants seeds and ocean bottom grows plants• Woman walked as the sun • Earth grew (origin of ritual moves dances)• Arrows – one sharp, one blunt • Birth of twins – truth and lies• Unnatural birth • Mother dead• Animals molded out of clay • Competition – prey and predators• Duels • Ruler of the Sky (victor) and• Grandma is killed Ruler of Night and Shadows • Her head becomes the moon
Balance • Meat eaters and vegetarians • Medicine and disease • Population control • World needs “good” and “evil” to function properlyWhy did the “evil” twin create medicine?Why did the “good” twin kill his brotherand grandmother?Nothing is ALL “good” or ALL “evil”; people are amix of good and bad.
Re-read the first three paragraphs. How is thismyth similar to and different from other mythsyou’ve heard.? Details.
Lines 46-62. Consider the role that “all creatures” play in this myth.What does this suggest about the Iroquois’ attitude toward nature? • Nature helps and supports the woman •Animals are wise and resourceful •Nature is revered and respected •Woman takes care of nature and ensures that plants grow
Symbolism• The Great Tree – tree of life/growth and knowledge, roots/ancestry, they reach in the earth and toward the sky (links all life), bridge between heaven and earth, wisdom• Twins – balance; NOT good and evil, but right and left• Woman – Mother EarthDo you know of any important mythological treesor twins from other cultures?
What did you learn about Iroquois beliefs and culture? • World needs balance • Respect for nature • See themselves as part of nature, not superior to it (circle of life) • Nature is sacredWhy do you think the • The ocean – alwaysgrandmother preferred existed; eternal andthe left handed twin? godlike; unknown
Is this an effective creation myth?Does it explain everything? Whichparts were interesting? Why?
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