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World on the Turtle’s Back


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Published in: Education, Spiritual
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World on the Turtle’s Back

  1. 1. “World on the Turtle’s Back” an Iroquois Creation Myth
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. Why are people so eager tounderstand the origin of their world?
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. Re-read the first three paragraphs. How is thismyth similar to and different from other mythsyou’ve heard.? Details.
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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?
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. Is this an effective creation myth?Does it explain everything? Whichparts were interesting? Why?