Friday, 23 January 2015

Creation Mythology: Native America - Plains Indians

Today we are going to be looking at the creation mythology of the Plains Indians.  The Plains Indians lived on the Great Plains of North America and include the Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Lakota, Kiowa Apache, and Tonkawa tribes, amongst others.

The Blackfoot, or Blackfeet, tribe are made up of three groups: the Piegan, or Piikuni; the Blood, or Kainah; and the Siksika, or Blackfoot.  They lived in what is now Alberta, Canada, and in the state of Montana.  Today there are three reserves in Alberta and one in Montana.  The Blackfoot of the U.S. are officially known as the Blackfeet Nation.  They tell the following story of creation, which they call the Blackfoot Genesis.
Milk River, sandstone hoo-doos and prairie Photo taken by Kelly
The Blackfoot Genesis

All animals of the Plains at one time heard and knew him, and all birds of the air heard and knew him.  All things that he had made understood him, when he spoke to them, - the birds, the animals, and the people.
Old Man was travelling about, south of here, making the people.  He came from the south, travelling north, making animals and birds as he passed along.  He made the mountains, prairies, timber, and brush first.  So he went along, travelling northward, making things as he went, putting rivers here and there, and falls on them, putting red paint here and there in the ground – fixing up the world as we see it today.  He made the Milk River (the Teton) and crossed it, and, being tired, went up on a little hill and lay down to rest.  As he lay on his back, stretched out on the ground, with arms extended, he marked himself out with stones – the shape of his body, head, legs, arms, and everything.  There you can see those rocks today.  After he had rested, he went on northward, and stumbled over a knoll and fell down on his knees.  Then he said, ‘You are a bad thing to be stumbling against’; so he raised up two large buttes there, and named them the Knees, and they are called so to this day.  He went on further north, and with some of the rocks he carried with him he built the Sweet Grass Hills.
Sweet Grass Hills
Old Man covered the plains with grass for the animals to feed on. He marked off a piece of ground, and in it he made to grow all kinds of roots and berries,—camas, wild carrots, wild turnips, sweet-root, bitter-root, sarvis berries, bull berries, cherries, plums, and rosebuds. He put trees in the ground. He put all kinds of animals on the ground. When he made the bighorn with its big head and horns, he made it out on the prairie. It did not seem to travel easily on the prairie; it was awkward and could not go fast. So he took it by one of its horns, and led it up into the mountains, and turned it loose; and it skipped about among the rocks, and went up fearful places with ease. So he said, "This is the place that suits you; this is what you are fitted for, the rocks and the mountains." While he was in the mountains, he made the antelope out of dirt, and turned it loose, to see how it would go. It ran so fast that it fell over some rocks and hurt itself. He saw that this would not do, and took the antelope down on the prairie, and turned it loose; and it ran away fast and gracefully, and he said, "This is what you are suited to."
One day Old Man determined that he would make a woman and a child; so he formed them both—the woman and the child, her son—of clay. After he had moulded the clay in human shape, he said to the clay, "You must be people," and then he covered it up and left it, and went away. The next morning he went to the place and took the covering off, and saw that the clay shapes had changed a little. The second morning there was still more change, and the third still more. The fourth morning he went to the place, took the covering off, looked at the images, and told them to rise and walk; and they did so. They walked down to the river with their Maker, and then he told them that his name was Na´pi, Old Man.
The Sculptor and the Clay by ChristianKitsune
As they were standing by the river, the woman said to him, "How is it? will we always live, will there be no end to it?" He said: "I have never thought of that. We will have to decide it. I will take this buffalo chip and throw it in the river. If it floats, when people die, in four days they will become alive again; they will die for only four days. But if it sinks, there will be an end to them." He threw the chip into the river, and it floated. The woman turned and picked up a stone, and said: "No, I will throw this stone in the river; if it floats we will always live, if it sinks people must die, that they may always be sorry for each other." 1 The woman threw the stone into the water, and it sank. "There," said Old Man, "you have chosen. There will be an end to them."
It was not many nights after, that the woman's child died, and she cried a great deal for it. She said to Old Man: "Let us change this. The law that you first made, let that be a law." He said: "Not so. What is made law must be law. We will undo nothing that we have done. The child is dead, but it cannot be changed. People will have to die."
That is how we came to be people. It is he who made us.
The first people were poor and naked, and did not know how to get a living. Old Man showed them the roots and berries, and told them that they could eat them; that in a certain month of the year they could peel the bark off some trees and eat it, that it was good. He told the people that the animals should be their food, and gave them to the people, saying, "These are your herds." He said: "All these little animals that live in the ground—rats, squirrels, skunks, beavers—are good to eat. You need not fear to eat of their flesh." He made all the birds that fly, and told the people that there was no harm in their flesh, that it could be eaten. The first people that he created he used to take about through the timber and swamps and over the prairies, and show them the different plants. Of a certain plant he would say, "The root of this plant, if gathered in a certain month of the year, is good for a certain sickness." So they learned the power of all herbs.
In those days there were buffalo. Now the people had no arms, but those black animals with long beards were armed; and once, as the people were moving about, the buffalo saw them, and ran after them, and hooked them, and killed and ate them. One day, as the Maker of the people was travelling over the country, he saw some of his children, that he had made, lying dead, torn to pieces and partly eaten by the buffalo. When he saw this he was very sad. He said: "This will not do. I will change this. The people shall eat the buffalo."
He went to some of the people who were left, and said to them, "How is it that you people do nothing to these animals that are killing you?" The people said: "What can we do? We have no way to kill these animals, while they are armed and can kill us." Then said the Maker: "That is not hard. I will make you a weapon that will kill these animals." So he went out, and cut some sarvis berry shoots, and brought them in, and peeled the bark off them. He took a larger piece of wood, and flattened it, and tied a string to it, and made a bow. Now, as he was the master of all birds and could do with them as he wished, he went out and caught one, and took feathers from its wing, and split them, and tied them to the shaft of wood. He tied four feathers along the shaft, and tried the arrow at a mark, and found that it did not fly well. He took these feathers off, and put on three; and when he tried it again, he found that it was good. He went out and began to break sharp pieces off the stones. He tried them, and found that the black flint stones made the best arrow points, and some white flints. Then he taught the people how to use these things.
Hunting Lesson by Rafunsel
Then he said: "The next time you go out, take these things with you, and use them as I tell you, and do not run from these animals. When they run at you, as soon as they get pretty close, shoot the arrows at them, as I have taught you; and you will see that they will run from you or will run in a circle around you."
Now, as people became plenty, one day three men went out on to the plain to see the buffalo, but they had no arms. They saw the animals, but when the buffalo saw the men, they ran after them and killed two of them, but one got away. One day after this, the people went on a little hill to look about, and the buffalo saw them, and said, "Saiyah, there is some more of our food," and they rushed on them. This time the people did not run. They began to shoot at the buffalo with the bows and arrows Na´pi had given them, and the buffalo began to fall; but in the fight a person was killed.
At this time these people had flint knives given them, and they cut up the bodies of the dead buffalo. It is not healthful to eat the meat raw, so Old Man gathered soft dry rotten driftwood and made punk of it, and then got a piece of hard wood, and drilled a hole in it with an arrow point, and gave them a pointed piece of hard wood, and taught them how to make a fire with fire sticks, and to cook the flesh of these animals and eat it.
They got a kind of stone that was in the land, and then took another harder stone and worked one upon the other, and hollowed out the softer one, and made a kettle of it. This was the fashion of their dishes.
Also Old Man said to the people: "Now, if you are overcome, you may go and sleep, and get power. Something will come to you in your dream, that will help you. Whatever these animals tell you to do, you must obey them, as they appear to you in your sleep. Be guided by them. If anybody wants help, if you are alone and travelling, and cry aloud for help, your prayer will be answered. It may be by the eagles, perhaps by the buffalo, or by the bears. Whatever animal answers your prayer, you must listen to him."
Native Dreams - 0001 by art137
That was how the first people got through the world, by the power of their dreams.
After this, Old Man kept on, travelling north. Many of the animals that he had made followed him as he went. The animals understood him when he spoke to them, and he used them as his servants. When he got to the north point of the Porcupine Mountains, there he made some more mud images of people, and blew breath upon them, and they became people. He made men and women. They asked him, "What are we to eat?" He made many images of clay, in the form of buffalo. Then he blew breath on these, and they stood up; and when he made signs to them, they started to run. Then he said to the people, "Those are your food." They said to him, "Well, now, we have those animals; how are we to kill them?" "I will show you," he said. He took them to the cliff, and made them build rock piles like this, >; and he made the people hide behind these piles of rock, and said, "When I lead the buffalo this way, as I bring them opposite to you, rise up."
After he had told them how to act, he started on toward a herd of buffalo. He began to call them, and the buffalo started to run toward him, and they followed him until they were inside the lines. Then he dropped back; and as the people rose up, the buffalo ran in a straight line and jumped over the cliff. He told the people to go and take the flesh of those animals. They tried to tear the limbs apart, but they could not. They tried to bite pieces out, and could not. So Old Man went to the edge of the cliff, and broke some pieces of stone with sharp edges, and told them to cut the flesh with these. When they had taken the skins from these animals, they set up some poles and put the hides on them, and so made a shelter to sleep under. There were some of these buffalo that went over the cliff that were not dead. Their legs were broken, but they were still alive.
The people cut strips of green hide, and tied stones in the middle, and made large mauls, and broke in the skulls of the buffalo, and killed them.
Glacier National Park and Several Blackfeet Indian Tipis
After he had taught those people these things, he started off again, travelling north, until he came to where Bow and Elbow rivers meet. There he made some more people, and taught them the same things. From here he again went on northward. When he had come nearly to the Red Deer's River, he reached the hill where the Old Man sleeps. There he lay down and rested himself. The form of his body is to be seen there yet.
When he awoke from his sleep, he travelled further northward and came to a fine high hill. He climbed to the top of it, and there sat down to rest. He looked over the country below him, and it pleased him. Before him the hill was steep, and he said to himself, "Well, this is a fine place for sliding; I will have some fun," and he began to slide down the hill. The marks where he slid down are to be seen yet, and the place is known to all people as the "Old Man's Sliding Ground."
This is as far as the Blackfeet followed Old Man. The Crees know what he did further north.
In later times once, Na´pi said, "Here I will mark you off a piece of ground," and he did so. 1 Then he said: "There is your land, and it is full of all kinds of animals, and many things grow in this land. Let no other people come into it. This is for you five tribes (Blackfeet, Bloods, Piegans, Gros Ventres, Sarcees). When people come to cross the line, take your bows and arrows, your lances and your battle axes, and give them battle and keep them out. If they gain a footing, trouble will come to you."
Our forefathers gave battle to all people who came to cross these lines, and kept them out. Of late years we have let our friends, the white people, come in, and you know the result. We, his children, have failed to obey his laws.

The Jicarilla Apache, meaning ‘Little Baskets,’ once lived in what is now Northern New Mexico and Eastern Colorado.  Due to their nomadic life and their reliance on the hunting of Buffalo they are grouped with the Plains Indians.  Despite this, a large portion of the Jicarilla also inhabited mountainous areas.

First Black Hactcin Female by Jonnie Chardonn
The Emergence

In the beginning there was nothing - no earth, no living beings. There were only darkness, water, and Cyclone, the wind. There were no humans, but only the Hactcin, the Jicarilla supernatural beings. The Hactcin made the earth, the underworld beneath it, and the sky above it. The earth they made as a woman who faces upward, and the sky they made as a man who faces downward. The Hactcin lived in the underworld, where there was no light. There were mountains and plants in the underworld, and each had its own Hactcin. There were as yet no animals or humans, and everything in the underworld existed in a dream-like state and was spiritual and holy.

The most powerful of the Hactcin in the underworld was Black Hactcin. One day Black Hactcin made the first animal with four legs and a tail made of clay. At first he thought it looked peculiar, but when he asked it to walk and saw how gracefully it walked, he decided it was good. Knowing this animal would be lonely, he made many other kinds of animals come from the body of the first. He laughed to see the diversity of the animals he had created. All the animals wanted to know what to eat and where to live, so he divided the foods among them, giving grass to the horse, sheep, and cow, and to others he gave brush, leaves, and pine needles. He sent them out to different places, some to the mountains, some to the deserts, and some to the plains, which is why the animals are found in different places today.
Mud Bird by Brook Andreoli
Next Black Hactcin held out his hand and caught a drop of rain. He mixed this with some earth to make mud and made a bird from the mud. At first he wasn't sure he would like what he had made. He asked the bird to fly, and when it did he liked it. He decided the bird too would be lonely, so he grabbed it and whirled it rapidly clockwise. As the bird became dizzy, it saw images of other birds, and when Black Hactcin stopped whirling it, there were indeed many new kinds of birds, all of which live in the air because they were made from a drop of water that came from the air. Black Hactcin sent the birds out to find places they liked to live, and when they returned he gave each the place that they liked. To feed them, he threw seeds all over the ground. To tease them, however, he turned the seeds into insects, and he watched as they chased after the insects. At a river nearby, he told the birds to drink. Again, however, he couldn't resist teasing them, so he took some moss and made fish, frogs, and the other things that live in water. This frightened the birds as they came to drink, and it is why birds so often hop back in fright as they come down to drink. As some of the birds took off, their feathers fell in the water, and from them came the ducks and other birds that live in the water.

Black Hactcin continued to make more animals and birds. The animals and birds that already existed all spoke the same language, and they held a council. They came to Black Hactcin and asked for a companion. They were concerned that they would be alone when Black Hactcin left them, and Black Hactcin agreed to make something to keep them company. He stood facing the east, and then the south, and then the west, and then the north. He had the animals bring him all sorts of materials from across the land, and he traced his outline on the ground. He then set the things that they brought him in the outline. The turquoise that they brought became veins, the red ochre became blood, the coral became skin, the white rock became bones, the Mexican opal became fingernails and teeth, the jet became the pupil, the abalone became the white of the eyes, and the white clay became the marrow of the bones. Pollen, iron ore, and water scum were used too, and Black Hactcin used a dark cloud to make the hair.
Black Hactcin with Ancestral Man and Woman
The man they had made was lying face down, and it began to rise as the birds watched with excitement. The man arose from prone, to kneeling, to sitting up, and to standing. Four times Black Hactcin told him to speak, and he did. Four times Black Hactcin told him to laugh, and he did. It was likewise with shouting. Then Black Hactcin taught him to walk, and had him run four times in a clockwise circle.
The birds and animals were afraid the man would be lonely, and they asked Black Hactcin give him company. Black Hactcin asked them for some lice, which he put on the man's head. The man went to sleep scratching, and he dreamed that there was a woman beside him. When he awoke, she was there. They asked Black Hactcin what they would eat, and he told them that the plants and the cloven-hoofed animals would be their food. They asked where they should live. He told them to stay anywhere they liked, which is why the Jicarilla move from place to place. 
These two, Ancestral Man and Ancestral Woman, had children, and the people multiplied. In those days no one died, although they all lived in darkness. This lasted for many years. Holy Boy, another Apache spirit, was unhappy with the darkness, and he tried to make a sun. As he worked at it, Cyclone came by and told him that White Hactcin had a sun. Holy Boy went to White Hactcin, who gave him the sun, and he went to Black Hactcin, who gave him the moon. Black Hactcin told Holy Boy how to make a sacred drawing on a buckskin to hold the sun and moon, and Holy Boy, Red Boy, Black Hactcin, and White Hactcin held a ceremony at which White Hactcin released the sun and Black Hactcin released the moon. The light grew stronger as the sun moved from north to south, and eventually it was like daylight is now.
First White Hactcin Female by Jonnie Chardonn
The people didn't know what this was, and the shamans each began to claim that they had power over the sun. On the fourth day, there was an eclipse. After the sun had disappeared, the Hactcins told the shamans to make the sun reappear. The shamans tried all kinds of tricks, but they couldn't make the sun come back. To solve the problem, White Hactcin turned to the animals and had them bring the foods they ate. With the food and some sand and water, they began to grow a mountain. The mountain grew, but it stopped short of the hole in the sky that led from the underworld to the earth. It turned out that two girls had gone up on the mountain and had trampled the sacred plants and even had defecated there. White Hactcin, Black Hactcin, Holy Boy, and Red Boy had to go up the mountain and clean it. When they came down and the people sang, and the mountain grew again. It stopped, however, just short of the hole, and when the four went up again they could only see to the other earth. They sent up Fly and Spider, who took four rays of the sun and built a rope ladder to the upper world. Spider was the first one to climb to the upper world, where the sun was bright.
White Hactcin, Black Hactcin, Holy Boy, and Red Boy climbed up the ladder, and they found much water on the earth. They sent for the four winds to blow the water away, and Beaver came up to build dams to hold the water in rivers. Spider made threads to catch the sun, and they made the sun go

from east to west to light the entire world, not just one side. Hactcin called for the people to climb up, and for four days they climbed the mountain. At the top they found four ladders. Ancestral Man and

Ancestral Woman were the first people to climb up, and the people climbed up into the upper world
Escape from the Underworld by Micke Nikander

that we know today. Thus the earth is our mother, and the people climbed up as from a womb. Then the animals came up, and before long the ladders were worn out. Behind the animals came an old man and an old woman, and they couldn't climb the ladders. No one could get them up, and finally the two realized they had to stay in the underworld. They agreed to stay but told the others they must come back to the underworld eventually, which is why people go to the underworld after death.
Everything in the upper world is alive - the rocks, the trees, the grass, the plants, the fire, the water. Originally they all spoke the Jicarilla Apache language and spoke to the people. The Hactcin, however, decided that it was boring to have all these things speaking the same, so they gave all these things and all the animals different voices.
Eventually the people travelled out clockwise across the land. Different groups would break off and stay behind, and their children would begin to play games in which they used odd languages. The people in these groups began to forget their old languages and use these new ones, which is why now there are many languages. Only one group kept on traveling in the clockwise spiral until they reached the center of the world, and these are the Jicarilla Apaches.

The Osage Indians lived along the Osage and Missouri rivers in what is now western Missouri.  They were once known as the Ni-u-kon-ska, meaning ‘mid-waters.’  In their creation myth, the Osage people came from the sky to live upon the earth.

Father Sun by stardrop
The Creation

Way beyond, once upon a time, some of the Osages lived in the sky.  They did not know where they came from, so they went to the Sun.  They said, ‘From where did we come?’
He said, ‘You are my children.’
Then they wandered still further and came to the Moon.
Moon said, ‘I am your mother; Sun is your father.  You must go away from here.  You must go down to the earth and live there.’
So they came to the earth but found it covered with water.  They could not return up above.  They wept, but no answer came to them.  They floated about in the air, seeking help from some god; but they found none.
Now all the animals were with them.  Elk was the finest and most stately.  They all trusted Elk.  So they called to Elk, ‘Help us.’
Then Elk dropped into the water and began to sink.  Then he called to the winds.  The winds came from all sides and they blew until the waters went upwards, as in a mist.  Now before that the winds had travelled in only two directions; they went from north to south and from south to north.  But when Elk
A Call in the Night by Jennifer Morrison Godshalk
called to them, they came from the east, from the north, from the west, and from the south.  They met at a central place; then they carried the waters upwards.
Now at first the people could see only the rocks.  So they travelled on the rocky places.  But nothing grew there and there was nothing to eat.  Then the waters continued to vanish.  At last the people could see the soft earth.  When Elk saw the earth, he was so joyous, he rolled over and over on the earth.  Then all the loose hairs clung to the soil.  So the hairs grew, and from them sprang beans, corn, potatoes, and wild turnips, and at last all the grasses and trees.
Now the people wandered over the land.  They found human footsteps.  They followed them.  They joined with them, and travelled with them in search of food.

The Lakota tribe, also known as Teton, meaning ‘prairie dwellers’, were found on the Great Plains of North America.  They are a part of seven Sioux tribes and tell the following myth of recreation after the Creating Power becomes displeased with the people and floods the earth. 

Kangi Iya Wakan (Crow Speaks Sacred) by Allison Jones
Recreating the World

There was once another world, but the people of this world displeased their creator and so the Creating Power decided the remake the world.  He sang the songs to bring rain and with each song the rain became heavier and heavier.  Upon singing the fourth song, the earth split apart and water rose up through the many cracks, flooding the earth.  By now the rain had ceased.  All of the people and most of the animals were drowned.  Only Kangi, the Crow, survived.
Kangi begged the Creating Power to make him a new place where he could rest and the Creating Power thought that now was the time to remake the world.  From his pipe bag, which contained all animals and birds, the Creating Power chose four animals which were capable of staying beneath the water for long stretches of time.  He sent each of them to retrieve mud from beneath the waters that now covered the earth.  First the loon dove deep into the deep flood waters, but it could not reach the bottom.  The otter tried next, but also found he was unable to reach the bottom.  Then Beaver used his flat tail to propel him deep into the water, but he brought nothing back.  And finally the Turtle had his turn.

Green Turtle Dving by Chris Mason-Parker
Turtle remained beneath the water for so long that everyone believed he had drowned.  Much to their surprise, Turtle broke the surface of the water, and he brought back the mud needed to remake the world in his feet, beneath his claws, and in the cracks between his shells.  The Creating Power took the mud and began to sing, shaping the mud in his hands and spreading it across the flood waters.  It mad new land, just enough for the Creating Power and the Crow.  The Creating Power then took two eagle feathers and shook them over the mud, which spread and overcame the water.  But the land was dry and lifeless.  The Creating Power was sad and cried.  His tears became the oceans, streams, and lakes.  This new land the Creating Power called Turtle Continent, in honor of the turtle who had retried the mud from which it was formed.
The Creating Power then took from his great pipe bag the many animals and birds which now populate the earth.  From red, black, white and yellow earth, he made men and women to whom he gave his sacred pipe which the people were to live by.  He then warned the people about the fate of those that came before them and promised that all would be well if all living beings could live together in harmony.  If they made the world ugly and bad, it would be destroyed again.

The Crow tribe, or Apsaalooke in their own Siouan language, lived in the Yellowstone River valley, which runs from what is now Wyoming, through Montana and into North Dakota..  They are federally recognized as the Crow Tribe of Montana.  The following myth gives a good view of their culture.  The creator is Old Man, which is how the people once referred to the Sun, and is ‘identical with Old Man Coyote.’

Duck Diving by PeterDeBurger*
The Creation of the Crow World

Long before there was any land and before there was anything except four little ducks, the Creator, whom we call Old Man, came and said to the ducks, ‘Which one of you is brave?’
‘I am the bravest,’ replied one duck.
‘Dive into the water,’ Old Man said to the duck, ‘and get some dirt from the bottom.  I will see what I can do with it.’
The brave duck went down and was gone a long time.  It came up again carrying in its beak some dirt that it gave to Old Man.  He held it in his hand until it became dry.  Then he blew the dirt in all directions and thus made the land and the mountains and the rivers.
Old Man, who was all-powerful, was asked by the ducks to make other living things.  So he took more dirt in his hand and, after it had dried, he blew it off.  And there stood and man and a woman, the first Crow Indians.  Old Man explained to them how to increase their number.  At first they were blind; when their eyes were opened and they saw their nakedness, they asked for something with which to clothe themselves.
So that they might have food and clothing, Old Man took the rest of the dirt brought up by Duck and made animals and plants.  Then he killed one of the buffalo he had made, broke a rock, and with one of the pieces cut up the animal.  Then he explained its parts and told the man and woman how to use them.
Buffalo Hunter by RickyCrabbit
‘To carry water,’ he said, ‘take the pouch from the inside of the buffalo and make a bucket.  Make drinking cups from its horns and also from the horns of the mountain sheep.  Use the best pieces of buffalo for food.  When you have had enough to eat, make a robe from the hide.’
Then he showed the woman how to dress the skin.  He showed the man how to make arrowheads, axes, knives, and cooking vessels from hard stone.  ‘To make a fire,’ said Old Man, ‘take two sticks and place a little sand on one of them and also some of the driest buffalo chips.  Then take the other stick and roll it between your hands until fire comes.’
Old Man told them to take a large stone and fasten to it a handle made from hide.  ‘With it you can break animal bones to get the marrow for making soup,’ he said to the woman.  He also showed her how to scrape skins with a bone from the foreleg of an animal, to remove the hair.
At first, Old Man gave the man and woman no horses; they had only dogs for carrying their things.  Later he told them how to get horses.  ‘When you go over that hill there, do not look back, no matter what you hear.’  For three days they walked without looking back, but on the third day they heard animals coming behind them.  They turned around and saw horses, but the horses vanished.
Old Man told them how to build a sweat lodge and also explained its purpose.  And he told the man how to get dreams and visions.  ‘Go up in the mountains,’ he said, ‘cut a piece of flesh from yourself, and give it to me.  Do not eat while you are there.  Then you will have visions that will tell you what to do.
‘This land is the best of the lands I have made,’ Old Man said to them.  ‘Upon it you will find everything you need – pure water, vegetation, timber, game animals.  I have put you in the center of it, and I have put people around you as your enemies.  If I had made you in large numbers, you would be too powerful and would kill the other people I have created.  You are few in number, but you are brave.’

The Kiowa Apache, or Plains Apache, live on the Southern Plains of North America which are, today, centered in Southwestern Oklahoma.  Their creation myth tells of the One Who Lives Above who made the world with thought, much like in the stories of the Australian Aborigines.

Sunrise by kellu
The One Who Lives Above Creates The World

In the beginning nothing existed--no earth, no sky, no sun, no moon, only darkness was everywhere.
Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above. As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.
When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many colours appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colours.
Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.
"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without-Parents.
"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.
"From the east where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.
"Where is the earth?" she asked.
"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.
Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small- Boy.
All four gods sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.
"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."
To Be Created by tvlookplay*

Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.
Creator sang, "Let us make earth. I am thinking of the earth, earth, earth; I am thinking of the earth," he sang four times.
All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.
Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.
Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.
Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.
"Fly north, south, east, and west and tell us what you see," said Creator.
"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The earth is most beautiful, with water on the west side."
Towering Column by Nuukeer
But the earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support the earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the earth. The earth sat still.
Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.
Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the earth and sky.
He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.
Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweathouse. Girl- Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the east doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.
Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweathouse. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.
Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth-People.
 Since the earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the earth will rise and cause a mighty flood."
Creator made a very tall pinon tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinon gum, creating a large, tight ball. 
The Big Flood by a1calypso
In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.
In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on earth.
Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl- Without-Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.
"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.
The Big Dipper Cluster by Noel Carboni
"You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.
"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.
"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.
"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.
"You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."
Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.
Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the earth.
Sun-God went east to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without- Parents departed westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the south. Big Dipper can still be seen in the northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.

Useful Resources

Blackfoot Lodge Tales by George Bird Grinnell
Jicarilla Apache Texts by Pliny Earle Goddard
Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by Katharine Berry Judson
First People – Lakota Creation Myth  
Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies by Ella Elizabeth Clark – Apache Creation Story

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