In Episode 7 I looked at a variety of weapons and objects from Celtic mythology, what kind of powers and uses can the objects of mythology hold, and do those fit my game design, or can I use those to inspire different objects? This week I thought we would go back to Mother Nature, and look at some of the mythology of the Native American and First Nations people. There is a huge variety of tribes, each with their own unique myths, but almost all of them are focused around nature and creation.
The stories, myths, and religions of the First Nations and Native Americans are deeply entrenched in symbolism and spirits. Their stories and mythology provide insight into weather, flora, fauna, and earth & sky. Through dance, songs, and rituals passed down by their ancestors, they share these stories and provide meaning and guidance for each generation.
Before you read any further, I think it is important to state that these are the stories that I have heard, and stories that I have discovered when researching mythology. By re-telling these stories in my own way, I in no way mean to disrespect the heritage of the people who have passed these stories down, and I highly encourage you the reader, to research and discover more about their history and beliefs. It is a fascinating culture, and by learning more about it, perhaps people will treat the Native American and First Nations people with the respect that they deserve. They were here first.
Let’s take a deeper look into some of the mythology from a variety of tribes…
- The Cherokee tribe was found in Oklahoma and the southeastern United States.
In Cherokee mythology the earth was simply a suspended island on a giant sea, it was formed when a little water beetle named Dâyuni’sï came from the sky and explored below the water. Having nowhere to rest, he dove down and brought up mud which quickly expanded to become the earth. Buzzard was sent down to make sure the mud was dry, but it wasn’t, as he tired, his wings and feet dragged in the mud and created valleys and mountains. When the mud finally dried the animals came down from the sky, but it was dark and they were cold. The animals took the sun and created a path for it to move east to west, but the sun was too close and many animals burned their skin. Several times they raised it higher to prevent it from being too hot, until they found the distance that was just right.
All the plants and animals were told to stay awake for 7 days to keep watch over their new land, but only the owl and panther could, so they were given night vision. Only the Fir trees, like cedar and pines, stayed awake, so the others were made to lose their leaves when it got cold.