Sky Woman: The Haudenosaunee Creation Story
This story is from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) oral tradition.
- The first people were the Sky People.
- One day, the chief's daughter became ill. No one could cure her sickness. Yours' He's His' Her's And Mine's!
- An elder said the people should dig up a tree. Then they should put the girl beside the hole.
- As the people dug up the tree, the tree suddenly fell down through the hole and dragged the chief’s daughter with it!
- As the girl fell, she saw only water below.
- The girl landed on the back of a large turtle.
- All the animals of the earth gathered.
- Great Turtle said the girl was a symbol of good fortune.
- Great Turtle asked the animals to find the tree where it had fallen into the water. He wanted the earth from the tree’s roots.
- Otter, Muskrat, and Beaver dove in search of the tree. They came back without the tree.
- Then an elder woman toad volunteered.
- Elder Woman Toad dove into the water and remained below for a long time.
- Finally, Elder Woman Toad surfaced. She spit a mouthful of dirt onto the back of Great Turtle.
- This earth was magical. It contained the power of growth.
- The island grew until it was large enough for Sky Woman to live on.
- However, the world was still dark.
- Great Turtle called for the animals to gather once again. They decided to put light in the sky.
- A little turtle volunteered to climb into the sky with the help of the other animals’ magic.
- Little Turtle climbed into a black cloud and crawled around the sky, collecting lightning as she went.
- Little Turtle made two balls from the lightning and threw them into the sky.
- The first ball became the sun. The second ball became the moon.
- Great Turtle asked Chipmunk, Badger, Mole, and Shrew to make holes in the corners of the sky.
- Sun and Moon went down one hole and climbed up through the other as they circled Turtle Island.
- Then there was day and night.
- Sky Woman lived on the island on top of Great Turtle’s back.
- She gave birth to twins – one good, one evil.
- From Sky Woman grows three sisters: corn, beans, and squash.