November 12, 2001

Wyandotte Creation Story


“In the beginning, the people were all Wyandots. They lived in Heaven. Hoo-wah-yooh-wah-neh, the Great Spirit or mighty chief, led them.

His daughter, Yah-weh-noh, was a beautiful virgin. She became very ill and could not be cured. At last the chief medicine men of the tribe held a council.

They said: ‘Dig up the big apple tree that stands by the lodge of Hooh-wah-yooh-wah-neh. Have the beautiful virgin laid on a bed of boughs near it, so that she can watch the work. She will then be cured.’

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“The strongest warriors of the tribe dug all around the roots of the tree, and eventually, it fell through.

The spreading branches caught Yah-Weh-noh and carried her with the tree down through the hole it left. Below all was water.

Two swans saw the beautiful maiden falling. One of them said: ‘I will catch her.’

The two swans then called a council of all the swimmers and water tribes to decide what to do with the beautiful young woman.

The turtle finally agreed that if some of the others would bring up from the bottom some earth and put it on his back he would carry the young woman. The earth was brought up and put on the turtle’s back.

Immediately a large island formed and became what is known as North America, which was to the Wyandots all the earth. The great turtle carried the island on his back.

Occasionally he became tired and tried to shift his great load, which caused the island to shake and vibrate.

Yah-weh-noh, in wandering about the island, found an old woman in a hut. She stopped with her and twins were born to Yah-weh-noh. They were boys.

One was good and the other was all that was bad. The good one was called Made-of-Fire. The bad one was known as Made-of-Flint.

“When the boys grew to manhood they enlarged the island and agreed to people it with the things of the earth. They separated each to do half, according to his ideas of the fitness of things.

Made-of-Fire made everything just as the Indians desired, for his heart was full of love. All the animals were kind and gentle and did not fear the Indians.

Made-of-Flint, however, made the rough mountains and monster animals, and everything he made was abhorrent to the Indians’ mind.

When they had done, each, by agreement, inspected the other’s work to modify it. Neither could completely destroy the other’s creations.

Each was dissatisfied with the other’s work. Made-of-Fire because his brother’s was all bad, and Made-of-Flint, because the other’s was all good.

Each changed the other’s work as much as possible, which made all things have drawbacks as well as advantages.

“Made-of-Flint put the evil spirit into the water so that it would drown the Indians.

Made-of-Fire had made the water so that it was harmless. In all the rivers and creeks the current ran up-stream on one bank, and on the other side it ran in the opposite direction, so that the Indian would never have to paddle his canoe except from one side to the other. He would go one way as far as he desired, then paddle to the other side and float back.

This arrangement appeared to be particularly distasteful to Made-of-Flint. It aroused him to great anger. He dashed his mighty hand into the water and rolled it, and mixed the currents, so that they ran with double swiftness and strength all one way, thereby making it great labor to paddle the canoe against the stream.

Made-of-Fire also made the Indian corn-plant grow without cultivation, but his evil-minded brother changed this also and made it hard to cultivate and uncertain in coming to a head, thus entailing much work on the women.

“After changing each other’s works, the brothers again met and agreed to people the world, each creating half of the people.

Made-of-Fire, the good brother, created all Wyandots and no others, while he of the evil mind, created all other persons.

“Made-of-Flint’s people were so bad and overbearing, repeatedly breaking their agreements, that a great war broke out between them and the Wyandottes.

All the works created by the brothers were destroyed so that Made-of-Fire, was compelled to put all his people into a great cavern in Canada, while he re-created the works destroyed.

He had to make them just as they were before the destruction. When he was through he returned to the cavern, but his people had to wait there a Iong time, until the sun had ripened the new world, and made it habitable.

When it had ripened he went out through an opening, but the people had to burrow through the earth to get out, like the seventeen-year locusts.

After much trouble the Wyandottes came out of the ground north of Quebec. They found Made-of-Fire there and some of the other people were there also.”

Creation Legends
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