The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 7 North America

By the indigenous peoples of the Americas we can find also several myths of a great deluge. The K’iche’ and Maya peoples in Mesoamerica having the best well-known folk tales.

One of the Maya peoples, the K’iche’ (or in previous Spanish spelling: Quiché, associated with the ancient Maya civilization, reached the peak of their power and influence during the Postclassic period. El Quiché forms the heartland of the K’iche’ people. In pre-Columbian times, the K’iche’ settlements and influence reached beyond the highlands, including the valley of Antigua and coastal areas in Escuintla.

In the Popol Vuh (“Pop wuj” in proper K’iche – “the book of events”), one of the most significant surviving Mesoamerican literary documents and primary sources of knowledge about Maya societal traditions, beliefs and mythological accounts, a product of the 16th century K’iche’ people, we can find a compilation of mythological and ethno-historical narratives known to these people at that time, which were drawn from earlier pre-Columbian sources (now lost) and also oral traditional storytelling.

Like by other peoples we also can find a narrative trying to explain how everything began. They too give their version of the creation myth, they modelled from corn dough according to their genesis, relating how world and humans were created by the gods, the story of the divine brothers, and the history of the K’iche’ from their migration into their homeland up to the Spanish conquest.

The largest ethnic groups in Guatemala, ethnically Maya and living in the highlands to the north and the west of Lake Atitlán, primarily in the departments of Quetzaltenango, Totonicapan, and El Quiché, also have their story of sky without any obstruction, in which clouds were placed, gods being worried that their creations would “become as great as gods” and therefore limited the clarity with which their works saw. Thus were created the first fathers of the K’iche’. Next, the gods created the four women who would be the mothers of the K’iche’ people. Other lineage heads, whose descendants would form the other tribes, were also created in this time before the dawn. But when those people did not behave properly nest to each other, the land became undulated by the force of the gods. In the lore of the flood the world of the people is made in no place to live any more for animals and people, except for those who listened to the warning God gave and had taken their refuge in the huge canoe or ark.

By oral tradition children got warned to listen to their gods so that they would not bring judgement over them like they had done in the past by bringing water over mankind. It became considered the task within each tribe for elders to act as repositories of cultural and philosophical knowledge and to be the transmitters of such vital information, giving the next generation a warning of the importance to live properly respecting the work of the gods and making sure that people grew up with the “basic beliefs and teachings, encouraging…faith in the Great Spirit, the Creator“.

The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa, one of seven federally recognized bands of Ojibwe people located in present-day Wisconsin,is a tribe of Native Americans in North America who have lived in a land which is almost entirely covered by a forest and several lakes. For them water has played a very important role. Following the Seven Fires Prophecy, that marks phases, or epochs, in the life of the people on Turtle Island, Anishinaabe leaders ordered their warriors to expand to the west after they learned that the people mentioned in the prophecy had invaded in the East.

The teachings of the ‘Seven Fires prophecy’ also state that when the world has been befouled and the waters turned bitter by disrespect, human beings will have two options to choose from, materialism or spirituality. If they chose spirituality, they will survive, but if they chose materialism, it will be the end of it. It also reminds the people of the Second Fire where the nation was camped by a large body of water. It was the time the direction of the Sacred Shell was lost and the Midewiwin was diminished in strength. Though it was also the time a boy would have been born to point the way back to the traditional ways (Could this be referring to the descendant of Noah and King David, who would be called the Messiah?). Of that saviour who comes after such deluge is being said he will show the direction to the stepping stones to the future of the Anishinabe people or people from the waters or Iyo-ḣaḣatoŋwaŋ (“cascading-waterfalls people”) later known by the French as Saulteurs (“cascaders”) and Saulteaux (“cascades”).

Funny to notice that one of their prophets wrote

Beware if the light skinned race comes wearing the face of death. You must be careful because the face of brotherhood and the face of death look very much alike. If they come carrying a weapon … beware. If they come in suffering … They could fool you. Their hearts may be filled with greed for the riches of this land. If they are indeed your brothers, let them prove it. Do not accept them in total trust. You shall know that the face they wear is one of death if the rivers run with poison and fish become unfit to eat. You shall know them by these many things {Source: Benton-Banai, Edward, The Mishomis Book – The Voice of the Ojibway (St. Paul: Red School House Publishers, 1988).
Chief Bone Necklace an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (1899)

The Dakota Indians, a Native American tribe composing two of the three main subcultures of the Sioux /ˈsuː/ people, with the Santee (Isáŋyathi or Isáŋ-athi; “knife” + “encampment”, ″dwells at the place of knife flint″), Woodland people who thrived on hunting, fishing and farming, who reside in the eastern Dakotas, central Minnesota and northern Iowa, plus the Yankton, and the Yanktonai (Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ and Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna; “Village-at-the-end” and “Little village-at-the-end”), who reside in the Missouri River area, also have oral stories about a great deluge, which still may go round.

Problem with those native people is that their stories are not yet fully recorded and by the contemporary evolution and non-interest in previous history lots of wisdom may get lost.



The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 1 Flooding and Water-waves

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 2 Mythic theme 1 God or gods warning

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 4 Mythic theme 3 Chinese mythology

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 5 Indian region

The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 6 European myths

Next: The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 8 South America


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