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"The World On the Turtle's Back" - Iroquois Creation Myth

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on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of "The World On the Turtle's Back" - Iroquois Creation Myth

The World On The Turtle's Back
"The World On the Turtle's Back" - Iroquois Creation Myth
- a Native American story that explains the creation of the world and their people
- passed the story through the generations by telling it in performances
- first recorded by David Cusick in the 1800s
- A myth is a traditional story, usually involving supernatural events, that explains how some aspect of human nature or the natural world came to be
- Creation stories serve 4 functions or purposes in society:
to create a sense of awe and mystery
to explain the natural world
to support and validate social customs
to guide people through the trials of life
READING STRATEGY: Reading Folk Literature
As you read the story "The World On The Turtle's Back," don't forget that it was originally part of the Native oral tradition. Use the following strategies to help you understand the story's message and the culture from which it comes:
Read the myth aloud, or imagine a storyteller's voice as you silently read
Note mysteries of nature that are explained
Make inferences about the social values or customs that are taught through the character's and situations
Look for details about Iroquois culture
- term refers to 6 separate Native groups - the Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Mohawk, and Tuscarora
- resided in what is now New York State
- continually waged war against each other until united by a Huron named Deganawidah and an Onondaga chief named Hiawatha
Expansion of Iroquois Territory through the years... Original homeland is the dark area on the shores of Lake Ontario

- Iroquois League succeeded due to similar languages, beliefs, ways of life
- Lived in "longhouses" made of pole frames covered with elm bark
- 50 people lived in each longhouse, 300-600 in each village governed by chiefs
- Women gathered wild fruits and nuts and grew corn, beans, and squash; Men traded, waged war, hunted, fished, and built longhouses
Way of Life
Full transcript