Creation Stories Assignment
When looking at creation stories, themes or commonalities begin to emerge. These themes reflect spiritual connections to the land. They usually reflect the geographic features occupied by the peoples of the land, thus introducing place and identity into their culture. They develop in oral traditions and therefore have multiple versions. They are usually regarded as conveying profound truths, metaphorically, symbolically and often, in a historical or literal sense. Although they are often called myths, they are those stories that a culture accepts as both a true and foundational account of their human identity. It is important to understand that Aboriginals today prefer that they are not called 'myths'; rather, they should be referred to as stories or legends. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to both the spiritual and natural world as well as to each other. Creation stories have appeared in just about every culture in the world.
Choose two (2) stories from North American Aboriginal creation stories and two (2) stories from other parts of the world (not North America). Analyze the stories for their common themes or features. You will be looking for things like plot structures, similar animals, the use of water, floods, underworlds, above worlds, chaos, sacrifice.
Determine the geographical connections - what in the story identifies where the people lived? Explain the factors that suggest the geographical location - presence or absence of water, types of animals, plants. How did the story reflect that location?
Components of the Assignment:
- Identify the each story/legend by title and a link to where you got the story.
- Summarize each story/legend in your own words.
- Identify common themes or features.
- Identify geographical connections.
- Compare moral lessons to be learned from the stories.
- As a final component of the essay, write a paragraph explaining what unique cultural traits or characteristics are revealed in the creation stories that you have chosen.