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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Lakota Creation Myth

   
Author Topic: Lakota Creation Myth
babygears81
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Hi everyone, I'm a newer member of the group, but haven't been very active. I hope to ammend that soon. Anyway, I'm doing more research for the novel I'm working on, about a young Cherokee girl who journeys to a world where the myths and legends of her people live. Anywho, I came across this and it said SHARE ME. So, I am. [Smile]

The Creator gathered all of creation and said, 'I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they create their own reality.' The eagle said, 'Give it to me, I will take it to the moon.' The Creator said, 'No one day they will go there and find it.' The salmon said, 'I will hide it on the bottom of the ocean.' 'No, they will go there too.' The buffalo said, 'I will bury it on the great plains.' The Creator said, 'They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it.' Then Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said: 'Put it inside them.' And the Creator said, 'It is done.'

--Lakota Creation Myth

Writing is most beautiful when it whispers truth, and this myth was a reminder to me that what I write should strive to bring people closer to that thing hidden inside of them. Otherwise, what is the point?

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MartinV
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In my language, 'lakota' means hunger.
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wise
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Is this what Heinlein meant when he wrote "Thou art God"?

I really like that myth. I like your take on it. Too bad the Creator didn't give us wisdom to create a reality that doesn't harm the moon (i.e. space),the ocean, and the earth in the process.

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babygears81
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Wise,
I think Native Americans would say that She did. We just choose to ignore it. [Smile]

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wise
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I would like to explore this theme a little more. Do you think technology makes us exploit nature and stand in our way of protecting and appreciating it? Cultures who are more closely tied to nature for their subsistence seem to manage their resources better. Does technology make us greedy? Could there ever be a time when humans are advanced technologically, but yet place preserving nature as a top priority? Is a future like that portrayed in "Star Trek" a fantasy, or are we doomed to an exploitative relationship with the universe like that portrayed in the "Alien" franchise? I know individuals can make that choice, but I'm talking about humans as a collective race. I would love to hear feedback on this.
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extrinsic
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Theme-wise, technology drives social alienation: "Modern culture is defective because it doesn't provide group ties which in primitive cultures makes alienation virtually impossible."

Also related themes, "The Individual in Nature
a. Nature is at war with each of us and proves our vulnerability.
b. People are out of place in Nature and need technology to survive.
c. People are destroying nature and themselves with uncontrolled technology" (Themes in Literature, Listology).

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wise
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Extrinsic, I'm not sure I agree with (a) and (b). I think Nature is neutral. We are vulnerable, but only because we believe (b). I think people ARE part of Nature, but we delude outselves into thinking we're "above it all". We separate ourselves from it and therefore we must have technology in order to survive and (c) results. If we acknowledged that we are just one of the smart animals (not better!) and and stop fighting Nature, we'd have a much healthier world and we'd be more content.
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JoBird
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quote:
I would love to hear feedback on this.
It's a mistake to believe that because x number of trees are cut down a day that means we will eventually end up with zero trees. That's nonsense as far as business models go. Folks who cut down trees also plant trees, it's a driving part of the sustainability of the industry.

I don't know what you mean about cultures managing their resources better because they are tied more closely to nature. Tied more closely to nature? You'd have to define that for me. And what evidence supports that these folks manage their resources better? By whose reckoning?

Does technology make us greedy? Correlation is not causation, right. Why would technology make us greedy? Everyone is greedy to some extent, and to some extent that's a good thing, which is a modest version of the Gordon Gecko philosophy. It's all about scale. Greed is want, desire, selfishness. Greed exists with or without technology. Is your thought here that technology allows for more gratification of greed? And do you think that's intrinsically a bad thing?

Preserving nature is already a priority in many nations. A top priority? Well, that's a bit subjective. I'm not sure that national priorities can be quantified so easily, there's not exactly a published list of top ten priorities. But I reject the notion that the world is currently bent on self-destruction. That thought often strikes me as a more political argument than not.

In short, I don't believe the sky is falling. I think society tends to respect nature more than alarmists would have lay folks believe. There tends to be a lot of reactionary mentality that rarely pans out over consensus.

Is the world better with technology? Again, subjective. For my two cents, overall, romantic notions aside, yes, I believe it is.

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s_merrell
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If you've ever read C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man...

Man's technological separation from nature--and therefore its "conquering", so to speak, of human nature and nature, will ultimately allow nature to conquer us, as our attempts to conquer ourselves and everything else will compromise all ideas of value and morality, yielding us to only one kind of value--instinct, or in other words, nature.

Essentially, the moment we conquer nature, it conquers us. The moment we abjure all notions of objective value in the universe, we are left with nothing but instinct. And instinct is the most natural value of all. It is, in a sense, what defines nature.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by wise:
Extrinsic, I'm not sure I agree with (a) and (b). I think Nature is neutral. We are vulnerable, but only because we believe (b). I think people ARE part of Nature, but we delude outselves into thinking we're "above it all". We separate ourselves from it and therefore we must have technology in order to survive and (c) results. If we acknowledged that we are just one of the smart animals (not better!) and and stop fighting Nature, we'd have a much healthier world and we'd be more content.

The list is themes commonly found in literature, writers' interpretations of humanity's relationships to nature. They are by no means social policy anymore, though they once were and still are in select groups' viewpoints.

Real estate developers tend to believe natural wildernesses are their enemy to conquer, for example. Resource exploiters tend to believe resources are theirs for the taking and real-world costs can go hang. Many industries believe nature will provide and can absorb all their toxic and heat and global warming byproduct impacts. We now know that's invalid. But consumers don't want to pay the real costs, so governments must walk a tightrope web between appeasing consumers and appeasing manufacturers and mitigating environmental concerns.

What many people believe is nature, though, isn't, hasn't been for millenia, since humans stopped following nomadic hunter-gatherer lifetsyles. Even early paleolithic peoples of North America modified their environments to suit their needs, some deliberately, some unintentionally.

The extinction of the mammoth was caused partly by overhunting. The extinction of the saber-toothed cat was caused partly by the extinction of the mammoth. Eastern woodland bison and elk and panther and wolf populations were systematically eradicated by somewhat permanently settled populations. Maize emerged as a foodstuff from partly intentional genetic selection, and gourds and beans. Native nation swidden agriculture (slash and burn) shaped landscapes, cleared forests, perpetuated meadows, dictated wildlife distribution and population numbers. Fishing practices reshaped water courses and flow dynamics. Consequently, reshaping the natural world to suit human activities.

[ July 15, 2012, 08:45 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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rcmann
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I may be wrong, but I believe that the Sahara desert was produced as a result of primitive people who were in touch with the land. They over grazed the place until it cried uncle.

North America is a place that has learned from the mistakes of the past. Most recently the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression era was a frightening example of what happens when you fail to respect mother nature (she kicks your backside). You won't find farmland anymore that isn't planted in cover crop when it isn't covered in cash crop.

Huge areas of this continent are now forested, far more than were covered in trees even fifty years ago. The reason is that more people have moved to town. Land that was once cleared for farming and pasture has been allowed to grow back to forest.

Anyone who thinks that primitive people are more in touch with nature might want to google the term "pleistocene holocaust" or perhaps "pleistocene extinction". Shortly after Asian newcomers started invading North America, mega fauna began poofing out like snuffed candle flames.

Knowledge of natural processes allow us to provide more enlightened stewardship of the land. Ignorance of natural processes can only result in less efficient, and therefore less beneficial, results. Improved technology allows us to accomplish more with less effort. meaning less energy expended. Meaning less pollution.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I'm just grateful for indoor plumbing.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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And for medical science, even though I believe doctors are only practicing.
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mfreivald
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babygears81, I would be careful about what you find out in the ether about Native American myth. There is an abundance of fake stuff represented as true lore, even much that has been published by scholars. My (admittedly limited) experience suggests that Sioux tribes are especially problematic. This particular myth does not seem to have the character I expect from the American Indian, so I have doubts about its authenticity. It has a feel more like a modern writer to me.

But I'm no expert--I'm just advising you to take great care.

rcmann, that is completely untrue about the Sahara. Or at the very least, it is unknown.

quote:
The extinction of the mammoth was caused partly by overhunting. The extinction of the saber-toothed cat was caused partly by the extinction of the mammoth.
extrinsic, I don't think there is any significant evidence to support those ideas. If you have some, I'd be very interested, but what I know about paleontology, there simply isn't enough data to make such conclusions. (You can find an abundance of speculation by paleontologists, but speculation isn't evidence.)

I'm bringing this up as a matter of accuracy, not to argue for or against your point.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by mfreivald:
extrinsic, I don't think there is any significant evidence to support those ideas. If you have some, I'd be very interested, but what I know about paleontology, there simply isn't enough data to make such conclusions. (You can find an abundance of speculation by paleontologists, but speculation isn't evidence.)

I'm bringing this up as a matter of accuracy, not to argue for or against your point.

I guess you don't have a Temporal Transrelocation Tacklebox. Oh well.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
I guess you don't have a Temporal Transrelocation Tacklebox. Oh well.

Something else to add to the Hatrack Utility Belt!
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mfreivald
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Well, if I'd known your data was direct from the TTT, I never would have questioned you. My deepest apologies.
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rcmann
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The deduction about the North American Pleistocene extinction event is primarily drawn from temporal correlation. I.E., man arrives, big fauna starts disappearing. Man moves south, big fauna fades away like the mist at dawn along a wave front roughly correlating with the path of human progress. But you are correct. Simply because two things happened at the same time is not proof that one caused the other. We know that humans hunting has been the cause of extinction events in modern times (e.g. passenger pigeon, buffalo, dodo bird, tasmanian tiger, and a host of others) but just because it has been happening throughout the course of known human history doesn't mean that our ancestors acted the same way we do.

You are also correct that the true origin of the Sahara is not known. Speculation abounds.

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babygears81
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mfreivald-I read you loud and clear! I am well aware of all the phony stuff out there. [Smile] This wasn't part of my research. I'm researching the Cherokee and they are a well documented tribe. I just found this on a sidetrack mission and wanted to share, authentic or not.
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