Native American Creation Myths tells the great myth cycles of the Wintu and Yana groups of what is now called Northern California. Anyone familiar with the creation story told by Plato in the Timaeus will immediately recognize both the viewpoint and many of the elements in these stories. That they sprung from traditions rich and deep is without question. That they still have much to offer us, even in this speeding modern world of ours, is also without question.
The first cycle includes myths dealing with the metamorphoses of the first people or gods into everything that is in the world, including the world itself. The second cycle describes the various changes, phenomena and processes observed throughout nature. Light and darkness, heat and cold, opposing winds, and heavenly bodies appear as heroes and leading actors. Here the first people as described in the creation myths were models upon which those faithful were to fashion their lives in all times and places.
These myths are a beautiful discovery— do enjoy!
In retelling Native American creation myths, Harvard-educated linguist and ethnographer Jeremiah Curtin (1835–1906) provides readers with compelling narratives of the origin of the earth and its creatures. Accounts of conflicts, happenings, and methods by which an earlier world of man changed into the now-existing one, these tribal tales largely describe the struggles between hostile parties. Metamorphoses between combatants produce entirely different characters— sometimes a bird, a plant, or an insect— but always a creature corresponding in power to some leading quality of the character it has replaced. As a collector of myths and tales, few excelled Curtin and his remarkable linguistic abilities.