Linking your favorite traveling artists across the globe
Native Info...more of...
The Origins of the natives of North America may be traced down the ages to a time as distant as 60,000years ago, when a colourful horde made it's way up from the warm plains of central Asia, northeast-ward into Siberia. They did not stop at Siberi's boundaries; they crossed from the Chukotka peninsula into America-for at that time a land or ice bridge connected Chukotka with what is now Alaska.
They were hunters and gatherers, living on the edge of game herds. From Alaska; generations of these people moved down the Columbia river that flowed to the warmer regions of the south, and across the Rockies. They met strangers, fought with some, and banded together with others. They followed Bison and Buffalo south across the plains, eastward to the Atlantic, and all the way south along the Sierra Madre oriental, over the Mexican plains, through rain forests and into the jungles of Yucatan. They settled and moved, learning to use the bow and bola, chipping flint, weaving baskets, and making clay pots. So far did they travel that today, ties of language, culture, and physical appearance still loosely connect the Indians of Peru and Bolivia with the Inuit of Siberia and Alaska, the Huron and Iroquois of Ney York state with the Chukchi and Koryak of northern Siberia.
There were as many tribes as there were "stars in the sky" and they spoke at least 300 languages. But they were always under pressure to move on. A turning point came in 1492, when Christopher Columbus landed in the new world. Thinking he had arrived in India, he mistakenly called the peoples "Indios", the English then followed suit calling them Indians. Later the French added peaux rouges "red skins".
Over the next four centuries the native Indians found their lands invaded, during that time 1492-1890, most of their culture and civilisation was destroyed. Because there traditions were told vocally to the next generations, their stories were not written down on paper, until white men travelled among the tribes recording them from the 1830's, each village has at least one old man who knew the tales and acted them out, imitating the various characters with a growl, squeal. Roar or groan.
In the days before the US government confined native peoples to reservations, the tribes had extensive inter-tribal contracts, as a result of which tales were exchanged. So the same stories may be found, albeit in different variations, all over the continent.
The most popular personage of north American mythology is the trickster. This being combines human and animal features and is , at once a figure of fun, a joker, a gullible fool, and the creator of the universe. The trickster god is best shown in the raven stories of the north pacific coast and the Coyote cycles of the great plains. The trickster takes many forms. He is the great hare for the Winnebago people of Wisconsin, Rabbit in the south-east, and spider in the great plains, etc. whatever form he takes trickster offers the storyteller great scope for acting and mimicking.
The most widespread creation myth concerns an animal which dives to the bottom of the sea for mud. The duck, raven, loon, coot, mink, eagle or hawk; brings up the mud in it's beak and it grows to form the earth. In a Cheyenne myth, the earth is said to rest on the back of grandmother Turtle. The earth-diver story is closely related to stories of the flood, which occurs through non-stop rain, or from the tears of those in the world above who, on looking down, grieve at the wrong-doing on earth. In most myths, mankind is created out of clay [Hopi] or grass, feathers, sticks, or ears of corn. Humans also emerge from the bones of the dead, the earth maker's sweat, or merely by making a wish.
Some tribes have the gods mating- mother earth and father sky, the sun with the moon, morning star with evening star. The Micmac of eastern Canada see creation as in a constant state of flux. Their universe consists of 6 worlds; the world beneath the earth, the world beneath the water, earth world, ghost world, the world above the earth and the world above the sky. But reality is never set forever; it changes according to people's will.