Creation of man


Overall, the Iroquois creation myth shares very little with its Hebrew (biblical) counterpart. Where Genesis records God speaking the world into existence in a more or less systematic way, the Iroquois story includes the fantastic tale of a woman giving birth to hostile twins on the back of a giant sea turtle. Yet for all their differences, the myths* align remarkably on the creation of humans.

This from the Iroquois account:

When [the good mind] had made the universe he was in doubt respecting some being to possess the Great Island; and he formed two images of the dust of the ground in his own likeness, male and female, and by breathing into their nostrils he gave them the living souls, and named them EA-GWE-HOWE, i.e., a real people.

And this from Genesis 1 and 2:

God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female he created them. […] The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV)


*mytha traditional story, esp. one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.” (New Oxford American Dictionary)

(Reference: “The Iroquois Creation Story.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 1. 8th ed. Ed. Nina Baym. New York:  W.W. Norton, 2013. 20-3.)

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