Legends of Native Americans
Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon
Photography by MJ Photographer Christy Moyer
There are legends about a great flood everywhere in the world. Since I live in the area that is home to the Creek nation, I would like to share their flood legend.
The dog was the first animal to live among Native tribes. A dog is said to have warned people of a great flood, and they needed to build a strong raft to withstand the flood. The people did as the dog told them. Soon the flood came, but the waters did not recede. The dog said she needed to be sacrificed to the water to make the waters recede. But the people loved their dogs and had no heart to sacrifice the very dog who had saved them. The waters stayed high until the dog insisted on being offered for the sake of all people.
With many tears and much hesitation, the people agreed to sacrifice the dog. The dog had one last thing to tell her people. That was to wait seven days and nights before leaving their raft. The people waited until the time was up before rebuilding their homes. They decorated the raft, and they honored the dog who had saved them.
As they started their ceremony, many other people walked up to join them. Some were dressed in fine clothing. Some were dressed in rags. Many different tribes came, both friend and foe, but all were there to honor the dog. As the people came closer to those who had been on the raft, they realized these were the people who had died in the flood, thankful that the dog had saved all she could.
Here is some history of the Creek nation. The Muscogee tribe, also called the Creek tribe, was made up of separate tribes from Georgia and Alabama during the American Colonial Period. When Jackson was president, he forcibly removed the Creek to Oklahoma territory. Today, the Creek Confederation has its capital in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
Politics everywhere; you can't get away from it. In 1867, the Muscogee people adopted a written constitution, which provided for a Principal Chief and a Second Chief, a judicial branch, and two legislative chambers composed of a House of Kings (similar to the Senate) and a House of Warriors (similar to the House of Representatives.) Each tribal town determined representation in both houses of this Legislative assembly. A new capital was established the same year at Okmulgee. In 1878 the tribal government constructed a native stone Council House. Today, it serves as the Council House Museum in the center of the modern city of Okmulgee.
The totem animal of the Creek nation is the turtle. Turtles represent the earth, therefore, nature. They also represent peace and serenity, but most of all, they represent the truth.
The turtle was here when all life was created and carried teachings related to the beginning of life on its back. It is said the turtle was here to watch the creation of the earth, so they are steady among changes which gives them the truth of all things. They have the facts of nature engraved on their backs.
Scutes are a thickened horny or bony plate on a turtle's shell. There are 28 scutes around the perimeter of a turtle shell; these represent the 28 days of a woman's menstrual cycle, which is key to the creation of life. There are 13 scutes in the center of a turtle shell; these represent the 13 moons and the 13 times the Earth circles the sun each year.