Leather, cotton, copper, and glass beads
Gift of James David and John David
There was another world before this one. But the people of that world did not behave themselves. Displeased, the Creator set out to make a
new world. He sang several songs to bring rain, which poured stronger with each song. As he sang the fourth song, the earth split
apart and water gushed up through the many cracks, causing a flood. By the time the rain stopped, all of the people and nearly all
of the animals had drowned. Only Kangi the crow survived.
Listen to Lakota story of the re-creation of the earth, 4:59 minute duration (1.1 MB AIFF)
Kangi pleaded with the Creator to make him a new place to rest. So the Creator decided the time had come to make a new world. From his huge
pipe bag, which contained all types of animals and birds, the Creator selected four animals known for their ability to remain under
water for a long time. He sent each in turn to retrieve a lump of mud from beneath the floodwaters. First the loon dove deep into the
dark waters, but it was unable to reach the bottom. The otter, even with its strong webbed feet, also failed. Next, the beaver used
its large flat tail to propel itself deep under the water, but it too brought nothing back. Finally, the Creator took the turtle from
his pipe bag and urged it to bring back some mud.
Turtle stayed under the water for so long that everyone was sure it had drowned. Then, with a splash, the turtle broke the water's surface!
Mud filled its feet and claws and the cracks between its upper and lower shells. Singing, the Creator shaped the mud in his hands and
spread it on the water, where it was just big enough for himself and the crow. He then shook two long eagle wing feathers over the mud
until earth spread wide and varied, overcoming the waters. Feeling sadness for the dry land, the Creator cried tears that became oceans,
streams, and lakes. He named the new land Turtle Continent in honor of the turtle who provided the mud from which it was formed.
The Creator then took many animals and birds from his great pipe bag and spread them across the earth. From red, white, black, and yellow
earth, he made men and women. The Creator gave the people his sacred pipe and told them to live by it. He warned them about the fate
of the people who came before them. He promised all would be well if all living things learned to live in harmony. But the world would
be destroyed again if they made it bad and ugly.