Cora Elm (Oneida)

Biography | Historical and Cultural Context | Critical Commentary | Further Reading

“The Creation of the Earth.”

Cora Elm, Oneida.

“HERE are some of the old Indians who believe that for a long time the human race lived in the clouds while this earth was all covered with water and only animals existed here. One old woman who lived in the clouds had a beautiful, charming daughter, who was held in seclusion. This daughter was sent down to the earth because she had committed a sin. When the animals saw her floating from the clouds they held a council and considered the best way to protect themselves from this extraordinary being. They decided that they would be able to protect themselves better on land than on water. The one who could hold the heaviest weight on his back was to be chosen to form the basis of land. Different ones were given a trial to prove their strength, but the turtle proved to be the strongest. All the animals helped to construct the land on the turtle’s back by bringing earth, rocks, and other material from the bottom of the sea. In a few days they had constructed a small island, and by this time the woman arrived. They found her so delightful that they decided to enlarge the island, so that more of her race might inhabit it. Some of her race were very curious to know what became of her, so they came down to earth and found it better living on land than in the clouds.”

                                                                                                                             from The Red Man, Volume 6, No. 1, p. 30
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