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Middle Tennessee's Native American History

Origins


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In the beginning the world was covered with water. All the animals were in the upper world; it was crowded and they wanted more room. They sent Water-Beetle down to see if it could find out what was under the water. Water-Beetle darted over the water's surface in every direction. It found nowhere to rest so it dived to the bottom and got some mud. When it brought the mud to the surface of the water, the mud began to spread out and grow. This became the island that we call the earth.

As the Sun passed over the earth, a drop of her blood fell to the ground. The blood mixed with the earth; from this the first people came into being.

The first people lived in a land far to the west. There came a time when their population grew so large that the game became scarce. Their shamans said that in the land to the east plenty of game and rich soil would be found. So they decided to move to this land in the east.

A great shaman traveled at the head of the people, carrying a staff. At the end of each day , when they made camp for the night, the shaman stuck the staff upright in the earth. In the morning the staff would be leaning in the direction the people should take. Finally, after many moons, one morning the staff was found to be standing upright. This meant that the journey was over. The people had reached their new home.

(From the World Origin Traditions of the Cherokee, Yuchi, Choctaw and Chickasaw People)