The three short stories- When Grizzlies Walked Upright, The Earth on Turtle’s Back, and The Navajo Origin Legend – all share a similar concept. The story The Earth on Turtle’s Back talks about before Earth even existed everything was water and there were birds and animals that swam around. Up, above the clouds, was a skyland where humans lived.
In the end of this short story a small little muskrat brings up land from underneath the water and gives the chief’s wife a place to stand and live. In which she drops seeds to make trees and plants grow and so on. This explains the origin of how land was formed on Earth.
The next story, When Grizzlies Walked Upright, talks about how a chief moved down to earth to live because he got tired of living in the bitter cold sky, but his daughter got blown out of their new home when she had gotten too curious and ended up being raised by grizzly bears that lived in the habitat she was blown into.
Many years later when the chief found his daughter was still alive he went to go see her expecting her to be exactly as when he saw her last, but he found a grown woman instead, and also learned that strange creatures (the grizzly bears) had been taking care of his grandchildren that the daughter had created with the grizzly bears.
The chief was furious that a new race had been created without his making and so he cursed all the grizzlies, making them forever walk on their hands and knees and never speak again. This story brings about the origin of how bears walk on all fours and cannot speak. Finally, The Navajo Origin Legend is a short little story that explains the origin of how humans came about.
The story explains what the Navajos do “On the morning of the twelfth day…” and how the combination of white corn (to make men), yellow corn (to make women), and buckskin was supposed to be how humans were created to the Navajos belief.
Each story shares a similar symbolism in the fact that each speaks of a chief or a god that is higher up then the other characters in the story and each story shares their own beliefs on the subjects the stories cover, just like how the Navajo story emphasizes the importance of corn and buckskin, each story has similar symbols and some differences.
Also, in each story nature plays a very big part whether it is plants or animals. The Earth on Turtle’s Back has many animals in it and speaks of how land was formed or brought up by animals and how plants were created from the seeds the women dropped.
When Grizzlies Walked Upright is about two different creatures creating a new race, and ho grizzlies came to be like they are today. The Navajo Origin Legend uses crop like corn and animal skin (buckskin) coming together to form humans. Part two:
All the Native American origin myths are similar because they all speak of a chief or god that is higher up then the other characters in the story; they also all share the making or becoming of something: how land came on earth, how grizzlies walk on all fours and don’t speak, and how humans were made. But the differences in the stories are the fact that each story has a different topic, each story was told by a different Native American tribe, and each has different beliefs and symbols.
Each story shares a separate similarity with the bible story of how God created Earth, humans, and animals. God commanded that the water would come together and make dry ground which he called land, this can be compared to the story of The Earth on Turtle’s Back where instead, land was dragged up and then spread rather then pulled together and formed.
God used clay and water to create humans which is very similar to the Navajos belief in the use of corn and buckskin instead. Finally in the story When Grizzlies Walked Upright, grizzlies were cursed to walk on all fours and never speak; in the bible story God just creates all animals how we would see them today on the fifth day of his creation.
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