The Natives are believed to have migrated from Eurasia to the Americas via the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago. The Paleoamericans spread throughout the Americas and formed hundreds of culturally distinct tribes. Native Americans are also referred to as American Indians, Amerinds and Red Indians.
They were part of the Old World that existed on the two continents commonly termed as the Americas. The discovery of the New World and the resultant European colonization exposed these people to a lot of conflict and new cultures.
The native Americans had distinct ideologies that were basically centered around 'harmony with nature' and 'inter-dependence of the ecosystem'. Their ideologies and religious institutions were simple and based on anthropomorphism.
They were simple, devoid of the impact of technologies exchanged and developed in the contemporary world and clearly one of the best rostrums for cultures to meet and amalgamate.
A major impact upon their culture came with the conflict that the settlers and European colonists struggled with, through American history. They were part of and yet distinctly apart from colonization and rebellion and the resultant American Civil War.
When the thirteen colonies of America revolted against British colonization, there was an attempt to 'civilize' the natives.
The resultant periods of resistance to expansion and the Indian Wars manifested within a special relationship and bonding between the Natives and the government of the United States of America. They enjoy sovereignty and the presence of the society that still flourishes.
Stories and Legend
The stories are the unification of cultures from North and South America, and the Caribbean Islands. The Natives enjoy the presence of different language families, many religions and social systems.
Each tribe has its own history and mythology that encompasses the whole community. The variety and resultant scope within the dispersed cultures has surfaced in unique creation theories.
Tepeu and the Feathered Serpent
In the beginning, Tepeu and the Feathered Serpent sat together and thought. Whatever they thought came to life. This happened with the earth, mountains,trees, sky and animals. However, they realized that none of their creations could praise them. This led to the formation of more advanced beings. First they made things out of clay.
When the presence of water destroyed their creations, Tepeu and the Feathered Serpent made beings out of wood. However, these too proved unsatisfactory. Then the gods willed a great flood to wipe out these creatures.
Thereafter, Tepeu and the Feathered Serpent redesigned beings with the help of Mountain Lion, Coyote, Parrot, and Crow. The resultant new beings were the ancestors of the Quiché.
The One Who Lives Above
In the beginning, there was darkness everywhere. Then, the bearded 'One Who Lives Above' rubbed his eyes and woke up. When he rubbed his hands together, the Girl-Without-Parents appeared. When the Creator rubbed his face, the Sun-God appeared and the Small Boy came out of his hands.
These were the four gods―Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker and Lightning-Rumbler. When the four gods shook hands, their sweat mixed. The Creator too rubbed his palms from which a small brown ball fell. The gods and the Creator began kicking the ball. With each kick it only grew larger and larger.
Creator commanded wind to blow it up. Tarantula spun a black cord and fastened it to the ball. He went over to the east and pulled it as hard as he could. He went on to attach a blue cord to the south, a yellow one to the west and a white cord to the north. The result was that the brown ball became the earth!
When the Creator rubbed his hands again, the Hummingbird appeared. After flying all over the earth, the hummingbird reported that there was water in the west. The earth, he said, rolled and bounced.
The Creator made a black, blue, yellow and white post in each direction and commanded wind to place them at the four cardinal points. This was how the earth was made to stand still. He then went on to fill the earth with people, animals, birds, trees, etc.