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Section title: Wendat (Huron)
Introduction |  History |  Daily Life |  Culture | References


History

Creation Story - Aataentsic

The Wendat have several versions of the story of how they came to be. This is one of them. There once were two worlds. One of the worlds was up in the sky. The other world was the Earth. At that time the Earth was covered with water. The only beings that lived on the Earth were those that could live in or on the water. The sky world, on the other hand, was inhabited by beings that could walk on land. Some of these beings were like humans. These people would pick the corn from one patch of corn to get their food. Each day they would take corn from the stalks. One day, a young woman decided to cut the corn stalks, instead of simply plucking the corn. Once the corn stalks were cut down they could never grow again. Some of her brothers became angry and threw the young woman down through a hole in the sky. In her hands were the corn stalks she had cut down, as well as beans, squash and tobacco.

As the young woman fell through the sky, some of the water birds looked up. They were ducks, herons and loons. They decided to help the falling woman. They flew up and surrounded her and were able to cushion her fall. However, their wings were getting tired of holding her. Great Turtle arrived and told them to put her on his back. He said he would hold her. Toad arrived and said he would dive down into the water and get some earth from the bottom. When he came back up, he had a mouthful of dirt and he spat it out on the turtle's back. He told the young woman to sprinkle the dirt everywhere she walked.

As the young woman walked round the turtle's back, she planted the corn, beans and squash everywhere she went. However, the woman was lonely. One day she discovered twin boys. These boys grew very quickly. One of the brothers created all of the living things on earth, including humans. The other brother tried to do the same thing and made monkeys instead. Each brother made different things. The first brother made everything that human beings could use. The other brother made things that would harm the things created by the first brother.

The Wendat refer to the woman who fell from the sky as Aataentsic, meaning "ancient one."

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