Native American Indian Creator Gods
American Indian languages American Indian culture What’s new on our site today!Native American Creation Gods from Various Tribes Ababinili (Chickasaw Indian Creator)
Above Old Man (Wiyot Creator)
Agu’gux (Aleut Creator)
Ahone (Powhatan Indian Creator)
Akba Atatdia (Crow Creator)
Ayanat Caddi (Caddo Creator)
Breath-Maker (Seminole Creator)
Coyote (West Coast Indian Creator)
Earth-Maker (Hochunk Creator)
First Creator (Mandan Creator)
Gitchi Manitou (Anishinabe Creator)
Great Spirit (Many tribes)
Isha (Shoshone Indian Creator)
Ixtcibenihehat (Gros Ventre Creator)
Jamul (Achumawi Indian Creator)
Kickerom (Lenape Indian Creator)
Kisulkw (Mi’kmaq Indian Creator)
Kujuli (Wayana Creator God)
Kururumany (Arawak Creator God)
Maheo (Cheyenne Creator God)
Makonaima (Cariban Indian Creator)
Mopo (Apalai Creator God)
Mukot (Cahuilla Creator God)
Nesaru (Arikara Creator God)
Nitosi (Dene Creator)
Old Man (Blackfoot Creator God)
Q’uq’umatz (Mayan Creator God)
Raweno (Iroquois Creator God)
Saya (Beaver Indian Creator)
Sibo (Bribri Indian Creator)
Silver-Fox (Northern California Creator)
Spider Above (Arapaho Creator God)
Spider Grandmother (Hopi Creator Goddess)
Tabaldak (Abenaki Creator God)
Tamuchi (Carib Indian Creator)
Tirawa (Pawnee Creator)
Unetlanvhi (Cherokee Creator)
Wakanda (Omaha Creator)
Wakan Tanka (Sioux Creator)
Yuttore (Carrier Creator God)
Native American Creator Stories Abenaki Creation Story Kloskurbeh and the Creator:
Abenaki stories about the creation of the world by the Great Spirit.
The Creator Visits:
Micmac story about the Native Creator blessing a poor family for their hospitality.
Nipmuc Creation Story:
Nipmuc legend about the Muskrat helping the Creator Cautantowwit to create the earth.
Grandmother’s Creation Story:
Cree legend about the Creator making the first animals and the first people.
Oral history from a Cree elder illustrating traditional beliefs about the American Indian Creator.
The Great Medicine Dance:
Cheyenne tale about the Indian Creator teaching a medicine man the mysteries of the Sundance.
California Indian stories of the creation of the world by the dual creators Silver-Fox and Coyote.
Dotson’Sa, Great Raven Makes The World:
Athabaskan legend about Raven the Creator.
Gizhemanidoo and the Creation:
Mythology about the Ottawa Indian Creator god, Gizhemanidoo.
The Creation of the World:
Myth about the Gros Ventre Indian Creator and the origin of the earth.
Creator and the Corn:
Arikara legend about the creation god Nesaru and the origin of corn.
Maya Creator Gods:
Article about the pantheon of Classical Mayan creator gods.
Creator and the Humans:
Chickasaw myth about the Creator assigning the elements different roles to play in the lives of men and women.
Recommended Books about Creator Gods in Native American Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links Manitou and God:
Interesting book on the similarities and differences between Algonquian and European views of the Creator.
Back to Native American gods and goddesses
Back to the list of Native American mythology
Indian name ideas Michif language Montaukett Indians Iroquois beadwork Grass basket
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Christine Leigh Heyrman
Teaching about Native American religion is a challenging task to tackle with students at any level, if only because the Indian systems of belief and ritual were as legion as the tribes inhabiting North America. So let’s begin by trimming down that bewildering variety to manageable proportions with three glittering generalizations (which might, with luck, prove more useful than misleading).
An Iroquois funeral as observed by a French Jesuit missionary, early 1700s
Detail from Joseph-François Lafitau, Moeurs des sauvages amériquains comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps (Customs of the American Indians compared with the customs of primitive times [in Europe]), 1724. The Library Company of Philadelphia
Like all other cultures, the Indian societies of North America hoped to enlist the aid of the supernatural in controlling the natural and social world, and each tribe had its own set of religious observances devoted to that aim. Individuals tried to woo or appease powerful spiritual entities with private prayers or sacrifices of valuable items (e.g., furs, tobacco, food), but when entire communities sought divine assistance to ensure a successful hunt, a good harvest, or victory in warfare, they called upon shamans, priests, and, in fewer tribes, priestesses, whom they believed to have acquired supernatural powers through visions.
As even this brief account indicates, many key Indian religious beliefs and practices bore broad but striking resemblances to those current among early modern Europeans, both Catholic and Protestant. These cultures, too, credited a creation myth (as set forth in Genesis), venerated a Creator God, dreaded a malicious subordinate deity (Lucifer), and looked forward to the individual soul’s immortality in an afterlife superior in every respect to the here and now. They, too, propitiated their deity with prayers and offerings and relied upon a specially trained clergy to sustain their societies during periods of crisis. Finally, the great majority of early modern Europeans feared witches and pondered the meaning of their dreams.
Important as it is to appreciate the affinities between the religious cultures of Indians and early modern Europeans (and Euro-Americans), there were real differences that must be kept in mind. The most important is that Indians did not distinguish between the natural and the supernatural. On the contrary, Native Americans perceived the “material” and “spiritual” as a unified realm of being—a kind of extended kinship network. In their view, plants, animals and humans partook of divinity through their close connection with “guardian spirits,” a myriad of “supernatural” entities who imbued their “natural” kin with life and power. By contrast, Protestant and Catholic traditions were more inclined to emphasize the gulf that separated the pure, spiritual beings in heaven—God, the angels, and saints—from sinful men and women mired in a profane world filled with temptation and evil.
Guiding Student Discussion
When you take up Native American religion in class, you could spend hours describing the specific beliefs and rituals of the major tribes spanning the North American continent, but this barrage of information might leave your students feeling overwhelmed and confused. It might be more profitable to begin by promising yourself to avoid any approach to Native American spirituality that is too exhaustively detailed. Thus you might start by describing the most salient and definitive characteristics of Indian spirituality and its most basic similarities to and differences from Euro-American Christianity, about which many students may also have only the vaguest notions, so your remarks will do double duty.
If you’re working with students who might find this approach too abstract, try devoting a class period to the beliefs and practices of a single major tribal grouping—the League of the Iroquois in upstate New York, for example, or the Hopi in the Southwest or the Oglala Sioux in the upper Midwest (the closer to where you’re located, the better). Draw upon this specific information to build toward more sweeping statements about the general character of Native American religiosity. Consult these works for wonderful descriptions of Native American religious cultures and read from the following examples.
Muskogees along the Gulf of Mexico
Catawbas of the Carolinas
Iroquois of upper New York
Iroquois, Zuni, Natchez, and more
If you can find time to do more in class, your best students may be fascinated by examples of how native peoples adapted Christianity to their particular historical circumstances and needs. Most students tend to approach the phenomenon of Indian “conversion” to Christianity with one of two starkly opposite and inaccurate assumptions. While some students, typically those with strong Christian convictions, will jump to the conclusion that Indian converts completely abandoned native religious traditions in favor of the “superior truth” of Christianity, others, who pride themselves on their skepticism, will voice the suspicion that all Indian conversions were merely expedient—matters of sheer survival—and, hence, “insincere.” A brief discussion will bring to light both of those assumptions, whereupon you will have an opportunity to nod sagely and then say, “There’s some merit in your reasoning, but I think that this matter might be more complex.” Since most bright adolescents secretly yearn to become “complex,” or at least to figure out what that might involve, you’ve got them. And having got them, what you do next is to offer some examples, as many as you can work into the time available, of how and why native peoples selectively borrowed from Christianity, picking and choosing certain elements of Catholic or Protestant belief and ritual which they then combined with traditional Indian practices. Many of the books cited in this essay describe the varying ways in which individual Native Americans and whole tribes participated in this process. For examples, you may read more on the following tribal groups.
Hurons • Iroquois • Southwest Indians
This is how the process of “conversion” typically unfolded among Native American peoples. Indians did not simply replace one faith with another, nor did most converts cynically pretend to embrace Christian convictions. Instead, native beliefs and rituals gradually became intermixed with Christian elements, exemplifying a process known as religious syncretism—a creative combination of the elements of different religious traditions yielding an entirely new religious system capable of commanding broad popular loyalties. It yielded a broad spectrum of results, ranging from native peoples’ accepting almost entirely the Christianity of the dominant white society to tribal attempts at revitalizing traditional Indian religions and, in some instances, renewing their resistance to Euro-American efforts at military and cultural conquest. (For the former, see any of William McLoughlin’s books on the southern Cherokee, including The Cherokees and Christianity, 1794–1870: Essays on Acculturation and Cultural Persistence [Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994]).
The key development in the field of Native American historiography (also referred to as “ethnohistory”) within the last twenty years is the growing awareness of the “new world” created for both whites and Indians as a result of their contact. Earlier histories either celebrated the rapid triumph of Euro-American “civilization” over Indian “savagery” or deplored the decimation of native peoples through military defeat and disease. In both versions, native peoples figured primarily as passive victims. More recent histories tell another story entirely, drawing attention to the enduring Indian resistance to white domination and, even more important, to the multiple forms of cultural adaptation and accommodation that took place on both sides of the moving frontier. The landmark study of this new scholarship is Richard White’s eloquent and densely detailed The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), which focuses on the Ohio valley and shows how a common cultural terrain gradually emerged as its indigenous peoples interacted with missionaries, soldiers, traders, and other settlers, first the French and later the English. To get the most from this book requires several hours of close reading, but every learned, lucidly written page repays the effort.
If you’re looking for something that is less daunting in its heft but just as provocative, it’s James Axtell’s The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985). Few historians understand better than Axtell the importance of religion in shaping early American history, and here he argues that the superiority of French Jesuits as missionaries and the “limber paganism” of the Indians sustained the efforts of both to keep the British from winning the three-way struggle for the North American continent, a contest that culminated in the Seven Years’ War (1755–1762). The book sparkles with learning and wit, and its pages are filled with anecdotes that will delight your students. In addition, Axtell has edited a book of primary sources, The Indian Peoples of Eastern America: A Documentary History of the Sexes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), which offers a rich array of selections exploring every facet of life, including religion, among the eastern Woodland tribes, as well as much helpful commentary in the introduction and prefaces to each selection.
Christine Leigh Heyrman was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 1986–87. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University in American Studies and is currently Professor of History in the Department of History at the University of Delaware. Dr. Heyrman is the author of Commerce and Culture: The Maritime Communities of Colonial New England, 1690–1740 , Southern Cross: The Beginning of the Bible Belt , which won the Bancroft Prize in 1998, and Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the Republic, with James West Davidson, William Gienapp, Mark Lytle, and Michael Stoff [3rd ed., 1997].
Address comments or questions to Professor Heyrman through TeacherServe “Comments and Questions.”
List of works cited in this essay
Links to online resources
To cite this essay:
Native American Spirituality | MY HERO
Common to virtually all Native American Indian tribes is a belief in an all-knowing, all-powerful deity known as the Creator or Master Spirit. This spirit is believed to have made the universe. In many tribes the deity is represented by the sun and is referred to as The Father; these tribes also worship a goddess – Mother Earth. Most tribes also believe in a lesser deity – one closer to the humans – who is called The Trickster (specific names for this god vary tribe to tribe). In some cultures the trickster is evil. In others, he is a helpful spirit – a teacher and a provider. Several other deities – gods of the elements – are also worshipped, such as the Rain god, Thunder god and the god of the Wind.
|Hopi Corn Legend|
A cosmology is a set of beliefs about how the universe is structured. In many Native American cultures, it was believed to be made up of three layers – the underworld, often considered a dangerous place, the middle world, where humans dwell, and the sky world, inhabited by powerful spirits. Also common to many tribes was the belief that the layers were linked by the World Tree, which had its roots in the underworld, its trunk passing through the middle world, and its top in the sky. The Chumash people of California, described the three world layers as three floating disks. The middle disk (the human world) was believed to be held in place by a giant serpent. Sometimes the serpent would move, causing the earth to shake. This explained why earthquakes happened.
SHAMANS, SWEAT LODGES AND VISION QUESTS
While many Native Americans may have believed in a three-layered world, they did not believe these worlds to be separate. Most tribes believed that powerful spirits, sometimes called “guardian spirits” or “dream helpers” dwelt among them at all times. These spirits provided invaluable guidance and protection, but they could only be seen and communed with through mystical visions. The Vision Quest, which required a long period of fasting, meditation, and physical challenges to purify the body and soul, was usually the first rite of passage for a Native American boy.
Another method of purifying oneself in order to commune with the spirits was the Sweat Lodge. Used by Native American cultures across the continent, the lodge was a small structure with a frame of saplings covered in skins, canvas or blankets. Hot rocks were placed in its center and splashed with water to create a sauna. The Sweat Lodge’s intense heat was used to heal the sick as well as cleanse the soul.
While communicating with guardian spirits or dream helpers was something one could do alone, contacting the more powerful deities required the help of a shaman (also known as a medicine man). In times of war, famine, or sickness, the tribe turned to the shaman and his strong spiritual contacts to deliver it from hardship. In ceremonies that often involved drum beating and chanting, the shaman’s body would be taken over by spirits. Once the shaman told the spirits what was required, they would depart to perform the needed acts.
In addition to their supernatural powers, shamans were also renowned for their healing abilities and knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants. In fact, more than 200 herbal remedies in regular use today have their origins in the recipes of medicine men.
Giving thanks to their deities and to the earth was vastly important to Native American cultures. Their gratitude was often expressed through elaborate dancing ceremonies or celebrations such as the Sun Dance of the Plains Indians. The purpose of this rite was renewal – renewal of the bond with the Creator (through giving thanks), renewal of the living earth and all its inhabitants, renewal of bonds with friends and family. During the dance tunes were played on eagle bone whistles as participants gave thanks to the sacred bird for giving its life to the tribe. Thanks were also given to the sacred buffalo whose meat and skins were vital to the tribe’s survival.
While the belief in an after-life is shared by almost all Native American cultures, beliefs about the nature of that life vary. Some believe in reincarnation with a person being reborn as a human or perhaps an animal. Others believe that humans return as ghosts. Still others believe that the spirit departs for another world. In general, though, is the belief that the spirits of Native Americans live on, and with values such as respecting the earth, working together for the common good, and remaining true to oneself at its core, the influence of Native American spirituality is sure to prove eternal as well.
TOLTEC CREATION STORY
The Scabby One Lights the Sky
Five worlds and five suns were created one after the other. There were the suns of earth, fire, air, water, and rock. The first world was destroyed because its people acted wrongfully: they were devoured by ocelots, and their sun also died. The second sun, the pure orb, saw his human beings changed into monkeys for their lack of wisdom. Next came the sun of fire, whose world was destroyed by flames, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions because the people living in it were impious and did not sacrifice to the gods. The fourth world perished in a great flood which also drowned its sun.
Before the dawn of the fifth, our present world, all the gods assembled in darkness to decide who should have the honor–and a dangerous honor it turned out to be to light up the fifth world, and with it the fifth sun. One god named Tecciztecatl volunteered, thinking to get much praise from the other gods. After days of purification, the gods built a huge fire on the top of a pyramid and told Tecciztecatl: “Light up the world!” “How?” asked Tecciztecatl, dressed in irridescent hummingbird feathers and jewels of gold and turquoise. “By jumping into the fire, O Tecciztecatl,” said the gods. But Tecciztecatl was afraid; he didn’t want to be burned up. Four times he tried to immolate himself, and four times the heat, the flames, and his fear drove him back.
Then the lowliest of all the gods, Nanautzin, dressed in humble garments of woven reeds, misshapen, ugly, and covered with scabs, offered to renew the world and light up the sun by jumping into the fire. None of the gods had paid him the slightest attention before, but now they all cried with one voice: “Oh Scabby One, be thou he who brings back the Sun!” Without a moment’s hesitation Nanautzin hurled himself into the flames, burning up with a great crackling sound, his blazing garments of reeds lighting up the sky. And ashamed of his cowardice, Tecciztecatl followed his example and was cremated also. At once the sun rose to light up the new fifth world, and it was the despised Scabby One, brave Nanautzin, who by his death had given life to the sun. –Based on Nahua versions of a lost Toltec legend. Source: Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz, American Indian Myths and Legends, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 166-68.
Dine (Navajo), Southwest United States
The Creation of the People
Late in the autumn the people heard the distant sound of a great voice calling from the east. They listened and waited, and soon heard the voice nearer and louder than before. Once more they listened and heard it louder still, very near. A moment later four mysterious beings appeared. These were White Body, Blue Body, Yellow Body and Black Body.
The gods told the people that they would come back in twelve days. On the morning of the Twelfth Day the people washed themselves well. Then the women dried their skin with yellow cornmeal, the men with white cornmeal. Soon they heard the distant call, shouted four times, of the approaching gods. When the gods appeared, Blue Body and Black Body each carried sacred buckskin. White Body carried two ears of corn, one yellow and one white.
The gods laid one buckskin on the ground with the head to the west, and on this they placed the two ears of corn with their tips to the east. Over the corn they spread the other buckskin with its head to the east. Under the white ear they put the feather of a white eagle; under the yellow ear the feather of a yellow eagle. Then they told the people to stand back and allow the wind to enter. Between the skins the white wind blew from the east and the yellow wind from the west. While the wind was blowing, eight gods called the Mirage People came and walked around the objects on the ground four times. As they walked, the eagle feathers, whose tips stuck out from the buckskins, were seen to move. When the Mirage People finished their walk, the upper buckskin was lifted. The ears of corn had disappeared; a man and a woman lay in their place.
The white ear of corn had become the man, the yellow ear had become a woman: First Man and First Woman. It was the wind that gave them life, and it is the wind that comes out of our mouths now that gives us life. When this ceases to blow, we die.
–From the First Americans Web site
The Four Sacred Mountains
We also honor the Creator of the Universe that lies between the Four Sacred Mountains. For he placed here for us all things we need to live and be happy. He gave us Father Sun who gives light and energy to Mother Earth. Mother Earth nurtures us and gives us all things including the mountains, trees, our animals, grass, food, and the herbs to heal us of our infirmities. We are the children. All things are alive to us. The Holy Ones taught us how to take care of Mother Earth. We honor them in our delight to take care of her. Many peoples of Mother Earth are now hurting her. A future day will come when the peoples of the Earth will come to us, the Navajo, to teach them how to care for Mother Earth. When that day comes, we will be ready. –From An Introduction to the Navajo Culture
The Story of Creation by Susan Thompson
The mother of the Aztec creation story was called “Coatlique,” the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was created in the image of the unknown, decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. There are no cracks in her body and she is a perfect monolith (a totality of intensity and self-containment, yet her features were sqaure and decapitated).
Coatlique was first impregnated by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxanuhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who became the stars. Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her bosom. When she looked for it later, it was gone, at which time she realized that she was again pregnant. Her children, the moon and stars did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they resolved to kill her. A goddess could only give birth once, to the original litter of divinity and no more. During the time that they were plotting her demise, Coatlicue gave birth to the fiery god of war, Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxauhqui and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies dismembered forever. The natural cosmos of the Indians was born of catastrophe. The heavens literally crumbled to pieces. The earth mother fell and was fertilized, while her children were torn apart by fratricide and then scattered and disjointed throughout the universe. Ometecuhlti and his wife Omecihuatl created all life in the world.
Xipe Totec – The Lord of the Springtime
Huitzilopochtli – the Sun god
Quetzalcoatl – the Plumed Serpent
Tezcatlipoca – the god of Night and Sorcery.
Coatlicue – She of the Serpent Skirt.
Cherokee, Central United States
A Creation Story by Sarah Steele
When the earth began there was just water. All the animals lived above it and the sky was beginning to become crowded.
They were all curious about what was beneath the water and one day Dayuni’si, the water beetle, volunteered to explore it. He went everywhere across the surface but he couldn’t find any solid ground. He then dived below the surface to the bottom and all he found was mud. This began to enlarge in size and spread outwards until it became the earth as we know it.
After all this had happened, one of the animals attached this new land to the sky with four strings. Just after the earth was formed, it was flat and soft so the animals decided to send a bird down to see if it had dried. It eventually returned saying the land was still too wet. The animals sent the great Buzzard from Galun’lati to prepare it for them. The buzzard flew down and by the time he reached the Cherokee land he was so tired that his wings began to hit the ground. Wherever they hit the ground a mountain or valley formed.
The Cherokee land still remains the same today with all the land forms that the Buzzard formed. The animals then decided that it was too dark, so they made the sun and put it on the path in which it still runs today. The animals could then admire the newly created Earth around them.
The Origin of Light
In the early times, there was only darkness; there was no light at all. At the edge of the sea a woman lived with her father. One time she went out to get some water. As she was scraping the snow, she saw a feather floating toward her. She opened her mouth and the feather floated in and she swallowed it. From that time she was pregnant.
|Raven Releasing the Light Drum and Raven Clapper
by George Hunt, Jr.
Then she had a baby. It’s mouth was a raven’s bill. The woman tried hard to find toys for her child. In her father’s house was hanging a bladder that was blown up. This belonged to the woman’s father. Now the baby, whose name was Tulugaak (Raven), pointed at it and cried for it. The woman did not wish to give it to him but he cried and cried. At last she gave in and took the bladder down from the wall and let the baby play with it. But in playing with it, he broke it. Immediately, it began to get light. Now there was light in the world, and darkness, too. When the woman’s father came home, he scolded his daughter for taking the bladder down from the wall and giving it to the child. And when it was light, Tulugaak had disappeared.
The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.
Blog: Indian Traders
Native Americans are traditionally very spiritual people, and most tribes revere “The Great Spirit”. This is an English translation of The Creator, a deity or “God”. Native American culture to this day honors and is mindful of The Great Spirit, and Native American blankets like the Pendleton Rio Canyon blanket (pictured) pay homage to the presence of The Great Spirit in all living things.
What is The Great Spirit?
While some Native Americans have come to consider The Great Spirit and the Abrahamic God to be one and the same (and even a result of European colonialization), for others there has always been a belief in a Great Mystery and force in and amongst everything in the Universe.
The concept of a universal spiritual force represents a god of creation and eternity. It speaks through chosen individuals or mediators and provides guidance to humans.
Many tribes have different names for The Great Spirit, for example:
- Wakan Tanka – Sioux Great Spirit
- Manitou – Iroquois Great Spirit
- Apistotoke – Blackfoot Great Spirit
- Maheo – Cheyenne Great Spirit
- Tirawa Atius – Pawnee Great Spirit
The Great Spirit is perceived as both male and female, separate but one divine deity, though some tribes refer to it as “Father”, “Grandfather”, or “Old Man”.
The Mother Earth aspect of The Great Spirit harks back to Neolithic Goddess culture. Women shared equality with men and the Divine Feminine was the source of animal, vegetation, and human life.
In the post-Goddess era, the masculine hierarchy thrived, yet among Native American tribal culture, the masculine and feminine are far more generally balanced than for most Western religions and cultural traditions. Women in Native American culture enjoy an influence and respect exceeding that of almost any other culture worldwide.
- The Great Spirit is seen by the Lakota Sioux, for example, as an amalgamation of Father Sky (the dominant force), Mother Earth, and an array of Spirits who oversee human life and the elements.
- The Shoshone call their creator god “Tam Apo” which translates as “Our Father”.
- Some tribes represent the Supreme Being as an animal, most often a wolf, having human thought and speech.
Other Native Religious Concepts
American Indian religions feature certain other distinct beliefs and traditions:
- Mythological anthropomorphic animals imbued with spirits.
- Spirits inhabit everything from the stars to rivers, mountains, rocks, fire, air, animals, insects, lakes, and the earth itself.
- Belief in reincarnation into human or animal form.
- Ghosts walking the Earth among the living.
- A heavenly afterlife. Those tribes which are based on nomadic hunting culture (e.g., the Plains Indians) tend to favor a belief in a “Happy Hunting Ground”, or an afterlife in a place with a bounty of game. Those which are based on agriculture (agrarian tribes – e.g., the Hopi) tend to believe the afterlife is in a land beneath or inside the Earth, and it is from here that Mother Earth renews life.
Indian Traders has a wide selection of Native American jewelry and bronze statues which feature the legendary symbolism of the southwestern US American Indian tribes and the animals which are so important to the North American Indians of all Nations. Explore our range today.
Native American Creation Stories | The American Yawp Reader
Native American Creation Stories
These two Native American creation stories are among thousands of accounts for the origins of the world. The Salinian and Cherokee, from what we now call California and the American southeast respectively, both exhibit the common Native American tendency to locate spiritual power in the natural world. For both Native Americans and Europeans, the collision of two continents challenged old ideas and created new ones as well.
Salinan Indian Creation Story
When the world was finished, there were as yet no people, but the Bald Eagle was the chief of the animals. He saw the world was incomplete and decided to make some human beings. So he took some clay and modeled the figure of a man and laid him on the ground. At first he was very small but grew rapidly until he reached normal size. But as yet he had no life; he was still asleep. Then the Bald Eagle stood and admired his work. “It is impossible,” said he, “that he should be left alone; he must have a mate.” So he pulled out a feather and laid it beside the sleeping man. Then he left them and went off a short distance, for he knew that a woman was being formed from the feather. But the man was still asleep and did not know what was happening. When the Bald Eagle decided that the woman was about completed, he returned, awoke the man by flapping his wings over him and flew away.
The man opened his eyes and stared at the woman. “What does this mean?” he asked. “I thought I was alone!” Then the Bald Eagle returned and said with a smile, “I see you have a mate! Have you had intercourse with her?” “No,” replied the man, for he and the woman knew nothing about each other. Then the Bald Eagle called to Coyote who happened to be going by and said to him, “Do you see that woman?” Try her first!” Coyote was quite willing and complied, but immediately afterwards lay down and died. The Bald Eagle went away and left Coyote dead, but presently returned and revived him. “How did it work?” said the Bald Eagle. “Pretty well, but it nearly kills a man!” replied Coyote. “Will you try it again?” said the Bald Eagle. Coyote agreed, and tried again, and this time survived. Then the Bald Eagle turned to the man and said, “She is all right now; you and she are to live together.”
John Alden Mason, The Ethnology of the Salinan Indians (Berkeley: 1912), 191-192.
Available through the Internet Archive
Cherokee creation story
The earth is a great island floating in a sea of water, and suspended at each of the four cardinal points by a cord hanging down from the sky vault, which is of solid rock. When the world grows old and worn out, the people will die and the cords will break and let the earth sink down into the ocean, and all will be water again. The Indians are afraid of this.
When all was water, the animals were above in Gälûñ’lätï, beyond the arch; but it was very much crowded, and they were wanting more room. They wondered what was below the water, and at last Dâyuni’sï, “Beaver’s Grandchild,” the little Water-beetle, offered to go and see if it could learn. It darted in every direction over the surface of the water, but could find no firm place to rest. Then it dived to the bottom and came up with some soft mud, which began to grow and spread on every side until it became the island which we call the earth. It was afterward fastened to the sky with four cords, but no one remembers who did this.
At first the earth was flat and very soft and wet. The animals were anxious to get down, and sent out different birds to see if it was yet dry, but they found no place to alight and came back again to Gälûñ’lätï. At last it seemed to be time, and they sent out the Buzzard and told him to go and make ready for them. This was the Great Buzzard, the father of all the buzzards we see now. He flew all over the earth, low down near the ground, and it was still soft. When he reached the Cherokee country, he was very tired, and his wings began to flap and strike the ground, and wherever they struck the earth there was a valley, and where they turned up again there was a mountain. When the animals above saw this, they were afraid that the whole world would be mountains, so they called him back, but the Cherokee country remains full of mountains to this day.
When the earth was dry and the animals came down, it was still dark, so they got the sun and set it in a track to go every day across the island from east to west, just overhead. It was too hot this way, and Tsiska’gïlï’, the Red Crawfish, had his shell scorched a bright red, so that his meat was spoiled; and the Cherokee do not eat it. The conjurers put the sun another hand-breadth higher in the air, but it was still too hot. They raised it another time, and another, until it was seven handbreadths high and just under the sky arch. Then it was right, and they left it so. This is why the conjurers call the highest place Gûlkwâ’gine Di’gälûñ’lätiyûñ’, “the seventh height,” because it is seven hand-breadths above the earth. Every day the sun goes along under this arch, and returns at night on the upper side to the starting place.
There is another world under this, and it is like ours in everything–animals, plants, and people–save that the seasons are different. The streams that come down from the mountains are the trails by which we reach this underworld, and the springs at their heads are the doorways by which we enter, it, but to do this one must fast and, go to water and have one of the underground people for a guide. We know that the seasons in the underworld are different from ours, because the water in the springs is always warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the outer air.
When the animals and plants were first made–we do not know by whom–they were told to watch and keep awake for seven nights, just as young men now fast and keep awake when they pray to their medicine. They tried to do this, and nearly all were awake through the first night, but the next night several dropped off to sleep, and the third night others were asleep, and then others, until, on the seventh night, of all the animals only the owl, the panther, and one or two more were still awake. To these were given the power to see and to go about in the dark, and to make prey of the birds and animals which must sleep at night. Of the trees only the cedar, the pine, the spruce, the holly, and the laurel were awake to the end, and to them it was given to be always green and to be greatest for medicine, but to the others it was said: “Because you have not endured to the end you shall lose your, hair every winter.”
Men came after the animals and plants. At first there were only a brother and sister until he struck her with a fish and told her to multiply, and so it was. In seven days a child was born to her, and thereafter every seven days another, and they increased very fast until there was danger that the world could not keep them. Then it was made that a woman should have only one child in a year, and it has been so ever since.
W. Powell, Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1897-1898, Part I (Washington: 1900), 239-240.
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Great Spirit ***
The Great Spirit
The Great Spirit is the supreme being and principal deity of Native American Indians. The Great Spirit is the supernatural being conceived as the perfect and all powerful originator and ruler of the universe. The Supreme Being is often defined simply as “God” in Western beliefs and is used with this meaning by many other religions and to refer to different deities.
The Great Mystery
The Great Spirit – Native American Culture & Belief Systems
Native American cultures were characterized by an intimate relationship with nature. The Great Spirit was perceived as the divine power that created the world. The religious beliefs and practices of the Native Indian tribes included Shamanism, Animism, Totemism, Fetishism and their rituals and ceremonies led by a Shaman, centered around hunting and animals. The creed or doctrine of these belief systems held that intelligent spirits inhabited all natural objects and every object is controlled by its own independent spirit. Spirits inhabit the sky, stars, sun, moon, rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, the animals, insects, fish, stones, flowers and birds. Some spirits are good and help men who please them whereas other spirits are bad and liable to wreck havoc on people and on tribes. Animals, refer to Power Animals, are singled out as powerful manifestations of the supernatural, including those seen in dreams or Vision Quests. Lesser spirits inhabited stones and plants and viewed as ‘spirit helpers’.
The Concept of the Great Spirit
The Native Indian concepts of the Great Spirit varies from tribe to tribe who refer to the Supreme Being by a variety of different names. Some of their beliefs about the Great Spirit are derived from both patriarchal and matriarchal traditions. The Lakota Sioux believe that the Great Spirit is an amalgamation of a dominant Father sky god and Mother Earth. The Great Spirit is seen as both a male and female beings, separate, but part of one divine entity.
Other tribes refer to the Great Spirit as “Father”, “Old Man” or “Grandfather” and in these cultures the Great Spirit is perceived to be a man, or an animal, with human thought and speech.
The Great Spirit – Tribal Names for the Supreme Being
The differences in the beliefs connected to the Great Spirit are demonstrated by the variety of different names given by tribes in reference to the Supreme Being:
- The most generic name attributed to the Great Spirit is the Great Mystery or the Supreme Being
- The Sioux name for the Great Spirit is ‘Wakan Tanka’ which translates as the Great Mystery and referred to as the “Great Incomprehensibility” The Sioux believed that every object was spirit, or “wakan.”
- The Shoshone name for the Great Spirit is “Tam Apo” meaning “Our Father”
- The Chickasaw name for the Great Spirit is “Ababinili”
- Many Algonquian speaking tribes of the Great Plains, such as the Ojibwe, refer to the Great Spirit as “Gitchi Manitou”
- The Blackfoot name for the Supreme Being is “Apistotoke”
- The Arapaho name for the Supreme Being is “Chebbeniathan”
- The Abenaki name for the Supreme Being is “Gici Niwaskw”
- The Huron name for the Supreme Being is “Ha-Wen-Neyu”
- The Cheyenne name for the Supreme Being is “Maheo”
Native American Culture – Great Spirit
- Great Spirit – Native American legends and myths for kids
- Culture and History of Native Indians
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Great Spirit – Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Great Spirit. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History and Culture of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, War Paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section – Great Spirit. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index – a great educational resource for kids.
Wakan Tanka | Encyclopedia.com
Great Spirit, Wakanda
American Indian oral mythology
In Native American mythology , Wakan Tanka (great mystery) is the supreme being and creator of the Lakota Sioux. Sometimes called Great Spirit, he is similar to the supreme beings found in the myths of many other North American peoples.
According to Lakota myth, before creation Wakan Tanka existed in a great emptiness called Han (darkness). Feeling lonely, he decided to create companions for himself. First, Great Spirit focused his energy into a powerful force and formed Inyan (rock), the first god. Next, he used Inyan to create Maka (earth), and then mated with that god to produce Skan (sky). Skan brought forth Wi (the sun) from Inyan, Maka, and himself. These four gods were separate and powerful, but they were all part of Wakan Tanka.
The first four gods produced four companions—Moon, Wind, Falling Star, and Thunderbird —to help with the process of creation. In turn, these companions created various gods and spirits, including Whirlwind, Four Winds, Buffalo, Two-Legged Creatures (humans and bears), Sicun (thought), Nagi (spirit of death), Niya (breath of life), and Nagila (shadow). All of these beings were aspects of Wakan Tanka. Together, they created and oversee everything that exists.
Wakan Tanka in Context
The idea of Wakan Tanka reflects a common view among American Indian tribes that the natural world is part of a spirit being, or is infused with spirit. Wakan Tanka is not just a specific, defined being, like the various gods in Greek mythology , but is a spirit force that can be found in all things, from corn to canyons to cockroaches. In modern times, due to the influence of Christian missionaries, Wakan Tanka is often compared to the all-powerful God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Some dismiss this comparison as simplistic, but some American Indians have incorporated Christian beliefs, such as the appearance of Jesus, into their existing mythology of Wakan Tanka.
Key Themes and Symbols
The main theme of the myths of Wakan Tanka is the interconnected nature of the world. Wakan Tanka is present in all things as a sacred energy, and the original gods—from whom all other things in the world originate—were made from part of Wakan Tanka. This also suggests unity and harmony with the natural world, as opposed to viewing some natural events, such as storms or floods , as hostile or evil.
Wakan Tanka in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life
Wakan Tanka remains a central part of American Indian belief, particularly among the Lakota people. The Great Spirit was popularized by the book Black Elk Speaks (1932) by John G. Neihardt, and is also mentioned in the popular book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (1970). Like many American Indian deities, however, Wakan Tanka has not yet penetrated mainstream popular culture in a significant way.
Read, Write, Think, Discuss
In mainstream American culture, Wakan Tanka—the Great Spirit—is perhaps best known from Black Elk Speaks (1932), an autobiographical account of Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux medicine man, written from conversations between himself and author John G. Neihardt, a poet and amateur ethnographer. The book documents important events in the history of the Sioux people, such as the battle at Little Bighorn and the massacre at Wounded Knee, both witnessed by Black Elk. It also contains a wealth of information about Sioux beliefs and myths.
SEE ALSO Creation Stories; Native American Mythology90,000 why the US authorities did not allow the Indians to create their own state – RT in Russian
On July 14, 1905, the Native Americans, forcibly evicted by the US authorities to the so-called Indian Territory, announced the creation of a new state of Sequoia. They completed all the procedures required by law, but official Washington did not support the project. As a result, this territory became part of the state of Oklahoma. About the history of the expulsion of Indian peoples from their native places – in the material RT.
By the time the white colonizers came to North America, the Indian peoples living there were at different levels of social and technical development: some lived in a tribal system and were engaged in gathering, while others created powerful pre-state associations, mastered agriculture and erected huge structures.
One of the most powerful and warlike peoples were the Cherokee. First, they confronted the British (on their own and together with the French), and then, in alliance with the British, they fought with the Americans. In the 1790s, they won a number of victories over the United States, but after the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars, they lost the support of European powers and made peace with the Americans, ceding Tennessee and Kentucky to them, but retaining other vast territories in the modern southeastern United States.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the United States acquired Louisiana from France, which formally included the territory of modern Oklahoma – the wild lands west of the Mississippi.The US authorities had the idea to expel there “uncivilized” Indians who refuse to lead a sedentary lifestyle and accept European culture.
- Sequoia – the chief of the Cherokee tribe who invented the alphabet
- © University of Washington Libraries
However, the so-called Five Civilized Tribes – Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Shouts and Seminoles – found themselves in a special position.They were recognized as “sovereign nations” with the broadest rights. Their representatives massively adopted Christianity, were engaged in farming and gave school education to their children. One of the leaders of the Cherokee – Sequoia – even developed an alphabet for his people. The wealthy representatives of the Five Civilized Tribes kept black slaves and gradually turned into prosperous planters.
The Road of Tears
But the white settlers became more and more, and they began to be annoyed by the neighborhood with the Indians, even if “civilized”.The strength to effectively resist the Americans, as at the end of the 18th century, the Indians of the southeast no longer had – there were now too many white neighbors.
The US Supreme Court in disputes between landlords and white colonialists began to make decisions one after another, guided by the medieval “Doctrine of Discovery”, according to which the lands on which the white settlers arrived belonged to the “discoverers”, and the territories inhabited by Indians, according to were considered “no-man’s” by default.American judges argued that Providence would not have led the Anglo-Saxons to the shores of North America if the continent were not supposed to belong to them.
- Battle of Little Bighorn
- © Library of Congress
As early as 1830, the promises that Washington made to the “civilized tribes” were completely forgotten.
President Andrew Jackson cynically declared, “I am delighted to announce to Congress that the government’s generous policy of Indian resettlement, unswervingly pursued for nearly 30 years, is coming to a happy conclusion.”
On May 28, 1830, the Indian Resettlement Act passed by Congress and signed by the President came into effect. He promised to give the indigenous people, who would agree to exchange the “eastern” land plots for the “western” plots of equal area, as well as financial compensation for the inconvenience.
At the same time, American politicians hypocritically argued that contact with civilization is destructive for the Indians and they need to be protected from it.
In practice, everything looked very different.The law became a cover for brutal forced deportation. Indians wishing to preserve their tribal structure were simply not given the right to live on the fertile and developed lands in the eastern part of the continent.
In the north, attempts to resettle the so-called uncivilized Indians, in particular the Sauks and Foxes, beyond the Mississippi, resulted in wars, as a result of which the legitimate owners of American land were defeated and forced to agree to resettlement.
- Cherokee Indians
- © Library of Congress
As for the “civilized” tribes, the Seminoles showed the most active resistance to the invaders.From 1814 to 1858, they fought three full-scale wars with the US Army. Ultimately, most of the Indians were forced to agree to move to Oklahoma, but several hundred retreated to the impassable swamps of central Florida and fought guerrilla warfare there until Washington realized that fighting them was much more expensive than leaving them alone. After the end of World War II, most of the Florida Seminoles established contacts with the federal government.
Although the Cherokee did not start active hostilities, they refused to move voluntarily.Then, in 1835, the US authorities drew up a fictitious agreement with a group of Indians who had no right to speak on behalf of the Cherokee people. In response, the tribe collected 13,000 signatures on a petition condemning the falsification and sent it to Washington. However, the US President still ratified the fake, and sent troops to the Cherokee. The Indians were herded into concentration camps, and then forced to retreat to the plains west of the Mississippi.
The Shouts attempted to take up arms, but were quickly defeated by the American army and forced to relocate.Choctaw and the Chickasaw considered the resistance hopeless and submitted to the will of Washington.
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During deportation, the Indians were not even allowed to pack their things properly.They covered most of the way on foot and died en masse from cold and disease. So, out of 20 thousand Choctaw during the resettlement, about four thousand died, out of 23 thousand shouts – about three and a half thousand. Of the 22 thousand Cherokee, according to some sources, up to eight thousand people died. The very process of the forcible deportation of representatives of the Five Civilized Tribes to the west of the Mississippi was called the Road of Tears in the historical literature.
Initially, the Indians were given almost the entire territory of modern Oklahoma (the name itself was proposed in 1866 by representatives of the Choctaw tribe and meant “red people”).But during the Civil War, most of the Indians supported the Confederation (7,860 men became its soldiers and officers), and after the end of the war they were punished for their position: a significant part of the territory was torn away from them. From 1889 to 1895, the authorities held a series of “land races” in the former Indian lands, when the previously assigned Native American territories were captured by the one of the whites who managed to get to them first by horse or cart.
Originally, the boundaries of Indian lands as “unorganized territory of the United States” were established in 1834.After the very first “land races” in 1890, a separate incorporated organized territory of Oklahoma was officially created.
In 1902, the inhabitants of the rest of the Indian Territory, wanting to acquire rights equal to those of the United States, set out to create a new state. The idea was officially supported by a convention of representatives of the Five Civilized Tribes. It was decided to name the new state Sequoia after the creator of the Cherokee writing system.
On July 14, 1905, the creation of the state was officially announced. On August 21 of the same year, a constitutional convention took place, which elected the leadership and developed the Constitution, which was then approved by a referendum on November 7. In addition, the Indians prepared an official plan of government, divided the state into districts and sent a petition to Washington.
However, the federal authorities did not even want to listen to the initiators of the creation of the state of Sequoia. President Theodore Roosevelt said that the Indian Territory can become a full-fledged part of the United States only as part of a unified state of Oklahoma – which, in fact, happened in 1907.
“The Americans believed that if the Indians were made full-fledged masters of at least part of their historical lands, they would eventually want to regain everything,” American political scientist Sergei Sudakov, a corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences, said in an interview with RT.
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According to him, nominally, when creating the United States, the Americans were guided by the principle of free conglomeration, but this principle did not apply to everyone. “There were double standards, the Indians were superfluous people for them. They were given a place on the reservations. American nationogenesis did not imply their participation as a separate entity, ”the expert noted.
Director of the international non-profit foundation “Center for Geopolitical Expertise” Valery Korovin connects the position of the American authorities on the creation of the state of Sequoia with the civilizational features of the West as such.
“The Anglo-Saxons did not consider the Indians to be full-fledged people, equal to themselves. Of course, the twentieth century was already in the yard by this time, the Indian wars were over. But this did not prevent segregation from flourishing in the United States and the work of human zoos, the last of which closed after the war. The very doctrine of the discovery implied that the Americans did not treat the Indians as people, but simply as creatures of living nature. Therefore, there could be no question of any right to an independent state, ”the expert concluded.
how the US military attacked Indian civilians in Colorado – RT in Russian
155 years ago, events known as the Sand Creek Massacre took place in Colorado. About 700 American troops under the command of John Chewington attacked the Cheyenne and Arapah Indian camp who were at peace with the United States government. The victims of the raid were in most cases women and children. American soldiers removed the scalp from the dead and excised their organs for souvenirs.The attackers were embittered by the raids of young Indian warriors on white settlements. However, according to experts, the Indian raids were provoked precisely by the American invasion of lands belonging to the Cheyenne and Arapah.
Mass migration of immigrants from Europe to North America began in the 17th century. The level of socio-economic development of the indigenous population of the continent at that time was uneven: some lived off hunting and gathering, others created societies with a complex social hierarchy and established progressive agricultural production.
“The Indian peoples who lived in the southeastern part of the modern United States were literally one step away from creating their own statehood,” said RT head of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the PRUE. Plekhanov Andrey Koshkin.
However, according to the expert, in military-technical terms, the North American Indians lagged significantly behind the Europeans.
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“The Europeans possessed firearms and the skills of advanced diplomacy that allowed tribes to be pitted against each other. They actively used deceptive agreements to take away land from the Indians, concluded with leaders who did not have the appropriate authority or did not understand what the documents were about. In addition, Native Americans were dying of European diseases to which they were not immune. As a result, immigrants from Europe completely destroyed some peoples and pushed others into the depths of the continent, ”said the expert.
In the 17th-18th centuries, representatives of the government of different levels and even private individuals negotiated with the Indians about land rights. However, shortly after the creation of the United States, official Washington adopted a series of regulations aimed at making land transactions with Indians the exclusive right of the central government of the United States.
In 1823, the US Supreme Court declared Indian lands not owned by anyone and ruled that they should be transferred to the white colonialists, who were the first to claim their rights to them.And in 1830, the Indian Relocation Act was passed in the United States. From that point on, Native American communities completely lost their rights to fertile land along the east coast of the United States and were subject to relocation to arid areas west of the Mississippi River. Some Indians agreed to leave their homes under political pressure from the Washington administration, others were expelled from their lands as a result of wars.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the US authorities acquired from France the rights to Louisiana and the adjacent territories in central North America.For decades, however, the Great Plains west of the Mississippi have been infiltrated primarily by traders and explorers. Local Indians lived without even knowing about the claims of the US authorities to their lands.
Prehistory of the conflict
One of the strongest and most numerous Indian peoples living on the Great Plains were the Cheyenne. Arapakhi Indians were their long-term allies. The first contacts of the Cheyenne with whites date back to the 17th century, but for a long time they did not have a regular character.It was only in 1825 that a government commission that visited the Great Plains, on behalf of the US authorities, concluded a treaty of friendship and trade with the Cheyenne.
In 1849, a significant proportion of the Cheyenne people died out from cholera, which they supposedly contracted from white traders.
The Indians of the Great Plains constantly fought inter-tribal wars, during which white traders and migrants who were traveling to the Pacific coast of North America suffered from time to time. In 1851, the US authorities signed an agreement with the main Indian peoples living on the prairie, on the distribution of territories between them and the definition of boundaries.For the Cheyenne, Washington recognized the right to a significant part of the lands of the modern states of Colorado and Kansas.
- Battle between the white colonialists of North America and the Indians
- © MPI
However, gold was found in the Rocky Mountains in the 1850s. This led to the gold rush that broke out in the summer of 1858.Gold prospectors began to invade the lands of the Cheyenne en masse. There were several clashes between Cheyenne warriors and prospectors and soldiers. In 1861, part of the Cheyenne leaders signed an agreement with representatives of the US government in Fort Wise, according to which the land belonging to their people was reduced by about 13 times. This document split the tribe. Part of the Cheyenne, especially young warriors, considered the treaty unauthorized and refused to fulfill it.
According to Andrey Koshkin, the response to the expansion, military-political pressure and the seizure of land by the American administration was the raids of the Prairie Indians on the Euro-Americans.
“This is how the flywheel of violence gradually began to spin,” the expert emphasized.
“During the raids, the young soldiers showed cruelty, committing murder, robbery and rape. The bodies of the murdered were brought to Denver, and this aroused a feeling of anger among the local white population, ”writer and Indian historian Yuri Stukalin said in an interview with RT.
“Kill and Scalp Everyone”
In 1861, after the outbreak of the American Civil War, the process of forming military units from local volunteers was launched in Colorado.One of the volunteer leaders was former Methodist pastor John Chivington. Initially, he was offered the post of military chaplain, but he refused, stating that he personally wanted to take part in the hostilities. He distinguished himself in battles with the forces of the Confederation. In the spring of 1862, he was promoted to colonel, shortly after that he was sent to carry out security duties in Colorado.
- John Chivington
- © Wikimedia Commons
John Chivington was extremely aggressive towards the Indians.
“To kill and scalp everyone, big and small, lice grow out of nits,” he said one day in Denver.
The military under the command of Chivington, with the support of local authorities, began to carry out punitive actions against the Cheyenne and their allies. The formal reason for them was charges of stealing cattle.
Part of the Cheyenne leaders did not want war with the whites and initiated peace negotiations. Among them were the leaders Black Cauldron and White Antelope. In July 1864, Colorado Governor John Evans sent instructions to the peace negotiators to come with his men to Fort Lyon, where the army guaranteed their safety.The Black Cauldron and several other Indian leaders complied with the demand of the Americans, but in the fall of 1864 the US authorities asked them to move the camp several tens of kilometers to the Sand Creek River. To avoid misunderstandings, the Black Cauldron was advised to raise the flag of the United States over his tent. The leader listened to this recommendation.
In early November 1864, Colorado took over command of the Fort Lyon base. Its boss was Major Scott Anthony, who also had a negative attitude towards the Indians.On November 27, about 600 soldiers arrived at the fort under the command of John Chivington, who announced his intention to “drown in blood” the Cheyenne. Anthony supported him and placed about a hundred more soldiers at the disposal of the colonel. Some of the officers opposed the killing of peaceful Cheyenne, but Chivington threatened them with a tribunal for disobedience. The next day, a column of 700 soldiers moved towards the camp at Sand Creek.
Sand Creek Massacre
“The Indian camp at Sand Creek was patchy.In fact, these were several adjacent camps under the leadership of different leaders. If some of them really did not fight, others leaned towards peace because of the unfortunate situation for them and the weather conditions – the approaching winter, ”said Yuri Stukalin.
Most of the Cheyenne men were out hunting these days. Mostly women and children remained in the camps.
On November 29, 1864, Colonel John Chivington’s column approached the Cheyenne camp. Hearing the stomp of hundreds of horses, the Indians jumped out of their tents and gathered around the Black Cauldron, which raised the American state and white flags as a sign of peace.
- The cavalry commanded by General George Armstrong Custer during the attack on the Black Cauldron camp, the chieftain of the tribe
- © Kean Collection
Despite no signs of Cheyenne aggression, the soldiers opened fire on them. Later, eyewitnesses will tell that the military did not spare either the elderly, women or children.They ripped open the stomachs of pregnant women, used small children as targets, and cut off the genitals of the leader of White Antelope to make them a tobacco pouch. The dead Cheyenne had their fingers cut off to remove the rings from them. All those killed were scalped.
Some of the inhabitants of the Sand Creek camps fled across the plain, some of them began to dig trenches near the stream to repel the attackers. When there were no surviving Indians in the camps, the military retreated, finishing off the wounded, ravaging tents and stealing horses belonging to the Cheyenne.
Consequences of the events at Sand Creek
Chivington called his actions a major victory and indicated in reports that he killed from 500 to 600 Indian warriors.
- Monument in Colorado
- © Education Images
However, the public soon became aware of alternative points of view on these events.Chivington’s soldiers boasted in Denver saloons of scalps and unborn babies carved from the bellies of Indian women. Officers who disagreed with Chivington’s actions reported to the authorities what they saw with their own eyes. An independent investigation began, showing that more than a hundred women and children, and only a few dozen men, were victims of the Chewington attack. At the same time, 24 people from Chivington’s detachment were killed, 52 were injured. According to one version, the military was repulsed by the Cheyenne who had come to their senses, according to another, the Chivington fighters, who were flushed with alcohol before the attack on the Indians, accidentally killed their comrades.
Under pressure from the public, the American Joint War Committee had to investigate Chewington’s activities. The conclusions of the investigation were not in favor of the colonel. However, in 1865, he retired from the army, and his crimes could no longer be the subject of a military tribunal. In addition, they were subject to the amnesty declared following the results of the Civil War. Therefore, Chivington did not bear any responsibility.
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However, due to the resonance caused by the events at Sand Creek, he was unable to run for the legislature. But he quietly worked as a newspaper editor and deputy sheriff, having lived to 73 years.
“In a few hours of frenzy at Sand Creek, Chivington and his soldiers either killed or destroyed the authority of all those Cheyenne and Arapach leaders who kept peace with the white people,” wrote in his book “Bury my heart at Wounded Knee” American writer and historian Dee Brown.
Cheyenne warriors who advocated fighting against whites received a strong case to support their beliefs. Teaming up with the Lakota Indians, they fought against the US Army for over a decade.
The Black Cauldron, who escaped during the events at Sand Creek, signed a new peace treaty with the Americans less than a year later. But, despite his loyalty to his obligations, the leader was killed by the American military on November 27, 1868.
“Although the wars of the US authorities with the Indians are often called genocide, it should be noted that Washington did not have a global goal to destroy the indigenous population of the continent.Americans looked at things more pragmatically. They needed land and other natural resources. Against this background, they considered the Indians simply as a hindrance to be eliminated by any means. Thus, the destruction and displacement of the indigenous population became the key to the creation of American statehood, ”summed up Andrei Koshkin.
Indians in a Texas prison seized the right to grow long hair
Photo author, Getty ImagesPhoto caption,
Inmates in Texas
A federal court in the US state of Texas allowed three Indians serving term, to grow long hair in accordance with their traditional beliefs.
Inmates have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Penitentiary System in federal district court.
The ruling only applies to these three people, but it is likely to affect the situation of more than 5,000 Native Americans serving sentences in Texas prisons, the Houston Chronicle notes.
Plaintiffs, each serving time for violent crimes, claimed that long hair helps them get closer to their creators.State officials say that prisoners’ refusal to cut their hair can pose a security risk.
The prison will consider filing an appeal.
The judgment applies only to inmates at McConnell Unit Prison near Beeville.
One of the plaintiffs, Aboriginal Cherokee Robbie Doe Goodman, 55, told the court that his hair was like the roots of a tree.
“They’re connecting us,” he said.According to him, when he is forced to cut his hair, it is tantamount to beating.
42-year-old Raymond Cobb said he needed a scythe so that his ancestors would accept him after death.
Photo by Robert AlexanderPhoto caption,
For some indigenous peoples of North America, long hair has a religious meaning
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2012. Prison officials objected that long hair could be styled into hairstyles that were the hallmark of criminal gangs, that the hair could be used to send contraband to prison, and that it could pose a threat to the health of inmates.
“Although both male and female prisoners are caught with prohibited items, women are most likely to try to bring in cosmetics,” the state said in a statement. items that can be used to inflict stab wounds. ”
The state also believes that lice can develop in long hair, that they contribute to heatstroke and that they provide inmates with an additional means of suicide.
Prison spokesman Jeremy Desel told the Houston Chronicle: “While we disagree with this court ruling, we fully respect the court procedure.”
In an interview with the BBC, Desel said the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has no comment on the judgment or related plans.
According to the Texas newspaper, the state has 30 days to appeal.90,000 Scientists figured out how the Indians settled America
Scientists have found out how the ancestors of modern Indians settled in North and South America.Genetic data show that they left Beringia before the end of the ice age, and bypassed the ice barriers along the Pacific coast.
Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondria is an organoid of the cytoplasm of animal and plant cells in the form of filamentous or granular formations. Consists of protein, lipids, RNA and DNA. The main function of the mitochondria is energy production. Mitochondria play a key role in …
The vast majority of scientists believe that of all the inhabited continents, people settled in America last, and they did it about 20-30 thousand years ago, moving from Asia to the east along the Beringian Bridge.However, experts still argue about when exactly the transition of a person through this isthmus happened. The nature of this resettlement is also hotly discussed – whether it was one-off or took place in several stages.
The new work of Brazilian and American geneticists on the analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups of Native Americans made it possible to describe in more detail the chronology of the settlement of both Americas, as well as to offer an alternative way of human advancement across the new earth.
From similar works carried out in the past, it is known that the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population of the New World has only five out of three dozen major mitochondrial haplogroups that are currently isolated by geneticists. Four of them – A, B, C, and D – are also found among the indigenous population of Asia, which suggests that it was the ancient population of the northeastern part of the Eurasian continent who participated in the migration to Alaska and further across America.
archaeological culture of the middle of the late Paleolithic, widespread in France and northern Spain.It replaced the Aurignacian culture and the Perigordian culture and, in turn, was replaced by the Madeleine culture. Dated …
At the same time, haplogroup X, which is not constant in the region and frequency of manifestation, allows many scientists to assume the existence of an independent migration route to America. In addition, a number of experts are of the opinion that the presence of this group testifies to the migration here of representatives of the ancient Solutrean culture, widespread in Europe on the territory of Spain and France
As was recently shown by scientists from the University of Florida, the transition of ancient settlers across the Bering Bridge occurred long before the start of the rapid development of the Americas.The fact is that the ice cover of Alaska for many thousands of years simply did not allow the first settlers to move on.
Nevertheless, at the same time, there is a version that progress was still possible – people walked along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, since the level of world waters at that time was significantly lower. Proponents of this view argue that the rising waters in recent millennia have simply obscured possible archaeological evidence that might support the idea.
New work , accepted for publication in the American Journal of Human Genetics, is distinguished by the scale of the study.
Scientists complete mtDNA sequencing of 86 Native Americans. The results of the analysis allow them to assert that all the peoples who inhabited America before the arrival of Europeans descended from a single population, and thus show the inconsistency of theories about independent multiple migrations of people to the New World.
In addition, according to Brazilian geneticists – and contrary to many previously proposed theories, the settlement of future Indians across the Americas did indeed take place during the Ice Age, when the ice barrier that blocked most of Alaska had not yet melted.
At the same time, the Brazilians managed not only to debunk the theory of several independent migrations, but also to more accurately determine the date of man’s arrival on the territory of Alaska, as well as to clarify the path of advancement to the south of the first settlers who became the founders of American culture.
The number of mothers-grandparents (fathers are more difficult to judge by mtDNA), from whom the American Indians descended, was very small. Estimates of this number from genetic models built on the basis of genetic markers of different types range from several tens to several thousand people.The data obtained by the scientists allowed us to propose a consistent model of the genetic development of populations and to justify the origin of all haplogroups (A2, B2, C1, D1, and X2a) found in Native Americans from the same original population of Asian people.
According to models built on the basis of mtDNA analysis, the separation of future Americans from Asians took place in the area of the Bering Bridge during the last glaciation, from 23 thousand to 19 thousand years ago. After crossing the isthmus, which has now become the Bering Strait, the new population began to grow rapidly and populated the coastal territories of America in about three thousand years, ending the development of the Pacific coast about 15-16 thousand years ago.
At the same time, scientists have found in the genetic data evidence of a long intermediate period.
More than 5 thousand years separate the isolation of future Americans from Asians and the beginning of the rapid growth of American genetic diversity, corresponding to the process of colonization of America.
Summing up the duration of this period and some reliable archaeological evidence of early Arctic settlements of people in this region in the region 30 thousand years ago, scientists come to the conclusion that
the arrival of man on American soil occurred even before the glaciation in the process of changing climatic conditions.
The authors agree with previously obtained data that for several thousand years these settlers lived in the territory of Beringia. In addition, the researchers showed that a population isolated in Beringia for several thousand years experienced a gradual decline in numbers. This may be due to the worsening climatic conditions here. However, the number of women in it did not fall below about a thousand people.
prehistoric culture of the Aborigines of North America, the first evidence of which is 13,000 years old (11,000 radiocarbon years).E beginning is associated with the end of the last ice age.
According to experts, in the period from the 17th to the 13th millennium BC, the Native American population, on the contrary, showed a sharp increase in numbers and genetic diversity, which may be associated with the rapid advance to the South and the colonization of America. At the same time, it was established that the ice barrier of Alaska fell no earlier than 12 thousand years before the beginning of a new era, because scientists believe that the advance of the indigenous peoples of the American continent to the south began along the Pacific coast.Most of it was free of ice, and the climate allowed large animals to live here, which people could hunt.
Even more curious is the fact that the end of the period of rapid growth of genetic diversity and expansion of the population coincides with the age of archaeological finds in the area of ancient Indian settlements in Monte Verde in southern Chile. Thus, in several thousand years, American tribes were able to overcome 13 thousand kilometers along the western coast of America.
Scientists also indirectly opposed the involvement of the ancient Europeans in the emergence of the haplogroup of the X family among the Americans. They believe that it also belongs to the original “pro-Americans”, noting that in other parts of the world this haplogroup demonstrates low frequencies of manifestation.
In our time, not a single Siberian nationality remains in Eastern Siberia, showing the presence of a haplogroup in significant quantities. Probably, such a picture is observed as a consequence of the effect of genetic drift, which quickly “overwrites” precisely rare genetic groups.Previously, scientists have already managed to show the closeness of Americans to the Nenets and Yakuts, but the number of indigenous peoples of Siberia is so great that to determine the most native “brothers” of the American Indians, long and lengthy studies will be needed.90,000 Millions for Redskins From year to year, the US government has to pay Indians more and more compensation: Society: World: Lenta.ru
American Indians are increasingly able to obtain multi-million dollar payments from the US government.In court, the Redskins argue that in the past the federal authorities were unfair to them and acted to the detriment of their interests. A kind of record was recently set by the Navajo tribe, which will be paid $ 554 million for the improper use of Indian lands.
The Navajo tribe has more than 300 thousand people. The area of the territory belonging to him in the states of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico is almost 70 thousand square kilometers, that is, almost the same as Belgium and the Netherlands combined.Since the end of the 19th century, 56 thousand square kilometers, or 81.5 percent of the territory of the reservation, have been in the trust of the US government, which rents them to farmers and businessmen, as well as implements water and other infrastructure projects on them.
The number of Indians in America now stands at 2.85 million, or 0.9 percent of the US population. The Redskins are united in 562 tribes. Most of the indigenous people of the continent – about half a million – live in California. They became US citizens in 1924, when the Citizenship Act was passed.
Each tribe (or, as it is officially called – “people”) can create its own government and make its own laws. The tribes also have the power to collect taxes and issue permits for all activities. Many reservations have Indian courts and their own police. Indians have the right to trade alcohol and tobacco products without excise taxes, as well as open casinos on the territory of reservations.
The US has not fully complied with its obligations since at least 1946, according to an Indian lawsuit filed in 2006 in the Federal Claims Court (he considers property claims against the federal government).The government did not pay the Indians the full value of the minerals they owned, including coal, uranium, oil and gas, and did not enforce private companies to do so. For this, the plaintiff demanded to recover $ 900 million from the defendant.
After eight years of negotiations, the federal government and the Navajo were able to settle the issue out of court. The result was the consent of the Indians to withdraw from the court an almost billion-dollar claim and reduce the amount of compensation. The landmark agreement was signed in the main Navajo city of Windou Rock, Arizona, between senior officials in the presidential administration and President of the Navajo Nation (Chief) Ben Shelley.
The Navajo leader called the settlement “a victory for tribal sovereignty.” And the outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder said that it confirms the desire of the US government “to strengthen partnerships with tribal unions.”
The Navajo money will come in handy. They, like the vast majority of Indian tribes, live in poverty. Suffice it to say that the tribe’s unemployment rate is over 40 percent, and there is still no electricity or water in many remote areas of the reservation.President Shelley has pledged to hold a national hearing to decide on what and how to spend half a billion. Most of the compensation will go to the development and improvement of infrastructure, and especially to the construction of roads, water supply and power lines.
At the same time, as aides to President Shelley said, reaching an amicable agreement does not mean that the Navajo will withdraw other claims against the US federal government. The largest of these is a lawsuit over the water and environmental pollution of Navajo lands from uranium mining.It was carried out for many years without any protective measures and led to a significant increase in the number of cancers among the Indians. Now on the territory of the reservation there are more than 500 abandoned uranium mines.
The agreement between the federal government and the Navajo people is far from the first and, one must think, not the last agreement of this kind aimed at improving relations between the US government and the native people of America. However, Washington has not paid so much to one tribe yet.In total, the US Department of Ecology and Natural Resources, which is responsible for relations with Indians, Alaska Natives and Hawaiians, has paid $ 2.61 billion under such agreements to more than 80 tribes.
The Ministry of Ecology has almost 56 million acres of land (226 thousand square kilometers) in trust. The money for the use of these lands, as well as for the oil, gas, timber, water extracted from them, as well as other minerals and resources, are transferred to about 2.5 thousand accounts belonging to hundreds of tribes.
Navajo family. Arizona, 1952
Photo: Eddie Eisenhand / AP
The financial relationship between the US government and the Indians was built on the General Distribution Act of 1887 by Congress. According to this document, part of the Indian land was divided into plots ranging from 40 to 160 acres and distributed to the Indians, and the remainder was sold to white settlers.
The act of distribution actually deprived the Indians of more than two-thirds of the communal lands.For half a century that this document was in force, the area of Indian lands decreased from 558 thousand square kilometers to 190 thousand. The taking of land from the indigenous population stopped only after the adoption of the law on reorganization in 1934.
Deductions from more than 384 thousand Indian allotments in 2009 amounted to $ 298 million. The money to pay compensation to the Navajos, as well as to compensate other tribes, will come from the so-called equity fund, intended to compensate for claims lost by the US government.
Prior to the agreement with the Navajo, the largest was considered a similar agreement to pay compensation to the Osage tribe living in Oklahoma. Under an agreement signed in 2011, the federal government agreed to pay the Osage compensation in the amount of $ 380 million for the same violations in the management of Indian lands.
The year before last turned out to be especially fruitful in compensation for the North American Indians. In 2012, Washington settled controversy with a large group of 41 tribes living in the western and southwestern United States – in the states of Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.The US government has agreed to pay compensation of $ 1.023 billion for the development of oil and gas fields, timber sales, pasture use, and so on.
Navajo children. Utah, 2002
Photo: Douglas C. Pizac / AP
In 2010, the federal government lost in Montana court to another group of Indian tribes and is now required to pay a total of $ 3.4 billion. The Indians, by the way, demanded much more – 47 billion.The lawsuit, which was later joined by many thousands of Indians, was originally filed 15 years ago by a resident of the Montana town of Browning, Eloise Kobel, a member of the Blackfoot tribe. She was supposed to receive two million dollars by court order, but died in October 2011. The government undertakes to pay three other plaintiffs from 150 to 200 thousand, and the bulk of the participants in the class action – from 1 to 1.5 thousand dollars. In total, the court ruled to transfer about $ 1.5 billion to the accounts of about half a million representatives of the indigenous population of America.Almost 2 billion more will be spent on buying and restoring tribal lands. The fund, which pays for the education of Indians in colleges and universities, will receive 60 million dollars.
The relationship of the federal center with the Lakota tribal union uniting seven Sioux tribes stands apart. At the very end of 2007, the Lakota announced the creation of an Indian state in North and South Dakotas, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. The Indians have announced that they are going to issue their passports, and citizens of the Republic of Lakota have the right not to pay taxes to the US Internal Revenue Service.Then everyone, of course, reacted to this news as a Christmas joke. However, in the spring of 2014, the authorities of the self-proclaimed state switched to their own currency. They did not become wise and took the famous bitcoin as a basis, but in order to give it a national flavor, they called it “mazakoin”, which means “iron coin” in their language.
The Lakota hope for a great future for the Mazakoins, which, in their opinion, may well supplant dollars over time. At least in this Indian republic and on the lands of other Indian tribes, who lead a semi-autonomous existence on their reservations and are not so much dependent on Washington.
The Survivor: The Real Story of Hugh Glass – News
Based on real events, the filmmakers emphasize to us. But often, making movies for real events, filmmakers are free to handle facts. Some events are a little boring and neglected, some events are thought out to give the film entertainment and make the plot exciting, intriguing, interesting. The real story of The Survivor is not as spectacular, but also admires the strength and lust for life of the protagonist.And also, in fact, he is all forgiven.Is Hugh Was Glass a fur hunter?
Yes, a hunter and a pioneer. And this is one of the few facts that are known reliably about him. In 1823 he signed a document according to which he was supposed to participate in the research expedition “Fur Company of the Rocky Mountains” organized by General William Henry Ashley, who advertised the recruitment of expedition members in the newspaper Missouri Gazette & Public Advertiser “.It was on this expedition that Glass was attacked by bear.
Missouri Gazette & Public Advertiser Recruitment Announcement, 1823Is Hugh Glass convinced the hunters to abandon their boats and not continue along the river?
No. After the first fight with the Arikara Indians, expedition organizers General Ashley and Major Henry made a decision to go through the mountains.Does Hugh really have Glass was a Native American wife?
Little is known about Glass’s life before the bear attacked him. A hypothesis is marriage with an Indian woman with whom he allegedly fell in love while living in captivity with the Indians. And according to legend, he was taken prisoner after escaping from the pirate Jean Lafitte. Hugh Glass was an experienced hunter and explorer. And where and how he acquired these skills, one can only guess.Was it really grizzly bear attack on Hugh Glass?
Yes.It happened in the summer 1823, five months after Glass joined expeditions. The meeting with the beast took place on the banks of the Missouri. The bear was with two cubs and this is very aggressive. She gave him a huge a number of injuries, including a broken leg and a pierced throat. Colleagues Glass heard his screams, rushed to his aid and drove the bear away shots.
Illustration in article The Milwaukee Journal Milwaukee Journal, 1922Are there any documentary evidence of this attack?
No.At least they have not been found. Although it is reliably known that Hugh Glass was literate. There is a letter he wrote to the parents of the hunter John Gardner, killed during the attack of the expedition by the Arikara tribe. Some papers among documents of the organizers of the expedition characterize him as not an ordinary person with a difficult character, but do not leave us information about the incident. but there are stories written from the words of eyewitnesses. So, the story of the attack appeared in 1825 in the Philadelphia Literary Journal.It quickly spread across all states and became a legend.Real story happens in winter?
No, at least not all. The bear attack took place in the summer.Are the members did the expeditions leave Hugh Glass to die alone?
Yes. Assuming that the hunter is fatally wounded, the leaders of the expedition paid the other two hunters, so that they stay with him to the end and bury him in Christian customs. They stayed with Glass for several days (the exact date unknown), and then they placed him in a shallow grave, collected all the weapons and supplies and went off to catch up with the expedition.
moosegantz.comIs not it hunters killed Hugh Glass’s son?
No. This part of the film is pure fiction. There is no evidence that Glass had children, and even more so that these children were killed before his eyes. But revenge for my son – this is a more interesting plot move than revenge for yourself.Hugh Glass really slept in animal carcasses?
This is unknown.But a dream in animal carcasses is not uncommon in various survival tactics. This and others the details of Glass’s journey arose in the course of numerous retellings of his spooky adventure.Is Hugh Glass crawled 200 miles (320 km.)?
Hugh Glass Crawling Six weeks. The distance he covered changed and grew from retelling to I will retell it, and now it is not possible to establish it.
Missouri on an early 19th century mapIs Hugh Did Glass take revenge on the hunters who left him?
No.Hugh Glass did catch up with John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger, but forgave them both.What happened to Hugh Glass, after this story ended?
Almost nothing about this it is also known that he continued to work as a hunter in the Yellowstone River.Is Hugh Was Glass killed by the Indians?
Yes. According to an article in The A Milwaukee Journal visitor to Fort Union shared the news of the death of a hunter. “Old Glass with two companions went to Fort Cass to hunt a bear and, when they crossed the river on ice, they were shot and scalped by the Indians arikara “.It happened in 1833.
Monument to Hugh Glass in South Dakota
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Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise Expansion Pack
Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise Expansion Pack
Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise is the first expansion pack for the award-winning empire-building game Europa Universalis IV.The Conquest of Paradise add-on is dedicated to the exploration of the new world and the states of the indigenous peoples of America.
Send your ships west to discover new lands and uncharted territories. For the first time in a game from Paradox Development Studio, you will have to overcome the fear of the unknown and explore new continents that will be randomly generated with each playthrough. Like Columbus, you have to swim across the Atlantic Ocean and boldly enter a hitherto unknown land.
With Conquest of Paradise, you can also play as Native Americans: found federations and explore the unique national ideas of the New World.
In this incredible game of trade, diplomacy, war and exploration from the real kings of the strategy genre, Paradox Development Studio brings the famous era of the Great Discovery to life. In Europa Universalis IV, you have to take over the reins of an entire country. Can you create an empire that will last for centuries?
Open a new world. Each new passage will be unique, because now the New World is generated randomly. Create colonies to get to the riches of the New World, trade with local tribes or capture them and take their lands.