Native American Tales

The Creation of the Animal People

The Creation of the Animal PeopleThe Creation of the Animal People


The Earth used to be a person. Old One took a woman and told her that she would be the mother of all people. He then transformed her into the Earth. The Earth is very much alive.

Old One then took some of Mother Earth’s flesh and rolled them into balls. First he made the ancients, the beings of the early world. The ancients were both people and animals, except deer, they were never people. Old One made the animals into both male and female so they could breed.

The problem was that some of the ancients were very selfish and some were even monsters. They were also stupid. They had to hunt to live, but did not know which animals were people or which were really animals, so sometimes they ate people by mistake.

Old One then sent Coyote to kill all the bad beings of the Earth. Coyote also taught the Natives how to do many things.


This is a general creation story, akin to something like the creation in the Old Testament. Old One created people, both male and female, then they bred, but some were bad and at times, the bad people were erased off of the Earth, much like the Old Testament.

The Earth is a living thing, as many people have said, even the Christian Scriptures include some reference to the Earth being a living thing. I think it’s a neat concept.

I wonder why it was just the deer that was never a person. Perhaps because the natives saw the deer as food and didn’t want to consider that the deer could have been a person, at least according to their stories. There are other bits of folklore concerning deer and their ability to be either people or animals, just not this story.

This reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia. There were animals and then there were Animals.


This is a story of the Earth and how it was created. There was a time when animals and people weren’t that different, but the ancients of this story could not tell the difference sometimes. Maybe this story is a reference to cannibalism, or maybe it’s just a reference to people who are so animalistic in nature that they don’t recognize the humanity in others.

I think a person can definitely get like that. A person can become so wrought up in badness that they don’t ever recognize that another person isn’t all bad. They expect the same type of badness in others that they see in themselves or have been treated with. They cannot comprehend that someone else isn’t bad. These ancients were also animals, but they thought that no other animals could also be people.

In my own life, I’ve had people imagine that I’ve done awful things just because they do awful things. These are things I would never ever do, but yet, I’ve been leveled to that degree just because the other person was in that degree. We have all done this to one degree or the other. If you grow up with abusive people, it’s difficult to imagine that people may be any other way. If you’re a real jerk, you expect everyone else to be a real jerk right back to you, unless you’re a hypocrite. Then for some reason, you can be a jerk, but other people aren’t allowed to be jerks to you. I think both views are not very nice.


Shape up, or Coyote might get you.

Weigh In

Do you sometimes find yourself expecting the good or bad in another person just because of the good or bad within yourself?

Do you think the Earth is a living thing?


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