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Zuni creation myth

by Alan G. Hefner
This myth is related to Zuni fetishes which are considered to be petrified supernatural beings from the creation myth. The Zuni is one of the several native North American tribes. According to the legend, the first humans came from four caves in the underworld, called the Lower Regions. At that time the Earth's surface was a frightening place, covered with water, shaken by earthquakes, and filled with beasts of prey. The Children of the Sun, out of pity for the humans, dried and hardened the Earth with lightening arrows, then touched animals to shrink them and turn them to stone. The animals that escaped were the ancestors of the animals of today.

This is the reason why most Zuni fetishes are animal shaped. Some, however, represent reptiles and birds, but the most powerful are the natural stones of animal shapes which represent the original petrified beings. Other fetishes represent deities such as the Earth Mother and Creator God, or the Beast Gods, the gods of the most sacred animals.


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