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Native American Earthdiver Characters

"Earth-diver" is a term folklorists use to refer to mythological characters who succeed at retrieving land for a creator god or culture hero to make the world out of. This kind of creation myth exists in many world culture, not only Native American traditions, but it is especially common here. Native American earth-divers are animals, almost always water animals who must dive for the earth at the bottom of a body of water, usually after other animals have already given up or failed at this task. In some tribes the earth-diver even gives his or her life to bring up the earth.

Native American Earth Divers from Various Tribes

Moskwas the Muskrat (Abenaki earth-diver)

Native American Earth-Diver Stories

*Earth Diver Myths:
    Comparison of Blackfoot and Iroquois earth diver legends.
*Abenaki Earth-Diver Story:
    Abenaki Indian stories about Muskrat diving to find mud for creating the earth.
*Creation of the World * Muskrat and the Origin of the Earth * Muskrat and the Flood * Muskrat the Earth Diver * Creation of the World:
    Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa Indian earth-diver legends about Muskrat.
*Waynaboozhoo and the Great Flood:
    Another version of the Chippewa creation legend, this time with Coot as Earthdiver.
*Michabo and the Muskrat:
    Algonquin legend about Muskrat diving for earth and marrying the culture hero Michabo (Nanabozho.)
*Nipmuc Creation Story:
    Nipmuc earth-diver story about the Muskrat helping to create the earth and teaching the people to build lodges.
*How Muskrat Created The World:
    Native American earth-diver myths about Muskrat from the Blackfoot, Ojibway, Mohawk, and Potawatomi tribes.
*Arapaho Deluge Story:
    Arapaho myth about Turtle the Earth-Diver bringing earth for the new world.
The Creation of the World:
    Gros Ventre myth featuring Turtle as Earthdiver.
*The Beginning of the Cree World:
    Cree earth-diver myth with Muskrat as the hero.
*Dotson'Sa, Great Raven Makes The World:
    An Athabaskan myth about Muskrat the Earthdiver helping Raven to make the world.
Iroquois Creation Myth:
    Cayuga legend about Toad diving for mud to help create the earth.

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Recommended Books about Earthdivers in Native American Mythology
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Remaking The Earth: A Creation Story from the Great Plains of North America:
    Picture book based on Blackfoot and Arapaho Indian creation myths in which Coot takes on the role of Earth-diver.
Muskrat Will Be Swimming:
    Excellent children's literature about a contemporary Native American girl inspired by the legend of Muskrat the Earthdiver.

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