Arapaho from thought

The Arapaho Indians of the Great American Plains migrated westward from the eastern woodlands. So it is that their creation myth is of the earth-diver creation type so common among the Indians of what is now the eastern United States.

It is also an example of creation by thought. The Arapaho creator is a personified version of the flat pipe so important in their ceremonies. The Great Spirit is a formless projection of his thoughts.

In the beginning there was water everywhere and on it floated Flat Pipe all alone. The Great Spirit called down to Flat Pipe suggesting that he create beings to help him build a world around him. Flat Pipe thought of ducks, and they appeared.

He ordered them to dive below the water’s surface to see what was there, but they could not reach the bottom. The same thing happened when Flat Pipe created other water birds.

Finally, the Great Spirit made him think of an animal that could live in water or on land, though Flat Pipe had to conceive of land before there could be any. The animal he thought of was the turtle, who agreed to dive into the waters to find land.

After a long time, Turtle returned and she spit out a piece of land onto Flat Pipe. Out of this land grew the earth as we know it, and out of it Flat Pipe made man and woman and all the animals, and they multiplied.

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