Indian: Assiniboine

This Native American earth-diver creation is dominated by the sometimes trickster creator, Inktonmi, or Inktome or Inktomi, who is often thought of as a spider among other Plains Indians.

The myth as it has come down to us has had important elements of tribal life added to it in order to give those elements sacredness. The presence of horses in the myth (even though these animals did not come to North America until the Spanish brought them) is a good example.

When everything was water, Inktonmi sent various animals to find earth below the primeval sea. Only the muskrat succeeded; he floated up dead but there was earth in his claws, and out of that earth the creator made land. He then said there would be as many winter months as there were hairs in his fur robe.

Only the frog dared point out to Inktonmi that this would be too many months of winter and suggested that seven cold months would be sufficient. When he continued to argue his point, Inktonmi killed him, but even after death he signified seven months with his toes, and the the creator gave in to the frog’s idea.

Finally, Inktonmi made people and horses out of dirt, and he taught the Assiniboine how to steal horses from other peoples.

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