The Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest believed that the earth was controlled by many gods. While the idea of a supreme diety varied from nation to nation there was a general attitude that there were no friendly gods. The indians, therefore, felt powerless against the gods who made the earth and the forces of nature which he could not understand. In the tragedies of the forest he saw the weaker, smaller creatures escape the larger ones only by cunnings. Thus, in order to escape the anger of the gods, he too must be cunning. The crafty animals became his earth gods and in time, his helpers. Coyote, the weakest but craftiest of all the animals, became, on the coast, "the chief of all animals." Fox ranked second.
The mountains were the home of supernatural beings and considered sacred. Avalanches and volcanic eruptions on Takhoma, "the White Mountain", now called Mt. Rainier, were caused by tomanowos and nothing could tempt an Indian to climb high above the snow line. Takhoma was associated with mystery and danger. Tatoosh, the Thunder Bird lived in the mountains. He shook the mountains with the flapping of his wings and the flashing of his eye was the lightning. In order to soften his anger his picture is painted everywhere. Often he is represented by a single eye which is woven or painted on their possessions.
The earliest legends were stories of how the world was created, the origin of the races, the discovery of fire, the salmon, and those relating to the physical features of the country. Many of the early myths and legends give the animals the same abilities as man. Later on, the stories began to show traces of the white man's religion and customs.
CREATION OF THE WORLD:
ORIGIN OF THE RACES:
DISCOVERY OF FIRE:
CREATION OF LANDMARKS:
AMONG US -The White Bison by Kevin Engle
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