Cherokee Origin Myth Illustration

Ye ho waah
Cherokee Origin Myth

Once upon a time, the earth was covered with water. The creator of all things, Ye ho waah, was a good god. First, he brought a piece of land out of the water. Then, he placed many creatures and plants on the land to give it life.

It was very crowded on the piece of land. Ye ho waah liked order. He knew that chaos invited evil. To solve the problem of crowding, and to put order into the land, he asked the water beetle to bring up more land from the bottom of the water.

The water beetle was glad to help the creator of all things. The water beetle hopped in the water, swam to the bottom, and brought up mud he found on the bottom. He spit it out. He did this over and over. The land was growing, but it was much too slow.

Ye ho waah thought about what he could do. One thing Ye ho waah could do was to make things grow. Amazingly, to the people and animals who lived on the little piece of land, their land began to grow. The land grew and grew and grew. Soon trees and forests and mountains and rivers and lakes and streams all had a place to live, as did the Cherokee and all the animals and plants in the world.

And that's how the world began.

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