The Navajo and Iroquois
In the introduction of the book First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History it talks a lot about how a lot of the information we have about Native Americans is from oral accounts. It also talks about how sometimes history uses these oral accounts as evidence, not always are historians using hard evidence. Such is the case for the Navajo emergence story and for the forming of the league of the Iroquois. The two stories bare striking similarities in their creation stories, such as the use of oral record and a little bit of mythology, but also have a clear difference in the fact that the Iroquois story of formation seems to be more structured.
According to the story that was told by Navajo Chief Sandoval or Tlo'tsi hee (Old Man Buffalo Grass) in 1928 the Navajo became into existence from the First Women and First Man who had traveled from 4 worlds.
The worlds were in a sense stacked and when they were traveling through the worlds they would stop and talk to insects and animals. But in each of the worlds they would misbehave and leave to the next higher world. Eventually the people would end up in the present world where 4 mountains representing the four seasons would shape the Navajo homeland. The story of the creation of the Navajo was told orally just like the creation of the League of the Iroquois. This story begins with an Onondaga chieftain known as Hayenwatha or Hiawatha, who had lost three daughters. Some of the traditions attributed their deaths to the evil powers of an Onondagan shaman who had snakes intertwined in his hair and was basically mentally insane. Part of the Iroquois culture demands that to appease the spirits...