Please watch the following film and answer the questions below.
discussion of film:
What elements of the film struck you?
Were there similarities or differences from other creation myths you know?
In what ways does this set of origin myths help to construct the worldview of the Yekuana people? What elements of life were explained?
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First of all, I wonder if there was another film that was supposed to be watched before this one. This one opens in the middle of a story and never does explain where the Earth comes from or where the first people came from. This makes it difficult to compare it with many other creation myths.
I did not see any clear and complete parallels to other creation stories that I know. In other words, there were points of similarity, but it was not as if this creation myth closely tracked others that I know. Let us look at some points of similarity and difference.
One aspect of this creation myth reminds me of the Greek story of Prometheus. In that story, Prometheus stole fire from the gods, incurring their wrath. In the Yekuana story, the kinkajou went up to heaven to get yucca, which the people needed just as badly as the Greeks needed fire. The kinkajou also made the denizens of heaven angry, though we do not hear if the wasps ever actually managed to punish the kinkajou.
In both this myth and the Judaeo-Christian myth, the creator makes something to help people. In our myth, God makes Eve to help Adam. In the Yekuana myth, birds are created to help people cut down the first yucca tree. The birds then help the people learn how to plant crops. This brings up a very interesting difference with our creation myth. In our myth, agriculture is a punishment. Adam and Eve had a perfect life until they sinned. At that point, they had to start engaging in agriculture to live. By contrast, the original people in the Yekuana story are eating dirt and agriculture is something that is a great blessing to them.
Another point of similarity with our myth is that both explain the creation of, of all things, the rainbow. In our myth, God makes the rainbow as a promise to the people that he will never destroy them again. In this myth, the rainbow is made by a water serpent covering herself with feathers.
This myth explains a great deal about Yekuana daily life. It explains how they came to have agriculture. It explains where their types of foods and drinks came from. It explains where their musical instruments came from. It explains the division of labor between the sexes.
Thus, this myth is both similar to and different from other creation myths.
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