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The Choctaw Great Flood

Posted on September 6th, 2021 by Don Cerow

      Some of the areas of interest for me in working with the Web have been the clues left behind by many traditions of how much older we are as a global village than we have been led to believe. These cultures had shared experiences. They left the imprint of these stories behind in their collective  mythological memories. Some of these clues have been found in the archaeological tradition, some in the mythological traditions. In our time together we have been fortunate enough to unravel a few of the threads from the Dragon myths.

      There is another myth that can be found in various traditions from different times, and that is the myth of the Great Flood. For western culture it is the Bible that tells us of that tale, starting in Genesis 7. Prior to the Biblical version there were the epics of Atrahasis (1700 BC) and Gilgamesh (1100 BC). There’s more than one Greek version.

      As part of an example from the oral tradition, the following was recorded by missionaries 1n 1818.

      I would like to thank Jay Reinfeld for bringing it to my attention.


      The traditions of the Choctaws concerning the Oka Falama (Returned waters the Flood) is as follows:
      In ancient time, after many generations of mankind had lived and passed from the stage of being, the race became so corrupt and wicked brother fighting against brother and wars deluging the earth with human blood and carnage the Great Spirit became greatly displeased and finally determined to destroy the human race; therefore sent a great prophet to them who proclaimed from tribe to tribe, and from village to village, the fearful tidings that the human race was soon to be destroyed. None believed his words, and lived on in their wickedness as if they did not care, and the seasons came again and went.  

      Then came the autumn of the year, followed by many succeeding cloudy days and nights, during which the sun by day and the moon and stars by night were concealed from the earth; then succeeded a total darkness, and the sun seemed to have been blotted out; while darkness and silence with a cold atmosphere took possession of earth. Mankind wearied and perplexed, but not repenting or reforming, slept in darkness but to awake in darkness; then the mutterings of distant thunder began to be heard, gradually becoming incessant, until it reverberated in all parts of the sky and seemed to echo back even from the deep center of the earth. Then fear and consternation seized upon every heart and all believed the sun would never return.

       The Magi of the Choctaws spoke despondently in reply to the many interrogations of the alarmed people, and sang their death songs which were but faintly heard in the mingled confusion that arose amid the gloom of the night that seemed would have no returning morn. Mankind went from place to place only by torch-light; their food stored away became moldy and unfit for use; the wild animals of the forests gathered around their fires bewildered and even entered their towns and villages, seeming to have lost all fear of man. 

      Suddenly a fearful crash of thunder, louder than ever before heard, seemed to shake the earth, and immediately after a light was seen glimmering seemingly far away to the North. It was soon discovered not to be the light of the returning sun, but the gleam of great waters advancing in mighty billows, wave succeeding wave as they on ward rolled over the earth destroying everything in their path.
      Then the wailing cry was heard coming from all directions, “Oka Falamah, Oka Falamah;” (
The returned waters). Stretching from horizon to horizon, it came pouring its massive waters onward. “The foundations of the Great Deep were broken up.”

      Soon the earth was entirely overwhelmed by the mighty and irresistible rush of the waters, which swept away the human race and all animals leaving the earth a desolate waste. Of all mankind only one was saved, and that one was the mysterious prophet who had been sent by the Great Spirit to warn the human race of their near approaching doom. This prophet saved himself by making a raft of sassafras logs by the direction of the Great Spirit, upon which he floated upon the great waters that covered the earth, as various kinds of fish swam around him, and twined among the branches of the submerged trees, while upon the face of the waters he looked upon the dead bodies of men and beasts, as they arose and fell upon the heaving billows.

      After many weeks floating he knew not where, a large black bird came to the raft flying in circles above his head. He called to it for assistance, but it only replied in loud, croaking tones, then flew away and was seen no more.
      A few days after a bird of bluish color, with red eyes and beak came and hovered over the raft, to which the prophet spoke and asked if there was a spot of dry land anywhere to be seen in the wide waste of waters. Then it flew around his head a few moments fluttering its wings and uttering a mournful cry, then flew away in the direction of that part of the sky where the new sun seemed to be sinking into the rolling waves of the great ocean of waters.

      Immediately a strong wind sprang up and bore the raft rapidly in that direction. Soon night came on, and the moon and stars again made their appearance, and the next morning the sun arose in its former splendor; and the prophet looking around saw an island in the distance toward which the raft was slowly drifting, and before the sun had gone down seemingly again into the world of waters, the raft had touched the island upon which he landed and encamped, and being wearied and lonely he soon forgot his anxieties in sleep; and when morning came, in looking around over the island, he found it covered with all varieties of animals excepting the mammoth which had been destroyed. He also found birds and fowls of every kind in vast numbers upon the island; and among which he discovered the identical black bird, which had visited him upon the waters, and then left him to his fate; and, as he regarded it a cruel bird, he named it Fulushto (
Raven) a bird of ill omen to the ancient Choctaws.
      With great joy he also discovered the bluish bird, which had caused the wind to blow his raft upon the island, and because of this act of kindness and its great beauty he called it Puchi Yushubah (
Lost Pigeon).
      After many days the waters, passed away; and in the course of time Puchi Yushubah became a beautiful woman, whom the prophet soon after married, and by them the world was again peopled.

      Myths are more than simply fabrications and fairy tales for those who will listen carefully and quietly to their secrets.

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