Everywhere a flood myth

UnknownI was recently cajoled, bamboozled, shanghaied, flattered into leading two Sunday morning studies of the Noah story. Not that I know much about the Old Testament, but my bamboozler presented as the ultimate argument: “We know you can tell stories.” Actually, I’m glad I agreed. I found out a lot.

Like anyone who ever brushed past Joseph Campbell, I knew, or rather suspected that many cultures have flood myths. Why not? These are dramatic, often terrifyingly sudden events, surely acts of an angry or inscrutable god, sparing some, destroying many. The mind screams “Why?” Then the sun comes out. The rainbow. The earth takes back her water.

But I had no idea, none, zilch of just how many cultures have a flood myth. With a slight bit of sleuthing, I came upon The Talk Origins Archive and quite literally, OMG. Here they are, divided by continents. I didn’t know there there this many cultures. Check out the list. Is it complete?

Europe
Greek, Arcadian, Samothrace
Roman
Scandinavian, German
Celtic, Welsh
Lithuanian, Transylvanian Gypsy
Turkey
Near East
Sumerian
Egypt, Babylonian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Hebrew, Islamic
Persian, Zoroastrian
Africa
Cameroon
Masai (East Africa), Komililo Nandi, Kwaya (Lake Victoria)
Southwest Tanzania,     Pygmy, Ababua (northern Zaire), Kikuyu (Kenya), Bakongo (west Zaire), Bachokwe? (southern Zaire), Lower Congo, Basonge, Bena-Lulua (Congo River, southeast Zaire)
Yoruba (southwest Nigeria), Efik-Ibibio (Nigeria), Ekoi (Nigeria)
Mandingo (Ivory Coast)
Asia
Vogul
Samoyed (north Siberia)
Yenisey-Ostyak (north central Siberia), Kamchadale (northeast Siberia)
Altaic (central Asia),     Tuvinian (Soyot) (north of Mongolia)
Mongolia, Buryat (eastern Siberia)
Sagaiye (eastern Siberia)
Russian
Hindu, Bhil (central India), Kamar (Raipur District, Central India), Assam
Tamil (southern India)
Lepcha (Sikkim), Tibet, Singpho (Assam), Lushai (Assam), Lisu (northwest Yunnan, China), Lolo (southwestern China), Jino (southern Yunnan, China), Karen (Burma), Chingpaw (Upper Burma)
China
Korea
Munda (north-central India), Santal (Bengal), Ho (southwestern Bengal)
Bahnar (Cochin China), Kammu (northern Thailand)
Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal)
Zhuang (China), Sui (southern Guizhou, China), Shan (Burma)
Tsuwo (Formosa interior), Bunun (Formosa interior), Ami (eastern Taiwan)
Benua-Jakun (Malay Peninsula), Kelantan (Malay Peninsula), Ifugao (Philippines), Kiangan Ifugao, Atá (Philippines), Mandaya (Philippines), Tinguian (Luzon, Philippines)
Batak (Sumatra), Nias (an island west of Sumatra), Engano (another island west of Sumatra), Dusun (British North Borneo), Dyak (Borneo), Ot-Danom (Dutch Borneo), Toradja (central Celebes), Alfoor (between Celebes and New Guinea), Rotti (southwest of Timor), Nage (Flores)
Australia
Arnhem Land (northern Northern Territory)
Maung (Goulburn Islands, Arnhem Land), Gunwinggu (northern Arnhem Land)
Gumaidj (Arnhem Land)
Manger (Arnhem Land)
Fitzroy River area (Western Australia)
Australian, Mount Elliot (coastal Queensland), Western Australia, Andingari (South Australia), Wiranggu (South Australia), Narrinyeri (South Australia), Victoria, Lake Tyres (Victoria), Kurnai (Gippsland, Victoria), southeast Australian
Maori (New Zealand)
Pacific Islands
Kabadi (New Guinea), Valman (northern New Guinea), Mamberao River (Irian Jaya), Samo-Kubo (western Papua New Guinea), Papua New Guinea
Palau Islands (Micronesia), western Carolines
New Hebrides, Lifou (one of the Loyalty Islands), Fiji
Samoa, Nanumanga (Tuvalu, South Pacific), Mangaia (Cook Islands), Rakaanga (Cook Islands), Raiatea (Leeward Group, French Polynesia), Tahiti, Hawaii
North America
Innuit, Eskimo (Orowignarak, Alaska), Norton Sound Eskimo, Central Eskimo, Tchiglit Eskimo (Arctic Ocean), Herschel Island Eskimo, Netsilik Eskimo, Greenlander
Tlingit (southern Alaska coast), Hareskin (Alaska), Tinneh (Alaska and south), Loucheux (Dindjie) (Alaska), Dogrib and Slave (Tinneh tribes), Kaska (northern inland British Columbia), Thompson Indians (British Columbia), Sarcee (Alberta), Tsetsaut
Haida (Queen Charlotte Is., British Columbia), Tsimshian (British Columbia)
Kwakiutl (British Columbia)
Kootenay (southeast British Columbia), Squamish (British Columbia), Bella Coola (British Columbia), Lillooet (Green River, British Columbia), Makah (Cape Flattery, Washington), Klallam (northwest Washington), Skokomish (Washington), Skagit (Washington), Quillayute (Washington), Nisqually (Washington), Twana (Puget Sound, Washington), Kathlamet
Cascade Mountains
Spokana, Nez Perce, Cayuse (eastern Washington), Yakima (Washington), Warm Springs (Oregon), Joshua (southern Oregon), Smith River (northern California coast), Wintu (north central California), Maidu (central California), Northern Miwok (central California), Tuleyome Miwok (near Clear Lake, California), Olamentko Miwok (Bodega Bay, California) Ohlone (San Francisco to Monterey, California)
Kato (Mendocino County, California)
Shasta (northern California interior), Pomo (north central California), Salinan (California), Yuma (western Arizona, southern California), Havasupai (lower Colorado River)
Ashochimi (California)
Yurok (north California coast), Blackfoot (Alberta and Montana), Cree (Canada), Timagami Ojibway (Canada), Chippewa (Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin), Ottawa, Menomini (Wisconsin-Michigan border), Cheyenne (Minnesota), Yellowstone, Montagnais (northern Gulf of St. Lawrence), Micmac (eastern Maritime Canada), Algonquin (upper Ottowa River), Lenape (Delaware) (Delaware to New York)
Cherokee (Great Lakes area; eastern Tennessee)
Mandan (North Dakota), Lakota
Choctaw (Mississippi), Natchez (Lower Mississippi)
Chitimacha (Southern Louisiana)
Caddo (Oklahoma, Arkansas), Pawnee (Nebraska)
Navajo (Four Corners area), Jicarilla Apache (northeastern New Mexico)
Sia (northeast Arizona)
Acagchemem (near San Juan Capistrano, California), Luiseño (Southern California), Pima (southwest Arizona), Papago (Arizona), Hopi (northeast Arizona), Zuni (New Mexico)
Central America
Tarascan (northern Michoacan, Mexico), Michoacan (Mexico)
Yaqui (Sonoran, Northern Mexico), Tarahumara (Northern Mexico), Huichol (western Mexico), Cora (east of the Huichols), Tepecano (southeast of the Huichols), Tepehua (eastern Mexico), Toltec (Mexico), Nahua (central Mexico), Tlaxcalan (central Mexico)
Tlapanec (south central Mexico), Mixtec (northern Oaxaca, Mexico), Zapotec (Oaxaca, southern Mexico), Trique (Oaxaca, southern Mexico)
Totonac (eastern Mexico)
Chol (southern Mexico), Tzeltal (Chiapas, southern Mexico), Quiché (Guatemala), Maya (southern Mexico and Guatemala)
Popoluca (Veracruz, Mexico)
Nicaragua, Panama
Carib (Antilles)
South America
Acawai (Orinoco), Arekuna (Guyana), Makiritare (Venezuela), Macusi (British Guyana)
Muysca (Colombia), Yaruro (southern Venezuela)
Yanomamö (southern Venezuela)
Tamanaque (Orinoco), Arawak (Guyana), Pamary, Abedery, and Kataushy (Purus R., Brazil), Ipurina (Upper Amazon)
Jivaro (eastern Ecuador), Shuar (Andes)
Murato (eastern Ecuador)
Cañari (Quito, Ecuador)
Guanca and Chiquito (Peru)
Ancasmarca (near Cuzco, Peru), Canelos Quechua, Quechua, Inca (Peru), Colla (high Andes)
Chiriguano (southeast Bolivia)
Chorote (Eastern Paraguay)
Eastern Brazil (Rio de Janiero region), Eastern Brazil (Cape Frio region), Caraya (Araguaia River, central Brazil), Coroado (south Brazil)
Araucania (coastal Chile)
Toba (northern Argentina)
Selk’nam (southern tip of Argentina)
Yamana (Tierra del Fuego)

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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