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  • At first, in that place, at all times, above the earth
  • On the earth [was] an extended fog, and there the great Manito was.
  • At first forever, lost in space, everywhere, the great Manito was.
  • He made the extended land and the sky.
  • He made the sun, the moon, the stars.
  • He made them all to move evenly.
  • Then the wind blew violently, and it cleared, and the water flowed off far and strong.
  • And groups of islands grew newly, and there remained.
  • Anew spoke the great Manito, a manito to manitos,
  • To beings, mortals, souls and all,
  • And ever after he was a manito to men, and their grandfather…
  • All this took place of old on the earth, beyond the great tidewater, at the first.

  • — from Walam Olum

Walam Olum, or “red record” or “red score” is an account of the origins of the Lenape, a central eastern tribe of Native Americans who settled in and around Delaware and New Jersey. Variously described as the Lenape’s Bible and Aeneid, the work had been overshadowed by questions regarding its authenticity since it was first published in 1983 by botanist and antiquarian Constantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783–1840). Some critics claim the document is an outright hoax. The Walam Olum includes a creation narrative, a flood narrative, and claims the Lenape can trace their history back to at least 1600 B.C.

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