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Origin Stories - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Origin Stories. Origin Stories are stories that we humans tell ourselves about where our species , and oftentimes our cultures, originally came from!

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Origin Stories

  • Origin Stories are stories that we humans tell ourselves about where our species, and oftentimes our cultures, originally came from!
  • The origin story told by BiologicalAnthropologists is called “Evolution,” the scientific theory that living things change over time and that existing species give rise to new species.

Throughout human history, different cultures have told very different stories about where and how their people or “the people” (often referring to their specific culture) originated.



  • There are over 10 million Yoruba-speaking people in Nigeria and over 10 million Yoruba and Yoruba-descended people who have migrated throughout the world—over

30 million Yoruba people in 2008.

  • The term “Yoruba” refers to: 1) a language; 2) an ethnicity; and 3) a culture
  • Millions of Yoruba slaves were captured and held as slaves between 1400-1800 and thus have descendents throughout the Caribbean, South America, and North America.


  • ODUDUWA is the legendary creator of the Yoruba.
  • OLODUMARE is the supreme deity.
  • Before there was life on earth, Olodumare called OBATALA, one of 12 “arch” deities.

Bronze Statue of Ooni of Ife

in full regalia at Ife Museum


Olodumare decided he wanted to create dry land on the waters of the Earth, Ile Aye

  • Olodumare gave Obatalaase (power) to make land:

1) snail filled with earth

2) 5-toed chicken

3) palm nuts


“How do I make the journey?”

  • “Gather all the gold in the sky and take it to OGUN.” Ogun forged a gold chain to link the sky with the earth.

Ogun flung the chain towards Earth & Obatala began to descend, BUT the last rung was still far from waters of earth!

  • Obatala removed the snail shell from pouch & sprinkled earth soil on waters.
  • He dropped 5-toed chicken on land, & it started to scratch & spread dirt across the surface of the waters.

When Obatala saw firm ground, he dropped a palm nut on the land, which sprouted into a palm tree.

  • The palm tree grew to reach the last rung of the gold chain, so Obatala climbed into the palm tree.

Palm Trees in Abeokuta, NI


Then, Obatala started to mold humans from the earth clay, but he became tired and made palm wine from the fruit of the tree and got drunk! So, he accidentally created humans with some abnormalities—like blindness or skin conditions. But he kept drinking until he fell asleep!

  • Olodumare gave the task of finishing Creation to Oduduwa, who told Obatala that it was taboo to drink palm wine again. Obatala then agreed to protect all children and humans born with physical challenges.

Oduduwa then went on to finish creating the human species!

  • Or…(another version) When Obatala woke up, he was embarrassed and apologetic. Olodumare forgave him and then gave him the responsibility of molding the physical bodies of human beings.