Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Gather the Spirit: A Multigenerational Program about Stewardship

Activity 1: Story - Snail Girl, a Navajo Story

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Familiarize yourself with the story.

Description of Activity

Gather the group. Tell them that creation myths are stories from different cultures of how the world and life began. Today Unitarian Universalists believe the world and life gradually evolved through many millions of years. Say:

Years ago, people told each other stories about where the Earth came from and how people, animals and plants came to be. Some of these beautiful stories help us connect with the mysteries of the universe. This story about how Snail Girl brought fresh water is from the Navajo Nation, a Native American culture today located in the Southwestern United States.

Read or tell the story.

Help the group process the story with questions such as these:

  • How could First Woman and the animals live without fresh water?
  • How could we live today without fresh water?
  • What do you think First Woman and the animals in the story would say if they saw the world's waters today?
  • Why was it important to have different kinds of animals help in the creation of the world?
  • How did First Woman reward Snail Girl?
  • How are people rewarded today if they help take care of the world's water?
  • Do you know of anybody in the world today who would like to have Snail Girl come help find fresh, clean water?
  • Can lots of fresh water really grow from a tiny droplet-a seed of water? Why do you think that happens in the story?
  • In the story, the People had a "giving thanks ceremony." What do you think that ceremony was like? Do we ever have a "giving thanks" ceremony? Why?
  • What message do you get from this story?

Affirm that the story shows that people have always needed fresh water to live, yet only about one third of the world's population today has enough fresh, clean water. The other two thirds could all use the help of a Snail Girl.

The story offers additional messages: Animals, and people, have different strengths. Snail Girl was slow, but she kept on going and saved the day. All of us have different strengths we can use to help care for Earth's water resources.

First Woman finds another message. She says the trail of moisture left by Snail Girl "will be a message to everyone that our pure water is precious and we must take care of it."

Tell the group, in your own words:

Global warming is likely to change the Earth's climate in different ways. Some people who now have enough good water may not have enough in the years to come. Some dry places could become wetter. Whatever happens to our climate, every living thing on Earth will still need fresh water to live.