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2 Education
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1 Australia
2 Hawaii
3 New Zealand
1 Australia
1 Dreamtime
2 Rainbow Serpent Creation
1 In the Beginning
3 New Zealand
1 How Maui fished New Zealand, made daylight & discovered fire
1 Australia
1 Dreamtime

This is the story of Dreamtime. It comes from the Aborigines of Australia.

When the earth was new-born, it was plain and without any features or life. Waking time and sleeping time were the same. There were only hollows on the surface of the Earth which, one day, would become waterholes. Around the waterholes were the ingredients of life.
Underneath the crust of the earth were the stars and the sky, the sun and the moon, as well as all the forms of life, all sleeping. The tiniest details of life were present yet dormant: the head feathers of a cockatoo, the thump of a kangaroo's tail, the gleam of an insect's wing.

A time came when time itself split apart, and sleeping time separated from waking time. This moment was called the Dreamtime. At this moment everything started to burst into life.
The sun rose through the surface of the Earth and shone warm rays onto the hollows which became waterholes. Under each waterhole lay an Ancestor, an ancient man or woman who had been asleep through the ages. The sun filled the bodies of each Ancestor with light and life, and the Ancestors began to give birth to children. Their children were all the living things of the world, from the tiniest grub wriggling on a eucalyptus leaf to the broadest-singed eagle soaring in the blue sky.
Rising from the waterholes, the Ancestors stood up with mud falling from their bodies. As the mud slipped away, the sun opened their eyelids and they saw the creatures they had made from their own bodies. Each Ancestor gazed at his creation in pride and wonderment. Each Ancestor sang out with joy: "I am!". One Ancestor sang "I am kangaroo!" Another sang "I am Cockatoo!" The next sang "I am Honey-Ant!" and the next sang "I am Lizard!"

As they sang, naming their own creations, they began to walk. Their footsteps and their music became one, calling all living things into being and weaving them into life with song. The ancestors sang their way all around the world. They sang the rivers to the valleys and the sand into dunes, the trees into leaf and the mountains to rise above the plain. As they walked they left a trail of music.
Then they were exhausted. They had shown all living things how to live, and they returned into the Earth itself to sleep. And, in honour of their Ancestors, the Aborigines still go Walkabout, retracing the steps and singing the songs that tell the story of life.

2 Rainbow Serpent Creation

The Australian Aborigines (Koories) tell of a time, or a place/time out-of-Time, known as Alcheringa - the Dreamtime.

This is where/when the creators and the heros lived, when men could change into animals, and animals could change into men. It was when the land around us was given its shape and the laws and traditions were laid down.

The Dreamtime is still with us, and if we are properly attuned we can take part in the Dreaming.

There are many Dreamtime (Alcheringa) stories, and many more versions of all those stories. What follows is my personal variation on one of the Rainbow Serpent stories.

A long time ago, in the Dreamtime, before there were men or animals, plants or any other thing, there was the Rainbow Serpent which was the mother of us all.

She moved around in the darkness before there was the sun and the moon in the sky, and created mountain ranges, and deep channels where her great body wound its way.

Where she thrashed her tail great rifts appeared, and there were great hollows where her body had lain sleeping.

After a time, the Rainbow Serpent decided that it was time to create life for the world. So at the place called Uluru (Ayers Rock), she gave birth.

She gave birth to the Frog tribe and the Kingfisher tribe. But the Kingfisher people

couldn't see to fly and the Frog people didn't have any water to live in.

The Rainbow serpent told the Kingfisher people what they must do. The Kingfisher flew up into the sky and shot down at the Rainbow Serpent's head, splitting it asunder with his long, sharp beak.

Out of her stomach leaped all the animal tribes of the world, and all the spirit beings.

The sun leaped up into the sky to light the world for the tribes, and the moon jumped up to take his place in the night sky.

The Frog tribe started singing with delight as the blood of the Serpent flowed out of her body and into the channels cut by her travels, and into the deep chasms to become the sea.

The vibrant rainbow-coloured scales of the Serpent flew up into the bright sky to become a flock of rainbow lorikeet tribe, and the image of her colours was left on the sky as the rainbow, the reminder to all the tribes of their common mother.

2 Hawaii
1 Flathead Salish

Creation of the Red and White Races

Among the people of long, long ago, Old Man Coyote was the symbol of good. Mountain Sheep was the symbol of evil.

Old-Man-in-the-Sky created the world. Then he drained all the water off the earth and crowded it into the big salt holes now called the oceans. The land became dry except for the lakes and rivers.

Old Man Coyote often became lonely and went up to the Sky World just to talk. One time he was so unhappy that he was crying. Old- Man-in-the-Sky questioned him.

"Why are you so unhappy that you are crying? Have I not made much land for you to run around on? Are not Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo on the land to keep you company?

"Why do you not like Mountain Sheep? I placed him up in the hilly parts so that you two need not fight. Why do you come up here so often?"

Old Man Coyote sat down and cried more tears. Old-Man-in-the-Sky became cross and began to scold him.

"Foolish Old Man Coyote, you must not drop so much water down upon the land. Have I not worked many days to dry it? Soon you will have it all covered with water again. What is the trouble with you? What more do you want to make you happy?"

"I am very lonely because I have no one to talk to," he replied. "Chief Beaver, Chief Otter, Chief Bear, and Chief Buffalo are busy with their families. They do not have time to visit with me. I want people of my own, so that I may watch over them."

"Then stop this shedding of water," said Old-Man-in-the-Sky. "If you will stop annoying me with your visits, I will make people for you. Take this parfleche. It is a bag made of rawhide. Take it some place in the mountain where there is red earth. Fill it and bring it back up to me."

Old Man Coyote took the bag made of the skin of an animal and travelled many days and nights. At last he came to a mountain where there was much red soil. He was very weary after such a long journey but he managed to fill the parfleche. Then he was sleepy.

"I will lie down to sleep for a while. When I waken, I will run swiftly back to Old-Man-in-the-Sky."

He slept very soundly.

After a while, Mountain Sheep came along. He saw the bag and looked to see what was in it.

"The poor fool has come a long distance to get such a big load of red soil," he said to himself. "I do not know what he wants it for, but I will have fun with him."

Mountain Sheep dumped all of the red soil out upon the mountain. He filled the lower part of the parfleche with white solid, and the upper part with red soil. Then laughing heartily, he ran to his hiding place.

Soon Old Man Coyote woke up. He tied the top of the bag and hurried with it to Old-Man-in-the-Sky. When he arrived with it, the sun was going to sleep. It was so dark that the two of them could hardly see the soil in the parfleche.

Old-Man-in-the-Sky took the dirt and said, "I will make this soil into the forms of two men and two women."

He did not see that half of the soil was red and the other half white. Then he said to Old Man Coyote, "Take these to the dry land below. They are your people. You can talk with them. So do not come up here to trouble me."

Then he finished shaping the two men and two women--in the darkness.

Old Man Coyote put them in the parfleche and carried them down to dry land. In the morning he took them out and put breath into them. He was surprised to see that one pair was red and the other was white.

"Now I know that Mountain Sheep came while I was asleep. I cannot keep these two colors together."

He thought a while. Then he carried the white ones to the land by the big salt hole. The red ones he kept in his own land so that he could visit with them. That is how Indians and white people came to the earth.

1 Diguenos Creation Story

When Tu-chai-pai made the world, the earth was the woman, the sky was the man. The sky came down upon the earth. The world in the beginning was a pure lake covered with tules. Tu-chai-pai and his younger brother, Yo-ko-mat-is, sat together, stooping far over, bowed down by the weight of the sky. The Maker said to his brother, "What am I going to do?"

"I do not know," said Yo-ko-mat-is.

"Let us go a little farther," said the Maker.

So they went a little farther and sat down to rest. "Now what am I going to do?" said Tu-chai-pai.

"I do not know, my brother."

All of this time the Maker knew what he was about to do, but he was asking his brother's help. Then he said, "We-hicht, we-hicht, we-hicht," three times. He took tobacco in his hand. and rubbed it fine and blew upon it three times. Every time he blew, the heavens rose higher above their heads.

Younger brother did the same thing because the Maker asked him to do it. The heavens went higher and higher and so did the sky. Then they did it both together, "We-hicht, we-hicht, we-hicht," and both took tobacco, rubbed it, and puffed hard upon it, sending the sky so high it formed a concave arch.

Then they placed North, South, East, and West. Tu-chai-pai made a line upon the ground.

"Why do you make that line?" asked younger brother.

"I am making the line from East to West and name them so. Now you make a line from North to South."

Yo-ko-mat-is thought very hard. How would he arrange it? Then he drew a crossline from top to bottom. He named the top line North, and the bottom line South. Then he asked, "Why are we doing this?"

The Maker said, "I will tell you. Three or four men are coming from the East, and from the West three or four Indians are coming."

The brother asked, "Do four men come from the North, and two or three men come from the South?"

Tu-chai-pai said, "Yes. Now I am going to make hills and valleys and little hollows of water."

"Why are you making all of these things?"

The Maker explained, "After a while when men come and are walking back and forth in the world, they will need to drink water or they will die." He had already made the ocean, but he needed little water places for the people.

Then he made the forests and said, "After a while men will die of cold unless I make wood for them to burn. What are we going to do now?"

"I do not know," replied younger brother.

"We are going to dig in the ground and find mud to make the first people, the Indians." So he dug in the ground and took mud to make the first men, and after that the first women. He made the men easily, but he had much trouble making women. It took him a long time.

After the Indians, he made the Mexicans and finished all his making. He then called out very loudly, "People, you can never die and you can never get tired, so you can walk all the time." But then he made them sleep at night, to keep them from walking in the darkness. At last he told them that they must travel toward the East, where the sun's light was coming out for the first time.

The Indians then came out and searched for the light, and at last they found light and were exceedingly glad to see the Sun. The Maker called out to his brother, "It's time to make the Moon. You call out and make the Moon to shine, as I have made the Sun. Sometime the Moon will die. When it grows smaller and smaller, men will know it is going to die, and they must run races to try and keep up with the dying moon."

The villagers talked about the matter and they understood their part and that Tu-chai-pai would be watching to see that they did what he wanted them to do. When the Maker completed all of this, he created nothing more. But he was always thinking how to make Earth and Sky better for all the Indians.

 
1 MicMac Creation Story

Native American Lore

This story has been passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial and it explains how Mik'Maq people came into existence in North America. The story tells about the relationship between the Great Spirit Creator and Human Beings and the Environment. It also explains a philosophical view of life which is indigenous to North America. This way of thinking is evident in the Native Languages and Cultures and in the spiritual practices.

The fact that the Mik'Maq peopleís language, culture and spiritualism has survived for centuries is based on the creation story. Respect for their elders has given them wisdom about life and the world around them. The strength of their youth has given them the will to survive. The love and trust of their motherhood has given them a special understanding of everyday life.

Among the Mik'Maq people, the number seven is very meaningful. There are seven districts for distinct areas which encompasses an area of land stretching from the GaspÈ coast of Quebec and includes New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The most powerful spirit medicine is made from seven barks and roots. Seven men, representatives from each distinct area or Grand Council District sit inside a sweat-lodge smoke the pipe and burn the sweet grass. Inside the sweat-lodge, the Mik'Maqs will pour water over seven, fourteen and then twenty-one heated rocks to produce hot steam. A cleansing or purification takes place. A symbolic rebirth takes place and the men give thanks to the Spirit Creator, the Sun and the Earth. They also give thanks the first family, Glooscap, Nogami, Netaoansom, and Neganagonimgoosisgo. Listen to the story.

ONE GISOOLG

Gisoolg is the Great Spirit Creator who is the one who made everything. The work Gisoolg in Mik'Maq means " you have been created ". It also means " the one credited for your existence".

The word does not imply gender. Gisoolg is not a He or a She, it is not important whether the Great Spirit is a He or a She.

The Mik'Maq people do not explain how the Great Spirit came into existence only that Gisoolg is responsible for everything being where it is today. Gisoolg made everything.

TWO NISGAM

Nisgam is the sun which travels in a circle and owes its existence to isoolg. Nisgam is the giver of life. It is also a giver of light and heat.

The Mik'Maq people believe that Nisgam is responsible for the creation of the people on earth. Nisgam is Gisoolgís helper. The power of Nisgam is held with much respect among the Mik'Maq and other aboriginal peoples. Nisgam owes its existence to Gisoolg the Great Spirit Creator.

THREE OOTSITGAMOO

Ootsitgamoo is the earth or area of land upon which the Mik'Maq people walk and share its abundant resources with the animals and plants. In the Mik'Maq language Oetsgitpogooin means "the person or individual who stand upon this surface", or "the one who is given life upon this surface of land". Ootsitgamoo refers to the Mik'Maq world which encompasses all the area where the Mik'Maq people can travel or have travelled upon.

Ootsitgamoo was created by Gisoolg and was placed in the centre of the circular path of Nisgam, the sun. Nisgam was given the responsibility of watching over the Mik'Maq world or Ootsitgamoo. Nisgam shines bright light upon Oositgamoo as it passes around and this brought the days and nights.

FOUR GLOOSCAP

After the Mik'Maq world was created and after the animals, birds and plants were placed on the surface, Gisoolg caused a bolt of lightening to hit the surface of Ootsitgamoo. This bolt of lightning caused the formation of an image of a human body shaped out of sand. It was Glooscap who was first shaped out of the basic element of the Mik'Maq world, sand.

Gisoolg unleashed another bolt of lightening which gave life to Glooscap but yet he could not move. He was stuck to the ground only to watch the world go by and Nisgam travel across the sky everyday. Glooscap watched the animals, the birds and the plants grow and pass around him. He asked Nisgam to give him freedom to move about the Mik'Maq world.

While Glooscap was still unable to move, he was lying on his back. His head was facing the direction of the rising sun, east, Oetjgoabaniag or Oetjibanoog. In Mik'Maq these words mean "where the sun comes up " and "where the summer weather comes from" respectively. His feet were in the direction of the setting sun or Oetgatsenoog. Other Mik'Maq words for the west are Oeloesenoog, "where the sun settles into a hallow" or Etgesnoog "where the cold winds come from". Glooscapís right hand was pointed in the direction of the north or Oatnoog. His left hand was in the direction of the south or Opgoetasnoog. So it was the third big blast of lightening that caused Glooscap to become free and to be able to stand on the surface of the earth.

After Glooscap stood up on his feet, he turned around in a full circle seven times. He then looked toward the sky and gave thanks to Gisoolg for giving him life. He looked down to the earth or the ground and gave thanks to Ootsigamoo for offering its sand for Glooscap's creation. He looked within himself and gave thanks to Nisgam for giving him his soul and spirit.

Glooscap then gave thanks to the four directions east, north, west and south. In all he gave his heartfelt thanks to the seven directions.

Glooscap then travelled to the direction of the setting sun until he came to the ocean. He then went south until the land narrowed and he came to the ocean. He then went south until the land narrowed and he could see two oceans on either side. He again travelled back to where he started from and continued towards the north to the land of ice and snow. Later he came back to the east where he decided to stay. It is where he came into existence. He again watched the animals, the birds and the plants. He watched the water and the sky. Gisoolg taught him to watch and learn about the world. Glooscap watched but he could not disturb the world around him. He finally asked Gisoolg and Nisgam, what was the purpose of his existence. He was told that he would meet someone soon.

FIVE
NOGAMI

One day when Glooscap was travelling in the east he came upon a very old woman. Glooscap asked the old woman how she arrived to the Mik'Maq world. The old woman introduced herself as Nogami. She said to Glooscap, "I am your grandmother". Nogami said that she owes her existence to the rock, the dew and Nisgam, the Sun. She went on to explain that on one chilly morning a rock became covered with dew because it was sitting in a low valley. By midday when the sun was most powerful, the rock got warm and then hot. With the power of Nisgam, the sun, Gisoolg's helper, the rock was given a body of an old woman. This old woman was Nogami, Glooscap's grandmother.

Nogami told Glooscap that she come to the Mik'Maq world as an old woman, already very wise and knowledgeable. She further explained that Glooscap would gain spiritual strength by listening to and having great respect for his grandmother. Glooscap was so glad for his grandmother's arrival to the Mik'Maq world he called upon Abistanooj, a marten swimming in the river, to come ashore. Abistanooj did what Glooscap had asked him to do. Abistanooj came to the shore where Glooscap and Nogami were standing. Glooscap asked Abistanooj to give up his life so that he and his grandmother could live. Abistanooj agreed. Nogami then took Abistanooj and quickly snapped his neck. She placed him on the ground. Glooscap for the first time asked Gisoolg to use his power to give life back to Abistanooj because he did not want to be in disfavour with the animals.

Because of marten's sacrifice, Glooscap referred to all the animals as his brothers and sisters from that point on. Nogami added that the animals will always be in the world to provide food, clothing, tools, and shelter. Abistanooj went back to the river and in his place lay another marten. Glooscap and Abistanooj will become friends and brothers forever.

Nogami cleaned the animal to get it ready for eating. She gathered the still hot sparks for the lightening which hit the ground when Glooscap was given life. She placed dry wood over the coals to make a fire. This fire became the Great Spirit Fire and later go to be known as the Great Council Fire.

The first feast of meat was cooked over the Great Fire, or Ekjibuctou. Glooscap relied on his grandmother for her survival, her knowledge and her wisdom. Since Nogami was old and wise, Glooscap learned to respect her for her knowledge. They learned to respect each other for their continued interdependence and continued existence.

SIX
NETAOANSOM

One day when Glooscap and Nogami were walking along in the woods, they came upon a young man. This young man looked very strong because he was tall and physically big. He had grey coloured eyes. Glooscap asked the young man his name and how he arrived to the Mik'Maq world. The young man introduced himself. He told Glooscap that his name is Netaoansom and that he is Glooscap's sister's son. In other words, his nephew. He told Glooscap that he is physically strong and that they could all live comfortably. Netaoansom could run after moose, deer and caribou and bring them down with his bare hands. He was so strong. Netaoansom said that while the east wind was blowing so hard it caused the waters of the ocean to become rough and foamy. This foam got blown to the shore on the sandy beach and finally rested on the tall grass. This tall grass is sweetgrass. Its fragrance was sweet. The sweetgrass held onto the foam until Nisgam, the Sun, was high in the midday sky. Nisgam gave Netaoansom spiritual and physical strength in a human body. Gisoolg told Glooscap that if he relied on the strength and power of his nephew he would gain strength and understanding of the world around him.

Glooscap was so glad for his nephew's arrival to the Mik'Maq world, he called upon the salmon of the rivers and seas to come to shore and give up their lives. The reason for this is that Glooscap, Netoansom and Nogami did not want to kill all the animals for their survival. So in celebration of his nephew's arrival, they all had a feast of fish. They all gave thanks for their existence. They continued to rely on their brothers and sisters of the woods and waters. They relied on each other for their survival.

SEVEN
NEGANOGONIMGOSSEESGO

While Glooscap was sitting near a fire, Nogam was making clothing out of animal hides and Netaoansom was in the woods getting food. A woman came to the fire and sat beside Glooscap. She put her arms around Glooscap and asked "Are you cold my son?" Glooscap was surprised he stood up and asked the woman who she is and where did she come from. She explained that she was Glooscap's mother. Her name is Neganogonimgooseesgo. Glooscap waited until his grandmother and nephew returned to the fire then he asked his mother to explain how she arrived to the Mik'Maq world.

Neganogonimgooseesgo said that she was a leaf on a tree which fell to the ground. Morning dew formed on the leaf and glistened while the sun, Nisgam, began its journey towards the midday sky. It was at midday when Nisgam gave life and a human form to Glooscap's mother. The spirit and strength of Nisgam entered into Glooscap's mother.

Glooscap's mother said that she brings all the colours of the world to her children. She also brings strength and understanding. Strength to withstand earth's natural forces and understanding of the Mik'Maq world; its animals and her children, the Mik'Maq. She told them that they will need understanding and co-operation so they all can live in peace with one another.

Glooscap was so happy that his mother came into the world and since she came from a leaf, he called upon his nephew to gather nuts, fruits of the plants while Nogami prepared a feast. Glooscap gave thanks to Gisoolg, Nisgam, Ootsitgamoo, Nogami, Netaoansom and Neganogonimgooseesgo. They all had a feast in honour of Glooscap's motherís arrival to the world of Mik'Maqs.

The story goes on to say that Glooscap, the man created from the sand of the earth, continued to live with his family for a very long time. He gained spiritual strength by having respect for each member of the family. He listened to his grandmother' s wisdom. He relied on his nephew' s strength and spiritual power. His mother' s love and understanding gave him dignity and respect. Glooscap' s brothers and sisters of the wood and waters gave him the will and the food to survive. Glooscap now learned that mutual respect of his family and the world around him was a key ingredient for basic survival. Glooscap's task was to pass this knowledge to his fellow Mik'Maq people so that they too could survive in the Mik'Maq world. This is why Glooscap became a central figure in Mik'Maq story telling.

One day when Glooscap was talking to Nogami he told her that soon they would leave his mother and nephew. He told her that they should prepare for that occasion. Nogami began to get all the necessary things ready for a long journey to the North. When everyone was sitting around the Great Fire one evening, Glooscap told his mother and nephew that he and Nogami are going to leave the Mik'Maq world. He said that they will travel in the direction of the North only to return if the Mik'Maq people were in danger. Glooscap told his mother and nephew to look after the Great Fire and never to let it go out.

After the passing of seven winters, "elwigneg daasiboongeg", seven sparks will fly from the fire and when they land on the ground seven people will come to life. Seven more sparks will land on the ground and seven more people will come into existence. From these sparks will form seven women and seven men. They will form seven families. These seven families will disperse into seven different directions from the area of the Great Fire. Glooscap said that once the seven families their place of destination, they will further divide into seven groups.

Each group will have their own area for their subsistence so they would not disturb the other groups. He instructed his mother that the smaller groups would share the earth's abundance of resources which included animals, plants and fellow humans.

Glooscap told his mother that after the passing of seven winters, each of the seven groups would return to the place of the Great Fire. At the place of the fire all the people will dance, sing and drum in celebration of their continued existence in the Mik'Maq world. Glooscap continued by saying that the Great Fire signified the power of the Great Spirit Creator, Gisoolg. It also signified the power and strength of the light and heat of Nisgam, the sun. The Great Fire held the strength of Ootsitgamoo the earth. Finally the fire represented the bolt of lightening which hit the earth from which Glooscap was created. The fire is very sacred to the Mik'Maqs. It is the most powerful spirit on earth.

Glooscap told his mother and nephew that it is important for the Mik'Maq to give honour, respect and thanks to the seven spiritual elements. The fire signifies the first four stages of creation, Gisoolg, Nisgam, Oositgamoo and Glooscap. Fire plays a significant role in the last three stages as it represents the power of the sun, Nisgam.

In honour of Nogamits arrival to the Mik'Maq world, Glooscap instructed his mother that seven, fourteen and twenty-one rocks would have to be heated over the Great Fire. These heated rocks will be placed inside a wigwam covered with hides of moose and caribou or with mud. The door must face the direction of the rising sun. There should be room from seven men to sit comfortably around a pit dug In the centre where up to twenty-one rocks could be placed. Seven alders, seven wild willows and seven beech saplings will be used to make the frame of the lodge. This lodge should be covered with the hides of moose, caribou, deer or mud.

Seven men representing the seven original families will enter into the lodge. They will give thanks and honour to the seven directions, the seven stages of creation and to continue to live in good health. The men will pour water over the rocks causing steam to rise in the lodge to become very hot. The men will begin to sweat up to point that it will become almost unbearable. Only those who believe in the spiritual strength will be able to withstand the heat. Then they will all come out of the lodge full of steam and shining like new born babies. This is the way they will clean their spirits and should honour Nogami's arrival.

In preparation of the sweat, the seven men will not eat any food for seven days. They will only drink the water of golden roots and bees nectar. Before entering the sweat the seven men will burn the sweetgrass. They will honour the seven directions and the seven stages of creation but mostly for Netawansom's arrival to the Mik'Maq world. The sweet grass must be lit from the Great Fire.

Glooscap's mother came into the world from the leaf of a tree, so in honour of her arrival tobacco made from bark and leaves will be smoked. The tobacco will be smoked in pipe made from a branch of a tree and a bowl made from stone.

The pipe will be lit from sweetgrass which was lit from the Great Fire. The tobacco made from bark, leaves and sweetgrass represents Glooscap's grandmother, nephew and mother. The tobacco called "spebaggan" will be smoked and the smoke will be blown in seven directions.

After honouring Nogami's arrival the Mik'Maq shall have a feast or meal. In honour of Netawansom they will eat fish. The fruits and roots of the trees and plants will be eaten to honour Glooscap's mother.

Glooscap's final instruction to his mother told her how to collect and prepare medicine from the barks and roots of seven different kinds of plant. The seven plants together make what is called "ektjimpisun". It will cure mostly every kind of illness in the Mik'Maq world. The ingredients of this medicine are: "wikpe"(alum willow), "waqwonuminokse"(wild black-cherry), "Kastuk"(ground hemlock), and "kowotmonokse"(red spruce). The Mik'Maq people are divided into seven distinct areas which are as follows:

1.Gespegiag
2.Sigenitog
3.Epeggoitg a, Pigtog
4.Gespogoitg
5.Segepenegatig
6.Esgigiag
7.Onamagig

 
1

Hitchiti-Mikasuki Creation Story

(as told by my family elder Jayabutu McClellan)

The ground shakes and the opening to the cave is exposed - the People slowly walk to the opening and look out onto a strange new place - this is the Mother that had been created for them - but the cave represented security - as a child can not resist the calling of birth the People could not resist the calling of the new place. the cave now gave birth to the People - new life stepped onto the breast of Mother - a beautiful new beginning was at hand.

The People were greeted by their many brothers and sisters that the Great Spirit had sent out ahead of them. Grandfather moved in the sky and kept the cycles in harmony and spoke to the People with his movement. Kiyas also moved and kept the cycles at the time of darkness and spoke to the People with his movement. Beyond Kiyas lay the Okiyas lights that were placed in order - all were in proper place and harmony for the telling of cycles and the times of planting, harvest and movement. It was into this place of creation that the Great Spirit delivered the People at the time of their cave birth.

The People could speak to and understand all of the words of their four-legged, one-legged, winged, crawler, and swimming brothers and sisters. By instruction, these brothers taught and guided the People in the ways of the Great Spirit. Each of the brothers was told to take a small family group of the People and to teach and guide them. Some of the brothers found great favor with the Great Spirit and the families of the People were to be called by the name of these favored brothers.

The wind spirit had breathed life into the People and he too was given a family of the People that would be called after his name. After family clan names were given to the People. Each family clan went out and built their village. No one was to take a wife from their own family clan - this was never to happen - nothing good could ever come from that marriage - each young man was to go to another family clan to get a wife - from this marriage good seeds could be planted in fertile place - and the spirit of the child would be a good spirit - the child would be a blessing to both family clans.

Each clan received the gift of their brother who's name they used. Some were known as healers, some as warriors, some as leaders - each with their special gift. For many, many cycles the People lived in the way of harmony - led by those of great wisdom and following the movements of Grandfather, Kiyas and Okiyas.

The ways of war, greed and jealousy were not known. The bones of the ancients rested in peace - their ways were the ways of the beginning and that was the way of harmony and understanding the cycles of life.

Then came a time when the People selected a single leader, and this leader commanded the clans of warriors, and this leader fell in love with the movement and cycles of Grandfather - the leader looked to Grandfather for all answers - the cycles of Kiyas and the placement of Okiyas were used only for the worship of Grandfather - these things were not in harmony with the beginning and slowly pain and suffering came to the People.

 
1 Timucua

When Creator, Yayjaba' created the world, he created first the Spirit of Water and the Spirit of Wind. Then Yajaba' created the large pond and in the middle of the pond he placed the land. Into the waters of the pond he placed the swimmers - those that breathed above the water and those that breathed under the waters. Then Yayjaba' saw that the land was beginning to slide down into the water, so he created the swimmers that would live on the bottom of the waters - there they would always live, feed on the bottom and helping to hold the land steady, to keep it from sliding further into the waters.

Then Yayjaba' opened the Great Cave and brought out all of the two-legged, four-legged, winged, crawlers, and the oriri' (insects). Each moved out onto the land and found a place for their home. Wind and Water roamed over the land, wind bringing cool breeze in the heat of the day, and Water bringing refreshing rain to the face of the land. But as they roamed, Yayjaba' saw that move land was being lost into the water - the swimmers living on the bottom were holding as tight as they could, but they could not stop the land from falling into the waters. It was then that Yayjaba' created the one-legged ones. He said to them "you are my silent ones, you have been given no voice with which to speak, and you have been given but one leg, so that you can stand but can not move. But you are to do wondrous things - you will be the protectors of the land. Where I place you, you are to grab the land and hold it still. When Wind wanders the land, you must hold the land steady so that his breath does not blow the land into the waters, and when Water wanders the land, you must hold the land steady so that his rain does not push the land into the waters. All of you, from the mightiest oak to the smallest flower, to the single blade of grass, you are to hold tight to the land".

"For doing this, the one-legged ones are to be given special gifts - you will amaze all others with your ability to live anywhere, you will find homes in the crevices of rocks, on the face of mountains, in burning sands, fertile land, arid land, you will live in fresh water, and water having salt, some will be given stinging needles, and some will provide food for many - many others will seek your shade, and others will find homes in your arms. Some of you will live but for a single cycle, but will have many children, thus you will continue for ever, and some of you will see more cycles than any other - you will become the true 'ancient ones' of this land. You will also be the beginning of the cycle and the continuation of the cycles. When you fall to the land that you so faithfully held, you will become a part of the land, and your children will take hold where you once stood, and they will draw strength from you, thus you will continue for eve".

"All that have come out of The Cave, and onto the land must show you great respect - they will know that you are the protectors of the land. When they lose that respect, and cast you down before your time, then the breath of Wind will blow the land, and dust will fill the air, and those lacking respect will suffer greatly - Water will roam the land, and to those lacking respect, he will give too much rain, and the land willbe washed away, and the waters will carry away those that lack respect - to others that lack respect, he will withhold his rain giving them none until they dry up and are blown away by the breath of Wind. To any that brings you to destruction, they bring themselves to destruction. You are my silent ones, you have been given no voice with which to speak, and you have been given but one leg, so you can stand but can not move - but you are my protectors of the land".

This is why we can take no one-legged one without first asking for permission, we must explain our need - we must approach with respect and ask forgiveness with respect. To cast down a one-legged one before its time and without respect will bring about our own destruction.

 
1

Tlingit Creation Story

No one knows just how the story of Raven really begins, so each starts from the point where he does know it. Here it was always begun in this way. Raven was first called Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa-yit ("Son of Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa"). When his son was born, Kit-ka'ositiyi-qa tried to instruct him and train him in every way and, after he grew up, told him he would give him strength to make a world. After trying in all sorts of ways, Raven finally succeeded. Then there was no light in this world, but it was told him that far up the Nass was a large house in which some one kept light just for himself.

Raven thought over all kinds of plans for getting this light into the world and finally he hit on a good one. The rich man living there had a daughter, and he thought, "I will make myself very small and drop into the water in the form of a small piece of dirt." The girl swallowed this dirt and became pregnant. When her time was completed, they made a hole for her, as was customary, in which she was to bring forth, and lined it with rich furs of all sorts. But the child did not wish to be born on those fine things. Then its grandfather felt sad and said, "What do you think it would be best to put into that hole? Shall we put in moss?" So they put moss inside and the baby was born on it. Its eyes were very bright and moved around rapidly.

Round bundles of varying shapes and sizes hung about on the walls of the house. When the child became a little larger it crawled around back of the people weeping continually, and as it cried it pointed to the bundles. This lasted many days. Then its grandfather said, "Give my grandchild what he is crying for. Give him that one hanging on the end. That is the bag of stars." So the child played with this, rolling it about on the floor back of the people, until suddenly he let it go up through the smoke hole. It went straight up into the sky and the stars scattered out of it, arranging themselves as you now see them. That was what he went there for.

Some time after this he began crying again, and he cried so much that it was thought he would die . Then his grandfather said, " Untie the next one and give it to him." He played and played with it around behind his mother. After a while he let that go up through the smoke hole also, and there was the big moon.

Now just one thing more remained, the box that held the daylight, and he cried for that. His eyes turned around and showed different colors, and the people began thinking that he must be something other than an ordinary baby. But it always happens that a grandfather loves his grandchild just as he does his own daughter, so the grandfather said, "Untie the last thing and give it to him." His grandfather felt very sad when he gave this to him. When the child had this in his hands, he uttered the raven cry, "Ga," and flew out with it through the smokehole. Then the person from whom he had stolen it said, "That old manuring raven has gotten all of my things."

Journeying on, Raven was told of another place, where a man had everlasting spring of water. This man was named Petrel (Ganu'k). Raven wanted this water because there was none to drink in this world, but Petrel always slept by his spring, and he had a cover over it so as to keep it all to himself. Then Raven came in and said to him, "My brother-in-law, I have just come to see you. How are you?" He told Petrel of all kinds of things that were happening outside, trying to induce him to go out to look at them, but Petrel was too smart for him and refused.

When night came, Raven said, "I am going to sleep with you, brother-in-law." So they went to bed, and toward morning Raven heard Petrel sleeping very soundly. Then he went outside, took some dog manure and put it around Petrel's buttocks. When it was beginning to grow light, he said, "Wake up, wake up, wake up, brother in-law, you have defecated all over your clothes!" Petrel got up, looked at himself, and thought it was true, so he took his blankets and went outside. Then Raven went over to Petrel's spring, took off the cover and began drinking. After he had drunk up almost all of the water, Petrel came in and saw him. Then Raven flew straight up, crying "Ga."

Before he got through the smoke-hole, however, Petrel said,"My spirits up the smoke hole, catch him." So Raven stuck there, and Petrel put pitchwood on the fire under him so as to make a quantity of smoke. Raven was white before that time, but the smoke made him of the color you find him today. Still he did not drop the water. When the smoke-hole spirits let him go, he flew around the nearest point and rubbed himself all over so as to clear off as much of the soot as possible. This happened somewhere about the Nass, and afterwards he started up this way. First he let some water fall from his mouth and made the Nass. By and by he spit more out and made the Stikine. Next he spit out Taku river, then Chilkat, then Alsek, and all the other large rivers. The small drops that came out of his mouth made the small salmon creeks.

After this Raven went on again and came to a large town where were people who had never seen daylight. They were out catching eulachon in the darkness when he came to the bank opposite, and he asked them to take him across but they would not. Then he said to therm, "If you don't come over I will have daylight break on you." But they answered, " Where are you from ? Do you come from far up the Nass where lives the man who has daylight?" At this Raven opened his box just a little and shed so great a light on them that they were nearly thrown down. He shut it quickly, but they quarreled with him so much across the creek that he became angry and opened the box completely, when the sun flew up into the sky. Then those people who had sea-otter or fur-seal skins, or the skins of any other sea animals, went into the ocean, while those who had land-otter, bear, or marten skins, or the skins of any other land animals, went into the woods [becoming the animals whose skins they wore].

Raven came to another place where a crowd of boys were throwing fat at one another. When they hit him with a piece he swallowed it. After a while he took dog's manure and threw at the boys who became scared, ran away, and threw more fat at him. He consumed all in this way, and started on again.

After a while he came to an abandoned camp where lay a piece of jade (s!u) half buried in the ground, on which some design had been pecked. This he dug up. Far out in the bay he saw a large spring salmon jumping about and wanted to get it but did not know how. Then he stuck his stone into the ground and put eagle down upon the head designed thereon. The next time the salmon jumped, he said, "See here, spring salmon jumping out there, do you know what this green stone is saying to you? It is saying, 'You thing with dirty, filthy back, you thing with dirty, filthy gills, come ashore here.'"

Raven suddenly wanted to defecate and started off. Just then the big spring salmon also started to come ashore, so Raven said, "Just wait, my friend, don't come ashore yet for I have some business to attend to." So the salmon went out again. Afterward Raven took a piece of wild celery (ya'naet), and, when the salmon did come ashore, he struck it with this and kihed it. Because Raven made this jade talk to the salmon, people have since made stone axes, picks, and spears out of it.

Then Raven, carrying along the spring salmon, got all kinds of birds, little and big, as his servants. When he came to a good place to cook his fish he said to all of them, "Here, you young fellows, go after skunk cabbage. We will bury this in the ground and roast it." After they had brought it down, however, he said, "I don't want any of that. My wife has defecated all over that, and I will not use it. Go back and pass over two mountains." While they were gone, Raven put all of the salmon except one fat piece cut from around the " navel " which is usually cooked separately, into the skunk cabbage and buried it in the fire. Before they returned, he dug this up and ate it, after which he put the bones back into the fire and covered them up.

When the birds at last came back he said to them, "I have been across two mountains myself. Now it is time to dig it up. Dig it out." Then all crowded around the fire and dug, but, when they got it up, there was nothing there but bones.

By and by the birds dressed one another in different ways so that they might be named from their dress. They tied the hair of the blue jay up high with a string, and they added a long tail to the ts!egeni', another crested bird. Then they named one another. Raven let out the ts!egeni' and told him that when the salmon comes he must call its slime unclean and stay high up until the salmon are all gone.

Now Raven started off with the piece of salmon belly and came to a place where Bear and his wife lived. He entered and said, "My aunt's son, is this you?" The piece of salmon he had buried behind a little point. Then Bear told him to sit down and said, " I will roast some dry salmon for you." So he began to roast it. After it was done, he set a dish close to the fire and slit the back of his hands with a knife so as to let grease run out for Raven to eat on his salmon. After he had fixed the salmon, he cut a piece of flesh out from in front of his thighs and put it into the dish. That is why bears are not fat in that place.

Now Raven wanted to give a dinner to Bear in return, so he, too, took out a piece of fish, roasted it, set out the dish Bear had used, dose to the fire and slit up the back of his hand, thinking that grease would run out of it. But instead nothing but white bubbles came forth. Although he knew he could not do it, he tried in every way.

Then Raven asked Bear, "Do you know of any halibut fishing ground out here?" He said "No." Raven said, "Why! what is the use of staying here by this salt water, if you do not know of any fishing ground? I know a good fishing ground right out here called Just on-the-edge-of-kelp (Gi'ck!icuwanyi'). There are always halibut swimming there, mouth up, ready for the hook."

By and by Raven got the piece of fish he had hidden behind the point and went out to the bank in company with Bear and Cormorant. Cormorant sat in the bow, Bear in the middle, and, because he knew where the fishing ground was, Raven steered. When they arrived Raven stopped the canoe all at once. He said to them, " Do you see that mountain, Was!e'ti-ca? When you sight that mountain, that is where you want to fish." After this Raven began to fill the canoe with halibut. So Bear asked him, "What do you use for bait anyhow, my friend?" Raven answered, "I'll use the skin covering the testicles as bait." The bear asked, "Is it alright to use mine?" But the raven said, " I don't want to do it, for they might be too wasted." Soon the bear was urging it strongly, "Cut them off!" So the Raven, sharpening a short knife, said, "Place them on the seat." Then the Raven cut them off, so that the Bear, crying out, fell from the boat and, dying, spilled into the waves with one last sigh.

After a while Raven said to Cormorant, "There is a louse coming down on the side of your head. Come here. Let me take it off." When he came close to him, he picked it off. Then he said, "Open your mouth so that I can put it on your tongue." When he did open his mouth, however, Raven reached far back and pulled his tongue out. He did this because he did not want Cormorant to tell about what he had done. He told Cormorant to speak, but Cormorant made only a gabbling noise. "That is how young fellows ought to speak," said Raven. Then Raven towed the dead body of the bear behind the point and carried it ashore there. Afterwards he went to Bear's wife and began to take out his halibut. He said to the female bear, "My father's sister, cut out all the stomachs of the halibut and roast them." So she went down on the beach to cut them out. While she was working on the rest of the halibut, he cooked the stomachs and filled them with hot rocks. Then he went down and said to her, "You better come up. I have cooked all those stomachs for you. You better wash your hands, come up, and eat." After that Cormorant came in and tried to tell what had happened but rnade only a gabbling sound. Raven said to the bear, " Do you know what that fellow is talking about? He is saying that there were lots of halibut out where we fished. Every time we tried to get a canoe load they almost turned us over." When she was about to eat he said, " People never chew what I get. They always swallow it whole." Before she began she asked Raven where her husband was, and Raven said, "Somehow or other he caught nothing, so we landed him behind the point. He is cutting alders to make alder hooks. He is sitting there yet."

After the bear had swallowed all of the food she began to feel uneasy in her stomach, and Raven said to Cormorant, "Run outside quickly and get her some water." Then she drank a great quantity of water, and the things in her stomach began to boil harder and harder. Said Raven, "Run out Cormorant." He did so, and Raven ran after him. Then the female bear ran about inside the house grabbing at everything and finally fell dead. Then Raven skinned the female bear, after which he went around the point and did the same thing to the male. While he was busy there Cormorant came near him, but he said, "Keep away, you small Cormorant," and struck him on the buttocks with his hand saying, "Go out and stay on those rocks." Ever since then the cormorants have been there. Raven stayed in that place until he had consumed both of the bears.

Starting on again, Raven came to a place where many people were encamped fishing. They used nothing but fat for bait. He entered a house and askced what they used for bait. They said "Fat." Then he said, "Let me see you put enough on your hooks for bait," and he noticed carefully how they baited and handled their hooks. The next time they went out, he walked off behind a point and went under water to get this bait. Now they got bites and pulled up quickly, but there was nothing on their hooks. This continued for a long time. The next time they went out they felt the thing again, but one man among them who knew just how fish bite, jerked at the right moment and felt that he had caught something. The line went around in the water very fast. They pulled away, however, until they got Raven under the canoe, and he kicked against it very hard. All at once his nose came out, and they pulled it up. When they landed, they took it to the chief's house and said, "We have caught a wonderful thing. It must be the nose of the Gonaqade't." So they took it, put eagle down on it, and hung it up on the wall.

After that, Raven came ashore at the place where he had been in the habit of going down, got a lot of spruce gum and made a new nose out of it. Then he drew a root hat down over his face and went to the town. Beginning at the nearer end he went through the houses saying "I wonder in what house are the people who caught that Gonaqade't's nose." After he had gone halfway, he entered the chief's house and inquired, "Do you know where are the people who caught that Gonaqade't's nose ?" They answered, "There it is on the wall." Then he said, " Bring it here. Let me examine it." So they gave it to him. "This is great," he said, and he put up his hat to examine it. "Why," said he, "this house is dark. You ought to take off the smoke-hole cover. Let some one run up and take it off so that I can see." But, as soon as they removed it, he put the nose in its place, cried "Ga," and flew away. They did not find out who he was.

Going thence, Raven saw a number of deer walking around on the beach, with a great deal of fat hanging out through their noses. As he passed one of these, he said, "Brother, you better blow your nose. Lots of dirt is hanging out of it." When the deer would not do this, Raven came close to him, wiped his nose and threw the fat by his own side. Calling out, "Just for the Raven," he swallowed it.

Now Raven formed a certain plan. He got a small canoe and began paddling along the beach saying, "I wonder who is able to go along with me." Mink came down and said, "How am I?" and Raven said, "What can you do?". Said Mink, "When I go to camp with my friends, I make a bad smell in their noses. That's what I can do." But Raven said, "I guess not. You might make a hole in my canoe," so he went along farther. The various animals and birds would come down and say, "How am I?" but he did not even listen. After some time Deer ran down to him, saying, " How am I?" Then he answered, " Come this way, Axkwa'L!i-i-i, come this way Axkwa'L!i-i-i." He called him Axkwa'L!i-i-i because he never got angry. Finally Raven came ashore and said to Deer, " Don't hurt yourself, Axkwa'L!i-i-i." By and by Raven said " Not very far from here my father has been making a canoe. Let us go there and look at it."

Then Raven brought him to a large valley. He took very many pieces of dried wild celery and laid them across the valley, covering them with moss. Said Raven, Axkwa'L!i-i-i, watch me, Axkwa'L!i-i-i, watch me." Repeating this over and over he went straight across on it, for he is light. Afterwards he said to Deer, "Axkwa'L!i-i-i, now you come and try it. It will not break," and he crossed once more. "You better try it now," he said. "Come on over." Deer did so, but, as he was on the way, he broke through the bridge and smashed his head to pieces at the bottom. Then Raven went down, walked all over him, and said to himself, "I wonder where I better start, at the root of his tail, at the eyes, or at the heart." Finally he began at his anus, skinning as he went along. He ate very fast.

When he started on from this place, he began crying, "Axkwa'L!i-i-i, Axkwa'L!i-i-i," and the fowls asked him, "What has become of your friend, Axkwa'L!i-i-i?"

"Some one has taken him and pounded him on the rocks, and I have been walking around and hopping around since he died."

By and by he came to a certain cliff and saw a door in it swing open. He got behind a point quickly, for he knew that here lived the woman who has charge of the falling and rising of the tide. Far out Raven saw some kelp, and, going out to this, he climbed down on it to the bottom of the sea and gathered up a number of small sea urchins which were lying about there. He brought these ashore and began eating, making a great gulping noise as he did so. Meanwhile the woman inside of the cliff kept mocking him saying, "During what tide did he get those things ?"

While Raven was eating Mink came along, and Raven said, "Come here. Come here."

Then he went on eating. And the woman again said, "On what tide did you get those sea urchins you are making so much noise about?"

"That is not your business," answered Raven. "Keep quiet or I will stick them all over your buttocks." Finally Raven became angry, seized the knife he was cutting up the sea urchins with and slit up the front of the cliff out of which she spoke. Then he ran in, knocked her down and began sticking the spines into her buttocks.

"Stop, Raven, stop," she cried, " the tide will begin to go down."

So he said to his, servant, Mink, "Run outside and see how far down the tide has gone."

Mink ran out and said, "It is just beginning to go down." The next time he came in he said, "The tide is still farther down." The third time he said, "The tide is lower yet. It has uncovered everything on the beach."

Then Raven said to the old woman, "Are you going to let the tide rise and fall again regularly through the months and years?" She answered "Yes."

Because Raven did this while he was making the world, nowadays, when a woman gets old and can not do much more work, there are spots all over her buttocks.

After the tide had gone down very far he and his servant went out. He said to Mink, "The thing that will be your food from now on is the sea urchin. You will live on it." The tide now goes up and down because he treated this woman so.

Now Raven started on from this place crying, "My wife, my wife ! " Coming to some trees, he saw a lot of gum on one of them and said to it, "Why! you are just like me. You are in the same state." For he thought the tree was crying.

After this he got a canoe and began paddling along. By and by Petrel met him in another canoe. So he brought his canoe alongside and said, "Is this you, my brother-in-law? Where are you from?"

He answered, "I am from over there."

Then Raven began to question him about the events in this world, asking him how long ago they happened, etc. He said, "When were you born? How long have you been living?"

And Petrel answered, "I have been living ever since the great liver came up from under the earth. I have been living that long." So said Petrel.

"Why! that is but a few minutes ago," said Raven.

Then Petrel began to get angry and said to Raven, "When were you born ? "

"I was born before this world was known."

" That is just a little while back."

They talked back and forth until they became very angry. Then Petrel pushed Raven's canoe away from him and put on his hat called fog-hat so that Raven could not see where he was. The world was round for him in the fog. At last he shouted, "My brother-in-law, Petrel, you are older than I am. You have lived longer than I."

Petrel also took water from the sea and sprinkled it in the air so that it fell through the fog as very fine rain. Said Raven, "Ayee! Ayee!" He did not like it at all. After Petrel had fooled him for some tirne, he took off Fog-hat and found Raven close beside him, pulling about in all directions. Then Raven said to Petrel, "Brother-in-law, you better let that hat go into this world." So he let it go. That is why we always know, when we see fog coming out of an open space in the woods and going right back again, that there will be good weather.

Leaving this place, Raven came to another where he saw something floating not far from shore, though it never came any nearer. He assembled all kinds of fowl. Toward evening he looked at the object and saw that it resembled fire. So he told a chicken hawk which had a very long bill to fly out to it, saying, "Be very brave. If you get some of that fire, do not let go of it." The chicken hawk reached the place, seized some fire and started back as fast as it could fly, but by the time it got the fire to Raven its bill was burned off. That is why its bill is short. Then Raven took some red cedar, and some white stones called neq! which are found on the beach, and he put fire into them so that it could be found ever afterward all over the world.

After he had finished distributing the fire he started on again and came to a town where there were many people. He saw what looked like a large animal far off on the ocean with fowl all over the top of it. He wondered very much what it was and at last thought of a way of finding out. He said to one of his friends, "Go up and cut a cane for me." Then he carved this cane so as to resemble two tentacles of a devil fish. He said, "No matter how far off a thing is, this cane will always reach it."

Afterward he went to the middle of the town and said, "I am going to give a feast. My mother is dead, and I am going to beat the drums this evening. I want all of the people to come in and see me."

In the evening he assembled all of the people, and they began to beat drums. Then he held the cane in his hands and moved it around horizontally, testing it. He kept saying "Up, up, up" He said, "I have never given any feast for my mother, and it is time I did it, but I have nothing with which to give a feast. Therefore I made this cane, and I am going to give a feast for my mother with this wonderful thing."

Then he got the people all down on the beach and extended his cane toward the mysterious object until it reached it. And he began to draw it in little by little, saying to the people, "Sing stronger all the time." When it struck land, a wave burst it open. It was an everlasting house, containing everything that was to be in the waters of the world. He told the people to carry up fish and they did so. If one had a canoe, he filled it; if he had a box, he filled that; and those that had canoes also boiled eulachon in them. Since then they have known how to boil them. With all of these things Raven gave the feast for his mother.

After this was over he thought up a plot against the killer whales and sent an invitation to them. Then he told each of his people to make a cane that would reach very much above his head. So, when the killer whales came in and inquired, "What do the people use those canes for that extend up over their heads?", he replied, " They stick them down into their heads." They asked him several times, and he replied each time in the same way.

After a while one of the whales said, "Suppose we try it."

Raven was glad to hear that and said, "All right, we will try it with you people, but the people I have invited must not look when I put a cane into anyone's head."

Then he went away and whittled a number of sticks until they were very sharp. After that he laid all of the killer whales on the beach at short distances apart, and again he told them not to look up while hewas showing one how it was done. Then he took a hammer and drove his sticks into the necks of these whales one after the other so that they died. But the last one happened to look up, saw what was being done, and jumped into the ocean.

Now Raven and another person started to boil out the killer whales' grease, and the other man had more than he. So Raven dreamed a dream which infomed him that a lot of people were coming to fight with him, and, when such people really did make their appearance, he told his companion to run out. After he had done so, Raven quickly drank all the latter's grease. By and by, however, the man returned, threw Raven into a grease box, and shut him in, and started to tie it up with a strong rope. Then Raven called out, "My brother, do not tie the box up very strongly. Tie it with a piece of straw such as our forefathers used to use." The man did so, after which he took the box up on a high cliff and kicked it over.

Then Raven, breaking the straw, flew out, crying "Ga." When he got to the other side of the point, he alighted and began wiping himself.

Next he came to a large whale blowing along out at sea, and noticed that every timo it came up, its mouth was wide open. Then Raven took a knife and something with which to make fire. When the whale came up again he flew into its mouth and sat down at the farther end of its stomach. Near the place where he had entered he saw something that looked like an old woman. It was the whale's uvula. When the whale came up, it made a big noise, the uvula went to one side and the herring and other fish it lived on poured right in. Then Raven began eating all these things that the whale had swallowed, and presently, he made a fire to cook the fat of the whale itself that hung inside. Last of all he ate the heart

As soon as he cut this out, the whale threw itself about in the water and soon floated up dead. Raven felt this and said, "I wish it would float up on a good sandy beach." After he had wished this many times, the whale began to drift along, and it finally floated ashore on a long sandy beach.

After a while some young fellows who were always shooting about in this neighborhood with their bows and arrows, heard a voice on the beach say, "I wonder who will make a hole on the top so that he can be my friend."

The boys ran home to the town and reported, We heard a queer noise. Something floated ashore not far from this place, and a person inside said, 'I wish that somebody would make a hole above me so that he can be my friend.'"

Then the people assembled around the whale and heard Raven's words very clearly. They began to cut a hole just over the place these came from and presently they heard some one inside say, "Xone'e." When the hole was large enough, Raven flew straight up out of it until he was lost to sight. And they said to him, "Fly to any place where you would like to go."

After that they cut the whale up and in course of time came to the spot where Raven had lighted his fire to make oil.

Meanwhile Raven flew back of their camp to a large dead tree that had crumbled into fine pieces and began rubbing on it to dry himself. When he thought that the people were through making oil, he dressed himself up well and repaired to the town. There he said to the people, "Was anything heard in that whale?" and one answered, "Yes, a queer noise was heard inside of the whale."

"I wonder what it was," said Raven.

After their food was all prepared Raven said to the people, "Long ago, when a sound was heard inside of a whale, all the people moved out of their town so as not to be killed. All who remained were destroyed. So you better move from this town."

Then all of the people said, "All of us better move from this town rather than be destroyed." So they went off leaving all of their things, and Raven promptly took possession of them.

Raven once went to a certain place outside of here (Sitka) in his canoe. It was calm there, but he began rocking the canoe up and down with his feet until he had made a great many waves. Therefore, there are many waves there now even when it is calm outside, and a canoe going in thither always gets lost.

By and hy Raven came to a sea gull standing at the mouth of a creek and said to it, "What are you sitting in this way for? How do you call your new month?" "Yadaq!o'l," replied the seagull. Raven was questioning him in this way because he saw many her ring out at sea. So he said, "I don't believe at all what you say. Fly out and see if you can bring in a herring." This is why, until the present time, people have differed in their opinions concerning the months and have disputed with one another.

After they had quarreled over it for a long time, the gull became angry, flew out to sea, and brought back a big herring. He lighted near Raven and laid the herring beside him, but, when Raven tried to get it, he gulped it down.

In another direction from the sea gull Raven saw a large heron and went over to it. He said to the heron, "Sea gull is calling you Big-long-legs-always-walking-upon-the beach."

Then, although the heron did not reply, he went back to the sea gull and said, "Do you know what that heron is saying about you? He says that you have a big stomach and get your red eyes by sitting on the beach always looking out on the ocean for some thing to eat."

Then he went back to the heron and said to it, "When I meet a man of my own size, I always kick him just below the stomach. That fellow is talking too much about you. Go over, and I will help you thrash him."

So the heron went over toward the sea gull, and, when he came close to it, Raven said, "Kick him just under his stomach." He did so, and the big herring came out. Then Raven swallowed it quickly saying, "Just for the Raven."

Going on again, Raven came to a canoe in which were some people lying asleep along with a big salmon which he took away. When the people awoke, they saw the trail where he had dragged it off, and they followed him. They found him Iying asleep by the fire after having eaten the salmon. Seeing his gizzard hanging out at his buttocks, they twisted it off, ran home with it and used it as a shinny ball; this is why no human being now has a gizzard.

The people knew it was Raven's gizzard, so they liked to show it about, and they knocked it around so much that it grew large by the accumulation of sand. But Raven did not like losing his gizzard. He was cold without it and had to get close to the fire. When he came to the place where they were playing with it, he said, "Let it come this way." No sooner had they gotten it near him, however, than they knocked it away again. After a while it reached him, and he seized it and ran off, with all the boys after him. As he ran he washed it in water and tried to fit it back in place. It was too hot from much knocking about, and he had to remove it again. He washed it again but did not get all of the sand off. That is why the raven's gizzard is big and looks as if it had not been washed.

Next Raven came to a town where lived a man called Fog-on-the-Salmon. He wanted to marry this man's daughter because he always had plenty of salmon. He had charge of that place. So he married her, and they dried quantities of salmon, after which they filled many animal stomachs with salmon eggs. Then he loaded his canoe and started home. He put all of the fish eggs into the bow. On the way it became stormy, and they could not make much headway, so he became tired and threw his paddles into the bow, exclaiming to his wife, "Now you paddle!"

Then the salmon eggs shouted out, "It is very hard to be in stomachs. Hand the paddles here and let me pull." So the salmon eggs did, and, when they reached home, Raven took all of them and dumped them over board. But the dried salmon he carried up. That is why people now use dried salmon and do not care much for salmon eggs.

Journeying on, Raven came to a seal sitting on the edge of a rock, and he wanted to get it, but the seal jumped into the ocean. Then he said, "Yak!oct!a'l!," because he was so sorry about it. Farther on he came to a town and went behind it to watch. After a while a man came out, took a little club from a certain place where he kept it in concealment, and said to it, "My little club, do you see that seal out there? Go and get it." So it went out and brought the little seal ashore. The club was hanging to its neck. Then the man took it up and said, "My little club, you have done well," after which he put it back in its place and returned to the town. Raven saw where it was kept, but first he went to the town and spoke kindly to the owner of it.

In the night, however, when every one was asleep, he went back to the club, carried it behind a point and said to it, "See here, my little club, you see that seal out in the water. Go and get it." But the club would not go because it did not know him. After he had tried to get it to go for some time, he became angry and said to it, "Little club, don't you see that seal out there?" He kept striking it against a rock until he broke it in pieces.

Coming to a large bay, Raven talked to it in order to make it into Nass (i. e., he wanted to make it just like the Nass), but, when the tide was out great numbers of dams on the flats made so much noise shooting up at him that his voice was drowned, and he could not succced. He tried to put all kinds of berries there but in vain. After many attempts, he gave it up and went away saying, "I tried to make you into Nass, but you would not let me. So you can be called Skana'x" (the name of a place to the southward of Sitka).

Two brothers started to cross the Stikine river, but Raven saw them and said, "Be stones there." So they became stones.

Starting on, he came to the ground-hog people on the mainland. His mother had died some time before this, and, as he had no provisions with which to give a feast, he came to the ground hogs to get some. The ground-hog people know when slides descend from the mountains, and they know that spring is then near at hand, so they throw all of their winter food out of their burrows. Raven wanted them to do this, so he said, "There is going to be a world snow slide." But the ground-hog chief answered, " Well! nobody in this town knows about it."

Toward spring, however, the slide really took place, and the ground hogs then threw all of their green herbs, roots, etc., outside to him.

After this he said to the people, "Make ear pendants because I am going to invite the whole world." He was going to invite everyone because he had heard that the GonaqAde't had a Chilkat blanket and a hat, and he wanted to see them. First he invited the Gonaqade't and afterwards the other chiefs of all the tribes in the world. At the appointed time they began to come in. When the Gonaqade't came in he had on his hat with many crowns and his blanket but was surrounded by a fog. Inside of the house, however, he appeared in his true fom. It is from this feast of Raven's that people now like to attend feasts. It is also from this that, when a man is going to have a feast, he has a many-crowned hat carved on top of the dead man's grave post.

Raven made a woman under the earth to have charge of the rise and fall of the tides. One time he wanted to learn about everything under the ocean and had this woman raise the water so that he could go there. He had it rise very slowly so that the people had time to load their canoes and get into them. When the tide had lifted them up between the mountains they could see bears and other wild animals walking around on the still unsubmerged tops. Many of the bears swam out to them, and at that time those who had their dogs had good protection. Some people walled the tops of the mountains about and tied their canoes inside. They could not take much wood up with them. Sometimes hunters see the rocks they piled up there, and at such times it begins to grow foggy. That was a very dangerous time. The people who survived could see trees swept up roots and all by the rush of waters and large devilfish and other creatures were carried up by it.

When the tide began to fall, all the people followed it down, but the trees were gone and they had nothing to use as firewood, so they were destroyed by the cold. When Raven came back from under the earth, if he saw a fish left on top of a mountain or in a creek, he said, "Stay right there and become a stone." So it became a stone. If he saw any person coming down, he would say, "Turn to a stone just where you are," and it did so.

After that the sea went down so far that it was dry everywhere. Then Raven went about picking up the smallest fish, as bull heads and tom cod, which he strung on a stick, while a friend who was with him at this time, named Cak!a'ku, took large creatures like whales. With the grease he boiled out, Cak!a'ku filled an entire house, while Raven filled only a small bladder.

Raven stayed with Cak!a'ku and one night had a dream. He said to his friend, "I dreamed that a great enemy came and attacked us." Then he had all the fowls assemble and come to fight, so that his dream might be fulfilled. As soon as Raven had told his dream, Cak!a'ku went down and saw the birds. Then Raven went into the house and began drinking up his grease. But the man came back, saw what Raven was doing, and threw him into a grease box, which he started to tie up with a strong rope. Raven, however, called out, "My brother, do not tie me up with a strong rope, but take a straw such as our forefathers used to empIoy." He did so. Then Raven drank up all the grease in the box, and, when the man took him up on a high cliff and kicked him off, he came out easily and flew away crying "Ga."

One time Raven assembled all the birds in preparation for a feast and had the bears in the rear of his house as guests. All the birds had canes and helped him sing. As he sang along Raven would say quietly, "Do you think one of you could fly into the anus of a bear?" Then he would start another song and end it by saying in much the same language, "One of you ought to fly up into that hole." He kept taunting the birds with their inability to do this, so, when the bears started out, the wren (wu'naxwu'ckaq, "bird-that can-go-through-a-hole") flew up into the anus of one of them and came out with his intestines. Before it had pulled them far out the bear fell dead. Then Raven chased all of the small birds away, sat down, and began eating. Raven never got full because he had eaten the black spots off of his own toes. He learned about this after having inquired everywhere for some way of bringing such a state about. Then he wandered through all the world in search of things to eat.

After all the human beings had been destroyed Raven made new ones out of leaves. Because he made this new generation, people know that he must have changed all of the first people who had survived the flood into stones. Since human beings were made from leaves, people always die off rapidly in the fall of the year when flowers and leaves are falling.

At the time when he made this world, Raven made a devilfish digging-stick and went around to all created things saying, "Are you going to hurt human beings ? Say now either yes or no." Those that said "No" he passed by; those that said "Yes" he rooted up. He said to the people, "When the tide goes out, your food will be there. When the tide comes in, your food will be in the woods," indicating bear and other forest animals.

In Raven's time the butts of ferns were already cooked, but, after some women had brought several of these in, Raven broke a stick over the fern roots. Therefore they became green like this stick. He also broke the roots up into many layers one above another.

Devilfish were very fat then, and the people used to make grease out of them, but, when Raven came to a place where they were making he said, "Give me a piece of that hard thing." That is why its fatness left it.

One time Raven invited all the tribes of little people and laid down bear skins for them to sit on. After they had come in and reached the bear skins, they shouted to one another, "Here is a swampy, open space." That was the name they gave to those places on the skins from which the hair had fallen out. By and by Raven seized the bear skins and shook them over the fire, when all the little people flew into the eyes of the human beings. He said, "You shall be pupils in people's eyes," and ever since human beings have had them.

Now he went on from this place and camped by himself. There he saw a large sculpin trying to get ashore below him, and he said to it, "My uncle's son, come ashore here. Come way up. One time, when you and I were going along in our uncle's canoe we fell into the water. So come up a little farther."

Raven was very hungry, and, when the sculpin came ashore, he seized it by its big, broad tail intending to eat it. But it slipped through his fingers. This happened many times, and each time the sculpin's tail became smaller. That is why it is so slender today. Then Raven said to it, From now on, you shall be named 'sculpin.'"

Raven had a blanket which kept blowing out from him, so he threw it into the water and let it float away. Then he obtained a wife, and, as he was traveling along with her, he said, "There is going to be a great southwest wind. We better stop here for a little, wife. I expect my blanket ashore here." After a while it came in. Then his wife said to him, "Take your blanket ashore and throw it on some branches.

He did so and it became Rebis bracteosum. When they went on farther the sea became so rough that his wife was frightened and told him to put ashore some of the fat with which his canoe was loaded. He did this, but was so angry with his wife for having asked him, that he said to her, "You better put ashore your sewing basket," and so she did.

Then he left his wife and went along by himself. He assembled very many young birds, and, when he camped told them to go after cat!k!, the term he at that time applied to drinking water.

Afterwards he came to a certain place and started to make a salmon creek. He said, "This woman shall be at the head of this creek." The woman he spoke of had long teats, so he called her Woman-with long-teats-floating-around, saying, "When the salmon come to the creeks, they shall all go up to see her." That is why salmon run up thc creeks.

After this he went into the woods and set out to make the porcupine. For quills he took pieces of yellow cedar bark, which he set all the way up and down its back so that bears would be afraid of it. This is why bears never eat porcupines. He said to the porcupine, "Whenever anyone comes near you, throw your tail about." This is why people are afraid of it when it does so.

Now Raven went off to a certain place and made the west wind, naming it Q!axo'. He said to it, "You shall be my son's daughter. No matter how hard you blow you shall hurt nobody.

He took up a piece of red salmon and said to it, "If anyone is not strong enough to paddle home he shall take up this fish and blow behind him."

Raven is a grandchild of the mouse . That is why a mouse can never get enough to eat.

Raven also made the south wind (sa'naxet). When the south wind climbs on top of a rock it never ceases to blow.

He made the north wind (xun), and on top of a mountain he made a house for it with something like ice hanging down on the sides. Then he went in and said to it, "Your buttocks are white." This is wy the mountains are white with snow.

He made all the different races, as the Haida and the Tsimshian. They are human beings like the Thingit, but he made their languages different.

He also made the dog. It was at first a human being and did every thing Raven wanted done, but he was too quick with everything, so Raven took him by the neck and pushed him down, saying, "You are nothing but a dog. You shall have four legs."

One time Raven came to a certain thing called fat-on-the-sea, which stuck out of the ocean. He kept saying to it, "Get down a little," so it kept going under the surface. But every time it came up he took his paddle and cut part off. It did this seven times, but, when he spoke to it the eighth time, it went down out of sight, and he never saw it again.

As he was traveling along in another place, a wild celery came out, became angry with Raven, and said, "You are always wandering around for things to eat." Then he named it wild celery (ya'naet) and said to it, "You shall stay there, and people shall eat you.

Once he passed a large tree and saw something up in it called Caxda'q . Raven called out "Caxda'q," and it shouted back, "You Raven." They called back and forth to each other for some time.

 
1

The Tohono O'odham Creation Story
In the Tonoho O'odham creation story, the reproductive powers of the universe give birth to the Papagueria and the world thanks to I'itoi, the god who lives in Waw kiwalik, or Baboquivari Peak. This version is a close adaptation of one Bernard L. Fontana recorded in his book Of Earth and Little Rain.

Long ago, they say, when the earth was not yet finished, darkness lay upon the water and they rubbed each other. The sound they made was like the sound at the edge of a pond.

There, on the water, in the darkness, in the noise, and in a very strong wind, a child was born. One day he got up and found something stuck to him. It was algae. So he took some of the algae and from it made the termites. The termites gathered a lot of algae and First Born tried to decide how to make a seat so the wind could not blow it anywhere. This is the song he sang:

Earth Medicine Man finished the earth.
Come near and see it and do something to it.
He made it round.
Come near and see it and do something to it.
In this way, First Born finished the earth. Then he made all animal life and plant life.

There was neither sun nor moon then, and it was always dark. The living things didn't like the darkness, so they got together and told First Born to make something so that the earth would have light. Then the people would be able to see each other and live contentedly with each other.

So First Born said, "All right. You name what will come up in the sky to give you light."

They discussed it thoroughly and finally agreed that it would be named "sun".

Next First Born made the moon and stars, and the paths that they always follow. He said, "There will be plenty of prickly pears and the people will always be happy."

That's the way First Born prepared the earth for us. Then he went away.

Then the sky came down and met the earth, and the first one to come forth was I'itoi, our Elder Brother.

The sky met the earth again, and Coyote came forth.

The sky met the earth again, and Buzzard came forth.

Elder Brother, Earth Magician, and Coyote began their work of creation, each creating things different from the other. Elder Brother created people out of clay and gave then the "crimson evening," which is regarded by the Tohono O'odham as one of the most beautiful sights in the region. The sunset light is reflected on the mountains with a peculiar radiance.

Elder Brother told the Tohono O'odham to remain where they were in that land which is the center of all things.

And there the desert people have always lived. They are living there this very day. And from his home among the towering cliffs and crags of Baboquivari, the lonely, cloud-veiled peak, their Elder Brother, I'itoi, spirit of goodness, who must dwell in the center of all things, watches over them.

 
1 Acoma-Laguna

Origin of Summer and Winter

The Acoma chief had a daughter named Co-chin-ne-na-ko, called Co- chin for short, who was the wife of Shakok, the Spirit of Winter. After he came to live with the Acomas, the seasons grew colder and colder. Snow and ice stayed longer each year. Corn no longer matured. The people soon had to live on cactus leaves and other wild plants.

One day Co-chin went out to gather cactus leaves and burn off the thorns so she could carry them home for food. She was eating a singed leaf when she saw a young man coming toward her. He wore a yellow shirt woven of corn silk, a belt, and a tall pointed hat; green leggings made of green moss that grows near springs and ponds; and moccasins beautifully embroidered with flowers and butterflies.

In his hand he carried an ear of green corn with which he saluted her. She returned the salute with her cactus leaf. He asked, "What are you eating?" She told him, "Our people are starving because no corn will grow, and we are compelled to live on these cactus leaves."

"Here, eat this ear of corn, and I will go bring you an armful for you to take home with you," said the young man. He left and quickly disappeared from sight, going south. In a very short time, however, he returned, bringing a large bundle of green corn that he laid at her feet.

"Where did you find so much corn?" Co-chin asked.

"I brought it from my home far to the south," he replied. "There the corn grows abundantly and flowers bloom all year."

"Oh, how I would like to see your lovely country. Will you take me with you to your home?" she asked.

"Your husband, Shakok, the Spirit of Winter, would be angry if I should take you away," he said.

"But I do not love him, he is so cold. Ever since he came to our village, no corn has grown, no flowers have bloomed. The people are compelled to live on these prickly pear leaves," she said.

"Well," he said. "Take this bundle of corn with you and do not throw away the husks outside of your door. Then come tomorrow and I will bring you more. I will meet you here." He said good-bye and left for his home in the south.

Co-chin started home with the bundle of corn and met her sisters, who had come out to look for her. They were very surprised to see the corn instead of cactus leaves. Co-chin told them how the young man had brought her the corn from his home in the south. They helped her carry it home.

When they arrived, their father and mother were wonderfully surprised with the corn. Co-chin minutely described in detail the young man and where he was from. She would go back the next day to get more corn from him, as he asked her to meet him there, and he would accompany her home.

"It is Miochin," said her father. "It is Miochin," said her mother. "Bring him home with you."

The next day, Co-chin-ne-na-ko went to the place and met Miochin, for he really was Miochin, the Spirit of Summer. He was waiting for her and had brought big bundles of corn.

Between them they carried the corn to the Acoma village. There was enough to feed all of the people. Miochin was welcome at the home of the Chief. In the evening, as was his custom, Shakok, the Spirit of Winter and Co-chin's husband, returned from the north. All day he had been playing with the north wind, snow, sleet, and hail.

Upon reaching the Acoma village, he knew Miochin must be there and called out to him, "Ha, Miochin, are you here?" Miochin came out to meet him. "Ha, Miochin, now I will destroy you."

"Ha, Shakok, I will destroy you," replied Miochin, advancing toward him, melting the snow and hail and turning the fierce wind into a summer breeze. The icicles dropped off and Shakok's clothing was revealed to be made of dry, bleached rushes.

Shakok said, "I will not fight you now, but will meet you here in four days and fight you till one of us is beaten. The victor will win Co-chin-ne-na-ko."

Shakok left in a rage, as the wind roared and shook the walls of White City. But the people were warm in their houses because Miochin was there. The next day he left for his own home in the south to make preparations to meet shakok in combat.

First he sent an eagle to his friend Yat-Moot, who lived in the west, asking him to come help him in his fight with Shakok. Second, he called all the birds, insects, and four-legged animals that live in summer lands to help him. The bat was his advance guard and shield, as his tough skin could best withstand the sleet and hail that Shakok would throw at him.

On the third day Yat-Moot kindled his fires, heating the thin, flat stones he was named after. Big black clouds of smoke rolled up from the south and covered the sky.

Shakok was in the north and called to him all the winter birds and four-legged animals of winter lands to come and help him. The magpie was his shield and advance guard.

On the fourth morning, the two enemies could be seen rapidly approaching the Acoma village. In the north, black storm clouds of winter with snow, sleet, and hail brought Shakok to the battle. In the south, Yat-Moot piled more wood on his fires and great puffs of steam and smoke arose and formed massive clouds. They were bringing Miochin, the Spirit of Summer, to the battlefront. All of his animals were blackened from the smoke. Forked blazes of lightning shot forth from the clouds.

At last the combatants reached White City. Flashes from the clouds singed the hair and feathers of Shakok's animals and birds. Shakok and Miochin were now close together. Shakok threw snow, sleet, and hail that hissed through the air of a blinding storm. Yat-Moot's fires and smoke melted Shakok's weapons, and he was forced to fall back. Finally he called a truce. Miochin agreed, and the winds stopped, and snow and rain ceased falling.

They met at the White Wall of Acoma. Shakok said, "I am defeated, you Miochin are the winner. Co-chin-ne-na-ko is now yours forever." Then the men each agreed to rule one-half of the year, Shakok for winter and Miochin for summer, and that neither would trouble the other thereafter. That is why we have a cold season for one-half of the year, and a warm season for the other.

 
1 Cheyenne

Origin of the Buffalo

Long ago, a tribe of Cheyenne hunters lived at the head of a rushing stream, which eventually emptied into a large cave.

Because of the great need for a new food supply for his people, the Chief called a council meeting.

"We should explore the large cave," he told his people. "How many brave hunters will offer to go on this venture? Of course, it may be very dangerous, but we have brave hunters." No one responded to the Chief's request.

Finally, one young brave painted himself for hunting and stepped forth, replying to the Chief, "I will go and sacrifice myself for our people."

He arrived at the cave, and to his surprise, First Brave found two other Cheyenne hunters near the opening, where the stream rushed underground.

"Are they here to taunt me," First Brave wondered? "Will they only pretend to jump when I do?"

But the other two braves assured him they would go.

"No, you are mistaken about us. We really do want to enter the cave with you," they said.

First Brave then joined hands with them and together they jumped into the huge opening of the cave. Because of the darkness, it took some time for their eyes to adjust. They then discovered what looked like a door. First Brave knocked, but there was no response. He knocked again, louder.

"What do you want, my brave ones?" asked an old Indian grandmother as she opened her door.

"Grandmother, we are searching for a new food supply for our tribe," First Brave replied. "Our people never seem to have enough food to eat."

"Are you hungry now?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, kind Grandmother, we are very hungry," all three braves answered.

The old grandmother opened her door wide, inviting the young braves to enter.

"Look out there!" she pointed for them to look through her window.

A beautiful wide prairie stretched before their eyes. Great herds of buffalo were grazing contentedly. The young hunters could hardly believe what they saw!

The old grandmother brought each of them a stone pan full of buffalo meat. How good it tasted, as they ate and ate until they were filled. To their surprise, more buffalo meat remained in their stone pans!

"I want you to take your stone pans of buffalo meat back to your people at your camp," said the old grandmother. "Tell them that soon I will send some live buffalo."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, kind Grandmother," said the three young Cheyenne braves.

When the young hunters returned to their tribe with the gifts of buffalo meat, their people rejoiced over the new, good food. Their entire tribe ate heartily from the old grandmother's three magic pans, and were grateful.

When the Cheyennes waked at dawn the next day, herds of buffalo had mysteriously appeared, surrounding their village! They were truly thankful to the old Indian grandmother and to the Sky Spirits for their good fortune.

 
1 Blackfoot

Origin of the Buffalo Dance

Traditional Blackfoot story of How the Buffalo Dance was given to the people.
When the buffalo first came to be upon the land, they were not friendly to the people. When the hunters tried to coax them over the cliffs for the good of the villages, they were reluctant to offer themselves up. They did not relish being turned into blankets and dried flesh for winter rations. They did not want their hooves and horn to become tools and utinsels nor did they welcome their sinew being used for sewing. "No, no," they said. We won't fall into your traps. And we will not fall for your tricks." So when the hunters guided them towards the abyss, they would always turn aside at the very last moment. With this lack of cooperation, it seemed the villagers would be hungry and cold and ragged all winter long.

Now one of the hunters' had a daughter who was very proud of her father's skill with the bow. During the fullness of summer, he always brought her the best of hides to dress, and she in turn would work the deerskins into the softest, whitest of garments for him to wear. Her own dresses were like the down of a snow goose, and the moccasins she made for the children and the grandmothers in the village were the most welcome of gifts.

But now with the hint of snow on the wind, and deer becoming more scarce in the willow breaks, she could see this reluctance on the part of the buffalo families could become a real problem.

Hunter's Daughter decided she would do something about it.

She went to the base of the cliff and looked up. She began to sing in a low, soft voice, "Oh, buffalo family, come down and visit me. If you come down and feed my relatives in a wedding feast, I will join your family as the bride of your strongest warrior."

She stopped and listened. She thought she heard the slight rumbling sound of thunder in the distance.

Again she sang, "Oh, buffalo family, come down and visit me. Feed my family in a wedding feast so that I may be a bride."

The thunder was much louder now. Suddenly the buffalo family began falling from the sky at her feet.

One very large bull landed on top of the others, and walked across the backs of his relatives to stand before Hunter's Daughter.

"I am here to claim you as my bride," said Large Buffalo.

"Oh, but now I am afraid to go with you," said Hunter's Daughter.

"Ah, but you must," said Large Buffalo, "For my people have come to provide your people with a wedding feast. As you can see, they have offered themselves up."

"Yes, but I must run and tell my relatives the good news," said Hunter's Daughter. "No," said Large Buffalo. No word need be sent. You are not getting away so easily."

And with that said, Large Buffalo lifted her between his horns and carried her off to his village in the rolling grass hills.

The next morning the whole village was out looking for Hunter's Daughter. When they found the mound of buffalo below the cliff, the father, who was in fact a fine tracker as well as a skilled hunter, looked at his daughter's footprints in the dust.

"She's gone off with a buffalo, he said. I shall follow them and bring her back."

So Hunter walked out upon the plains, with only his bow and arrows as companions. He walked and walked a great distance until he was so tired that he had to sit down to rest beside a buffalo wallow.

Along came Magpie and sat down beside him.

Hunter spoke to Magpie in a respectful tone, "O knowledgeable bird, has my daughter been stolen from me by a buffalo? Have you seen them? Can you tell me where they have gone?"

Magpie replied with understanding, "Yes, I have seen them pass this way. They are resting just over this hill."

"Well," said Hunter, would you kindly take my daughter a message for me? Will you tell her I am here just over the hill?"

So Magpie flew to where Large Buffalo lay asleep amidst his relatives in the dry prairie grass. He hopped over to where Hunter's Daughter was quilling moccasins, as she sat dutifully beside her sleeping husband. "Your father is waiting for you on the other side of the hill," whispered Magpie to the maiden.

"Oh, this is very dangerous," she told him. These buffalo are not friendly to us and they might try to hurt my father if he should come this way. Please tell him to wait for me and I will try to slip away to see him."

Just then her husband, Large Buffalo, awoke and took off his horn. "Go bring me a drink from the wallow just over this hill," said her husband.

So she took the horn in her hand and walked very casually over the hill.

Her father motioned silently for her to come with him, as he bent into a low crouch in the grass. "No," she whispered. The buffalo are angry with our people who have killed their people. They will run after us and trample us into the dirt. I will go back and see what I can do to soothe their feelings."

And so Hunter's daughter took the horn of water back to her husband who gave a loud snort when he took a drink. The snort turned into a bellow and all of the buffalo got up in alarm. They all put their tails in the air and danced a buffalo dance over the hill, trampling the poor man to pieces who was still waiting for his daughter near the buffalo wallow.

His daughter sat down on the edge of the wallow and broke into tears.

"Why are you crying?" said her buffalo husband.

"You have killed my father and I am a prisoner, besides," she sobbed.

"Well, what of my people?" her husband replied. We have given our children, our parents and some of our wives up to your relatives in exchange for your presence among us. A deal is a deal."

But after some consideration of her feelings, Large Buffalo knelt down beside her and said to her, "If you can bring your father back to life again, we will let him take you back home to your people."

So Hunter's Daughter started to sing a little song. "Magpie, Magpie help me find some piece of my father which I can mend back whole again."

Magpie appeared and sat down in front of her with his head cocked to the side.

"Magpie, Magpie, please see what you can find," she sang softly to the wind which bent the grasses slightly apart. Magpie cocked his head to the side and looked carefully within the layered folds of the grasses as the wind sighed again. Quickly he picked out a piece of her father that had been hidden there, a little bit of bone.

"That will be enough to do the trick," said Hunter's Daughter, as she put the bone on the ground and covered it with her blanket.

And then she started to sing a reviving song that had the power to bring injured people back to the land of the living. Quietly she sang the song that her grandmother had taught her. After a few melodious passages, there was a lump under the blanket. She and Magpie looked under the blanket and could see a man, but the man was not breathing. He lay cold as stone. So Hunter's Daughter continued to sing, a little softer, and a little softer, so as not to startle her father as he began to move. When he stood up, alive and strong, the buffalo people were amazed. They said to Hunter's Daughter, "Will you sing this song for us after every hunt? We will teach your people the buffalo dance, so that whenever you dance before the hunt, you will be assured a good result. Then you will sing this song for us, and we will all come back to live again."

Origin of the Sweat Lodge

The Piegan tribe was southernmost at the headwaters of the Missouri River in Montana, a subtribe belonging to the Siksika Indians of North Saskatchewan in Canada. Piegans were of the Algonquian linguistic family, but warlike toward most of their neighbouring tribes, since they had horses for raiding and were supplied with guns and ammunition by their Canadian sources. Piegans also displayed hostility toward explorers and traders. Several smallpox epidemics decimated their population. Now they are gathered on reservations on both sides of the border.

A girl of great beauty, the Chief's daughter, was worshipped by many young handsome men of the Piegan tribe. But she would not have any one of them for her husband.

One young tribesman was very poor and his face was marked with an ugly scar. Although he saw rich and handsome men of his tribe rejected by the Chief's daughter, he decided to find out if she would have him for her husband. When she laughed at him for even asking, he ran away toward the south in shame.

After travelling several days, he dropped to the ground, weary and hungry, and fell asleep. From the heavens, Morning-Star looked down and pitied the young unfortunate youth, knowing his trouble.

To Sun and Moon, his parents, Morning-Star said, "There is a poor young man lying on the ground with no one to help him. I want to go after him for a companion."

"Go and get him," said his parents.

Morning-Star carried the young man, Scarface, into the sky. Sun said, "Do not bring him into my lodge yet, for he smells ill. Build four sweat lodges."

When this was done, Sun led Scarface into the first sweat lodge. He asked Morning-Star to bring a hot coal on a forked stick. Sun then broke off a bit of sweet grass and placed it upon the hot coal. As the incense arose Sun began to sing, "Old Man is coming in with his body; it is sacred," repeating it four times.

Sun passed his hands back and forth through the smoke and rubbed them over the face, left arm, and side of Scarface. Sun repeated the ceremony on the boy's right side, purifying him and removing the odours of earthly people.

Sun took Scarface into the other three sweat lodges, performing the same healing ceremony. The body of Scarface changed color and he shone like a yellow light.

Using a soft feather, Sun brushed it over the youth's face, magically wiping away the scar. With a final touch to the young man's long, yellow hair, Sun caused him to look exactly like Morning-Star. The two young men were led by Sun into his own lodge and placed side by side in the position of honour.

"Old Woman," called the father. "Which is your son?"

Moon pointed to Scarface, "That one is our son."

"You do not know your own child," answered Sun.

"He is not our son. We will call him Mistaken-for-Morning-Star," as they all laughed heartily at the mistake.

The two boys were together constantly and became close companions. One day, they were on an adventure when Morning-Star pointed out some large birds with very long, sharp beaks.

"Foster-Brother, I warn you not to go near those dangerous creatures," said Morning-Star. "They killed my other brothers with their beaks."

Suddenly the birds chased the two boys. Morning-Star fled toward his home, but Foster-Brother stopped, picking up a club and one by one struck the birds dead.

Upon reaching home, Morning-Star excitedly reported to his father what had happened. Sun made a victory song honouring the young hero. In gratitude for saving Morning-Star's life, Sun gave him the forked stick for lifting hot embers and a braid of sweet grass to make incense. These sacred elements necessary for making the sweat lodge ceremony were a gift of trust.

"And this my sweat lodge I give to you," said the Sun. Mistaken- for-Morning-Star observed very carefully how it was constructed, in his mind preparing himself to one day returning to earth.

When Scarface did arrive at his tribal village, all of his people gathered to see the handsome young man in their midst. At first, they did not recognize him as Scarface.

"I have been in the sky," he told them. "Behold me, Morning-Star looks just like this. The Sun gave me these things used in the sweat lodge healing ceremony. That is how I lost my ugly scar."

Scarface explained how the forked stick and sweet grass were used. Then he set to work showing his people how to make the sweat lodge. This is how the first medicine sweat lodge was built upon earth by the Piegan tribe.

Now that Scarface was so very handsome and brought such a great blessing of healing to his tribe, the Chief's beautiful daughter became his wife.

In remembrance of Sun's gift to Scarface and his tribe, the Piegans always make the sweat lodge healing ceremony an important part of their annual Sun Dance Celebration.

Old Man and the Beginning of the World

Old Man came from the South, making the mountains, prairies, and forests as he passed along. He made the birds and animals also. He traveled northward, making things as he went along, putting red paint in the ground here and there, making it all as we see it today.

He made the Milk River and then crossed it. As he was tired, he went up onto a little hill and he laid down to rest. As he lay on his back, stretched out on the grass with his arms extended, he marked his figure with stones. You can still see those stones now, showing you where his body laid.

Going on north when he was through he tripped over a knoll and fell down hard on his knees. He said, "You are a bad thing to make me stumble so!" Then he raised up two large buttes there and named them the Knees. They are still called the Knees to this day. He went on farther north, and with some rocks that he had he built the Sweet Grass Hills.

Old Man covered the plains with grass for the animals to feed upon. He marked off a piece of ground and in it make all kinds of roots and berries to grow - camas, carrots, turnips, bitterroot, serviceberries, bullberries, cherries, plums, and rosebuds. He planted trees, and put all kinds of animals on the ground.

When he made the bighorn sheep with its large, heavy horns, he had put it out on the prairie. But it didn't travel very easy on the prairie; it didn't go very fast, and it moved awkwardly. So Old Man took it by its horns and led it up to the mountains, and turned it loose. There the bighorn skipped about among the rocks and went up fearful places with no trouble whatsoever. So Old Man said to it, "This is where you are meant to be; this is what you're fitted for, the rocks and the mountains."

While he was in the mountains, he made the antelope out of dirt and turned it loose, to see how it would go. It ran so fast that it fell over some rocks and hurt itself. Seeing that the mountains weren't the place for it, Old Man took the antelope down to the prairie and turned it loose. He watched it for a moment, and then said, "So this is what you are suited for, the broad prairie," as he watched it running at full stride across the prairie.

One day Old Man decided that he would make a woman and a child. So he formed them both of clay, the woman and the child, who was her son. After he had made the clay into human shapes, he said to it, "You must be people." And then he covered it up and went away. The next morning he went to the place, and took off all of the covering, but the clay had changed little. The second morning he saw a little change, and the third, a lot more. The fourth morning he went to the place, took off the covering, looked at the clay people, and said, "Get up and walk." They did so. They walked down to the river with their maker, and then he told them that his name was Napi, Old Man. And that is how we came to be people. It was he who made us.

The first people were poor and naked, and they didn't know how to do anything for themselves. Old Man showed them the roots and berries and said that "you can eat these". He pointed to certain trees. "When the bark of these trees is young and tender, it's good. Then you can peel it off and eat it."

He told the people that animals should also be their food. "These are your herds," he said. "All the little animals that are on the ground; squirrels, rabbits, beavers, skunk - are all good to eat. You do not need to fear to eat their flesh. The birds that fly, too; these I made for you so that you can eat of their flesh."

Old Man took the first people over the prairie and through the forests and the swamps, to show them the different plants he had made. He told them what herbs were good for sicknesses, saying often, "The root of this herb or the leaf of this herb, if gathered in a certain month of the year, is good for a certain sickness." In that way the people learned about the medicines.

He showed them how to make weapons with which to kill the animals for their food. First he went out and cut some serviceberry shoots, brought them in, and peeled the bark off of them. He took one of the larger ones, flattened it, tied a string to it, and thus made a bow. Then he caught one of the birds he had made, took feathers from its wing, split them, and tied them to a shaft of wood.

At first he tied four feathers to the wood, and then shot the arrow. But he found that it didn't fly well unless he used three feathers, and when he did, it hit the mark. Then he went out and broke sharp pieces off of some of the stones around him. When he tied them on to the shaft, he found that the black flint stones, and some white flint stones, made the best arrow tips.

When the people had learned how to made bows and arrows, Old Man told them how to shoot animals and birds. Because it isn't healthy to eat animal flesh raw, he showed the first people how to make a fire. He gathered a soft, dry, rotten driftwood and made a punk of it. He then found a piece of hard wood and drilled a hole in it with an arrow point. He gave the first man a pointed piece of hard wood and showed him how to roll it between his hands until sparks came out and the punk caught fire. Then he showed the people how to cook meat, so that they didn't get sick from the raw meat.

He told them to get a certain kind of rock that was on the land, while he found a harder stone. With the harder stone he had them hollow out the softer stone and to make a bowl with it. Thus they made their dishes.

Old Man told the first people how to get spirit power; "Go away by yourself and go to sleep. Something will come to you in your dream and will help you. It may be some animal. Whatever the animal tells you to do in your sleep, do it. Obey it. Be guided by it. If later you want help, if you are traveling alone or you cry for help, your prayer will be answered. It may be by an eagle, or a bear, or buffalo. Whatever animal hears your prayer, you must listen to it.

That was how the first people got along in the world; by the power that was given to them in their dreams.

After this, Old Man went back to traveling north. Many of the animals that he had created followed him. They understood when he spoke to them, and were his servants. When he got to the north point of the Porcupine Mountains, he made some more mud images, blew upon them, and they became people, men and women. They asked him, "What are we to eat?"

By way of answer, Old Man made many images of clay in the form of buffaloes. He blew his breath upon them and they stood up. When he made some signs to them, they started to run. Then he said to the people, "These animals; these buffalo, they are your food."

"But how can we kill them?" the people asked.
"I will show you," he replied.

He took them behind a cliff and told them to build rock piles. "Now hide behind those rock piles," he said. "I will lead the buffalo this way. Now, when they get opposite of you, rise up."

After telling them what to do, he went toward the herd of the buffalo. When he called to them, they started to run towards him, and they followed him until they were inside the piles of rock. Then Old Man dropped back. As the people rose up, the buffalo ran in a straight line and jumped right out off of the cliff.

"Go down and take the flesh of those animals," Old Man cried.

The people tried to tear the limbs apart, but they could not. Old Man went to the side of the cliff, broke off some pieces with sharp edges, and told the people to cut the flesh with these rocks. They obeyed him. When they'd finished skinning the buffalo, they set up some poles and put the hides on them. Thus they made a shelter to sleep under.

After Old Man had taught the people all of these things, he started off again, traveling north until he came to where the Bow and the Elbow rivers meet. There he made more people and taught them the same things. From there he went further north. When he'd gotten almost all the way to the Red Deer River, he was so tired that he lay down on top of a hill. The form of his body can be seen there yet, on the top of the hill where he'd lain.

When he awoke from his sleep, he traveled farther north until he came to a high hill. He climbed up to the top and there sat down to rest. As he gazed over the country, he was very satisfied with it. Looking at the steep hill below him, he said to himself, "This is a fine place for sliding. I will have some fun!" And he began to slide down the hill. The marks where he slid are still there, and the place is known to all the Blackfoot as "Old Man's Sliding Ground".

Old Man cannot die. Long ago he left the Blackfoot and went away toward the west, going up into the mountains. Before he went, he said to the people, "I will always take care of you, and some day, I will come back." Even today some people think that he spoke the truth, and that when he does come back, he will bring with him the buffalo, who many believe that the white men have hidden. Still others think that before he left he said that when he returned, he'd find them a different people. They would be living in a different world, he said, from that that he had made for them and had taught them to live in.

How the Old Man Made People

Long ago, when the world was new, there was no one living in it at all, except the Old Man, Na-pe, and his sometimes-friend and sometimes-enemy A-pe'si, the Coyote, and a few buffalo. There were no other people and no other animals. But the Old Man changed all that. He changed it first because he was lonely, and then because he was lazy; and maybe be shouldn't have, but anyway, he did. And this was the way oE it.
Na-pe was sitting by his fire one day, trying to think of some way to amuse himself. He had plenty to eat--a whole young buffalo; no need to go hunting. He had a lodge; no work to do; and a fire. He was comfortable, but he wasn't contented. His only companion, A-pe'si the Coyote, was off somewhere on some scheme of his own, and anyway he had quarrelled with A-pe'si, and they were on bad terms; so even if he had been there, Old Man would still have been lonely. He poked some sticks in the fire, threw a rock or two in the river, Lit his pipe, and walked around. . . then sat down, and thought how nice it would be to have someone to smoke with, and to talk to. "Another one, like me," he thought. And he poked some more sticks in the fire, and threw some more rocks in the river.

Then he thought, "Why not? I am the Old Man! I can make anything I want to. Why shouldn't I make another like me, and have a companion?" And he promptly went to work.

First, he found a little still pool of water, and looked at his reflection carefully, so as to know just what he wanted to make. Then he counted his bones as best he could, and felt the shape of them.

Next, he went and got some clay, modelled a lot of bones, and baked them in his fire. When they were all baked, he took them out and looked at them. Some of them were very good, but others were crooked, or too thin, or had broken in the baking. These he put aside in a little heap.

Then he began to assemble the best of the clay bones into a figure of a man. He tied them all together with buffalo sinews, and smoothed them all carefully with buffalo fat. He padded them with clay mixed with buffalo blood, and stretched over the whole thing skin taken from the inside of the buffalo. Then he sat down and lit his pipe again.

He looked at the man he had made rather critically. It wasn't exactly what he had wanted, but still it was better than nothing.

"I will make some more," said Na-pe.

He picked the new man up and blew smoke into his eyes, nose, and mouth, and the figure came to life. Na-pe sat him down by the fire, and handed him the pipe. Then he went to get more clay.

All day long Na-pe worked, making men. It took a long time, because some of the bones in each lot weren't good, and he must discard them and make others. But at last he got seveal men, all sitting by the fire and passing the pipe around. Na-pe sat down with them, and was very happy. He left the heap of discarded bones where they were, at the doorway of his lodge.

So Na-pe and the men lived in his camp, and the men learned to hunt, and Na-pe had company, someone to smoke with, and they were all quite contented.

But the heap of left-over bones was a nuisance. Every time one of the men went in or out of Na-pe's lodge, they tripped over the bones. The wind blew through them at night, making a dreadful noise. The bones frequently tumbled over, making more of a disturbance. Na-pe intended to throw them in the river, but he was a bit lazy, and never got around to it. So the left-over bones stayed where they were.

By this time A-pe'si, the Coyote, was back from wherever he had been. He went around the camp, looking the men over, and being very superior, saying that he didn't think much of Na-pe's handiwork. He was also critical of the heap of bones at the door of the lodge. "I should think you would do something with them--make them into men," said A-pe'si, the Coyote.

"All right, I will," said Na-pe. "Only they aren't very good. It will be difficult to make men out of them!" "Oh, I'll help, I'll help!" said A-pe'si. "With my cleverness, we will make something much better than these poor creatures of yours!" So the two of them set to work. The discarded bones, clicking and tattling, were sorted out, and tied together. Then Na-pe mixed the clay and the buffalo blood to cover them. He fully intended to make the bones into men, but A-pe'si the Coyote kept interfering; consequently, when the job was done, the finished product was quite different. Na-pe surveyed it dubiously, but he blew the smoke into its eyes and nose and mouth, as he had with the men. And the woman came to life.

A-pe'si and Na-pe made the rest of the bones into women, and as they finished each one they put them all together, and the women immediately began to talk to each other. A-pe'si was very pleased with what he had done. "When I made my men," said Na-pe, "I set them down by the fire to smoke."

And even to this day, if you have one group of men, and another of women, the men will want to sit by the fire and smoke. But the women talk. And whether it is because they were made out of the left-over bones that clicked and rattled, or whether it is because A-pe'si, the Coyote --who is a noisy creature himself--had a part in their making, no one can say.

 
1 Hopi

Origin of the Clans

A long time ago, when the Hopi Tribe was emerging from the First World, their people started to hunt for the land of the rising sun. Moving in related groups, they thought it fun to play a name game.

When the first band came upon a dead bear, immediately they thought it a sign for them to become the Bear Clan. Another Hopi band came upon the same skeleton but saw little gopher holes surrounding the carcass. They agreed among themselves to become the Gopher Clan.

In the same way, other Hopis found a nest of spiders and they named themselves the Spider Clan. Far ahead the Bear Clan travelled with Chief Bahana leading. Always, the Bear Clan seemed to move faster in many ways.

Spider Clan trailed all the clans because they had so many children. One day they came upon a friendly spider sitting near her large web. The Spider Clan encircled her as she spoke to their Chief, "I am Spider Woman, possessed of Supernatural Power. Since you are named for my people, I will help you in any way I can."

"Thank you, Spider Woman," replied the Chief. "We are travelling to find the land of the rising sun. Other clans of our Hopi Tribe are much farther ahead of us. We wish we could travel faster, but we have much to pack on our backs as we have so many children."

"Perhaps I can make something to ease your travel," said Spider Woman.

"What do you have in mind?" asked the Chief.

"First, I need something of yourself," said Spider Woman. "You must go into my secret room where you will find a large water jug. You must wash yourself all over and save the dust and skin that rolls off and fetch it to me."

Because of many travel days, the Chief was so hot and dusty that he made a sizeable ball of dirt, which he gave to Spider Woman. With this she began her magic creation. She spread a white, fleecy cloth in front of her, placing the ball in the Centre. Then she rolled it up carefully into a white ball.

Spider Woman sang her ceremonial creation song four times, while the Spider Clan sat in a circle and waited expectantly. Now and then, she touched the fleecy ball with her magic web and looked to see if any signs of life were evident within the ball. Again, Spider Woman sang another magic song four times and behold!--the fleecy, white ball moved back and forth and rolled about. To everyone's surprise, through the fleecy cover emerged a tiny gray animal stretching forth four tiny legs.

Spider Woman called it a burro. At the sight of it, the Spider Clan knew that it needed to grow much stronger before it could be of any help to them. Spider Woman kept the young animal warm and gave it some of her magic food. She spent much time massaging its tiny legs with her magic salve to make them grow faster.

After only four days, the burro was ready to travel with the Spider Clan. They packed the sides of the burrow with their excess supplies and started on their way to the land of the rising sun.

Later, Spider Woman decided to create a man who should know more about caring for the burro than the Hopis. This she did and sent the man to catch up with the Spider Clan, to teach them how better to care for the burro.

But that man was selfish. Instead of helping the people, he ran away one dark night, taking the burro with him. Even though saddened over the loss of their helpful burro, Spider Clan continued their trek to the land of the rising sun, shouldering their heavy packs as before.

Of course, the Bear Clan arrived at their destination first. They set about establishing their village. Gradually the other Hopi Clans joined them, making their villages nearby. There the Hopi Tribe grew and prospered.

But the Spider Clan, which arrived last in the land of the rising sun, became the largest and most prosperous of all the Hopi Clans, because they had so many children during the following years.

 
1 Passamaquoddy

Origin of the Medicine Man

The Medicine Man is Glooscap, the Good-Spirit. Legend has it that the father of Glooscap is a being who lives under a great waterfall beneath the earth. His face is half-red, and he has a single all- seeing eye. He can give to anyone coming to him the medicine he desires. Glooscap is still busy sharpening his arrows off in a distant place, preparing sometime to return to earth and make war.

Passamaquoddies tell all of their old stories as truth. But of other stories, they speak of them as "what they hear," or hearsay.

This is a legend of long, long ago about a Passamaquoddy Indian woman who travelled constantly back and forth and through the woods. From every bush she came to, she bit off a twig, and from one of these she became pregnant. Bigger and bigger she grew, until at last she could not travel, but she built a wigwam near the mouth of a fresh-running stream.

In the night, the woman gave birth to a child. She thought at first that she should kill the child. Finally, she decided to make a bark canoe in which she placed her child. She set it adrift and let it float down the stream. Though the water was rough in places, the child was not harmed, or even wet.

The canoe floated to an Indian village, where it became stranded on the sandy shore near a group of wigwams. One of the women found the baby and brought it to her home. Every morning thereafter, it seemed that a baby of the village died. The villagers did not know what was the matter with their babies.

A neighbour noticed how the rescued child toddled off to the river every night and returned shortly after. She wondered if this could have anything to do with the death of so many babies. Then she saw the child return to its wigwam with a small tongue, roast it, and eat it. Then it lay down to sleep all night.

On the next morning, a report circulated that another child had died. Then the Indian woman was certain she knew who the killer was. She alerted the parents of the dead child and found that the child's tongue had been removed, and the child had bled to death.

Tribal deliberations were held to decide what should be done with the murderer. Some said, cut up the person and throw him into the river. Others said, burn the fragments; this they did after much consultation. They burned the fragments of the wayward child, until nothing but its ashes remained.

Naturally, everyone understood the child was dead. But that night it came back to camp again with a small tongue, which it roasted and ate. The next morning another child was found to have died in the night. The weird child was found sleeping in its usual place, just as before its cremation. He said to everyone that he would never kill any more children, and that now he had become a big boy, in fact.

The big boy announced he would take one of his bones out of his side. This he started to do, and all of his bones spilled out of his body at the same time. He closed his eyes by drawing his fingers over his eyelids, hiding his eyes. He could not move without bones and he began to grow very fat.

He surprised the Passamaquoddies by becoming a great Medicine Man. Anything they desired within reason, he granted. Later, however, his tribe moved away from their old camp. Before they left, they built a fine wigwam for the Medicine Man. So accustomed had they become to call upon his powers that they still returned to make their requests. His tribal members asked him for medicine of all kinds. When he granted their wishes, he asked them, "Turn me over and you will find your medicine beneath me."

A young man came and wished to have the love of a woman, so he asked for a love potion. The Medicine Man said, "Turn me over." The young man turned over the conjurer and found an herb. "You must not give this away or throw it away," said the old man. The young Passamaquoddy went back to his own wigwam.

Soon he was aware that all the young women followed him in the camp, at all times. In fact, he longed to be alone for a change. He did not like to be chased by the women. At last when he became too troubled by the tribal women, he returned to the Medicine Man and gave back the herbal love portion. The young Passamaquoddy left without it.

Another young man went to the conjurer for help. The Medicine Man asked, "What is it you want?" This man said, "I want to live as long as the world shall stand."

"Your request is a hard one to consider, but I will do my best to answer it," replied the Medicine Man. "Now turn me over," and underneath his body was an herb. He said, "Go to a place that is bare of everything, so bare it is destitute of all vegetation, and just stand there." The Medicine Man pointed out this direction for the young man.

The young man went according to the Medicine Man's instructions, but looking back at the conjurer, the standing man saw branches and twigs sprouting all over his own body. He had been changed into a cedar tree, to stand there forever--useless to everyone.

The Origin of the Thunderbird

This is a legend of long, long ago times. Two Indians desired to find the origin of thunder. They travelled north and came to a high mountain. These mountains performed magically. They drew apart, back and forth, then closed together very quickly.

One Indian said, "I will leap through the cleft before it closes. If I am caught, you continue to find the origin of thunder." The first one succeeded in going through the cleft before it closed, but the second one was caught and squashed.

On the other side, the first Indian saw a large plain with a group of wigwams, and a number of Indians playing a ball game. After a little while, these players said to each other, "It is time to go." They disappeared into their wigwams to put on wings, and came out with their bows and arrows and flew away over the mountains to the south. This was how the Passamaquoddy Indian discovered the homes of the thunderbirds.

The remaining old men of that tribe asked the Passamaquoddy Indian, "What do you want? Who are you?" He replied with the story of his mission. The old men deliberated how they could help him.

They decided to put the lone Indian into a large mortar, and they pounded him until all of his bones were broken. They moulded him into a new body with wings like thunderbird, and gave him a bow and some arrows and sent him away in flight. They warned him not to fly close to trees, as he would fly so fast he could not stop in time to avoid them, and he would be killed.

The lone Indian could not reach his home because the huge enemy bird, Wochowsen, at that time made such a damaging wind. Thunderbird is an Indian and he or his lightning would never harm another Indian. But Wochowsen, great bird from the south, tried hard to rival Thunderbird. So Passamaquoddies feared Wochowsen, whose wings Glooscap once had broken, because he used too much power.

A result was that for a long time air became stagnant, the sea was full of slime, and all of the fish died. But Glooscap saw what was happening to his people and repaired the wings of Wochowsen to the extent of controlling and alternating strong winds with calm.

Legend tells us this is how the new Passamaquoddy thunderbird, the lone Indian who passed through the cleft, in time became the great and powerful Thunderbird, who always has kept a watchful eye upon the good Indians.

 
1 Aleut

The Origin of the Winds

Long ago, when the world was still quite new, there were no winds at all, neither the gentle breeze of summer nor the fierce winter gale. Everything was perfectly still. Nothing disturbed the marsh grass on the shore and, when snow fell, it fell straight to earth instead of blowing and swirling into drifts as it does now.
At that time, in a village near the mouth of the Yukon River, there lived a couple who had no children. This made them very sad. Often the woman would sigh and say, 'How happy we would be if only we had a child!'

Her husband would sigh too and answer, 'Yes, if we had a son, I would teach him to stalk bears and seals over the ice-floes, and to make traps and snares. What will become of us in our old age with no one to provide for us ? Who will give festivals for our souls when we are dead ?'

These thoughts troubled them deeply and on many a long winter evening they sat in the flickering firelight, imagining how different life might be if they had a child.

One night the woman had a strange dream, in which she saw a sled pulled by three dogs, one brown, one white and one black, draw up outside her door. The driver leaned from his seat and beckoned her. 'Come,' he said. 'Sit here by me. I will take you on a journey.'

Wondering and fearful, the woman did as she was told. No sooner had she seated herself than the driver cracked his whip and the sled rose high into the air. Through the night-black sky they flew, faster and faster, past stars sparkling like hoar-frost. The woman was no longer afraid for she knew that this must be Igaluk, the Moon Spirit, who often comes to comfort those in distress.

Suddenly the sled stopped and the panting dogs lay down to rest. On all sides, as far as the eye could see, lay a great plain of smooth ice, the glittering expanse broken only by one small stunted tree.

Igaluk pointed and said, 'You who so desire a child, look at that tree over there. Make a doll from its trunk and you will find happiness.'

Before she could learn more, the woman awoke. So vivid was her dream that she at once roused her husband. She told him what she had seen and begged him to find the tree.

The man rubbed the sleep from his eyes. 'What would be the point?' he grumbled. 'It would only be a doll, not a real child.' But the woman persisted and finally, for the sake of peace, the man shouldered his axe and set out to look for the tree.

At the edge of the village where the snow lay thick and untrodden, he saw a bright path stretching far into the distance. It was now full day, yet the path shone like moonlight and the man knew that this was the direction which he must take.

For many hours he journeyed along the path of light until at last, on the horizon, he saw something shining very brightly. As he came nearer he saw that it was the tree of which his wife had spoken. The man cut it down with his axe and carried it home.

That evening, while he carved the figure of a small boy from some of the wood, his wife made a little suit of sealskin and, when the doll was finished, she dressed it and set it in the place of honour on the bench opposite the door. From the remaining wood the man carved a set of toy dishes and some tiny weapons, a spear and a knife, tipped with bone. His wife filled the dishes with food and water and set them before the doll.

Before going to bed, the couple sat and gazed at the doll. Although it was no more than six inches high, it was very lifelike, with eyes made from tiny chips of ivory.

'I cannot think why we have gone to all this trouble,' said the man gloomily. 'We are no better off than before.'

'Perhaps not,' replied his wife, 'but at least it will give us some amusement and something to talk about.'

During the night the woman awoke suddenly. Close at hand she heard several low whistles. She shook her husband and said, 'Did you hear that? It was the doll!'

They jumped up and, by the glow of their hastily lit lamp, they saw that the doll had eaten the food and drunk the water. They saw it breathe and its eyes move. The woman picked it up in her arms and hugged it.

They played with the doll for some time until it grew sleepy. Then they carefully returned it to the bench and went back to bed, delighted with their new toy.

In the morning, however, when they awoke, the doll had gone. Rushing outside, they saw its footprints leading away through the village. They followed as fast as they could, but at the edge of the village the tracks stopped and there was no trace of the doll. Sadly the couple returned home.

Although they did not know it, the doll was travelling along the path of light which the man had taken the day before. On and on he went until he came to the eastern edge of day where the sky comes down to meet the earth and walls in the light.

Looking up, the doll saw a hole in the sky wall, covered over with a piece of skin. The cover was bulging inwards, as if there was some powerful force on the other side. The doll was curious and, drawing his knife, he slashed the cords holding the cover in place and pulled it aside.

At once a great wind rushed in, carrying birds and animals with it. The doll peered through the hole and saw the Sky Land on the other side, looking just like earth, with mountains, trees and rivers.

When he felt that the wind had blown long enough, the doll drew the skin cover back over the hole, saying sternly, 'Wind, sometimes blow hard, sometimes soft, and sometimes not at all.' Then he went on his way.

When he came to the south, he saw another piece of skin covering an opening in the sky wall and bulging as before. Again the doll drew his knife and this time a warmer wind blew in, bringing more animals, trees and bushes. After a time the doll closed up the opening with the same words as before and passed on towards the west.

There he found yet another opening like the others, but this time, as soon as the cords were cut, the wind blew in a heavy rainstorm with waves and spray from the great ocean on the other side. The doll hastened to cover up the hole and instructed this wind as he had one the others.

When he came to the north, the cold was so intense that he hesitated for some time before he dared to open the hole in the sky there. When he finally did so, a fierce blast whistled in, with great masses of snow and ice, so that the doll was at once frozen to the marrow and he closed that opening very quickly indeed.

Admonishing the wind as before, the doll now turned his steps inwards, away from the sky wall and travelled on until he came to the very centre of the earth's plain. There he saw the sky arching overhead like a huge tent, supported on a framework of tall slender poles. Satisfied that he had now travelled the whole world over, the doll decided to return to the village from which he started.

His foster-parents greeted him with great joy, for they feared that he had gone forever. The doll told them and all the people of the village about his travels and how he had let the winds into the world. Everyone was pleased for with the wind came good hunting. The winds brought the birds of the air and the land animals, and they stirred up the sea currents so that seals and walrus could be found all along the coast.

Because he had brought good fortune as the Moon Spirit had predicted, the doll was honoured in special festivals afterwards. Shamans made dolls like him to help them in their magic and parents also made dolls for their children, knowing that they bring happiness to those who care for them.

- Alaskan Eskimo legend.

 
1 Yosemeti

Origin of Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La

Two young and curious Indian boys, long ago, lived in Yosemite Valley. They were always exploring faraway places, climbing ledges where later they needed rescue, yet they continued their adventures.

One day, they came upon a new lake and decided to swim across to a large rock. When they reached the opposite shore, they climbed to the top of the huge rock to rest in the sunshine, but soon they fell asleep. On and on they slept through that night, the next, and the next night, until many moons had come and gone.

Can you imagine what happened to that rock? It kept right on growing and growing, rising higher and higher, until the faces of the two Indian boys brushed the sky.

Of course their families were distraught in the beginning, but finally gave up hope of ever seeing their two lost sons again.

Now it happened that many animals had heard from their ancestors about what had happened to the two lost Indian boys. At a council gathering of the animals, they were wondering how they could help bring the boys down as the huge rock had grown into a giant granite mountain.

All of the animals decided to have a contest. Every creature would try to jump up to the mountain top. Poor little mouse only jumped a foot, larger rat leaped two feet, strong racoon much higher, grizzly bear made a mighty leap, but he was too heavy, mountain lion took a long run and jumped, but he fell down flat on his back. None could jump high enough.

Insignificant little measuring-worm came late to the contest. Everyone explained to him their predicament. None could leap high enough to the top of the mountain to rescue the two boys.

Measuring-worm decided to try. Step by step, inch by inch, little by little he began measuring his way up the granite wall that reached to the sky. He went so high that he was out of sight!

Up and up he crawled through many sleeps and through many moons, almost through a whole snow. Measuring-worm kept on crawling and at last reached the top of the giant mountain, whose magic somehow allowed the boys to remain boys!

What fun they experienced on the way down! Measuring-worm led them on a continuous, circuitous slide around and around the slippery snowy sides of the mighty mountain. They laughed and screamed with delight at the adventure they were having.

At last, measuring-worm and the two Indian boys were safe on the ground again. Their animal friends gathered to welcome them down from the sky, as well as the elders and braves of the Yosemite tribe.

From that day on to this, the great granite mountain has been called by the Indians Tu-tok-a-nu-la, which means "measuring- worm." Later, the Spaniards named the mountain El Capitan, a name that now appears on most maps of the Yosemite National Park.

Origin of Yosemite

Long, long ago before the white man came to the West, a large happy tribe of peaceful Indians lived among the trees of beautiful Oak Canyon. This spectacular place is now known as Yosemite Valley, situated in Yosemite National Park, California.

In the beginning these peaceful Indians were called Ah-wah-nees, meaning "Deep Grass Valley," which was the first name given to Yosemite Valley.

It is of interest to note that because of a printer's error at a later date, the spelling of the tribe's name was inadvertently changed to Yosemite. Now Yosemite National Park identifies the original home of the Ah-wah-nee band (Yosemite), southern division of the Miwok Tribe.

Today, the California State flag carries a picture of the grizzly bear as a reminder of the State's official animal, Yo Semitee.

Ah-wah-nees were proud of their Chief, a tall and young athletic man. Early one spring morning, he started off with his spears in hand to hunt for trout in the nearby lake known as Sleeping Water.

Imagine his astonishment when he rounded a large boulder and came face to face with an enormous grizzly bear, probably just out of its winter hibernation!

Such an unexpected meeting caused both of them to rear back in stunned surprise. Immediately, however, all of the fighting spirit within each arose. They attacked one another furiously! The Chief realized his fighting power was not equal to the great strength of the grizzly.

"What can I do to help myself?" he wondered.

At that moment, he saw an oak limb within reach and grabbed it for a weapon.

"I must do everything possible to subdue this bear, even if it means my own death," he thought while he fought. "I am determined that future Ah-wah-nee children will always remember the proud and brave blood that flowed in the veins of their ancestors."

He pounded heavy blows, one after another, upon the head of the grizzly bear. In return, the young Chief received innumerable cuts from the bear's teeth and claws. They exchanged blows that could have been death blows to either one, if each had not been determined to survive. The grizzly bear's hunger drove him to attack; the Chief's pride, courage, and great height strengthened his defense.

On and on they fought. Then when the Chief saw the eyes of the bear glaze with a cold stare, he knew his great moment had come. With his club raised overhead, the Chief brought down a whopping smash upon the head of the bear, who then slowly slumped to the ground. The Chief charged in to finish the task, making sure the grizzly bear was dead.

Exhausted, the young Chief withdrew a short way to rest, but kept his eyes upon the grizzly bear in case it revived. After some time, when he was certain of the bear's death, the Chief stepped forward and skinned the animal.

Later, dragging the bearskin behind him, the Chief returned to his village and proclaimed his victory. Young and old braves gathered to welcome him and to praise his success. The young braves took off, following the trail where the bearskin dragged upon the ground. They found the grizzly bear before any other wild animal had a chance to claim it. Immediately, they set to work and butchered the bear and then carried the parts back to their camp.

In the meantime, the braves prepared a huge fire and sent young runners to the outlying camps, inviting all the people to an evening of feasting.

The victory of their young Chief over the enormous grizzly bear astounded all of the Ah-wah-nees. They cheered and cheered their admiration for their great Chief. They renamed their hero, Chief Yo Semitee, which means "Grizzly Bear."

Following the feast, the entire tribe gathered for a victory dance, attired in all their fine beads and fine feathers. Chief Yo Semitee sat and overlooked the celebration, smoking the peace pipe with his tribal council. More feasting and dancing continued most of the night, as Ah-wah-nees showed their affection for their young and strong Chief.

Yo Semitee's children, and finally all of the tribe, became known as Yo Semitees in honour of their brave Chief.

 
1 Owens Valley Paiute, Cahuilla, Maidu, Yurok

Indian Origin Stories

Copyright 1997, 1998 by Tad Beckman, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711

Outside the house of tules, the saibi toni, wintry winds blew and swirled. Dust and fragments of brush streaked across the low, rocky shoulder of land and blasted into the dwelling's sides. It was night and the wintry chill had several of the elder people wondering if snow would greet them at sunrise. All the occupants were very glad that Grandpa had carried larger rocks and placed them against the dwelling's foundation, just a few days before. When the wind bore down from the duck country, above, it was always savage and unmerciful.

The circular enclosure, about fifteen feet across, housed a man and a woman, both in their middle twenties, and Grandpa, now beyond forty years of age. There were also two children, about eight-to-ten years. All had finished dinner, with relish; it had been a hearty stew of mashed kangaroo rat, thickened with fresh pinenut meal and flavored nicely with sage, sweatened with a small dollop of honey. Baskets and other implements had been put away and everyone in the dwelling was sitting or lying, staring forward into the glowing embers of fire, in the center of the floor, warmly wound up in their rabbit-skin blankets. The tule mat, lashed to the outside of the doorway passage, shuddered in the powerful wind. Beyond the sound of the wind, one could hear only the occasional raucuous chatter of a duck, down in one of the ponds below the hillside. But later, if the wind let up, there would be the usual howls of coyotes, calling to each other and organizing themselves for a night of hunting.

The embers threw a warm red light around the inside of the dwelling and slightly illuminated the inner walls so that one could see the closely thatched tules, golden brown. Father and Grandpa had cut the tules from the slough, past the salty spring, in late summer, and the whole family had worked on restoring the covering, renewing the lashing on the overlapping willow foundation posts and replacing all of the tule dome. The sides were well closed against the wind and dust, though the whole hemisphere almost pitched a little in the gusts.

Grandpa sat close to the fire ring and his face glowed in the amber light which showed a little sparkle in his dark eyes. He was happy to be asked to tell a story on a wintry night like this, and the children attended carefully. At nighttime, it seemed as though the entire world reduced itself to the narrow confines of this light sphere, and Grandpa's stories remained the only thing that could lift the sides of the dwelling and reveal other people in distant worlds and old times.

". . . so Coyote had been carefully cutting strips from cured rabbit pelts and he had now turned to twisting these long strips into thick fur threads. They would make a fine woven blanket for the coldest of winter's nights. But suddenly, a woman's face popped inside his cave and looked around. Both were startled, and she quickly pulled away and went on. Coyote was taken with her right away so he jumped out of his cave, leaving his rabbit skins behind, and followed along. Pretty soon, he was scrambling up a rocky hillside and he was really impressed by her rapid progress. But she was finally stopped by a large lake, and Coyote caught up, asking her loudly if he could come along where she was going. . ."

The children thought about the big lake that they visited with their family, the previous summer. They had stayed many weeks nearby and Father had built a good wind shelter of branches which they had wound in and out of small tree trunks. They had been fully fed on fish and Mother's stews had plenty of fresh green watercress in them. Sometimes, they'd eaten berries out of a large basket that Mother passed around. They enjoyed cooking and eating outside, looking up into the snowy grey peaks far above.

". . . so after Coyote had won the woman's heart with several ducks that he had freshly hunted, the woman accepted Coyote's proposals and took him as her husband. She was a powerful and mysterious woman, who did not make love easily, but Coyote was very cautious, even uncanny. And the woman became pregnant. So, as it turned out, one fine spring day, the woman and Coyote were gathering near a lowland stream and Coyote was playing on some smooth rocks that made a slide into the waterway. The woman went into pains of childbirth and, before Coyote knew it, she was delivering more children than he could imagine! And the children were getting up and running off toward other parts of the country. Coyote hollered that he'd be there to take charge of the children; but by the time he got to where she was only the 'scrubby-looking ones' were left. But that was all right. These were our people; and whatever they lacked in beauty they made up for, abundantly, in skill and intelligence and bravery."

{the creation of the Paiute people, adapted from Steward, Julian H. "Myths of the Owens Valley Paiute" (1936)}

Origin stories are for the present and the future as much as they are about the past. In this story about the origins of the Owens Valley Paiute people, the action is set in primal times and the characters are different from familiar characters of present time; but there is still much to carry into present thinking and to store up for future reference. First, let's examine the vision of primal time. Coyote is seen as a being --- not merely canis latrans, "the wild dog" --- and he has always been in this place. Then, there is the woman. But this is no ordinary woman, as we will see. The topography, of course, is that of presentday Owens Valley, with lakes that hang on the abrupt eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and streams that come from melting snow and feed into Owens River at the bottom. And, not only are the Paiute people borne by the woman but so are most of the other people of surrounding areas, who promptly run off to where they belong. There is a bit of presentday humor involved in imagining that the Paiutes were not the handsomest of these people; but it is compensated by an important regard for their skills and bravery.
In the story, told above, the central theme and the real tension of Paiute origins has been purposely whitewashed. Now, let us look at the real story more carefully. The adapted version reads, "She was a powerful and mysterious woman, who did not make love easily, but Coyote was very cautious, even uncanny." What this actually means is that the woman possessed vagina dentata --- literally, "teeth in her vagina." This primeval person is no "person" at all. She is Korawiní, a monster that has teeth in both

her mouth and her genitalia; she chews up and swallows whatever enters either. The full story about this woman is that she has destroyed all of her male lovers and intercourse with her is very unlikely to be safe. In one of the stories reported by Julian Steward, this accounts for the disappearance of all previous men and sets the stage for Coyote as the creator of the contemporary tribes.

The full story about Coyote, on the other hand, is that he is an insatiable lover who is always after sexual pleasure. So the fact that, when the woman accidentally pops her head into Coyote's dwelling, he takes off after her is scarcely a surprise to the listeners. But, while the woman is scrambling up the rocky slope above him, Coyote views her genitals and recognizes the truth about her. Of course, this doesn't stop Coyote. When he does catch up, at the edge of the lake, he gets her to carry him across the lake on her back. Typical of Coyote, he uses the opportunity to try to fondle her and winds up getting dumped off in the middle of the lake. Nevertheless, not to be discouraged, Coyote hunts and catches enough ducks to bring a feast to the woman and her mother, who live at the opposite end of the lake. After he has won an evening in her bed, Coyote tests out various ways of having intercourse and finally succeeds in tricking her. She becomes pregnant immediately; and, as it always is with Coyote, she produces a litter. Later on, we will examine Coyote's overarching role as a "trickster" character.

The vagina dentata theme is by no means uncommon in the Great Basin region; and it should be viewed in relation to various other origin themes, throughout the West, all of which visualize the origin of human life as a very precarious, perhaps even improbable, process. What these stories seem to say is that life was very difficult in the coming, and we should be respectful of it in the present as well as very careful about sustaining it in the future. In effect, for the Paiutes, people exist just because wile Coyote was capable of tricking a terrifying monster. (Steward, 1936; 358-9 & 365-8)

Origin stories are a very special form of narrative that speak to the creation of earth, plants, animals, humans, and tribal customs. These stories often investigate the natural situation of humans, as well, by telling how death, good, and evil arose. Not all indigenous people of California had stories about all of these events, and the emphasis of subject matter varies from region to region. But there is important work to be done in such stories. At the very least, they help us form attitudes about the present; at best, they give us guidance for the future.

Steward reported three Paiute stories about the origin of earth. All three followed the theme that the world was once only water --- as it turns out, a very common theme in the Western United States. In one story, some dry land is showing; it is the top of Black Mountain. In another, there is a boat. In all, the original creatures present are Coyote or Wolf or Mallard; but these are always creative beings, not merely the animals of contemporary times. In all such stories, dirt is obtained in some way and is spread out on the water, which eventually recedes. The earth is stretched or compacted in some way. (Steward, 1936; 364)

In contrast, the tribes of the Northwestern Coast, like the Yurok, culturally similar to the entire Northwest, did not have stories about the creation of earth, as such, but simply conceived of the earth as continuing in essentially similar states of existence for all time. Their narratives looked backward to a race of human-like spiritual beings who inhabited and organized the earth prior to the coming of people. These narratives convey the important organizational principles that the tribes attempted to restore through their annual World Renewal rituals.

Other California people possessed well developed beliefs about how the earth, sky, and creatures of the world had come to be. The stories of Southern California tended to be the most abstract, or philosophical, and worked out in detail the origin of things out of a void and power. Stories of the Central Valley usually conceived that the original world was flooded with water, similar to the stories of the Paiutes, and left the earth to be constructed out of mud from the bottom or something found floating, like a bird's nest. Other Central tribes imagined a host of demi-gods who were involved in the creation of life and the achievement of natural balances. The latter are clearly connected to the Kuksu Cult, whose ritual dance societies impersonated these spirits. Since stories, like everything else, traveled along trade routes and migrated through intermarriage, it is little surprise that great variations and combinations occured and that elements of similarity can be discovered within broad regions. (Heizer, HNAI8; 654; and Gifford & Block, 1990; 79-121)

Some origin stories were told in conjunction with special rituals rather than being shared like any other story, around the fire, on an evening. As such, they are considered sacred. The question for us is what that sacred character means. It is quite probable that a story "marked" sacred is off limits to the personal invention or variation of the story teller. Equally well, the story conveys "power" to the listener; that is, it delivers information that is essential to the life of the culture and that is important for personal survival. In the broadest sense, the origin story informs all of the people about their world. Since we all behave according to our understanding of the world we live in, the story is a central piece in the teaching of appropriate behavior. In sum, then, a typical origin story defines the world, identifies and orders the inhabitants, outlines traditional behaviors and relationships, designates the sources of knowledge and wisdom, and rationalizes the path of human life from birth to death, perhaps including also the origins of illness and accident.

This is a big order and the story must achieve all this in a brief and entertaining form. Furthermore, the story must follow a sufficiently simple line of development so that it will be well remembered; and it must contain many "cues" that will invite recollection as people go about their daily business. Obviously, this would all be hard to achieve if complete truthfulness, or realism, were placed on it as a burden. The story must achieve brevity by being fanciful; yet within "fancy" it must be truthful. We have a name for "false truths;" it is metaphor --- something that is descriptively false but, nevertheless, calls forth a truth. In political philosophy, metaphors like this are sometimes called "noble lies" --- that is, descriptively false stories that inform the citizens of the larger truths relating to the origin of political society. Once the right formula has been discovered, it must be protected; surely holding the story sacred was a way of achieving this.

The Cahuilla Origin Story

In order to see some of these points, let us consider the story that is traditionally told by the Cahuilla of Southern California. Since the death of the creator-god, Mukat, is an essential part of the tale, the myth sets the tradition of how the death of any person will be handled; and in doing this, the story creates a sacred place for itself in Cahuilla social tradition. In this tradition, the dead person is cremated and mourned, immediately, but all those who died within a year's time are honored at the end of the year in the Cahuilla's annual celebration-for-the-dead, nukil. At this celebration (lasting one week) the whole creation story is re-told through a cycle of songs, performed in a sacred way so that the lessons of their creation and their relationship with the dead creator-god are renewed. (Bean, 1972; ch. 8)

The celebration of this ritual requires the "big house," as a gathering place for villagers, and the "sacred bundle," containing the ritual materials necessary for this ceremony, as well as a great deal of ritualized charity. It became increasingly difficult for the Cahuilla to maintain these things and, hence, to experience this ceremonial renewal of their heritage. Indeed, it is now extinct, the last celebration having occured in the 1930s. What this means, of course, is that there has been no renewal of the Cahuilla cultural identity since that time --- roughly four generations.

This is a long story so I will only sketch portions of it in very brief fashion here. A good version of it can be found in Kroeber and Hooper's Studies in Cahuilla Culture (1979). The Cahuilla story, typical of the Southern California region and unlike the rest of California, envisioned creation of the earth out of an abstract Darkness. This Darkness was interrupted only occasionally by energy in the form of lightning, and somehow as a consequence of this lightning creation began as the growth of two embryonic sacks. Even at the beginning, though, creation is fragile and the sacks miscarry twice, coming to term only in the third opportunity. At this point, the sacks bear the twin creators of the Cahuilla people, first Mukat and then Tamaioit. There are two of them and this suggests a fundamental duality in the world. Nothing will be perfect in this world; conflict and compromise will determine reality. This duality is mirrored in many ways --- young and old, foolish and wise, imprudent and cautious, male and female, bad and good. Many aspects of this duality are illustrated through the subsequent interactions of Mukat and Tamaioit.

Mukat and Tamaioit begin by trying to drive Darkness back and make way for Light, and they do this by creating some strange creatures, like an eery black-and-white lizard, who attempt to swallow or push back the Darkness. When this has largely failed, they decide to have a smoke, and both bring tobacco, pipe materials, and fire out of their hearts. This scene is very important in setting forth the sacred nature of tobacco, fire, and smoking; but it is also very important in demonstrating the creative energy that lives in Mukat and Tamaioit. This energy is alive in their hearts and is in such a pure form that they have merely to draw things out of their hearts at will. Human spiritual energy will be seen as centered in the heart, but human energy will never compete with that of the creators in strength. The story looks back to a "classic" time when creative energy and spiritual power are still very active.

Continuing to bicker about who is older and better, Mukat and Tamaioit, nevertheless, go about making earth and sky and people. These are the First People who will eventually become animals, demigods, and spirits. All of the materials for these creations come from inside Mukat and Tamaioit. When it comes to making human people, Mukat proceeds slowly and with great care and thoughtfulness, but Tamaioit proceeds very rapidly, making snap decisions. Tamaioit's people are double-sided and have strange limbs as well as webbed feet. Mukat ultimately illustrates his wisdom and superiority by constructing people "the way they ought to be" (that is, the way they actually are) by taking time and being careful. As they finish, they begin to argue the merits of their creations and Tamaioit, finally humiliated, takes his retinue into and below the earth, causing a cataclysmic upheaval which Mukat is just able to stabilize. From this time onward, Mukat is alone with his creations and the few of Tamaioit's who remained (Coyote and Duck, among them).

Mukat and the First People live in a Big House, which sets the stage for the Cahuilla tradition of having the chief inhabit a large ceremonial house. While there are many events related to this period, one of the most interesting and important centers around Moon Maiden, Menily, a fine young woman who teaches the people most of their traditional knowledge and institutions, married relations and duties, games, and herbal cures. She also teaches men and women their separate responsibilities in marriage and parenting. Moon Maiden is a model of loving and, in reality, is the creator of society as we know it. But Mukat offends her by "desiring her as his wife," offending against the incest taboo, so she is forced to go away. She is gone for three days (the length of time that the moon is not seen) and then she re-appears in the western sky as the New Moon, beginning her monthly cycle. Thus, the natural cycle of the moon is rationalized and, at the same time, connected with women's menstrual cycle.

The climax of the Cahuilla's story follows in the death of Mukat. Not only had Mukat alienated Moon Maiden by offending against incest taboos, but he had been responsible for giving rattlesnake sharp poisonous fangs and for giving the people bows and arrows with which they had killed and wounded each other. The people decide that Mukat must be destroyed and they contrive to poison him. It is a traumatic event in the creation of the world because, with the death of Mukat, the people are cut off from the classic period of direct seminal power and must achieve change and survival through their own powers and institutions.

As Mukat slowly succumbs, over a course of days, Coyote stays constantly with him; and at the last, Mukat is fearful that Coyote will gain his powers by eating his body. So, under Mukat's instructions, the people keep Coyote away as they prepare Mukat's cremation fire. Not to be foiled, however, Coyote sees the smoke, races back, and jumps over the people's heads just in time to grab Mukat's heart. So spiritual power is transferred from the creator-god to Coyote after all.

With Mukat's death, the people are left to create life on their own. He instructs them in how to use plant and mineral resources and how to cremate their dead. He gives the people the spiritual contents of the Sacred Bundle which remains in the Big House and is used in their annual nukil celebration. And, finally, they go on a very long sojourn throughout all of Southern California, looking for the best place to live. When they arrive at that place, the present homeland of the Cahuilla, they have become the human people of today and the First People, as such, have all withdrawn into the animal and spirit worlds. The song cycle that relates the creation myth was followed by another song cycle which depicts the wandering-of-the-people. This accounts for the spreading of the myth throughout neighboring areas and also provides an opportunity to create a picture of the whole natural world around them in far greater detail than allowed by the central tale. While transmission of these songs from one generation to another has faltered, many of them are now sung by the contemporary group, the Cahuilla Bird Singers.

The Maidu Origin Stories

The Maidu origin stories offer other opportunities to illustrate the ways that origin stories order and describe the world. The Maidu represent for us one of the sub-groups of Central California narratives. Versions of the Maidu myth were collected by Roland B. Dixon and published in 1912, in Maidu, with a rough dictionary; these have recently been rendered in fine English translations by William Shipley. The Maidu creation story is quite specific in naming obvious features of the landscape in the region of the Feather River; it also establishes the reason for death, the traditions of ancestry, and the relationship of the doorway to the sun's path. Coyote is introduced as a trickster character, connected with both truth and falsehood, joy, humor, and sadness; but he is powerfully involved in the explanation of human mortality. (Dixon, 1982; and Shipley, 1991; 1-64)

Like the Cahuilla, the Maidu pictured a primordial universe that was prior to the earth as we know it. It was water, all water, with no air, earth, light, or darkness. And in the beginning we find an individual who is called Earthmaker and who is responsible for the creation of earth as well as most other things that ultimately come to inhabit earth. Interestingly, Earthmaker never literally makes earth himself but always works through others. In one version of the story collected by Dixon, Earthmaker and Coyote are floating on a raft somewhat anxiously, singing songs which they hope to use in securing some land, where they hope to gain some food. They discover Meadowlark's nest and they stretch it out to form the beginnings of earth. This process proceeds through several stages, with Meadowlark's cooperation, and Coyote's ingenuity. Finally, Earthmaker has land that is big enough to travel about in. (Shipley, 1991; 18-23)

In another Maidu story, also collected by Dixon, Turtle and Father-of-the-Secret-Society are floating on a raft when Earth-Initiate descends to them. Earth is ultimately made when Turtle is sent under water at the end of a very long rope and finally emerges, six years later and covered with green slime, with mud under his nails. Earth-Initiate makes the mud into earth by scraping it out into a ball and allowing the ball to grow into the earth as we know it. (Thompson, 1966; 24)

Living just north of the Maidu, the Achumawi, in a story collected by C. Hart Merriam, conceived of two deities, Tikado Hedache and Annikadel, the former appearing to be a somewhat abstract deity principle and the latter serving the practical roles of creation and arrangement. Annikadel, like the others in these related creation stories does not make earth himself but works through another character, in this case, Apponahah, who becomes the First Person. In this conception, Apponahah forms the earth by capturing some floating foam and causing it to dry out. (Merriam, 1992; 1-3)

After the earth has been created, including the sky, sun, and moon, Earthmaker begins the creation of creatures. He creates them in pairs and he creates them in various shapes and colors. And since he is traveling through the world during this process, he creates them with the distinct intention that they will adopt each of these regions as their particular homes. The creatures are placed in these regions in some nacent form, like seeds, which will grow, through many seasons, and finally be born as male and female and have the capability of giving birth to their own offspring. In a way, this establishes for human society the puberty initiation as the true birthtime of the human person. But it also establishes, in mythical time, a period when humans are only potential and the earth is inhabited only by the First People. Finally, Earthmaker gives songs to his creatures.

There follows a period when Earthmaker and Coyote argue about the nature of the world and, in particular, the idea that humans will enjoy immortal life. Coyote thinks Earthmaker foolish to suggest this and insists that humans should die and stay dead. Earthmaker sets the creatures of the world against Coyote and there follows a period of pursuits from which Coyote always escapes successfully. As the final episode in this duel, Earthmaker contrives to flood the earth and instructs his creatures to make boats for their escape and not to allow Coyote to escape with them. But when the wile Coyote fools them all and escapes with them, Earthmaker gives up and admits his defeat. Earthmaker retires to a far away place in the east from which he never returns.

There follows a period in which Coyote goes to the east where Earthmaker now lives and continues to pursue various issues dealing with life and death and how the earth will be. In many ways this is an opportunity to develop Coyote's character, as a liar, trickster, glutton, and lecher, but it is also, more importantly, a time to lay the mythological foundation for the way the world is --- neither wholly good nor wholly bad, a world in which life has moments of joy as well as moments of pain. There are two clear cases in which this is seen. First, Coyote, who is greatly attracted to some young women in Earthmaker's village boasts that he could sleep with them without ever responding to them. Of course, late into the night, Coyote responds, making his boast a lie, and they disappear. And, second, Earthmaker finally gives up maintaining for immortality and, coincidentally, Coyote's own son is the first to die, having been bitten by rattlesnakes. It will be a world of treachery and death.

Earthmaker and Coyote separate permanently at this point; it is the mythological end of the First People and the beginning of the human era of earth. And it is Coyote's practicality, wile nature, and uncomfortable combination of good and bad that sets the tone of that era. The First People become the real animals of today, and various landmarks remain from these primal events.

The Pomo represent another sub-group of the Central area, one of those who followed the Kuksu religion. While the origin of these people from water, or a great flood, is a predominant theme and while various animals figure heavily into the characterization of the First People, the origin stories associated with Kuksu differ somewhat in possessing a cast of anthropomorphic beings who create the world and establish various traditions. It is these beings, Kuksu himself, for instance, who come to be immitated by members of the secret societies and through whom sacred time is re-created and re-enacted on earth in ritual dance.

The Yurok Origin Stories

As a final example, I want to consider stories of the Yurok people. But these stories differ somewhat from the stories we have just reviewed in that they do not deal with the creation of the earth or of life itself. Like other origin stories, however, they do deal with a time prior to human habitation and with the important events among spiritual beings that must be known in order for humans, now, to effectively order their world. Rather than speculating on how the earth was formed and how the animals and humans were created, the Yurok simply looked backward into the past and saw the world as being essentially as it is today, physically the same world only inhabited by a race of immortal First People who achieved the proper balance of all things and found the way to stabilize the natural world order.

The First People, the wo'gey, were different from the Yuroks themselves, however, and their departure is coincident with the coming of human beings and confusion of the world order. In the Yurok mind this event is never viewed as being too far distant in time; the Yuroks, in other words, saw themselves as recently acquiring the position and responsibility of maintaining the world order, adjusting relationships of humans in the natural balance. Hence, it is through these stories and to the First People that the Yurok must always return in order to renew the world in its healthy and balanced form. These creation stories stand at the roots of the World Renewal rituals. (Keeling, 1992; ch. 3)

An important village in Yurok prehistory was Kenek which is where World Maker fashioned the sky, like a giant fishing net which he threw up into the heavens. Quite near to Kenek was a sky ladder which could be climbed to reach "sky country." But most important to the Yurok was the notion that the sky canopy met the ocean well within the boundaries of the total universe so that another world lay beyond the horizon, where sky and ocean met. In Yurok thought, the ocean's swells were timed so that there was a periodic opening, or "sky hole," at this junction of sky and ocean, which one could pass through in order to come into that other world. Far across the ocean in this other world was where several great spirits lived in plank houses like those of the Yurok. The first among these was Wohpekemeu who possessed the amazing power of being able to will things into reality by impress of his own imagination. Wohpekemeu was impatient, rapacious, and highly sexual; in Yurok mythology he came to live in the ocean beyond the sky hole because he made love with a female skate, Nospeu, who tricked him by clasping him tightly and swimming him out of the world.

The far distant home of Wohpekemeu was also home to Nepewo, headman of the salmon, and Pelintsiek, or Great Dentalium. But all of the immortal First People and monsters had originally lived within the Yurok territories, and this included The Thunders, Sun, Moon, Porpoise, and Earthquake. There was also a bearded dwarf named Megwomits who provided acorns and vegetables. But aside from Wohpekemeu, the most powerful and monstrous creature was Pulekukwerek who was covered with horns and spines and smoked tobacco incessantly. Quite the opposite of Wohpekemeu's high level of sexuality, Pulekukwerek seems to have had nothing to do with females. (Keeling, 1992; 41-47)

The Yurok geography, prepared by Waterman in 1920, showed many locations identified by Yurok informants as specific physical manifestations of both the wo'gey's and various monsters' habitation. These had practical, as well as mythic significance; for instance, an especially important salmon fishing area on the Klamath was also recognized as Wohpekemeu's favorite fishing spot. (Waterman, 1920; 227-272)

Yurok stories utilized this incredible cast of prehistoric characters to assert models of behavior, to suggest how staple foods came to be given to their people, and to account for diverse attributes of their natural environment. Of greatest importance, however, these stories described how various monsters, natural features, and First People had come to terms with their mutual coexistence and how they had discovered the secrets of balancing the world order. The era was viewed as "classic time," that is, as the heroic time when everything was in the right order. Indian life was viewed as a recent corruption of this time; thus, the stories and the hierarchies they portrayed were indicative of how the Yurok people must strive to correct their corrupting influence and right the world.

One of the most important food resources to the Yurok was the seasonal spawning migration of salmon; but the Yurok's sense of corruption and diminished power, kept them on guard to adjust the balances essential to the salmon's maintenance. The chief ritual connected with this was the First Salmon Rite and several stories about salmon were associated with this as its legitimation. The power of the salmon and the sensitivity relating to taking the salmon were deeply respected. The ritualist had usually sweated many times in preparation and had probably avoided any sexual relations. After eating the first salmon of the season, he would probably eat no more salmon until much later in the year. He would approach the netted salmon in the water and talk to it, questioning it over its willingness to be taken and to be eaten in different ways. The salmon, in return, would answer by floating in certain patterns. All the spirits of the great river would watch as the ritualist carefully lifted the first salmon from the net, using a specially crafted hazel-bark twine, strung through the fish's gills. On land, he would carefully lay the salmon on its belly and split it down the backbone with a sharp stone blade. The meat was roasted by a fire and eaten entirely. If all etiquette had been properly performed by the ritualist, not only would the people have received permission to fish for salmon through the season, now upon them, but the spirits of the river and Nepewo, himself, would provide an ample harvest. Nepewo's (salmon) nature as a mythic character is essential because his immortal reality guards the salmon's annual return. Nepewo speaks in stories, saying, "I shall not be taken. I shall travel as far as the river extends. I shall leave my scales on nets and they will turn into salmon, but I myself shall go by and not be killed." (Keeling, 1992; 51-3; also see Kroeber, 1976; esp. 218-23)

 

This concludes our discussion of origin stories as some of them are told. It is important to all of us to have a sense of how we began; but I have tried to suggest more than this, in particular, that the way in which we view where and how we began is also essentially tied to who we are in the present, as well as who we will become. It is important to have an anchor; but having a rudder is of even greater value. I want to turn, now, to another kind of story. It is what archaeologists tell us about our origins.

 
1 Miwok

The Beginning of Thunder

[Miwok Indians of Tuolumne county]
Bear's sister-in-law, Deer, had two beautiful daughters, called Fawns. Bear was a horrible, wicked woman, and she wanted the Fawns for herself. So this is what she did.

One day she invited Deer to accompany her when she went to pick clover. The two Fawns remained at home. While resting during the day, after having picked much clover, Bear offered to pick out lice from Deer's head. While doing so she watched her chance, took Deer unaware, and bit her neck so hard that she killed her. Then she devoured her, all excepting the liver. This she placed in the bottom of a basket filled with clover, and took it home. She gave the basket of clover to the Fawns to eat.

When they asked where their mother was, she replied, "She will come soon. You know she is always slow and takes her time in coming home."

So the Fawns ate the clover, but when they reached the bottom of the basket, they discovered the liver. Then they knew that their aunt had killed their mother.

"We had better watch out, or she will kill us too," they said to one another.

They decided to leave without saying anything and go to their grandfather. So the next day when Bear was away they got together all the baskets and awls which belonged to Deer and departed. They left one basket, however, in the house.

When Bear returned and found the Fawns missing she hunted for their tracks and set out after them. After she had tracked them a short distance, the basket, left at home, whistled. Bear ran back to the house, thinking the Fawns had returned. But she could not find them and so set out again, following their tracks.

The Fawns, meanwhile, had proceeded on their journey, throwing awls and baskets in different directions. These awls and baskets whistled. Each time Bear thought that the Fawns were whistling, and left the trail in search of them. And each time that Bear was fooled in this manner, she became angrier and angrier.

She shouted in her anger. "Those girls are making a fool of me. When I capture them I'll eat them."

The awls only whistled in response and Bear ran toward the sound. There was no one there.

Finally, the Fawns, far ahead of Bear, came to the river. On the opposite side they saw Daddy Longlegs. They asked him to stretch his leg across the river so that they might cross safely. They told him that Bear had killed their mother and they were fleeing from her. So when Bear at last came to the river, Daddy Longlegs stretched his leg over again, but when the wicked aunt of the two Fawns, walking on his leg, reached the middle of the river, Daddy Longlegs gave a sudden jump and threw her into the river. But Bear did not drown.

She managed to swim to the shore, where she again started in pursuit of the Fawns. But the Fawns were far ahead of their aunt, and soon reached their grandfather's house. Their grandfather was Lizard. They told him of the terrible fate which had overtaken their mother.

"Where is Bear?" he asked them.

"She is following us and will soon be here," they replied.

Upon hearing this Lizard threw two large white stones into the fire and heated them. When Bear arrived outside of Lizard's house she could not find an entrance. She asked Lizard how she should enter, and he told her that the only entrance was through the smokehole, so she must climb on the roof and enter that way. He also told her that when she entered she must close her eyes tightly and open wide her mouth. Bear did as she was instructed, for she was very anxious to get the two Fawns, whom Lizard had told her were in his house. But as Bear entered, eyes closed and mouth open, Lizard took the red hot stones from the fire and thrust them down her throat. Bear rolled from the top of Lizard's house dead.

Lizard then skinned her and dressed her hide, after which he cut it in two pieces, one large and one small. The larger piece he gave to the older Fawn, the smaller piece to the younger. Then Lizard instructed the girls to run about and see what kind of noise was made by Bear's skin. The girls proceeded to run around, the skins making all kinds of loud noises. Lizard, watching them, laughed and said to himself, "The girls are all right. They are Thunders. I think I had better send them up to the sky."

When the Fawns came to Lizard to tell him that they were going to return home, he said, "Do not go home. I have a good place for you. I shall send you to the sky."

So the girls went up to the sky. There Lizard could hear them running about. Their aunt's skin, which they had kept, makes the loud noises, that we call thunder. When the Fawn girls ran around in the sky Rain and Hail fell.

So now whenever the girls (Thunders, as Lizard called them) run around above, rain begins to fall.

 
1 Wasco

Coyote and Multnomah Falls

The Big River, or Great River, in the stories of the Northwest Indians is the Columbia. The Big Shining Mountains are the Rockies.

"Long, long ago, when the world was young and people had not come out yet," said an elderly Indian years ago, "the animals and the birds were the people of this country. They talked to each other just as we do. And they married, too."

Coyote (ki-o-ti) was the most powerful of the animal people, for he had been given special power by the Spirit Chief. For one thing, he changed the course of Big River, leaving Dry Falls behind. In some stories, he was an animal; in others he was a man, sometimes a handsome young man.

In that long ago time before this time, when all the people and all the animals spoke the same language, Coyote made one of his frequent trips along Great River. He stopped when he came to the place where the water flowed under the Great Bridge that joined the mountains on one side of the river with the mountains on the other side. There he changed himself into a handsome young hunter.

When travelling up the river the last time, he had seen a beautiful girl in a village not far from the bridge. He made up his mind that he would ask the girl's father if he might have her for his wife. The girl's father was a chief. When the handsome young man went to the chief's lodge, he carried with him a choice gift for the father in return for his daughter.

The gift was a pile of the hides and furs of many animals, as many skins as Coyote could carry. He made the gift large and handsome because he had learned that the man who would become the husband of the girl would one day become the chief of the tribe.

The chief knew nothing about the young man except that he seemed to be a great hunter. The gift was pleasing in the father's eyes, but he wanted his daughter to be pleased.

"She is my only daughter," the chief said to the young hunter. "And she is very dear to my heart. I shall not be like other fathers and trade her for a pile of furs. You will have to win the heart of my daughter, for I want her to be happy."

So Coyote came to the chiefs lodge every day, bringing with him some small gift that he thought would please the girl. But he never seemed to bring the right thing. She would shyly accept his gift and the run away to the place where the women sat in the sun doing their work with deerskins or to the place where the children were playing games.

Every day Coyote became more eager to win the beautiful girl. He thought and thought about what gifts to take to her. "Perhaps the prettiest flower hidden in the forest," he said to himself one day, "will be the gift that will make her want to marry me."

He went to the forest beside Great River and searched for one whole day. Then he took to the chief's lodge the most beautiful flower he had found. He asked to see the chief.

"I have looked all day for this flower for your daughter," said Coyote to the chief. "If this does not touch her heart, what will? What gift can I bring that will win her heart?"

The chief was the wisest of all the chiefs of a great tribe. He answered, "Why don't you ask my daughter? Ask her, today, what gift will make her heart the happiest of all hearts."

As the two finished talking, they saw the girl come out of the forest. Again Coyote was pleased and excited by her beauty and her youth. He stepped up to her and asked, "Oh, beautiful one, what does your heart want most of all? I will get for you anything that you name. This flower that I found for you in a hidden spot in the woods is my pledge."

Surprised, or seeming to be surprised, the girl looked at the young hunter and at the rare white flower he was offering her.

"I want a pool," she answered shyly. "A pool where I may bathe every day hidden from all eyes that might see."

Then, without accepting the flower that Coyote had searched for so many hours, she ran away. As before, she hurried to play with her young friends.

Coyote turned to her father. "It is well. In seven suns I will come for you and your daughter. I will take you to the pool she asked for. The pool will be for her alone."

For seven suns Coyote worked to build the pool that would win the heart of the girl he wished to marry. First he cut a great gash in the hills on the south side of Great River. Then he lined that gash with trees and shrubs and ferns to the very top of a high wall that looked toward the river.

Then he went to the bottom of the rock wall and slanted it back a long way, far enough to hollow out a wide pool. He climbed up the wall again and went far back into the hills. There he made a stream come out of the earth, and he sent it down the big gash he had made, to fall over the slanting rock wall. From the edge of that wall the water dropped with spray and mist. And so the water made, at the bottom, a big screen that hid the pool from all eyes.

When he had finished his work, Coyote went to the village to invite the chief and his daughter to see what he had made. When they had admired the new waterfall, he showed them the pool that lay behind it and the spray. He watched the eyes of the girl.

She looked with smiling eyes, first at the pool and the waterfall in front of it, and then at the young hunter who had made them for her. He could see that she was pleased. He could see that at last he had won her heart. She told her father that she was willing to become the wife of the young hunter.

In that long ago time before this time, two old grandmothers sat all day on top of the highest mountains. One sat on the top of the highest mountain north of Great River. The other sat on the highest mountain south of it. When the one on the north side talked, she could be heard eastward as far as the Big Shining Mountains, westward as far as the big water where the sun hides every night, and northward to the top of the world.

The grandmother on the south side of the river also could be heard as far west as the big water and as far south as anyone lived. The two old women saw everything that was done, and every day they told all the people on both sides of the river.

Now they saw the chief's daughter go every morning to bathe in the pool, and they saw Coyote wait for her outside the screen of waterfall and spray. The old grandmothers heard the two sing to each other and laugh together. The grandmothers laughed at the pair, raised their voices, and told all the people what they saw and heard.

Soon the chief's daughter knew that all the people were laughing at her--all the people from the big water to the Big Shining Mountains, all the people from the top of the world to as far south as anyone lived.

She was no longer happy. She no longer sang with joy. One day she asked Coyote to allow her to go alone to the pool. The old grandmothers watched her go behind the waterfall. Then they saw her walk from the pool and go down into Great River. Her people never saw her again.

Coyote, in a swift canoe, went down Great River in search of her. He saw her floating and swimming ahead of him, and he paddled as fast as he could. He reached her just before she was carried out into the big water where the sun hides at night.

There the two of them, Coyote and the girl, were turned into little ducks, little summer ducks, floating on the water.

That was a long, long time ago. But even today, when the sun takes its last look at the high cliff south of Great River, two summer ducks swim out to look back at the series of waterfalls that dash down the high mountain. They look longest at the lowest cascade and the spray that hides the tree-fringed pool behind them.

If those who want to understand will be silent and listen, they will hear the little song that the chief's daughter and Coyote used to sing to each other every morning after she had bathed in the pool. The song begins very soft and low, lifts sharply to a high note, and then fades gently away.

 
1 ?

In the Beginning

In the beginning there was nothing but soft darkness, and Raven beat and beat with his wings until the darkness packed itself down into solid earth. Then there was only the icy black ocean and a narrow strip of shoreline. But people came soon to live along the coast. And Raven felt sorry for them, poor, sickly things, who never had any sunshine. They lived by chewing on nuts and leaves, and crushed the roots of the alder trees for something to drink.

"I must help them," thought Raven; and he flew down to earth, calling, "Ga, ga, ga!" and gathered the people together. Like ghosts, they were, shadowy and pale in the misty darkness.

"Raven has come!" they told each other. "It is Raven-Who-Sets- Things-Right."

The poor things were encouraged, and they gathered round to see what he would do.

Raven plucked a branch from an alder, and scattered the leaves on the surface of a pool. At once the leaves were sucked under, and the water started to bubble. After the pool had boiled for a moment, the surface cleared and fish began to jump there. So that was how Raven gave the people fish.

But now that they had fish to eat, they were thirstier than ever. They called on Raven, and down he came, and the people said, "Here is Raven-Who-Sets-Things-Right."

Raven knew that there was only one spring of fresh water in all the world. A man named Ganook had built his house around it, and refused to give any away.

"Maybe," thought Raven, "I can drink enough to carry some back to the people."

So he went to the house and asked to come in, and Ganook was very glad to have his company. Raven sat down and made polite conversation, and pretty soon he asked for a drink of water.

"Very well," said Ganook grudgingly, and showed him the spring, a crystal pool welling up in a basin of rock.

"Don't drink it all!" Ganook warned him. "You know that's the only fresh water in all the world."

Raven knew it well; that was what he had come for. But he said, "Just a sip!" and drank until he staggered.

"Hold on there, Raven!" cried Ganook. "Are you trying to drink the well dry?"

That was just what Raven was trying to do, but he passed it off lightly. He made himself comfortable close to the fire and said, "Ganook, let me tell you a story."

Then Raven started out on a long dull story about four dull brothers who went on a long dull journey. As he went along he made up dull things to add to it, and Ganook's eyelids drooped, and Raven spoke softly, and more and more slowly, and Ganook's chin dropped on his chest.

"So then," said Raven gently, with his eyes on Ganook, "on and on through the long gray valley through the soft gray fog went the four tall gray brothers. And now, snore!" And Ganook began to snore.

Quick as a thought, Raven darted to the spring and stuck his beak into the water. But no sooner had he lifted his head to swallow than Ganook started up with a terrible snort, and said, "Go on, go on, I'm listening! I'm not asleep." Then he shook his head and blinked his eyes and said, "Where are you, Raven? What are you doing?"

"Just walking around for exercise," Raven assured him, and back he went, and in a low, unchanging voice he went on with the dull story of the four brothers. No sooner had he started than Ganook began to nod, and his chin dropped down, and he jerked it back and opened his eyes and scowled at Raven, and nodded his head and said, "Go on! What next?" and his head dropped down upon his chest.

"So on and on," said Raven slowly, "over the hills, went the four tall gray brothers. The air was thick and gray around them. Fog was stealing softly over the mountains. Fog before them, fog behind them, soft, cloudy fog. And now, snore!" And Ganook began to snore.

Quietly Raven slipped to the spring, and, glub, glub, glub, he drank up the water until the pool was dry. But as he lifted his head for a last long gulp, Ganook leaped up and saw what he was doing.

"So, Raven!" shouted Ganook. "You think you can lull me to sleep and steal my water!"

He picked up his club and started to chase Raven round and round the fire. Raven would run a few steps and flap his big wings and rise a few inches off the floor. Then with a last tremendous flap he went sailing towards the open smoke hole. But he had swallowed so much water that he stuck fast in the opening, and there he struggled, while Ganook shouted, "You squint-eyed Raven, I've got you now, Raven! You miserable thief!" And Ganook threw green alder logs on the fire and made a great smoke which came billowing up and almost choked Raven to death.

Raven hung there, strangling and struggling, until at last he pulled free with a mighty wrench and went wobbling heavily across the sky. He was so heavy he flew in a crooked line, and as he flew he spurted little streams of water from his bill. These became rivers, first the Nass and the Sitka, then the Taku and the Iskut and the Stikine. Since Raven flew in a crooked line, all the rivers are crooked as snakes. Here and there he scattered single drops, and these became narrow creeks and salmon pools.

And so Raven brought fresh water to the people but he bore the mark of that smoke hole ever after. He had gone to Ganook as a great, white, snowy creature, but from that day on, Raven was black, as black as the endless sky of the endless night.

 
3 New Zealand
1 How Maui fished New Zealand out of the water & made daylight & discovered fire

The Myth is how Maui fished New Zealand out of the water and he made the daylight and discovered fire.

This story is about a young boy that is called Maui who grew up in the sea with the sea god. The ancestor from the sky taught him wisdom. Then when he was big he returned to his family but his brothers didn't know him. His mum knew him and his brothers were all jealous of him. So the brothers thought that it was a bit strange that they didn't know him and his mother did.

Their mother told the two brothers to catch fish but Maui was already in the canoe playing with the fish spears. Maui went fishing with his brothers and he showed them how to make barbs on their spears so they didn't lose the fish off the end. Then he showed them how to fix their eel pots so the eels couldn't swim out. He told his brothers it was easy to make the eel trap. "You just have to be cleverer than the eels." This insult make his brothers angry and they wouldn't take Maui fishing.

So one day he hid in the boat and went fishing. Maui pulled up a huge fish. It was so big it covered the sea as far as they could see. This fish became the islands of New Zealand. The island became the home for Maui and his family and the Maoris.

They liked their new home, but then Maui noticed the people had to work fast because there were not many hours of sunlight. Maui asked his brothers to help him to slow down the sun. His brothers had seen the things Maui could do and they decided it was silly to be jealous so they agreed to help him.

With Maui's wisdom from his ancestor in the sky he could make ropes with magical powers. Maui and his brothers caught the sun in ropes and Maui wouldnÕt let the sun go until he promised to go more slowly over the sky. The Maoris liked the longer days but now they needed fire to keep them warm at night and to cook with. So Maui went through a hole in the earth to meet Mahuika who had fingernails made of fire. Maui asked her how to make fire and she gave him a fingernail. So he threw it in the sea.

But he still didn't know how to make fire. So the next day he went again and Mahuika threw a bit of her fingernail on some dry grass and the whole Earth got in flames. Then Maui asked the ancestor to help him and a huge wave went over the whole Earth. Mahuika saw the wave and just before the fire went out, she threw two sparks in a tree where they stayed until the Maoris learned to make fire with wood.