Chemehuevi Creation Stories from the records of A Kroeber and C Laird

Chemehuevi creation story – – Kroeber

Water covered the world. Coyote and his older brother Panther built a house on a peak in Nevada, now called Charlston Peak. Everything else was water. An old woman who lived in the West wanted the water to go down. When the world became dry Coyote looked everywhere for men. Coyote then took a louse and made it into a woman. Louse searched the earth to see its extent. When she returned Coyote married her. They then traveled to the ocean where the old woman lived. The old woman made a basket where Louse laid eggs. Coyote decided to carry the basket to Charlston Peak. The basket was too heavy to carry all the way to the peak so Coyote made a hole in it and the eggs fell out. Each of these became a tribe, each with a name. Some of them were from the North and became the Americans. The tribes scattered. From his excrement coyote made the Chemehuevi, the Mohave, and the southern tribes. That is why their skin is so dark. Coyote killed a handsome young Chemehuevi man and distributed his ribs, arms, legs and head to the tribes and told them to eat, which is why they now eat deer and bear and other animals.

The sun shone all the time and enemies came from the East to kill Coyote’s older brother. The elder brother wound something around a stick and the enemies found this and when it unwound night came. Coyote went to the East to avenge his brother. All the property of Panther was piled to be buried but coyote wanted to make it day again. Coyote made of bow and arrows and shot birds as they came by hoping that this would make it light. He shot many kinds and it did not become light. He shot the yellow hammer and day returned.

After burning all the possessions of Panther he traveled to the East and found the enemies dancing with Panther’s hair on a stick. Coyote grabbed the hair and ran with the enemies in pursuit. Coyote ran to Charlston peak. The enemies saw him there and went after him but he left and went North.

 

How ocean woman made the land – – [Chemehuevi] – – Laird

Ocean Woman in the form of a worm dropped into the water from the sky. She crumbled some earth and dropped it in the water where it floated. Ocean Woman, a worm, went onto it and spread it with her hands and feet. She then made Coyote from dirt in her crotch. Coyote looked in all directions and told Ocean Woman that it was wide enough. Ocean Woman then made Wolf and Mountain Lion. Wolf was Coyote’s elder brother. He was more sensible – Coyote had no sense.

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