The Mohave Creation Story Adapted From The Telling of Edward S Curtis

The Mohave creation story adapted from the telling of Edward S Curtis


In the beginning, there was earth and sky. They came together and from this came Matevilye and Mastamho. People were born but they could barely move and could not speak. All this happened at aviikwame.

Matevilye willed into existence the Dark House, but nobody could see because it was dark. He planned the making of the sun and the moon, gave speech to the people and made streams and mountains and things to eat.

He called the people and named the parts of the Dark House without speaking. At the south door sat the people, to the north Matevilye and Mastamho and two medicine men, Matochipa and Kokomat. They were to speak for him.

Matevillye left the house and was bewitched by his daughter, Big Frog. She fled and he returned to the Dark House to die. He summoned Bird, who built a hanging nest, Bug, who threw dirt far, and Badger, Mole, Hawk and Road Runner. He told them what to do with his body.

A hole was dug and wood was piled up by it. They lay the body of Matevilye on the wood. Fire was made with fire sticks and the pyre ignited. The nonhuman persons surrounded the fire.

Coyote jumped over them, grabbed his heart and ran away. Mastamho made a wind that blew the sand that filled the hole.

For four days it rained and the water rose higher and higher. Mastamho led the people to aviikwame where they were safe. He then blew on the water four times and it receded. Mud was covering the earth.

Mastamho planted the seeds of trees and vegetation in the mud. Then he made the sun, the moon and the stars. Then, to make more room for the people, he walked in the four directions, thus extending the earth.

He struck the ground and water flowed to the south on to the ocean. This was the Colorado River. Then he separated the people into tribes and gave each a language and a home. For this he has also been called Pahochach, the one who placed.

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