Kamia Creation Story




Kamia Creation Story–Adapted from the Telling of E. W. Gifford
The earth and the sky produced five beings at the beginning of the world two of them, Chiyuk and Chiyi, went West where they took handfuls of red ants. They put them on the ground and stirred them around which dried the earth which was wet. Two of the others, Pukumat and Mastamho, were there as well. Pukumat was chief over the people. When he died Mastamho took his place.
Chiyuk and Chiyi came up from the earth. Chiyi threw earth in his brother’s eyes, blinding him. Chiyuk and Chiyi made birds. Chiyuk, because he was blind, made imperfect birds. The sick birds were put on the water where the two brothers put green leaves which healed them. The two brothers reported to Pukumat who said, “Alright.”
Chiyuk and Chiyi had foxes, a brown one for Chiyuk and a red one for Chiyi. Chiyuk went hunting and when he returned he found that Chiyi have switched the foxes. Chiyuk became angry and went under the ground. He would return to the surface every other month.
Chiyi was left on the surface and put his hands on the earth to brace it and disease came up between his fingers. Chiyuk made all the birds sick.
Chiyi made all the animals in human form but they weren’t people. He gave them to Pukumat. At night Pukumat made a fire and all the people came to it along with the moon.
Moon said that he would follow the sun and wanted to die in the East and was reborn in the West. Moon gave names to six of the months. Coyote said this was alright.
Two little birds said they would die and said people would to. Otherwise, there would be too many people on the earth. Lizard died and Pukumat told the other animals to cremate him.
Frog took a hair from Pukumat, her father. She gave it to another frog who swallowed it, making Pukumat sick. Pukumat went to four different mountains to ask the gods there to cure him. At the fourth one he died.
His blood poured out and became Mouse. Mouse told the people when to gather plants for food. People went to Wikami and when they were away Mouse stole food, becoming the first to steal.
Pukumat’s body was cremated at Wikami. Coyote went to the sun to get fire for the pyre and when he was away it was ignited. He ran back, jumped over the nonhuman persons and grabbed Pukumat’s heart and ran off with it and ate it.
Mastamho asked each person if he would like to be leader. Donkeys said he would do it but Mastamho said “No.” He told donkey he would carry water and things on his back. Donkey said “No,” and he turned into his present form. All the other people turned into animals. They all left Mastamho alone on Wikami.
Mastamho then created human beings. He first made the Yuma, then the Chemehuevi and then the Mission Indians. The Chemehuevi were pygmies. He made 10 of each kind. The pygmies grew to full size. He made them all of clay.
From the sky White Woman came down to Wikami. Mastamho gave her clothing which he told her not to burn at funerals. The people wanted everything. He told them to settle at different places. From White Woman two White People were born.
Mastamho gave them coins and swords and other European articles. She bore many more White People who scattered over the earth. He threw one of the swords into the river. The other people said they had nothing, no pottery.
Out in the ocean to the south the great snake lay. He created Chiyuk and Chiyi. He held all knowledge.
Mastamho sent a Kamia person to invite the great snake to the mourning ceremony, the Keruk, at Wikami. The great snake tried to enter the Keruk house. It could only get part of its body in. The people enlarged the house so he could enter. There was no room for the people and they had to leave.
Mastamho said to burn the Keruk house down so that the people would get the different songs from the snake’s body. The songs all issued from his body as spirit persons. The people got their different songs. Mastamho said to leave Wikami and go to their different lands.
The tribes formed different alliances. The Mission Indians was one, the Cocopa, Maricopa and Pima was another. The other was the Kamia, Yuma, Mohave, Chemehuevi and Yavapai.

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