Miwok Creation Story

Miwok creation story – – Mariposa County

There were six different peoples who lived in this world before the coming of the Indians. The first of these people was just like the Indians and they existed until a cannibal giant, Ululiu came. He traveled the world with a sack on his back in which he put people to eat. Soon he had eaten nearly everybody. Ululiu could not be killed and unless he was shot through the heart which was in his heel. The people did not know this but they got together to discuss what to do. Fly found Ululiu asleep and bit him all over. Ululiu did not react until Fly bit him on the heel and he knew that there was where Ululiu’s heart was. Fly told the people. The people devised a plan: they placed six awls along the path that Ululiu walked on. One punctured his heel and he died. The second race of people was the bird people. A spirit named Yelelkin stole most of these people. The remainder left because the world was overrun with black ants. That was the end of that people. The third race were half human and half animal. These people traveled into the present and turned into the birds and animals. Raven, who was a great hunter, was one of them. Raven was originally white and he went to hunt deer and when he went to hunt deer they saw him. He smeared himself with charcoal which is why he is that way today. The fourth race was like the third, part human and animal. Skunk was the chief of this fourth race and he forced people to hunt for him but only fed them on acorn mush. He hunted by spraying his scent at the deer who ran away to where the people were hiding. They shot the deer. The people resented the way they were treated by Skunk and decided to kill him. They could not do it above ground because the scent would be released. So badger dug a hole, and filled it with hot coals. When Skunk ran over it he would fall in. They invited Skunk to a dance and praised him as he danced. He sank into the hole and tried to release his scent to no avail. He died and the people feasted on all the dried deer meat Skunk had hoarded. The people turned into animals. The fifth race disappeared, which is a mystery to this day. The sixth race came about when the earth was covered with water. Coyote told Frog he would create food and people. Frog said that they could not live without land. Coyote told Duck and Water Snake to dive to see if they could come up with some land. They failed but Frog came up with two handfuls of sand. Coyote scattered this about and created land. He planted food plants like pinenuts and acorns. He gathered six wise men. They said Coyote should create people immediately. He asked if they should have feet like his. Lizard said that they should have feet like his. Coyote agreed. He created people with five fingers like Lizard’s. Coyote told Frog, “You like the water so that’s where you’ll live.” He told each animal what form they would take and where they would live. Since then the world would be inhabited by people from there on out.

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