Ohlone Creation Story

Ohlone creation story – – Monterey County

Eagle, Hummingbird and Coyote stood on top of a mountain after the world was created. Water rose up toward their feet. Eagle carried the other two away to a higher mountain until the water went down. Coyote went out to see if the world was dry. He called back that the world was dry. He checked at the river and found a beautiful girl. Eagle told him she was Coyote’s wife so that people could be raised again. The girl and Coyote married and the children became the forefathers of the different Indian tribes. Coyote gave people bows and arrows to hunt rabbits. He told them to eat acorn mush and bread. He told him to eat seafoods. Coyote thought he was smarter than everyone but Hummingbird was smarter. Coyote was jealous of him because of that he smashed Hummingbird but he came back to life. Coyote wondered how to kill Hummingbird. Some told him to eat him. He did but Hummingbird scratched his insides so he had let him out. Coyote told his wife about the animals in the ocean but he did not tell her about a frightful one. She came to the beach and the animal frightened her so much she fell over dead. Coyote carried her on his back and laid her by a fire and sang and danced three times. She came back to life. Coyote did things that were stingy and mean. He caught salmon and put them in the fire but told his children there was no salmon. He’d reach in and pull out a piece of it. His children thought he was eating fire. They wanted to also but Coyote told them not to, they would be burned.

Lake Miwok Creation Story

Lake Miwok creation story – – Lake County

Hawk Chief complained to Coyote that there were no humans. Coyote became angry but he created people out of wood. He carved various types of wood, and stuck them in the ground around his house and danced. In the morning the people were there: Blue Jay, Deer, Dog etc. But the people couldn’t talk. He danced again and in the morning the people could talk. They complained about the fleas. Coyote said that he and his grandson would go away. Coyote called his wife, Frog Old Woman, and told her to get ready. He told the people that when they died they would come to his land. But only dead people. So Frog Old Woman, Hawk Chief and Coyote went away.

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.

Mono Creation Story

Mono creation story – – Madera County

In the beginning everything was water. Prairie Falcon and Crow surveyed it all from a log sticking up from the water. They decided to call Duck to make a world above the water. Prairie Falcon called and asked what number he dreamed. Duck said two but Prairie Falcon told him to dream for three days and in the dream to dive to the bottom and bring up some land. He dreamed and dove and died under the water, his body floating to the surface. Prairie Falcon brought him back to life but sent Coot down below to bring up some land. He died too and Prairie Falcon brought him back to life. This time he sent Grebe below. He reached the bottom and brought up some sand but he passed out of the dream state on the way up and died. Prairie Falcon brought them back to life and asked him if he had gotten any earth. But the sand had passed out of his hands. Prairie Falcon had found some sand under Grebe’s nails. He threw it in all the directions and this became the world. Things did not go right. Condor had a spring which he brought victims to and beheaded, the blood flowing into the spring. Condor built a fire under the spring to flood the world. He tried to flood Ground Squirrel’s house. Some of them escaped but he captured one and brought it to the spring where he put it aside while he took a drink. Condor’s daughter spoke to Ground Squirrel. “You must kill him or he will flood the world.”  Ground Squirrel cut off Condor’s head but it flooded the world, killing everybody in the world that Prairie Falcon and Crow created.

Maidu Creation Story

Maidu creation story – – Butte County

Originally it all was dark and covered with water. A raft, being Turtle, appeared. Earth Initiate descended on a rope of feathers onto the raft. Turtle wanted to know where Earth Initiate came from. “From above,” he said. Turtle asked if he could make some land and some people. Turtle said to tie a stone around his left arm and he would dive to get some land. Turtle dove and was gone for six years. When he came up he was covered with green slime and only a little earth was under his nails. The rest had washed away. Earth Initiate rolled it in his palms into a ball and put it on the raft. He turned to look at it three times and found it had grown large. When he looked the fourth time it had grown to the size of the world. Turtle asked if he would make light to end the perpetual darkness. Earth Initiate told his sister to come up and she was the sun. He told her which way to travel and the sun went down. Earth Initiate told his brother to come up. It was the moon. Then he called each of the stars by name and they came up. Earth Initiate made an oak tree with 12 kinds of acorns. Then the two of them set out to travel the world. Turtle couldn’t keep up. Earth Initiate made the birds, the trees and the animals. Then he said he would make people. From red clay he made two figures, a man and a woman. He lay them at each of his sides and lay down. The woman tickled him but he didn’t laugh. He put a piece of wood in the ground and it burst into flames. He called the man Kuksu and the woman Morning Star Woman. Coyote saw the man and the woman and asked how he had made them. He told Coyote and he said he would do it too. Coyote lay the man and the woman by his side and the woman tickled him and he laughed. Because of this the new creatures had glassy eyes. Earth Initiate told him he shouldn’t have laughed. Coyote lied and said that he didn’t. It was the first lie in the world. The earth filled with people. Earth Initiate came to Kuksu and told him to take the people to a lake. He said he would make him an old man. Kuksu gathered the people and took them to the lake where he turned into an old man and fell in. There was great turmoil in the water and when Kuksu reappeared he was a young man again. Earth Initiate told the people that when they grow old they should come to the lake and they would be made young again. Life went easily and well. Coyote said he would change that. He told the people there would be a mourning ceremony and they should burn property. The people didn’t know what he meant. He told the people to burn all the property on the poles that were erected. He said that there would be games. He said that to begin with there would be a foot race. Kuksu did not attend because he knew death was coming to the world. Rattlesnake said he knew what to do. He hid along the course of the foot race. Along came Coyote’s son and Rattlesnake bit him and he died. This was the first death. The people picked up Coyote’s son and brought him to Coyote. He began to cry. Everyone else cried too. These were the first tears. Coyote took his son to the lake and threw him in but nothing happened. On the fifth day Coyote went to Kuksu with four sacks of beads. He begged Kuksu to return his son to life. Kuksu lowered the body on a bearskin with the beads into a grave. He said that this is how things were to be done. And the world would be made over. The people were burning offerings to the dead when suddenly they all started speaking different languages. Earth Initiate told Kuksu what to do. Kuksu spoke to the people, for he could speak all the languages. He taught them to cook and hunt and gave them all the laws and set the dances and ceremonies. He sent the people to the four quarters of the world and that is how it is today.

Maidu Creation Story

Maidu creation story from Butte County

Originally all was dark and covered with water. A raft, being Turtle, appeared. Earth Initiate descended on a rope of feathers onto the raft. Turtle wanted to know where Earth Initiate came from. “From above,” he said. Turtle asked if he would make some land and some people. Turtle said to tie a stone around his left arm and he would dive to get some land. Turtle dived and was gone for six years. When he came up he was covered with green slime and only had little earth under his nails. The rest had washed away. Earth initiate rolled it in his palms into a ball and put it on the raft. He turned to look at it three times and found it had grown large. When he looked the fourth time it had grown to the size of the world. Turtle asked if he would make light to end the perpetual darkness. Earth Initiate told his sister to come up and she was the sun. He told her which way to travel and the sun went down. Earth Initiate told his brother to come up. It was the moon. Then he called each of the stars by name and they came up. Earth Initiate made an oak tree with 12 kinds of acorns. Then the two of them set out to travel the world. Turtle couldn’t keep up. Earth Initiate made the birds, the trees and the animals. Then he said he would make people. From red clay he made two figures, a man and a woman. He laid them at each of his sides and lay down. The woman tickled him but he didn’t laugh. He put a piece of wood in the ground and it burst into flames. He named the man Kuksu and the woman Morning Star Woman. Coyote saw the man and the woman and asked how he had made them. He told Coyote and he said he would do it too. Coyote laid the man and the woman by his side and the woman tickled him but he laughed. Because of this the new creatures had glassy eyes. Earth Initiate told him he shouldn’t have laughed. Coyote lied and said that he didn’t. It was the first lie in the world. The earth filled with people. Earth Initiate came to Kuksu and told him to take the people to a lake. He said he would make him an old man. Kuksu gathered the people and took them to the lake where he turned into an old man and fell in. There was a great turmoil in the water and when Kuksu reappeared he was a young man again. Earth Initiate told the people that when they grow old they should come to the lake and they would be made young again. Life went easy and well. Coyote said he would change that. He told the people there would be a mourning ceremony and they would burn property. The people didn’t know what he meant. He told the people to burn all the property on the poles that were erected. He said there would be games. He said to begin with a foot race. Kuksu did not attend because he knew death was coming to the world. Rattlesnake said he knew what to do. He hid along the course of the foot race. Along came Coyote’s son. Rattlesnake bit him and he died. This was the first death. People picked up Coyote’s son and brought him to Coyote who began to cry. Everyone else cried too. These were the first tears. Coyote took his son to the lake and threw him in but nothing happened. On the fifth day Coyote went to Kuksu with four sacks of beads. He begged Kuksu to return his son to life. Kuksu lowered the body on a bearskin with the beads. He said that this is how things were to be done. Then the world would be made over. The people were burning offerings to the dead when suddenly they all started speaking different languages. Earth Initiate told Kuksu what to do. Kuksu spoke to the people, for he could speak all the languages. He taught them to cook and hunt and gave them all their laws and set the dances and ceremonies. He sent the people to the four corners of the world and that is how it is today.

Wiyot Creation Story

Wiyot creation story from Humboldt County

Above Old Man made the first people but they were not formed right and could not talk right. They were furry. He decided to get rid of them by flooding the earth. Condor knew what was going to happen so he wove a tight basket and he and his sister got into it and closed it tight. When it stopped being tossed by the waves they got out and found that the flood had subsided. There were no people. Condor flew about and found birds and the tracks of a raccoon. He called his sister. She didn’t like being called like that. He called her his wife and she liked that. They married and a baby was born. From then on well-formed people were born. Above Old Man was content with the new people. All this was after the flood.

Yuki Creation Story

Yuki creation story from Mendocino County

Taikomol and Coyote floated on the water which was the only thing around. Taikomol took the shape of a human. He made a basket from his body. From the basket he made earth. He fastened the four corners of the earth and made the sky from four whale skins. He made people from sticks of wood. He wished that the people could live forever. However, Coyote’s son died. He was burned. Taikomol offered to bring him to life but Coyote said “no.” Because of this people do not come to life after they die.

Kato Creation Story

Kato creation story from Mendocino County

Before this world there was another. Thunder and Nagaicho, gods, looked at the sky which was made of sandstone. They decided to stretch the sky to the east. At each of the four corners of the sky they set up a great rock. They made flowers. To the east they made an opening for the clouds. To the west they made an opening for the fog from the ocean. They made clouds. They made man from the earth. They put grass in man’s stomach and heart. His liver and kidneys were made of clay. His windpipe was a reed and his blood was made of pulverized Redstone mixed with water. They split his leg and made a woman of it. The sun and the moon were made to travel during the day and night. A flood came and killed all the animals. There was only water. It was dark. The earth with its two horns stood up and walked. Nagaicho put clay with reeds and brush and trees on the horns of the earth. People appeared. The first people were the animals. Nagaicho made the seaweed and the shellfish for the people to eat. He made redwoods. He made creeks and oak trees that bore acorns to eat. He walked all over the earth with his dog. He left this world to live in the north.

Pomo Creation Story III

Pomo Creation Story I I I – – adapted from the telling of Edwin Loeb

Marumda was like a man and lived alone in a cloud house. Kuksu was like a brother to him and knew his ideas as well as himself. Marumda talked to himself, then took the hair from his head and asked the hair to point him in the direction of his brother. He came to Kuksu’s house that was a cloud house like his own. He suggested to Kuksu that they create the world. Kuksu took some gum from under his arms and rolled it into a ball. He added a piece of feather with it. He gave it to Marumda who took some for from under his arms and rolled it into a ball. Then he rolled the two balls together. Marumda had a pipe that had marks on it of all the things that would occur on the earth. He filled the pipe with tobacco and blew smoke on the ball. He attached a sinew cord to the ball and the other and to his ear. He fell asleep holding the ball which would jerk. The jerking and sleeping continued for eight days. On the eighth day the ball grew heavy and slipped from his hand, pulling him along with it. It was the earth. Marumda checked to see if the water and mountains were placed as they were on the pipe. The land was empty. He said to Kuksu that they should make things to occupy the earth. He made the animals before people. He and Kuksu looked around and then he said that they should make someone to take care of it all. Kuksu gave Marumda four feathers from which to make people. Marumda made women from the feathers and men from his hair. He and Kuksu showed the people how to make things and how to prepare acorns. He told the people to kill and eat the animals but not while the women were menstruating. Marumda went to the ocean and took out one of the men but he was unable to drink the water. He said the water was to bring him food that he was to drink the water from the mountains. Marumda made the fishes and the shellfish. The people gathered them for food. Marumda decided to make light so he smoked his pipe and blew the fire out into the heavens. The sparks became stars and the main fire, the sun. The people became cruel and committed incest. Marumda said that a flood would destroy the people. Only a few families survived the flood. The people who turned into beavers survived because they could live among the waters. The beavers and otters could marry and Otter could marry the falcon. Frog put fire in his stomach. Beaver and Falcon got Frog and had him spit the fire out into the tinder on their raft. That is how fire started. The water started to go down and Falcon flew to find land. He found some and Otter and Beaver moved their raft to it. Frog sat on the top of the logs. Falcon sent Beaver to get food and water but could not bring any up. Frog went down and brought up some water. As the water receded the mountains and valleys appeared. The people found the places where they belonged. At this point Coyote appeared. Coyote said that the water was too smooth and food too easy to get. He splashed in the waters and that is how the wind and the waves began. Marumda told the people to act right. The animals could become people and the people animals. Again the people violated the hunting, fishing, and marriage laws. Marumda sent fire that killed the people. The people cried to be saved but Marumda said he would be destroyed by the fire too. Spider took him up in his net and saved him. Falcon was saved but his feathers were burned. That is why is he is black to this day. Frog was saved and went under the ground taking the water with him. Marumda took away from the people the ability to turn into animals and the animals into people. They are as they are to this day.