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.

Pomo Creation Story II

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

Coyote had no wife but he had a son named Thunder Man. They lived together. Thunder Man went out to fish, beginning at the South Pole and traveling North. At each stream he set out basket traps and build a dam. He had no luck until one day he, his wife and Coyote came to Big River where he set out a trap. It grew into a large oak which is there to this day. After this he went home. He helped Coyote check the dam. He saw that the sticks were tied with snakes and this caused him to faint. Thunder Man went to check on Coyote and in the basket he found a whale which he dragged to shore. He cut off the tail. Thunder Man’s wife went out together wood. She was unable to lift the basket with the tail in it. When she checked Coyote was hanging on the bottom of it. Coyote jumped up and seized the woman. Thunder Man’s wife was crying when he got home but she did not tell him what had happened. Thunder Man cooked the whale’s tail in a hole in the ground. He threw Coyote in the fire and covered it with ashes. He dug his way out but his fur was all singed. Thunder Man’s wife became pregnant and kept on crying. Thunder Man pulled and kicked his wife out. She clung to trees and bushes but he kicked her further towards the ocean. Thunder Man kept pursuing his wife forcing her to the cliffs. He kicked her into the ocean where she gave birth to a seal on some rocks. That is how seals started. Thunder Man called for his wife to come back but she would not come. He threw sticks at her. Each stick turned into a different fish. Thunder Man went home and ate the whale’s tail, giving none to Coyote. Then he took out his robes and baskets and sang love songs. Skunk girls and female birds and animals came in. When the female Mallard ducks came in he stopped singing. He said, “Something stinks.” It was the skunk girls. Thunder Man told everyone to help themselves to the whale’s tail. They were bashful but finally Crow Girl ate some. Thunder Man tied the Mallard girls with hairs from his head because he wished them to be his wives. To Coyote he gave Toad Woman who was not a beauty. Thunder Man put beads on the neck, waists, and wrists of the Mallard Girls. All the rest departed except for Frog Woman. Thunder Man gathered wood by taking a large rock and breaking a tree. He gathered three or four days’ worth of wood. He stayed with his wife for four days and then left with all his fur robes and bead nets. He left wearing all of them. Thunder Man walked on top of the water. He had four hairpins which he stuck at equal distances across the water. Then he went under the water. The fourth hairpin began to cry out. Coyote heard this and imitated his son, wearing his finest robes. He stepped across the water, stepping each time on a hairpin. Coyote built a boat of tule and stuck the four hairpins into it. When he was finished he pointed the boat East but not but did not get in. Thunder Man came out from under the water and caused it to thunder, rain and hail. Coyote said, you can make it rain but you are no longer my son. The storm destroyed the boat. Thunder Man raised Coyote up into the air. Coyote cried, “Son, Son, Son.” Coyote said that Thunder Man’s wives would turn into birds and that his frog wife would stay under the water. He wished that they all would have a hard time. Coyote continued into the heavens, stopping four times. Finally, he went right up into it and was never heard from again.

Pomo Creation Story I

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

Originally there was no ocean. Coyote created it. He was thirsty and he came upon some swamp tussock plants which he pulled up. Water began to flow and he drank. The water continued to flow and raised him up as the ocean began to be. He said, “Water right here stop.” And it stopped where he was standing. Alone, Coyote gathered weeds but the water was too high so he commanded that it go down. Coyote built a sweat house after he came out of the ocean. He wished that the sticks of the sweat house would stand up and they did. He surrounded it with black feathers, which is why Indians are black. He commanded that the feathers would become people. He said that there should be a dance. He taught the people the dance songs and then he called for a feast. The people never gave Coyote anything from the feast. He became angry and because of this he started the world on fire. He rose on a fog that came. He wanted to put out the fire on the hilltops so he created a flood. It rained for five days and he allowed the flood to remain for four days. He caused the water to recede after which he created another race of people. He told him together mussels but they made fun of him which made him angry. Because of this he caused waves on the ocean. They overflowed into the woods but Coyote told it to stop. He then posted four men in the four directions and told them to blow to make winds. He said it would rain in the winter months. There was no daylight. Coyote told Thunder Man to make thunder but not to break the rocks or the trees. He commanded these things but the people did not believe them. Angry, he turned people into gophers, rabbits, and birds. He told them what to eat. He told him to try to put the sun in the sky. Buzzard did this. Coyote wished the stars to shine at night. Then he made the moon. The moon was to grow the food of the buckeye and acorns. He said that if the sun stayed in one place it would burn things up. He swayed to the east and to the west. The earth sank in the West. At the South he created Kuksu to watch over it. He made Kuksu a wife. He told them to do doctoring and people would mention their names. He made the song to cure blind people and the song for scared people. Coyote placed a man to the North, Cold Wind Man. He showed them how to create wind but he made it too strong and it sheared the earth. It formed hills. It was all flat before. Coyote went to the East where he called a man called Fire Man. He would be in charge of daylight and heat. Coyote named three people from the East: Daylight Man, Daylight Woman, and Fire Man. He told them to make daylight and dark of equal length. Coyote went to the North and West. Then Water Man came. The sun set in the West but stayed there. At the West Coyote called for Thunder Man who came and a bad storm came with him. Thunder Man made thunder but Coyote was afraid he would crack the earth. He gave Thunder Man the cocoon rattle and the whistle and the split stick rattle. He told him not to thunder too much for he would crack the earth. He said when the water came he was to let the salmon out. He told Fire Man, Daylight Man and Daylight Woman that he would make another race of people. He made each village. He told the people to build sweat lodges in their villages and to feast but not every day. He told him that there would be fire again and flood again if the people did not do right. He then named all the plants for the people to eat. They were to have dances for when the acorns grew so that there would be food the next year. Then Coyote went away and the people never saw where he went.

Salinan Creation Story

Salinan creation story adapted from the telling of JA Mason

The old woman of the sea, Jealous Eagle, took her basket in which she carried the sea and poured it over the land. The sea rose to nearly the top of Santa Lucia Peak where Eagle and the other animals were. Eagle told Puma to lend him his whiskers so that he could lasso the basket. He did, the sea quit rising and the old woman died. Eagle then told Dove to bring some mud from which he formed the world. He took elder sticks and formed a woman and two men. They had no life so they entered the sweat lodge. Prairie Falcon told Coyote to bring some barsalido. Coyote brought another kind of wood and Prairie Falcon told him again bring me some barsalido. Then they all sweated and Eagle blew on the elder sticks and they lived. Then they held a fiesta.

Wishosk Creation Story–The Wishosk were found in Northwestern California

Wishosk creation story adapted from the telling of Alfred Kroeber

At first only the ground was visible. There were no trees, rivers, people. There was no ocean. Gudatrigakwitl was sorry for this. He decided to make a boat. Without tools he spread his hand. He made people but they weren’t right and they all died. Originally he wanted humans to have 10 lives. But he discovered he could not do this. He gave humans game and fish and trees. He created humans in a fog so no one would see his creation. He created plants for medicine. He wanted that there be dances. He made it so that people would call him and there would be a dance. He made deer and acorns. He took a stick and made it so that there would be fire. He told the people to call him for dances and when they were badly off. He made all this and lastly made humans. People only called him when they are badly off. He exists and does not change from the old times. He does not get sick or die.