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 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 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–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 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 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.
Atsugewi Creation Story–Adapted from the Telling of Roland Dixon
Originally all was water. In the clear sky a cloud formed. It turned into Coyote. Then a fog formed and became Silver Fox. They thought of a canoe which they made their home. They floated in it for many years till they became tired of it. Silver Fox told Coyote to lie down and go to sleep. When he did Silver Fox combed out Coyote’s hair and rubbed it between his hands flattening out and laid it on the water where it covered all the surface. He then thought of a tree and it appeared. Then he thought of shrubs and rocks and they appeared. He used the rocks to weigh down the film on the water so it did not ripple in the wind. Thus, it became the world. The canoe floated to the edge of it and Silver Fox woke up Coyote, saying that they were going to sink. Coyote woke up and saw cherries and plums overhead and heard crickets. He ate the cherries and plums and crickets. Coyote wanted to know what place it was. Silver Fox denied knowing where it was, denying that he made it. They landed and built a sweat lodge and lived in it. After a while they decided to make people, taking service berry twigs and sticking them on the inside of their house. The twigs became all the nonhuman persons, the animals, except for the deer which is like deer are today. Pine Martin was chief and Eagle, his sister was the woman chief. They went out hunting and killed a deer and had plenty to eat. The only thing was that the points of the arrows were of pine bark because they did not know where obsidian was. Ground Squirrel knew where obsidian was by a lake where Obsidian Old Man lived in a sweat house. Ground Squirrel brought the old man some roots which he liked very much. He sent Ground Squirrel to get some more. But while he was getting roots Grizzly Bear came and scared him saying, “Let me sit in your lap.” He ate the roots. Ground Squirrel went back to the sweat house, but with few roots. He told Obsidian Old Man what had happened. The old man said that he would go out the next day. They did and Ground Squirrel gathered roots and Grizzly Bear came up and sat on his lap and ate them. Obsidian Old Man came near and Grizzly Bear got up to fight. He slashed at him but cut himself to pieces. Ground Squirrel and Obsidian Old Man went home, ate the roots and went to sleep. In the morning Ground Squirrel pretended to be sick. The old man was suspicious but said he would get some wood. The old man snuck back to spy on Ground Squirrel who groaned and vomited up green substance. The old man thought he really was sick but Ground Squirrel had fooled him. The old man went for wood and Ground Squirrel stole obsidian points from him and ran off. The old man came back and found Ground Squirrel gone so he ran after him. He nearly caught him but Ground Squirrel ran down a hole. The old man dug after him and nearly caught him but he got away and ran down another hole. The old man gave up and went home. Ground Squirrel crossed the river and put down his points and went to the sweat house where he went to sleep. Cocoon slept there too. The people came in with deer and Ground Squirrel and Cocoon cut it into thin slices. Then Ground Squirrel went back and got the arrow points and gave them to everybody who tied them to the tips of their arrows.
Cupeño creation story adapted from the telling of EW Gifford
Originally it was a dark void. A bag hung in space which divided into two halves. One half was Coyote, the other Wildcat. They argued about who was older. Coyote spoke first so he was the elder. The people did not come from Coyote and Wildcat. They came from the mud. Humans understand Coyote because he spoke first.
Wiyot creation story adapted from the telling of Gladys Reichard
The first people were born not right and were free. Above Old Man thought, How will they get rid of them? Condor knew that water would come. Condor’s sister got in a basket. It was tossed around and then came to rest. She got out on land. The furry people were no more. Condor saw birds, wild pigeons, turtledoves. He flew around and then saw coon tracks. Condor called his sister, she did not answer. He married her and she became pregnant. People were born. They began to talk and Above Old Man was content with them.
Maidu creation story adapted from the telling of Roland Dixon
In the beginning Earth Maker and Coyote floated in a canoe on the sea. They sought land and after some time saw something that resembled a bird’s nest. Earth Maker attached ropes to the nest that stretched to the East, West, North, South and Northwest. They sang and through the songs Coyote created a world that is rough and hard to travel through. This showed Coyote’s evil qualities. Earth Maker told Coyote to lie on his face and he stretched the mass all directions so that no and can be seen of it. Coyote took off to tour the land and left Earth Maker alone. Earth Maker created two tiny figures, barely bigger than a seed. He planted these under a gopher hill and traveled about planting figures like this all over the place. He said that each pair would become people and grow and have children and that their children would have children. He made as many pairs as there are tribes and people. He built the house and dwelled there a long time. Coyote came back and built a house near there too. Earth Maker named all the people which were animals. Earth Maker called a counsel and persuaded the nonhuman persons to destroy Coyote who is evil. They destroyed all the Coyotes except one which they catch. They try various ways to destroy Coyote but he escapes. Earth Maker brought a flood. All the animals escaped in a canoe and Coyote managed to get in it unseen. Earth Maker gave up and created a wife and told Coyote to do the same. There will be another race of people – the human beings. Coyote caused life for humans to be difficult and that they shall die rather than living forever as Earth Maker had wished. Earth Maker gave up and left and left a reed that turned into a rattlesnake that killed Coyote’s son. Coyote tried to follow him and repented saying that human should live forever and life should be easy but Earth Maker didn’t hear. Coyote turned back. Earth maker traveled around destroying monsters that would make life dangerous for humans and created a lake that would bestow eternal life. Coyote went around and destroyed all that Earth Maker has done, including the lake. He boasted how clever he was. Earth Maker went to the East and disappeared. Coyote went to the West and disappeared.