Sacred Texts  Native American  California  Index  Previous  Next 


This includes Tutomunp, a Mohave dance-song, and Kachawharr, a Jacumba dance-song, accompanied by a basket rubbed with a stick.

Hatakek of Manzanita is to sing the Diegueño song Kachawharr with basket accompaniment; but he begins by singing part of Tutomunp, a dance which originated with the Mohave Indians. The song always begins at sunset; and all these Western Indian songs have a "starter," the interpreter explains. The "starter" in this case is in the Mohave language, so the Diegueño interpreter attempts no translation.

The old man chants on and on, showing the most wonderful lungpower, continuing for five or ten minutes at a time, and ending each song or section of the song with a loud "Hup!"

Again he begins, and continues his loud and monotonous singing, for another five minutes or so. The tone of the chant varies. It rises to a higher pitch, "Hup!"

The same song again; and by this time a circle of men and women should be dancing, so the old man keeps time with his foot to show the measure of the dance. "Hup!"

For the next half-dozen songs he gives the translation in Diegueño. They relate to two brothers whose father is Homatimilya. 3 The names are all in the Mohave language. 4

Another song with varied tones ending in "Hup!" The meaning of the song: "They are going along. All is dim and hazy before them."

p. 229

Song: More excited, with varied cadences. The singer keeps time with his foot. The song ends suddenly, "Hup!"

Song: Monotonous beginning, varied tones at end. Meaning: "We are going on. We have a long way to go."

Song: "We are going on. Many people live in other places, but we go on alone."

Another song: "We are going on, but some day we may meet somebody coming."

Now begins the dance-song of the Diegueños themselves, Kachawharr. This was taught the Manzanita people by those of Jacumba. All these dances are of course religious ceremonies. The singer, or leader of the dance, old Hatakek, takes a flat bowl-shaped basket turned upside down, and, part of the time seated, but mostly kneeling on the ground, he alternately rubs and taps this as if it were a drum, keeping time to the music of his chant.

Song: This is about the two brothers, the gods Tuchaipa and Yokomatis or Yokomat (the two names are sometimes given in one: Chaipakomat), who came forth from the ground at Jacumba, at the hot-spring there. Meaning of the song: "They are at Jacumba. They do not know where they came from. They came forth from the earth."

Song: "Let us build a house. It is going to rain." A hill at Jacumba is the house they built covered with earth. There is a hot-spring at the south of the hill, and this is the door of the house. 1

Song: They were in the house at night and it began to rain on them.

Song: It leaked on them through the holes in the brush covered with sand. One brother was tapping on the roof of the house with a club (as the curving basket is tapped with the stick).

Song: He tells the other it is all right. "We have made it good and solid." He came out of the house and felt on the ground with his hands. The tobacco-plant was growing there. He could not see it in the darkness, but he could feel it. "It is ready to bloom."

Song: It was bigger the next time he felt it. He felt all around.

All kinds of plants are beginning to grow. The rain has started them in the night." He felt the plants. They were shaking in the wind.

Song: The brothers are talking of how they can gather seeds when the plants are ripe. The plants are growing fast in the rain, but they have no wives to gather the seeds.

Song: When the wind blows, the plants look like the waves of the sea. It is a fine sight.

The old singer, squatting on bended knees, pounds gently on the

p. 230

basket which rests on his lap. Then he rubs it with the stick. Chawharr is said to mean "rubbing." He holds the stick with his right hand, the basket with the other. He rises by straightening his body, pounds more loudly, and sings louder. He moves his body up and down in time to the song. Song and movements stop suddenly, as is always the case in these dances. The old man is exhausted. This is hard work, and he is unaccustomed to it, since these dances are no longer performed, and it is many years since he has led the song.

He begins again, hitting the basket gently in time, and rubbing it at intervals.

The song is short, ending suddenly. It means: "They are going to make smoke out of the tobacco-plant. It is ready now to bring into the house."

Now they are going towards the west after the girls whom they wish for their wives. They run with balls, kicking the ball with their foot, running after it, throwing it again with the foot. With three bounds of the ball they reach the ocean where the girls are. But they do not stay. They turn and go back home, their hair flying in the wind, the east wind. 1

Song: The girls get to thinking why the boys came.

Song: The brothers come home and see their plants ripe. "Who will gather the seeds? We need women for the work."

Song: They hunt cotton-tail rabbits at Jacumba.

Song: They are trying to see who can shoot the farthest. They begin to gamble with bow and arrows according to the length of their shots. The younger brother loses all the time. He comes home with nothing.

Song: They try another game. They first shoot one arrow. Then whoever comes close to the first arrow wins. The younger loses again.

Song: They gamble again, springing sticks edgewise. The younger gets thin. The elder wins everything.

Song: The younger begins to stake and to lose his fingers, arms, legs, all the parts of his body. He begins to wager every hair of his head. Nothing is left but his heart. "We will play with these long poles with hoops. I will stake my heart. If you win, you can eat it."

Song: They go east and get long poles and begin to straighten them in the fire to play with. The younger loses his heart and falls down dead. The elder sees him dead and dances all around him.

Song, with basket accompaniment. The old man rises on his knees and pounds vigorously. Meaning: "He began to skin and eat him."

Song, with basket accompaniment as before: The Coyote brings a big

p. 231

load of wood and drops it on the ground. The brother tells Coyote he will roast (burn?) the body.

Song, with basket: The elder brother is behind the house. He sees a little bird flying there. He thinks it is the spirit of his dead brother.

Song, slow time, with basket, more excited than ever at the end. Meaning: He sees many birds fly out. He is afraid and wants to run away. He goes south through piles of rocks where the trail leads. He gets hungry and pulls up fresh yucca-plants to cook and eat. He looks at the plants.

Song: He sees deer-tracks going toward the water.

Song: He goes on towards the desert, and sees a band of mountain-sheep, which he frightens, and they run away from him. He is talking to them.

Last song: He goes to the Maricopa Indians. 1


228:3 Evidently the Mohave Matevilye.

228:4 One of these songs was obtained on a phonograph record (American Museum of Natural History, no. 1017), described in the paper now in press at the University of California.

229:1 The primitive houses of the Luiseños and Diegueños were made of uprights and rafters of solid timbers, joined by wattled brush, the whole covered with earth, with an opening in front for a door, and a hole in the roof to permit the egress of smoke and the entrance of light, the house looking at a distance like a hillock of sand.

230:1 This and the following songs recall similar incidents in the Cuyahomarr story, which would seem to be merged with the history of the two gods; or by some omitted connection, the two stories may both be celebrated in this dance. As the full recital lasts all night, it was impossible for Hatakek to give more than a portion of it.

Next: Awikunchi, A Fair-Weather-Making Ceremony