The Religion of the Luiseño Indians of Southern California, by Constance Goddard DuBois, , at sacred-texts.com
Both the Luiseños and the Diegueños have had a commemorative ceremony for the dead from early times; but with what tribe the manufacture of images made to represent the dead person originated, must be matter of speculation. 41
The Luiseño ritual is especially complete in the exactness with which the song series are performed; and the Chungichnish worship may be said to be founded upon the thought of the spirit, embodied in such abstractions as Wanawut, Chum Towi, Kwinamo, all of these being different words to express either the spirit of man or the spirit above.
The following account of the Image mourning ceremony is given by Lucario Cuevish:
When people die, the chief will collect food and valuables and notify the other leading men that he is going to have the Image dance. The others make ready to perform the ceremony. One chief out of four or five parties will do this, and the others will assist.
They sing all night long, then go off to a place a little distant to make the images, for this is not done before everyone. The images are dressed as in life. In old days the women's figures would be clothed in the short skirts of fringe made from elders or willows. Hair is put upon the head. The eyes are made of abalone shell. Nose, mouth, and sometimes ears are made.
When all is ready at this place, the chief goes to the main place of the ceremony and digs as many holes as there are images to stand them in. He first calls out three times and the others answer him; then, carrying the images, they march to the sacred enclosure of brush, singing the solemn recitative: "Towish chokya, the spirit appears." 42 They stand the images in the holes
while the women among the relatives place gifts of valuables where they can be accepted by those performing the ceremony, who sing the songs of Tochinish, 43 the Image ritual, while standing near the images.
The men and women of the visiting party have their faces painted, but the relatives do not paint or sing or take any part in the ceremony.
The singing without dancing goes on for a certain length of time. Then the chief takes a whirling-board, or bull-roarer, mumlapish. 44 Instead of telling them to stop singing, he whirls the board three times. The images are then again lifted up, and carried back in procession to the more distant place. The dancers now paint themselves and put on the feather head-dresses. The whirling-board is swung again as a signal, and they come again carrying the images and marching around the sacred enclosure, bringing the turtle-shell rattle. 45 In the sacred enclosure they dance to a long series of songs.
Then they burn the images, sometimes burning the clothes and decorations with them; but the visitors have the right to take off the clothes and keep them, the relatives furnishing others for the burning. While the images are burning, the men and women dance around the fire singing Sungamish, 46 the finishing songs. Other songs called Topasish 47 are sung while only the men dance. They sing one or two of these songs and half a dozen or so will dance.
A whirling dance with an eagle-feather skirt is danced at this ceremony. They sing and dance all night, and may end the ceremony by noon the next day.
The songs of Pikmakvul, 48 death, are sung while they burn the clothes, and during the burning they have a recitative describing
the burning of Ouiot. This recitative tells how thin and sick Ouiot grew. Every song of Pikmakvul tells about Ouiot, and they change from one to the other.
Then they march around the fire carrying some of the possessions of the dead person, and burn these things, telling how the First People burned Ouiot. Many dance and a few carry the things. Then they stop and sit down for awhile.
They now make an invocation to the sky three times, breathing, groaning, indescribable sounds, and put the things on the fire. They sing: "No towi, no towi, my spirit, my spirit." These are the songs of Chum towi, our spirit. They sing two or three of these songs while they burn the possessions of the dead. Then they stop. The relatives bring out baskets and valuables and those performing the ceremony divide them among themselves.
When all is over they sing the songs from the most important song series, as follows:
First are sung the songs of Pikmakvul, the Ouiot songs of death.
Then some of the series called Temenganesh, songs of Seasons. Then some of the series called Chum towi, our spirit, the same as Kwinamish.
Then some of the series called Kamalum, our sons or children, mentioning the children of the Earth-mother, the mountains that were First People, and so on.
Then follows the series called Kish, the house, about the house of the dead man. There are only a few of these.
Then some of the series called Anut, the ant, which was used in ancient times as an ordeal in a sort of sequel to the toloache ceremony to train the young men.
Then some of the series called Nokwanish, 49 songs in memory of the dead. The little rabbit, Tovit, was the first man to sing in the original ceremony for the dead when they burned Ouiot, so they sing the Nokwanish songs which the rabbit sang.
Then follow some of the series called Totowish. 50 These mention the spiders, rattlesnakes, and the sun, the avengers of Chungichnish.
Then some of the series called Munival, 51 songs of places or landmarks.
Last of all are sung some songs from the series Nyachish, song of the people, in which they load their enemies with indecent epithets and allusions. Family feuds or small fights arose chiefly from land claims. They seldom or never had wars or battles as we understand the words. Each man in the mountains would have a patch of oaks, perhaps a hundred acres or so, and no one else was allowed to go there and gather acorns. Fighting arose over this. So they sing against each other. Even the women sing these songs.
This ends Lucario's account of the Image fiesta. 52
100:41 Mourning ceremonies with images to represent the dead are not confined to Southern California. Professor Dixon has recently described an elaborate form in his "The Northern Maidu," Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., XVII, 245, 254.Ed.
100:42 Towish, spirit, corpse, 'devil'; choxya (x German ch), perfect tense of choxi, to be born.S.
101:44 A flat disk of wood attached to a string and whirled in the air to make a dull humming sound, still used at Mesa Grande. Mr. Sparkman gives momlaxpish (x German ch).
101:45 Paiayut; paiala, turtle. (Paayat, paila.S.)
101:46 Shangamish, songs, also a dance, at the ceremony at which clothing is burned.S.
101:48 Pimukvul, death, also songs at mourning ceremony; pimukvul is singular past; pimakish, singular present.S.
102:49 Nokwanish, general name for men's songs.S.
102:50 Totawish, a dancer of the morahash ceremony.S.
103:51 Monival, verbal noun from moni, to go, come, journey; denotes past action of verb, tracks, where something passed; there are songs of monival, where one's ancestors traveled.S.
103:52 According to the Diegueños, the Mohave people first made mourning images at Wikami, a wonderful mountain, level on top, where all the religious ceremonials originated. Humkahap, the Mohaves, were the youngest, that is, the last made of the related tribes, and always stayed in the home place.
The Diegueño Image ceremony has been briefly described in the American Anthropologist, N.s. VII, 625, 1905.