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When asked to tell what he knew of the origin of the world, the informant first drew on the ground with a stick a rude outline of a person. The legs were somewhat spread, the foot a line coming out at an angle from the end of the leg. The arms were straight lines extending at right angles from the middle of the body and ending each in three fingers. The head was circularly outlined, but not further indicated. This figure, the narrator said, represented Tamaiawot, the Earth. Then only he began.

Tamaiawot, the Earth, was a woman, the mother of all people. She


Drawn by Pachito, Luiseño of Pauma.
Drawn by Pachito, Luiseño of Pauma.


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was a person (atakh). Her feet were to the north, her head to the south. Dupash, the Sky, was a man. He was the younger brother of the Earth. All the people were born from the Earth. Some went this way, some that. At first they travelled together. They went from where they emerged to the end of the world and from there westward. (Their course is represented by the dotted line in the figure.) The eagle (aswut) went in advance and they all followed. While they were all together they had one language. Then they began to separate. The whites went away. The people (Indians) were left. They still went on following the eagle as he flew. Where he stopped they slept. So the eagle went on and they followed him until they came to Nachivomisavo, "north of the San Bernardino Needles." As they went the people had been going singly, in a long row. When they slept at this place they all crowded together in a great pile. There was no room for them. Now they smelt each other there. They found that they did not smelt good. Some of them did not like others. So they went in different ways and some of them came here. Before that they all had the same language. This original language was that of San Gabriel. Those who continued to speak this stayed at the place of separation.

Wiyot was the chief of the people. It was he who separated them at Nachivomisavo when they did not like each other. Wiyot was killed by the people. They quarrelled about life. Some of them said people should die, others said they should live and change. Wiyot tried to stop the quarrel but became tired of it. Then he said he would go away. He went to the sky, He is there now. Those who wanted people to die were Awaavit, fog, Tumihat, thunder (?), and Chebepe, wind (?). These three were wise and were doctors. Wiyot, however, knew most of all, and therefore some of the people did not like him. Many doctors wanted him killed. Those who made him die were Wakhaut, the frog, and Karaut, a red worm that lives in the mud. While Wiyot was alive all called him Wiyot. Now he has two names, Moila, the moon, and Wiyot. When Wiyot was dying he said: "I will teach no one. I will leave you all without telling you." Only to Chekhemal, a bird (probably the meadow-lark), he said. "When I die watch for me. I will come in the morning. Watch and tell all the people that I have not died." Then after Wiyot had died, in the morning Chekhemal chirped: "Moila Wiyot is coming." Then the people knew. Wiyot died at Tova near Maronge, north of the San Jacinto Mountains where the Serrano (Maringayam) live.

While Wiyot was sick Coyote was waiting to eat him. He watched. Wiyot said: "You see that Coyote constantly wants to eat me. When I die there will be a great fire far off in the east.

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[paragraph continues] Let Coyote be sent to bring that fire. All of you say that you have no fire. Then he will go. As soon as he goes, make a fire and burn me. If you do not do that he will eat me." Now when Wiyot died the people told Coyote: "You are the best runner. You can get it quickly. Go and bring the fire to burn Wiyot. Then when he is roasted you can eat a little." Coyote went running. He saw the fire ahead and kept on running but never reached it. Meanwhile they burned Wiyot. Coyote turned around, and saw the fire, and ran back. As he came he said: "Give me room. I want to see my father Wiyot." The people knew him and stood about the fire in a thick crowd. They would not let him inside. Then Coyote went back a distance, ran, jumped over them, and just as the heart of Wiyot was burning he seized it and ate it.

Not only people but all things were born from Tamaiawot. They all came from her belly: the sun, the stars, the rocks, the trees, and everything. The ocean is her urine. That is why it is salty.

Next: The Mohave Account of Origins