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The Religion of the Luiseño Indians of Southern California, by Constance Goddard DuBois, [1908], at

p. 97


The Chungichnish worship was a religion of fear. When the people sent the sun, Temet, into the heavens, he was to watch the people as Tukmit, 40a the Sky, also watches them, to see if anyone does wrong, such as stealing food during a fast. The North-star was also put there to watch and spy out everything. It is like our spirit.

The moon, Moyla, was sent up there to look out for everything. In the day-time the Sky and Sun watch the doings of men ; and in the night the Moon does this, so no wrong doer can hide himself, for when one goes the other comes. They keep changing places.

The people were afraid of the sun because he watches everything, and they made it a rule always to eat before the sun rose in the morning.

Chungichnish still punishes, or did so lately. The Yapiche people went to give toloache to Pio Amago, the last Indian who took, it, who lived at La Jolla. Then the Potrero people began the dancing. It was not their place to do so, and it made the others angry. Chungichnish saw that the ceremony was not being properly performed. Suddenly the leader of the dance fell to the ground in terrible pain. The father of Salvador Cuevas was there and he was a medicine-man. He went to see what he could do. When he examined the man he soon found out that the people were so angry at him that he had got sick and that Chungichnish was hurting him. They must come and be friends and he would get well. So they had a big talk, and made up, and the man got up and became well.

Tourmaline was used to cure a man punished by illness by Chungichnish. It was rubbed on his body. But if anyone unauthorized touched it, he was punished.

All of the things mentioned as First People 40b were sacred to Chungichnish. There were many other things not remembered or not given in the list of them obtained. Tukmul, the sacred winnowing basket, has already been described.

p. 98

The sacred stick, Sivut paviut, 40c was brought from one pueblo to another in a ceremony, and served the same purpose as money, being given in return for presents of food. These sticks were painted red, white, and black. The old Diegueño chief, Cinon Duro, had one of these from Rincon, one from Cahuilla, and one from Hot Springs, long since lost.

The feather objects were sacred: the feather head-dress, the eagle-feather skirt, and the feather band or "rope," Luiseño tuminet, 40d mentioned in the Diegueño story of Chaup. Of the only specimen seen by the author, one part is in the American Museum of Natural History, the remainder at the University of California, where it is number 1-9580 in the Museum of the Department of Anthropology (Pl. 3) . This portion, very old and much worn, is in three pieces, aggregating a total length of over seven feet, the longest single piece being five feet, with an average width of seven to eight inches. It is made of black feathers, four to five inches in length. The base of each feather is stripped to the quill for an inch and a half. The feathers are laid alternately, pointing in opposite directions, and sewn together through their bases with two threads. The backs of the feathers are all on the same side, thus giving a uniform appearance to both the front and the back of the band.

The ceremonial use of this feather band is now uncertain. According to the interpreter, this particular specimen was used in latter times in the cure of men punished by Chungichnish with sickness. Those performing the ceremony all took hold of it. Each one would then take a piece cut off from the band and put it in the fire during the ceremony. This was probably on account of its inherent value as an ancient Chungichnish object, and not because it was designed for use in that way.

Venegas, quoting Father Torquemada, describes in the Island of Saint Catherine (Santa Catalina) an Indian "temple," "a large level court, and in it was a large circular space with an inclosure of feathers of several birds of different colors, which I understood were those of birds they sacrificed in great numbers.

p. 99

[paragraph continues] Within the circle was an image strangely bedaubed with a variety of colors . . . holding in its hand a figure of the sun and moon." Two tame ravens were within the circle; and when the soldiers killed them the Indians fell into an agony of fear.

It does not seem at all improbable that this is evidence of a form of Chungichnish worship in one of "the islands of the ocean" from which it originally came. The feathers used as an "inclosure" may have been made exactly like the object in question which my interpreter called a "feather rope."

The raven is the sacred Chungichnish bird, his messenger and spy.

Among the Diegueños, when the raven flies overhead he caws and says, "I will kill you." Then the medicine-men would smoke their stone pipes, and blow the smoke in invocation three times upward, saying, "Please don't kill us."

Among sacred objects were classed various forms of smooth round pebbles brought from the seashore, and pieces of crystal colored with lithia in tourmaline formations.


97:40a Tukomit, night; tupash, sky.—S.

97:40b See lists given in the Creation myths below.

98:40c Paviut, stick with crystal inserted in one end, and having a ceremonial use; shi’valum, sea shells; perhaps sivut or shi’vul denotes pieces of shell glued to the paviut.—S. The Diegueños call it Kotat.

98:40d Tuminut, wide feather band slung over shoulder at tanish dance.—S.

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