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


Third Version. 138—By Salvador Cuevas.

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Everything in the beginning was empty and quiet. Kivish Atakvish 139  140 was the only being.

Next came Whaikut Piwkut 141 (whitish gray, unexplained).

Whaikut Piwkut created two objects like great round balls called Maikumkush 142 (meaning, something round, not having an end).

They lay there three days and then were made alive, brought into being, after which they recognized each other. They were called Soimal-um 143 (-um being the plural ending). They were male and female. Whaikut Piwkut, being the father of these two, left them and was no more seen.

The two children (created beings) remained there. When they were by themselves, they quarreled: "I am older than you." "No, I am older than you." Each could read the thoughts of the other and this contention continued. The female being said that she was the older. She was Kivish Atakvish. The male began describing the color of the sky, by this to prove his earlier existence. "See, I am older than you." She got a stone smoking pipe, chahal, 144 and showed it to prove herself the first. He got three kinds of pipes, kalulmul, nyatlumul, and chetmul, 145 and held them up, and thus he silenced her and won (in this contention). Then with sighs (guttural breathings used in solemnities), he made her sleep, and after this she knew that she was to be a mother. He was ashamed of his deed, and went up in the sky (i.e., became the sky). He was Tukmit, 146 the Sky.

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When she found she was to bring forth, she was making ready. She made the same sort of sighing groans and thereby created a small piece of land. There was no land until then.

Then the first born of her children, the First People, came forth in the following order.

1. Topal Tamyush147 Double name. Topal, ordinary stone grinding mortar; tamyush, sacred toloache bowls of stone; but in this sense tamyush is like an adjective qualifying topal. Museums should classify the stone bowls more carefully, differentiating between the two sorts where possible.

2. Kenhut Paviut148 Double name. Kenhut, strings of wampum-like beads used for money; paviut, sacred stone knife larger than an arrowhead set on the end of a staff for ceremonial purposes. Both of these objects were used as money, that is, carried from one village to the other to pay for the services of those performing the ceremonies. When two words are connected thus in a double term, there is always some such similarity of use, meaning, or purpose. This is a very remarkable peculiarity, more metaphysical than linguistic.

3. Hunwut Ashwut149 Hunwut, bear; ashwut, eagle. The connection is that both belong to Chungichnish.

These above named were those of the First People who were afterwards sent north, excepting the two latter, which the informant evidently transposed from their proper place, and instead of them there should come here in third position:

4. Kimul Chehenish150 Kimul is the mast with baskets hung on top in the Notish ceremony for the dead. The pole is climbed as a contest of skill. If no one can get the baskets, they dig about the pole to make it fall. When the kimul is set up, they sing songs for the dead and dance. They have this ceremony in the north. They never had it here in the mountains. Chehenish is the pole before it is painted and hung with baskets.

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5. Mahul Kwichal151 Mahul, palm tree; kwichal, Spanish bayonet, yucca. These were sent East.

6. Tukvul Wekunla152 Tukvul, carrying net; wekunla, sort of carrying sack. These were sent South.

7. Somal Kachamul. Meaning unknown. Sent South.

8. Makwit Awiwunowut153 Makwit, wild grape; awiwunowut, clematis. Sent to the center.

9. Paulovla Tovolwish154 These were sent East. Paulovla is a tall painted mast in the middle of the sacred inclosure used by the Indians in the East, who got it from the First People. Tovolwish means the color of this painted post.

10. Uutish Kahankish. Uutish, tree that grows in the East; kahankish, unknown. Sent East.

11. Pauhut Abahut155 Pauhut, canoe (also a box hollowed out of a log to keep things in); abahut, cottonwood tree out of which it is made. Sent West.

12. Pevesish Hoyowish156 Pevesish, tule; hoyowish, cat-tail rush. Sent West.

13. Sanut Tanahut157 Sanut, black asphalt on the seashore; tanahut, sea-weed. Sent West.

14. Yuamul Tovoymul158 Yuamul, pine tree; tovoymul, cedar. Sent to the center, i.e., where "we" live, the Mountain Indians.

15. Kwila Sukut159 Kwila, oak with edible acorns; sukut, deer (both used for food). Sent to the center.

And here should probably come Hunut Ashwut, in the center instead of to the North.

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(Here belongs the song sung by Tomaiyowit, the Earth-mother, to make the land larger for her children, as previously given in the description of phonograph record 405.)

The Earth-mother sent these first-born of her children to the North, South, East, West, and Center. After this everything else was brought forth. The sun came forth at the same time, and as he was there among all the rest of the people, he gave so much light and heat that he nearly killed them all. It would be better to send him away. So they sent him to the east, and in three days he rose in the east. All things were now prepared. Before this all had been confusion and disturbance, but now Tomaiyowit lay back outstretched, her feet to the north, her head to the south, her right hand to the east, her left hand to the west, and everything became quiet. 160

This ends the first part of the Creation Story. 161

The Earth-mother, when she sent her children to all the four quarters of the world, made feathers for them to wear on their heads. The chief men, the best, quickest and bravest in battle, used to wear them on a long stick high on their heads, and the others wore them close to the head.

While the people were traveling along, carrying arrows, they would stop at a pond to play and swim about. Ouiot was traveling along with the rest and they did not know anything especial about him. He was like one of the rest.

Wahawut 162 was a handsome fine-looking woman, with long hair. When she jumped into the water, Ouiot was surprised to see that behind she had no flesh on her body, but was flat and thin. He said nothing but was thinking about it. Wahawut could read his thoughts, and made her plans to kill him. Soon he fell sick.

Ouiot got sick and said he wanted to see his sons. At this time he acted to the people like a father. Before this he had only

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been a person like the others. Now he called for his sons (the First People) from the north to come and see him, and they all tried to cure him. They were like witches then, and could tell by looking at him what was the matter; and they all tried their best to cure him, but could give no help, so they went back north. In the same way the people came in turn from the south, east, west, and center, but could do nothing. Tishmel 163 the hummingbird was an important person then and he went to see if he could find out what was the matter. Sakapipi, 164 who is now a tiny bird, got up and put his ear to Ouiot's heart so that he could hear his breathing, and then he said it was Wahawut who was working to kill him by witchcraft.

Then the people found out that it was Wahawut who was doing this; but she had gone down into the mud and water and never was seen. Since she began to work against Ouiot she stayed there. (No. This is not the place in the story to explain that she was the frog, for she was a person then. They were all people at that time.)

Ouiot told them that he would not live much longer. "I think I shall die soon," he said, and he mentioned the names of all the months, and each month they waited until the time was up. "I may die in this month."

When Ouiot was sick, he told his people to take him to the hot spring at Pawi Chawimai 165 (Cahuilla), and they took him there, and he bathed in the waters, but did not get any better. On the contrary he grew worse and worse. Then they took him to Kupa Kawima 166 (Agua Caliente, Warner's Ranch Hot Springs), then to Paska Mahala, 167 a little further on, then to Pauma, near Pala. When there he died but revived again. They got ready to burn his body, making use of the same sticks with which they clubbed Coyote. When he revived again, they took him to Malama Ekapa 168 (Agua Tibia), trying all these hot springs to cure him, but

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they did no good. Then they took him to Cherukanukna Jaquiwuna, 169 near Temecula, to the hot spring there. 170 Then to Etengvo Wumoma, 171 hot springs at Elsinore, and this was the last place, for he died there. 172

Before Ouiot died he told Chehemal (the kingbird now) 173 that he was going to die, but he said he would come back, and told him that in three days he would rise in the east. 174 Kauki Chahiwul, 175 something gone that comes again. Ovaweleva, something that will come back, disappears and returns.

He died in the season Soimamul mokat. When he died the people wanted to burn his body, and they sent Coyote to the north to the people there to see if he could get fire; but he only went a little way and came back. Then they sent him to the people of the east, Uutish Kahankish, and so on, and in the same way to the people of the west, the south, and the center. Each time he went a little further off, and while he was gone Sariwut, 176 the bluefly, made the fire with the fire-drill. 177 Then Coyote came running back yelling and saying: "Why do you play such a trick on me? I want to see my father."

The people all stood around the fire where only the heart was left unburned, and Coyote starting a little way back took a running jump over their heads. Wiskun, now a tiny squirrel, the chipmunk, was the strongest man then, and he had gone and brought a log ten men could not lift. Ouiot was laid on it. All the body was burned but the bones, after Coyote got the heart. 178

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When the three days were up, Chehemel got on his housetop in the dark and sang and everyone listened. Meaning of the song: "Ouiot, Ouiot is coming. He is coming. I am watching for him, looking to the east. Ouiot is coming."

Pretty soon he did come, as the new moon, Moyla achagha. 179 They could just barely see it, a little line. Chehemel saw it in the east, but no one else could see it there. The others saw it in the west.

Before Ouiot died, he told them when they saw him, the new moon, in the west, they should get together and make races (as an answer to the moon, giving their spirits to it). If they made these races, and shouted at this time, they would live longer. (This means that as a part of the Chungichnish ceremonial, obedience is required, and reward or punishment promised for that or the reverse, as in all the Chungichnish instruction.) After this they always made these races. Salvador remembers them, sixty years or so ago, when he was a boy.

The chief men who had charge of these things would know when the new moon was expected and would watch for it. Then they would get ready, and just as soon as the moon appeared one man would start a fire and shout, and all would come together. They would shout three times, and then all start together in a straight line, side by side, and run until the fastest runner got ahead of the others, when he cut across in front of them, and that was the end of it. There might be from twenty to fifty who did the running. They made the indescribable guttural invocation to send their spirits to the moon, and they had to have a fire as they did in every religious ceremony. The head men always started the fire, and the long ceremonial pipes they smoked were lighted at it.

At the time Ouiot died he did not talk much, but only told them about the races they should have. But after he died the people held a council, and talked it over among themselves to decide what they could do. Some of the people had gone north, south, east, and west, and some had gone up in the sky or down in the ground. So they considered what they could do. Some

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thought they could do the same as Ouiot, die for a time and then come back; but they could not do this. Some thought the deer would be good to eat. They could kill him and have a gathering and have that meat to eat. They spoke to Deer about it, but he said, No. He was a shaman and very powerful. He had something in his nose like the black asphalt on the seashore, 180 and this would protect him. 181 They gave up killing him when he said that.

Then they laid on the ground one of the sacred stones, 182 wiala, enormous crystals, and said they could kill him with them. But Deer said, No, he had some of that too, and they could not kill him with them. 183 Then they laid down one of the eagle-feather skirts, Pahlut, 184 and said they could kill him with that. He said, No, he had some of that too. 185 Then they put down tobacco, Pivat, and said they could kill him with that. Deer said, No, he had some of that too, and they could not kill him with that. 186

Then they laid down some "wild bamboo," the kind that grows at Warner's Ranch and they use for arrows, huikish, 187 and said they could kill him with that. He showed them that the bones in his nostrils were like that, and said they could not kill him with it.

Then they laid down arrows already made with flint points fastened to them; so then he had no more to say. He gave up. So they killed him with bow and arrows, and ever since the people have used them to kill the deer; and they skinned him and took the bones of the leg for awls to make baskets. They gave them to Wahawut,—not the one that killed Ouiot,—and she made a good-sized basket in which to collect the bones of Ouiot, and after that they always used the baskets in ceremonies. And they killed

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other animals besides the deer. They killed acorns,—they were people then,—and killed all that they now have to eat. These turned into animals and seeds, acorns and plants.

Eagle was a big man, a great "hechicero," then, and they told him they would kill him to have ceremonies. But he said, No, it was not right. He was a person of importance. When they told Eagle they were going to kill him, he thought he could get away from them, for he was very wise and knew a great deal. So he went north, thinking that from there he could get entirely away from this world, reach its limits and fly away; and he tried it everywhere, but could not do it. He thought he could live forever and keep away from death, but there was death, Pikmakvul, 188 wherever he went. Then he went east and did the same thing, and south and west the same, and then he came home to the center and stayed there. He had to die. There was no death before this time.

By this time the people's council was concluded. Wahawut had finished her basket. 189 She had been working all the while and had lost no time. So they gathered the bones and put them in the basket to carry them, and they put the bones into a stone mortar and ground them, and added water and made it into a kind of mush. When all was well mixed they made a hole in the ground and poured it into the hole and buried it. The crushed bones were not contained in any vessel. 190 They made the solemn guttural invocation with waving motions to the north and all the other points of the compass, to send Ouiot's spirit up to the sky; and since then the people do the same thing when they have the ceremonies for the dead. 191

When the people scattered from the place where Ouiot died, all the tribes had names, but many are dead and few living. He

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does not know the name of this tribe. These Indians (the Luiseños) are called by themselves Western Indians. 192 When they scattered, the people traveled about, two or three families together, and they claimed the places where they stopped for a time, 193 and a great deal of fighting came from this. Other groups coming after would occupy the land claimed by the first. The La Jolla people would fight the Potrero people. A man could not go from La Jolla to San Jacinto without being killed by some enemy.


128:138 Two versions, of the Luiseño creation myth, one a fragment, have been published. Journ. Am. Folk-Lore, XIX, 145, 1906. See also ibid., 310. The two versions herewith given, which are probably more primitive and more complete, were related by Salvador Cuevas and Lucario Cuevish, aged Indians of La Jolla and Potrero in the mountains.

129:139 Luiseño religious terms are double, made of two words, each with a different meaning supplementing and reinforcing each other—a very marked peculiarity.

129:140 Kyuvish, empty, solitary, unoccupied; also a noun, as in po-up auma kyuvi-nga, he lives in solitude. Ataxvish (x German ch), empty. Kyuvish Ataxvish, used together, mean some thing like the empty, solitary, unoccupied place, and are used in speaking of before the world was created. Kyuvish Ataxvish is also spoken of as a person who made Tamayowut, the first woman, and Tukomit, the first man.—S.

129:141 From whaiahat, white, piwahat, whitish, grayish.—S.

129:142 Makumkush, round.—S.

129:143 Saimalum. Some say these were a man and a woman born from two eggs made by Whaikut Piwkut; others deny this.—S.

129:144 Hahal, stone pipe.

129:145 Kalulmal, ngatlamal, chetmal. There is only one man who knows of these words.

129:146 Tukomit, night, also the first man, made by Kyuvish Ataxvish; tupash is sky.—S.

130:147 Topal, tamyush.—S.

130:148 Kenghut, a string of shells or bear-claws; paviut, stick with a crystal in one end, used in ceremonies.—S.

130:149 Hunwut, ashwut.—S.

130:150 Kimal, small house; chehenish, the objects hung on kutumit, the pole erected at the notush ceremony; probably a derivative from chehe'i, to appear, show.—S.

131:151 Mahul, palm; kwichal, unknown; the species of yucca growing in the San Luis Rey valley are called panal and hunuvut.—S.

131:152 Tukval is sea-otter; the carrying net is called ikut; wekunla, network sack with very fine mesh.—S.

131:153 Makwit, wild grape-vine; awiwanawut, clematis.—S.

131:154 Paulovla, (?); tovolvush or tovolovahat, adjective meaning of different colors.—S.

131:155 Pauhit, yellow pine, also dug-out canoe; avahut, cottonwood tree. It is said that the feathers of San Luis Rey were kept in a canoe found on the beach and considered sacred.—S.

131:156 Pevesash, tule; hoyawish, species of rush.—S.

131:157 Shanut, asphalt, gum; tanahut, sea-weed.—S.

131:158 Yuila, species of pine, tovut, cedar; yuimal and tovomal are diminutives.—S.

131:159 Kwila, Quercus californica; shukut, deer.—S.

132:160 This is why all ceremonies are performed facing the north. Cf. the drawing by a Luiseño in Journ. Am. Folk-Lore, XIX, 312, 1906.

132:161 Another old Indian story teller here appeared on the scene and some tact was necessary to manage the situation. It was feared that Salvador might object to the presence of a rival; but when asked if he were willing to continue his recitation he smiled and said that there need be no jealousy as he told nothing but the truth. So he continued.

132:162 Wahawut, frog, an ugly woman that bewitched and killed Wiyot.—S.

133:163 Tushmal.—S.

133:164 Sakapepi, titmouse, who found out who had killed Wiyot.—S.

133:165 Cf. notes 84 and 120.

133:166 Cf. notes 85 and 120.

133:167 Paskwa, San José, on upper San Luis river, given in this series of publications, II, 148, as in Diegueño territory.

133:168 Malamai, Agua Tibia.—S.; ibid., this series, II, 147.

134:169 Cheruka, locative Cherukanga, large rock near Potrero; also one near Temecula.—S.

134:170 A few miles the other side of the railroad station near Murietta.

134:171 Etengvo; Mumoma.—S.

134:172 The names of all these places are mentioned in the Ouiot songs.

134:173 Chehemal, kingbird or bee martin.—S. Given in Journ. Am. Folk-Lore, XIX, 313, 1906, as chekhemal, a bird, possibly the meadowlark.—Ed.

134:174 Perhaps a trace of Christian influence.—But compare the incident in ibid.—Ed.

134:175 Kauki chehevo, said to be the name of a place.

134:176 Shariwut, blowfly.—S.

134:177 Albañas, commenting on Salvador's story, says that the idea of the fire being started by Bluefly with the whirling-stick came to these Indians from some other source, he thinks from the north. Juan de Dios gives the Bluefly as originator of the fire. Albañas in his version leaves it in doubt as to where it came from, but he evidently approves Lucario's statement that it was Glow-worm who had the fire.

134:178 Coyote jumped over the heads of the people into the fire to seize the heart of Ouiot, which he ate.

135:179 Moila, moon; achohax (x German ch), adjective, born; achohahup moila, it is born moon, there is a new moon.—S.

136:180 Sacred as a Chungichnish object, and one of the First People.

136:181 The shiny black on the deer's nose is like that.

136:182 Two of these stones I have seen are of white crystalline rock in round shape ten inches or so in diameter, others of clear quartz (?) crystal, ten inches long.—Wiyala, rock crystals.—S.

136:183 The white fat of the deer looks like that.

136:184 Pa’lut.—S.

136:185 The deer's entrails are like that.

136:186 There is some bushy hair on the deer's hind leg near the joint that smells like tobacco.

136:187 Huikish, Elymus condensatus, from which arrows are made.—S.

137:188 Cf. ante, under "Ceremonial Songs," records number 391 and 410.

137:189 Note the different statements in each story as to who was the first basket-maker, showing a possible family descent in stories, as is the case in songs.

137:190 I have not found among the Luiseños any allusion to the burial ollas for containing the bones and ashes of the cremated body so common among the Diegueños.

137:191 In former times they burned the bodies of the dead. Salvador, seventy-five years old, never saw this, but his grandfather did. They burned the bodies in a certain place, digging holes in which they made the fire and burying the ashes in the same place.

138:192 It is remarkable that the Diegueños as far south as Manzanita also use this name in their language for themselves.

138:193 See the account of the munival, or songs of landmarks, below.

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