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


Fourth Version—By Lucario Cuevish. 194

The first that came or appeared was Kivish, the man, Atakvish, the woman. 195

Then Omai, the man, Yamai, the woman. 196

When the two beings found themselves there, realized the existence of each other, the brother and sister each said to the other, "Who are you?"

The man called her sister. But when the thought of marrying her came to him, he changed the form of address and spoke to her in a different way. The woman asked, "Who are you?"

He answered, "Kivish no, Kivish no, Kivish no, Han-n-n-n-n. (I am Kivish, I am Kivish, I am Kivish, groan used in sacred narrative and ceremonies)."

The man asked, "What have you to say?"

She answered, "Atakvish no, Atakvish no, Atakvish no, Han-n-n-n."

The inquiries being repeated, he said, "Omai no, Omai no, Omai no, Han-n-n-n."

She said, "Yamai no, Yamai no, Yamai no, Han-n-n-n."

There was now a transition impossible to explain.

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Whaikut Piwkut was the man, the sky or Milky Way, whitish-gray. Harurai Chatutai 197 was the woman, the earth.

Another transition and they became Tukmit, the sky, Tomaiyowit, the earth. These came after and from the previous states of existence, but were not born of them as their children.

The woman lay extended, her feet to the north, her head to the south. Her brother sat on the right hand by her side. "Sister, you must say who you are," he said. She answered, "I am Tomaiyowit." She asked, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am Tukmit." Tomaiyowit now, in a marvelous recitative, enumerates her attributes which it is distinctly explained do not belong to her but are prophetic of the completed state of being which is to come later. 198

"Non Obkit, non Opaykit, I am that which stretches out flat or is extended (from horizon to horizon). 199

"Non Yaramul, non Kworamul, I am that which shakes, and sounds with a loud noise, like thunder. 200

"Non Yinkit, non Yenankit, 201 I am the earthquake.

"Non Punkit, non Choykit, 202 I am that which rolls around and is round in shape.

"Non Manakit, 203 I am that which goes out of sight and appears again." After things were in shape it would be this way.

Then Tukmit spoke:

"Non Tukmit, non Pamkit, I am that which arches over like a round lid or cover. 204

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"Non Yumkit, same meaning. 205

"Non Hetkit, non Kariamul, I am something that goes up high, and will rise high. 206

"Non Somkit, non Paikit, I am death, that which will devour as if by taking all in, in one bite. 207

"Non Hakwit, non Lamkit, I am he that from the east catches the spirits of men and sends them away off.

"Non Wokumal, non Chorumal, 208 I am death." 209

They said all this while she lay there and he sat by her side. It was in darkness, but he felt her and took her right hand. "What part of your body is this?" "That is my right hand." "And this?" "My left hand." In the same way he felt and she named her head, hair, the parting of the hair, the skull, the temple, brows, eyelids, cheek bones, teeth, etc. This is an extremely long enumeration, ending in that part of the story which the narrator omits from motives of delicacy, but which Boscana gives briefly in his version of the same myth among the San Juan Capistrano Indians as follows: "The brother wished to marry the sister but she resisted, reminding him of their affinity. In due time, however, they were married."

She was with child and so large that she must lie down, falling backwards. She looked for something to help her, and Tukmit to deliver her took Sivut paviut, the sacred stick with flint knife inserted in the end of it, and with this he cut her open from between the breasts downward. (Groaning recitative.) Then came forth her children in the order of their birth.

1. Yula Nahut. Yula, spirit, literally, hair; nahut possibly should be wanawut. Yula wanawut is the sacred string used in connection with the toloache ceremony and sand-painting. 210

2. Chakwut Wakut. Chakwut, a woven basket carried on the end of a cane by the men and used to cover the faces of the girls

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to keep the flies from them 211 in their puberty ceremony. 212 Wakut, curved throwing stick for killing rabbits. 213

3. Nosish Ayaraka. Nosish, the red scum on iron springs. This was sacred because it was skimmed off, burnt, and used for red paint in the sand-painting and elsewhere. Ayaraka, the green scum, fresh-water algae, that appears on water when Tomaiyowit, the Earth-mother, has her menses. 214

4. Pala Yowhala. Pala, water; yowhala, mud. 215

5. Ushla Pikla. Ushla, wild roses; pikla, wild blackberry. Almost all, if not all, thorny, stinging things belonged to Chungichnish, being his avengers. 216

6. Nenexel Pachayel. Nenexel is a brush that grows on the mountains; pachayel is a sedge or plant that grows in wet places, the root of which makes large clumps. 217 They were sacred because they were the plants used in the girls’ ceremony to cover them with or to line the hole, or both.

7. Simut, double not given. Simut is salt grass on the seashore. 218

8. Poöla Poaskatu. Both words mean menses. 219

These were the first born. Then came forth all the hills, trees, stones, rocks, and everything that we now see on the earth, but all were people then. There were born, not given as doubles:

9. Hunal, the badger.

10. Yungavish, the buzzard, and meaning also the star Altair.

11. Takwish, the large meteor sometimes seen in the daytime, Diegueño Chaup or Shiwiw.

12. Choruwut, an underground animal that has never been seen, but which can be heard growling and shaking the stones in certain places in the mountains. 220

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13. Towish, the spirit. When a man dies he becomes Towish. 221

14. Kwila, an oak tree with edible acorns. 222

15. Pauhwhut Abawhut. Pauhwhut, a painted board about four feet long, kept hidden in the house. If anyone is sick, punished by Chungichnish, they get it out and lay it on the ground in ceremonies. 223 Abauhwhut or Abawhut, definition obscure.

16. Kimul Chehenish224 definition given obscure.

17. Poblish, a tree. 225

18. Isla, a person. 226

19. Masla, a fern. 227

Then came forth the avengers and special messengers of Chungichnish.

20. Sowut, the "black" rattlesnake. 228

21. Mekus, the "yellow" rattlesnake. 229

22. The spider.

23. Palahush, the tarantula. 230

24. Awialut, the raven. 231

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25. Hunwut, the bear.

26. Wulamul, the stingaree. 232

Then the sacred objects:

27. Tukmul, the flat winnowing basket sacred to Chungichnish, placed upon the ground in the ceremonies.

28. Somkul Papawish. Somkul, urine; papawish, mock-orange plant, also called Näxish. 233 These two names make a double because in the ceremonies when the stone bowls and so on were placed upon the ground, urine was sprinkled over them with the branch of the mock-orange plant. 234

29. Topal Tamyush235

The raven was the especial messenger of Chungichnish and was able to tell the secret transgressions of those who offended against him, revealed the secrets, made mistakes in the ceremonies, or disobeyed the rules of life; but it was not everyone who could hear what the raven said. It was only the shamans of greatest power, those who could hear and see everything and kill a person at a distance.

Tukmit and Tomaiyowit now made the land, only a small piece at first. Then later they made it larger just as it is now. Everything now came into shape just as it had been named and planned in the conversation between Tukmit and Tomaiyowit. Everything was all in the dark. The First People could just feel each other but could see nothing.

They traveled east till they came to Epyuvokala Putwalakala, a place that was just like a blank wall in front of them; 236 so they turned around and came back to the same place.

Then they came to Kawima 237 Putlalak, 238 near San Bernardino, where they got to a cañon that they could not go through. 239

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[paragraph continues] Then they came along by Elsinore, and stopped there, and made the lake that is there. 240 They traveled as far as Temecula, called Ekva Temeko, and stopped by a small lake that used to be there, but it is drained out and dried up now.

Then they began to think, to gain consciousness, and could now talk to each other, and discuss what it was best to do. Now Hainit 241 Yuinit 242 made the sun. This means something way down in the ground. 243

This man, when he made the sun, took the reddish milkweed plant that twine is made of, and twisted the fibres of it into twine, and out of that made a net, not an ordinary carrying net, but a long one. Then he called all the people and they got together in a place near Temecula. 244 He took the net that was all rolled up, and with groaning invocation he laid it on the ground, and all the people standing in a circle bent over and placed it before them on the ground. They sang about Temet, the sun, and putting him in the net, they raised their arms with the appropriate groans, cries, and gestures, and sent him up into the sky as the sun:

Temet kwon na num, temet kwon na num, temet kwon na num, han-han-n, han-n-n.

He went to the north, but that was not right and they placed him in the net again.

(Same recitative, words slightly varied.)

He went south, but came back again.

(Same recitative, groans, and gestures.)

He went west, but went a little way and came down again.

Temet kwon put ya, temet kwon put ya, temet kwon put ya, han-n-n, wahha, wahha, wah-ha-a.

They sent him east, and he went up in the sky and away off. (Expressive gestures, arms raised towards the sky.)

(Another recitative invocation). They made it so that he

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would not follow in a straight line, but work southward or northward at different seasons of the year.

Song, Temet karia. The sun should rise. 245

He rose. All was light, and the people could see each other.

Tukmit said that some of the children should go north, others east, south, and west. So he divided them in this way. They had had only one language, but when they scattered he gave them different languages. He also gave them their religion. He sent the Diegueños and others south with their language, and to the west he sent those of Capistrano, and so on, with their language, and in the center he left us (the Mountain Luiseños), with one language from Temecula to La Jolla.

Before the people, the tribes, were scattered north, south, east, and west, Moyla, 246 Ouiot, was there. Because he disliked the shape of Wahawut, the frog, she killed him. He only thought about her, but as she was a witch she could tell his thoughts; so Ouiot got sick and called his people from the north to come. He was very sick, and when they came they tried to find out what was the matter. They were witches and thought that they could cure him, but they could not tell what was the matter. Then the people from the east, south, and west came and did the same thing.

Ouiot got worse, and was paralyzed so that he could not walk, but crawled around and grew worse and worse. The hawk, Mawhala, 247 came to doctor Ouiot, and he was the only one who could tell what was the matter with him. He said that Wahawut was killing him by witchcraft. Then the people found out that Wahawut was doing that.

Ouiot knew now that he was going to die, and he mentioned all the "months" in a series, saying in each that perhaps he would die in that one. The last one, Soymamul, meant that he would die and take all with him (in death).

Chehemal was a good man, and Ouiot had confidence in him, so he called him and told him that he would come back in three days. After he died, all his people were gathered there and they

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did not know what to do, whether to burn or bury him. They decided to burn the body. The kangaroo-rat lost no time but went to work, and kept himself busy making a carrying net in which to lift Ouiot. An old woman, now the glow-worm, had some fire hidden under her arm. They first of all dug a shallow hole and put wood in it. Coyote was always a mean sort of fellow, and the people suspected him and made an excuse to send him away while they burned the body. So they called him and told him he was the quickest man and he must go north to get some fire. He did not want to leave. Se he started to where the First People lived in the north. But he did not go all the way, only ran a little way and came back, saying he could not get any fire there. So they sent him in turn to the people in the east, south, and west, but he came back each time without any fire. There was a big log lying there which a dozen men could not lift. When Coyote had gone off, Wiskun, now the chipmunk, went out and got the log, singing a groaning recitative, lifted it, and carried it over to where Ouiot was. As soon as they got it ready, the kangaroo-rat brought his net, and they put Ouiot in it, and he carried it over to the place of the burning. He could hardly walk but staggered under his load. Then they took half of the log, slightly hollowed out, mavakal, and laid Ouiot on it. He had no clothes, but upon his breast was laid the dressed and decorated skin of the crow (raven?). Over him they put the other slightly hollowed piece, avakal. They started the fire, and while it was burning they stood close together around it so that Coyote could not reach the body. The badger was a little man and he was standing there in the circle. The body was burned all but the heart, and when Coyote got there he ran around the circle stretching himself and peering over to see what he could do. Then he ran back to get a start, took a running jump forward over their heads, got the heart, and ran off with it in his mouth. They clubbed him well, but he got it just the same. Then when everything was burned, they gathered the bones and held a council to decide what they should do.

The eagle was a very wise man and he knew a great deal; and he thought he would go north to try to get away from death, as he found there was to be death after Ouiot died. When he

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went north he found that death was there, and east, south, and west the same. When he came back he told the people that death was everywhere. It was very close. They had all to die. He sang this at Temecula. 248

Then they wanted to kill the deer, but he said, No, that was not right, for he was just the same as they were. They told him they would kill him with the sacred stones. He said, No, he had the same. Then they got a stone arrow-straightener and said they would kill him with that. He said, No, he had that too. They said they had the feathers for the head-dresses and would kill him with them. He said, No, he had some of them too. They showed him arrowheads and said they would kill him with them. He said, No, he had those also. They showed him a bow and said they would kill him with that. Deer said he also had that. They told him they had sinew and would kill him with that. He said, No, he had that too. They told him they would kill him with blood. Deer said, No, he had that. They told him they would kill him with the tracks of their footprints. He said, No, some of those were his too. They told him they would kill him with marrow. Deer said, No, he also had marrow. They told him they would kill him with their ears. He said they could not do that. He had ears too. They told him they would kill him with their eyes. He said, No, he had eyes too. They told him they would kill him with the skin of the deer's head and antlers worn on the head by the hunter to deceive the deer. He said, No, he had that too. They told him they would kill him with tobacco. He said, No. He had some of that too. They told him they would kill him with wood-ticks. He said, No, he had those also. They told him they would kill him with one of the big blue-flies. He said, No, he had that too. Then at last he gave up when they told him they would kill him with the feathers that wing the arrows.

So they killed the deer, and all the different kinds of rabbits.

Then the valley quail and mountain quail and road-runner and woodpecker mourned and cut their hair for mourning. 249 They were the first to do this, and the Indians still mourn in this

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way in some places, cutting their hair for the dead. Chehemel, kingbird, was the only one that knew that Ouiot was coming back, and when the day came he got on his housetop and said, "Ouiot is coming." Some of the people said, "How can that be? He is dead." Kingbird said: "Come. Look in the east. Karia Ouiot, Ouiot Moyla, Rises Ouiot, Ouiot the moon." All came out and saw him in the west. Kingbird alone saw him in the east. All shouted out, and every time after that when they saw the new moon they would start a fire and have races.


138:194 An old man, blind from his youth.

138:195 See the preceding version for names not commented upon here.—Ed.

138:196 Omai, to not be, said of animate things; yamai, same, inanimate.—S.

139:197 Harurai chatutai; this phrase speaks of boring a hole and lowering.—S.

139:198 Much in this mythology is abstraction, belonging to the domain of metaphysics. Transition in character of being or condition, while identity or continuity is asserted, and the latent possession of attributes to be manifested in future time in the external order of Nature, are ideas above the ordinary.

139:199 Non obkit, non opoikit, I am stretched out. This and the following sentences were spoken to Tukomit by Tamaiyowut, it is said.—S.

139:200 Non yaramul, non kwomamul; meaning, that shakes and makes noise.—S.

139:201 Non inkit, non ngenankit; from ini, to deduct, take off, and ngeni, to be an earthquake.—S.

139:202 Non punkit, non chorkit; from puni, to go around, and chori, to roll.—S.

139:203 Non mane’kakit, I disappear.—S.

139:204 Tukomit speaking to Tamaiyowit: Non Tukomit, non pemkit. Pemkit from pemi, to be upside down.—S.

140:205 Non yumkit; perhaps related to yumu’i, to put on a hat.—S.

140:206 Non ketkit, non kareamul; perhaps from the verbs heti and kare’i, to rise.—S.

140:207 Non shomkit, non pakit; from shomi, to devour, pai, to drink.—S.

140:208 Non wokamul, non choramul; woki, to cut; chori, to cut, cut off.—S.

140:209 These words are used in the fiestas for the dead, and are always the final words.

140:210 Nahut is waking-stick, cane.—S.

141:211 If analogy with the customs of other California tribes holds, it was primarily for the purpose of concealing the face of the girl, or hiding the world from her sight to prevent its being harmed by the supernatural power in her.—Ed.

141:212 Cha’kwut, a rush basket.—S.

141:213 Wakut, throwing stick.—S.

141:214 Moshish, oxide of iron from springs; ayaraka, pond-scum.—S.

141:215 Pala, water, yuwhala, mud.—S.

141:216 Ushla, wild rose; pikwlax (x German ch), blackberry.—S.

141:217 Nenexyal (x Spanish), tussock grass; pachayal or pachayat, a coarse grass or sedge.—S.

141:218 Shimut, salt grass; shamut, grass of any kind.—S.

141:219 Poaulo, her menstruating; poashkato, same.—S.

141:220 Chorwut, a water animal.—S.

142:221 The Catholic Indians, learning of the devil, identified him with Towish and still have songs and charms drawn on the ground as a form of exorcism, but these are modern and not genuinely Indian. The primitive Luiseños and Diegueños appear to have had no idea in any way approaching this. They seem to have learned their fear of Takwish, the meteor, from the Cahuillas, though this is not certain. They sometimes combine the names, Towish Takwish. The Chungichnish religion was a religion of fear, as its exacting ceremonial if not obeyed would bring punishment from the many avengers of Chungichnish, but it does not seem that this fear was ever concentrated in one being until the priests taught them to identify 'Towish' with 'devil.' The old narrator has separated his double names in this part, and has perhaps forgotten some. As all the sacred and ceremonial objects were first-born people, it is no wonder that each narrator gives a different list and forgets many.

Touch, given by Boscana, pronounced To-ush, is not far from Towish. Boscana defines the word as "devil" which is the modern Indian significance of Towish, the original meaning being spirit. Tacuieh, as given by Boscana, defined as meteoric appearance, is evidently a misprint for Tacuich, pronounced Takwish.

142:222 Kwila, Quercus californica.—S.

142:223 Cf. no. 11 in the list of the first born in the preceding myth.

142:224 Cf. no. 4 in the list of the first born in the preceding myth.

142:225 Pavlash, mountain ash.—S.

142:226 Isla, a plant.—S.

142:227 Nashla, large brake fern.—S.

142:228 Showut.—S.

142:229 Me’kash, generally called red rattlesnake.—S.

142:230 Pulakwush, the tarantula-hawk, a large insect. Tarantula is monawut.—S.

142:231 Kawialwut, raven.—S.

143:232 Wulamul, stingray.—S.

143:233 Shomkul, a sea fish; papaiwish, urine, more polite than shiish; nehish, mock orange.—S.

143:234 This would seem to the Christian priests the devil's derision of holy water. It long antedates the arrival of the priests.

143:235 See number 1 in the list of the first born in the preceding myth.

143:236 Poyuvakala, it growing dark, from yavi; potowalakala, it beginning to grow dark.—S.

143:237 Kawima, little hill.—Kawimai.—S.

143:238 Poxlalah (x German ch), his climbing, from verb élali.—S.

143:239 See song record 407 above.

144:240 See Diegueño Creation myth. Jour. Am. Folk-Lore, XIV, 181, 1901.

144:241 Hainit, headband to hold feathers in place.—Ibid.—S.

144:242 Yunenkit, from yuni, to dive, sink.

144:243 There is a song for this but it belongs to the Calacs, and Lucario cannot sing it. It descended to the Calacs from some dead ancestor.

144:244 It is a place that can still be seen. The rocks and trees are all around in a circle, and stones are left there in groups of threes just as they used them for cooking their food, and heaps of ashes are found there.

145:245 Temet, sun; kare’i, to rise; temet-up kare’ak, the sun is rising.—S.

145:246 Moon.

145:247 Mawhala, a large hawk that soars much.—S.

147:248 See song record 391 above.

147:249 All birds with a plume or crest.

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