Mohave Indian story of Creation


Mohave Indian story of Creation.


In the beginning, there was no land, no light, only darkness and the vast waters of Outer Ocean where Earth-Maker and Great-Grandfather were afloat in their canoe. Earth-Maker cast a long line into the water and brought up from the bottom of the ocean a part of earth no larger than his hand. He placed it on the surface of the sea where it drifted on the waves. Then he stretched his arms, fingers open, toward the piece of drifting earth and it grew and spread and thickened until it became the World.

Earth-Maker and Great-Grandfather beached their canoe on the shore of the new-made world and walked from end to end, for it was flat and empty. As they walked they thought and thought of all they must do before people could live there. While they thought and spoke together, they reached their arms, fingers extended to the North, the East, the South, the West, to the Above and to the Below.

In this way they caused mountains and hills and valleys to form where there had been only flatness, and creeks and rivers to flow and cut through the land to the sea. They called Sun and Moon to come to light the World.

They planted the seeds of acorn oaks, of fruit trees, of berry bushes and grasses, which sprouted and sent roots deep into the ground.

They put deer and elk and bear and small four-footers to live in the hills and open valleys; low-flying birds In the trees and brush; high-flying birds to go back and forth between the earth and the Sky World; and salmon and eels and the lesser fish to swim up rivers and into creeks.

When the world was finished and complete, Earth-Maker took soft clay and formed the figure of a man and of a woman, then many men and women, which he dried in the sun and into which he breathed life: they were the First People.

He gave homes to them, some in a fold of the hills, others by the sea. To each he said, “Here is your home and the home of the children who will be born to you. Your land reaches from here to here.” So saying he indicated a place upstream and one downstream, also the crest of the first line of hills and perhaps a tall pine or a boulder or other marker to show the boundaries beyond which the land belonged to someone else.

Then Earth-Maker and Great-Grandfather taught the First People to hunt and fish, to make fire, to build houses and to fashion tools. They taught them also the tongue which each should speak, its songs and ritual words; the taboos to be observed for each age and each special event in a man’s and a woman’s life and all the rules of customary belief that go to make the Way.

When Earth-Maker and Great-Grandfather saw that the First People had learned and understood all these matters, their task was finished. Sadly, because they loved the world they had made, they said farewell and went underground forever. Since that time, since the beginning, the descendants of those First People, even to us here in this house, continue to live in the place where the Ancestors lived, to speak the old tongue, to keep the taboos, and in all matters to follow the Way.

 


Source:
Sandra Lakota Spaulding and John Casks Rouillard. The Indian in American History.  1971-72.