Archiver > CHEROKEE > 2007-01 > 1169914251

From: "Blue Panther" <>
Subject: [Cherokee Circle] Chumash Indians Creation Myth - Chumash
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 10:10:51 -0600

Chumash Indians Creation Myth - Chumash

The Chumash myth tells of a great deluge which engulfed the earth, taking
with it all living things save for the Spotted Woodpecker, the nephew of
Kaqunupenawa, the Sun God.

Spotted Woodpecker survived the flood by perching itself atop the tallest
tree in the world, but as he saw the water rise all the way to his feet, he
cried out for his uncle's help. "Save me, I'm drowning! - he cried. The Sun
God's daughters heard him and told Kaqunupenawa that his nephew was dying of
cold and hunger. The Sun God lowered his torch, the one he used to light the
world and create the stars, and he warmed the Spotted Woodpecker with its
heat. He then tossed two acorns in the water at his feet, so that he would
be able to pick them up and eat them. The Sun God fed more acorns to the
Spotted Woodpecker, which now explains why they are its favorite food.

After the flood, the Sun God, Morning Star, the Moon, and Slo'w the Great
Eagle were discussing the creation of new people to populate the earth with
the Sky Coyote, trying to decide on their appearance. The Great Eagle and
the Sky Coyote argued whether the humans should have hands like the the Sky
Coyote's, who believed that the new people should be made in his image. He
won the argument, and the next day, all gathered around a white rock so that
Sky Coyote could press his hand into it to make his hand print, but the
Lizard, who had been a silent observer at the proceedings leapt forward and
pressed his own hand onto the rock. Lizard escaped the furious Sky Coyote,
and the Sun and the Eagle approved of the hand print and this is why human
hands are somewhat shaped like the Lizard's.

The first people were created from the seeds planted on Limuw (Santa Cruz
Island) by Hutash, the Earth Goddess. Hutash was married to the Sky Snake
(The Milky Way), who made lightning with his tongue and gave the people
their first fire. The people kept the fire burning to stay warm and cook
their food. Since the people were getting more comfortable, their population
grew until the Island became too crowded.

They also made so much noise that Hutash could not get any sleep, so she
decided it was time to allow some of the people to cross over to the
mainland. Hutash made Wishtoyo, a Rainbow Bridge which extended from the
tallest peak of the Island to the tallest inland mountain near Carpinteria.
She told the people to cross carefully, and to never look down, but some
did, and fell off the Rainbow Bridge and into the ocean, where they were
turned into dolphins by Hutash to prevent them from drowning. This is why
the Chumash Indians consider the dolphins to be their brothers. The Chumash
honor Hutash every September with a great Harvest Festival named after her.

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