Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

 

 

Yuma Creation Myth

As told by a Diegueno

 

 

An old Yuma told the Diegueno interpreter Sant how the gods Tuchaipa and Yokomat first came into being.

 

When they came forth from the Earth mother, they had to pass through the ocean, which then covered the land; and the first-born, Tuchaipa, came up through the water with his eyes shut, so that he got through all right; but when his brother called to him to ask him how he managed it, he told him that he came through with his eyes open.  So Yokomat  came with wide-open eyes through the ocean, and the salt water hurt his eyes and made him blind.

 

Each brother had brought an animal with him.  Tuchaipa had the badger, and Yokomat the swift.  The badger was rough and furry, and the swift's feathers were smooth and fine.  After they came out, when his brother could not see, Tuchaipa changed the animals, taking the swift for himself.

 

"What have you done?" asked his brother.  "This is not my animal.  This one is rough and furry."

 

"Yes, that is yours," said Tuchaipa.

 

But Yokomat was so angry that he went down into the ground again.

 

So Tuchaipa made the world by himself. He made all the people.   First he made the men, and then the women.   The women were very hard to make.  Then he made the moon to give them light; but, finding that the moon was not bright enough, he made the sun to light the world.

 

 

 

Footnote: Yokomatis. Tuchaipa and Yokomat are the Diegueno creator gods.

 

Ceremonies and Traditions of the Diegueno Indians
By Constance Goddard Du Bois.
Journal of American Folk-Lore Vol. XXI, No. 82 pp. 228-36
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