Birth of Mukat and Tamaioit

Birth of Mukat and Tamaioit


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By Shannon Mirelez

The following creation story is from the book The Cahuilla Indians, "Origin Beliefs,"1 by Lucile Hooper, 1918.

In the beginning, there was no earth or sky or anything or anybody; only a dense darkness in space. This darkness seemed alive. Something like lightnings seemed to pass through it and meet each other once in a while. Two substances which looked like the white of an egg came from these lightnings. They lay side by side in the stomach of the darkness, which resembled a spider web. These substances disappeared. They were then produced again, and again they disappeared. This was called the miscarriage of the darkness. The third time they appeared, they remained, hanging there in this web in the darkness. The substances began to grow and soon were two very large eggs. When they began to hatch, they broke at the top first. Two heads came out, then shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, toes; then the shell was all gone. Two boys had emerged: Mukat and Tamaioit. They were grown men from the first, and could talk right away. As they lay there, both at the same time heard a noise like a bee buzzing. It was the song of their mother Darkness.


1The only previously recorded information on the Cahuilla origin story is the outline given by E.W. Gifford, Univ. Calif. Publ. Am. Arch. Ethn., XIV 188, 189, 1918. T.T. Waterman has summarized and analyzed most of the literature on the origin myths of the southern California Indians in the American Anthropologist, n.s., IX, 41-55, 1909.