Creation of the Earth

Creation of the Earth


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Drawing by Evelyn Garza (12 years old) at Kids Explore! 2012.

Then they smoked, and Temaīyauit asked Mūkat what they should do next. Mūkat answered, “We can draw from our heart the center pole of the world,”226 and from their hearts they both drew it. “Lift it up, stand it up, your center pole of the world, our center pole of the world. Make it stand, your heart of the world, our heart of the world,” they said. They put it into the air but it would not stand. They then drew from their hearts all kinds of snakes227 to hold the center pole of the world. These they told to hold it but they could not. Then they put two huge rocks228 together to hold it but still it moved.

Then from their hearts they drew all kinds of web-spinning spiders,229 and these ran their webs from the top of the pole in all directions, and at last the center pole of the world stood firm.

Both said, “It is all still, our heart of the world, your heart of the world,” and they began to climb up it, saying, “We, Mūkat and Temaiyauit, are climbing up!” Still farther up they sing, “Mūkat, Temaiyauit, going up, up, farther up we are going!” Halfway up the center pole they sing again, and still singing they come nearly to the top, always calling themselves by name. Then, still calling their names, they reach the top, and sing, “We, Mūkat and Temaiyauit, are sitting on the top, on the point of the center pole of the world.” From the top they looked down and saw clouds of smoke230 rolling up from the place whence they had come.

Temaīyauit asked where the smoke came from. Mūkat answered, “It is settling231 in the place where we were lying and comes from our afterbirth.232 It is black blood, red blood, fresh blood, smallpox, colds and sore throat, cramps in the back, boils, mumps, hives and itches, inflamed and sore eyes, blindness, acute body pains, palsy and twitching, consumption, venereal disease, rheumatism, emaciations, swelling of the body,233 and all other sicknesses.” All these were the clouds of smoke coming from the place where they came into being. Then Mūkat said, “We will give power to man or woman, so that each sickness can be cured by someone that has power. These will be the doctors.”234

Mūkat was on the west side of the center pole of the world and Temaīyauit on the east side. Mūkat asked Temaiyauit, “Which direction shall be the oldest?” Temaīyauit answered, “We will name that direction where you are now.” Mūkat then said, “I am older than you, so first of the directions is the west,235 then the north,236 south,237 and east.”238 Thus it is that when people come into the ceremonial house they blow west, north, south, and east.

Temaīyauit said, “How can we make the earth?” Mūkat answered, “You see I am older than you, for we can draw the earth from our heart.” And he drew black earth239 from his heart, and Temaīyauit drew white earth240 from his. This earth they put on top of the center pole of the world but it rolled off and was lost. From their hearts they drew all black and all white spiders,241 who spread webs in all directions. So for a second time they drew black and white earth from their hearts and placed it on the top. To spread this earth they drew forth from their hearts all the kinds of ants242 who spread out the earth on all sides. To make it faster they drew out two whirlwinds243 that rapidly completed the spreading out of the black and white earth. Thus was the whole earth made, but it moved and would not stay still. The ants were too light, they could not hold it steady. From their hearts Mūkat and Temaīyauit drew the ocean244 and placed it all around the world, and likewise they drew out pana tewelevelum and papakniwitum, the two water demons, and placed them in the ocean. All water creatures they put into the ocean, and, last of all they drew the sacred seaweed mat,245 the sacred dancing feathers of the doctors,246 the “water apron”247 and “water tail”248 and placed these in the ocean. Thus by their combined weight the last quivers of the earth were stilled, and it was flat as a table.

From their hearts again they drew the sky249 but it swayed and flapped in the wind. They blew their saliva250 to the sky and thus made the stars251 which held the sky in place. Then they put the two whirlwinds at the edge of the earth, and they held the bottom of the sky firmly in place.


226 whiyanahut, translated as the “center pole of the world,” or “heart of the world,” and described as a tremendously enlarged shaman’s wand, with which they effect cures and perform magic. It was “like a Bishop’s mitre” and symbolized the power of the creators.
227 palukūwit, temesuwut, all kinds of snakes.
228 hauwaiyauwut and temamlawut.
229 whalwhalwitem, kuītukwitem.
230 mūlikalipa, hauakalapa: smoke rolling in clouds.
231 tcemkonive, tcemwenive: settling.
232 tcemsilayaa: our placenta; tcemkalapī: our afterbirth.
233 ewul tūlnikic: black blood; ewul selnikic: red blood; ewul palnikic: fresh blood; lūmūil: smallpox; k’ekū: cold and sore throat; tcewiwinut: cramps in the back; tcuklalunit: boils; pahaieuluwinit: mumps or swollen sore throat; kisawinit: hives or itch; miwinit: inflamed eyes; tawawinut: blindness; mūwhinut: acute body pain; tawekkūskalet: palsy, twitching; tcatawawinut: consumption; ūūmuwinut: venereal disease; lumīwinut: rheumatism; whawhinut: emaciation; paticwinut: swelling of the body.
234 pūelem: doctors.
235 kauikanvic.
236 temankawic.
237 kitcamkawic.
238 tamīkawic.
239 temul tūlnikic: earth, black.
240 temul tēwicnikic: earth, white.
241 kuītūwhitum: black spiders; whalwhalwitum: white spiders.
242 kūvicniwitum, anwitum.
243 tenauakatem, kōtiaīalem.
244 pal nūkut.
245 pānã maīswut, a mat that is wrapped around the fetish bundles, and from which images of the dead are made.
246 pānã tcīatum, feathers used by shamans.
247 pānã wīava, significance unknown. An archaic or esoteric term.
248 pānã hekwas, significance unknown. An archaic or esoteric term.
249 tūkvac, also means “iron,” because it is black before the sun comes up.
250 hemhaña.
251 sūūwitem.