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Part 1— Genesis
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First Creation (Thin Leather)

The Story of Creation.

In the beginning there was no earth, no water—nothing. There was only a Person, Juh-wert-a-Mahkai [Jewed Ma:kai] (the Doctor of the Earth).

He just floated, for there was no place for him to stand upon. There was no sun, no light, and he just


floated about in the darkness, which was Darkness itself.

He wandered around in the nowhere till he thought he had wandered enough. Then he rubbed on his breast and rubbed out moah-haht-tack,[j] that is, perspiration, or greasy earth. This he rubbed out on the palm of his hand and held out. It tipped over three times, but the fourth time it stood straight in the middle of the air, and there it remains now as the world.

The first bush he created was the greasewood bush. And he made ants, little tiny ants, to live on that bush, on its gum that comes out of its stem. But these ants did not do any good, so he created white ants, and these worked and enlarged the earth; and they kept on increasing it, larger and larger, until at last it was big enough for himself to rest on.

Juhwerta Mahkai's song of creation:

Juhwerta mahkai made the world—
Come and see it and make it useful!
He made it round—
Come and see it and make it useful!

Then he created a Person. He made him out of his eye, out of the shadow of his eyes, to assist him, to be like him, and to help him in creating trees and


human beings and everything that was to be on this earth. The name of this being was Noo-ee [Ñu:wi] (the Buzzard). Nooee was given all power, but he did not do the work he was created for. He did not care to help Juhwertamahkai but let him go by himself.

And so the Doctor of the Earth himself created the mountains and everything that has seed and is good to eat. For if he had created human beings first, they would have nothing to live on.

But after making Nooee and before making the mountains . . ., Juhwertamahkai made the sun. In order to make it he first made water, and this he placed in a hollow vessel, like an earthen dish, to harden into something like ice. And this hardened ball he placed in the sky. First he placed it in the north, but it did not work; then in the west, but it did not work; then in the south, but it did not work; then he placed it in the east, and there it worked as he wanted it to.

And the moon he made in the same way and tried in the same places with the same results. But when he made the stars he took the water in his mouth and spurted it up into the sky. . . .

Now Juhwertamahkai rubbed again on his breast, and from the substance he obtained there he made two little dolls, and these he laid on the earth. They were two human beings, man and woman.


Now for a time the people increased till they filled the earth. For the first parents were perfect, and there was no sickness and death. But when the earth was full, there was nothing to eat, so they killed and ate each other. Juhwertamahkai did not like the way the people acted . . . and so he let the sky fall to kill them. When the sky dropped, he, himself, took a staff and broke a hole thru, thru which he and Nooee emerged and escaped, leaving behind them all the people dead.

And Juhwertamahkai, being now on the top of this fallen sky, again made a man and a woman, in the same way as before. But this man and woman became grey when old, and their children became grey still younger, and their children became grey younger still, and so on till the babies were grey in their cradles. Juhwertamahkai, having made an earth and sky just as there had been before, did not like his people becoming grey in their cradles, so he let the sky fall on them again and again made a hole and escaped, with Nooee, as before.

And Juhwertamahkai, on top of this second sky, again made a new heaven and new earth, just as he had done before, and new people. These new people made a vice of smoking. Before, human beings had never smoked until they were old, but now they smoked younger, and each generation still younger, till the infants wanted to smoke in their cradles.


Juhwertamahkai did not like this, and he let the sky fall again, and created everything new in the same way, and this time he created the earth as it is now.

But at first the whole slope of the world was westward, and though there were peaks rising from this slope, there were no true valleys, and all the water that fell ran away, and there was no water for the people to drink. So Juhwertamahkai sent Nooee to fly among the mountains and over the earth, to cut valleys with his wings, so that the water could be caught and distributed, and there might be enough for the people to drink.

Now, the sun was male and the moon was female, and they met once a month. The moon became a mother and went to a mountain that is called Tahs-my-et-tahn Toe-ahk[k] (Sun Striking Mountain), and there was born her baby. But she had duties to attend to, to turn around and give light, so she made a place for the child by tramping down the weedy bushes and there left it. And the child, having no milk, was nourished on the earth.

This child was a coyote, and as he grew, he went out to walk and in his walk came to the house of Juhwertamahkai and Nooee. . . . When he came there, Juhwertamahkai knew him and called him


Toe-hahvs,[l] because he was laid on the weedy bushes of that name.

Now out of the north came another powerful personage, who has two names, See-ur-huh and Ee-ee-toy.[m] Seeurhuh means older brother, and when this personage came to Juhwertamahkai, Nooee, and Toehahvs he called them his younger brother.[5] But they claimed to have been here first and to be older than he, and there was a discussion between them. Finally, because he insisted so strongly and just to please him, they let him be called older brother.

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