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Part 7— Feather Braided Chief and the Gambler
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Story 10—
The Boy Gambler, The Man-Eagle, and the Origin of White Culture

In a certain year a baby was born. It was never quiet but always crying. Its mother tried in every way to keep it still but couldn't do it, and its grandmother also tried but couldn't. Finally they went to get some cactus thorns and made holes in its ears, so he[2] might die and they would be rid of him, but the baby did not die. When they saw this, they sang:

The naughty baby
The naughty baby
The mother is trying
To scold the baby
But he is still naughty (repeat, substituting
"grandmother " for  "mother ").[3]

When Siuuhu saw this, he made a rule that every woman, when raising children, must show them the right way. When a child is naughty, they must get a stick and spank the child in order to make him understand. Before he made this rule [in response to this abused, naughty child], all the children were perfect, and there were no naughty children.

This baby was a boy. Soon he grew big enough to go out hunting with the young boys. Sometime then the older people made plans to go out and hunt deer and mountain sheep. The leader of these hunters


told the boy that he must go to a certain place where there was a gap in the mountain and wait for a deer. The boy went to the gap and stayed there. He gathered all the rocks that he could find loose, and he made a wall to close the gap. He worked all day. Then it was time for the hunters to go home.

That evening all the hunters brought some kind of meat they had killed, and this boy didn't have anything. His mother asked him why he didn't kill anything. He told her that the hunters told him to go to work and close the gap in the mountain [they meant that he should hide there, not build a wall there], and that is the reason he didn't kill anything.

So the people told each other that they must not tell this boy to do that again. The next time they went hunting, they told him to go and stay someplace and watch out for the "cule "[a] (slang for buck deer; the old people did not kill anything but the oldest animals). So he went and stood someplace and watched for a cule to come along, but instead of an old deer, it was an old man that came along, and he shot and killed him.

When the people saw what he did, they saw it was a great wrong, and they decided to leave him alone, to leave him go. So they did, and he went on. At that time there was a man who was fond of a game called ginss .[4]


This man always lost everything he had. Once he lost all his dishes, cooking pots, and dippers. His mother had to use spoiled pots for cooking. When she finished cooking, she fixed something like a dish scooped in the ground, put the food in it, and told the man to eat the food. She said, "I have fixed this for you and you must eat out of it," and she scolded him that it is not right for him to gamble and lose her cooking pots.

The man was very sorry. He ate his food with the dust. When he finished eating, he went to a man who had the power of lightning, and who was called Lightning. The man asked what he wanted and also told him that everyone was afraid and would not come close to him. The man told Lightning about the trouble he had in playing the game, and he asked for help.

Lightning told him it was all right, he could help him out and do something for him. He made a lightninglike symbol for the ginss [15] stick. He did the same, only halfway, for the see-i-ko, and he did the same for the other sticks, six and four. The man took these sticks and went back to the people he had played with. This time his luck changed. He won all the time, was getting wealthy, and was happy. His mother was also happy because he was doing nicely. The place where they lived was east of the San Tan mountains. It was and is still called Two Tanks.


One day the men were going to play again, starting in the morning. With them was the man who had been the naughty child. Now he was called Huikeene (tall fellow medicine man).[b] He saw the man [helped by Lightning] playing and was jealous. He went and got some corn, mixed it with feathers, and told one of the women to grind up the mixture. Then he told her to go and sit at a place where there is water.

When Huik-eene saw that the other man was preparing to play ginss, he put the thought in his head to go drink some water before playing. The man did this. Huik-eene also planned for the man to drink some pinole before playing. So the man told the woman, "It is all right. I know I'll be hungry at the time when I'm playing." After he swallowed a mouthful, he began to feel funny and began to shake all over. The second time he drank the pinole, little feathers came out from his body, just like a young bird. The third time he drank it, the feathers became longer. The fourth time his feathers were full grown, and he was like an eagle.

Meanwhile the people had gathered to play. When the man didn't come, they began to ask each other why he was slow. They sent a young man to tell him to come right away so they could start the


game. This boy went to where the water was, and at that time the man-eagle was sitting by the water cleaning himself and playing with is feathers, as you see birds doing sometimes. The boy went back to where the people were and told them in a very sad way that the man had turned himself into an eagle.

The people told one another that something terrible was going to happen, that they must prepare their fighting weapons that very day. They gathered their bows and arrows and surrounded the eagle. The man-eagle began to rise slowly while the people shot arrows at him. He caught the arrows in his claws and went northeast (see-a-tak-uk , an old Pima word).[c]

Then Siuuhu spoke to the people and told them that the time that he had told them about earlier was getting near. He told them to remember that the earth, the people, and the mountains were all spinning around.

The man-eagle made his home at a place where there is a steep, high mountain that no one could climb.

The man-eagle got food by killing deer. Soon the deer got afraid and moved down this way to live. The next things the man-eagle killed were young children. Then he began to kill grown people for food. Once he got a young woman who had never


married. He didn't kill her but kept her for a wife. The next thing he got was a female dog which he kept for a pet.

When the people saw this, they held meetings on how they could kill the eagle. They thought they would ask Siuuhu to kill him for them. One man was sent to Siuuhu's place which at that time was at South Mountain [by Phoenix]. When he came, Siuuhu was lying down asleep. The man tried to tell him to get up and listen, but Siuuhu wouldn't wake up, so the man got a burning coal and put it on his chest. When the coal went out, he got another one and put it in the same place. Then a third, then a fourth one. Siuuhu finally woke up and got up and sat down. The man asked him if he knew what trouble was going on, if he knew the people were being killed and only a few were left, and he asked him to kill the eagle for them.

Siuuhu told the man to go back to his people and tell them that he would come inside of four days, and they must get four saguaro ribs. When the man returned, he told the people that Siuuhu would go to the house of the eagle, and, if he was not killed, they would see a white cloud rise over the mountains.

Siuuhu lit one of the sticks [obtained from the people], and that was his light in the night as he went on [toward the eagle]. When he went a certain distance, morning came, and he hid himself. He


stayed there all day, and, when the sun went down, he lit another stick and went on all night. Then when daylight came he did the same as before and stayed hidden all day. The eagle could not see him as he flew above where Siuuhu was hiding.

When the sun went down for the third time, he lit another stick and went on all night, and the next morning he did the same as before. Then, when the sun went down, he started out with the last stick in his hand. All night he traveled, and sometime before dawn he came to the bottom of the mountain where Eagle lived. He hid himself there, as it was Eagle's custom to go out very early in the morning. That morning he saw Eagle go out.

So Siuuhu came out and went around the mountain looking for a good place to climb it. He saw it was impossible to climb, so he called a man by the name of "Nowtchuk."[d] This man had been alive since the time of the great flood.[6] So when this man Nowtchuk came, he brought some gourd seed with him. He made a hole at the base of the mountain and planted the seed there. Then he sang and, while singing, danced:

A cliff is coming out
A cliff is coming out (repeat, as you please).


As he sang this song, the seed started to grow. It began to climb the cliff and went up until it reached Eagle's nest on top. Nowtchuk did this to make a place for Siuuhu to climb on, but a strong wind blew the plant back to the ground. Nowtchuk couldn't do it [successfully help Siuuhu]. Then Siuuhu spoke up and said, "If it was my desire, I would just say that the Eagle might die, and he would die." Then he looked around and got a kind of wood called vass (Juan doesn't know what this wood is),[e] and he sang:

I am  Heetoi[f
Vass, I have stuck
The vass,
And I walked on them
And killed the eagle.

So Siuuhu climbed on these [vass sticks] and came to where the eagle's wife was and asked her what time the eagle would return. She told him he would return at noon. Then Siuuhu asked what he does after he gets back home. The woman told him that when Eagle comes back, he looks very carefully among the meat that is there, and if he finds any living creatures, such as flies or spiders, he kills them.


After he finds that there is no danger, he lies down and goes to sleep. When Siuuhu heard this he was afraid.

It happened that Eagle had a son. Siuuhu asked the woman if the son could talk. She said that he understands well enough to tell his father that somebody came there. So Siuuhu stuck his hand in ashes, took it out, and rubbed his fingers on the young boy's mouth, meaning that his mouth would be tied and he couldn't tell his father what had happened. Then Siuuhu turned himself into a snake and crawled into a crack in the stone. He asked the woman if she could see him there. She told him that she could see him and that the Eagle could find him.

So Siuuhu came out and turned himself into a fly. He went way underneath the oldest pieces of meat and was out of sight. In a little while the Eagle came. He brought the people that he had killed. Some were completely dead, and some were groaning. The young child ran to its father and was trying to tell him that someone had come, but he couldn't do it. He could only say, "a-papa-chu-vitch " (meaningless).

The eagle told his wife, "Someone has come here, and this is what this son of mine is trying to say." The boy kept repeating the same word. The Eagle spoke to his wife for a second time, "If someone has come, you must tell me." The woman said, "You know very well that nobody can come here because


everyone is afraid of you." And, "You know when a child is learning to talk, he will be trying to say something and someday he will tell us what he is trying to say."

The Eagle went out and began to look over everything and to kill anything that showed it was alive. He didn't feel easy, and it took him a long time to go to sleep, for he knew that troubles were coming and his time was getting closer. The woman got the eagle, placed him on her lap, and began to nurse him to put him to sleep. She sang.

The Eagle fell asleep, and the woman whistled for Siuuhu to come out, but before he came out, old man Eagle woke up. The Eagle said to the woman, "I believe someone is around here, that's why you are trying to call him." The woman spoke back, "You know very well that nobody can come up here. I'm just making this noise because I'm glad we have fresh meat to eat."

She sang the same song again:

Hai yaka hai yaka hai mona (last line ).[8]

At the end of the song, Eagle fell asleep again. This time she whistled and Siuuhu came out. He took something that they called chu mos (something to cut with, Juan doesn't know its appearance), stuck Eagle's neck with it, cut the neck off, and the eagle flopped until he died. Then he did the same thing to


the young child. Then he sprinkled some hot water over the bodies of all the dead people that were lying around, as many as Eagle had killed since he started killing people. The last human beings that he brought back to life, when he finished, were the white people.

Siuuhu spoke to the white man and asked him where his home was. The man wouldn't speak because he didn't understand Siuuhu's language. Siuuhu thought very hard over this white man, and he began to work hard. At that time a dog that was the Eagle's pet had brought up some pups, and they were making a lot of noise. Siuuhu gathered the pups and threw them down into some earth that was very hot (stoin ju-ut ).[g]

He did this because he didn't want any noise while he was planning what to do with the white people. He pulled one of the feathers from the Eagle and cut the end off the feather with his right thumbnail. He dipped the pointed end into the Eagle's blood and took a deerskin and wrote something on it just like white men do today.

He picked up one white man and one Indian and placed them face to face. He told them that when the white man nods his head, that will mean "yes," and when the Indian shakes his head side to side, that will mean "no."


Then he sang a song for the white people:

I have made a people out of you
You are brightening my people (teaching)
You are making your home
In the home of the morning.

When he brought the white people down from the mountain, he sang:

I am bringing you down
I am sending you among bright ways.

He set the white people down and placed his hands on their shoulders, just like a father does when he sends his son someplace. He sang:

I am making you go
To the star that never
Moves around.

Siuuhu spoke to them and said, "You will make your home on the other side of the ocean." He told them that what he had said to them [about the inventions and knowledge of the New World and the North Star[9] ], these things would come in the future. He also told the Indians that they must know that there is another world on the other side of the ocean. When the end of the world was getting closer, the white man would cross the ocean and come over to this side. When they come, they will give the Indians things the white people use for food, such as


sweets, and they will both eat the same food together. After the understanding of the white people goes higher, there will be trouble for them. When the day comes that the earth will pass away, Indians will raise up children white, white women will have Indian children and white men also do it. But the white man can't create another world like Jeoss did.

Those were all the words Siuuhu spoke to his white children. Then he worked on old man Eagle, pulled off all his feathers, placed him over his shoulder, and started home. When he came over the tops of mountains, the soft white eagle feathers rose over the mountains and showed the people what he had told them before he went: to watch for white clouds over the mountains, and they saw them there.

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