Although this chapter has for its title, the creation of the world, the reader must not suppose it has any relation to the account given by Moses in the first chapter of Genesis. I do not intend any such thing; but merely to make known the belief of these Indians in their heathen state. We must not be surprised, if there be found many contradictions and extravagances; for these rude Indians were ignorant of the true God, without faith, without law, or king, and governed by their own natural ideas, or by tradition; we should, therefore, not wonder at their inconsistencies, and want of discernment to discriminate the truth from falsehood; for, deprived of the light of the Gospel, they ever walked in heathen darkness. Before I commence with their ideas of the world's origin, I must premise, that the Indians of this particular location (the mission of St. Juan Capistrano) account for the creation of the world in one way, and those of the interior (about 3 or 4 leagues distant) in another. In substance the same. One, as fabulous as the other. For this reason I will give both relations, and commence, in the first place, with the account of those in the interior.
Their belief is this: before this world was, there existed one above, and another below. These two were brother and sister. The one above signified the heavens, and the one below, represented the earth. But the heaven and earth here mentioned, were not as they appear now to us, but of another nature, which they could not explain. We may, therefore,
consider them as imaginary. All below was dark, without sun, moon, or stars. The brother came unto the sister, and brought the light, which is the sun, saying he would take her unto him to wife; she resisted, reminding him of their affinity, and desired that he would return and leave her in peace. But in time they were wedded, and the first-fruits of their union were earth and sand. After which, were produced rocks and stones of all kinds, particularly flints, for their arrows; then, trees and shrubbery; next, herbs and grass; and again, animals, principally the kind which they eat. Finally, was born one that they called Ouiot. This was an animated being. The father and mother of Ouiot were not mortals, as we said before, but were of a nature they could not explain. This said Ouiot had children, and was king, or grand captain of the first family; and, as I understand it, we are to suppose them, like their parent, a species of animal, distinct from any which now inhabit the earth; or, in other words, imaginary phantoms. Upon enquiring how this grand captain could have had children, and what was the name of his partner, they could not explain; but he had children, and many, both male and female.
As Captain Ouiot's descendants multiplied, the first born of his mother, (the earth,) increased in size, and extended itself to the south; (it will be well to state here, that it is the general belief of the Indians that they originated in the north) and as they increased the earth continued to augment. Captain Ouiot having become aged, his eldest vassals formed a conspiracy to destroy him; alleging as a reason for so doing, that his years prevented his attending to their wants; and, in fact, that he was too old to govern. A consultation was held, to resolve upon what method to carry into execution their designs, and it was decided that he should be poisoned. They mixed a poisonous ingredient in his beverage, and administered it to him. After drinking of this he immediately became sick, and left the mountains where he had lived, and resorted to the place which is now occupied by the beach, or sea shore; for it is supposed, that at this time, there was no sea. His mother, hearing of the danger of her son, mixed for him a remedy, which was prepared in a large shell, and placed it in the sun to ferment. The "Coyote," attracted to the spot by its fragrance, overturned it, and thus frustrated the intention of his mother. At length the captain died; and, although
he told them that in a short time he should return, and live with them again, they never have seen him more. I must state, that, at this time, there was no kind of grain or flesh to eat, and their food was the earth, which, according to their description, I understand to have been a kind of white clay, often used upon their heads by way of ornament. After the death of "Ouiot," they remained, for some time, undecided, whether to inter his remains, or to burn them; however, it was determined by the elders, that they should do the latter. The fire was prepared, the body placed upon a pile erected for the occasion, and fearing that the "Coyote" would come, and eat him, they sent out and burnt his retreat; but he had made his escape, and soon presented himself at the place of sacrifice, declaring he would be burnt with his captain; and, suddenly leaping upon the pile, he tore off from his stomach a large piece of flesh, and ate it. The remainder of the body was afterwards consumed by the flames.
The name of the Coyote was Eyacque, which implies second captain; and from this time they changed his name to that of Eno; signifying a thief and cannibal, and thieves were generally termed Eyoton, derived from Eno and Ouiot.
After burning the body, a general council was called, to make provision for the collecting of grain and seeds; the acorns, &c., &c., and the flesh of animals; such as deer, rabbits, hares, squirrels, rats, and all kinds which they fed upon. While consulting together, they beheld for several days, and at distinct times, a spectre, unlike themselves, who appeared and disappeared; sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another. Alarmed at its appearance, they determined to speak to it. Having summoned it to their presence, inquiries were made if he were their Captain Ouiot. "I am not Ouiot," said he, "but a captain of greater power; and my name is Chinigchinich. My habitation is above. On what matters are you debating, and why are you thus congregated?" he inquired. "Our captain is dead," said they "we have come to his interment, and were discussing in what manner to maintain ourselves upon the seeds of the fields, and the flesh of animals without being obliged to live upon the clay, or earth, as we have done."
Having listened to their answer, he spake unto them, and said, I create all things; I will make you another people, and from this time,
one of you shall be endowed with the power to cause it to rain, another to influence the dews, another to produce the acorn, another to create rabbits, another ducks, another geese, another deer." In fine, each one received his particular occupation, and power to create such food as they now eat. Even now, such as claim to be descendants of this people, pretend to be endowed with the same powers, and are frequently consulted as to their harvests, and receive in return for their advice, a gift of some kind, either in money or clothing, and, in fact, the result of their harvest depends entirely upon the maintenance given to these sorcerers, and the supplying all their necessities. To offend them, would be to destroy all their productions of flesh and grain.
Chinigchinich, after having conferred the power, as we have said, upon the descendants of Ouiot, about the time of "dixet et factum est," created man, forming him of clay found upon the borders of a lake. Both male and female he created, and the Indians of the present day are descendants of these. He then said unto them these words--"Him who obeyeth me not, or believeth not in my teachings, I will chastise--to him I will send bears to bite, serpents to sting, misfortunes, infirmities, and death." He taught them the laws they were to observe for the future, as well as their rites and ceremonies.
His first commandment was to build a temple, where they might pay to him adoration, offer up sacrifices, and have religious worship. The plan of this building was regulated by himself. From this time they looked upon Chinigchinich as God. The Indians say, he had neither father nor mother, and they are entirely ignorant of his origin. The name Chinigchinich signifies "all-powerful" or "almighty," and it is believed by the Indians, that he was ever present, and in all places: he saw every thing, although it might be in the darkest night, but no one could see him. He was a friend to the good, but the wicked he chastised.
Chinigchinich was known under three distinct names, as follows: Saor, Quaguar, and Tobet. Each one possessing its particular signification, denoting diversity or a difference of times. Saor, signifies or means, that period in which Chinigchinich could not dance; Quaguar, when enabled to dance; and Tobet, when he danced enrobed in a dress composed of feathers, with a crown of the same upon his head, and his face painted black and red. They say that once, while dancing in this costume,
he was taken up into heaven, where are located the stars. His order was, that they should use this mode of dress in their grand feasts--an observance regarded to this day.
Let us now return to the children of Ouiot, to know what became of them, and their descendants. It is said by some, that the God Chinigchinich, after he had formed the Indians out of the clay of the lake, transformed them into men like the others. To this opinion I am inclined, as being the most reasonable, for the power which they received from Chinigchinich, to create animals and grain, has been claimed, as has been seen, by those who pretend to be their descendants; and if he had not transformed them into Indians, no one would have remained with the power, for, the children of Ouiot were not Indians, or rational beings. It is affirmed by others, that when they saw the Indians that were created by Chinigchinich, they disappeared, and went off, no one knows where; and, consequently, that there are no descendants of Ouiot in existence. Nevertheless, they all consult alike relative to their harvests, and pay for the advice given to them. This is the belief that these Indians of the interior had respecting the creation of the world, and its origin.