Cinon Duro (Hokoyel Mutawir), the last hereditary chief at Mesa Grande, a living repository of the knowledge of the past, felt more keenly than any of the old men the lasting value of the ancient rule of life. It was sacrilege to reveal the religious mysteries to a stranger, or even to hint at the sacred ritual so solemnly imposed. His affection for the writer and his consciousness that the past was to die with him, led him to give for friendship what could never have been bought for money. But the struggle between his inbred reluctance to reveal the things of the past, and his promise to do so, led him to give the recital in the briefest way.
A satisfactory rendering of this recital could be given only by an interpreter combining a full knowledge of old Indian terms with a good acquaintance with the English language; and such a one was not often to be found at Mesa Grande, where most of the younger Indians know only enough of their mother tongue for conversation with parents and grandparents in the house. Any Diegueño word not in common use, any allusion to the myths, the gods, or ceremonies, is foreign to them. 1 It is extremely fortunate that in the Manzanita region an excellent interpreter was found, familiar with the rare terminology of the past. The loss is great that in the death of Cinon Duro, September 17, 1906, there must die many a secret of the past.
The ceremonies which Cinon performed and the ancient religion he adhered to had been carefully taught to him by his father, that they might be transmitted to posterity with exact detail. The myths and sacred songs had been acquired in the same way. His father's name was mentioned with the greatest reverence in a half-whisper, since the names of the dead are spoken with reluctance. Where his father gained this knowledge was not distinctly explained, though it was stated that all religious ritual had been devised and directly given by Tuchaipa himself.
It is extremely interesting to trace the reciprocal influence of the two
tribes, Luiseño and Diegueño, each upon the other as shown in the surviving fragments of their ancient worship. To one who has long studied the subject it becomes increasingly evident that many of the ceremonials used among the Diegueños were acquired directly from their neighbors the Luiseños, as the latter declare. The toloache initiation ceremony, the eagle fiesta, and the whirling eagle-feather dance are the ones especially stated to have been thus introduced.
The value of the Chungichnish worship as a conquering faith has been noted. The Luiseños declare that they received it themselves from their brethren of the coast. It is not probable that it displaced an earlier and more primitive religion, but much more likely that its ritual became fused and blended with whatever of the sort already existed in both tribes. It would be impossible at this late day to disentangle all these associations and to make positive assertions in regard to the matter, but the statement made by the Luiseños that some of the sacred songs sung by the Diegueños in their ceremonies are in the Luiseño language may be possible of verification later. Certain it is that the language of these songs is acknowledged by the Diegueños to be foreign or unknown to themselves.
The differences between these two tribes are very striking, and based on deep-lying racial factors. The Diegueños' natural affiliations are with the Mohaves, Maricopas, Havasupais, etc. The great creator-gods Tuchaipa and Yokomatis are held in reverence. Diegueño mythology deals with characters powerful in themselves, and representative of those who are to come after; as, for example, Sinyohauch, the wonder-working woman, typical of the various powers of Nature; and Cuyahomarr, the wonder-working boy, who gives names to all the plants and animals in the world. These characters have no counterparts in Luiseño mythology, which is subtler, less dramatic, and more metaphysical than the Diegueño. The death of Tuchaipa has many of its details either lent to the Luiseños or borrowed from their moon myth, the sickness and death of Moyla the Moon in its waning, and its rebirth as the crescent in the resurrected Ouiot.
All tribes with early affiliations with Mexico might naturally adopt the myth of a dying god or demi-god, but these influences are lost in obscurity. It will be found an important and perhaps not a hopeless task to trace the reciprocal give-and-take in two tribes so racially distinct and geographically and socially conjoined as the so-called Luiseños and Diegueños.
On review of the notes of Cinon's conversations, it appears that in his account of the toloache ceremony he mentions Wanawut, not by that Luiseño term of course, but by saying that "the boys jumped in a ditch which had a redo (woven net), with stones in it, in the bottom of it."
In describing the girls' ceremony, he remarked that red, white, and black were the colors for women.
Such of the Luiseño form of ritual as was adopted by the Diegueños of Mesa Grande seems to have been introduced about a hundred and twenty years ago. In the two tribes there were some minor differences in performance. Instead of the lump of sage-seed and salt, rabbit-meat and salt were put into the girl's mouth in the ceremony Wukunish. Instead of the dry root of the toloache, a freshly-dug piece was pounded and the juice expressed in the boys' initiation ceremony.
In the Story of Creation as he first gave it, Cinon did not mention any primeval existence antedating Earth and Sky; but on a later occasion he sang the songs referring to the birth of the creator-gods, and mentioned in an obscure way the First Existence, typified in Luiseño myths by Kivish Atakvish. If he had lived, the Diegueño version of this most obscure and important part of the Creation myth would probably have been heard, since a few hours before the accident which resulted in his death he promised next time to tell "a part of the Creation story he had never yet related."
The words of the Songs of Creation which he sang, and which were recorded on the graphophone, are as follows:--
First song, sung by the Sky father who begot the creator-gods Tuchaipa and Yokomatis:--
Yi-haw-ma-ya-a i (repeated six times)
(A long sigh repeated)
The second song by the Earth mother describes the bringing forth of the creator-gods:--
The weird intonation of the chant, and its strange changes, cannot
be described, nor the intense reverence for the old religion expressed in every look and gesture.
232:1 The Mesa Grande Chaup story (Journal of American Folk-Lore, 1904, vol. xvii, pp. 217-241) is an exception, being well interpreted.