Jóhonaaʼéí -Tales From America's South West


This collection covers a range of cultures and themes based around the California Basin and South Western nations.

Most of the myths from the California Basin and the South West were first transcribed by ethnologists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These sources were collected from Native American elders who still had strong connections to the traditions of their ancestors. They may be considered the most authentic surviving records of the ancient stories.

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Table of Contents

The Beginning Of Newness
The Story Of The Creation
The Men Of The Early Times
Sedit And The Two Brothers Hus
The Story Of The Flood
Creation And Longevity
An Ancient Feud
Kol Tibichi
Old Mole's Creation
The Story Of Vandaih, The Man-Eagle
The Creation Of The World
Spider's Creation
The Hakas And The Tennas
How Old Man Above Created The World
The Story Of The Turquoises And The Red Bird
The Search For The Middle And The Hardening Of The World
The Migration Of The Gans
Origin Of Light
Pokoh, The Old Man
The Story Of Wayhohm, Toehahvs And Tottai
Creation Of Man
The Coyote And The Water Plume Snake
The First Man And Woman
Haka Kaina
Old Man Above And The Grizzlies
The Story Of Hawawk
Coyote And Sun
A Bear Story
Legend Of The Flood
The Birds And The Flood
The Great Flood
The Flood And The Theft Of Fire
Legend Of The Flood In Sacramento Valley
The Dream Of Juiwaiyu And His Journey To Damhauja's Country
The Fable Of The Animals
The Story Of Tawquahdahmawks And Her Canal
The Course Of The Sun
Releasing The Deer
The First Battle In The World And The Making Of The Yana
The Theft Of Fire (I)
The Theft Of Fire (Ii)
Traditions Of Wanderings
The Raven Story
The Migration Of The Water People
How Nooee Killed Ee-Ee-Toy
Ee-Ee-Toy's Resurrection And Speech To Juhwerta Mahkai
The Story Of Ee-Ee-Toy's Army
The Destruction Of The Vahahkkees
The Story Of Sohahnee Mahkai And Kawkoinpuh
Coyote And The Mesquite Beans
Deer Woman
Origin Of The Sierra Nevadas And Coast Range
Legend Of Tu-Tok-A-Nu'-La (El Capitan)
The Giant And The Twin War Gods
Legend Of Tis-Se'-Yak
The Corn Maidens
The Search For The Corn Maidens
The Song Hunter
The Man Who Visited The Sky With The Eagles
The Guiding Duck And The Lake Of Death
The Story Of Paht-Ahn-Kum
The Boy Who Became A God
The Deer Story
The Great Fire
The Story Of Nahvahchoo
How The Bluebird Got Its Colour
He Who Became A Snake
Origin Of The Raven And The Macaw
The Story Of The Children Of Cloud
The Boy And The Beast
The Coyote And The Turtle
How The Rattlesnake Learned To Bite
Coyote And Rattlesnake
The Hunter Who Secured The Bear Ceremony
Why The Apaches Are Fierce
Origin Of The Saguaro And Palo Verde Cacti
Ta-Vwots' Has A Fight With The Sun
The Thirsty Quails
The Doings Of Coyote
The Frog And The Locust
The Foxes And The Sun
The Cloud People
Coyote And The Hare
Coyote And The Quails
Coyote And The Fawns
Coyote's Eyes
Coyote And The Tortillas
Coyote As A Hunter
The Spirit Land
Historical Notes
About The Editor

SAMPLE chapter


EIGHT YEARS WAS BUT FOUR DAYS and four nights when the world was new. It was while such days and nights continued that men were led out, in the night-shine of the World of Seeing. For even when they saw the great star, they thought it the Sun-father himself, it so burned their eye-balls.

Men and creatures were more alike then than now. Our fathers were black, like the caves they came from. Their skins were cold and scaly like those of mud creatures, and their eyes were goggled like an owl's. Their ears were like those of cave bats, and their feet were webbed like those of walkers in wet and soft places. They had tails, long or short, as they were old or young. Men crouched when they walked, or crawled along the ground like lizards. They feared to walk straight, but crouched as they had always done before when they lived in their cave worlds. They feared that they might stumble or fall in the uncertain light.

When the morning star arose, they blinked excessively when they beheld its brightness and cried out that now surely the Father was coming. But it was only the elder of the Bright Ones, heralding with his shield of flame the approach of the Sun-father. And when, low down in the east, the Sun-father himself appeared, though shrouded in the mist of the world-waters, they were blinded and heated by his light and glory. They fell down wallowing and covered their eyes with their hands and arms, yet ever as they looked toward the light, they struggled toward the Sun like moths and other night creatures seek the light of a campfire. Thus they became used to the light. But when they rose and walked straight, no longer bending, and looked upon each other, they sought to clothe themselves with girdles and garments of bark and rushes. And when by walking only upon their hind feet they were bruised by stone and sand, they plaited sandals of yucca fibre.