Originally posted by punkinworks10
In this thread I wish to discuss, who were the first Californians, and how does that relate to the populating of north America.
My focus will be on the legends and myths of the native peoples of central California
There was no fire. It was very cold. Then the eagle told the roadrunner and the fox to go out. These two were good runners. Coyote said: "Let the crow go. He is good at looking about." The eagle said: "They are better;" but he let the crow go. Then Coyote said: "I am going too," though the eagle wanted him to stay. Then the eagle told the crow: "Start early. If you see fire anywhere tell us." Late in the day the crow saw fire in the west. He came back and said: "They have fire there." Then the eagle sent out the roadrunner and the fox. Coyote and the crow went with them. They went directly north along the Coast Range. Before, when the crow had gone alone, he first went eastward and then north and then to the west and back south. Now Coyote said: "Wait until the sun is down. Then we will steal it. They agreed. Now it was dark in the west. Then Coyote said: "Now they are all asleep." The crow said: "We will not all go there. Let one who can jump well take the fire. You, fox, go." Coyote said: "I will go too. I am a good jumper too." The crow said: "No, we will be killed." But Coyote said: "No, we are all good runners. And I will take the fire. Even if you come with me it is I who will take the fire." Then they came to one end of the village. "Here is good fire," they said. They took fire, and put it in a net-sack. Then Coyote
told them: "Run ahead. I am going to kill this little one." "No, do not," said the fox. "Yes, I will," said Coyote. Then the fox and the others went ahead. Coyote took the child, threw it in the fire, and killed it. Then he leaped out of the house and ran. It was another coyote who was living there. He called out: "Take care! Someone has come!" Now as the fire-stealers ran, their path was the San Joaquin river. The fog ( ?), gumun, and a duck, wolwul, pursued them. Coyote jumped from side to side and the pursuers ran here and there after him. That is why the river is crooked. They kept on running southward. Then Coyote reached his sweat-house. He entered and closed it. They could not catch him. He had the fire inside. He had succeeded in taking it away from them. Then in the morning they made fire there. From that day they had fire and were well off.
The people in the foothills had no fire. Only to the west in the plains was there a man who had fire, and he had it all. Now when he slept, the antelope, selected for its swiftness, was sent to steal his fire. It took it and fled. It was again in sight of the place from which it had started, when a rain came, which put out the fire. Then others tried to bring it. The last was the jackrabbit. After he had stolen the fire, he bid in a thick brush, shek'ei. There he burrowed. Then he crouched over the fire, holding it in his hands under his belly. From this the palms of his hands are black. When he stole the fire it was not extinguished; and so he obtained it for the people.
At first there was no fire. The turtle had it all. He sat on it and covered it up. He lived far up in the east in the mountains. Coyote went to that place. He lay down like a piece of wood. The people who lived there came by and saw him. "I am going to take this piece of wood," they said. They took him home and put him in the fire. Coyote tried to get into the fire under the turtle. The turtle said'. "Stop pushing me." Now Coyote got some of the fire. Then he ran down-hill with it westward
into this country, where then there was no fire and it was cold. He caught a quail and with its fat he made his fire blaze up. Now the people first all became warm. The Mono (Shoshoneans) were far back up in the hills; the Chukchansi (Yokuts) in the middle; the Pohonichi (Miwok) were the ones who received the fire. Coyote was one of them. That is why the Mono cannot speak well; it is too cold where they live.
Coyote made the eagle the chief of the people. They enjoyed themselves and made dances. They were warm now because they had fire. They lived well. They wore no clothes. Some men wore a blanket of rabbit skins or of deer skin; others wore nothing. They used hollow stones to cook in, made of soft red stone. The eagle told them: "Go out and catch rabbits," and then they caught rabbits to eat. To get salt they went beyond the North Fork of the San Joaquin.
NOW THERE IS fire in all rocks, in all sticks. But long ago there wasn't any fire in the world, and all of the Yaquis and the animals and the creatures of the sea, everything that lived, gathered in a great council in order to understand why there was no fire.
They knew that somewhere there must be fire, perhaps in the sea, maybe on some islands, or on the other side of the sea. For this reason, Bobok, the Toad, offered to go get this fire. The Crow offered to help him and also the Roadrunner and the Dog. These four, the winged animals and the dog, went along to help. But Bobok, the Toad, alone, knew how to enter the water of the sea and not die.
The God of Fire would not permit anyone to take his fire away. For this reason he still sends thunderbolts and lightning at anyone who carries light or fire. He is always killing them.
But Bobok entered the house of the God of Fire and stole the fire. He carried it in his mouth,
traveling through the waters. Lightning and thunder made a great noise and many flashes. But Bobok came on, safe beneath the waters. Then there formed on the flooding water, little whirlpools of water full of rubbish and driftwood.
Suddenly not only one toad was to be seen, but many swam in the waters, many, many toads. They were all singing and carrying little bits of fire. Bobok had met his sons and had given some fire to one, then another, until every toad had some. These carried fire to the land where they were awaited by the Dog, the Roadrunner, and the Crow. Bobok gave his fire to those who could not enter the water.
The God of Fire saw this and threw lightning at the Crow and the Roadrunner and the Dog. But many toads kept on coming and bearing fire to the world. These animals gave light to all the things in the world. They put it into sticks and rocks. Now men can make fire with a drill because the sticks have fire in them. LC