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Mojave Desert Indians - Historic Desert Indian Territories Map: Chemehuevi
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CHEMEHUEVI ETHNOGRAPHY & ETHNOHISTORY

Religion

According to the creation story as told by George Laird, Ocean Woman, also known as Body Louse, created the earth by dropping a little mud into the ocean, where it floated. She kept spreading it out, and presently created Coyote from the mugre, or scrapings, from her crotch. He kept traveling to see how wide the earth was, and when it took all day to go and return to its edges, he told Ocean Woman it was large enough. She then created Wolf and Mountain Lion as brothers to Coyote, Wolf being the considered the oldest because Coyote had so little sense (Laird 1984:32-33).

Coyote and Ocean Woman, who had a toothed vagina, mated, after Coyote-by inserting the neckbone of a female mountain sheep into her vagina-made that possible, and created a basketful of children whom Coyote carried across the ocean. The basket was tied shut at the top, and Coyote was told not to open it until he got to his house. Once he got across the ocean, it was so heavy that he untied it, and the coastal Indians escaped. He tied it up again, and took it home, where Wolf opened it and released and brought to life the Chemehuevi, the Shoshoni, the Panamints, the Cahuilla, the Mohave, the Walapai, the Supai, the Quechan, the Maricopa, the Papago or Pima, and the Apache, naming them in the Chemehuevi language as they escaped. Those that were left were the Europeans. Wolf's use of the Chemehuevi language suggested a special relationship between Wolf and the Chemehuevi (Laird 1984:39-48).

Further Chemehuevi myths included various patterns for human behavior, and explained how the patterns came to be (Laird 1984).

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
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