[page 116]

Legends—Origin—How Wallapais Became a Separate People — Relation of Origin of Hopis.

Mr. George Wharton James, in his most excellent work, “The Indians of the Painted Desert Region,” gives the following legends of the Havasupais:

“In almost every case one finds a variety of differing legends related by the Indians of any tribe upon the same subject. As the Wallapais and Havasupais are cousins, one would naturally expect their legends to have some things in common. How much this is so will be seen by a comparison of the following story with that of the Wallapai Origin legend.

“‘The two gods of the universe,’ said O-dig-i-ni-ni-a, the relator of the mythic lore of the Havasupais, ‘are Tochopa and Hokomata. Tochopa, he heap good. Hokomata, he han-ato-op-o-gi—heap bad—all same white man's devil. Him Hokomata make big row with Tochopa, and he say he drown the world.

“‘Tochopa was full of sadness at the news. He had one daughter whom he devotedly loved, and from her he had hoped would descend the whole human race for whom the world had been made. If Hokomata persisted in his wicked determination she must be saved at all hazard. So, working day and night, he speedily prepared the trunk of a pinion tree by hollowing it out

[page 117]

from one end. In this hollow tree he placed food and other necessaries, and also made a look-out window. Then he brought his daughter, and telling her she must go into this tree and there be sealed up, he took a sad farewell of her, closed up the end of the tree, and then sat down to await the destruction of the world. It was not long before the floods began to descend. Not rain, but cataracts, rivers, deluges came, making more noise than a thousand Hack-a-tai-as (Colorado River) and covering all the earth with water. The pinion log floated, and in safety lay Pu-keh-eh, while the water surged higher and higher and covered the tops of Hue-han-a-patch-a (the San Francisco), Hue-ga-wool-a (Williams Mountain), and all the other mountains of the world.

“‘But the waters of heaven could not always be pouring down, and soon after they ceased, the flood upon the earth found a way to rush into the sea. And as it dashed down it cut through the rocks of the plateaus and made the deep Chi-a-mi-mi (canyon) of the Colorado river (Hack-a-tai-a). Soon all the water was gone.

“‘Then Pu-keh-eh found her log no longer floating, and she peeped out of the window Tochopa had placed in her boat, and, though it was misty and almost dark, she could see in the dim distance the great mountains of the San Francisco range. And near by was the canyon of the Little Colorado, and to the north was Hack-a-tai-a, and to the west was the canyon of the Havasu.

[page 118]

“‘The flood had lasted so long that she had grown to be a woman, and, seeing the water gone, she came out and began to make pottery and baskets as her father long ago had taught her. But she was a woman. And what is a woman without a child in her arms or nursing at her breasts? How she longed to be a mother! But where was a father for her child? Alas! there was no man in the whole universe.’

“‘Day after day longings for maternity filled her heart, until, one morning,—glorious happy morning for Pu-keh-eh and the Havasu race,— the darkness began to disappear, and in the far away east soft and new brightness appeared. It was the triumphant Sun coming to conquer the long night and bring light into the world. Nearer and nearer he came, and at last, as he peeped over the far away mesa summits, Pu-keh-eh arose and thanked Tochopa, for here, at last, was a father for her child. She conceived, and in the fullness of time bore a son, whom she delighted in and called In-ya-a—the son of the Sun.

“‘But as the days rolled on she again felt the longings for maternity. By this time she had wandered far to the west and had entered the beautiful canyon of the Havasu, where deep down between the rocks were several grand and glorious waterfalls, and one of these, Wa-ha-hath-peek-ha-ha, she determined should be the father of her second child.

“‘When it was born it was a girl, and to this day all the girls of the Havasupai are ‘daughters of the water.’

[page 119]

“‘As these two children grew up they married, and thus became the progenitors of the human race. First the Havasupais were born, then the Apaches, then the Wallapais, then the Hopis, then the Paiutis, then the Navahos.

“‘And Tochopa told them all where they should live. The Havasupais and the Apaches were to dwell in Havasu Canyon, the former on one side of the Havasu (blue water), and the latter on the other side, and occupy the territory as far east as the Little Colorado and south to the San Francisco Mountains. The Wallapais were to roam in the country west of Havasu Canyon, and the Hopis and Navahos east of the Little Colorado, and the Paiutis north of the big Colorado.

“‘And there in Havasu Canyon, above their dancing place, he carved on the summit of the walls, figures of Pu-keh-eh and A-pa-a to remind them from whom they were descended. Here for a long time Havasupais and Apaches lived together in peace, but one day an Apache man saw a most beautiful Havasu woman, and he fell in love with her, and he went to his home and prayed and longed and ate his heart out for this woman who was the wife of another. He called upon Hokomata, the bad god, to help him, and Hokomata, always glad to foment trouble, told him to pay no attention to the restrictions placed upon him by Tochopa, but to cross the Havasu, kill the woman's husband, and steal her for his own wife.

“‘The Apache heeded this evil counsel, and did so.

[page 120]

“‘When the Havasupais discovered the wrong that had been done them, and the great disgrace this Apache had brought upon the tribe, they counselled together, and determined to drive out the Apaches from their canyon home. No longer should they be brothers. They bade the Apaches be gone, and when they refused, fell upon them and drove them out. Up the rocks near Hue-gli-i-wa the Apaches climbed, and to this day the marks of their footsteps may be seen. They were driven far away to the south and commanded never to come north of the San Francisco Mountains. Hence, though originally they were brothers, there has ever since been war between the people of the Havasu and the Apaches.

“‘Then, to remind them of the sure punishment that comes to evildoers, Tochopa carved the great stone figures of the Apache man and the Havasupai squaw so that they could be seen from above and below, and there to this day the Hue-gli-i-wa remain, as a warning against unlawful love and its dire consequences.’

“Here is another story told by a shaman of the Havasupais of the origin of the race. It is interesting and instructive to note the points of similarity and difference.

“‘In the days of long ago a man and a woman (Hokomata and Pukeheh Panowa) lived here on the earth. By and by a son was born to them, whom they named Tochopa. As he grew up to manhood Pukeheh Panowa fell in love with him and wished to marry him, but he instinctively shrank from such incestuous intercourse. The woman grew angry as he repelled

[page 121]

her, and she made a number of frogs which brought large volumes of water. Soon all the country began to be flooded with water, and Hokomata found out what was the matter. He then took Tochopa and a girl and placed them in the trunk of a pinion tree, sealed it up, and sent them afloat on the waters. He stored the tree with corn, peaches, pumpkins, and other food, so they would not be hungry, and for many long days the tree floated hither and thither on the face of the waters. Soon the waters began to subside, and the tree grounded near where the Little Colorado now is. When Tochopa found the tree was no longer floating he knocked on the side, and Hokomata heard him and came and let him out. As he stepped on the ground he saw Huehanapatche (the San Francisco Mountains), Huegadawiza (Red Butte), Huegawoola (William Mountains), and he said: ‘I know these mountains. This is not far from my country.’ And the water ran down the Hack-a-tha-eh-la (the salty stream, or the Little Colorado) and made Hacka-tai-a (the Grand Canyon of the Colorado). Here he and his wife lived until she gave birth to the son and daughter as before related.’

“The way the Wallapai became a separate people is thus related by the Havasupais:

“‘A long time ago the animals were all the same as Indians, and the Indians as the animals. The Coyote he lived here in Havasu Canyon. One time he go away for a long time and he catch 'em a good squaw, and by and bye he had a little boy.

[page 122]

“‘The little boy grew up to be a man, and he went up on top (out of the canyon, upon the higher plateaus), and there he found two squaws. It heap cold on top, and he get two squaws to keep him warm when he go to sleep. Then he come back to Havasu, and when his papa (the Coyote) saw his two squaws he said: ‘I take this one. One squaw enough for you.’ But the boy was angry and said one squaw was not enough. ‘When I lie down to sleep I heap cold. Squaw she heap warm. Two squaw keep me warm.’ The Coyote told his son not to talk; he must he content with one squaw and go to sleep. And the squaw was proud that the Coyote had made her his wife, and she began to taunt the boy, and when he replied she asked the Coyote to tell his boy not to talk. And the Coyote was mad and spoke angrily to his boy.

“‘When he awoke in the morning his son was gone. And ten sleeps passed by and still he did not come back, so the Coyote tracked him up Wallapai Canyon, and went a long, long way. He reached the hilltop, and still he did not find his son. At last, a long, long way off, he saw him, and he changed him into a mountain sheep. Then a lot more mountain sheep came and ran with the Coyote's son, and the Coyote could not tell which of the band was his boy. He looked and looked, but it was all in vain. He tried to change his boy back again, so that he would no longer be a mountain sheep, but, as he could not tell which was his boy, his efforts were in vain, and he had to go back to Havasu alone.

“‘For a long time the boy remained as a mountain sheep, until the horns had grown

[page 123]

large upon his head. Then he changed himself back to a man, and he found his squaw there, waiting for him, and that is why, to this day, the Wallapai is to the Havasupai the A-mu-u, or mountain sheep.’

“The origin of the Hopis is thus related by the Havasupais:

“‘Long time ago two men were born near Mooney Falls. They were twins, yet one was big man, and the other a little big. They came up into this part of the canyon (where the Havasupais now live). It was no good in those days. There was no water and it was ‘heap hot.’ The little big man he say: ‘I no like 'em stay here. Let us go hunt 'em good place to live where we catch plenty water, plenty corn.’ So they left the canyon and climbed out where the Hopi trail now is. Here they stayed in the forest some time, hunting and making buckskin. After they had got a large bundle of buckskins dressed, they put them on their backs and began to walk on to seek the country of lots of water, where plenty of corn would grow. But it was hot weather and the load was heavy, and they soon grew so very tired that the smaller brother began to cry. As they walked on he cried more and more, until when they came to the hilltop looking down to the Little Colorado River, he said: ‘I cannot go any farther. I am going to lie down here and go to sleep.’ So they both went to sleep, and when they woke up the big brother said: ‘Where you go? You no walk long way. You heap tired.’

[page 124]

“‘And the little brother answered: ‘I no like go farther. I go back Havasu. I catch 'em water there.’

“‘All right!’ replied the big brother, ‘I no like Havasu. I go hunt water and plant corn and watermelons and sunflowers. You go back to Havasu.’

“‘And he gave him a little bit of corn, and that explains why the Havasupais can grow only a small amount of corn in their canyon, though it is exceedingly sweet and delicious.

“‘But the big brother went on and found the places now occupied by the Hopi, and he settled there. And as he had taken lots of corn with him and he planted it, that explains (to the Havasupai mind) why the Hopi has so much corn.

“‘And the smaller brother found water when he got back to Havasu, and he planted his corn, and cared for it, and went and hunted and caught the deer and made buckskins. Then he found a squaw who made baskets, and helped him make mescal, and they stopped there all the time.

“‘The Hopi brother learned to make blankets, but no buckskin, so when he wants buckskin he has to come to his smaller brother in Havasu Canyon.’”

CAPTAIN QUE-SU-LA (Chief of the Hualapai Indians)


© Arizona Board of Regents