Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER VI. THE HAVASUPAI (Continued). Next: CHAPTER VIII. THE HOPI (OR MOQUI).
Location—Legends—Advent of the Wallapais—Mike Burns' Stories—The Flood— Council of War.
The WALLAPAI, “pine tree folk,” was a Yuman tribe originally living on the middle Colorado river above the Mohave tribe, from
the Great Bend eastward, well into the interior of Arizona, occupying the Hualapai, Yavapai and Sacramento Valleys, the Cerbat
and Aquarius Mountains forming the southern part of their range. They lived chiefly by the chase, and on roots and seeds.
That they were brave and enterprising is shown by the pages of this history; one Wallapai gave more trouble to the whites
than two Mohaves, although they were said to be physically inferior to the Mohave. They were an offshoot of the Havasupais,
speaking a closely related language.
The Wallapai is not rich in tradition or folklore, but in “The Indians of the Painted Desert Region,” George Wharton James
recites the following:
THE ADVENT OF THE WALLAPAIS.
“In the days of the long ago, when the world was young, there emerged from Shi-pa-pu two gods, who had come from the underworld,
named To-cho-pa and Ho-ko-ma-ta. When these brothers first stood upon the surface of
the earth, they found it impossible to move around, as the sky was pressed down close to the ground. They decided that, as
they wished to remain upon the earth, they must push the sky up into place. Accordingly they pushed it up as high as they
could with their hands, and then got long sticks and raised it still higher, after which they cut down trees and pushed it
up higher still, and then, climbing the mountains, they forced it up to its present position, where it is out of reach of
all human kind, and incapable of doing them any injury.
“While they were busy with their labors, another mythical hero appeared on the scene, on the north side of the Grand Canyon,
not far from the canyon that is now known as Eldorado Canyon. Those were ‘the days of the old,’ when the animals had speech
even as men, and in many things were wiser than men. The Coyote travelled much and knew many things, and he became the companion
of this early-day man, and taught him of his wisdom. This gave the early man his name, Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve, which means ‘Told
or Taught by the Coyote.’
“For long they lived together, until the man began to grow lonesome. He no longer listened to the speech of the Coyote, and
that made the animal sad. He wondered what could be done to bring comfort to his human friend, and at length suggested that
he consult Those Above. Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve was lonesome because there were none others of his kind to talk to. He longed for
human beings, so, accepting the advice of the Coyote, he retired to where he could speak freely to Those Above of his longings
desires. He was listened to with attention, and there told that nothing was easier than that other men, with women, should
be sent upon the earth. ‘Build a stone hawa—stone house—not far from Eldorado Canyon, and then go down to where the waters
flow and cut from the banks a number of canes or sticks. Cut many, and of six kinds. Long thick sticks and long thin sticks;
medium-sized thick sticks and medium-sized thin sticks; short thick sticks and short thin sticks. Lay these out carefully
and evenly in the stone hawa, and when the darkest hour of the night comes, the Powers of the Above will change them into
human beings. But, beware, lest any sound is made. No voice must speak, or the power will cease to work.’
“Gladly Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve returned to the stone house, and with a hearty goodwill he cut many canes or sticks. He carried
them to the house, and laid them out as he had been directed, all the time accompanied by the Coyote, who rejoiced to see
his friend so cheerful and happy. Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve told Coyote what was to occur, and Coyote rejoiced in the wonderful event
that was about to take place. When all was ready Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve was so wearied with his arduous labors that he retired
to lie down and sleep, and bade Coyote watch and be especially mindful that no sound of any kind whatever issued from his
lips. Coyote solemnly pledged himself to observe the commands,—he would not cease from watching, and not a sound would be
uttered. Feeling secure in these promises, Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve stretched out and was soon sound asleep. Carefully Coyote
watched. Darker grew the night. No sound except the far-away twho! twho! of the owl disturbed the perfect stillness. Suddenly
the sticks began to move. In the pitch blackness of the house interior, Coyote could not see the actual change, the sudden
appearing of feet and legs and hands and arms and heads, and the uprising of, the sticks into perfect men and women, but in
a few moments he had to stand aside, as a torrent of men, women, and children poured out of the doorway. Without a word, but
thrilled even to the tip of his tail with delight, he examined men, women, youths, maidens, boys, girls, and found them all
beautifully formed and physically perfect. Still they came through the door. Several times he found himself about to shout
for joy, but managed to restrain his feelings. More came, and as they looked around them on the wonderful world to which they
had come from nothingness, and expressed their astonishment (for they were able to speak from the first moment), Coyote became
wild with joy and could resist the inward pressure no longer. He began to talk to the new people, and to laugh and dance and
shout and bark and yelp, in the sheer exuberance of his delight. How happy he was!
“Then there came an ominous stillness. The movements from inside the house ceased; no more humans appeared at the doorway.
Almost frozen with terror, Coyote realized what he had done. The charm had ceased. Those Above were angry at his disobedience
to their commands.
“When Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve awoke he was delighted to see the noble human beings Those Above had sent to him, but when he entered
the hawa his delight was changed to anger. There were hundreds more sticks to which no life had been given. Infuriated, he
turned upon Coyote and reproached him with bitter words for failing to observe his injunction, and then, with fierce anger,
he kicked him and bade him begone! His tail between his legs, his head bowed, and with slinking demeanor, Coyote disappeared,
and that is the reason all coyotes are now so cowardly, and never appear in the presence of mankind without skulking and fear.
“As soon as they had become a little used to being on the earth, Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve called his people together and informed
them that he must lead them to their future home. They came down Eldorado Canyon, and then crossed Hackataia (the Grand Canyon)
and reached a small but picturesque canyon on the Wallapai reservation, called Mat-ta-wed-it-i-ta. This is their ‘Garden of
Eden.’ Here a spring of water supplies nearly a hundred miner's inches of water, and there are about a hundred acres of good
farming land, lying in such a position that it can well be irrigated from this spring. On the other side of the canyon is
a cave about a hundred feet wide at its mouth, and perched fully half a thousand feet above the valley.
“Now Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve disappears in some variants of the story, and Hokomata and Tochopa take his place at Mat-ta-wed-it-i-ta.
The latter is ever the hero. He gave the people
seeds of corn, pumpkins, melons, beans, etc., and showed them how to plant and irrigate them. In the meantime they had been
taught how to live on grass seeds, the fruit of the tuna (prickly pear), and mescal, and how to slay the deer, antelope, turkey,
jackrabbit, cottontail and squirrel.
“When the crops came, Tochopa counselled them not to eat any of the products except such as could be eaten without destroying
the seeds,— the melons and pumpkins,—so that when planting time came they had an abundance. When the next harvest was ripe
the crops were large, and after picking out the best for seeds, some were stored away in the cave as a reserve and the remainder
eaten. As the years went on they increased in numbers and strength. Tochopa was ever their good friend and guide. He taught
them how to dance and smoke and rattle when they became sick; he gave them toholwa—the sweat house—to cure them of all evil; he taught the women how to make pottery, baskets and blankets woven from the dressed
skins of rabbits. The men he taught how to dress buckskin, and hunt and trap all kinds of animals good for food. Thus they
came almost to worship him and be ever singing his praises. This made Hokomata angry. He went away and sulked for days at
a time. In his solitude he evidently thought out a plan for wreaking his jealous fury upon Tochopa and those who were so fond
of him. There was one family, the head of which was inclined to be quarrelsome, and Hokomata went and made special friends
with him. He taught the children how to make
pellets of clay, and put them on the end of sticks and then shoot them. Soon he showed them how to make a dart, then a bow
and arrow, and later how to take the horn of a deer, put it in the fire until it was softened so that it could be moulded
to a sharp point. This made a dangerous dagger. Finally he wrapped buckskin around a heavy stone, and put a handle to it,
thus making a war-club; took a rock and made a battle hammer of it; and still another, the edge of which he sharpened so that
a battle-axe was provided. In the meantime he had been stealthily instilling into the hearts of his friends the feelings of
hatred and jealousy that possessed him. He taught the children to shoot the mud pellets at the children of other families.
He supplied the youths with slings, and bows and arrows, and soon stones and arrows were shot at unoffending workers. Protestations
and quarrels ensued, the fathers and mothers of the hurt children being angry. Hokomata urged his friends to defend their
children, and they took their clubs, battle hammers and axes, and fell upon those who complained. Thus discord and hatred
reigned, and soon the two sides were involved in petty war. Tochopa saw Hokomata's movements with horror and dread. He could
not understand why he should do these terrible things. Yet when the people came to him with their complaints he felt he must
sympathize with them. The trouble grew, the greater the population became, until at last it was unbearable. Then Tochopa determined
on stern measures. Stealthily he laid his plan before the heads of the families. Each was to
leave the canyon, under the pretext of going hunting, gathering pinion nuts, grass seeds, or mescal, and go in different directions.
Then at a certain time they were all to gather at a given spot, and there provide themselves with weapons. Everything was
done as he planned, the quarrellers—the Wha-jes—remaining behind with Hokomata. Then, one night, the whole band, well armed,
returned stealthily to the canyon and fell upon the quarrellers. Many were slain outright, and all the remainder driven from
the home they had cursed. Not one was allowed to remain. Thus the Wha-jes became a separate people. White men to-day call
them Apaches, but they are really the Wha-jes, the descendants of the quarrelsome people the Wallapais drove out of Mat-ta-wed-it-i-ta
“Hokomata was furious. He was conquered, but led his people to settle not far away, and many times they returned to the canyon
and endeavored to kill all they could. Thus warfare became common. The spear was invented,—a long stick with a sharpened point
of flint. Sometimes the Wha-jes would come in large numbers, when many of the men were away hunting. Then all the attacked
would flee to the cave before mentioned—which they call Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve's Nyu-wa (Cave House)—where they built an outer
wall of fortification, and farther back still another. Several times the outer wall was stormed and taken, but never could
the Wha-jes penetrate to the inner part of the cave, so to this day it
is termed Wa-ha-vo,—the place that is impregnable.
“After many generations had passed, Hokomata saw it was no use keeping his people near the canyon; they could never capture
it, and they had lost all desire to become again part of the original people, so he led them away to the southeast, beyond
the San Francisco Mountains, down into what is now southern Arizona and New Mexico. Here they settled down somewhat and became
the Apache race, though they are still Wha-jes—quarrellers.
“Left to themselves, the families in Mat-ta-wed-it-i-ta increased rapidly, until soon there were too many to live in comfort.
So Tochopa took most of them to Milkweed Canyon, and then he divided the separate families and allotted to each his own territory.
To the Mohaves he gave the western region by the great river; the Paiutes he sent to the water springs and pockets of southern
Nevada and Utah; the Navahos went east and found the great desert region, where game was plentiful; and the Hopis, who were
always afraid and timid, built houses like Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve's fortress on the summit of high mountains or mesas. The Havasupais
started to go with the Hopis, and they camped together one night in the depths of the canyon where the blue water flows to
Hackataia—the Colorado. The following morning when they started to resume their journey a child began to cry. This was an
omen that bade them remain, so that family stayed and became known as the Haha-vasu-pai, the people of the Blue Water. Most
of the remaining
families went into the Mountains of the Tall Pine, south of Kingman, and thus became known as the pai (people) of the walla
(tall pines). Here they found plenty of food of all kinds and abundance of grain. As they increased in numbers they spread
out, some going to Milkweed, others to Diamond and Peach Springs Canyons, and wherever they could find food and water.
“Thus was the human race begun and the Wallapais established in their home.”
Mike Burns gives the following myths of this tribe:
“When God caused water to flood the earth, all the living beings were drowned excepting one woman, who shortly afterwards
gave birth to a daughter. Afterwards the daughter gave birth to a son, and then she was caught by the Great Eagle, who devoured
her, and the grandmother raised the boy, who came to be the master of all things. He commanded the weather; he commanded the
sun to stand still; and he commanded the wind to blow hard or easy, and change its course. This boy could also understand
every living animal and could talk with them, and if anyone got hurt they would come to him and be cured. He once shot a quail
and broke its leg, and was just going to shoot again when, to his surprise, the quail spoke to him and, addressing him as
grandchild, asked him not to hurt her any more. The quail also asked him to heal her leg, and told him that she had a great
story to tell him, so the boy picked up the quail and rubbed it on his breast, and touched the wounded leg with his hands,
and immediately the quail's leg was healed and she could run around as well as ever. Then the quail asked the boy whether
his real grandmother had ever told him about what became of his mother. The boy answered no, and the quail told him that once
upon a time his mother went a long distance away from home after she had borne him, the first born boy, for it was customary
for any woman who had borne a first child to go a long way from home to gather things and bring them home for the exercise.
While his mother was gathering things for the camp the great eagle came and carried her up to a high ledge where there were
two young eagles, and the two young eagles ate her up. The boy was only a few months old when the eagle carried his mother
away, and was nursed and raised by his grandmother. He had always wondered why his grandmother had always called him grandchild,
and was very sorry to learn how he had become motherless. When he went home he was very sad and did not answer his grandmother's
call, and did not eat anything for a long time, but went off to get things ready to make war on the great eagle and its family.
While he was getting ready, his grandmother sang songs asking for victory for him, and continued to do so whenever he went
out on raids or to war. This boy, who was known as the first born man, was getting big enough by this time to make everything
he needed. His grandmother taught him how to make bows and arrows, using different kinds of wood for them; also how to tip
the arrows with flint, and put feathers on the butt ends of the shafts, and how
to make bow strings from the sinews of animals. Having made many arrows, of course he had to have a quiver to hold them. Being
now fully equipped, he went off to hunt the great eagle, and soon heard what he thought was thunder, but it was the noise
made by the wings of the great eagle flying over him. The boy fell on his back, and the great eagle caught him with her great
claws, and carried him off in the same way she had done with his mother. The boy, however, was so small looking, that the
great eagle thought she would not take time to do anything more with him, but just turned him over to her two young ones,
telling them to eat him. Then she went off to hunt for more persons to kill and bring to her place. When the young eagles
were turning his body over to eat, the boy whistled to them, telling them not to hurt him; that he was their brother, but
just to tell him where the father eagle sat when he came home, and also where the mother eagle sat when she came home, and
at what time of day they would both be there; threatening that if they did not tell him, he would throw them over the bluff.
They told him and when the two big eagles came home, he killed them both.”
Mike Burns also tells the following legend of the Wallapais:
“It is said that all the living animals and beings on earth once called a council of war, and they gathered at a certain camp
to hold the council. There were two different factions, and they had a sham battle; they went through the camp and upset everything.
Then the two factions agreed each to select a champion who were
to do battle; one side selected a turtle, and the other a coon, and they cleared off the place to have the battle between
the two, which was to be a wrestling match. Each side then bet everything they had on the match, and the turtle and the coon
came out and began the fight. It looked as if the coon was going to get away with the turtle, but the turtle stood his ground
and soon got the coon's knee touching the ground; the coon could not turn the turtle over, and it was announced that the turtle
had won the battle. The side betting on the coon, however, disputed the decision, claiming that the coon had only been brought
to his knees and had not been turned on his back, but the turtle was given the match as it was shown that the coon had weakened.
This started a big row and they had a battle right there, and it split up the old agreement. They just broke up, and everyone
on the turtle's side took their bets, and the other side said they hadn't won them, and after that all the animals were at
war with one another. This is said to have occurred right where Squaw Creek comes into the Agua Fria, where Black Canyon station
Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER VI. THE HAVASUPAI (Continued). Next: CHAPTER VIII. THE HOPI (OR MOQUI).
© Arizona Board of Regents