The Death of the Creator

Pakroki-tat and Kukitat were brothers. Kukitat sprang from his brother's left shoulder. Pa-krokitat created man, but not in the form that Kukitat wanted. Pakrokitat thought that man should have eyes on the back of their heads and have webbed feet. Pakrokitat himself was like a double person- a face in the front and a face in the back. He wanted to make the people double, just like him- four eyes and one face in the front, with another in the back of the head. He was just being greedy, wanting to make webbed fingers so people wouldn't drop the food between their fingers. That way they could eat more food. He would dig in the sand with those webbed feet to create more creatures. Even though it was Kukitat who ended up creating people as they are today, Pakrokitat assigned the names given to all things.

The brothers quarreled incessantly until Pakrokitat finally left this earth. The hearts of the dead go to another world, Pakrokitat's world. This ugly brother jumped down into TeInaqueth and has to bear up the world. That's his punishment. When he slips and shrug, the whole world shakes.

After visiting three beautiful ladies, who were also made by him, Kukitat invented death. The people, led by a white eagle, had come to this place from the North. Kukitat began to divide the people into different nations who spoke different languages and made war on each other. The people grew tired of Kukitat and conspired to do away with him. Although Kukitat had provided the materials, instructions and rituals necessary for survival, he also had caused hardship. It was time for him to go.

Some say that Frog was given the job of killing Kukitat. He followed him to the ocean and hid, and when Kukitat made excretions, Frog swallowed them, thus stealing Kukitat's power. Others say that Kimats, the woodpecker, was sent to bewitch him. When Kukitat fell sick, he sent Coyote to get the heart of his brother Pakrokitat. That was the only thing that would heal him. Kukitat knew he was going to die, and gave instructions for his cremation. Like all the people, Kukitat did not want the Coyote to eat his body, left there to rot by the side of the road. Coyote was already hanging around and when Kukitat blew his nose, Coyote ate the mucus. He was stealing Kukitat's power little by little. That's why Coyote even now eats dead people's bodies.

There are bear caves at Maktsuk. At least there used to be bears living there. A hot spring is located in this place. Kukitat died there and made the water hot. The hot water is breast deep.

God first reached Maktsuk, the hot spring, and two women and a man cared for him there. Those big pines all along the road there mark where they carried him. He spent two or three veeks there. Then they carried him to Mana'nka, the cold spring. There he got worse, as if only two or three days remained. Already he ate nothing. He vas just short of dying. Then they carried him to Hikihane't, a place in the middle between the two other places, where the stinging branches (hikihatsh) have sprung up. That time is already past, and it is all covered up now.

In two or three days Kukitat died there. He said, " I am going to die this morning, early in the morning. " and at midmorning the same day he died. Coyote vas the one who was sent to bring back pakatshrat, very hard wood, in three eight-foot in diameter logs, fifteen feet long. The people sent him in the morning on this false errand to bring wood to burn, just to get rid of him. When Coyote had gone, they hurried to burn Kukitat. Coyote was on the way back already by Pakpico't when he saw the smoke.

When Coyote returned, the people were all dancing from side to side in a circle about Kukitat's pyre. They did not want Coyote to get through, for they knew he would try to eat Kukitat's body. Some say that Coyote darted into the circle of mourners through Badger's legs to steal Kukitat's heart. But how could that be? Badger is low and squat, a short-legged, broad, solidly-built animal. Badger is a fearless and rather ferocious animal who would not have let Coyote through. Pakuma (Captain Santos Manuel) remembers the story another way-Coyote snuck through the bowed legs of the bear as he danced thus. There was nothing left of Kukitat but the heart.

Coyote snatched the heart in his mouth. The people hit him, but he escaped, and ran for the far reaches of the mountains. Just at the hithermost side of Hihava't Mountain he entered the earth and hid to eat the heart. That is the red hill where the Ute get their red face paint, so the men can draw lines on their faces.

When the ceremony was over, the ashes of Kukitat were covered with earth. They always are at a burning. In two or three days, water is used to wash the ashes away completely. Thus Kukitat's ashes are buried at A'atsava, in Bear Valley, at the place called Kutainan. When Kukitat was burnt, the crystals of his eyes (apahunane't) came out and now shine through the pine trees at Tepahume.

Because God died here is why all kind of pine species and flovers and all such used to be at Kutainan. Things grow abundantly. The meham, mehayum grow there, a kind of wild onion growing at Kajarpeat Lake. The ya'pats, ya'pam grow there, another kind of edible root like camote (a kind of sweet potato).

Maktsuk, the hot spring, is where boys and men bathed all day and women washed clothes. The water was agreeably warm and when you reached down to the bottom you could pick up all kinds of stones and flint (atukshira't); white and red anem; tutshr (carbon); and plihats (edible seed). If you were washing or bathing in the hot springs, you could just pick these stones up to show them and then re-deposit them again, just raise up in your hand to show them but do not take them away. You were not allowed to take them out for any period or to keep them. A girl is appointed there to watch that none were taken out. They might end up in yahum pek-- women's earrings!

This was by no means the only sacred place in the mountains. Tematkaveat is the place where Takwitsh lived before. There's water inside a rocky door down there. In the olden times, fire was seen coming forth from there.

Pakuma (Santos Manuel) told to J. Harrington, 050,
060-062, 076, 085, 154, 230, 256,
"They Touched the Earth," Bear Valley Native American Association, 1995.

Video of Coyote's Blood

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Video of Cold Spring

QuickTime 6.9MB

Video of Godseye

QuickTime 6.3 MB

Video of Burial Site

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Video of Matsuk Hot Spring

QuickTime 25.1MB