CREATION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE (OKANOGAN)
The earth was once a human being: Old One made her out of a
woman. "You will be the mother of all people," he said.
Earth is alive yet, but she has been changed. The soil is her
flesh, the rocks are her bones, the wind is her breathe, trees and
grass are her hair. She lives spread out, and we live on her. When
she moves, we have an earthquake.
After taking the woman and changing her to earth, Old One
gathered some of her flesh and rolled it into balls, as people do
with mud or clay. He made the first group of these balls into the
ancients, the early world.
The ancients were people, yet also animals. In form some looked
human while some walked on all fours like animals. Some could fly
like birds; others could swim like fishes. All had the gift of
speech, as well as greater powers and cunning than either animals
or people. But deer were never amoung the ancients, they were
always animals, even as they are today.
Besides the ancients, real people and real animals lived on the
earth at that time. Old One made the people out of the last balls
of mud he took from the Earth. He rolled them over and over, shaped
them like Indians, and blew on them to bring them alive. They were
so ignorant they were the most helpless of all the creatures Old
One had made.
Old One made people and animals into males and females so they
might breed and multiply. Thus all living things came from the
earth. When we look around, we see part of our mother everywhere.
The difficulty with the early world was that most of the ancients
were selfish and some were monsters, and there was much trouble
amoung them. They were also very stupid in some ways. Though they
knew they had to hunt in order to live, they did not know which
creatures were deer and which were people, and sometimes they ate
people by mistake.
At last Old One said, "There will soon be no people if I let
things go on like this." So he sent Coyote to kill the monsters and
other evil beings amoung the ancients and teach the Indians how to
And Coyote began to travel on teh earth , teaching the Indians,
making life easier and better for them, and performing many wonderful