The Mojave Indian creation myth tells that Matavilya, the Great
Spirit and Creator, had been born out of the chaotic union of Earth
and Sky. Matavilya had two sons, Kaatar and Mastamho and a daughter,
One day, Matavilya did something which angered Frog, and before he
and Kaatar could impart their knowledge to the humans he had just
created, they were
murdered by Frog, leaving younger brother Mastamho in charge of everything.
Mastamho had to teach the humans about life, their senses, and their
needs. At that point the animals,
birds, and fish had not yet been created, so Mastamho created
He drove a willow stick into the ground, drawing out the water
which formed the Colorado river, and out of the water came the fish
and water fowl. Using mud from the riverbanks, Mastamho created
the mountains; he planted seeds so that the people would have corn,
beans, and pumpkins to eat.
He gave them fingers, showed them how to build a fire, how to build
shelter from the sun, how to tell day from night, the four cardinal
points, how to count, farm, and make pottery.
He then created the animals, birds and insects and gave the people
the names for all things. The people were given the river, and
everything along its banks, including everything they could hunt,
fish, and grow, and that they were to be known as the Pipa Aha Macav,
- the people by the water, the Mojaves. After he had finsihed,
Mastamho transformed into a fish-eagle and flew off into oblivion.