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August 19, 2016

Chinigchinich, religious God of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians

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Chinigchinich is an ethnographic account of the culture and notably religious beliefs of the native Californians in the vicinity of the famous mission San Juan Capistrano. This is the mission where the swallows, legendarily, return every year. There is nothing, however, about the returning swallows in this book. Boscana was one of the few Spanish missionaries who, like Bishop Landa in the Yucatan, actually took an interest in the culture they were destroying.

Boscana was, typically, a bigot and a racist (he describes the Indians as being like monkeys). However, he lived among them for decades and obviously had an inquisitive mind and a talent for observation. While he condemns the practices and beliefs of the indigenous people, he describes them in great detail. Barring a time machine, this is the only first-hand account of mission-era Juaneños we will ever have.

The translator of this treatise, Alfred Robinson, was one of the first Yankees to settle in California.

 

Translator’s Introduction

It is apparent that Father Boscana intended to confine his description of the Indians to those who were made converts at the Point called St. Juan Capistrano; but I presume the same will correspond with the character of the natives generally, of Upper California. The mission of St. Juan was first founded in 1776, and, like those which preceded it, was conducted under the administration of two Friars of the St. Franciscan Order.

Its domains were large, and distributed into numerous farms, for the purpose of domesticating cattle. A guard of three or four soldiers, and a sergeant, enforced the will of the missionaries, and kept in check such unfriendly Indians, as were not inclined to avail themselves of the advantages of civilization. Under this kind of administration, the natives were taught many trades; and became, not only useful to themselves, but also to the community.

Hardly any attention was paid to the improvement of their minds, beyond the forms and rules of their religious belief, so that scarcely any of them could read, and none could write. They have been careful to preserve the traditions and customs of their ancestors, and are permitted to indulge in the observance of them, on their feast days, which occur several times during the year. Thus, I have had frequent opportunities to witness many of the absurdities, and extravagances, described by Father Boscana.

The manuscript ends rather abruptly; and it is uncertain if the holy Father ever intended it for publication. After his death, in 1831, it was found among his effects, with other writings, which came into the possession of the Syndic of the Missions, who kindly presented it to me. The reader will decide as to its merits.

Introduction

The motives which have induced me to write the present history, have been, principally, to fulfil my obligations as Apostolical Missionary; to have before me the means of presenting to these poor Indians an account of the errors entertained by them during their state of heathenism, and to contrast the same with the light they now enjoy as Christians. Also, to leave to my successors such instruction, as will relieve them from the trouble and labor that I experienced, in procuring a knowledge of the belief, usages, and customs, i.e., the Religion, which these natives possessed in their heathen state; persuaded as I am, that being ignorant of this, it will be difficult to remove their erroneous belief, and give them an understanding of the true Religion.

It is difficult, I confess, if unacquainted with their language, to penetrate their secrets, as they do not all understand the signification of their usages and customs; this knowledge being confined to the chiefs of their tribes, and the old men who officiate as priests; and when they reveal any thing, to their children, it is only to such as they intend to rear for their successors, and these, are enjoined to keep fast the secrets, and not communicate them to any one, under pain of severe chastisement.

A veil is cast over all their religious observances, and the mystery with which they are performed, seems to perpetuate respect for them, and preserve an ascendancy over the people. This is the reason that the ceremonies of the dances, in their grand feasts, (which are properly exercises of religion,) cannot be understood. They have never had the use of writings, letters, or characters of any description.

All their knowledge is from tradition, which they preserve in songs for their dances, and these are introduced, by the chief, at their festivities, in a language distinct from that, in common use. Others unite with them, but without understanding the meaning of what they do, or articulate; perhaps, the songs thus introduced, are in the primitive language.

Perchance, some one may enquire, how I have obtained so much information, relative to the secrets or religion of these natives, when, up to the present time, no other Father has written on the subject.

We are to suppose it a truth, that there are many things hidden, not only, in the Divine Prophecies, but in human events, also, which cannot be comprehended, or known but by the Divine Will; and as God, almost always, makes use of the most humble instruments for his purpose, to me, he assigned three aged Indians, the youngest of whom was over seventy years of age. They knew all the secrets, for two of them were Capitans, and the other a Pul, who were well instructed in the mysteries.

By gifts, endearments, and kindness, I elicited from them their secrets, with their explanations; and, by witnessing the ceremonies which they performed, I learned, by degrees, their mysteries. Thus, by devoting a portion of the nights to profound meditation, and comparing their actions with their disclosures, I was enabled, after a long time, to acquire a knowledge of their religion.

There are yet, many things, which I do not understand, because they have not been disclosed to me, with that clearness that I could wish, but, always so confusedly, that I was unable to penetrate their meaning.

Of What Race of People Are These Indians?

To commence this relation, it may be proper, in the first place, to search after the origin, or lineage of these Indians of New California. But it is impossible to find any account of where they originated; as those of this mission, (St. Juan Capistrano) and indeed those of all the missions in the province, have no tradition, and are entirely ignorant of their descent. Without examining into the opinion of others, as to their being descendants of the Jews, Carthagenians or Phœnicians, I shall confine myself to the class that came to populate the Mexican Territory, and from these have doubtless descended the natives of California.

The tribes that populated the Mexican Territory at different epochs, according to the writings of Father Torquemada in his “Monarquia Indiana,” were four; and as follows: “Tulticas,” “Chichimecas,” “Aculnas,” and “Mexicanos.” Of these distinct tribes, my opinion is, that the race of California proceeded from the Chichimecas, because, from the Tulticas they could not have originated, as is manifest from their characters, and inclinations; for “Tultica” signifies Art, and these Indians do not manifest the least industry or ingenuity.

They are, in every respect, like the Chichimecas, according to the description given of them by Father Torquemada. “Near the northern boundary of Mexico there was a province, the principal city of which was called Amaqueme; its inhabitants, Chichimecas, were people entirely naked, fierce in appearance,

and great warriors. Their arms the bow and arrows; their ordinary sustenance game and wild fruits, and their habitations were caves, or huts made of straw. As it was their manner of life habitually to roam about among the mountains, in search of game, they paid but little or no attention to the art of building.” This is the picture given by Father Torquemada of the Chichimecas, and comparing them with the natives of California, they are found the same in every respect.

Although the habitations of the said Chichimecas formed a kind of village, still they had no police, nor acknowledged any higher power than that of “Capitan” or chief, and toward him was observed but little respect; indeed, hardly sufficient to designate him from the rest. They did not live permanently in one place, but roamed about, from spot to spot, as the scarcity of game compelled them. Of medicine they had no knowledge; consequently, no means of curing the sick, and the bodies of their dead were immediately burnt. Idolatry prevailed among them, but not a belief in a plurality of gods; neither did they sacrifice, as was the custom among the Mexican Indians.

Having thus described the Chichimecas, we see precisely the character of the Californians, with the exception, that the last mentioned lived in villages, and were governed by a chief, whom they entitled “Not,” signifying lord, or master; he possessed but little influence over his subjects, and they in return entertained no respect for his authority, as we shall see hereafter. The name, Chichimeca, signifies a “sucker.” Their principal sustenance was the flesh of animals taken in hunting excursions, and which was generally consumed in a raw state, after sucking all the blood; and from this, arose the term Chichimeca.

The Californian, often made his repast from the uncooked animal, and at the present day, flesh, very slightly cooked, is quite common among them. They also extract the blood in like manner, and I have seen many instances of their taking a rabbit, and sucking its blood with eagerness, previous to consuming the flesh in a crude state. The diversities of language, and other pecularities, render it extremely difficult to ascertain to a certainty, if all the inhabitants of Alta California descended from the Chichimecas.

Those between Monterey and the extreme northern boundary of the Mexican domain, shave their heads close; while those to the south, between Santa Barbara and towards St. Lucas, wear their hair long, and take pride in cultivating its length as a mark of beauty. Those between Santa Barbara and Monterey, differ considerably from these, as regards their habits; being much more industrious, and appear an entirely distinct race.

They formed, from shells, a kind of money, which passed current among them, and they constructed, out of logs, very swift and excellent canoes for fishing. Their dead, they interred in places appropriated to that purpose. The diversity of language is so great, in California, that almost every 15 or 20 leagues, you find a distinct dialect; so different, that in no way does one resemble the other. It is natural to suppose, that the Chichimeca nation, would have had but one language, notwithstanding, it might have varied a little, from one place to another, as is seen in other parts of the world, where are to be met with certain provincialisms, which are not to be found in the original tongue.

But here, it is not so; for the natives of St. Diego cannot understand a word of the language used in this mission, and in like manner, those in the neighborhood of St. Barbara, and farther north. If it should be suggested, that people thus separated, could have corrupted the original language, in all its phraseology, and manner of pronunciation, I would reply, that such might be the case; but still, there would be some connection, or similarity, so that they could understand each other.

This has placed me somewhat in perplexity; and I am without means of discovering the cause of such dissimilarity in a spot, confined like California; and I shall leave the subject to some of my brother missionaries, or to those who may peruse these writings, to explain.

On the Creation of the Universe

Although this chapter has for its title, the creation of the world, the reader must not suppose it has any relation to the account given by Moses in the first chapter of Genesis. I do not intend any such thing; but merely to make known the belief of these Indians in their heathen state.

We must not be surprised, if there be found many contradictions and extravagances; for these rude Indians were ignorant of the true God, without faith, without law, or king, and governed by their own natural ideas, or by tradition; we should, therefore, not wonder at their inconsistencies, and want of discernment to discriminate the truth from falsehood; for, deprived of the light of the Gospel, they ever walked in heathen darkness.

Before I commence with their ideas of the world’s origin, I must premise, that the Indians of this particular location (the mission of St. Juan Capistrano) account for the creation of the world in one way, and those of the interior (about 3 or 4 leagues distant) in another. In substance the same. One, as fabulous as the other. For this reason I will give both relations, and commence, in the first place, with the account of those in the interior.

Their belief is this: before this world was, there existed one above, and another below.

These two were brother and sister. The one above signified the heavens, and the one below, represented the earth. But the heaven and earth here mentioned, were not as they appear now to us, but of another nature, which they could not explain. We may, therefore, consider them as imaginary.

All below was dark, without sun, moon, or stars. The brother came unto the sister, and brought the light, which is the sun, saying he would take her unto him to wife; she resisted, reminding him of their affinity, and desired that he would return and leave her in peace.

But in time they were wedded, and the first-fruits of their union were earth and sand. After which, were produced rocks and stones of all kinds, particularly flints, for their arrows; then, trees and shrubbery; next, herbs and grass; and again, animals, principally the kind which they eat. Finally, was born one that they called Ouiot. This was an animated being.

The father and mother of Ouiot were not mortals, as we said before, but were of a nature they could not explain. This said Ouiot had children, and was king, or grand captain of the first family; and, as I understand it, we are to suppose them, like their parent, a species of animal, distinct from any which now inhabit the earth; or, in other words, imaginary phantoms.

Upon enquiring how this grand captain could have had children, and what was the name of his partner, they could not explain; but he had children, and many, both male and female.

As Captain Ouiot’s descendants multiplied, the first born of his mother, (the earth,) increased in size, and extended itself to the south; (it will be well to state here, that it is the general belief of the Indians that they originated in the north) and as they increased the earth continued to augment. Captain Ouiot having become aged, his eldest vassals formed a conspiracy to destroy him; alleging as a reason for so doing, that his years prevented his attending to their wants; and, in fact, that he was too old to govern.

A consultation was held, to resolve upon what method to carry into execution their designs, and it was decided that he should be poisoned. They mixed a poisonous ingredient in his beverage, and administered it to him. After drinking of this he immediately became sick, and left the mountains where he had lived, and resorted to the place which is now occupied by the beach, or sea shore; for it is supposed, that at this time, there was no sea.

His mother, hearing of the danger of her son, mixed for him a remedy, which was prepared in a large shell, and placed it in the sun to ferment. The “Coyote,” attracted to the spot by its fragrance, overturned it, and thus frustrated the intention of his mother. At length the captain died; and, although he told them that in a short time he should return, and live with them again, they never have seen him more.

I must state, that, at this time, there was no kind of grain or flesh to eat, and their food was the earth, which, according to their description, I understand to have been a kind of white clay, often used upon their heads by way of ornament.

After the death of “Ouiot,” they remained, for some time, undecided, whether to inter his remains, or to burn them; however, it was determined by the elders, that they should do the latter. The fire was prepared, the body placed upon a pile erected for the occasion, and fearing that the “Coyote” would come, and eat him, they sent out and burnt his retreat; but he had made his escape, and soon presented himself at the place of sacrifice, declaring he would be burnt with his captain; and, suddenly leaping upon the pile, he tore off from his stomach a large piece of flesh, and ate it. The remainder of the body was afterwards consumed by the flames.

The name of the Coyote was Eyacque, which implies second captain; and from this time they changed his name to that of Eno; signifying a thief and cannibal, and thieves were generally termed Eyoton, derived from Eno and Ouiot.

After burning the body, a general council was called, to make provision for the collecting of grain and seeds; the acorns, &c., &c., and the flesh of animals; such as deer, rabbits, hares, squirrels, rats, and all kinds which they fed upon. While consulting together, they beheld for several days, and at distinct times, a spectre, unlike themselves, who appeared and disappeared; sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another. Alarmed at its appearance, they determined to speak to it.

Having summoned it to their presence, inquiries were made if he were their Captain Ouiot. “I am not Ouiot,” said he, “but a captain of greater power; and my name is Chinigchinich. My habitation is above. On what matters are you debating, and why are you thus congregated?” he inquired. “Our captain is dead,” said they “we have come to his interment, and were discussing in what manner to maintain ourselves upon the seeds of the fields, and the flesh of animals without being obliged to live upon the clay, or earth, as we have done.”

Having listened to their answer, he spake unto them, and said, I create all things; I will make you another people, and from this time, one of you shall be endowed with the power to cause it to rain, another to influence the dews, another to produce the acorn, another to create rabbits, another ducks, another geese, another deer.”

In fine, each one received his particular occupation, and power to create such food as they now eat. Even now, such as claim to be descendants of this people, pretend to be endowed with the same powers, and are frequently consulted as to their harvests, and receive in return for their advice, a gift of some kind, either in money or clothing, and, in fact, the result of their harvest depends entirely upon the maintenance given to these sorcerers, and the supplying all their necessities. To offend them, would be to destroy all their productions of flesh and grain.

Chinigchinich, after having conferred the power, as we have said, upon the descendants of Ouiot, about the time of “dixet et factum est,” created man, forming him of clay found upon the borders of a lake. Both male and female he created, and the Indians of the present day are descendants of these. He then said unto them these words–“Him who obeyeth me not, or believeth not in my teachings, I will chastise–to him I will send bears to bite, serpents to sting, misfortunes, infirmities, and death.” He taught them the laws they were to observe for the future, as well as their rites and ceremonies.

His first commandment was to build a temple, where they might pay to him adoration, offer up sacrifices, and have religious worship. The plan of this building was regulated by himself. From this time they looked upon Chinigchinich as God. The Indians say, he had neither father nor mother, and they are entirely ignorant of his origin. The name Chinigchinich signifies “all-powerful” or “almighty,” and it is believed by the Indians, that he was ever present, and in all places: he saw every thing, although it might be in the darkest night, but no one could see him. He was a friend to the good, but the wicked he chastised.

Chinigchinich was known under three distinct names, as follows: Saor, Quaguar, and Tobet. Each one possessing its particular signification, denoting diversity or a difference of times. Saor, signifies or means, that period in which Chinigchinich could not dance; Quaguar, when enabled to dance; and Tobet, when he danced enrobed in a dress composed of feathers, with a crown of the same upon his head, and his face painted black and red. They say that once, while dancing in this costume,  he was taken up into heaven, where are located the stars. His order was, that they should use this mode of dress in their grand feasts–an observance regarded to this day.

Let us now return to the children of Ouiot, to know what became of them, and their descendants. It is said by some, that the God Chinigchinich, after he had formed the Indians out of the clay of the lake, transformed them into men like the others. To this opinion I am inclined, as being the most reasonable, for the power which they received from Chinigchinich, to create animals and grain, has been claimed, as has been seen, by those who pretend to be their descendants; and if he had not transformed them into Indians, no one would have remained with the power, for, the children of Ouiot were not Indians, or rational beings.

It is affirmed by others, that when they saw the Indians that were created by Chinigchinich, they disappeared, and went off, no one knows where; and, consequently, that there are no descendants of Ouiot in existence. Nevertheless, they all consult alike relative to their harvests, and pay for the advice given to them. This is the belief that these Indians of the interior had respecting the creation of the world, and its origin.

The Creation of the World According to Those Residing on the Sea-Coast

In the preceding chapter, we have been amused by the belief of the Indians, Serranos, relative to the creation of the world. Now, let us compare the same with that of the Playanos–that is, those who came to settle in the valley of St. Juan Capistrano. An invisible and all-powerful being called Nocuma made the world, the sea, and all that is therein contained, such as animals, trees, plants and fishes.

In its form it was spherical, and rested upon his hands; but, being continually in motion, he resolved to secure the same by placing in its centre a black rock, called Tosaut, and it remained firm, and secure as at the present time. This black rock, the Indians say, is from a small island near the beach, and the fragments which they often collect, serve as trowels, with which they smooth their mud walls.

The sea, at that time, was no more than a small stream of water, running from the south to the north, encircling the world: so filled with fish, that they were literally piled one on top of another, in such a state of inconvenience, that they held a consultation, and some were for landing upon the earth; others were of opinion that it would be impossible, for they would perish when exposed to the air and the heat of the sun, and besides they had no legs and feet as other animals have.

While conferring upon this matter, there came a large fish, bringing with him the rock Tosaut, which, having broken, they found in its centre a ball formed like a bladder, filled with gall. This they emptied into the water, and from its fresh state it was converted into a bitter condition. The water then immediately swelled, and overflowed upon the earth, covering the space which it does now, and the fishes were rejoiced to find themselves so amply supplied with room, and at the change effected in the taste.

Nocumo having created all the things contained in the world, and secured it with the rock Tosaut, as before remarked, created man, or the first Indian, out of the earth, and called him Ejoni. Afterwards he created woman, and gave her the name of . It is not known of what she was made, but the supposition is that she was created from the earth, like the man. Many years after the creation of Ejoni and , one of their descendants, called Sirout, (which signifies a handful of tobacco) and his wife called Ycaiut, (which signifies above) had a son, and they gave him the name of Ouiot.

This name, according to the explanation given by the Indians, signifies something which has taken root, denoting that in like manner, he would, in course of time, extend his power and dominion over the earth, as the largest trees spread their roots in every direction. I have not been enabled to ascertain if the name Ouiot, properly implying dominator, was given to him at the time of his birth, or at the time of his celebrity as the great Captain. Be it as it may, let us examine his history, or life.

Out of the confines of a Rancheria, called Pubuna, distant from St. Juan Capistrano N.E. about eight leagues, came the monster Ouiot, and the Indians, at the present time, preserve the account in their annals. At that time, all the inhabitants were at peace, and quietly following their domestic pursuits; but Ouiot, being of a fierce disposition, a warrior, ambitious, and haughty, soon managed to gain a supremacy over many of the towns adjoining that where he originated.

During the commencement of his reign, he was pacific, kind and generous to such a degree, that every one appeared happy, and contented with their chief; but after the lapse of a few years, he gradually exposed his ferocity, and persecuted many of his vassals; cruelly treating them, and some he put to death. In fact, he soon became the detestation of all his subjects.

Having suffered so much from Ouiot, they determined to rid themselves of the tyrant, and release themselves from the oppression in which they had lived for so long a period. A consultation was held by the elders, and it was decided that he should receive his death by means of poison. The rock Tosaut was procured, and whilst in the act of pulverizing the ingredient, they were perceived by one called Cucumel, who immediately gave information to Ouiot, that they wished to destroy him by poison. Said Cucumel was a small animal inhabiting holes in the ground, from which, in the daytime, he issued to obtain his sustenance.

The said Ouiot, believing he was hated and despised, and fearful of the death revealed to him by Cucumel, despatched messengers in every direction to ascertain the truth; threatening, at the same time, those who might have been concerned in the conspiracy; but, obtaining no information, he rather looked upon it as a jest. In the meantime, his enemies had secretly prepared the mixture, and were consulting how to administer the same, saying that it was so active and effective, that the mere application of it to the flesh, would cause almost instantaneous death.

One of them was entrusted with its execution, and at night, finding Ouiot asleep, he placed a small quantity upon his breast. On waking, he experienced a sickness and weakness in his limbs, and fearing very much that he should die, he immediately called in, all the intelligent from the different towns. But the more they administered for his relief, the worse he became, until, at length, he died.

After his death they sent off couriers to all the towns, and settlements, which Ouiot had governed, summoning the people to the interment of their Grand Captain; and in a few days, so great a collection had assembled, that the City or Town of Pubuna could not contain them, and they were obliged to encamp in the outskirts. They consulted together as to the propriety of burning or interring the body, and they decided upon the former. The funeral pile was made, the deceased placed upon it, the pile was fired, and during the time of its burning, they danced and sang songs of rejoicing.

These ceremonies concluded, and before the return of the people to their different places of abode, a council was called to regulate the collecting of grain or seeds of the fields, and flesh, to eat; for up to this time they had fed upon a kind of clay. While conferring upon this subject, there appeared to them one, called “Attajen,” which name implies man, or rational being; but they knew not from whence he came.

To his enquiry, “Why they were thus congregated?” they answered “that their Grand Captain was dead, and that they had met together to assist at the funeral ceremonies; and now, previous to their retirement, the elders were consulting as to the manner they should subsist for the future, without the necessity of living upon clay as they had heretofore.” “Attajen” was much pleased with the relation that he had heard, and said unto them, “Ye are not capable, nor can ye do what ye think, or wish to do. I am the only one that has power, and I will give it to ye, that ye may have an abundance to eat, in your habitations.”

And, accordingly, he selected from the multitude a few of the elders, and endowed them with the power to cause the rain to fall, to make grain, and others to make animals, such as rabbits, hares, deer, &c., &c. And it was understood that such power was to descend to their successors.

Many years, and perhaps ages, having expired since the death of Ouiot, there appeared in the same town of Pubuna, one called Ouiamot,” son of Tacu and Auzar. I imagine that this new character was not, or, at least, his parents were not inhabitants of the place, but had originated in some distant land.

The said Ouiamot did not appear like Ouiot, as a warrior, but as a God. To him they were to offer presents. And this was the God Chinigchinich, so feared, venerated, and respected by the Indians, who taught first in the town of Pubuna, and afterwards in all the neighboring parts, explaining the laws, and establishing the rites and ceremonies necessary to the preservation of life.

The manner in which he commenced to dogmatise, manifesting his extravagances, was as follows. One day, at a very large congregation of the people, he danced before them, adorned in the robes which have been already described; his flesh painted black and red, and calling himself Tobet. He said that he had come from the stars to teach them those things of which they were ignorant.

After dancing a considerable time, he separated the chiefs and elders from among them, and directed that they alone should wear the kind of dress which had adorned his person, and then taught them how to dance. To these Indians was given the name of puplem, who would know all things, and relieve the infirm and diseased. In other words, they would become the sorcerers or soothsayers, to whom the Indians might invariably apply for advice, and relief from their necessities.

In the event of a scarcity of food, or any infirmity, they were told to appear, dressed like unto Tobet; that is, after the manner in which he appeared to them, dancing; to supplicate him, not in the name of Ouiamot, but of Chinigchinich, and their wants would be relieved. The sick would be cured, and the hungry receive food. In all cases they were to return thanks, and even now, to this day, whenever they chance to secure an animal of any kind, they say, “guic Chinigchinich,” that is, “thanks to Chinigchinich, who has given me this.”

This Chinigchinich, as we shall style him hereafter, taught them how to build the Vanquech, which means temple, or church, and how they were to conduct themselves therein–forbidding any others than the chief and puplem entering its sanctuary. Here they were to teach only the laws and ceremonies, and those who entered, would be called Tobet, and the remainder of the people Saorem, which signifies, persons who do not know how to dance; that is, more properly, those who could not make use of the vestments of Chinigchinich.

The name of Quaguar, was given to him when he died and ascended above, among the stars. This is the explanation of the three terms which is given in the preceding relation relative to Chinigchinich.

Chinigchinich having become seriously indisposed, and while instructing the elders how to rear the young, as well as in the rules they were to observe for the future, they enquired of him where, or to which one of his rancherias he wished to go when he died?

He answered, “to neither, for they were inhabited by people, and he should go where be would be alone, and could see the inhabitants of all the pueblos and rancherias.” They offered to bury him, placing him under the earth, but he said “no,” that they would walk upon him, and he would have to chastise them.

“No!” said Chinigchinich, “when I die, I shall ascend above, to the stars, and from thence, I shall always see you; and to those who have kept my commandments, I shall give all they ask of me; but those who obey not my teachings, nor believe them, I shall punish severely. I will send unto them bears to bite, and serpents to sting them; they shall be without food, and have diseases that they may die.”

Chinigchinich, at length, died. His memory was so revered among the Indians, that they ever besought him in all their undertakings, and regarded him with fear and respect.

We have thus seen the belief of these Indians, respecting the creation of the world, and their God, and from its narration, we comprehend their religion, usages and customs. I do not understand why it is, that in neither of the two narrations, is there any mention made of the heavens, and that all their ideas of things appear to be confined to the earth, with the exception of the stars.

What I should like to know, is, from whence they received such accounts? for, notwithstanding their imperfect, as well as fabulous description, they have some allusion to the truth. We have the six productions of the mother of Ouiot, corresponding to the six days of the creation of the world–The Indian formed of the earth or clay, like our first parent–and Ouiot, analogous to Nimrod of the Holy Scripture. I do not know to whom we may compare Ouiamot, unless it be to Simon Magus, as his teachings were idolatrous.

Chinigchinich, religious God of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians
Description of the Vanquech or Temple
Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Puberty Rites
Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Marriage Customs
Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Principal Feasts and Dances
Superstitions of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians
Juaneño Band of Mission Indians Funeral Customs

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