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The Yavapai-Apache Creation Story

According to Native American legend, all life sprung from these
waters of Montezuma Well, near Sedona.

As told by John Williams and Sigrid Khera condensed by Pamela Williams

I donÕt know about the white people. I donÕt know who they are, where they come from. We people donÕt come from nowhere across the ocean.

We were raised right here in this country. We come out at Sedona, the middle of the world. This is our home.

My grandmother used to tell me stories. She told me how we got raised in Sedona. We call Sedona Wipuk, thatÕs a kind of stone. Some of my people, they call themselves Wipukpa. ThatÕs the ones who live up there around Sedona.

My people are from Montezuma Well or the bottomless lake.At the time people lived down in there, there was no water in the lake. After some time there was a flood. People do something wrong, and the rain comes. There is only two of them that come out from the flood. A girl and the woodpecker.

When the flood starts, people put that girl in a hollow cottonwood log. They put food into that log for her. Put a small hole in it. The woodpecker made that hole in the log. The people who put her in there, they said, "Don't use the food right away. The flood will raise you. You will hit the sky. You will hear the noise when the log hits the sky, but just lay still. If you lay still, you will get out in the end."

People glued the log together with pitch. My grandmother thinks she laid in there 40 days and 40 nights. After some time, the water went down. The girl sent the bird out. The bird came back with a little weed. So the water was gone.

There at Sedona, there is a high place. When the water went dry, the log hit the high place. This is the highest place all around. ThatÕs why the log stopped right there. The girl came out from the log. We call her Kamalapukwia which means "Old Lady with a Pearl" or "Old Lady with a White Stone."

The white stone is the one which protects the women. She is the first woman on earth and she got that stone from the underground world.

Kamalapukwia lived in a cave in Sedona. She was all alone. One morning she ran all the way the way over to Mingus Mountain and she lay down there before the sun came up. The sun comes up and hits her insides. After that she went to that cave where the water drips all the time. She lay down there and the water came down and hit her. This made her a baby. A little girl.

When this girl came of age, Kamalapukwia said to her, "Daughter, they did that and you come up. You go over there and do like I did so we have other people."

The girl said, "all right." She went up to Mingus Mountain and lay down there. But the sun did not hit her.

Then her mother said, "Run down over there where the water drips, at the cave in Sedona" The water came, but he saw it was his own daughter so he stopped the water halfway.

The girl told that to her mother. But the old lady said, "all right, weÕll fix it. I know how."

The next morning, before the sun comes up, the girl lay there and the old woman on top of her. When the sun comes out, the old woman quickly move to the side and he hits the girl.

Then they go over there where the water drips down. The old lady made her daughter lay there and she was laying on top. When the water comes down, she pulled over and it went into the girl.

She got pregnant and when she got the little baby it was a boy, Sakarakaamche. When the boy was still a baby, a bald eagle killed his mother. All that was left was the old lady and the little boy.

The two journey together. They name the animals. Later Sakarakaamche decides he is lonely and makes a man out of mud. He blows into its mouth four times and sings a Blackroot song. The fourth time he blows into its mouth it comes alive, gets up and kicks its legs.

He later takes a rib out of the man and makes a woman. This happened in Sedona.

Sakarakaamche then goes to his father but leaves behind the man and woman he made. They stay in Sedona, down below Oak Creek Canyon.

There was lots of farming there, pears, apricots and other fruits. The God told the man, "Anything here you can take. Take anything! The one tree in the middle, donÕt touch that."

While the man is out looking for deer the woman sees the bush and the berries on it and thinks it looks good. A snake in the bush asks her where she is going. He convinces her to eat of the fruit so she can see everything.

She saves some for the man. After eating it they realize they have no clothes on. When God comes back and sees what they have done he sends them away and this is how all the people spread out.

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