• Kelso Mountain

    Mojave

    National Preserve California

Mojave Tribe

 

Beginnings: People Who Live Along The Water
By: Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

In First Times, there was chaos. And from the union of Earth and Sky was born the Great Spirit Matavilya.

Before he could teach his people all they needed to know about the world, he was killed by his sister, Frog Woman. It was then that his little brother Mastamho took charge of the world and of the people. There were only people then, no animals, birds or fish. Mastamho had to teach the people everything about living, for they knew nothing, not even that they were hungry, thirsty or cold.

He drove a willow stick into the ground and drew out the waters that became the Colorado River, and with the river came fish and ducks. Mastamho made the mountains on both sides of the river using the mud of its banks. He planted seeds of melon, corn, pumpkin and beans in the overflow, so the people would have food to eat.

He taught them to build fire when they were cold, and a shade from the sun when they were hot. He showed them how to build a house, to know day from night. And after he gave them fingers, he taught them how to count. He taught them about the four directions, about the foods they grew, and he showed them how to make pottery vessels in which they could cook and store the food. He made the animals and insects and birds, and he gave the people the names for all things.

Mastamho gave the people the river and everything along the river. Whatever grew there was theirs, as he said, and they were the Aha Macav, the Mojaves, the people who live along the water.

Did You Know?

photo of mojave mound cactus bloom

Mojave National Preserve was established in 1994 through the California Desert Protection Act. Now managed by the National Park Service, the area was known as the East Mojave Scenic Area, under the Bureau of Land Management.