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(Information provided by Janine Donnellan)
The Cahuilla are a group of Native Americans that have inhabited California for more than 2000 years, originally covering an area of about 2,400 square miles (6,200 kmē).
Oral legends suggest that when the Cahuilla first moved into the Coachella Valley a large body of water now called Lake Cahuilla was in existence. Fed by the Colorado River, it dried up sometime before 1700, following one of the repeated shifts in the river's changed course. In 1905 a break in a levee created the much smaller Salton Sea in the same location.
Very little is known about Cahuilla mythology but stories have surfaced which indicate that the Cahuillas cosmological values and concepts were established when the world was created by Mukat. The Cahuilla creation story tells of the origin of the world, the death of god (Mukat), and the consequences of that death for humans (e.g., the need for death, social roles, and so forth). It also describes the basic concepts of supernatural power and its proper use in the contemporary world.
Legend has it that at the beginning of creation, all creatures were said to be much larger than they were today. These were called nukatem. Over time, the nukatem stopped being active and shrank, turning into natural objects such as mirages, rainbows, earth and other things.
Muut was the messenger of death in the Cahuilla Native American belief and he was usually depicted as an owl. Death was considered a necessary part of life by the Cahuilla, and thus Muut was seen as more of a psychopomp than a frightening grim reaper character.
Chauilla Deities are: