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Impearls: HIC 8.1.6: Divinities

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

Divinities   by A. L. Kroeber

The greatest divinity of the Hupa is Yimantuwingyai, “the one lost (to us) across (the ocean),” also known as Yimankyuwinghoiyan, “old man over across,” believed to have come into being at the Yurok village of Kenek.  He is a sort of establisher of the order and condition of the world and leader of the kihunai, or preceding race; a real creator is as unknown to the Hupa as to the Yurok and Karok.  They can not conceive the world as ever different from now except in innumerable details.  Yimantuwingyai seems to be a combination of the tricky and erotic Wohpekumeu and the more heroic Pulekukwerek of the Yurok.

A suggestion of the latter god is found in the Hupa Yidetuwingyai, “the one lost downstream.”  A myth concerning him tells of the time when the sun and earth alone existed.  From them were born twins, Yidetuwingyai and the ground on which men live.  This sort of cosmogony has not been found among the Yurok or Karok and may be supposed to have reached the Hupa through the influence of more southerly tribes. 

Yinukatsisdai, “upstream he lives,” is the Yurok Megwomets, a small long-bearded boy who passes unseen with a load of acorns and controls or withholds the supply of vegetable food.



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