Quick Reference


The creator deity of the Selish, one of the oldest of the North American Indian peoples. According to their cosmology, the universe comprises an underworld, earth, and heaven, all of which levels of habitation are supported by a gigantic pillar or post. Amotken dwells in heaven, solitary and alone: he is an old man, wise and kind, never-changing in concern for his creation. Coyote acts as his messenger but exhibits none of the trickery associated with him among Californian tribes. One creation myth relates that Amotken made five young women out of five hairs taken from his head. When he asked them what they wanted to be, he received five different replies. The first wanted to become the mother of wickedness; the second the mother of goodness; the third mother earth; the fourth the mother of fire; and the fifth the mother of water. Amotken fulfilled their wishes and said that at first wicked men shall be in the majority, but later on the good will rule over the world.

Subjects: Religion.

Reference entries