Ch´ol Creation Story: The Origin of Life on Earth

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Here we re-tell the Ch’ol creation story of Ch’ujtiat from Chiapas, Mexico. Stories director Gabriela Badillo’s 68 Voices, 68 Hearts, a series of one-minute animations that preserve indigenous Mexican stories with narration provided by native speakers.

68 Voces: About Earthquakes and the Origin of Life on Earth: Ch’ol of Chiapas

We feature two other stories from the project, from the Wixaritari (Huichol) and the Yaqui People.

The above story, About Earthquakes and the Origin of Life on Earth, narrated in Ch’ol by Eugenia Cruz Montejo,

They say many years ago Ch’ujtiat, the Heaven’s lord, created the Earth with 12 immortal men to carry it. And it is when they get tired that the Earth moves, provoking earthquakes.

At the same time he created the first men, who were ungrateful, so Ch’ujtiat sent the flood and turned the survivors into monkeys, and the innocent children into stars. He then created our first parents, na’al, Ixic y Xun’Ok, who multiplied and populated the Earth. 

That’s how life on Earth began. That’s how the Ch’oles tell it.

The Ch’oles are descended from the Maya and occupy a continuous area in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas in the tropical forested mountains and valleys between Palenque and Ocosingo.

Parts of this Ch’ol creation story are reminiscent of the Council Book of the Maya K’iche, or Popol Vuh. Caves are the domain of the principal Earth deity (the Earth Owner of the Tzotzil and other Mayan groups), owner of earthly goods who must be petitioned for reasonable use of his plants and animals. Two elements of the overriding Ch’ol philosophy are that gifts must be repaid and that evil will turn back against its agent. Offerings in caves for success in hunting and other pursuits continue to be made.

Credits
Title: El origen de la vida en la tierra
Locution: Eugenia Cruz Montejo
Translation: Eugenia Cruz Montejo
Direction: Gabriela Badillo
Illustration: Cecilia Ruiz
Animator: Hola Combo / María García Lumbreras
Adaptation: Gabriela Badillo
Original Music: Enrique Quiroz / Biovo
Audio Design: Igor Figueroa
Coordinator of Production: Brenda Orozco
Duration: 1.00 min
A production by Hola Combo, Canal Once, INALI, CDI
Year of production 2016

Via Open Culture

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt