Masewi and Oyoyewi

Masewi and Oyoyewi are twin brothers who play a prominent role in the creation myths of the Acoma people of the American Southwest. In these stories, their mother, Iatiku, gave birth to people, and they emerged into the light from underground at a place called Shipap. Masewi and Oyoyewi, Iatiku's warrior sons, became the leaders of the people. As culture heroes, they performed many great deeds, such as summoning rain and instructing others how to make offerings to beneficial spirits called kachinas. like twins in other Native American traditions—such as the Zuni Ahayuuta brothers and the Navajo warrior

culture hero mythical figure who gives people the tools of civilization, such as language and fire

twins—Masewi and Oyoyewi sometimes indulged in irresponsible and mischievous behavior between their acts of heroism.

One Acoma story tells how Masewi and Oyoyewi were responsible for bringing rain. Each night they danced outside their mother's house to ensure that the water in her medicine bowl did not dry up. However, Iatiku grew tired of the dancing, so the twins went away to prove that they controlled the rains. After they left, the water in the bowl dried up, and Iatiku asked everyone for help in bringing rain. Desperate, she pleaded with her children to return. They finally did, but only after many years of drought had led to starvation among their people. The return of the twins brought rain, and the people realized the power of Masewi and Oyoyewi.

See also Creation Stories ; Kachinas ; Native American Mythology ; Twins .

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