While linguists are parsing the wealth of languages spoken by the First Peoples
of North America, tracking stems and branches down to their roots, the study of Mitochondrial DNA is revealing ever more complex pictures of human migrations that began in Africa around 200,000 years ago.

It is not clear from where the California Indians moved. Speaking more than 100 languages, some tribes could have walked down from Alaska, others could have arrived in boats from Asia. Science informs us that they've been here for at least 10,000 years, while their creation stories mark this as their place of emergence.

This much we know: It takes both science and mythology to trace a whole picture. Not just bodies dwell in time, imagination dwells too.

Blood is patterned by the stars,
And the earth’s breath is warming.
Here the world opens its mouth
And the gods are naked.

On their long arduous journeys our ancestors carried stories, telling and retellling them to each generation as they huddled around campfires sending sparks flying into the darkness surrounding them. As their skin and bones adapted to various terrains, their languages evolved among the Taínos of the Caribbean. For example, the Catalan Hieronymite friar Ramón Pané reached the conclusion that the native deities were ‘part of a seamless world in which gods, living humans, dead humans, animals, crops and the forces of nature existed side by side.’ To convert the Taínos, therefore, would involve changing their myths too.