The Creator and Changer first made the world in the East. Then he slowly came westward, creating as he came. With him he brought many languages, and he gave a different one to each group of people he made. When he reached Puget Sound, he liked it so well that he decided to go no further. But he had many languages left, so he scattered them all around Puget Sound and to the north. That’s why there are so many different Indian languages spoken there.… The sky was so low that the tall people bumped their heads against it…. Finally the wise men of all the different tribes…agreed that the people should get together and try to push [the sky] up higher….Now, three hunters had been chasing four elks during all the meetings and did not know about the plan. Just as people and animals and birds were ready to push the sky up, the three hunters and four elks came to the place where the earth nearly meets the sky…. In the Sky World they were changed into stars, and at night even now you see them. The three hunters form the handle [and]…the four elks make the bowl of the Big Dipper.
— from “Pushing up the Sky,” in American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon 1984), by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz
The Creator and Changer is the creator figure in the mythology of the Snohomish (Lushootseed) Native Americans, who reside in and around the Puget Sound, north of Seattle. In this account, as reported by Ella E. Clark (1896–1998), the Creator and Changer covers a lot of ground — from the creation of languages around the world to the origin of the constellations above the world.