Mount Umunhum is a sacred site for today's Amah Mustun and Muwekma tribal bands, who are the living descendants of the ancestral Ohlone tribes native to the region. Along with the eagle, hawk, and raven, the hummingbird plays an important role in the creation story of the tribal bands. Since the region's earliest written records, this mountain had been called "Umunhum", the root word for hummingbird in five different Ohlone languages, including the Mutsun dialect of the Monterey Bay and southern Santa Clara Valley areas. The spoken word sounds like the noise a hummingbird makes while hovering.
Ohlone and Umunhum
The Amah Mutsun and many other Ohlone people believed that Creator gave humans higher intelligence and an obligation to solve problems and care for all living things. Tribal decisions are to be made only of they will be for the good of the next seven generations. Traditionally, the Amah Mutsun believe that true wealth is the ability to carry indigenous knowledge forward to provide for all people, animals, plants, Mother Earth, wind, water, and shadows. — Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Chair
In the beginning, the world was covered with water. Eagle gave Hawk a feather from the top of his head to give him the strength to dive to the bottom of the ocean. There,
Hawk grabbed the seafloor with is talons and brought it up to the surface to shape the clay into the finned, winged, and four-legged animals.
Eagle directed Hummingbird to retrieve fire from the Badger People who did not want to share their fire and Hummingbird used his bravery, quickness, and intelligence to bring fire to the world. Hummingbird returned fire to the top of Mount Umunhum where it ignited in Hummingbird's throat and turned it red. — Amah Mutsun Creation Story
When this world was finished (by Creator), Eagle, Hummingbird, and Coyote were standing on top of a high mountain in Monterey County. The world was being flooded and when the water rose to their feet Eagle carried Hummingbird and Coyote and flew away to a still higher mountain. There the three stood until the water went down. Then Eagle sent Coyote down the mountain to see if the world was dry. Coyote came back and said: "The whole world is dry." Eagle said "Go and look in the river. See what is there." Coyote did so and came back saying, "There is a beautiful girl." Eagle then said, "She will be your wife, in order that people may be raised again." Eagle gave Coyote a trowel of abalone shell and a stick to dig with. Coyote married the girl. Coyote's children went out over the world and became the forefathers of the different tribes. — A Monterey Bay Story of Beginnings as told
at Mission Santa Cruz