Navajo Drinking Water

Many of our Nations have poor drinking water.

Please provide any resources and links that may aid the situation in Navajo Country.


Oak Flat

This is an open Discussion on the topic of Oak Flat.

Please feel free to add your opinion or resources so everyone can learn more on this subject and hopefully bring a a little attention to the situation.


Here’s a great description I located @ the Tucson Weekly.

You may not have heard much about Oak Flat, and that’s no surprise. After all, this patch of natural beauty sprawls across federal forest land, out in a rural corner of Arizona. It’s way off the radar for most major newspapers, and far from the hum of metropolitan life.

But Oak Flat hits close to home for the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Both consider the spot, in the high desert outside the former mining town of Superior, to be holy ground. They have conducted sacred ceremonies there since forever.

And since early February, a group called Apache Stronghold has also staged a gritty, ongoing occupation at the site.

As it happens, the Apaches aren’t the only ones who care about Oak Flat. Multi-national mining companies likewise harbor deep affection for this place, since it’s perched atop a huge copper deposit. Arizona Sen. John McCain cares, too. For years, legislation that would trade away Oak Flat to the mining companies felt flat from lack of support. So in 2014, McCain finally slipped it into an unrelated military spending bill. Subsequently, Oak Flat now belongs to the Resolution Copper Co., which is jointly owned by international mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.  –  source


Jay Tavare is it true?

Mr. Jay Tavare is the “Iron Eyes Cody” of the 21st century. But unlike Espero Oscar de Corti Nader Janani is not of Italian but Iranian descent. His father´s name is Mahmoud Janani and his extended family lives in Sweden and the U.K.. He is not a White Mountain Apache nor a Navajo nor Latin Amarican. Furthermore he was never born on the Navajo reservation, but in Tehran, Iran. His family left Persia and now lives in Sweden and the U.K. were he was attending a boarding school. He is not Native American, not by blood or circumstance. Why he has faked his vita is unbenownst.

jayphoto Credit: pinterus

*** The message was sent to me by a concerned viewer who claims to have been Jay’s neighbor when they were children… I normally don’t believe this sort of thing but this facebook follower is positive and contacted me directly. He is monitoring this post for Jay’s response.

Be proud of who you are!

The Migration of the Water People

In the long ago, the Snake, Horn, and Eagle people lived here (in Tusayan) but their corn grew only a span high and when they sang for rain, the Cloud god sent only a thin mist. My people lived then in the distant Pa-lat Kwa-bi in the South.

There was a very bad old man there. When he met any one he would spit in their faces. He did all manner of evil. Baholihonga got angry at this and turned the world upside down. Water spouted up through the kivas and through the fire places in the houses. The earth was rent in great chasms, and water covered everything except one narrow ridge of mud. Across this the Serpent-god told all the people to travel. As they journeyed across, the feet of the bad slipped and they fell into the dark water.

The good people, after many days, reached dry land.

While the water was rising around the village, the old people got on top of the houses. They thought they could not struggle across with the younger people. But Baholihonga clothed them with the skins of turkeys.

They spread their wings out and floated in the air just above the surface of the water, and in this way they got across.

There were saved of us, the Water people, the Corn people, the Lizard, Horned-toad, and Sand peoples, two families of Rabbit, and the Tobacco people. The turkey tail dragged in the water.

That is why there is white on the turkey’s tail now. This is also the reason why old people use turkey-feathers at the religious ceremonies.fallfrom


Legend credit:

A Walpi Legend (Arizona)
Katharine Berry Judson, 1912

Photo Credit:

The Theft of Fire

Along, long time ago, the people became tired of feeding on grass, like deer and wild animals, and they talked together how fire might be found. The Ti-amoni said, “Coyote is the best man to steal fire from the world below,” so he sent for Coyote.

When Coyote came, the Ti-amoni said, “The people wish for fire. We are tired of feeding on grass. You must go to the world below and bring the fire.” Coyote said, “It is well, father. I will go.”spiritfire

So Coyote slipped stealthily to the house of Sussistinnako. It was the middle of the night. Snake, who guarded the first door, was asleep, and he slipped quickly and quietly by. Cougar, who guarded the second door, was asleep, and Coyote slipped by. Bear, who guarded the third door, was also sleeping. At the fourth door, Coyote found the guardian of the fire asleep. Slipping through into the room of Sussistinnako, he found him also sleeping.

Coyote quickly lighted the cedar brand which was attached to his tail and hurried out. Spider awoke, just enough to know some one was leaving the room. “Who is there?” he cried. Then he called, “Some one has been here.” But before he could waken the sleeping Bear and Cougar and Snake, Coyote had almost reached the upper world.

Legend Credit:
A Legend of the Sia of New Mexico Katharine Berry Judson,
Legends of California and the Old Southwest, 1912

photo credit: unknown

The Butterfly Legend

One day the Creator was resting, sitting, watching some children playing in a village. The children laughed and sang, yet as he watched them, the Creator’s heart was sad. He was thinking: “These children will grow old. Their skin will become wrinkled. Their hair will turn gray. Their teeth will fall out. The young hunters arm will fail. The lovely young girls will grow ugly and fat. The playful puppies will become blind, mangy dogs. And those wonderful flowers – yellow, red, blue, and purple – will fade. The leaves from the trees will fall and dry up. Already they are turning yellow.” Thus the Creator grew sadder and sadder. It was in the Fall, and the thought of the coming winter, with its cold and lack of game and green things, made his heart heavy.

Yet it was still warm and the sun was shining. The Creator watched the play of sunlight and shadow on the ground, the yellow leaves being carried here and there by the wind. He saw the blueness of the sky, the whiteness of some cornmeal ground by the women. Suddenly he smiled. “All those colors, they ought to be preserved. I’ll make something to gladden my heart, something for these children to look at and enjoy.”

The Creator took out his bag and started gathering things: a spot of sunlight, a handful of blue from the sky, the whiteness of the cornmeal, the shadow of playing children, the blackness of a beautiful girls hair, the yellow of the falling leaves, the green of the pine needles, the red , purple, and orange of the flowers around him. All these he put into his bag. As an afterthought, he put the songs of the birds in too.

Then he walked over to the grassy spot where the children were playing. “Children, little children, this is for you,” and he gave them his bag. “Open it; there is something nice inside,” he told them. The children opened the bag, and at once hundreds and hundreds of colored butterflies flew out, dancing around the children’s heads, settling on their hair, fluttering up again to sip from this or that flower. And the children, enchanted, said that they had never seen anything so beautiful. The butterflies began to sing and the children listened smiling.

But then a songbird came flying, settling on the creators shoulder, scolding him, saying: “It’s not right to give our song to these new, pretty things. You told us when you made us that every bird would have his own song. And now you’ve passed them all around. Isn’t it enough that you gave them all the colors of the rainbow?”

“You’re right,” said the Creator. “I made one song for each bird, and I shouldn’t have taken what belongs to you.” So the Creator took the songs away from the butterflies, and that’s why they are silent. “They are beautiful even so!” he said.


Legend Credit:
Papago (retold from many versions)

Photo Credit:

The Great Flood

For a long time after the fight, the people were very happy, but the ninth year was very bad. The whole earth was filled with water. The water did not fall in rain, but came in as rivers between the mesas.

It continued to flow in from all sides until the people and the animals fled to the mesa tops. The water continued to rise until nearly level with the tops of the mesas. Then Sussistinnako cried, “Where shall my people go? Where is the road to the north?” He looked to the north. “Where is the road to the west? Where is the road to the east? Where is the road to the south?” He looked in each direction. He said, “I see the waters are everywhere.”

All of the medicine men sang four days and four nights, but still the waters continued to rise.

Then Spider placed a huge reed upon the top of the mesa. He said, “My people will pass up through this to the world above.”

Utset led the way, carrying a sack in which were many of the Star people. The medicine men followed, carrying sacred things in sacred blankets on their backs. Then came the people, and the animals, and the snakes, and birds. The turkey was far behind and the foam of the water rose and reached the tip ends of his feathers. You may know that is true because even to this day they bear the mark of the waters.

When they reached the top of the great reed, the earth which formed the floor of the world above, barred their way. Utset called to Locust, “Man, come here.” Locust went to her. She said, “You know best how to pass through the earth. Go and make a door for us.”

“Very well, mother,” said Locust. “I think I can make a way.”

He began working with his feet and after a while he passed through the earthy floor, entering the upper world. As soon as he saw it, he said to Utset, “It is good above.” Utset called Badger, and said, “Make a door for us. Sika, the Locust has made one, but it is very small.”

“Very well, mother, I will,” said Badger.

After much work he passed into the world above, and said,

“Mother, I have opened the way.” Badger also said, “Father-mother, the world above is good.”

Utset then called Deer. She said, “You go through first. If you can get your head through, others may pass.”

The deer returned saying, “Father, it is all right. I passed without trouble.” Utset called Elk. She said, “You pass through. If you can get your head and horns through the door, all may pass.”

Elk returned saying, “Father, it is good. I passed without trouble.” Then Utset told the buffalo to try, and he returned saying, “Father-mother, the door is good. I passed without trouble.”

Utset called the scarab beetle and gave him the sack of stars, telling him to pass out first with them. Scarab did not know what the sack contained, but he was very small and grew tired carrying it. He wondered what could be in the sack. After entering the new world he was so tired he laid down the sack and peeped into it. He cut only a tiny hole, but at once the Star People flew out and filled the heavens everywhere.

Then Utset and all the people came, and after Turkey passed, the door was closed with a great rock so that the waters from below could not follow them.

Then Utset looked for the sack with the Star People. She found it nearly empty and could not tell where the stars had gone. The little beetle sat by, very much frightened and very sad. But Utset was angry and said, “You are bad and disobedient. From this time forth, you shall be blind.” That is the reason the scarabaeus has no eyes, so the old ones say.

But the little fellow had saved a few of the stars by grasping the sack and holding it fast. Utset placed these in the heavens. In one group she placed seven – the great bear. In another, three. In another group she placed the Pleiades, and threw the others far off into the sky.legendfromthemesas

Legend Credit:
A Legend of the Sia of New Mexico
Katharine Berry Judson, 1912

Photo credit: unknown

The Origin of Some Oraibi Clans

Away down the sípapu in the under-world the people lived in the same manner as they do here. The wife of the chief of the Bear clan often danced in the Butterfly dance (Políhtikivee), at which the chief got angry.

The Spider clan had also a chief. The Bear chief sent the Pö’okong to limit for them another life (kátci) or world and see whether they could not get out. He was so angry at his wife’s participating in the dance, fearing that she would be led astray, he wanted to go away and leave her.

Pö’okong and his younger brother Balö’ongahoya went in search of another world, and when they returned, reported that there was an opening right above them. Pö’okong had reached it by means of a reed on which he had spit and thus made it strong.

The chief said, as they were still dancing (the Butterfly dance) they would move in four days. After four days they were still dancing, and the chief said to some one that he would not tell his wife anything, but try to find another wife. So he left, being accompanied by Pö’okong and, Balö’ongahoya, the Pölis still dancing wildly.

They started and went out, Pö’okong first, then Balö’ongahoya, then the Bear clan chief, who was followed by the Spider clan chief. Then the Bear clan people, the Spider clan people, and after them many other people came out. When many were out the Bear chief closed the opening.

When they were out the chief said, ”Well, what now?” They were in the dark yet, the entrance, however, being closed.

The chief sent the Eagle who flew around hunting an opening or light. H returned, and the chief asked: ”Taá um hin nawóti?” “Well, I found an opening and made it more light, but it is very hot high up yet. Send another one.” So the chief sent the Buzzard (Wicóko). The latter ascended higher but got burned (hence he has no feathers on his head and wings), but he made it lighter.

When he returned that chief said: “Thank you. Well, now what? Now it is somewhat better. The sky has been opened somewhat more and it is much lighter.” The question arose: Which way? The Bear clan spoke for the South, the Spider clan for the north, and the latter talking more and getting the greater crowd, the Spider clan went northward.

The Spider Clan This clan traveled northward. The chief first, the people following. After four nights they carne to a nice country, where the “North Old Man” (Kwináe Wuhtaka) lives. But it was cold there.

The chief decided that there they would stay. So the people were glad and began to plant corn, watermelon, melons, sweet corn, etc. The chief had brought with him the cult and altar of the Blue Flutes. When the corn began to grow the chief put up his altar, sang and fluted, but he did all that alone. So the corn, etc., grew nicely, but when it tasseled and the ears began to develop, it became cold and the crop was destroyed.

“Ishohi!” (Oh!) the people exclaimed. They tried it another year, but the same: thing was repeated in every respect. Again no crop. Another year it was tried, but now the corn only began to tassel, and the fourth year it was still very small when the frost killed it. Then there was dissatisfaction. “Ishohí! (Oh!) Our Father, you have spoken falsely, you said it was good here.” So they all also started southward after the Bear People.

After the first night the chief said to his wife: “You bathe yourself.” This she did (in warm water). Then she rubbed her body and collected the small scales which she had rubbed from her skin and handed them to her husband. He laid them on a blanket until there was a considerable quantity of them. He then wrapped this in a reed receptacle, sang over it and waved it four times, whereupon the scales turned into burros and rushed out. “What is that?” the people asked. “Those are burros,” the chief said. So they were glad that now they would not have to carry everything themselves any longer, and the chief said that now they would move on towards the rising sun.

The chief and his wife repeated the same performance, but instead of burros, Spaniards came out. To them the chief said: You put supplies and your things on the burros and follow the other Hopi (that is, the Bear clan), and when you overtake them, kill them. So the Castilians went south, and the Spider people went south-east, following a Stream (Nönö’pbaya, a rolling stream, because of the high recoiling waves). They came to a nice place where they stayed one year and planted and reaped a crop. From there they proceeded south-east, stopped another year at a certain place, where they again planted, but were harassed by enemies. They saved a portion of the crop and proceeding farther south-east they ascended a bluff or mesa, staying another year and planting in the valleys.

Thus they stopped in all at ten different places, but being constantly harassed by the people along the water, they never planted more than once. Finally they arrived where the sun rises and the Americans (Bahánas) live. With them they became friends; here they planted, their children learned the language a little, and they stayed there three years. They also here learned that the Bear clan had been there and had already gone westward again. The Spider people followed, arrived at Oraíbi, where they found , the Bear clan, whom they joined. Their chief was then Machíto. They also had the Â’ototo and Áholi Katcinas.

The Bear Clan This clan had gone south from the sípahpuni. They had with them the Â’ototo Katcina. They soon found the Young Corn Ear (Píhk’ash) people with the Áholi Katcina, who wanted to join them. So the Bear clan chief took them along. They stopped at a place and here had a good crop because they had the two Katcinas with them. The next year they came to a clear stream. In all they stopped ten times before arriving at the Americans, where the sun rises. Here they stopped four years. Their children learned a little English.

The land being scarce, the Americans told them to go west and hunt land for themselves, and if anybody would be bad to them (núkpana) and cause their children to die, they (the Americans) would come and cut the Núkapana’s heads off. This was told them, because they (the Americans) had been told that down in the old home there had been Pópwaktû (sorcerers, etc.). So they traveled westward, found the Pueblo, but no good land that they could get. So they finally arrived at Shongópavi, where some people lived, and there they settled down.

One time the people saw that the chief, Machíto, held a sweet corn-ear between every two fingers, at the same time eating from the other hand. Corn was very scarce at that time, so the people spoke to him about his greediness, at which he got angry and left, taking with him the Â’ototo and Áholi. Hunters later found them at a rock, now Bean Spreading Place (Báhpu-Möyanpi), where there is still a stone on which there is some writing called Machítûtûbeni. Machíto left his wife at Shongópavi, also his people, who then formed the Shongópavi Bear clan. When the hunters found him they informed the people at Shongópavi.

Some went there to get them back, but Machíto would not listen to them. Then his wife went to him but he would not listen to her either. So they left him. Machíto took a big stone and went with them for some distance to make the landmark between Oraíbi and Shongópavi. The people said several times: “Put it here.” But he would not listen until arriving at a place called “Ocápchomo,” where he placed it, thus making a landmark between the fields of the Shongópavi and his own.

Then Machíto and the two Katcinas went up the Oraíbi mesa where they remained. Later the Spider people arrived. Machíto asked about their wanderings and they told him. He wanted to know why the corn would not grow although they had the Flute cult. The Spider clan chief accused the “North Old Man.”

Machíto then said: “All right, you may live here, but as your cult does not seem to be effective, you watch the sun for me, and when he has arrived at his south limit, you tell me, and we shall have the Soyál ceremony. Also your pü’htavi does not seem to have been good, so I want you to make my kind of pü’htavi.”

After the matter had been settled between Machíto and the Spider clan chief, the latter’s people came up. Among these were also the Lizard clan, to which the Sand clan is related. These names were given to people while wandering. One would find and see something, perhaps under peculiar circumstances, and he called after it.

The Lizard people were also asked what they knew and when they said the Maraú cult, they were also permitted to stay, but were requested to co-operate in the Soyál ceremony. For that reason Pungñánömsi, who is of the Bear clan, and village chief, now makes the pûhu (road) in the night of the Maraú ceremony from the nátsi at the south end of the kiva towards the rising sun.

The Rattle-snake (Tcû’a) clan also came with the Spider clan to Oraíbi, but it is not known how or where this clan became a part of the Spider clan, The Badger people understand medicines, hence they prepare the medicine–for instance, charm liquid–for the Flute, Snake, Maraú, and other ceremonies.

Another Badger clan and the Butterfly (Pówul) came from Kíshi-wuu. These brought the Powámu and Katcina cult.

The Divided Spring (Bátki) clan came from where the sun rises. They came to the village of Oraíbi and arranged a contest at Muyíovatki where each planted corn, the Blue Flutes sweet corn, the others, Wupákaö, over which they played the whole day. The sweet corn grew first, and so the Blue Flutes to this day go to the village in processions, etc., first closing the well (batñi) on the plaza. Later the Drab Flutes (Masítâlentu) had to throw their meal, mollas, etc., from a distance to the warrior (Keléhtaka) of the Cakwálâlentu, who put them into the well in the booth for them.



Credit for Content

A Hopi Legend
H. R. Voth,
The Traditions of the Hopi, 1905

The Snake Myth

At Tokóonavi, north of the Grand Canyon, lived people who were then not yet Snake people. They lived close to the bank of the river. The chief’s son often pondered over the Grand Canyon and wondered where all that water went to.

“That must certainly make it very full somewhere,” he thought to himself. So he spoke to his father about it. ”So that is what you have been thinking about,” the latter said. “Yes,” his son answered, “I want to go and examine it.”

The father gave his consent and told his son that he should make a box for himself that would be large enough for him to get into, and he should arrange it so that all openings in the box could be closed. This the boy did, making also a long pole (according to others a long báho), with which he could push the box in case it became fast or tangled up anywhere.

When he was ready he took a lot of báhos and some food, went into the box, and allowed himself to be pushed into the water, on which he then floated along. Finally he came to the ocean, where he drifted against an island. He found the house of Spider Woman (Kóhk’ang Wuhti) here, who called him to come to her house. He went over and found that he could not get through the opening leading to her house. “How shall I get in?” he said; “the opening is too small.” She told him to enlarge it.

This he did and then entered. He told her a story and gave her a báho, and said that he had come after beads, etc. She pointed to another kiva away out in the water and said that there were some beads and corals there. but that there were some wild animals guarding the path to it. “If you had not informed me, how could you have succeeded in getting there and how would you have gotten back? But I shall go with you,” she said, “because you have given me a báho, for which I am very glad.”

She then gave the young man some medicine and seated herself behind his right ear. He spurted the medicine over the water and immediately a road like a rainbow was formed from the dwelling of Spider Woman to the other kiva. On this they went across the water. As they approached the kiva to which they were going they first encountered a panther, who growled fiercely.

The young man gave him a green báho and spurted some medicine upon him, which quieted him. A little farther on they met a bear, whom they quieted in the same manner. Still farther on they came upon a wildcat, to which they also handed a báho, which quieted the animal. Hereupon they met a gray wolf, and finally a very large rattle-snake (K’áhtoya), both of which they appeased in the same manner as the others.

They then arrived at the kiva, where they found at the entrance a bow standard (Aoát nátsi). They then descended the ladder and found in the kiva many people who were dressed in blue kilts, had their faces painted with specular iron (yaláhaii), and around their necks they wore many beads.

The young man sat down near the fireplace, Spider Woman still being seated on his ear, but no one spoke. The men looked at him, but remained silent. Presently the chief got a large bag of tobacco and a large pipe. He filled the latter and smoked four times. He then handed the pipe to the young man and said: “Smoke and swallow the smoke.” The swallowing of the smoke was a test: any one not being able to do that was driven off. Spider Woman had informed the young man about this test, so he was posted. When he commenced to smoke she whispered to him: “Put me behind you.” This he did in an unobserved manner, so when he swallowed the smoke she immediately drew the smoke from him and blew it away, and hence he did not get dizzy.

The men who did not observe the trick were pleased and said to him: ”All right, you are strong; you are certainly some one. Thank you. Your heart is good: you are one of us; you are our child.” “Yes.” he said, and handed them some red nakwákwosis and a single green báho with red points, such as are still made in Shupaúlavi in the Antelope society. They then became very friendly, saving that the were very happy over the báhos. On the walls of the kiva were hanging many costumes made of snake skins. Soon the chief said to the people: “Let us dress up now,” and turning to the young man bid him to turn away so that he would not see what was going on. He did so, and when he looked back again the men had all dressed up in the snake costumes and had turned into snakes, large and small, bull-snakes, racers, and rattle-snakes, that were moving about on the floor hissing, rattling, etc.

While he had turned away and the snake People had been dressing themselves, Spider Woman had whispered to him that they were now going to try him very hard, but that he should not be afraid to touch the snakes; and she gave him many instructions. Among those present in the kiva had also been some pretty maidens who had also put on snake costumes and had turned into serpents. One of them had been particularly handsome. The chief had not turned into a snake, and was sitting near the fireplace. He now turned to the young man and said to him: “You go now and select and take one of these snakes.” The snakes seemed to be very angry and the young man got frightened when they stared at him, but Spider Woman whispered to him not to be a coward, nor to be afraid.

The prettiest maiden had turned into a large yellow rattle-snake (Sik’á-tcua), and was especially angry. Spider Woman whispered to the young man, that the one that acted so very angrily was the pretty maiden and that he should try to take that one. He tried, but the snake was very wild and fierce.

“Be not afraid,” Spider Woman whispered, and handed him some medicine. This he secretly chewed and spurted a small quantity of it on the fierce snake, whereupon it immediately became docile.

He at once grabbed it, held and stroked it four times upward, each time spurting a little medicine on it, and thus freeing it from its anger. The chief was astonished and said: “You are very something, thanks. Now, look away again.” He did so and when he turned back he saw that all the snakes had assumed the forms of men and women again, including the maiden that he had captured. They now were all very good to him, and talked to him in the kindest manner, because they now considered him as initiated and as one of them.

He was now welcome, and the chief invited him to eat. The mána whom the young man had taken got from another room in the kiva some bread made of fresh corn-meal, some peaches, melons, etc., and set this food before the young man. Spider Woman whispered to the young -man to give her something to eat too, which he did secretly. She enjoyed the food very much and was very happy.

Now the chief asked the man why he came, etc. “I hunt a lólomat kátcit (good life) and was thinking about the water running this way, and so this way it runs. I have come also to get Hopi food from here. I also heard that there lives a woman here somewhere, the Hurúing Wuhti, from whom I want beads.” “What have you for her?” they asked. “These báhos,” he said. “All right, you will get there. But now you sleep here.” But Spider Woman wanted to get back. He told them that he wanted to go out a little while.

Then he went and took Spider Woman home, and put her down. She invited him to come and eat with her. She had a pövö’lpik’i off which she lived and which never gave out, but he left her and returned to the Snake kiva, where he was welcomed and called brother and son-in-law (möö’nangwuu), although he had not yet married, but only caught the mana. So he remained there. That evening and night the chief told him all about the Snake cult, altar, etc., etc., and instructed him how he must put this up, and do that, when he would return. He did not sleep that night.

In the morning he again went out on the same excuse as the previous evening, and went to Spider Woman, who went out. She made a rainbow road into the ocean to a high bluff where Hurúing Wuhti lived, and to which they ascended on a ladder. They went in and found an old hag, but on all the walls many beads, shells, etc. The woman said nothing. The young man gave her the báhos, then she, said faintly, “Áskwali!” (Thanks!) At sundown she went into a side chamber and returned a very pretty maiden with fine buffalo and wildcat robes, of which she made a bed, and after having fed him, invited him to sleep with her on the bed. Then Spider Woman ,whispered he should comply with her request, then he would win her favor and get the beads. So he did as requested. In the morning he awoke and found by his side an old hag, snoring. He was very unhappy, He stayed all day, the hag sitting bent up all day. In the evening the change, etc., that occurred on the previous day was repeated, but the hag after this remained a pretty maiden. He remained four days and nights with Hurúing Wuhti, who is the deity of the hard substances.

After four days he wanted to go home, so she went into a room on the north side and got a turquoise bead; then from a room west the same: from a room South a reddish bead (cátsni); from one east, a hard white bead (hurúingwa), a shell. Then she gave him a few of all kinds of beads and told him to go home now, but charging him not to open the sack, because if he did they would be gone, and if he did not they would increase. “You go to the Snakes, who will give you clothes, food, etc.”

He then returned to the Snake kiva. There he staved four days and four nights, sleeping with his wife. When he was ready to go home the chief said: “Take this mana with you. You have won us. Take it all with you, take of our food. Practice the ceremonies there that I told you about. This woman will bear you children and then you will be many and they will hold this ceremony for you.” So they started. At Spider Woman’s house he told his wife, ”You stay here. I will go to the rear.” So he went to Spider Woman’s house and she asked: ”Well, did you get the mana?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, you take everything along.” But she forbid him to touch his wife while they would be on the way, as then his beads would disappear and also his wife.

So they started. The beads were as yet not heavy. During the night they slept separately. In the morning they found that the beads had increased, and they kept increasing as they went along the next day. The next night they spent in the same way. They were anxious to see whether the beads and shells had increased, but did not dare to do so. The third night was again spent, and the contents of the bag increased the same as the previous two nights.

The bag with the beads and shells now became very heavy and the young man was very anxious to see them, but his wife forbade him to open the sack. The fourth night was spent in the same manner, and when they arose in the morning the sack was nearly full and was very heavy. Spider Woman had also put some strings into the bag with the beads, and the beads were strung onto these strings a,; they kept increasing. They now approached the home of the young man, and the latter was very anxious to get home in order to see the contents, of the sack, so they traveled on. When they had nearly one more day’s travel to make the sack had become full. During the last night the man opened the sack, although his wife remonstrated most energetically. He took out many of the finest beads and shells and spread them on the floor before them, put them around his neck, and was very happy. So they retired for the night. In the morning they found that all the beads except those which Hurúing Wuhti had given to the man had disappeared.

Hence the Hopi have so few beads at the present day. If that man had at that time brought home with him all the beads which he had, they would have many. So when they arrived at home they were very despondent.

At that time only the Divided or Separated Spring (Bátki) clan and the Pö’na (a certain cactus) clan lived at that place, but with the arrival of this young couple a new clan, the Snake clan, had come to the village. Soon this new woman bore many children. They were snakes who lived in the fields and in the sand. They grew very rapidly and went about and played with the Hopi children, whom they sometimes bit. This made the Hopi very angry and they said: “This is not good,” and drove them off, so they were very unhappy.

The woman said to her husband: “You take our children back to my home and there we shall go away from here alone.” Then the man’s father made báhos, gave them to his son, who put all the snakes with the báhos into his blanket and took them back to his wife’s home, and there told the Snake people why he brought their children and the báhos. They said it was all right. Hence the Snake priests, when carrying away the snakes from the plaza after the snake dance, take with them and deposit with the snakes some báhos, so that they should not themselves return to the village. When the Snake man returned to his village lit and his wife traveled south-eastward, stopping at various places. All at once they saw smoke in the distance, and when they went there they found a village perched son the mesa. This was the village of Wálpi. They at once went to the foot of the mesa on which Wálpi was situated and announced their presence. So the village chief went down to them from the mesa, and asked what they wanted.

They asked to be admitted to the village, promising that they would assist the people in the ceremonies. The chief at first showed himself unwilling to admit then), but finally gave his consent and took them up to the village. From that time the woman bore human children instead of little snakes. These children and their descendants became the Snake clan, of whom only very few are now living.

Soon also the Bátki and Pö’na clan came to Wálpi and found admittance to the village. At Wálpi the Snake people made the first Snake típoni, Snake altar, etc., and had the first Snake ceremony. From here the Snake cult spread to the other villages, first to Shongópavi, then to Mishóngnovi, and then to Oraíbi. At the first Snake ceremony the Snake chief sent his nephew to the north, to the west, to the south, and to the east to hunt snakes.

He brought some from each direction, The chief then hollowed out a piece of báho, made of cottonwood root. Into this he put the rattles of three of the snakes and the fourth snake entirely. He then inserted into it a corn-ear, and tied to it different feathers of the eagle, the oriole, blue-bird, parrot, magpie, Ásya, and topóckwa, winding a buckskin String around these feathers. When he had made this típoni, the first ceremony was celebrated, and afterwards it took place regularly.


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A Hopi Legend
H. R. Voth,
The Traditions of the Hopi, 1905

How the Circle Katcina and His Wife Became Stars

Halíksai! In Oraíbi the people were living. In the north-western part of the village was at that time a kiva called Hâmís-kiva. Somewhat south of this kiva close to the present site of the, Hanó-kiva lived a maiden.

She persistently refused to marry any young man in the village. At Red Sand (Palánvisa), a place north-east of the village, some maidens were playing the game “jumping over the trays.” The maiden mentioned above never played with the other maidens, but one time she went out intending to play with the maidens. When she came to the edge of the mesa she sat down and watched the other maidens play. A young man dressed in a blue Hopi blanket came by and asked her why she did not play with the other maidens. “Yes,” she said, “I never play with them.” Hereupon he sat down beside her and they talked together a little while, then the maiden returned to her home.

In the evening she was grinding corn. While she was grinding a Katcina came to the village, danced first near the Coyote (Ish) kiva, then at the Singer (Táo) kiva, then at the Public plaza (Kíconvee), then at the Wrinkle (Wíkolapi) kiva, and finally at the Hâmískiva. Hereupon he left the village. The next morning the mána again proceeded to the place at the edge of the mesa where she had been sitting the previous day, and again the youth joined her. This time he asked her if she would marry him if her father and mother were willing. She consented. He told her that if they were willing he would come and get her the next day. He then told her that he was the Katcina who was dancing in the village, saying that he would again dance at the same places as usual, and then after he would be through she should come and meet him at “The Place-Where-Scalpsare- Dressed” (Yóvutzrhrokwanpi). Hereupon they parted.

In the evening she was again grinding corn and the Katcina again went through the village dancing at the places mentioned, and singing the following song while he was dancing, singing the same song at each place: Achípolaina, achipolaina, Koohochunisha, kowishkúnishaa, Palainaiya —————- –aya. Waa-i-aha-ihihi.

The mána had in the meanwhile obtained the permission of her parents to marry the youth. The mother filled a tray with meal for her, with which the mana proceeded to the place named by the Katcina. Here she was met by the Katcina after he had made his round through the village. From here they proceeded to the place called Kocántûika, a bluff named after a certain plant, kocána.

When they arrived here they saw a kiva and a light in it. A voice called out from the kiva inviting them to come in. They entered and found here a great many different Katcinas. The youth was the Circle (Póngo) Katcina. Hereupon the youth handed the mána some píki made of fresh roasting ears, and also some watermelon slices, which she ate.

They then remained in this kiva, the mána preparing the food for the Katcinas, and the latter preparing the bridal costume for the mána. Every night the Póngo Katcina would go to the village and dance, as already explained. When the bridal costume was finished the mána went home in the same manner in which brides go home to-day. Her husband followed her, so they lived in the house of her parents after that. Her parents now found out that the husband of their daughter was a Katcina.

By and by she bore two children, which were also Circle Katcinas. One time the young mother was drying corn-meal, stirring it in a pot over the fire. When she was done with this she left her house and went to the edge of the mesa outside of the village. Her husband had gone to visit the Katcinas at the Katcina kiva mentioned before. While the woman was outside of the village some one approached her. It was the Hotóto Katcina. He told her that she should go with him, to which she consented. They descended the mesa south of the village and went southward to Shongópavi. When the Circle Katcina returned to the house he found his wife gone. Following her tracks, he found that she had gone away with some one, and soon heard who it was that had taken her away. He returned to the house, took his two children and went with them to the Katcina house already mentioned. Here they remained. The two little Katcinas learned the Katcina songs and dances.

After a while the father and his two children concluded to try to find the mother of the two youths. So the people cooked some roasting ears and other food for them, whereupon they proceeded to the village, taking the food with them. Here they danced at Pisávi, a place a short distance east of the Pongóvi kiva. While they danced they sang the following song: Ahahahahai ahahaai Ahahahaha ihihihihihi Umungu uyungnaya Umungu uchioli Ahahahahai ihihihihi-hi-hi-hi.

When they were through singing, the father asked the women among the spectators whether some one would not nurse the children for these roasting ears that they had brought with them, but no one was willing. They went to the plaza, repeated their dancing and singing, whereupon the father again asked the women that some one nurse his children for the roasting ears, but no one was willing. They then proceeded to the Coyote kiva, where the same thing was repeated.

No one being willing to nurse the two children, they left the village and when they came to the last row of houses, where the Katcinas often rest when they have dances now, a woman approached them declaring that she was willing to nurse the children. After she had nursed them and they had given her the roasting ears, they left the village along the trail leading south-eastward. Here they traced the mother to Sik’ákvu, a bluff on top of the mesa about three miles southeast of Oraíbi.

Here they found a kiva where they heard some one singing the following song: Tciihiihihio tcihihiokaaha, Tcihihiokaaha tcihihiokaaha, Ha, ha, ha!

It was the Haháii Wuhti, who was opening comíviki as she was singing. When they heard the song they looked into the kiva and were noticed by the Haháii Wuhti. “Oh!” she said, “here I am meeting you with this song. Recently somebody was fetching your mother by here.” The three went into the kiva and were invited to remain over night.

They were fed by the Haháii Wuhti the comíviki. When they had eaten they danced, singing the following song: Ahahahaihahaiiya toywihihiovohokahai, Ahahaahaaiahaiya toywihihiovohokahai, Ocarasotikiiihi, polaihainahai, Kahaahaowkuruhukahai, koaowaikurukahaihai.

In the morning they proceeded eastward. In the evening of the next day they arrived at a place called Owl Spring (Móngkba). Here they found another Haháii Wuhti in a kiva, who was also engaged in opening comíviki. She was singing the same song that the other Haháii Wuhti had been singing. When the three arrived they looked into the kiva. When the woman noticed them she said, “Utí! here you some one is going about and I am meeting you with this song. Recently some one fetched your mother by here.”

They went in and were fed by the Haháii Wuhti, whereupon they again danced and sang the same song which they sang at the place of the other Haháii Wuhti. They stayed over night at this kiva., and during the night the Haháii Wuhti went to Kí’shiwuu, where many different kinds of Katcinas had a dance. When one party had danced and gone away, another party would come and perform their dance and leave. Then another party, and so on.

When all had danced, Haháii Wuhti returned to her home and told the three Circle Katcinas about the dance. She told them about it; then they also went and performed a dance at Kí’shiwuu, which, it seems, was not far away. When they were through they again returned to Móngkba. Here they remained until it became morning.

In the morning Haháii Wuhti again went to Kí’shiwuu to be present at another dance, the three Circle Katcinas remaining behind. When they had all danced Haháii Wuhti again Invited the three Katcinas. The people who had seen them in the last dance during the night and had not observed them during the day were waiting for them, thinking that they probably would come. They went over and also performed their dance.

Before they went over Haháii Wuhti told them that their mother was at Kí’shiwuu and that she would see them dance and she would certainly be anxious to return with them. They performed their dance on the public plaza, singing the same song that they had sung at the places of the two Haháii Wuhtis, When they were through they again returned and soon met their mother, who had recognized them and had gone before them. So they took their mother back with them.

Before they reached Móngkba night befell them, so they stopped. The father said to the two children they should go ahead to their grandmother, the Haháii Wuhti, which they did.

He then took a pointed stick and killed his wife with it by thrusting it into her throat. Leaving the body at the place, he followed his two sons, but before he reached the place where they were the skeleton of his wife followed him.

The two boys had safely gotten into the house of their grandmother, but their father ran away, being followed by the skeleton. He finally arrived at the First Mesa, rushed into the village of Háno and there into a kiva where a number of women were making jugs. He begged them to hide him as something was pursuing him. Hereupon one of the women hid him under a pile of clay which they were using for making their pottery. The skeleton then arrived, saving, “Havá! Did my husband not come here?” she asked. “No,” they replied.

“Yes,” the skeleton said, “because his tracks end here,” and hereupon she entered the kiva. She threw aside all the piles of clay and material that was lying there, and finally came to the pile under which the man was hidden.

When he noticed that she was close by he jumped up, ran up the ladder and westward towards Wálpi, being pursued by the skeleton of his wife. In Wálpi he again entered a kiva. Here they were practicing a war dance. “Hide me quickly,” he said, “some one is following me.”

“Come here,” they said, and handed him a drum. So he beat the drum. The skeleton soon arrived and entered the kiva after having spoken the same words as in Háno. She shoved the dancers aside, but when she came to the one who was beating the drum, he threw aside the drum and rushed out, running to Mishóngnovi.

Here he again rushed into a kiva where they were assembled for the Lagón ceremony. The women were making trays. He again asked to be hidden as he was being pursued by some one. One of the women told him to be seated in her lap, which he did. She covered him with a tray that she was working on and continued her work.

Soon the skeleton arrived, asked the same questions, and was again answered in the negative.

She came in, looked around, driving the women from one place of the kiva into another, until she arrived at the one who had her husband. When he saw that he could not remain hidden he rushed out and ran towards Shongópavi. Here they also were assembled for the Lagón ceremony and the same thing was repeated that took place in Mishóngnovi.

From here he ran towards Matö’vi (about fifteen miles south of Shongópavi). At this place the Flute society had a ceremony. They were assembled at the spring when he arrived, He again repeated the same request to be hidden, as he was being pursued. They told him to go into the spring to a certain sunflower stalk that was growing in the spring.

This he should mount and hide in its top. He did so. When the skeleton arrived and asked whether her husband was not there the Flute priest told her, “Yes, he has entered the spring.” So she went to the edge of that spring and entered it. Looking into the water she saw the sunflower stalk reflected in the water and on top of it her husband. Thinking that he was in the water she dived in and disappeared.

The pursued man came down and joined the Flute players. On the fourth day they heard somebody pound yucca roots in the water. When the sun rose the woman came out of the water, dressed in a bridal costume, and carrying in her arms a reed receptacle which contained another bridal robe and the white belt.

She appeared in exactly the same manner as the newly married bride appears on the morning when she returns from the home of her husband to that of her own mother. When she came out the two priests called the two together, placed them back to back, made a road with sacred meal for each one; the one road southward, and the other northward. The priests told them to proceed four steps, each one in the direction they were facing.

Then they should turn and meet again. But the man returned when he had taken three steps instead of four. The Flute priests were very angry and called at the woman to run. She started, and her husband started after her. “You shall always follow each other this way,” the Flute priests said. They both ran westward, and are still running in that way. The two stars, Nangö’sohu pursue each other because one constantly follows the other, sometimes overtaking it and then again remaining behind, are these two personages.



A Hopi Legend

H. R. Voth,

The Traditions of the Hopi, 1905

The Wanderings of the Spider Clan

In the under-world many people became very bad. They had many contentions, and began to kill the people and also killed the chief’s son; so the chief concluded that they would move away from there.

But the question was, how to get out?’ So he sent the Mótsni to find a place where they could get out. He flew up and found an opening, and came back and reported the same to the chief. So the Village Chief (Kík-mongwi) and the Crier Chief (Chaák-mongwi) planted a pine (calávi), which grew up very fast, but did not quite reach the opening. They then planted a reed (bákavi) which also grew up fast and reached through the opening. On this reed they climbed till, first the Horn people (Áaltu), who then stood outside and held the protruding part of the reed or ladder. Many people then followed.

The Mocking-bird (Yáhpa) was sitting outside and distributed the languages to the People. As they were climbing up one of them dropped one of his moccasins. Below the Hopi had pretty moccasins, but as this moccasin was dropped and the man had to make another one, and could not make it as nicely as the other one had been, the Hopi now have not very nice moccasins. The people had not yet all come out when the chief stopped them and closed up the opening, but one of the sorcerers (Pópwaktu) had also come out.

From here the people now started on different routes, the White Man taking the most southern route. All the other people took different routes further north. The ‘Hopi brought with them Mû’yingwu, whose body consisted entirely of corn, his feet being ears of corn, so that he could not move very fast.

The Hopi were to have the horse, but as they tried to ride him they could not do so, as they did not put any bridle on him; so the Navaho, wearing a band around their head, tried it and they could ride him. The two matched together better for that reason because they also bridled the pony, probably with yucca leaves.

They had not gone very far when the chief’s son took sick and died. They thought that the sorcerer who was with them had killed him, but the latter said: “Nobody has died, he is not dead; just go and look down into the opening through which we came. He is down there.” So the chief went and looked down there, and beheld his child walking about in the other world. So they took the Powáku with them.

He said that hereafter no one would be really dead, but the people who would die would simply go back to the lower world. After they had traveled for some time, just how long tradition does not say, the Coyote who had carried the stars in his hand, and was traveling with the Hopi people, threw the stars into the sky so that from that time it was somewhat light during the night.

The White People had taken with them the Spider which was very skillful, so that when they had traveled some distance the Spider rubbed some scales from her skin, and from these created burros. These the White Men afterwards used for carrying their burdens.

So they got along faster and reached the place where the sun rises first. When they arrived there a star arose in the south, which told the other migrating people that some one had arrived at the sunrise.

This was a signal that they had agreed upon before starting. This star is said to have influence over the animals, and the old people say that whoever wants to own a horse, cattle, sheep, etc., should pray to this star, which the Hopi are doing to this day. So the people traveled on. All at once one party came upon a bear that had died there. They were called the Bear (Hónawu) clan. Right after them came another party, who cut straps from the skin of the bear and were called Piqósha clan, the name given by the Hopi to this peculiar strap. Another party followed and found the cadaver covered with spider web, from which they were called Spider (Kóhk’ang) clan. A fourth party found blue-birds sitting on the cadaver and they were called the Blue-bird (Chóro) clan. A fifth party found that maggots had eaten out the eyes, leaving the cavities bare with a little fat still attached to the bone.

From this they were called Fat Cavity clan (Wíkorzh-ñamu). A sixth migrating party came upon the scene and found that a mole had dug his way up under the place where the cadaver had been lying, and hence they were called Mole (Mû’yi) clan.

Here the parties who had thus received their clan names soon separated, and the Spider clan after this wandered about and stopped at various places for a long time. The other clans did the same, living shorter or longer periods at one place, which accounts for the many smaller and larger ruins with which the country is covered.

Finally the Spider clan arrived at a spring (about four miles north of the present village sites of Mishóngnovi and Shupaúlavi) called Homìqöpu. Here they remained for some time, there still being ruins at that place. From here this clan moved to a place about a mile northeast of Shupaúlavi, called Chûkúvi. At the foot of the mesa on which this village was situated was a very large spring. The Squash (Batánga) clan then ruled in this village, the chief belonging to that clan.

The Sand (Tûwá) clan was also one of the clans being numerous in the village at that time. The inhabitants of the different villages were often harassed by enemies, among them the Utes and Apache. It seems that even the inhabitants of the different villages often made raids on each other. For this reason the inhabitants of Chûkúvi and those of old Mishóngnovi, which was situated, however, west of its present location, way down the mesa, moved on the mesa and built the present village of Mishóngnovi.

In Mishóngnovi the Blue-bird clan was then in charge of the village, the chief belonging to that clan, but it seems that this clan, shared the chieftainship with the following clans, which furnished the Kík-mongwi, the Village Chief, in the order named, for four year, a new chief being elected every four years: After the Blue-bird clan followed the Bear clan, then the Bátki clan, and lastly, the Squash clan, The Sand clan, having lived in the village of Chukúvi, is said to have moved to Oraíbi, east of which village they had had fields while they were still living at Chukúvi.

At the time when the people lived at Chukúvi, Shúpaúlavi was also inhabited, but it seems that the people then, too, lived farther down, probably at the so-called First Ledge, but when Mishóngnovi was built the people of Shupaúlavi also moved on to the top of the mesa.

A Hopi Legend H. R. Voth,
The Traditions of the Hopi, 1905spider

The Wanderings of the Bear Clan

After we had left the sípahpuni the Bear people separated and went ahead of the others.

First they came somewhere near the present site of Phoenix , and stayed there awhile.

They remained for or shorter or longer periods at many different places. Finally they came to the Little Colorado River, and about there it was where they assumed the clan name, but just exactly where the place was nobody can tell. Their forefathers say that the party once came upon a dead bear that they looked at, and from that they were called forever afterwards the Bear clan. Another party that traveled with them took the hide of the bear, of which the hair had already been removed by little animals (Mû’yi. Pl. Mû’mutyu), who use hair or wool for their nests or burrows.

These people took the skin and cut from it carrying straps (piqö’sha), from which they were called Piqö’sha clan. Another party came upon the bear at just this time and were called Mû’yi clan, after the small mice mentioned before. These three clans arrived there just about the same time, and hence are considered as closely related to one another. Shortly after another party passed by and found many blue-birds sitting upon the cadaver eating from it; so they were called the Bluebird clan (Chórzh-ñamu). Still later another party, came upon the scene and found the remains of the cadaver full of spider web, so this party was called Spider (Kóhk’ang) clan. By and by a sixth migrating party came along.bearman (2)

By this time the bones of the bear were bleached already. They took the skull, tied yucca leaves to it and carried it along as a drinking vessel in the manner in which the chief’s or priest’s jugs (móngwikurus) are carried at the present time, and from this. that party was called the jug (Wíkurzh) clan. Finally a seventh party came along and found the place where the bear had been killed swarming with ants, so they were called the Ant (Ánñamu) clan.

These seven clans have derived their names from the same origin, and are now considered as being related to one another. The Bear clan is also said to have halted at various places along the Little Colorado River. From there they moved eastward, stopping for some time at a place called Badger Spring (Honánva).

From this place they again moved eastward, stopped at a place called Mákwutavi, and from here they finally moved to Matö’ví, a large spring a number of miles south of Shongópavi. At this place they also remained for a considerable length of time, but finally they moved northward to the present site of Shongópavi, where they remained. They being the first to arrive at this place, they have ever since considered themselves to be the leading clan in the village, the village chief having also been chosen from their clan.

A few persons of the Bear clan moved from here to Oraíbi, where the chieftainship of the so-called Liberal or Friendly faction is still held by that clan, the Conservative or Hostile faction of that village selecting their chief from the Spider clan. Two of this clan moved to the villages of Shupaúlavi and Mishóngnovi, where the office of the village chief has also remained in this clan to the present day.

The Bear clan brought with them the altar paraphernalia, song, etc., of the Blue Flute cult. When they stopped and planted anywhere they would perform the Blue Flute ceremony and sing the songs, and their crop would then grow and mature very quickly, so that they would have something to eat. They also brought with them the Hû Katcina, the Bear (Hon) Katcina, the Â’ototo Natácka, his wife Cóoyok Wuhti, and finally the Cóoyoko Táhaam.

Later on other clan and migrating parties arrived at Shongópavi asking of the Bear clan admission to the village. If proper arrangements could be made with the Bear clan they remained; if not, they moved on. Many of the large and small ruins with which the country is covered date back to the time of the migration of these different clans, showing the places where they made stays of shorter or longer duration.


A Hopi Legend
H. R. Voth,
The Traditions of the Hopi, 1905

The Owl Gets Married

A widow with one daughter was always warning the girl that she must be sure to get a good hunter for a husband when she married. The young woman listened and promised to do as her mother advised.

At last a suitor came to ask the mother for the girl, but the widow told him that only a good hunter could have her daughter. “I’m just that kind,” said the lover, and again asked her to speak for him to the young woman. So the mother went to the girl and told her a young man had come a-courting, and as he said he was a good hunter she advised her daughter to take him. “Just as you say,” said the girl. So when he came again the matter was all arranged, and he went to live with the girl.

The next morning he got ready and said he would go out hunting, but before starting he changed his mind and said he would go fishing. He was gone all day and came home late at night, bringing only three small fish, saying that he had had no luck, but would have better success to-morrow. The next morning he started off again to fish and was gone all day, but came home at night with only two worthless spring lizards (duwë’gä) and the same excuse. Next day he said he would go hunting this time. He was gone again until night, and returned at last with only a handful of scraps that he had found where some hunters had cut up a deer.

By this time the old woman was suspicious. So next morning when he started off again, as he said, to fish, she told her daughter to follow him secretly and see how he set to work. The girl followed through the woods and kept him in sight until he came down to the river, where she saw her husband change to a hooting owl (uguku’) and fly over to a pile of driftwood in the water and cry, “U-gu-ku! hu! hu! u! u!”

She was surprised and very angry and said to herself, “I thought I had married a man, but my husband is only an owl.” She watched and saw the owl look into the water for a long time and at last swoop down and bring up in his claws a handful of sand, from which he picked out a crawfish. Then he flew across to the bank, took the form of a man again, and started home with the crawfish.

His wife hurried on ahead through the woods and got there before him. When he came in with the crawfish in his hand, she asked him where, were all the fish he had caught. He said he had none, because an owl had frightened them all away. “I think you are the owl,” said his wife, and drove him out of the house. The owl went into the woods and there he pined away with grief and love until there was no flesh left on any part of his body except his head.owl


A Cherokee Legend Myths of the Cherokee,

James Mooney, 1900

The Two Mohawks


In the year 1747 a couple of the Mohawk Indians came against the lower towns of the Cheerake, and cunningly ambuscaded them through most part of the spring and summer.

The two killed above twenty in different attacks before they were discovered by any party of the enraged and dejected people.

They had a thorough knowledge of the most convenient ground for their purpose, and were extremely swift and long-winded. Whenever they killed any and got the scalp they made off to the neighboring mountains, and ran over the broad ledges of rocks in contrary courses, as occasion offered, so as the pursuers could by no means trace them.

Once, when a large company was in chase of them, they ran round a steep hill at the head of the main eastern branch of Savana river, intercepted, killed, and scalped the hindmost of the party, and then made off between them and Keeowhee.

As this was the town to which the company belonged, they hastened home in a close body, as the proper place of security from such enemy wizards. In this manner did those two sprightly, gallant savages perplex and intimidate their foes for the space of four moons in the greatest security, though they often were forced to kill and barbecue what they chiefly lived upon, in the midst of their watchful enemies.

Having sufficiently revenged their relations’ blood and gratified their own ambition with an uncommon number of scalps, they resolved to captivate one and run home with him as a proof of their having killed none but the enemies of their country.

Advancing with the usual caution on such an occasion, one crawled along under the best cover of the place about the distance of a hundred yards ahead, while the other shifted from tree to tree, looking sharply every way.

In the evening, however, an old, beloved man discovered them from the top of an adjoining hill, and knew them to be enemies by the cut of their hair, light trim for running, and their, postures.

He returned to the town and called first at the house of one of our traders and informed him of the affair, enjoining him not to mention it to any, lest the people should set off against them without success before their tracks were to be discovered and he be charged with having deceived them.

But, contrary to the true policy of traders among unforgiving savages, that thoughtless member of the Choktah Sphinx Company busied himself, as usual, out of his proper sphere, sent for the headmen, and told them the story. As the Mohawks were allies and not known to molest any of the traders in the paths and woods, he ought to have observed a strict neutrality.

The youth of the town, by order of their headmen, carried on their noisy public diversions in their usual manner to prevent their foes from having any suspicion of their danger, while runners were sent from the town to their neighbors to come silently and assist them to secure the prey in its state of security.

They came like silent ghosts, concerted their plan of operation, passed over the river at the old trading ford opposite to the late fort, which lay between two contiguous commanding hills, and, proceeding downward over a broad creek, formed a large semicircle from the river bank, while the town seemed to be taking its usual rest.

They then closed into a narrower compass, and at last discovered the two brave, unfortunate men lying close under the tops of some fallen young pine trees. The company gave the war signal, and the Mohawks, bounding up, bravely repeated it; but, by their sudden spring from under thick cover, their arms were useless. They made desperate efforts, however, to kill or be killed, as their situation required.

One of the Cherokee, the noted half-breed of Istanare [Ustäna’lï] town, which lay 2 miles from thence, was at the first onset knocked down and almost killed with his own cutlass, which was wrested from him, though he was the strongest of the whole nation. But they were overpowered by numbers, captivated, and put to the most exquisite tortures of fire, amidst a prodigious crowd of exulting foes.

One of the present Choktah traders, who was on the spot, told me that when they were tied to the stake the younger of the two discovered our traders on a hill near, addressed them in English, and entreated them to redeem their lives. The elder immediately spoke to him, in his own language, to desist. On this, he recollected himself, and became composed like a stoic, manifesting an indifference to life or death, pleasure or pain, according to their standard of martial virtue, and their dying behavior did not reflect the least dishonor on their former gallant actions.

All the pangs of fiery torture served only to refine their manly spirits, and as it was out of the power of the traders to redeem them they, according to our usual custom, retired as soon as the Indians began the diabolical tragedy.


The Two Mohawks

A Cherokee Legend


American Indians, 1775

photo credit – (Courtesy


The Pookonghoyas and the Cannibal Monster

A very long time ago a large monster, whom our forefathers called Shíta, lived somewhere in the west, and used to come to the village of Oraíbi and wherever it would find children it would devour them.

Often also grown people were eaten by the monster. The people became very much alarmed over the matter, and especially the village chief was very much worried over it. Finally he concluded to ask the Pöokónghoyas for assistance. These latter, namely Pöokónghoya and his younger brother Balö’ngahoya, lived north of and close to the village of Oraíbi. When the village chief asked them to rid them of this monster they told him to make an arrow for each one of them. He did so, using for the shaft feathers, the wing feathers of the bluebird. These arrows he brought to the little War Gods mentioned. They said to each other: “Now let us go and see whether such a monster exists and whether we can find it.” So they first went to Oraíbi and kept on the watch around the village.

One time, when they were on the east side of the village at the edge of the mesa, they noticed something approaching from the west side. They at once went there and saw that it was the monster that they were to destroy. When the monster met the two brothers it said to them: “I eat you” (Shíta). Both brothers objected. The monster at once swallowed the older one and then the other one. They found that it was not dark inside of the monster, in fact, they found themselves on a path which the younger brother, who had been swallowed last, followed, soon overtaking his older brother.

The two brothers laughed and said to each other: ”So this is the way we find it here. We are not going to die here.”

They found that the path on which they were going was the esophagus of the monster, which led into its stomach. In the latter they found a great many people of different nationalities which the monster had devoured in different parts of the earth; in fact, they found the stomach to be a little world in itself, with grass, trees, rock, etc.

Before the two brothers had left their home on their expedition to kill the monster, if possible, their grandmother had told them that in case the monster should swallow them too, to try to find its heart; if they could shoot into the heart the monster would die. So they concluded that they would now go in search of the heart of the monster.

They finally found the path which led out of the stomach, and after following that path quite a distance they saw way above them hanging something which they at once concluded must be the heart of the monster. Pöokónghoya at once shot an arrow at it, but failed to reach it, the arrow dropping back. Hereupon his younger brother tried it and his arrow pierced the heart, whereupon the older brother also shot his arrow into the heart. Then it became dark and, the people noticed that the monster was dying.

The two brothers called all the people together and said to them: “Now let us get out.” They led them along the path to the mouth of the monster, but found that they could not get out because the teeth of the monster had set firmly in death. They tried in vain to open the mouth but finally discovered a passage leading up into the nose. Through this they then emerged.

It was found that a great many people assembled there north of the village. The village chief had cried out that a great many people had arrived north of the village and asked his people to assemble there too. They did so and many found their children and relatives that had been carried off by the monster, and were very glad to have them back again.

The two brothers then said to the others that they should now move on and try to find their own homes where they had come from, which they did, settling down temporarily at different places, which accounts for the many small ruins scattered throughout the country The old people say that this monster was really a world or a country, as some call it, similar to the world that we are living in.



A Hopi Legend H. R. Voth,
The Traditions of the Hopi,