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Forty-seventh Annual Report 

of the 





D. C. 







WASraNGTON : 1932 


AUG 11 1932 


Smithsonian Institution, 
Bureau of American Ethnology, 

Washington, D. C, July 15, 1930. 
Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith the Forty- 
seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 
for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1930. 

With appreciation of your aid in the work under my 
charge, I am 

Very respectfully yours, 

M. W. Stirling, 

Dr. C. G. Abbot, 

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 




Systematic researches 1 

Special researches 8 

Editorial work and publications 11 

Illustrations 12 

Library V2 

Collections 13 

Property 14 

Miscellaneous 14 


The Acoma Indians, by Leslie A. White 17 

Isleta, New Mexico, by Elsie Clews Parsons 193 

Introduction to Zufii Ceremonialism, by Ruth L. Bunzel 467 

Zuni Origin Myths, by Ruth L. Bunzel 545 

Zuni Ritual Poetry, by Ruth L. Bunzel 611 

Zuni Katcinas, by Ruth L. Bunzel 837 






M. W. Stirling, Chief 

The operations of the Bureau of American Ethnology 
during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1930, were conducted 
in accordance with the act of Congress approved February 
20, 1929, making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of 
the Government, which act contains the following item : 

American ethnology: For continuing ethnological researches among 
the American Indians and the natives of Hawaii, the excavation and 
preservation of archeologic remains under the direction of the Smith- 
sonian Institution, including necessary employees, the preparation of 
manuscripts, drawings, and illustrations, the purchase of books and 
periodicals, and traveling expenses, $68,800. 


Mr. M. W. Stirling, chief, in the month of August, 1929, 
visited Gallup, N. Mex., whence he went to the Long H 
Ranch, Arizona, in order to view the archeological excava- 
tions being conducted there by Dr. F. H. H. Roberts, jr., 
of the bureau staff. From the Long H Ranch he proceeded 
to Pecos, N. Mex., for the purpose of attending the Confer- 
ence of Southwest Archeologists, which was held at the site 
of the excavations being conducted by Dr. A. V. Kidder. 

From Pecos Mr. Stirling went to Hanover, N. H., to 
deliver an address before the annual meeting of the Social 
Science Research Council. 

On February 1 Mr. Stirling went to Key West, Fla., where, 
through the courtesy of Mr. Lee Parish, he was enabled to 
conduct an archeological reconnaissance of the Ten Thousand 



Islands in Mr. Parish's yacht, the Esperanza. Upon the 
completion of this reconnaissance a visit was made to La- 
cooche, Fla., where a small mound was excavated. Mr. 
Stirling next proceeded to Tampa Bay, where a large sand 
mound near Safety Harbor was excavated. 

Work was continued on the preparation of manuscript 
descriptive of the field work, and a number of short articles 
were prepared and published in various periodicals. Fre- 
quent lectures on anthropological topics were given during 
the year before various scientific and educational bodies. 

Dr. John R. Swanton, ethnologist, conducted field work 
during July and August, 1929, in Mississippi and Oklahoma. 
He collected further ethnological material from the Missis- 
sippi Choctaw, and corrected notes that were obtained the 
year before. In Oklahoma Doctor Swanton visited most 
of the existing Square Grounds of the Creeks, witnessed 
parts of several ceremonies, and obtained descriptions of 
their ceremonial arrangement. The Choctaw material has 
been incorporated in his manuscript, Source Book for the 
Social and Ceremonial Customs of the Choctaw, which is 
ready for publication. The data Doctor Swanton collected 
on Creek Square Grounds will form a short paper and is 
ready for publication. 

Doctor Swanton corrected throughout the words of his 
Timucua dictionary, completing work begun last year; and 
in addition he began the work of translating them, with the 
help of the original Timucua-Spanish religious works in 
which the material is preserved. Further work was done on 
the map of Indian tribes, the scope of which has been ex- 
tended so as to cover Mexico, Central America, and the 
West Indies; the accompanying text has also been amplified. 
On June 20 Doctor Swanton left Washington to resume field 
work in the State of Louisiana. 

On July 1, 1929, Dr. Truman Michelson, ethnologist, went 
to Shawnee, Okla., to continue his study of the Algonquian 
Tribes of that State, where he obtained a fairly reiDresenta- 
tive collection of luckapoo mythology. From these studies 
Doctor Michelson found that his statement made 14 years 
ago that Ivickapoo mythology, on the whole, is closest to 


Fox mythology, still holds valid. It should be mentioned 
that Kickapoo shares with certain northern Indian tribes a 
number of tales which are either absent from the Fox or their 
knowledge is confined to but few of them. Despite some 
secondary changes, Kickapoo is an archaic Algonquian lan- 
guage. It may be added that their religious ideas and 
practices hold their own with great vigor. Obviously, the 
type of social organization is quite similar to those of the 
Sauk and Fox. Work among the Sauk and Shawnee was 
chiefly linguistic. The new data clearly show that Shawnee 
is further removed from Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo than sup- 
posed ; yet it is abundantly clear that it is closer to them than 
to any other Algonquian languages. Only a short time was 
given to Cheyenne, practically nothing but linguistics being 
considered. The opinion given by Doctor Michelson in the 
Twenty-eighth Annual Report of the Bureau that Cheyenne 
must be considered aberrant Algonquian is fully sustained. 
Some social customs were noted, among them male descent. 
Work among the Arapaho was mainly linguistic. 

A large part of the time in the office was spent in preparing 
for publication a large memoir on the Fox WapAnowiweni. 
This is now in an advanced stage of preparation. He also 
corrected the proofs of Bulletin 95 of the bureau, which was 
issued during the year. 

On June 3, 1930, Doctor Michelson left Washington to 
renew his work among the Algonquian Tribes of Oklahoma. 
He spent at first a short time on the Cheyenne. It is now 
possible to formulate some of the phonetic shifts that have 
transformed Cheyenne from normal Algonquian. It is also 
clear that some of the commonest words in normal Algon- 
quian are lacking. He then took up work again among the 
Kickapoo and obtained an even larger body of myths and 
tales. Some new facts on their social organization were 
likewise obtained. 

Mr. John P. Harrington, ethnologist, worked during the 
year securing the language and much of the ethnology of 
the San Juan tribe of California through an aged and ill 
informant, Mrs. Ascension Solorsano, at Monterey, Calif. 


Having learned the language, which has scarcely been spoken 
since 1850, through the circumstance that both her mother 
and father, who were full-blood Indians, talked it together 
all their lives, the mother dying at 84 years of age and the 
father at 82, she retained a knowledge of an extinct language 
and a dead culture, and lived long enough to enable Mr. 
Harrington to record practically all that she knew, thus 
filling in a great blank in California ethnology. So sick that 
she was scarcely able to sit up even at the beginning of the 
work, Mr. Harrington continued this work at her bedside 
until well into January, 1930, and no Indian ever showed 
greater fortitude than this poor soul who served the bureau 
up to almost her last day. The material recorded consisted 
of every branch of linguistic and ethnological information and 
contains many new and important features. 

Mrs. Solorsano during all the latter part of her life was 
recognized as a doctora. Her little home at Gilroy, Calif., 
was a free hospital for down-and-outs of every nationality 
and creed, and here the sick and aihng were treated with 
Indian and Spanish herb medicines and were seen through 
to the last with motherly care and no thought of recompense. 
Mr. Harrington obtained full accounts of how she treated 
all the various diseases, and of the herbs and other methods 
employed. Specimens of the herbs were obtained and iden- 
tified by the division of plants of the National Museum. 

Songs were recorded on the phonograph; and accounts of 
ceremonies and description of all the foods of the Indians 
and how they were cooked were obtained. Accounts of the 
witcheries of the medicine men take us back to earliest times, 
and are mingled with the early history of the tribe at the San 
Juan Mission. Many stories and anecdotes about early 
Indians were recorded and throw much light on the thought 
and the language of the tunes. Names of plants and 
animals and places were studied and identified. Dr. C. Hart 
Merriam generously helping in this and other sections of the 
work. In spite of her age and infirmities, Dona Ascension's 
mind remained remarkably clear and her memory was 
exceptional. No greater piece of good fortune has ever 
attended ethnological research of a tribe that was culturally 


of the greatest importance, forming an all but lost link 
between the cultures of northern and southern California. 

After the death of Doiia Ascension at the end of January, 
1930, Mr. Harrington spent some weeks in checking up on 
the information in every way possible, copying from the 
archives at San Juan Mission, working at the Bancroft 
Library at Berkeley, Calif., and interviewing many individ- 
uals, and returned to Washington in April, since which time 
he has been engaged in preparing a report on the work for 

Dr. F. H. H. Roberts, jr., archeologist, devoted the fiscal 
year to a number of activities. July, August, and the first 
part of September, 1929, were spent conducting excavations 
at the Long H Ranch, between St. Johns and Houck, in 
eastern Arizona. The work was begun in May and contin- 
ued through June of the preceding fiscal year, so that the 
investigations extending from July to the middle of Septem- 
ber were a continuation of work already under way. At the 
completion of the summer's work the remains of three 
different types of houses had been uncovered. These 
included 18 pit houses, the vestiges of three jacal (pole and 
mud) structures, and a pueblo ruin with 49 rooms, and 4 
kivas or circular ceremonial rooms. 

The pit houses were found to correspond in many respects 
with those dug up by Doctor Roberts in the Chaco Canyon, 
in northwestern New Mexico, during the summer of 1927 and 
described in Bulletin 92 of the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology. The jacal houses were found to have been quite 
comparable to a similar type found in southern Colorado 
during the field season of 1928. The latter were extensively 
described in Bulletin 96 of the bureau. The pueblo revealed 
an unusually clear-cut story of the growth and changes in a 
communal dwelling. The building had not been erected 
according to a preconceived plan but had grown by degrees 
through the addition of new units. It was quite evident 
that such additions had taken place at four different periods 
in the occupation of the building. 

Doctor Roberts returned to Washington in October. 
The autumn months were devoted to reading and correcting 


galley and page proofs for- the report on the investigations 
of the 1928 field season. This paper is called Early Pueblo 
Ruins in the Piedra District, Southwestern Colorado, and 
is Bulletin 96 of the bureau. 

The winter months were devoted to working over the 
specimens obtained from the summer's excavations and 
preparing a report on the investigations. This mcluded 
the drawing of 31 text figures, consisting of 70 drawings, 1 
map showing the region in general and the location of the 
sites, and the writing of a 600-page manuscript. The latter 
is entitled "The Ruins at Kiatuthlanna, Eastern Arizona," 
the Zuni Indian name for the locality. 

Doctor Roberts assisted Mr. Neil M. Judd, of the United 
States National Museum, in cataloguing the collections made 
along the Piedra River in southwestern Colorado in the 
summer of 1928. Illustrated lectures on the archeology of 
the Southwest were delivered before a number of Washington 
organizations, and information on the archeology of the 
New World was supplied in response to many letters of 

On May 12, 1930, Doctor Roberts left Washington for 
Denver, Colo., where one week was spent in studying new 
accessions in the Colorado State Museum and the City 
Museum of Denver. 

Leaving Denver, Doctor Roberts proceeded to GaUup, 
N. Mex., and from there to the Zuni Indian Reservation. 
One week was devoted to an archeological reconnaissance of 
the Zuni area. As a result of this a small pueblo ruin was 
chosen as the scene for intensive investigations, and under 
a permit from the Department of the Interior excavations 
were started. By July 1 a burial mound containing 40 
interments had been investigated and 16 rooms and 2 kivas 
or ceremonial chambers in the pueblo had been cleared of 
their accumulated debris. In addition to much valuable 
information, 150 specimens, including pottery and other 
artifacts, had been secured. 

Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt, ethnologist, was engaged in routine 
office work from July 1, 1929, to May 7, 1930, and from the 
latter date until the close of the fiscal year he was engaged 


in field service in Canada and very briefly in New York 

Mr. Hewitt devoted much careful research among various 
documents to ascertain, if possible, the symbolic significance 
of white and purple wampimi beads, respectively, and also 
when these are mLxed in definite proportions and arrange- 
ment on strings or belts; but much reading of documents 
which might bear on the question was comparatively barren 
of any satisfactory results. He was led to this study because, 
in modern time at least, strings of wampum function and have 
functioned quite prominently in the public transactions of 
the Council of the League of the Iroquois. Wampum strings 
are an essential accompaniment in the use of the ritual of 
the Requickening Address of the Council of Condolence 
and Installation of the League. 

Mr. Hewitt also transliterated an Ottawa mythic text from 
the common missionary alphabet into that of the Powell 
phonetic system designed for the use of collaborators of the 

He also typed in native Mohawk text the chanted ritual, 
the Eulogy of the Founders of the League, as intoned by the 
Father Tribal Sisterhood, incorporating therein such re vi- 
sional additions, textual and grammatic, as had been found 
necessary by extensive field studies. Mr. Hewitt also typed 
in native Onondaga text this ritual in the form in which it is 
intoned by the Mother Tribal Sisterhood. These two ver- 
sions of the eulogy differ chiefly in the introductory para- 
graphs and also m the terms or forms of address. Mr. 
Hewitt continued to represent the Bureau of American 
Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, on the United States 
Geographic Board, and as a member also of its executive 

On the afternoon of May 7, 1930, Mr. Hewitt left Wash- 
ington on field duty, returning to the bureau July 1. During 
this trip he visited the Grand River Reservation of the Six 
Nations of Indians near Brantford, Canada, the Tuscarora 
Reservation near Niagara Falls, N. Y., and the Onondaga 
Reservation near Syracuse, N. Y. Largely through his own 
knowledge of the several Iroquois languages, he was able to 


recover the hitherto lost meanings of several passages in the 

texts relating to the league. These recoveries now make the 

entire structure of the League of the Iroquois clear and 


During the fiscal year Dr. Francis LaFlesche, ethnologist, 

read the proof of his paper, The Osage Tribe: Rite of the 

Wa-xo-be, which will be published in the Forty-fifth Annual 

Report of the Bureau. At the time of Doctor LaFlesche's 

retirement, December 26, 1929, he had nearly completed an 

Osage dictionary upon which he had been working for several 



The music of 10 tribes of Indians has been studied during 
the past year by Miss Frances Densmore, a collaborator of 
the bureau, in continuance of her research on this subject. 
These tribes are the Acoma, Menominee, Winnebago, Yuma, 
Cocopa, Mohave, Yaqui, Makah, Clayoquot, and Quileute. 
The first tribe given consideration was the Acoma, the work 
consisting in a completion of the study of records made in 
Washington by Philip Sanche. These records were made 
for the Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Thir- 
teen were transcribed as representative of the series. An 
outstanding peculiarity of these songs is a gradual raising or 
lowering of the pitch during a performance. In some 
instances the pitch was changed a semitone, in others a tone 
and a half, and one example contained a rise of a whole tone 
during one minute of singing. This was regarded as a 
mannerism and the song was transcribed on the pitch main- 
tained for the longest time. 

The work on Yuman and Yaqui music consisted in the 
retyping of almost all the text on these tribes, made necessary 
by the combining of individual manuscripts into a book. 
The analysis of each song was scrutinized and several songs 
previously classed as "irregular in tonality" were otherwise 
classified. The preparation for publication of a book on 
Menominee music has been practically completed. The 
manuscript contains 460 pages, with transcriptions of 140 
songs, and a large number of illustrations. The material 
collected at Neah Bay, Wash., and submitted in the form of 


13 manuscripts during previous years, has been unified under 
chapter headings and retyped for pubUcation. Interesting 
features of these songs are the prominence of the tetrachord 
and the large number of songs with a compass of three or 
four tones. 

In July and August, 1929, a field trip was made to the 
Menominee and Winnebago in Wisconsin, the former tribe 
receiving the more consideration. This was the tliird visit 
to the Menominee and work was done at Keshena, Neopit, 
and Zoar. In June, 1930, another trip was made to the 
Winnebago in Wisconsin, this being the fourth visit to that 
tribe. Songs were recorded in the vicinity of Tomah and 
also near Wisconsin Rapids. One of the singers at the 
former locality was Paul Decora, whose home is in Nebraska. 
Fourteen songs were recorded by this singer and found to 
contain the same changes of pitch which marked the perform- 
ance of the Acoma singer. In some songs the pitch was 
steadily maintained, while in others it was gradually raised 
or lowered a semitone during the first rendition, the remainder 
of the performance being on the new pitch. 

John Smoke is an industrious Winnebago farmer, who 
retains a "water-spirit bundle" inherited from his ancestors 
and uses it in a ceremonial manner. He allowed Miss Dens- 
more to see this bundle, explained its use and benefits, and 
recorded two of its songs which are sung when its contents 
are exposed to view. A Winnebago flute player known as 
Frisk Cloud recorded three melodies on a flute made of metal 
pipe, and said " the love songs are words put to flute melodies." 
He is also a maker of flutes and described the measurements 
of an instrument in terms of hand and finger widths and hand 
spreads. Miss Densmore purchased the instrument on 
which the melodies had been played. 

Winnebago songs and another flute performance were 
recorded by George Monegar, a blind man living near 
Wisconsin Rapids, who is considered one of the best author- 
ities on old customs. He also related the legend of the origin 
of the flute. 

6066°— 32 2 


Songs of 10 classes were recorded on this trip, with old and 
modern examples of one class. The recorded songs comprise 
those of the water-spirit bundle, hand game, and moccasin 
game, love songs, war songs, and a lullaby, and songs of the 
Green Corn, Friendship, Fortynine, and Squaw dances. 

At the suggestion of Senator Carl Hayden, Mr. Neil M. 
Judd, curator of archeology in the United States National 
Museum, made a brief reconnaissance in September, 1929, 
for the purpose of ascertaining the most practicable method 
of surveying, at this late date, the prehistoric canal systems 
of the Gila and Salt River Valleys, Ariz. Most of the ancient 
canals had been obliterated through agricultural practices; 
others were threatened with early destruction under the 
program of the Coolidge Dam project. Following his pre- 
liminary investigation, he recommended an aerial survey as 
the only feasible means whereby the former aboriginal canal 
systems could be located and mapped for permanent record. 

Since haste was a prime factor, in view of the extensive 
grading operations within the Pima Indian Reservation, the 
War Department generously came to the aid of the Smith- 
sonian Institution by providing an observation plane and 
personnel. Mr. Judd left Washington January 12, 1930, 
and proceeded to Phoenix, Ariz., by way of Tucson and 
Sacaton. Unfavorable flying conditions served to delay 
inauguration of the survey. Ground haze in the early 
morning and smoke in the afternoon obscured the ground 
except for a 2-hour p^riod at midday. Lieut. Edwin Bob- 
zien, pilot, and Sergt. R. A. Stockwell, lAotographer, both 
from Crissy Field, the Presidio, San Francisco, pursued their 
assigned tasks as rapidly as possible. They made approxi- 
mately 700 exposures, of which half were vertical photo- 
graphs taken from an altitude of 10,000 feet. These have 
since been assembled into mosaic maps. As was anticipated, 
the aerial survey disclosed numerous prehistoric canals not 
visible from the ground. With the mosaic maps in hand 
these ancient canals must now be examined individually and 
their locations identified with reference to near-by section 
lines. This task properly should be done during the late 
autumn or winter months and within the next few years. 


Without the personal interest of Senator Hayden and the 
cooperation of the War Department, the Smithsonian In- 
stitution would have found it impossible to undertake the 
aerial survey above mentioned. 

In late November, 1929, and again in early May, 1930, 
Mr. Judd made brief visits to Charlottesville, Va., there to 
advise with Mr. D. I. Bushnell, jr., in those investigations 
of near-by Indian village sites which he is pursuing in behalf 
of the bureau. 


The editing of the publications of the bureau was con- 
tinued through the year by Mr. Stanley Searles, editor, 
assisted by Mrs. Frances S. Nichols, editorial assistant. 
The status of the publications is presented in the following 
summary : 


Bulletin 88. Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians (Swan- 
ton). x + 275pp. 

Bulletin 90. Papago Music (Densmore). .xx + 229 pp. 19 pis. 4 

Bidletin 9L Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of 
the Guiana Indians (Roth). xvii+llOpp. 34 pis. 90 figs. 

Bulletin 93. Pawnee Music (Densmore). xviii+ 129 pp. 8 pis. 

Bulletin 9.5. Contributions to Fox Ethnology — II (Michelson). 
vii+183pp. 1 fig. 

List of PubHcations of the Bureau of American Ethnology. 50 pp. 


Forty-fifth Annual Report. Accompanying papers: The Salishan 
Tribes of the Western Plateaus (Teit, edited by Boas); Tattooing 
and Face and Body Painting of the Thompson Indians, British 
Colimibia (Teit, edited by Boas) ; The Ethnobotany of the Thomp- 
son Indians of British Colimibia (Steedman); The Osage Tribe: 
Rite of the Wa-.xo-be (La Flesche). 

Forty-sixth Annual Report. Accompanying papers : Anthropological 
Survey in Alaska (Hrdlicka); Report to the Hon. Isaac S. Stevens, 
Governor of Washington Territory, on the Indian Tribes of the 
Upper Missouri (Denig, edited by Hewitt). 

Bulletin 94. Tobacco among the Karuk Indians of California (Har- 

Bulletin 96. Early Pueblo Ruins in the Piedra District, Southwestern 

• Colorado (Roberts). 



The distribution of the publications of the bureau has been 
continued under the charge of Miss Helen Munroe, assisted 
by Miss Emma B. Powers. Publications distributed were 
as follows: 

Report volumes and separates 3, 938 

Bulletins and separates 20, 242 

Contributions to North American Ethnology 40 

Miscellaneous publications 648 

Total 24,868 

As compared with the fiscal year ended June 30, 1929, 
there was an increase of 4,756 publications distributed, due 
in part to the large number of separates from the Handbook 
of American Indians sent to Camp Fire Girls. After revision, 
the mailing list now stands at 1,627. 


Following is a summary of work accomplished in the illus- 
tration branch of the bureau under the supervision of Mr. 
DeLancey Gill, illustrator: 

Photographs retouched, lettered, and otherwise made ready 

for engraving 1, 638 

Drawings prepared, including maps, charts, etc 32 

Engravers' proofs criticized 742 

Printed editions of colored plates examined at Govermiient 

Printing Office 31, 500 

Correspondence attended to (letters) 210 

Photographs selected and catalogued for private publishers.. 314 
Photo-laboratory work by Dr. A. J. Obnsted, National Mu- 
seum, in cooperation with the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology : 

Negatives 84 

Prints 253 

Lantern slides 23 


The reference library has continued under the care of Miss 
Ella Leary, librarian, assisted by Mr. Thomas Blackwell. 

The library consists of 29,071 volumes, about 16,527 pam- 
phlets, and several thousand unbound periodicals. During 


the year 559 books were accessioned, of which 109 were ac- 
quired by purchase and 450 by gift and exchange; also 150 
l^amphlets and 4,106 serials, chiefly the publications of learned 
societies, were received and recorded, of which 110 were ob- 
tained by purchase, the remainder being received through 
exchange. The catalogue was increased by the addition of 
3,420 cards. Volumes to the the number of 210 were collated 
and prepared for binding. Numerous loans were made to 
libraries in Washington, and a considerable amount of ref- 
erence work was done in the usual course of the Ubrary's 
service to investigators and students, both those in the Smith- 
sonian Institution and others. The purchase of books and 
periodicals for the library has been restricted to such as relate 
to the bureau's researches. 

Many volumes received by the library not pertaining to 
anthropology were transferred to the library of the Smith- 
sonian Institution. During the year the cataloguing has 
been carried on as new accessions were acquired and good 
progress was made in cataloguing ethnologic and related 
articles in the earlier serials. The number of books borrowed 
from the Library of Congress for the use of the staff of the 
bureau in prosecuting their researches was about 150. 


Accession No. 

107862. Archaic black and white bowl collected by Doctor Fewkes 
from Far View House, Mesa Verde, in 1921, and fragment 
of ancient Zufii pottery from Canyon del Muerto, Ariz., 
collected by Dr. W. H. Spinks. (2 specimens.) 

107866. Blackberrying basket made by Mrs. Ascension Sol6rsano, a 
San Juan Indian, and collected by J. P. Harrington in 1929. 
(1 specimen.) 

109074. Flint hammerstone presented to the bureau by J. D. Howard; 
cast of an engraved bone gorget sent by E. M. Graves; and 
a Chinese basket. (3 specimens.) 

109788. Smoking pipe or cigarette made of anis by the San Juan 
Indians, San Benito County, Calif., and collected by J. P. 
Harrington. (1 specimen.) 

110111. Cast of a "cogged " stone from the ranch of Mrs. Newland of 
Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, Calif., and presented to 
the bureau by S. C. Evans. (1 specimen.) 


Accession No. 

110113. Decorated elk-skin pouch inade by Fritz Hanson, a Karuk 
Indian of Somesbar, Siskiyou County, Calif., and pur- 
chased from him by the bureau. (1 specimen.) 

110319. Archeological material collected in 1928 by Dr. F. H. H. 
Roberts, jr., from early Pueblo ruins in the Piedra District, 
Archuleta County, southwestern Colorado. (477 speci- 


Office equipment was purchased to the amount of $64.78. 

The correspondence and other clerical work of the office 
has been conducted by Miss May S. Clark, clerk to the chief, 
assisted by Mr. Anthony W. Wilding, clerk. Miss Mae W. 
Tucker, stenographer, was engaged in completing the cata- 
logue of phonograph records of Indian music, copying man- 
uscripts for Doctor Swanton, and in assisting Mr. Hewitt 
in his work as custodian of manuscripts and phonograph 
records. Mrs. Frances S. Nichols assisted the editor. 

During the course of the year information was furnished 
by members of the staff in reply to numerous inquiries con- 
cerning the North American Indian peoples, both past and 
present, and the Mexican peoples of the prehistoric and early 
historic periods to the south. Various specimens sent to the 
bureau were identified and data on them furnished for their 

Personnel — Dr. Francis LaFlesche retired as ethnologist 
of the bureau December 26, 1929. 

Respectfully submitted. 

M. W. Stirling, Chief. 

Dr. C. G. Abbot, 

Secretary, Smithsonian Institution. 








Historical sketch of Acoma 23 

Acoma to-day 28 

Kin and clan 34 

Government 40 

Cacique 41 

War chiefs 45 

Opi, or Warriors' Society 51 

Koshare 51 

Three cooks 51 

"Little Chiefs" 51 

Principales 52 

Medicine societies 52 

Governor 52 

Lieutenant governors 55 

Bicliales (fiscales) 55 

Ditch boss 55 

Government farmer and his Indian policeman 56 

Elections 60 

"Political parties" at Acoma 61 

Ceremonies and ceremonial organization 63 

Pantheon 64 

Ceremonial calendar 67 

Kachina cult 69 

Catalogue of the k'atsina 75 

Natyati, the summer dance for rain 82 

The summer solstice 84 

Tlie winter solstice 85 

Coming of the k'oBictaiya 86 

Fight with the k'atsina 88 

Curatca lights the fires 94 

Opi, or Warriors' Society , 96 

Ka'cale 97 

Caiyaik, or Hunters' Society 101 

Fiesta of San Estevan 102 

Christmas Eve and Christmas week 106 

Rooster pulls 106 

Medicine cult 107 

Disease, its cause and cure 107 

Curing by a society 109 

Securing new members 111 

Initiation of new members 112 

Fire and sword jujglery of the Fire Society 114 

The communal cu-ing 116 

Feats of magic of ihe medicine men 122 

Medicine men and the kachina cult 124 

Other ceremonial f auctions of medicine men 124 

Summary comment 125 




Paraphernalia and ritual 125 

Rock shrines 125 

Prayer sticks 125 

The ho'nani 129 

Altars 129 

Masks 130 

Kachina dolls 131 

Rock carvings 131 

Ritual patterns 132 

Life cycle of an individual 132 

Birth 132 

Childhood 135 

Marriage and divorce 135 

Sickness and election to office 137 

Death 137 

Miscellany 138 

Hidden ball 138 

Salt gathering 139 

A love charm 139 

Summary comment 140 

Myths and tales 142 

Emergence and migration 142 

Origin and emergence 147 

Guitinanic (performing miracles), a story of the fight at Kacikatcutia. 148 

Masewi abandons latik" 150 

Antelope man brings back the k'atsina : 164 

Masewi and Oyoyewi kill a giantess 156 

Masewi and Oyoyewi rescue a girl from a giantess 161 

The blind brother and the crippled brother 162 

How KauBat lost his eyes 165 

Tsictikatsame brings a bride from Wenimats' 168 

Mactcoai is killed trying to recapture a girl 170 

Kasewat rescues his wife from Flint Bird i 172 

Kasewat rescues his wife from a giantess i 178 

The adventures of San Diego i 180 

Three snake tales from Acomita i 189 

Bibliography J 191 

Index f 1087 




1. a, Tlie cacique's altar; 6, Altar of a medicine societ3- 80 

2. Acoma kachiua masks 80 

3. Acoma kiichina masks 80 

4. Acoma kacliina masks 80 

5. Acoma kachina masks 80 

6. Acoma kachina masks 80 

7. Acoma kachina masks 80 

8. Acoma kachina masks 80 

9. Acoma kachina masks 80 

10. Acoma kachina masks 80 

1 1 . Wall paintings, a, Cloud, rain, and lightning symbols, with horned 

snake; 6, Representation of a koshare standing on the moon Hi 

12. Wall paintings, a, Bear "medicine man"; 6, Eagle 114 

13. Acoma prayer sticks 128 

14. Acoma prayer sticks 128 

15. Acoma prayer sticks 128 

16. Sand painting for child-naming ceremony 128 


1. Diagram of Acoma pueblo 30 

2. Diagram of Mauharots, the head estufa 73 

3. Diagram of curing chamber 118 

4. Ceremonial objects 128 

5. Altar of a curing society 130 

6. Pictograpbs and petroglyphs near Acoma 132 



By Leslie A. White 


When Fray Marcos de Niza returned to Mexico from Zuni in 1539 
he told, among many other things, of having heard of a "Kingdom of 
Hacus" which lay to the east of Zivola (Cibola). This is the first 
reference to Acoma. 

Coronado found himself at Zuiii (Cibola) the following year (1540). 
He dispatched Captain Alvarado eastward on a journey of e.xploration. 

"Captain Alvarado started on this journey, and in five days reached 
a village which was on a rock called Acuco, having a population of 
about 200 men. These people were robbers, feared by the whole 
country round about. The village was very strong, because it was 
upon a rock out of reach, having steep sides in every direction, and 
so high that it was a very good musket that could throw a ball as high. 
There was only one entrance by a stairway built by hand, which 
began at the top of a slope which is around the foot of the rock. There 
was a broad stairway for about 200 steps, then a stretch of about 100 
narrower steps, and at the top they had to go up about three times as 
high as a man by means of holes in the rock, in which they put the 
points of their feet, holding on at the same time by their hands. 
There was a wall of large and small stones at the top, which they could 
roll down without showing themselves, so that no army could possibly 
be strong enough to capture the village. On the top they had room 
to sow and store a large amount of corn and cisterns to collect snow 
and water. 

"These people came down to the plain to fight and would not listen 
to any argimients. They drew lines on the ground and determined 
to prevent our men from crossing these, but when they saw that 
they would have to fight they oflFered to make peace before any harm 
had been done. Thej went through their forms of making peace, 
which is to touch the horses and take their sweat and rub themselves 
with it, and to make crosses with the fingers of the hands. But to 
make the most secure peace they put their hands across each other, 
and they keep this peace inviolably. They made a present of a large 
number of (turkey) cocks with very big wattles, much bread, tanned 
deerskins, pine (piflon) nuts, flour (corn meal), and com." (From 
Winship, The Coronado Expedition, pp. 490-491, Relacion of Cas- 


24 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

There is another account of Alvarado's visit to Acoma by an anony- 
mous chronicler, who states that Alvarado "started off, and 30 leagues 
from Cibola found a rock w-ith a village on top, the strongest position 
that ever was seen in the world, which was called Acuco in their 
language, and Father Friar Marcos called it the 'kingdom of Hacus.' 
They came oiit to meet us peacefidly, although it would have been 
easy to decline to do this and to have stayed on their rock, where we 
would not have been able to trouble them. They gave us cloaks of 
cotton, skins of deer and cows (buffalo), and turquoises, and fowls 
and other food which they had, which is the same as in Cibola." 
(Winship, Coronado Expedition, p. 575.) 

This gives us a picture of Acoma in 1540: A \Tllage of about 200 
houses, from two to four stories high, situated on an almost inaccessible 
mesa almost 400 feet high; with cornfields and cisterns on the summit; 
with cotton, deerskin, and buffalo-hide garments; with domesticated 
turkeys, quantities of turquoise, etc' Castaiieda tells us that "they 
venerate the sign of the cross in the region where the settlements 
have high houses. For at a spring which was in the plain near Acuco 
they had a cross two palms high and as thick as a finger, made of 
wood with a square twig for its crosspiece, and many httle sticks 
decorated with feathers around it, and numerous withered flowers, 
which were the offerings." This is a very interesting report; it 
describes, without doubt, prayer-stick ritual or usage at Acoma 
in 1540.- 

Where the Acoma people lived before they established themselves 
so securely on the rock where Alvarado found them is a question 
concerning which there are some clues but few estabUshed facts. 
Their origin-migration myth says that they came from the north. 
Bandelier states: "... so far as I am able to judge, the gist of Acoma 
folklore assigns the origin of the tribe to a sepai'ation for some cause 
or other from the tribe of Cia. Thence they drifted to the southwest, 
across the bleak and unprepossessing valley of the Rio Puerco, and, 
dividing into two bands, estabhshed themselves in pueblos of small 
size to the right and left of the Canada de la Cruz, and on the mesa 

' Benavides, in his Memorial, publislied in 1630, states that corn yas planted on the summit of the 
Acoma mesa. The Acoma mesa is divided into two roughly equal pirts, the village being on the north 
mesa; the south portion is unoccupied (the largest water reservoir, how&ver, is on the south mesa) . At the 
present time there is neither room nor soil on the north mesa to grow chough corn for half a dozen families. 
There is considerable room on the south mesa, but it is so rough and barren and rocky that only a small 
amount could be utilized for crops. I doubt very much if corn in qifintities sulheient to feed the pueblo 
was ever grown on the summit. There are other statistics given by ^enavides which are of interest here. 
He says that the mesa is 1,000 estados (an estado is 1.S&4 yards) high. He says there were 2,000 houses and 
7,000 people. These, of course, are gross exaggerations, as is his estilnate of the length of the mesa being 
1 league. (See translation of this memorial in Land of Sunshine, vol) xiv, translated by Mrs. E. E. Ayer, 
edited and annotated by F. W. Hodge.) I 

= Winship, Coronado Espedition, p. 544. 



above Acomita, 12 miles north of their present village." •* He also 
mentions a number of small pueblo ruins near Acoma.^ 

Northeast of Acoma about 3 miles is the Enchanted Mesa (Mesa 
Encantada), or K'atzim". It is a large mesa with sheer perpendicular 
walls rising almost 400 feet from the flats below. Lummis, in his 
Land of Poco Tiempo, recounts the Acoma tale that their people 
cnce lived on the summit of this rock. A great storm, so the story 
goes, broke away the rock trail which led to the top. Most of the 
Acoma people were in their fields at this time, but those remaining 
in the pueblo perished of hunger; they could not come down. In 
1895, F. W. Hodge, of the Bureau of American Ethnology, climbed 
to within 60 feet of the summit and examined the talus heaped along 
the side. He reported finding some potsherds. Two years later 
Prof. William Libbey, of Princeton University, reached the summit. 
He reported that diligent search did not produce any trace of a 
former occupation. So the Bureau of Ethnology directed Hodge to 
make another ascent. This he did in September, 1897. This time 
he found more pottery, fragments of a shell bracelet, and a broken 
stone implement on the summit. He also reported a small stone 
structure which he was certain was not a natural formation.* 

Granting that a few potsherds were found on the summit of 
K'atzim" does not prove that the Acoma people lived there; a few 
potsherds do not make a pueblo. Those sherds may have been left 
there by people who ascended for ceremonial purposes. Hodge 
found a prayer stick or two in a cleft not far from the summit. 
Ceremonial visits are made to this mesa even yet. It would seem 
that traces of rock walls would remain had there ever been houses 
on the top of this great rock. 

The interval between the visits of .\lvarado and Espejo was un- 
eventful. In 1581 Fray Augustin Rodriguez and Sanchez Chamus- 
cado ^^sited Acoma with a small party .^ In the year following, 
Espejo arrived at Acoma, where he spent three days. He describes 
the village much as Castaneda did, mentioning the cisterns, foods, 
wearing apparel, etc. Two items of considerable significance he 
mentions: "These people have their fields 2 leagues from the pueblo 
on a river of medium size whose waters they intercept for irrigating 

3 Old Keresan pottery which I have seen in museums shows far greater resemblances between Acoma 
and Zia than between Acoma and either Santo Domingo or Cochiti. 

' Bandelier, Final Report, Pt. 11, pp. 312-320. 

' See Hodge, F. W., in Land of Sunshine, November, 1897; also in Century Magazine, May, 1898; also 
in National Geographic Magazine, vol. vm, 1807. Also see T-ibbey, William, in Harper's Wecttly, 
Aug. 28, 1897, and notes by Lummis and Hodge in Land of Sunshine, October and November, 1897. 

s Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, collected by Bandelier and edited by C. W. Haclcett, 
vol. I, p. 193. 

6066°— 32 3 

26 THE ACOMA INDIANS [etu. ann. 47 

purposes . . ."' And "In our honor they performed a very cere- 
monious niitote and dance, the people coming out in fine array. 
They performed many jugghng feats, some of them very clever, with 
live snakes."* 

On the 27th of October, 1598, Don Juan de Onate visited Acoma 
and received the obediencia of the pueblo. It is said that some of 
the Acoma chiefs tried to lure Onate into an estufa to see something 
"very curious"; once inside, they planned to kill him. But Onate 
declined to enter. He left the pueblo in safety and continued his 
journey westward.^ 

Capt. Gaspar de Villagrd, the poet warrior to whom we are indebted 
for many graphic accounts of these days, reached Acoma shortly 
after Onate's departure. He was alone, having only his horse and 
his dog for companions. He was received by Zutucapan, an Acoma 
chief, who tried to resist Oiiate. So unfriendly did this chief seem, 
Villagrd refused to dismount. Instead, he hurried on to join Onate. 
His account of his escape is dramatic and at points ludicrous. He 
states that liis horse fell into a pit which the Indians had dug for 
this purpose and had covered over with brush. Leaving his horse 
dead in the pit (in another connection he mentions still having his 
noble charger some time after this adventure), he went on afoot. 
There was snow on the ground, so he reversed his boots to deceive 
his pursuers (!). He suffered greatly from hunger and finally decided 
to eat his dog. But "as the faithful animal with the life torrent 
pouring from his side turned to lick the hand of his slayer, Villagrd 
had no heart to eat the food obtained at such a cost.'"" 

Late in »September (1598) Don Juan Zaldivar, the maestro de 
campo of Onate, arrived at Acoma with 20 or 30 men. Leaving a 
few men at the foot of the mesa to guard the horses, Zaldivar and his 
men went up to the village. Here they were received in friendly 
fashion by the natives. But while the Spaniards were wandering 
al)out the pueblo, scattered here and there, the Acomas suddenly 
fell upon them wdth furious yells and war clubs. Zaldivar himself 
was struck down by Zutucapan, the wily chief. Five soldiers ran to 
the edge of the mesa and jumped over the clift"; one man was killed 
in the fall, but the others alighted without injury. All the rest were 
killed. The four survivors joined the men with the horses and 
escaped, joining Onate." 

' Bolton, H. E., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, pp. 182-183. Bandelier attempted to identify 
these fields as those in the Acomita Valle.v, 12 miles north of Acoma. "The distance indicated by him 
(Espejo), 2 leagues, does not agree; but since he adds 'on a middle-sized river ..." I infer that their fields 
were on some point along the course of the Blue-water." Final Report, pt. ll, pp. 315-316. 

' Bolton, loc. cit. 

« Bancroft, .\rizona and Kew Mexico, pp. 13S-139. 

" Bancroft, op. cit., p. 140. 

11 We are indebted to Villagra for the account of this episode. While we need not accept each detail as 
assured fact, the central fact is true. Zaldivar and many of his men were killed at Acoma at this time. 
•See Bancroft, .Arizona and New Mexico, pp. 142-143. 


It was decided to send Don Vicente Zaldivar, the brother of Don 
Juan, to punish the Acomas. Not only was revenge in order but 
other pueblos must not see Acoma remain victorious. So on the 
21st of January, 1599, Captain Vicente de Zaldivar arrived at Acoma 
with 70 men, including Villagra. It is said that Zutucapan was very 
defiant. Other leaders, especially one Chumpo, urged the removal 
of women and children from the mesa before any fighting began. 
Zutucapan and his followers were very confident, however, and 
everyone remained in the pueblo. 

The fight began. Zaldivar sent most of his men to engage the 
Indians at the trail, while 12 men stealthily ascended the south mesa, 
imnoticed bj' the Indians, and gained the summit. The fight lasted 
two or three days. According to Villagr^ the siege must have resem- 
bled the siege of Troy; great struggles of great heroes rocked the 
mesa. As a matter of fact, the Spaniards lost only one man. When 
they finally gained the village they killed many Indians and burned 
their houses. Chumpo, he who had counseled caution, was allowed 
to settle on the plain below with his followers.'" 

It is said that the Acomas saw Santiago hovering over the Span- 
iards on a white horse during the fight. The Spaniards were as 
ready to believe tliis as were the Indians.'^ 

The Acoma people were soon back on the top of their mesa. And 
they were far from friendl3^ Father Zdrate Salmeron is said to have 
"pacified" the Acomas about 1620. In his Relaci6n he states that 
one Capt. Ger<5nimo Marquez had told liim that he had once seen 
on the walls of an estufa at Acoma some pictures of Aztecs. The 
Acomas said that these people had come from the west some years 
previous; and since they had never seen any people like them, they 
had painted their likeness on the walls of their estufa. \Mien they 
left, the Aztecs went toward the Rio Grande pueblos. Father Zarate 
made inquir}^ at some of the Rio Grande pueblos; and although he 
was frequently told about these strangers, he never succeeded in 
absolutely identifying them as people from Mexico." 

In 1629 (approximately) Father Juan Ramirez went to Acoma. 
He chose this pueblo because he had heard that they were the most 
rebellious of all the tribes. Upon (or shortly after) his arrival he 
restored a child, who had just e.xpired, with holy water and appro- 

" It is said that 600 accompanied Chumpo. The total population was estimated at 6,000, which is at 
least four times too large, 1 believe. 

'■ In a letter to the viceroy, the Count of Monterey, dated Mar. 2, 1599, OiSate wrote as follows: 
". . . because my mae^ de campo was not as cautious as he should have been, they killed him with 12 
companions in a great pueblo and fortress called Acoma, which must contain about 3,000 Indians. As 
punishment for its crime and its treason against its majesty to whom it has already rendered submission 
by a public instrtmient (!), and as a warning to the rest (of the pueblos), I razed it and burned it com- 
pletely." This is without doubt a great exaggeration, I believe. (See Bolton, Spanish E.xploration in 
the Southweet, p. 218.) 

!• See his Relacidn, translated in Land of Sunshine, vol. xn. 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

priate words. This act won for him the regard of the Acomas. 
Father Rainirez is said to have built the mission church at Acoma.'° 

The next incident of consequence at Acoma is the revolt of 1680, 
a general uprising of all the pueblos in which all the Spaniards in 
the pueblo area were either lulled or driven out. Fray Luis Maldo- 
nado (and possibly two others) were killed at Acoma. '^ 

During the reconquest of the country by Don Diego de Vargas, 
Acoma was visited by this general in November, 1693. The Acomas 
were ready to fight, but De Vargas persuaded them to yield, and on 
November 4 he entered the pueblo witli his priests and some soldiers, 
where ceremonies of submission were ])erformed. Eighty-seven 
children were baptized at this time." 

On the 4th of June, 1696, Taos, Picuris, Santo Domingo, Cochiti, 
and Jemez revolted and killed five missionaries and 21 other Span- 
iards. The Jemez people fled to the mountains. They sought aid 
from the Acomas, Zunis, and the Navahos. On the 29th of June, 
Capt. Miguel de Lara, with a small detachment of soldiers from Zia, 
and Don Fernando Dunin y Chavez, the alcalde mayor of Bernalillo, 
met the revolutionists in San Diego Caiion (at the ruins of the pueblo 
of San Juan). The Spaniards routed the Indians. Eight Acoma 
warriors were killed and a number of the Jemez. The alliance be- 
tween Acoma and Zuni was disrupted and the Jemez fled to the 

To quiet the Acomas, De Vargas marched to the pueblo, and on 
the 15th of August, 1696, he attacked the village, capturing five men, 
one of them a chief. But he did not succeed in entering the town. 
"Then he released the chief and resorted to persuasion, without suc- 
cess, finally shooting the captives, ravaging the corn fields, and 
retiring." '® 

Don Diego de Vargas was succeeded by Pedro Rodriguez Cubero 
as governor in 1696; Cubero assumed office on the 2d of July, 1697. 
During his tour of the west in 1699 Cubero received the submission 
of Acoma on the 6th of July. 


Acoma's early reputation for vigorous unfriendliness to the whites 
has been maintained to the present day. Of coui-se there has been 
no violence for many years, but Government officials and employees, 
representatives of religious organizations, and tourists well know the 
difficulties which confront a white man or woman at Acoma. The 
Acoma people are suspicious, distrustful, and unfriendly. In addi- 

15 Benavides, Memorial, Land of Sunshine, vol. xiii. 

16 See Relacion of Escalante. Land of Sunshine, vol. xn. 
': Bancroft, op. cit., pp. 200-201. 

'» Bandelier, Final Report, pt. ii, pp. 215-216; Bancroft, .Vrizona and New Mexico, pp. 215-217. 
» Baacraft, op cit., p. 217. 


tion to their constant fears that they may have land taken from them, 
or that they may be taxed by the Government, they are ever on their 
guard to prevent any information concerning their ceremonies from 
becoming known lest they be suppressed (or ridiculed) by the whites. 
A young man whom I had become quite well acquainted with once 
told me that he had heard of such things as clans at other pueblos, 
but that nothing of that sort was to be found at Acoma. 

With the exception of a few months (perhaps a year or so) the 
Acoma people have lived on the Acoma mesa for many centuries. 
Long ago they had fields in a valley to the north (as Espejo noted), 
but there were no houses there until after the danger of raids by 
Navahos had passed. Forty or fifty years ago there were only a few 
small houses at Acomita, and these were but temporary shelters for 
workers in the fields. With the passmg of danger, the dwellings were 
built larger and famUies came down from old Acoma to hve. At first 
the houses at Acomita were built high up on the side of a steep mesa, 
partly from habit and partly from fear. These old houses are still 
used ; people climb laboriously up and dowai the mesa with burdens of 
water, provisions, etc., when they coidd live on the level below if they 
wished. At times their conservatism seems to be organic, below the 
level of thought entirely. 

The layout of the pueblo of old Acoma is showm in the accompany- 
ing diagram. The houses are built on the bare surface of the rock. 
They are arranged in three long rows, with a few scattered between 
these and the church. They are for the most part three stories high. 
All houses in the rows face south. The top floor is used as a living 
room; cooking is done here on a fireplace. The bottom floor is used 
as a storeroom. The middle floor is used partly as a sleeping-living 
room and partly as a storeroom. Until recently there were no open- 
ings in the walls of the rooms on the ground floor; one ascended ladders 
to the upper floors and then went down ladders through trapdoors to 
the floors below.-" There is very little American furniture in the old 
houses, although at Acomita and in a few of the homes of "progres- 
sives" at old Acoma there are stoves, tables, chairs, beds, cupboards, 
etc. In a few of the walls facing the north there are small pieces of 
gypsum which admit, light into the dark rooms; on the south side 
there are windows and doors. Ovens are buUt on the roofs of the 
first terrace or in the streets. Piles of wood are placed on roof terraces 
or on the groimd near by. 

There is a cistern on the north side of the village. The path leading 
to it has been worn down to a depth of an inch and a half in places by 
hundreds of years of use by bare and moccasined feet. On the south 
mesa there is a great reservoir. It never goes drj-, and the water is 
always cold and clear. 

» See Mindeleff, A Study of Pueblo .Architecture: Tusayan and Cibola, p. 116. 



[eTH. ANN. 47 

There are no toilets or outhouses at Acoma; people go out to the 
edge of the mesa where they are sheltered by bushes or large rocks 
in the daytime, but at night they very frequently use the street, or 
after daybreak the roof terraces. So far as sanitation is concerned, 
however, it is probably much better not to have outhouses where 
filth would be preserved for flies. The sun and wind dry, scorch, 
and sterilize everything very quicldy. 

The rooms of the dwellings are usually very neat and orderly. The 
walls are plastered white. Pictures of Christ, virgins, girls showing 
the benefits of certain cold creams, Indian bovs and girls at Govern- 


3 I n c 


1 3 J 10 St; 


1 I 

D D 

Figure 1. — Key to diagram of Acoma pueblo 

[The roman numerals indicate the location of the dancing places used in Natyati.] 

1, Chamber of the Fire Society. 2, Daut'k'orits estufa, 3, Eock'asi'ts estufa. 4, 
Com clan's house. 5, Coskats estufa. 6, Tsitcinic k'aatc, or Mauharots, the 
"head estufa." 7, Haimatats' estufa. k, Cacique's house. 9, Cutrinits estufa. 
10, Plaza. 11, Komanira. 12, Church. 13, Convento. 14, Horse trail. 15, Foot 
trail. 16, Foot trail. 17, To water reservoir. 18, To Masewi's Rock. 19, 
I Jraveyard. 

ment schools, etc., are found on the walls in numbers. In one 
I noted a small bowl of corn flour and an arrowhead on a ledge by the 
door. Rifles, deer and antelope horns, moccasins etc. hang on the 
walls. Sheep pelts are placed on the floor. 

Both Bandelier and Mindelefl" state that there are six kivas at 
Acoma.^' But, unfortunately, we do not know exactly what this 
means. The term k'aatc at Acoma is used to designate the five 
chambers of the five kachina groups, and also for Mauharots, the 
"head estufa" (the chamber of the cacique and the Antelope clan). 

" Bandelier, Final Report, pt. I, p. 268; Mindelefl, op. cit., pp. 116 and 207. 



and the chamber of the Fire society." There are seven chambers, 
then, at Acoma called k'aatc. In outward appearance they are alike, 
rectangular rooms on the ground floor, set in among dwellings. They 
are said to be similar inside, too, except that in Mauharots there is a 
tstwai'mitytm (a plank placed over a resonance chamber in the 
floor). (See fig. 2, p. 73.) I feel that there "should be" six 
kachina chambers at Acoma instead of five; this would resemble 
the six Idvas at Zuni. \Miether the six kivas reported by Bandelier 
and MindelefT imply sLx kachina chambers or not is an important 
question, the solution of which would be of great moment. 

In the south wall of each k'aatc there is a hole about 8 inches in 
diameter; it is placed about 20 inches from the ground. Into these 
holes corn meal is thrown with prayers by people who pass through 
the streets at night. The ladders which lean against the kivas are 
nuich longer than the ladders of the dwellings, and they have a cross- 
piece at the top which is carved in a shape suggesting arrows or 
lightning symbols. 

Every person has a Spanish (or American) name, but while the young 
people know these names, some of the old folks do not. I was buying 
some pottery from some old women at old Acoma and leaving it there 
for a day or so when I could take it away. I asked (through an inter- 
preter) what their names were, and they told me their Indian names. 
Fearing that I would forget them I asked for their Spanish names. 
They laughed and seemed slightly embarrassed. They said that 
they had Spanish names, but that they could not remember what 
they were. Kinshij) terms are usually used when conversing with 
one another, and sometimes the native name, but Spanish or American 
names are almost never used except when speaking to an American or 
a Mexican. I knew of two brothers whose last names were quite 
different; one was Spanish, the other English. I learned that these 
boys had received their names when they had gone away to school; 
their teacher named them, not knowdng that they were brothers. 

Many of the old people have never been more than a few miles 
from the reservation. I know of some old men and women who 
have never been to ^Ubuquerque. Last summer one old lady made 
her first visit to Albuquerque. I gathered from reports of her behavior 
there that she was quite overcome by that little city. What seemed 
to distress her most was her inability to orient herself with reference 
to the cardinal points; the sun seemed to her to rise in the south. 
Some people, however, have traveled considerably; these are mostly 
men. Some of the older men went to Carlisle, one or two were in 
France with the American Expeditionary Forces, some were at an 
exposition in San Diego, and others have worked for the Santa Fe 

^ At San Felipe and at Santo Domingo the kivas are called tci'kya. 

32 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. « 

Railroad at various places. But I could never see that any prestige 
was attached to travel. On the contrary, I have learned of instances 
where old people strenuously discouraged young men from leaving 
the reservation. 

In addition to the old mission at old Acoma, there is a small Catholic 
church at Acomita. Mass is held at old Acoma once a year (on San 
Estevan's Day, September 2), but once a month (or perhaps once in 
two months) a priest visits Acomita for religious services. Few 
attend these services, and the congregation is preponderantly female 
and juvenile. Many people are married by the priest, and quite a 
number of children are baptized, but I know of only one instance in 
which burial ceremonies were performed by a priest. This w as the 
case of a death in the family of a "progressive." The pueblo fathers 
refused to allow the body to be interred in the church yard (where 
all burials are made). But the father of the child said that he would 
not bury his child there anyway. My impression from talking to 
the Acoma people about God and Christ is that they beheve they 
are supernaturals with power, but, somewhat like the gods of other 
pueblos and the Navahos, they are not very close to the Acoma people. 
San Estevan, though, seemed to belong to old Acoma. 

A man of about 50 told me the following: He "did not believe in" 
the kachinas or the medicine men; he thought he beheved in Cristo. 
One night he had a dream. He dreamed he had died and had gone 
to heaven. He found himself before God. He could not remember 
exactly how God looked, but he seemed to resemble in appearance 
and dress a successful American business man. He was in an office, 
seated behind a desk "just like in a bank." The Indian stood before 
God at his desk. God asked him, "Where's your hcense? " (meaning, 
"Where is the sign that you have the right to enter heaven?"). The 
Indian had a Bible and showed it to God. God said, "No; that's not 
your hcense. This is your license," and he showed the Indian a 
prayer stick.^^ God told him that the Bible was the white man's 
license. Then the Indian looked around and he saw different kinds 
of Indians there; some were Apaches, some Pueblos. God told him 
that the prayer stick was the Indian's license. I tried to learn what 
the Indian thought and felt about his dream, but it was very difficult. 
He said he didn't laiow, but that he guessed the dream was right; 
he seemed to feel that the white man's things were for the white man 
and the Indian had his own things. 

Farming is the chief occupation at Acoma, although sheep are 
raised in rather large numbers and cattle to a lesser extent. Corn, 
alfalfa, wheat, beans, and chiH are the chief crops; melons, onions, 
squash, and some fruits and vegetables are also grown. Potatoes 

M Compare Dumarest, p. 172. 

^vhite] ACOMA to-day 33 

are not cultivated; they say they won't grow. I never heard of any- 
one trying to raise potatoes, though, except one family near McCartys, 
who were quite successful. I never saw any hogs on the reservation. 
There are quite a number of chickens at Acomita and McCartys, and 
a few turkeys. There are nearly always a nimiber of goats with the 
sheep flocks. Wool and pottery- are about the only products sold; 
practically everything else is for home consumption. The wool is 
sold at a trading post at Cubero (a Mexican village near the reserva- 
tion) ; pottery is sold to tourists along the highway at McCartys and 
at the railroad station at New Laguna, as well as at the trading post. 
The traders at the post make a great margin of profit from every 
transaction; the Indians are exploited in an outrageous manner.-^ 

At Acomita there is a small store run by an Acomita family where 
a few articles, such as tobacco, jars of jelly, crackers, etc., are sold, 
but it is of little consequence. 

Com and mutton are the chief foods. Mutton is hung out on a line, 
like so many shirts, to cure in the sim. Stews are made, often, of 
mutton, very highly seasoned \vith chili peppers. No cow's milk is 
used. Chewing gum and soda pop are very popular. Alcoholic 
drinks are not used. Mexicans who sell mula blanca occasionally to 
the Indians are hunted and prosecuted (if caught on the reservation), 
and Indians who drink liquor are punished. Very Uttle is consumed. 

Men and women, and children who are old enough, work in the 
fields. The men do most of the heavy field work, but women often 
perform the same tasks at planting and harvesting. The women do 
most of the garden work, although the men share this, too. Grinding 
corn and wheat, cooking, household work, etc., of course, fall to the 
women. At house building, the men erect the walls and do the heavy 
work; the women do the plastering. 

Little macliinery is used. There are some mowing machines and 
rakes, but no cultivators, corn grinders, or com shellers. The Indian 
office at Albuquerque once sent a small threshing machine to Acomita 
to use in threshing their wheat, but they refused to use it and asked 
to have it taken away from the reservation. Wheat is threshed out 
by driving ponies round and round in a corral, tramping on the grain. 
Chaff, straw, and grain are then thrown m the air with forks to blow 
the chaff away. The grain is then rewinnowed with trays. 

Sheep are tended by men and boys. They often take their sheep 
to a considerable distance from the pueblo, often remaining away for 
weeks at a time. They five in little camps while out on the range. 

" For example, an Indian wished to buy a machine from the trader who asked $125 for it. The Indian 
went to Albuquerque (w here another trader tried to charge him over $100, until he found out that the Indian 
had a white friend in town who knew what prices were) and bought the machine, shipped it by freight to 
Acomita at a total cost of $81.75. Other articles are sold in the same way. I asked why the Indians allowed 
this, and the young man w ho had bought the machine said that the Indians didn't know any better. The 
1927 governor could not speak English. 

34 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

They have burros to carry their tent, bedding, and suppUes when 
they move. 

Property is owned by both men and women. Some own houses 
and some women own herds of sheep. Property is divided among 
the children at death. Theoretically, all land is communally owned, 
but each farm is said to "belong" to some particular family. This 
means that they are using it and that they have the right to continue 
to use it, but should they neglect the land and allow it to lie idle some 
one else may ask the cacique to allot the land to him. And the ca- 
cique has the authority to do this. Recently, however, a family left 
the reservation. The head of the family "sold" his land to other 
men in Acomita. He said he had a right to do this because he had 
spent much money and labor in improving the land, clearing it of 
brush, rocks, etc., and in fencing it. And he did receive compensa- 
tion for it. The grazing land is communal; the flocks of various 
families wander about over the range almost at random. By mutual 
recognition of "rights" which have crystallized from habit, conflicts 
over choice grazing lands are avoided. All other property is owned 
by individuals (except the communal buildings at old Acoma, of 

The boys like to sing. They sing often in the evening while riding 
through the valley or at some house. New songs are frequently 
composed; almost anj^onc may (and often does) compose a song. 
Favorites are learned by others and are kept for dances. Sometunes 
boys (young men) gather at a house in the evening to practice songs. 
Girls do not sing lilve this. 

There are one or two phonographs among them, but they are not 
popular. The Government farmer once had a radio which interested 
them slightly, not because of the music but to determine how the 
sounds were produced. They refused to believe that the music they 
heard was transmitted from Denver, Los Angeles, etc.; they insisted 
that "there must be something inside" the box which made the 
music. Witch-fighting medicine men they could believe in, but not 


There are 14 clans at Acoma at the present time.^* The clans are 
exogamous; one must marry outside his clan. This rule, however, 
is becoming a trifle lax nowadays, as we shall see shortly. Descent 
is reckoned in the maternal line. The 14 clans are here listed in 
order of size : 

" Hodge, in the Handbook of Amerit-an Indians, lists, in addition (o these, the 'Blue, *Brown, and 
White Corn, .Snake, *BulTa]o, *Fire, and Ant clans. Those marked with an asterisk he lists as extinct. 
He fails to mention the Tansy Mustard elan. The White Com, Snake, and Ant clans, then, have become 
extinct quite recently. The last member of the Snake clan died only two or three years ago. 



Eagle 167 

Sun 1 40 

Bear 112 

Yellow Corn 91 

Parrot _ 70 

Red Corn 66 

Oak 47 

Road Runner 30 

Antelope 26 

Water 20 

Sky 18 

Pumpkin 15 

Turkey 13 

Tansy Mustard U 

Total 826 

I made a census of 205 marriages, showing the clan affiliation of 
each person. Table 1 gives the data for 194 of these marriages. 
Table 2 lists the marriages in which non-Acoma persons are involved. 
Table 3 lists the husbands and wives for each clan. 

Table 1. — Marriages Showing Clan Affiliations 




Parrot- __. 

Tansy Mustard. 





Road Runner... 



Red Corn 


Yellow Corn 
















XOTE.— The vertical column on the left refers to men; the dan list across the top refers to women. For 
example, 2 Eagle clan men married Bear chm women; 2 Road Runner clan women married Red Com 
clan men. 

Table 2. — Alien Marriages 


Mexican husband 1 

Hopi husband 2 

Zuni husband 1 

Mexiean-Navaho husband 1 

White husband I 2 

White wives , 3 

Jemez wife ' 1 


Husbands 7 

Wives 4 

Lives on re.servation. 
Both live on reservation. 
Lives on reservation. 
Lives on reservation. 
1 lives on reservation. 
None lives on reservation. 
Lives on reservation. 

6 live on reservation. 
1 lives on reservation. 


THE ACOMA INDIANS (eth. ann. 47 

Table 3.— Husbands and Wives of Each Clan 





Yellow Corn 

Red Corn 





Road Runner 


Tansy Mvistard. 


















Total 194 
















Total In order of size 





Yellow Corn. 


Red Corn. 


Road Runner. 

14 Antelope. 










Tansv Mustard. 



Table 4. — Marrl\ges Between Clans 




Yellow Corn 










Red Corn 



Red Corn 





Yellow Corn 


Yellow Corn 


Yellow Corn 

Red Corn 

Yellow Corn 



Yellow Corn. 
Red Corn. 

Note. — There were 21 marriages between members of the Sun clan and members of the Eagle clan; 5 
between the .\ntelope clan and the Sun clan, etc. Column 111 lists a few clans in order of number of married 
persons. The Sun clan with the greatest number of persons married heads the list. 

Is there a moiety division based upon marriage? One would not 
expect to find such a division at Acoma, but any proofs of its non- 
existence are to be welcomed. Table 4 lists clans between which there 
have been marriages; i. e., in Column II the clan name is placed 


opposite the clan name in Column I between which there have been 
marriages. They arc listed in order of numerical frequencies, the 
greatest niunber being at the head of the Ust. It will be noticed that 
clans wliich show the greatest number of between-clan marriages are 
also the largest clans, which argues that numerical preponderance 
rather than psychological affinity accounts for the marriages. To go 
further, suppose we apply the laws of chance to the marriages between 
the Sim and Eagle clans, for example. There are 62 Eagle clan 
members with mates. Excluding these from the total of married 
])eople (388), we have 326 people from which the Eagle people may 
choose mates, of which the Sun people number 96, or one in three. If 
the marriages were contracted at random (i. e., without regard to 
clan affiliation other than Eagle), an Eagle clan member would have 
one chance in three of getting a Sun clan mate, which for the 62 
Eagle people would give 21 marriages with the Sun clan. Or, suppose 
we take the marriages between the Sun clan and the Red Corn clan. 
Excluding the 96 Sun clan members from the total of 388, we have 
292 from which they may choose mates. The Red Corn people are 
represented in this number, 292, in the proportion of one to eight. If, 
then, the Sun clan members married according to this ratio, they would 
marry 12 Red Corn clan members, which again corresponds to the 
actual number. But, of course, one must not expect the law of 
probability to be validated in each instance. If one figures the 
marriages between the Yellow Corn clan and the Eagle clan, for 
example, he gets 7 marriages instead of 10. But as the clans grow 
smaller in size the law of probability becomes less illuminating 
because of the great increase in the range of choice for members of 
the small clans. 

We now have two items of testimony, then, which make the exist- 
ence of a moiety division highly improbable. We can now oft'er 
complete and absolute proof of its nonexistence in tliis way: Suppose 
we take the clans between which marriages are quite numerous, and 
assimie that they belong to opposite moieties or phratries, and list 
them accordingly in two colunuis (as we have done in Table 4). We 
soon find that it is impossible not to include a given clan in both 
columns. Moreover, there are marriages between clans comprising 
each column which we do not show in this table, but which may be 
ascertained from Table 1. The assumption of a moiety division 
based upon marriage, then, is completely demolished by our data. 

Of course, there are some clans which do not mate with some other 
clans. But this is to be explained by their size; there are not enough 
Water clan adults to mate with all the other clans, nor enough Sky, 
Tansy Mustard, or Turkev clan members, 

38 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

Nevertheless, it still might be possible that one clan might have a 
traditional prohibition against marriage with another clan. How- 
ever, I feel very sure that nothing of this kind exists. Size of clan and 
the laws of chance are, I believe, adequate to account for the 
marriages between the clans. 

Rettirning for a moment to Table 2, it is to be noted that of the 11 
aliens, 7 are husbands ; there is only 1 alien Indian wife, whereas there 
are 3 or 4 (I do not know whether the Navaho half-breed was reared 
with the Navahos or the Mexicans) alien Indian husbands. Of the 
white wives of Aconia men, there was 1 white wife who lived on the 
reservation for a time, but she has gone. Only 1 white husband is 
living on the reservation, and he is tolerated (I believe) only because 
he is ill. 

Table 1 shows a number of marriages witliin the Sun clan. This, 
according to my informant, is due chiefly to the fact that quite a num- 
ber of Sun clan people originally came from Santo Domingo and from 
Zia. (When this immigration took place, the number of immigrants, 
the reason for their change of residence, etc., were not learned.) But 
it is also due, in part at least, to the weakening of the traditional 
observance of clan exogamy; a number of the younger people speak 
of it as being "old-time ways," something not to be held sacred. 

With the cases of alien husbands, the children would, of course, 
belong to the clan of the mother. Unfortunately, I did not learn 
the status of children born to alien mothers. I believe that children 
born to white women (or even Mexican) would not be considered 
Acoma people. I was told that the children born to the woman from 
Jemez (or any woman from another pueblo) would belong to her clan. 
If her clan corresponded to one in the village where she married she 
would join that clan. If her clan had no equivalent in her husband's 
pueblo she would start a new clan. (However, this whole matter 
should receive further study.) 

Regarding marriage with non-Acoma persons, I received the impres- 
sion quite decidedly that marriage outside the pueblo is not to be 
encouraged, even with other pueblos, and marriage with whites or 
Mexicans is disapproved of. 

Clan property. — There is no clan property as such. All property 
is held and transmitted by individuals as members of a family group. 
Both men and women own property and may transmit it to their 

Clan and officials. — The cacique must always be a member of the 
Antelope clan. This is the only instance of this kind ; all other offi- 
cers are selected without regard to clan affiliation. TMs holds true 
for the secret societies as well. 


Clans and ceremonies.— Jiecause of the cacique, the Antelope clan 
phiys a prominent role in a number of ceremonies, particularly those 
in which the k'atsina are impersonated. These instances will be 
described fully in the sections devoted to ceremonies. The Corn 
chms have a ceremony of their own, the one in which Curatca lights 
the fires. In olden days the Parrot clan and the Pumpkin clan had 
charge of salt gathering. There are no other instances of special roles 
played by clans. ^^ 

Clan and initiation, marriage, sickness, and death. — ^A clansman fre- 
quently assists at the initiation of a boy into the kachina cult or into 
a medicine society. During sickness and at death the clan members 
usually assist, with their presence, by grinding meal, contributing 
gifts, etc. The clan plays no special role in marriage. (See sections 
on Initiation, Sicloiess, Death, etc.) 

Clan and labor. — Members of a clan frequently come together at 
house building, wheat cutting, corn grinding, etc. But it is not 
really a formal clan affair but rather a communal task in which several 
related family groups cooperate. 

Kinship terms are given in Table 5. 

Summary of kin and clan. — The family is a rather loose unit, 
separation being not uncommon (in spite of the Catholic rule against 
it), and illegitimacy quite common. 

The chief fimction of the clan at Acoma is to regidate marriage. 
Apart from the Antelope clan, the role played by clans in ceremonies 
is very meager.^' Nor is election to office or membership in a secret 
society determined by clan affihation, with the exception of the 
cacique. The functions performed by clan members at such times as 
initiations, sickness, death, etc., and dimng the performance of com- 
munal tasks, are not prominent; they are not regarded as preemi- 
nently clan activities ; they belong primarily to the stratum of kinship. 

-6 One informant stated that other clans have been the "head'-' clans at previous times. The first was 
a'ca ni (all kinds of grass and seeds). The next were hak'ani (lots of coals burning), and dya'nyi (deer). 
The close relationship between the Antelope clan at Acoma and the kachina organization is interesting 
in the light of data from Laguna and Zuiii. In these village-s there is a special relationship between the 
Antelope (or Deer) clan and the Badger clan and the kachina organization. (The Badger clan has not 
been found at Acoma.) At Laguna, Doctor Parsons states (in Notes on Ceremonialism at Laguna, p. 103), 
the kachina dancers were led by Badger or Antelope clansmen. Also, she states (in footnote 7, p. 103): 
"Nowadays at Laguna masks would be made only by the Badger and Antelope clans." Referring to 
Fewkes (Tusayan Totemic Signatures, American Anthropologist, vol. 10, no. 1, 1897), Doctor Parsons 
states that among the Hopi "the chief of the k'atsina priesthood was a Badger clansman." (Footnote 8, 
p. 103, Notes on Ceremonialism at Laguna.) At Zuni the director of the kachina organization and his 
warrior (Kopitlashiwanni, "god bow priest") must be of the Deer clan. The Kopekwin, or deputy (liter- 
ally "god speaker"), of the director (or Komosona), and his warrior must be of the Badger clan. (See 
Kroeber, Zuni Kin and Clan, p. 163.) The association of the Antelope clan at Acoma, then, seems to be 
definitely a western feature: I have not found any such relationship at Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Zia, 
Santa Ana, nor is it to be foiuid at Cochiti. 

" See Parsons, E. C, The Antelope Clan in Eeresan Custom and Myth, Man, vol. 17, art. no. 131. 
London, 1917. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

Table 5. — Kinship Terms 

Father = sa naicDi'a (my father). 
Mother = nai'ya. 
Son = .sa mit' (my son). 
Daughter = sa ma'ak'. 
Brother = dyu'nr». 
Father's brother=naicDi'a. 
Father's sister=nai'j'a. 
Father's father=na na. 
Father's mother = h)aBa''. 
Father's brother's wife = nai'ya. 
Father's sister's husband = nai'cDia. 
Father's brother's son = dyum'». 
Father's brother's daughter =(sa)k'uitc'. 
Father's sister's son=(Sa) dyum'". 
Father's sister's daughter= (Sa) k'uitc'. 
Mother's mother =(Sa) BaBa". 
Mother's father = (Sa) naTia. 
Mother's brother = Sa'naw'e. 
Mother's sister = Sa nai'ya. 
Mother's brother's \vife = Sa k'uitc'. 
Mother's sister's husband = Nai'cDia. 
Mother's brother's son = sa mit'. 
Mother's brother's daughter = Sa 

Mother's sister's son = Sa dyu'm'. 
Mother's sister's daughter = Sa k'uitc'. 
Brother's wife = Sa Bi'ye. 
Brother's son = sa mit'. 
Brother's daughter = Sa ma'ak'. 
Brother's son's \vife = Bi'ye. 
Brother's daughter's husband = Wa-ati. 
Sister's husband = Sa wa'ati. 
Sister's son = Sana we. 
Sister's daughter=Si nayatcani (Sa- 

awa») . 
Sister's son's wife = Bi'ye. 
Sister's daughter's husband = Waat'. 
Son's son = Sa na-na. 
Son's wife = Sa Bi'ye. 
Son's daughter = Sa Basa". 

Daughter's son = Sa na'na. 

Daughter's daughter = Sa Baaa". 

Nai'cDia = Father, father's brother, 
father's sister's husband, mother's 
sister's husband. 

Nai'ya= Mother, father's sister, fa- 
ther's brother's wife, mother's sister. 

Dyu'm-'' = Brother, father's brother's 
son, father's si.ster's son, mother's 
sister's son. 

BaBa' = Father's motlier, mother's 
mother, son's daughter, daughter's 

Na"na = Father's father, mother's 
fatlier, son's son, daughter's son. 

Sa miit' = Son, mother's brother's son, 
brother's son. 

Sa ma-ak' = Daughter, mother's Itroth- 
er's daugliter, brother's daughter. 

Sa nawe = Mother's brother, sister's son. 

Sa k'uitc' = Father's brother's daughter, 
father's sister's daughter, mother's 
brother's wife, mother's sister's 

Sa Bi'ye = Brother's wife, brother's son's 
wife, sister's son's wife, son's wife. 

Sa wa'ati = Brother's daughter's hus- 
band, sister's daughter's husband, 
dauglitcr's husband, sister's husband. 

Tci"tci = Sister. 

Si nayatcani (Saawa") = Sister's daugh- 

Man = HatctsI. 

Woman = K'u. 

Boy = Miitietsa (sing.). 

Boy = Criiyet" (coll.). 


Baby = Oak'. 

Child =Dat'c. 

Boy 10 to 16 years = Tca'taka. 

Girl about 16 = ma-asitra. 

Adults (coll.) = Nawaititra. 

Daughter's husband = Sa wa'ati. 

Note. — See list of kinship terms in Doctor Parsons's Laguna Genealogies, p. 
147. There is a list, too, on p. 84, Zuhi Kin and Clan, which Professor Kroeber 
secured from Acoma and Laguna informants. b = intermediate b-p; D = inter- 
mediate d-t. 


Political control of the pueblo is exercised by officers and societies. 
The officers may be divided into two groups, viz, the cacique-war 
chief group, and the governor with his aides. The latter is of post- 



Spanish origin, and is simply a secular ann of the cacique and the w ur 
priests. Government at Acoma may l)e said to be theocratic; the 
chiefs are priests and their authority is sanctioned by, if not derived 
from, the deities. Closely associated with the priest-chiefs are the 
curing societies, and at times the o-pi, or Warriors' Society, niid the 
k'acale (koshare). The societies, especially the medicine societies, 
e.xert a great influence in pohtical life, although they do not function 
directly as administrators. 

The officers and societies are the chief custodians of trilial lore, 
l^araphernalia, and ritual, much of it being esoteric in character. Our 
account of the political functions of these agencies will, naturally, 
bring us into rather close contact with other than political phases of 
pueblo life, such as worship, ceremonialism, etc. The functions of 
the officers are not pohtical alone, but astronomical, ceremonial, agri- 
cultural, and ethical as well. 

The Cacique.-'* 

The cacique is called ha'actitcani (ha'acti means pueljlo; the 
tcani refers to a person; ha'actitcani, then, means a person who 
symbohzes or represents the whole pueblo). The cacique is the most 
important individual in the pueblo, the most honored, and most 
respected. He is regarded as the father of the pueblo. He is also 
the "father of the k'atsina" (the spirits from Wenimats' who are im- 
]3ersonated by the masked dancers, q. v.). He is always a member 
of the Antelope clan. He serves from the time of his selection to his 
death. If old age or blindness should interfere with the performance 
of his duties, however, another Antelope clan man (or perhaps the 
war chief) wih substitute for him. 

The cacique is more priest than chief; he counsels more than he 
commands. He is the highest religious officer as well as the political 
head. His duties and fimctions are as follows: He "watches the 
sim"; i. e., he determines the times of the solstices. This is, perhaps, 
his most unportant ceremonial function. (See section on Solstice 
Ceremonies.) He sets the dates for practically all ceremonies. The 
medicine societies set the date for their initiation ceremonies and for 
private curing ceremonies, but they secvu'e the permission of the 
cacique for their initiation ceremonies. The cacique decides when 
general public curing ceremonies are to be held and requests the 
naedicine men to hold them. He decides which kiva groups are to 
dance in the summer dance. He is host to the masked dancers when 
they come to give a dance in the plaza, welcoming them when they 
arrive and thanking them upon their departure. He has an altar 
(pi. 1,0); but since the cacique is not a medicine man (as he is, or may 

2? .See myth, Antelope Man Brings Back the K'atsina. 
6066°— 32 4 


[eTH. ANN. 47 

be, in the Rio Grande Keresan pueblos) he may not erect this altar; 
this must be done by the Kasina tcaian'. This altar (yaBaicini) is 
erected at the solstices and when the children are mitiated into the 
k'atsina cult. The cacique is present at this ceremony. Aftenvards 
the whipped children are assembled behind the church when the 
cacique tells them about the k'atsina and the masked dancers. The 
cacic£iie niakes and deposits a prayer stick which is different in. design 
from all others in the pueblo. He also instructs the newly appointed 
war chiefs in the manufacture and use of their prayer sticks. The 
cacique appoints all officers at the yearly elections (q. v.) and he 
selects the principales. He makes allotments of land to individuals 
or to families (q. v.). 

Whether the cacique has a "medicine bundle" or "yaya" (mother) 
or not, I could not learn. Informants felt that "he must have one," 
and I feel the same way, but e.xact information on this point was not 
to be obtained. 

It might not be out of place to offer some of my impressions of the 
present cacique and his position at Acoma. I received the impression 
from conversations with informants (and some others) that the 
cacique is the most important and most honored and respected officer 
in the pueblo; he is the "most sacred." But be is somewhat aloof 
from the daily life of the people. The war chief, I believe, is the most 
important officer in the entire pueblo who actually comes into contact 
with the people and who directs their affairs. And the authority of 
the war chief is virtually the authority of the cacique. (The situation 
is somewhat akin to the officers on a man of war : The captain is the 
supreme authority, but he is a bit remote. It is the executive officer 
who, wielding the captain's authority, comes into intimate contact 
with the other officers and men and who directs their activities.) 
The cacique is a coimselor; he is a wise, sympathetic, and just man. 
His first duty is ever to promote the well-being of his people. His 
wishes are transmitted to the people thi-ough the war chief. It is 
the latter who commands and directs. The war chief also exercises 
considerable authority upon his own initiative, as, for example, in 
the supervision of ritual routines and in the supervision of the be- 
havior of the folk and visiting aliens. 

But while the cacique is regarded as the highest of officers, he is 
not to be distinguished from other men in mode of living. (Except, 
of coui-se, that he does not work his fields; this is done by the folk 
under the direction of the war chief.) The cacique is the symbol, so 
to speak, of a tradition which is veiy sacred. But there is nothing 
sacred about the person of the cacique. He lives in a house at old 
Acoma (he spends all of his tune at old Acoma) which is situated in 
a row of dwellings which are just like his except for color. The 
cacique's house is plastered with a pinkish color. This, however, is 



a personal whim of his wife, not a rule of the pueblo.^ In dress the 
cacique resembles any other man, and he is treated by the people as 
any other old man would be. 

I had a long talk with the cacique one afternoon at Acoma. There 
had been some objection to my visits to old Acoma, so I requested 
to be al]o^\ ed to see the cacique and tell him what I wanted. I told 
hini that I wished to buy very old potterj^ to deposit in the museum 
at Santa Fe to keep tourists from carrymg it off to Iowa and Los 
Angeles where it would be lost to the Acoma people forever. The 
cacique is an old man and almost blind. He was very kind to me. 
(It was necessary to use an mterpreter.) I did not enter his house; 
he came outside and we sat in the shade on a ledge of a house. I 
told him my errand and he approved whole-heartedly and offered to 
assist me in any way that he coidd. He said that he would call his 
officers together and have me tell them, too, but I carefully evaded 
this, as I did not wish to be questioned and examined too closely. 
While we were talking the old man sat playing with a lower incisor 
tooth which was loose; he would run the tip of his right index finger 
over the end of the tooth, movmg it from side to side. Occasionally 
he woidd spit — usually on his unbuttoned vest. The translations of 
his replies reminded me of speeches of courtiers or diplomats in novels 
of eighteenth century Europe. He was kind, polite, and frequently 
used appropriate and pleasing figures of speech. To help "his 
children" seemed to be his chief aim, and since I professed the same 
desire, he offered to assist me. When I left he shook hands warmlj^. 
When I was about 70 feet from his house he called me back; I had 
not told liis wife good-by. (She was plastering the house when I 
arrived. She wanted to shake hands with me; but as her hands were 
covered M'ith plaster, she offered me her wrist which I shook.) When 
the cacique called me I turned to see his 'wife hastily climbing down 
the ladder. She washed her hands in a bucket of water and dried 
them on her apron. She smiled as she shook hands and talked to 
me m Keresan. 

Succession and installation. — W^hen a new cacique is installed a 
man (always a member of the Antelope clan) is named as his successor. 
This means, of course, that at any time everyone knows who the 
next cacic{ue will be. But upon the death of a cacique, his successor 
is not installed at once. The members of the Antelope clan meet 
informally, as many times as may be necessary, to select a successor 
to the cacique who is about to be installed. Usually a year elapses 
before a new cacique is installed. During this time the duties of 
cacique are discharged by the man who was successor to the last 
cacique, assisted by the wife of the deceased and her brothers, if 

« This is what I was told, but we note that the Antelope clan men paint themselves pink during the 
ceremonial fight with the K'atsina (q. v.). 

44 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. an.v. 4" 

necessary. When the time for mstallation draws near the Antelope 
clan people hold a meeting in the Antelope clan house. The successor 
to the future cacique is definitely decided upon at this time. About 
eight days later the final meeting of mstallation is held in Mauharots, 
the "head estufa" (q. v.). Ail of the Antelope clan men are present, 
and the head men of each of the five estufas. The war chiefs may 
attend if they wish; they usually do attend. At this time the future 
cacique is formally introduced, together with his successor. The 
spokesman for the Antelope clan asks the head men of the five 
estufas when they can be ready to dance for the new cacique. After 
some deliberation a date is set for the welcoming dance. 

Four days before the dance a rabbit hunt (q. v.) is held to supply 
the feast. On tliis day also each man who is to participate in the 
dance makes one prayer stick (hatcamini) with which he prays. 
From this time until the day of the dance the men practice songs 
and dances in their estufas and make ready their masks and costumes. 
The day before the dance each dancer makes a praj-er stick and brings 
it to Mauharots; the sticks are deposited in four baskets. On the 
evening before the dance the cacique and his assistant go to Mau- 
harots, where they will spend the night. The dancers, too, come to 
Mauharots with then- masks and spend the night there. In the 
morning, before the dancers leave, the cacique erects his altar. (It 
wiU be remembered that another informant stated that the cacique 
could not erect his ovm altar, since he was not a medicine man. 
This is a doubtful point.) 

Early in the morning the dancers leave the estufa and go to the 
plaza to dance. They dance the Gaiya', or "mixed dance" (i. e., 
there are many different kinds of k'atsina represented. See section 
on ceremonies). The cacique and his assistant remain in the head 
estufa, Mauharots, all day, maldng herb medicines and praying. 

At noon the dancers come into Mauharots, where they eat lunch. 
They eat the rabbits which were killed in the hunt for this piu'pose. 
After Imich they go out agam to dance. They dance all day. ^^Tien 
they have finished they return to Mauharots. They take off their 
masks and the cacique gives them some medicine to drinlv. The 
head men of the five estufas then take the four baskets of prayer 
sticks and distribute them to the dancers. Each man takes the stick 
which he has made. They go out and pray and then go to their 
o\v^l estufas and put their costiunes and masks away. 

After the dance is over the people of the village are permitted to 
go into Mauharots and drink some of the medicine that the cacique 
has made. 

The present cacique is named Waiictu (Spanish, Francisco Watch- 
empino). His predecessor, who died about 1918, was named Dzikin 
(Spanish, Torrivio Josecito). The mother of the present cacique 


was the sister of the preceding cacique, Dzikin. The successor to 
the present cacique is Ga'tsi (Spanish, Lorenzo Watchempino). 
The mother of Gatsi is the sister of the present cacique, Waiictu. 

The War Chiefs 

There are three war chiefs, loiown collectively as tsatyao hotceni, 
or "outside chiefs."^" The head war chief is called Cutimiti (cuti 
refers to a brown bird which I was not able to identify; -miti indi- 
cates a man). The first assistant war chief is called Cpatimiti, or 
"mocking bird man." The second assistant war chief is Maiyatcoti- 
miti (which I was unable to translate). 

The war chiefs are chosen for a period of one year at the annual 
elections (q. v.). Three cooks (cocineros) are chosen to cook for 
them and supply them with ganacaiya (deer meat ground with 
guayave) with which they pray. The ten little chiefs (q. v.) also 
assist the war chiefs. The war chiefs are chosen without regard to 
clan affiliation. 

We have already spoken of the war chiefs in our paragraphs on the 
cacique. They are usually men of considerable force of character 
and are always vigorous conservatives. They do their utmost to pre- 
serve the old traditions intact; they oppose any imitation of white or 
Mexican customs and deplore lack of interest in the old ways. The 
war chiefs constitute one of the most vital forces in the pueblo. The 
duties of the war chiefs include the following: They make visits 
throughout the year to springs and bring back water; this is supposed 
to insure a plentiful supply of water for the crops and for drinking 
during the year. (See section on Installation of AVar Chiefs for a 
detailed account of these trips to the springs.) The war chiefs act 
as agencies for making known to the people the wishes of the cacique." 
The3^ notify the heads of the kiva groups to prepare for dances. They 
see that sentinels are posted to prevent aliens from witnessing masked 
dances, and they assist the cacique in the plaza during the masked 
ceremonies. They announce the dates for rabbit hunts and super- 
intend them in a general way. They sununon the heads of the curing 
societies when the cacique wishes to have a general public curing 
ceremony, and they guard the medicine men at all times while the.y 
work at their cures to prevent attacks from witches. They keep 
track of the children who are to be initiated into the kachina organi- 
zation. Very early in the morning of September 2, when the annual 
fiesta is held in honor of San Estevan, the patron saint of Acoma, the 
war chiefs build the little bough house for the saint; they sit in this 

^ In Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Zia, and Cochiti, there are two war captains. They are called ts'iak'ia 
and ts'iak'ia teniente, or masewi and oyoyewi, respectively. 

^' The practice of making announcements from housetops, found in Rio Grande pueblos, is not observed 
at .\coma. The crier walks through the streets. War chiefs frequently make announcements in this way 
or designate someone to do it for them. 

46 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

house all day, and at the close of the dance they thank the dancers 
and pray. (See section on Ceremonies; the Fiesta Dance.) 

Installation of war chiefs. — After the election, the new war chief 
chooses a place for his headquarters for the coming year. This is 
usually, but not always, located in his own home. The rooms set 
aside for the war chiefs are cleaned and replastered. TVTien this is 
finished all of the pai-aphernalia which belongs to the office of war 
chief is brought to the new quarters. Data on this paraphernalia is 
quite meager. There are pots for cooking, some buckskin shirts, 
quivers made of mountain lion skin (uictiwactan), and perhaps a 
yaya, or "mother" (my informant said that he thought the war 
chief had a round stone with turquoise eyes and mouth, but he was 
not certain). The outgoing war chief passes to his successor a 
hatcamuni kaiok' (prayer stick broken). ^^ The ex-war chief also 
orders, just before leaving office, every family in the village to Imng 
a load of wood for the new war chief. This is piled up a short 
distance north of the seventh dancing station. (See fig. 1.) 

The day after the war chiefs move into their new quarters the two 
lieutenants set out for K'amack'uk'awaiic (Spider Spring), which is 
southwest of Cakaiya (a large mesa near Acoma), to get wood for 
prayer sticks. They wear the official buckskin shirts and carry the 
quivers made of mountain lion skin (uictiwactan). Each carries two 
yabi (wooden staff; see section on Paraphernalia). One is a rather 
large staff which is presented at the time of election; the smaller one 
is kept permanently in the lion-skin quiver. They carry a lunch 
which was prepared for them by the cocineros (cooks), for the trip 
takes all day. When they get to the spring they cut the sticks (see 
section on prayer sticks and their manufacture), singing the while. 
They tie the sticks into bundles with buckskin. Then they start 
for home. Allien they approach close to the house of the war chief, 
Cutimiti (the head war chief) comes out to meet them, singing. He 
makes two lines or "roads" of corn meal on the ground along which 
they walk when they enter the house. The cocineros (cooks) take 
the prayer sticks. 

The next day is spent by the war chiefs in makmg prayer sticks. 
In the evening the three chiefs set out for G'otsicpawatsa (Pretty 
Spring), which lies to the north of Acoma. Each chief carries a 
prayer stick and a small water jar (cpona). When they get to the 
spring a prayer is said and one jar of water is filled. Then they go 
to G'anipa, which lies to the southeast. Here another prayer is said 
and another jar of water is secured. Then they go to G'onii, a spring 
north of Acoma, where they again repeat this ritual. Then they set 
out for Acoma. 

32 1 was unable to .secure any adequate information concerning this broken prayer stick. It certainly 
must be different from an ordinary prayer stick, for it is never used in praying as ordinary sticks are. It 
was said to be the "pole upon which the world rssts." 



It is about 3 o'clock in the morning when they get back to the 
village. They ascend the west trail. When they reach the top the 
two lieutenants go direct to the house of the war chief, taking the jars 
of water with them. Cutimiti goes to Mauharots, the head estufa. 
Perhaps there are some medicine men (tcaiani) or Antelope people 
(kuuts' hanotc) sleeping there. Cutimiti goes to the top of the estufa 
and pauses at the entrance. He removes the cover and calls below: 
"Guatzi, ckanaicDia,ckanaiya, cko'tceni dyaimi tutietco!" (Guatzi, 
hello ! The next three words refer, respectively, to fathers, mothers, 
and chiefs; the last two are interpreted as asking permission to enter.) 
The people respond, "Ha ai! No icomekuta," which was translated 
"Yes, it is you yourself. Come in." If there happen to be any 
medicine women present, they say, "Ha o" instead of "Ha ai." 
(Ordinarily ha means yes.) In talking with the informant about this 
exchange of salutations I got the notion that the war chief saluted the 
occupants of the estufa as hotcenis or chiefs, and they, in their reply, 
politely implied that he was their superior. 

The war chief descends the ladder into the estufa. He goes to the 
northeast comer near the altar. There is a hole in the floor at this 
place called G'auwatseicoma (which is the gateway to Shipap, the 
place of emergence. It is said that souls or spirits pass down through 
this hole after death on their journey back to Shipap). Cutimiti 
carries four wanani (wasani, a long eagle feather with four small 
feathers attached to it; see section on paraphernalia) with him. He 
prays to the four directions, to the heavenly bodies, to the rivers and 
lakes, to the plants and animals, to the k'atsina, k'oBictaiya, etc. 
He deposits the wasani in the hole in the floor, turns to the left, 
passes to the west of the fireplace, and leaves the estufa. As he goes 
out the people who are passing the night there advise him and en- 
courage him in the performance of his duties. 

After leaving Mauharots the head war chief (Cutimiti) goes to the 
east edge of the mesa to Masewi k'am (Mase^vi, his home; a rock 
under which the spirit of the elder war twin Uves), where he prays. 
Then he goes to the very edge of the mesa, where he prays to the sun 
which is about to rise. When he has finished he walks up and down 
the village streets calling to the people. He tells them that Ocatc 
(the sun), the father, is coming and that they should get up and pray 
to him. Everyone comes outdoors and prays to the sun, sprinkling 
com meal toward him.^^ The head war chief (Cutimiti) goes now 
to his house. The two lieutenant war chiefs have taken the jars of 
water out at sunrise and have emptied them into the pools. That 
day is spent in rest. 

" I was told that nearly everyone does come out for this prayer; even children arc brought out of bed 
by their parents for this purpose. 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

The next day they make more prayer sticks. That night they go 
to the west, as two nights before they went north, with their prayer 
sticks (hatcamuni) and water jars. After praying at the springs and 
filhng their jars with water, they return to the pueblo. This time 
it is Cpatimiti (the first assistant war chief) who goes to Mauharots 
to pray and, later, to rouse the people of the pueblo to pray to the 
rising sun. The next day is one of rest. On the day following they 
make prayer sticks for the third time, and in the evening they set 
out to the south, where they fill their jars at springs. Maiyatcotimiti, 
the second lieutenant war chief, goes to the head estufa (Mauharots) 
upon their return. After a day of rest, they make prayer sticks and 
for the fourth time visit spiings for water, this time going to the 
east. The head war chief, Cutimiti, goes to Mauharots when they 
get back, after which, as usual, the people are roused for the prayer 
to the sun. The cycle is now complete. 

The formal initiation of the war chiefs is to take place four days 
after the completion of the above circuit. The cacique requests the 
new war chief to inform the kasina tcaiani (member of the kasina 
cuiing society) of this fact. Cutimiti (the head war chief) takes 
wanani (q. v.) to the kasina tcaiani with prayers and gives him the 
cacique's message. The kasina tcaiani secures the assistance of one 
of the young hictiani tcaiani (Flint Society medicine man '*). On 
the day before the initiation, kasina tcaiani erects his altar in Mau- 
harots (see references to kasina tcaiani; also section on kivas). The 
altar consists of two fetishes placed in an east-and-west fine. The 
one on the east end is called tsamai'ye; the other is named tsamahi'a.^^ 
They were made of buckskin with feathers at the top. In front of 
the altar were placed flints, fetishes of stone, and a large stone lion 
in the middle. 

Kasina tcaiani and his assistant go to Mauharots (the "head 
estufa ") early in the morning of the initiation day and begin to sing. 
Food is brought into the estufa and placed before the altar. Anyone 
may attend the initiation, even women. The initiation ceremony 
consists chiefly in a whipping which is administered to the candidates, 
nuich as the children are whipped when they are initiated into the 
kachina organization. The initiation ceremony lasts all day, and 
anyone who wishes to be whipped may come in for that purpose. 
Many people wish to be whipped at this time because they believe 
that the whipping wiU give them strength, either physical or spiritual, 
or give them luck in himting, racing, or gambling. 

The war chief comes into the estufa wearing only a breechcloth 
(and a blanket thrown over him, which he removes upon entering 

3* As will be noted in the section devoted to the curing societies, there was only one member of the 
kasina medicine society alive in the summer of 1926. He died that fall without initiating any new mem- 
bers. The society therefore has become extinct lit Acoma. Since his death his functions have been taken 
over by the Flint Society (the hictiani tcaianiK 

35 See Parsons, N'otcs on Ceremonialism at Luguna, p. 119. 



the estufa); he is barefooted. He goes to each of the standards of 
the altar and prays. Into each standard he inserts a hasi (a feather; 
see section on paraphernaha). Then he steps onto the tsiwaimityini 
(the planks over the cavity in the floor; see section on kivas). kaeina 
and his assistant are standing on opposite ends of this tsiwainntyini. 
Each holds a whip of about 10 switches (howaip"). The tcaiani 
(medicine men) begin to sing and dance. At the end of the song 
they stop and cry, " Do-o-o-wa-a-a-ra-a-a Hio! Hio!" Then the chief 
faces the altar. The medicine man at the east end strikes the can- 
didate forcibly on the shins with his whip; the one on the other end 
strikes him on the shoulders. Then they sing and dance again, and 
when finished strike hun again. This is done four times. The medi- 
cine man on the east end whips upward, strilung first the shins, then 
the thighs, then the belly, and last the chest. The other medicine 
man whips downward, striking fii'st the shoulders, then the middle 
of the back, the back of the thighs, and last the calves of the legs. 
This covers the candidate pretty thoroughly. 

The three outgoing chiefs are whipped in this way, together with 
their two cooks; the three incoming chiefs are whipped, but the in- 
coming cooks are spared. And anyone else who wishes to be whipped 
may undergo the same ceremony. 

The war chiefs remain in the estufa all day. Toward evening 
everyone leaves except the new war chiefs, the kasina tcaiani and 
his assistant, and perhaps a few othei- medicine men. It is now time 
to administer medicine to the new chiefs. The kasina tcaiani has 
some feces of a snake (tsitcuni) ; it looks like chalk. He grinds a little 
of this in his medicine bowl and pours in some water. Then he sings 
six songs, moving the bowl toward each of the cardinal points, up 
and down, as they progress. The bowl is then placed between the 
standards. Kanina then asks the two lieutenant war chiefs if they 
wish to take this medicine. They have the privilege of refusing, but 
Cutimiti (the head chief) must drink it. If the lieutenants refuse 
then kasina tcaiani and one or two of the other medicine men will 
probably drink some "to keep the war chief compan}'." This medi- 
cine is supposed to give one great strength and also the ability to 
foretell events through dreams. The cliiefs remam in the estufa for 
four days and four nights. No one may touch them during this time, 
nor do they touch each other, not even their blanlvcts, for "they are 
so powerful." The altar remains standing during this time. Food is 
brought to the chiefs by their wives during this period of seclusion. 
The tsamai'j^e and the tsamahi'ye (the two altar fetishes) are given 
food at each meal, and a cigarette afterwards. The outgoing war chiefs 
are finished with their duties after the whipping, and after a period of 12 
hours they may again sleep with their wives. (The war chiefs may not 
sleep with their wives during the whole year of their service in office.) 

50 THE ACOMA INDIANS |eth. ann. 47 

After the war chiefs have rested for a few days they again make the 
circuit of the springs just as they did before their whipping. When 
the circuit of the four directions has again been completed an interval 
of eight days' rest follows. From then on to the end of the year the 
war chiefs take turns going singly to the springs of the four directions 
(according to the chart below). They do not bring water back to 
the pueblo, but they do go to Mauharots (the "head estufa ") to pray 
when they return, after wliich they summon the people to pray to 
the rising sun.'^ 

Summary of war chiefs. — There can be no doubt regarding the 
importance of the role played by the war chiefs at Acoma; they are 
virtually the backbone of the spiritual and institutional life of the 
pueblo. Specifically their chief fimction is to promote the rain supply ^ 
which is really the most vital thing in pueblo life. Secondly, they 
protect the medicine societies and oppose witches. But in general 
they are vigilant overseers of the whole range of daily life, doing their 
best to preserve the old customs and to oppose the encroachment of 
aliens, especially whites and Mexicans. 

The position of war chief is loaded with responsibility, exacting in 
its observance of many difficult routines and rituals, and demands 
unbroken sexual continence. And there is no compensation, except 
honor and enhanced status; they receive neither money nor goods 
for their services. (See section on elections.) 

Calexdar of Installation of Wak Chiefs 

1. They move into their new quarters. 

2. Next day they get wood for prayer .sticks. 

3. Next day they make prayer sticks; go north that night. 

4. Next day rest. 

5. Next day make prayer sticks; go west. 

6. Next day rest. 

7. Next day make prayer sticks; go south. 
S. Next day rest. 

9. Next day make prayer sticks; go east. 

10. Four days from this time they are whipped. 

11. Remain in estufa four <lays and four nights after initiation. 

12. Few days' rest. 

13. Nos. 3 to 9, inclusive, are repeated. 

14. An interval of eight days elapses. 

15. Cutimiti goes north at night. 

16. Interval of eight days. 

17. Cpatimiti goes west at night. 
IS. Interval of eight days. 

19. Maiyatcotimiti goes south at night. 

20. Interval of eight days. 

21. Cutimiti goes east. 

3* There is no ceremony of installation of wnr chiefs amonp the eastern Keres; certainl.v nothing like the 
Acoma ceremony. (White, T^eslie A., Manuscripts on Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Zia, and Santa -\na.) 


And so on through the year, officers rotating in this order and 
visiting the cardinal points in the order named. 

The Opi, or Warriors' Society" 

This societj^ of warriors is now extinct at Acoina, and data con- 
cerning it are meager and rather vague. However, the impression 
was given by informants that the opi, together with the war chiefs, 
were in complete charge of the pueblo during war times. And the 
warriors were assisted by the medicine men who gave them "power." 
It seems, then, that the ordinary^ administration of peace times 
yielded to a war-time rule in times of trouble. 

The Koshare ^' 

There is another instance in which the ordinary administrative 
organization of the pueblo was suspended. This was at the time of 
the initiation of koshare and the execution of the scalp dance. At 
this time the koshare had complete charge of the pueblo. (See 
Koshare, Scalp Dance.) 

These two instances of the opi and the koshare assuming temporary 
control of the administration of the village are interesting examples 
of pueblo government, its many-sidedness and versatility. 

The Three Cooks 

We have ali'ead}- spoken of the cooks at some length; there is little 
else to be said. The cooks provide the war chiefs with a limch when 
they go out at night or when thej^ leave for the day. It is their 
business to make the ganacaij'a (groimd deer or rabbit meat mixed 
with guayave) for the prayers. The cooks go up on top of the war 
chief house when they have made some ganacaij^a and pray with it 
themselves (sprinkling it as they pray). They have charge of all 
foods that are collected or issued for conmiunal ceremonial feasts. 
(See Ceremonies for further references.) 

The "Little Chiefs" 

There are 10 of these tcukacac hotceni, or "little chiefs." (They 
are sometimes called tcaikats' also.) They are appointed by the 
cacique.'* They are really helpers for the war chief. They carry 
wood from the war chief's woodpile to the houses of women who are 

^" See chapter on oeremonialism. 

^' 1 am not sure whether these little chiefs are appointed for one year or for some other period of time. 
I understood that they did not serve after reaching maturity. One informant stated that the war chiefs 
were frequently selected from the ranks of ex-"little chiefs"; another stated that a war chief must have 
served as a "little chief." These little chiefs resemble the Go'watcany of Santo Domingo and San 
Felipe.— White, mss. 

52 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

baking bread for the war chief. They also distribute corn and wheat 
from the war chief's store to houses about the village to have it ground 
for some feast. Before ceremonies they are frequently sent around 
the village by the war chief to collect meat for a feast. They also 
assist the war chiefs in guarding the entrance of estufas when impor- 
tant ceremonies are taking place, especially the curing ceremonies of 
the jncdicine societies. 

The Principales 

There are 10 principales, chosen to serve for Hfe by the cacique. '^ 
Although theii' duties are not very explicit, theii' influence in pueblo 
afi'airs is very great indeed. In general, theii- duty is to watch over 
the pueblo and "see that everything goes all right," which means, of 
course, that the old customs will be observed and innovations and 
deviations will be discouraged. They meet with the governor and 
also with the cacique, the war chiefs and the medicine men, and their 
counsel usually carries considerable weight. It is this ^^•ide range of 
function (i. e., working with the governor and his lieutenants on the 
one hand and the cacique, war chiefs, and medicine men on the other) 
that serves to coordinate and unify the administration of the pueblo. 

The Medicine Societies 

These groups are, of coiu'se, curing societies; their major function 
is to cure (and to prevent) sickness. But they also exercise a pro- 
foimd influence upon the political life of the pueblo. They are always 
staunch supporters of the old tradition, and the "moral" or spiritual 
pressure which they bring to bear upon the folk is very effective in 
securing faithful adherence. More specific and tangible than this, 
but no more important, is their veto power over the cacique's choice 
of appointments at the yearly "elections" (q. v.). This power, 
though infrequently exercised, makes them virtuallj^ supreme in 
political authority. 

The Governor 

We now come to the second set of officers, viz, the governor and 
his two lieutenants and the three sickales. 

This group of officers is of post-Spanish origin. They serve a 
double function now, and I presume that the need for such services 

'» They are chosen without regard to dan afflhation. This body of principales does not include ex-offlcers, 
as is the case at San Fehpe and Santo Domingo. The name would imply that this group is of post-.Spanish 
origin. However, I am inclined to believe that there was a group of councilors before the coming of the 
whites and that the name principales was subsequently adopted. The Kio Grande practice of including 
ex-govemors, e\-war chiefs, etc.. in this group reinforces this belief. There is one instance of record of the 
deposition of some principales. When the I'nited States entered the war in I'JIT the .\coma people were 
urged to send men to the army. Some of the principales wished to do this, but most of them opposed 
helping the Ignited .Slates win the war. So the cacique, influenced by the medicine men and (perhaps) 
the war chief, deposed those principales who favored armed assistance and chose others to rtplace them. 
This is the only instance I have heard of where a principale was ousted from his office. 



was responsible for their origin. First, they represent the pueblo m 
business, political, or religioiis transactions with the whites and the 
Mexicans. Secondly, they act as a screen wliich quite effectively 
conceals the existence of the cacique, the war chiefs, and the medicine 
men — the real powers in the village. Ever since the white men 
entered New Mexico there have been attempts to suppress the religion 
of the pueblos. And the identification of political functions wdth 
priestly office exposed then- religion and ceremonies to a certain extent 
in all dealings with the whites. The creation of the offices of governor 
and lieutenant governors has made it possible for the pueblo to deal 
with outside organizations without any apparent trace of priest or 
religion. Moreover, the whites, learning that the governor holds 
office for one year and is then (with few exceptions) succeeded by 
another man, believe that the pueblo is a "democratic" community 
and that the people elect the governor every year, and that the 
governor's authority is the will of the people. This pleases the whites 
and diverts suspicion. Many white people who have Uved in the 
pueblo coimtry for years — even agents of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs who have lived on the reservations — do not even know of the 
existence of the cacique and the war priests. 

This notion of the whites is, as we know, very far from the truth; 
the governor and his men are merely the tools of the cacique and the 
medicine men, who are concealed by this sunple device. 

Since the whites began to be numerous in New Mexico, and more 
especially since the pueblos have come within the jurisdiction of the 
United States, there has been considerable business between the 
pueblos and the United States Government, as well as with church 
and conmiercial organizations, which, to the cacique and the war 
chiefs, is but a veiy distasteful intrusion and a hated violation of 
their old customs. Nevertheless, the whites are there and their 
influences persist and must be dealt with. It were better to have a 
small group of men to take care of this business than to drag the 
priests into it. So here again the governor and his men serve a useful 
purpose. They take care of a host of petty and for the most part 
distasteful transactions with the Government and with outside 
organizations, leaving the priests free for their sacred duties. Of 
course, the general policy of the governor is always formulated and 
enforced by the priests. 

The following items give some idea of the kind of extra-pueblo 
business that falls to the governor. There is an Indian agency at 
Albuquerque which "supervises" Acoma. They have a "farmer" 
hving at Acomita.^" He supervises irrigation, livestock, road building, 
upkeep of the schoolhouse, etc. There is a day school at Acomita; 

*" This "fiirmer" does almost everything hut farm. He is really the executor of all orders from theoffioe 
of the superintendent at Albuquerque regarding Acoma. See subsequent section on this individual. 

54 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

all the children are supposed to attend. A physician and a dentist 
visit Acoma at intervals to examine the people. The Santa Fe 
Railroad runs through the reservation and occasionally livestock or 
a person is killed by a trara. There is a CathoUc church in Aconiita. 
A reUgious organization has contributed money for the repair of the 
old Spanish mission at old Acoma. There is a trading post near the 
reservation where most of the Acoma people trade. Once in a while 
there is some difficulty with accounts. Tourists visit old Acoma every 
summer in considerable numbers. Occasionally liquor ("white mule," 
or "mula blanca") is brought into the pueblo by Mexicans and sold 
to the Indians. Occasionally some one with many sheep wishes to 
lease land from the Government (State or Federal). 

This indicates the nature and range of the governor's business. 
His is really a difficult position. He has to obey the priests and work 
with the whites. He is frequently caught between the cacique at old 
Acoma on one side and the superintendent in Albuquerque and the 
Government farmer in Acomita on the other. Many orders from the 
superintendent at Albuquerque are transmitted to the governor 
thi-ough the farmer at Acomita and, according to the disposition of 
this farmer, enforced. The governor must deal with such matters as 
whether the children attend school or not; the sending of children to 
schools in Albuquerque and Santa Fe; the sending of patients with 
tuberculosis and trachoma to the hospital at old Laguna; the repair 
of pueblo roads; the maintenance of the irrigation system; trespassing 
on the reservation by aliens (livestock or people) ; the suppression of 
bootlegging; the regulation of the tourists; the Catholic priest who 
visits Aconiita occasionally (the governor usually acts as interpreter, 
translating the sermon and announcements from Spanish to Keresan) ; 
the summoning of men for any communal labor project, such as repair- 
ing the old mission at old Acoma, etc. The governor spends a great 
deal of his time with his work. He has conferences with the Govern- 
ment farmer, wdth the Catholic priest, sometimes with the school 
teachers or Government doctors, with the principales, and occasionally 
A\dth the priests. 

In addition to attending to matters which involve non-Acoma 
agencies, the governor's duties include the supervision of intrapueblo 
affairs to some extent. Occasionally domestic or marital troubles are 
brought to him; or disputes over propertv or minor quarrels of any 

In connection with ceremonies, too, the governor has duties to 
perform. At minor fiestas he is the officer in charge. When masked 

" Just what his authority is in such cases I could not determine. It seems that he usually has "a meet- 
ing" which is attended by the disputants and perhaps by one of his tenientes and some principales. They 
' 'talk it over," and from this meeting there seems to emerge a consensus of opinion which is respected by 
everyone concerned. >Iowever, I witnessed one case in which the governor sentenced a young man to 
several days' work on the roads tor buying mula blanca from a Mexican and getting drunk with it. 



ceremonies are held the governor posts sentinels all aronnd old Acoina 
to prevent whites or Mexicans from approaching. 

The governor is also custodian of the pueblo treasury. He collects 
SI from every tourist who visits old Acoma, and he may make assess- 
ments among the families (if this is approved, of course, by the 
piincipales). This money is to be used for pueblo purposes. Occa- 
sionally it becomes necessary for the governor to take a trip on pueblo 
business. His expenses are then defrayed from the treasmy. But 
this is as far as compensation goes ; the governor receives not one cent 
for his year's services. 

The governor is appointed yearly at the Christmas "elections" by 
the cacique. He wears a badge bearing the words "Governor of 
Acoma," and he has a cane which was given to the pueblo by President 
Lincoln and bears the inscription "A. Lincoln, Prst. U. S. A. Acoma, 
1863." He carries this cane on September 2 at the fiesta of San 
Estevan. Some colored ribbons are usually tied near the top. 

The Lieutenant Governors 

These officers merely assist the governor, advising with him and 
executing his orders. 

The Bickales (Spanish, Fiscales) 

Formerly these men were attached to the church during the days of 
Spanish administration. It was their duty to collect money and food 
for the church as well as to keep it in order and repair. LTiider the 
United States regime these officials used to keep the rooms of the old 
convento ready for the priest and supply his wants when he visited 
the pueblo. But these old duties have aU but disappeared. The old 
mission chiu'ch at old Acoma is visited but once a year by the priest. 
The Bickales now seem to function almost solely as councilors for the 
governor. They serve as sentinels during masked dances. 

The Mayordomo or Ditch Boss 

An irrigation ditch runs through the Acomita Valley. The water 
boss supervises this system, seeing that the ditches are kept in repair, 
and also apportioning the water among the different users at sj)ecified 
times. If a man wishes to irrigate his garden or field he must first 
make sure that he has the permission of the water boss. The water 
supply is limited, and one must not take more than his share, nor may 
everyone use the ditch at the same time. Sometimes a man has to 
get up in the middle of the night to irrigate his fields. 

The Government Farmer and His Indian Policeman 

The recent history of Acoma (as well as other pueblos) presents an 
interesting study of acculturation, and from the standpoint of the 
pueblo cultural disintegration. A great deal of cultural innovation 


[eTH. ANN. 47 

is to be attributed to traders, missionaries, neighboring Mexicans, 
white tourists, etc., but at the present time the most important fact 
in the process of acculturation is, I believe, the program of the United 
States Bureau of Indian Affairs. The results of other acculturation 
factors have been largely external, the changes occurring chiefly in the 
material culture. (The missionaries have had almost no success. 
A Franciscan priest who had worked for almost 14 years among the 
Acomas said that he did not believe he had a single thorough convert.) 
But the program of the United States Government is aimed at their 
inner life, their ideas and ideals. Moreover, its program is definite, 
concerted, and unrelenting.''- There can be little doubt but that the 
forces brought to bear upon the pueblo by this bureau will ultimately 
bring about the disintegration of its politico-religious life, such as has 
already occuiTed at Lagima. 

The point at which the interplay of forces between the pueblo and 
the Bureau of Indian Aft'airs is focused is the Government farmer and 
his Indian aide (called a "policeman"). It is through him that the 
Government puts its policies into operation, and it is with him that 
the pueblo political organization makes its adjustment to this external 
authority. There is a day school at Acomita which has considerable 
influence, of course. But this institution is backed by the poUce 
power vested in the Government farmer and his policeman. A sur- 
vey of the functions of these officials will illuminate the multifold 
processes of cidtural conflict and adjustment which are at work at 
Acoma to-day. 

Compulsory school attendance is, I believe, the most effective 
means of breaking down the old traditions. There is a day school at 
Acomita, and many children go to the Government school at Albu- 
querque or to the Catholic school at Santa Fe. Perhaps the greatest 
change wrought in these children who go away to school, though per- 
haps the most subtle, is a weakening of their loyalty to their pueblo: 
their provincialism is shaken. They meet many children from other 
pueblos and Navahos; their horizon widens. Acoma stiU remains a 
most important place, but it no longer monopolizes the entire stage 
of their interest; and, I have no doubt, acquaintance with other peo- 
ples induces an unconscious attitude of comparison (which means 
criticism) which makes unqualified allegiance to their home pueblo 
considerably more difficidt. 

Then there are the contacts with the whites. The Indian Service 
schools are not the equivalent of the white city schools, nor do the 
Indian children have the early training which would enable them to 
do work on the same plane as the pupils of the Albuquerque High 

*- 1 do not mean to imply that the bureau is activated by malevolent motives, as some have charged. It 
is blind, and stupid at times, but its intentions are good. 



School, but they do learn something. They are exposed to a great 
deal. They are taught something of hygiene. They are treated by 
physicians and dentists, and whether they get a clear notion of natural 
causes of disease or not, they are brought at least face to face with a 
system and a philosophy of medicine which completely ignores the 
principles upon which their curing societies rest. The boys learn 
something of blacksmithing, automobile mechanics, carpentry, etc., 
in the shops at the school, which not infrequently causes them to seek 
jobs away from the pueblo — in Albuquerque, Gallup, with the Santa 
Fe Railroad, etc. — for the home folks do anything but encourage the 
introduction of new crafts and trades. 

The Federal Government has influenced agriculture to a consider- 
able degree and hence, indirectly, religion and ceremonies. An excel- 
lent irrigation system has been constructed in the Acomita Valley. 
This has affected the Acoma people profoundly. For centuries they 
had lived upon the top of the Acoma mesa; they had lived there for 
many, many years when the Spanish arrived in 1540. Here they lived 
in a very compact village and breathed the air of a hoary antiquity 
which made innovation seem almost a sacrilege. Their farms were 
scattered about in the fiats below. Change in the old pueblo was 
next to impossible, due to the difficidties of ascending the mesa, the 
limits to expansion, etc. Forty years ago there were a few little 
huts scattered among the farms in the Acomita Valley. Men went 
down there during the growing season and tended their crops. A 
little later some women went down to help; then the huts became 
larger. The children came with their mothers, and homes made 
their appearance along the little stream, and (later) the irrigation 
ditch. The tide swelled until almost every family at Acoma had a 
home in the new territory. The homes were built for permanence. 
At first they built high up on a steep mesa side (the "east village" at 
Acoma is the first site) from sheer force of tradition, for there was no 
longer danger of attack; but later the houses spread out, often being 
built quite apart from the others. At the present time there are 
houses strung out along the stream and the ditch for a distance of 
over 2 miles. Families now. have more privacy than they ever had 
before, and this freedom from constant scrutiny and supervision can 
hardly fail to exert an influence upon freedom and independence of 
mind and spirit. At first the families came down to the valley from 
old Acoma for the summer season only. Then they began to spend 
the winter in Acomita and McCartys, going iip to old Acoma only 
for the ceremonies.*' Now some of the families do not go back to 
their old home, even for the ceremonies. 

" There are no ceremonial chambers except at old Acoma, and no dances except the Comanche dance 
which is danced at fiestas. 

6066°— 32 5 

58 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

The building of new homes in a new location gave them a chance 
to build as they pleased, to adopt any style of house, or any part 
thereof, that they chose. And there certainly is a great difference 
between the 3-story house rows at old Acoma, without doors on the 
ground floor and few or no windows, and the little individual houses 
with yards in the Acomita Valley. The new houses were furnished 
from the white man's stores. Stoves, beds, bureaus, tables, etc., 
which are rare at Acoma, are to be found in nearly every Acomita 

It would be tedious to further detail the changes that have followed 
upon this descent from the wind-swept rock of old Acoma to the 
waters of the Acomita Valley, but most important among the con- 
sequences of this migration is, I believe, the shifting of psychological 
forces and values. This change of residence has contributed more 
to the gradual but inevitable breakdown of the old tradition than 
anything else I know of, and the initiating cause is water — water 
controlled and regulated by a system of irrigation. Physical sepa- 
ration from the sacred Acoma tends to weaken the bonds of attach- 
ment. Their new homes are more roomy, clean, and comfortable, 
and the journey to the old home is not an easy one. The Acoma 
people are becoming more mobile. For centuries they confined their 
dwelling area to a few acres on the old cliff; now they are spread out 
over square mUes. Some families have even moved off the reserva- 
tion entirely and have bought farm land near by. This points to- 
ward further dissemination and eventual disintegration of the pueblo. 
Families who live quite apart from each other in the Acomita Valley 
are more free to do and think as they please than when they were 
lixdng in full view of the whole population at old Acoma. There is 
psychological disintegration taking place; the pueblo is tending to 
break up into family groups. 

Then, Acoma is the home of the gods and the medicine men. 
The k'atsinas (the rain makers, q. v.) never visit the Acomita Valley. 
Indeed a k'atsina would be quite out of place among irrigation 
ditches.''^ And the motive behind the masked dances is, I have no 
doubt, weakened considerably by the presence of an irrigation system 
and windmills. Why should men go to such pains and effort to have 
a 4-day masked dance for rain when they can water the fields them- 
selves with their ditches? The k'atsinas are becoming obsolete.'" 

** .\lthough masked impersonators of these supernaturals officiate at ditch operations at Santo Domingo, 
such as directing their cleaning, etc. 

<s I malte this assertion despite the fact that the number of kachiras impersonated at Acoma (as well 
as at Keresan villages on the Rio Grande) has been, and probably is now, increasing. But the percentage 
of people who really "believe in" these spirits is constantly decreasing. The kachinas may undergo a 
reinterpretation or may be kept for socio-ceremonial reasons alone. (See Doctor Parsons's illuminating 
chapter on Decay of Ceremonialism, Notes on Zufii, pt. II, pp. 242-248.) 



In still another way the Government is changing the life and belief 
of the Acomas. New or better seeds, livestock, or machinery is sent 
out to the reservation and given to them. Compulsory dipping of 
sheep is another blow at the medicine man. 

To return to the Government farmer and his native policeman: 
much, of course, depends upon the disposition of the individual who 
fills this office; one man may be indolent and do as little as possible; 
another may be very conscientious and energetic. The Government 
farmer is assisted by a native, called a "policeman," who receives a 
salary from the Government. The duties of this policeman are to 
interpret and to perform any task set him by the farmer. 

The farmer collects statistics regarding births, deaths, marriages, 
etc., among the people. He also gathers data concerning crops and 
livestock which he sends to the superintendent's office. He keeps 
the schoolhouse in repair and supplied with fuel and water (pumped 
to a tank at the schoolhouse by an engine or a windmill). He is the 
truant officer. He and his police assistant hound the parents and 
keep the children in school. He takes people to the hospital at old 
Laguna, either at their own request or upon order from the super- 
intendent's office. Force is used if necessary. I have known of in- 
stances where a revolver was displayed rather conspicuously, and the 
children or patients carried oft' bodily. The policeman has spanked 
school children for destroying school property. 

The farmer serves as secretary and adviser for the Indians. He 
helps them in their transactions with the trading post, in leasing 
land from the Government, in putting in claims for damages done 
by the railroad, etc. He frequently discusses matters of dispute 
among the Acoma people themselves or between them and neighbors, 
such as the Lagunas, Mexicans, etc. He hires men to do work on 
the roads, bridges, or for any building that may be undertaken by 
the Government. He collects pottery for fairs. He has some police 
authoritj^.^' He has arrested Mexicans who were selling mula blanca 
on the reservation, and he has even arrested Indians for disturbing 
the peace and has deposited them in the jail at Is) eta or elsewhere. 

All in all, the Government farmer and his native policeman are 
very important figures in the present-day Hfe of the pueblo. It is 
through him chiefly that the policies of the United States Govern- 
ment are being put into operation (without the farmer at Acoma the 
day-school attendance would be very small indeed), and it is unre- 

" Prec-isely what the legal status of the Acoma Indian is I was never able to learn; I could never find 
anyone who knew. The extent to which he is subject to civil and criminal law of the Federal, .'^tate, and 
county governments seems to be very uncertain. The farmer may, and often does, act upon his own 
judgment and initiative, and sometimes upon his own responsibility. 

60 THE ACOMA INDIANS (eth. a.nn. 47 

mitting execution of these policies that is contributing so rapidly to 
the ultimate disintegration of Acoma as an integrated socio-political 

The Elections 

The cacique, as we have seen, appoints all officers, with the excep- 
tion, of course, of his own successor, and the medicine men, who are 
only secondarily political in character. 

The elections take place during the Christmas week. Nearly 
everyone is up at old Acoma at this time. Some time before Christ- 
mas the cacique decides upon his men for the forthcoming year. 
Before these names are annoimced they are given by the cacique to 
the medicine men. It is very important to note, too, that the medi- 
cine men may substitute a man of their choice for one of the cacique's. 
They very seldom do this, it is said, but they reserve the right to 
veto the cacique's choice and to substitute a man of their own selec- 
tion, and the cacique may not protest. "It must be for the best," 
they say. 

The appointments are to be annoimced on December 28. On the 
evening of the 27th, the war chief goes to the head man of each 
estufa (k'aatc) and requests him to have every one of his men in 
the komanira (the name of the building in which the appointments 
are annoimced; name of Spanish derivation) at the appointed time. 
Everyone must attend. If there are men in the sheep camps, boys 
are sent to relieve them. No man may be excused without very 
good cause. Many men do not wish to shoulder the responsibilities, 
labors, and privations of office, for which honor and distinction are 
the only rewards, and they seek to avoid such a possibility by being 
absent when the appointments are announced. 

On the morning of the 28th, at the hour set, the men gather in 
the komanira. There is a sort of stage at the south end of the large 
room. The medicine men are seated in the middle of this stage with 
the yasi (q. v.) of the outgoing officers lying before them. These 
small staffs have been recharged with "power" by the medicine men 
for use during the coming year. The war chiefs also are on the stage. 
The men of the village are in the main part of the hall. The war 
chief announces the names of the new officers. As their names are 
called each man ascends the platform to receive from the medicine 
men his ya'Bi (the governor and his men receive American canes; 
the other officers are presented with native staffs). The announce- 
ments are made in the following order: The war chief and his two 
assistant war chiefs, the cooks, the governor, his two lieutenants, 
the bickales (fiscales), and the water boss. 

Sometimes when a man is named for an office he tries to refuse. 
Sometimes a man named for war chief weeps upon learning of his 


appointment and tries to be excused, but, of course, no one will 
allow it. Instead, they encourage and reassure him, and speak of 
his many and eminent qualifications for such an important and 
honorable position. 

"Political Parties" at Acoma 

The use of this term may seem at first glance to be an unwarranted 
projection of our own concepts into foreign material, but there is no 
disputing the fact that there are parties at Acoma. There are 
Liberals and Conservatives. To be sure, the interests and activities 
of these parties quite exceed the bounds of politics ; they cover every 
phase of life. But the same may be said for the political parties in 
practically all of the nations of to-day. 

In a word, the Conservatives are those who wish to preserve the 
old aboriginal traditions intact. The Liberals wish to adopt such 
items of white culture as would be to their advantage; they wish to 
compromise between the old and the new. Their position might be 
stated somewhat as follows: "Beyond the boundaries of our reserva- 
tion there are many peoples. Our ways of life are not the ways of 
other groups, nor are they superior at every point. The wliites are 
crowding in on us, and whether we wish it or not, we must deal with 
them. Through ignorance of their ways and their laws we are often 
at a disadvantage in our transactions with them; we are very often 
cheated in business deals. Therefore we should learn their ways in 
order to protect ourselves against them. Then the wliites have 
many things which we have found useful — the rifle, kerosene lamps, 
hoes, saws, etc. If we have profited by taking these things from the 
whites, should we not go further and adopt anything else that we 
like? The white man's treatment of disease is vastly superior to 
our own; we should follow their doctors, etc." 

This is the way the Conservatives feel: "We are an ancient people. 
We have a long and honorable past. We were living here happily, 
long before the white people ever came. Our fathers have handed 
down to lis the wdsdom of many centuries. They found it good, 
and all went well. Everyone was happy. Then the white men 
came. They have crowded in on us on all sides. They are forever 
trying to meddle with our own business. They are trying to run 
our lives. Their Government is forcing us to do things which we 
hate. Their churchmen are trying to rob us of our gods. Our 
children are driven into their schools like sheep into a corral. The 
young folks are falling away from the ways of our fathers and are 
losing respect for the gods who keep us, and it is all because of the 
whites. We hate them and want to have nothing to do with them. 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

Every compromise is a defeat for us. Let us not touch them in anj' 
way lest we perish." ^' 

As one would expect, the Liberal Party is composed largely of 
young men and women who have spent years away at schools. They 
have seen enough of the ways of other people to have become impa- 
tient of the intolerant and bigoted provincialism of the Conservatives. 
They see no reason why they should not bring such machinery, tools, 
household utensils, etc., into the pueblo as would make their life 
easier and more pleasant. They wish to learn the wa^'s of white 
men in order to protect themselves in legal and commercial dealings 
with them. They realize that the medicine men are simply magi- 
cians, and that they frequently spread disease, etc. But the core of 
the Liberal position is an emotional attitude; they are willing to 
change — to compromise. 

The key of the Conservatives' position is likewise an emotional 
state. They suffer from an emotional fixation upon the past. Never- 
theless, the Conservatives are quite correct in charging many of their 
present ills to the whites. They have suffered much at their hands. 
Moreover, they have adopted the most efficient policy possible to 
preserve the old ways; no commerce of any kind with the whites. 
This poUcy, which is an unconscious, intuitive reaction to white 
encroachment, is tremendously effective in serving their interests. 
For they are right ; every compromise is a loss for them. Their ideal 
is absolute isolation, and they approach it as closely as possible. 

At the present time the Conservative Party is in the majority. 
They predominate numerically and, to even greater extent, in influ- 
ence. Most of the officers are Conservatives. This is, of course, 
what one would expect. The officers are the custodians of the old 
tradition. Much of the power and vehemence of the Conservative 
Party is due, without doubt, to this fact. The officers would lose 
their power, their status, if the Liberal poHcy were adopted. Indeed 
the very positions would become extinct. Old Lagima stands before 
their eyes as an example, the bones of the ancient regime bleach- 
ing in the sun. Naturally the men in office will do everything in 
their power to continue the system which gives them power, distinc- 
tion, and status; and the Liberals do not want offices (except perhaps 
the governorship) because they are identified with the regime which 
they wish to supplant. 

By degrees, however, the Liberal Party grows in numbers, and 
the hold of the Conservatives, although more militant and articu- 
late, grows weaker. It is just a question of time before the whole 
scheme shall collapse, and the integrity of the political and social 
organization of the pueblo be lost forever. 

" It must be understood, of course, that neither side has expressed itself in these words- they have not 
analyzed the situation carefully nor consciously stated their position, but these statements of mine well 
represent the feeling and position of these two parties. 

white] ceremonies and ceremonialism 63 


Government at Acoma, as at other pueblos, is theocratic: The offi- 
cers are priests and the authority which they exercise is rehgious 
(supernatural). The officers and secret societies are the chief custo- 
dians of sacred lore, paraphernalia, and ritual. Pueblo administration 
is concerned chiefly with ceremonies, which may be divided into two 
classes : (a) Those wliich promote the growth of crops by influencing 
the weather, the heavenly bodies, etc. (the kachina cult, the solstice 
ceremonies, etc.); and (6) those which cure disease and e.xorcise evil 
spirits from the pueblo (the medicine cult). Profane duties of govern- 
ment, such as business with aliens, keeping order and peace, repairing 
roads and communal buildings, etc., are delegated to the governor 
and his aides who have come into existence (since 1540) for this 
purpose and to screen the existence of the sacred officers from the 
eyes of the whites. 

We have discussed at some length the Government farmer and his 
native policeman, and the two parties, the Liberals and the ultra- 
Conservatives, in order to illuminate the functioning of the govern- 
ment under present conditions, and to indicate the forces which are 
at work — mechanisms of cultural change. The ultra-Conservatives 
wish to remain 100 per cent Indian, to purge the pueblo of all things 
American (except, no doubt, some tools and weapons), but they are 
fighting a hopeless situation. The forces of American culture, assisted 
somewhat by the Liberals, are encroaching more and more upon 
the Acoma people. It is simply a matter of time before the present 
politico-religious organization disintegrates and Acoma loses its 
integrity as a pueblo. 


Ceremonialism at Acoma, as at other pueblos, is a conspicuous 
phase of their life. Functionally, one may view ceremonies from 
three angles: They serve to establish rapport with supernaturals 
whose favors are desired; they are pleasurable, social occasions; and 
they represent the many-sided expression of the artistic talents of the 
people. Thus, religious, social, and aesthetic ends are served. Possi- 
bly some do not have religious significance, except in an indirect way, 
but most ceremonies incorporate these three factors in varying 

The most conspicuous phases of Acoma ceremonialism are the rain 
cult, or kachina cult (in which men impersonate the kachinas or 
rain gods), and the medicine cult (societies of doctors cure and prevent 
disease by virtue of powers received from certain supernaturals). 
Then there is the war cult. The O'pi, or Warriors' Society, and the 
koshare functioned in this capacity. Since wars have long since 

64 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

ceased this phase of ceremoniaUsm has largely disappeared. The 
Caiyaik, or Hunters' Society, too, seems to have suffered a decline. 
Lastly, there are some fiesta dances, such as on San Estevan's Day 
(September 2) and San Lorenzo's Day at Acomita (August 10), and 
some miscellaneous dances — Comanche, Navaho, Eagle, Deer, etc. — 
which are performed at Christmas time, or on anonymous occasions. 
Before entering upon descriptions and discussions of these various 
cults and ceremonies, let us turn to the supernaturals of Acoma and 
to the ceremonial calendar. 

The Pantheon 

The sun (ocatc). — He is a great spirit, perhaps the greatest of all 
supernaturals. He is called father (naicoia). People pray to him 
often with corn meal. Prayer sticks are made for him. He figures 
in myths as the father of twin boys (sometimes the twin war gods, 
Masewi and Oyoye^\•i). He is prayed to at rabbit hunts, and, of 
course, he is the chief object of the solstice ceremonies (q. v., and other 
relevant sections). He is pictured in colored carvings on the face of 
rock mesas. He is not represented in myths as being manlike in 
form; the pictures of him show merely a face ■with rays radiating 
from the outer edge. 

Alaseun ami Oyoyevn. — These are the twin war gods. They are very 
important.** They are the patron gods of the 0-pi (the Warriors' 
Society) and of the war chiefs. T^yone, however, may pray to them 
for strength. They are represented with masks in dances. They 
are also depicted on altars of curing societies. (PL 1, h.) On 
the eastern edge of the mesa of old Acoma there are two rock 
columns (a natural formation) which are said to mark the place 
where the spirits of these two gods have hved since they left the 
Acoma people in person. They symbolize courage, strength, and 
virtue. They are also represented in mythology as great rain makers. 
They were the leaders and champions of the Acoma people in the early 
days when they lived in the north, and during their long migration 
to the south. 

The k'atsina. — These are the anthropomorphic, spirit rain makers. 
(See Origin-Migration myth, and others, for accounts of these spirits; 
also see accompanying pictures and descriptions of the masked 
dancers.) They are of the greatest importance in Acoma ceremonial- 
ism. There is an indefinite number of them who hve at a mytho- 
logical place called Wenimats , located "somewhere out west," 
perhaps near the Zuni Mountains. They are also called shiwanna 
(storm clouds are called shiwanna). About 60 k'atsina are repre- 
sented by masked dancers at Acoma. (See complete list.) There is 
an indefinite number of some kinds, but of others there is a fixed 

« See the myths which tell of these supernaturals 


number — two, one, etc. The same situation seems to prevail at 
Wenimats'. A more detailed account of these spirits wiU be given in 
the section devoted to the kachina cult. 

The k'oBictaiya. — These are spirits who live in the east, at 
hak'oaikutc' (the sunrise). They also live at haniakocoko, a crater- 
like place southeast of Acoma. The k'osictaiya are regarded as very 
powerful and beneficent spirits, but they do not reveal themselves 
as clearly and as definitely in the minds of the people as do the 
k'atsina; information concerning the k'osictaiya is both meager and 
vague. The k'oBictaiya have never known sexual intercoiu'se. It 
came about in this way: The daughter of a former war chief died. 
Some k'anadyaiya (witches) stole the corpse and restored her to hfe. 
They were going to seduce her, but the k'osictaiya came to the 
rescue. They were going to fight for the possession of the girl, but 
decided to play a game instead. They played a game with a top 
(a k'owaico tororo). If the witches won, they could do as they 
pleased with the girl; if the k'osictaiya won, they would get the girl, 
but they would have to forego sexual intercourse forever. The 
k'osictaiya won the girl and have remained continent ever since. 
Another informant stated that the k'osictaiya were just like the 
k'atsina before the fight at White House; they did not want to fight 
the people. After the fight they felt that they could no longer live 
with the k'atsma, so they moved to the southeast, to the simrise, 
hakoaik'utc". Some are said to dwell at a craterUke place southeast 
of Acoma called hanyakocoko. The two head men of the k'osictaiya 
who are impersonated at the winter solstice, Dziukiri and K'okiri, 
were said (bj' one informant) to represent the "morning star and 
the evening star." So far as I could leam, they are not assigned to 
any particular fimction (except during the winter solstice ceremony, 
when they promote fertihty and strengthen weak and sick people, 
q. v.). Prayer sticks are deposited for the k'osictaiya. Masked 
men personate them at the winter solstice.'" 

latik". — Perhaps this supernatural should have been mentioned 
first. She is very sacred and of the greatest importance.*" She is 
called the mother of all the Indians. Her home is Shipap, the place 
of emergence, in the north. After death a person goes back to his 

** At San Felipe and at Santo Domingo, the k'oBictaiya are represented with little anthropomorphic 
figurines on the altars of medicine men. No masks are used. 

^ It is impossible to say which of the Acoma supernaturals is most important. I do not believe they 
are arranged in a definite hierarchy in native conception. The sun, Masewi, and latik" are each very 
important. So are the k'atsinas. But each is important in his own way and for different reasons. Com- 
parisons are very difficult. The sun is a symbol of cosmic power, so to speak, but he is not anthropo- 
morphic, he is not of the order of human beings, Masewi is a superhuman man, a champion. The k'atsinas 
are closely associated with the people and are very important in sustaining life by rain making. latik" 
seems to be the symbol of human life itself, its very essence. She is quite remote, however, from the daily 
activities of her children. She is not represented in drawings n<5r in costume. She is not dramatized in 
ceremonies. The medicine men have a fetish which symbolizes her (an ear of corn, q. v.). 

66 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

mother, to Shipap. A short prayer and a bit of food are offered to 
latik" before each meal. Prayer sticks are deposited to her. She 
seems to watch over human beings, not in any special phase (such as 
war or food) but with reference to the well-being and continuance 
of life itself. In certain rituals one speaks of getting the breath of 
latik", the breath of life, from Shipap. A tender feeling is kept for 
her, as well as respect. 

The moon. — The moon is said to be one of the spirits. Prayers 
are offered to her. I learned no more about her. She seems to be 
relatively imimportant. 

The stars. — Some stars, I imderstood, are supematurals, but I did 
not ascertain which ones. They are not very important. They 
seem to be mentioned only in prayers. 

The earth: — The earth is mentioned in prayers. 

The clovds. — The clouds are quite important, especially the storm 
clouds. They are prayed to. Feathers on the tops of masks are 
said to symbohze clouds. They are conspicuous in paintings on 
medicine bowls, altar paintings, etc. There are men in curing cere- 
monies who blow bubbles to symbohze clouds. The clouds are 
called henati, but shiwanna is used to refer to the cloud people, the 
rain makers. In paintings of clouds on the walls of ceremonial 
chambers clouds are represented as having eyes and mouth. 

Lightning. — Lightning is sacred. Its association with rain makes 
it very important. It is associated, also, with himting. Hunters 
pray to the lightning when they start out on a himt. There is a 
close association between flint and lightning; both exhibit flashes of 
light. Flints are called hghtning stones. The fact that lightning 
sometimes strilces and kills also allies it to himting. Lightning 
seems to be a symbol of power, and flint appears to be a capsule which 
is capable of containing this power which may be drawn upon. 
Sometimes people wear a httle flint arrowhead on a string tied around 
the neck; this is to enable the wearer to profit from the power of 
lightning. Medicine men have big flints which they employ to secure 
"power." There are two Idnds of hghtning: Zigzag lightning is 
caUed bo'trowicti; sheet hghtning is called k'opestotsa. There is a 
httle plant which is sometimes placed on top of a house to keep the 
lightning from striking it. 

The four rain makers of the cardinal points. — In the north lives 
Ca'kak at K'awecDima (Mount Taylor); he brings the snow. Guic- 
thia, who makes rain, hves in the west at Bunya Kot (Zuili Moun- 
tain). At Dau'tyuxna in the south hves Mai'yatcuna, who brings 
the drizzling rain, the tsununulva." CuitLra hves in the east at a 
mountain called K'utcana; he brings the fog and mist. These super- 
naturals are merely mentioned in prayers. 

*i Ordinary rain is called k'a'tca. 


Hunting gods. — We have already seen that the sun is called upon 
at rabbit limits, but the hunting deity par excellence is the cougar, 
or nioimtain lion. Formerly there was a hunters' society called 
the Caiyaik. They were medicine men of the hunt. It was their 
business to supply hunting medicines to himters and to assist in 
communal hunts. Their patron spirit was the mountain lion, and 
they possessed a little stone figure of this animal. (See Caiyaik.) 

Medicine god^. — (The gods who possessed the power to cure disease 
will be discussed imder The Medicine Cult.) 

San Estevan. — St. Stephen is the patron saint of Acoma. His day, 
September 2, is observed at Acoma, with services in the old Spanish 
church and with a corn dance in the plaza. (See The Fiesta of San 
Estevan.) He is regarded as having some power and is disposed to 
help the Acoma people. 

Yoshthi {Dios, God). — The Christian God is also regarded as a 
supernatural, and hence has some power; but he does not have as 
large a following as San Estevan, who has a pecuhar obhgation to 
Acoma. He is not regarded, in general, as having very much power, 
and he is not particularly well disposed to the people. It is said that 
he punishes some people after death; none of the native deities do 
this. Sometimes prayer sticks are offered to God, but they are 
always accompanied by sticks for latik". 

Cristo (Christ). — He is regarded as a supernatural, but not primarily 
for the Indians. He has very little following. 

Ceremonial Calendar" 

The following is a list of ceremonial obsei'vances at Acoma during 
the year, with the dates (approximately) for each: 

December 24. Christmas Eve, ceremony in church. 

December 25, 26, 27. Miscellaneous dances. 

December 28. Elections annoimced. 

January (?). Installation of war chief. (See this section for details 
of procedure and the year's program.) 

January (?). Scalp dance, k'atseta, for the incoming officers. 

June 20-21. Summer solstice, dioya'micoko. 

June 24. San Juan's Day, rooster pull. 

June 29. San Pedro's Day, rooster puU. 

July 12-14. Natyati, the summer masked dance. 

July 24. Rooster pull. 

July 25. San Diego's Day, com dance. 

August 10. San Lorenzo's Day, com dance at Acomita. 

September 2. San Estevan's Day, fiesta at old Acoma. 

September 20 (cir.). Fall masked dance. 

December 21. Winter solstice, k'oa'micoko. 

" See Doctor Parsons's detailed calendar for Zuni, Notes on Zufti, pt. i, pp. 151-182. 

68 THE ACOMA INDIANS [exh. ann. 47 

Aiid other ceremonies: 

G'aiyabai'tsani, the fight with the k'atsinas, comes every five years, 
usually in the early spring. 

The masked dance of the Com clan comes every five j^ears, usually 
in the nuddle of the simimer, about the last of July. 

Scalp dances were held after a kill (in the old days), or at the direc- 
tion of the O'pi. 

Rabbit himts (q. v.). 

Miscellaneous dances (q. v.). 

Depositmg prayer sticks (q. v.). 

In some cases, such as saints' days, the dates of ceremonies are 
fixed, such as the fiesta of San Estevan, but the dates of other cere- 
monies can be fixed only approximately, since they vary somewhat. 
The big summer masked dance, for example, might begin on July 1 1 
or July 12. The cacique sets the date for this, as well as other cere- 
monies which may vary chronologically. I do not know how he 
arrives at the date for the summer k'atsina dance; the time for the 
solstice ceremonies he determines by watching the sim at rising. 

Rabbit hunts are held before almost all important occasions. 
There is one for the war chief in February (shortly after his entrance 
to office), one before the summer solstice, one before the fiesta of 
San Estevan, and one before the winter solstice. 

The rooster pulls and the miscellaneous dances are of minor 
inaportance. Whether they have a rooster pull on San Pedro's Day 
or not is optional; sometimes they do and sometimes they do not. 
The dances referred to as miscellaneous are the eagle, Comanche, 
buffalo, basko, etc. (Basko is frequently rendered "com dance "in 
English.)^' These dances are merely recreational in character. 
Anyone who wishes to dance may join in. They are not sacred and 
may be witnessed by the whites or Mexicans. Dances of these kinds 
always follow Christmas Eve, and a Comanche dance is nearly always 
held at Acomita on San Lorenzo's Day, but these dances may be and 
are held at other times. During the winter at old Acoma people 
frequently get together for dancing, and even during the summer 
at Acomita they sometimes have a corn dance (basko dance) in one 
of the houses. 

The ceremonial calendar must be viewed, then, as a routine winch 
is both rigid and flexible, sacred and trivial. There are some things 
which must be done at certain times. There are other matters which 
may be observed or omitted at varying times. Some ceremonies are 
of the most sacred nature; others are trivial occasions for enjoyment. 

« Doctor Parsons suggests that basko may have been derived from the Spanish paskwa, a term applied 
to Christmas and Easter. Subsequent studies at Keresan villages in the east have corroborated this. 


"All important occasions must be preceded by, or accompanied 
with, the making and depositing of prayer sticks," might well be 
taken as a vaHd generaUzation of ceremonial procedure. They are 
made before all masked dances, the solstice ceremonies, at birth, and 
at death, for all important ceremonial occasions are intimately 
concerned with the supernatural world, and prayer sticks are the most 
formal and satisfactory means of establishing the desired rapport 
with the spirits. (A section will be devoted to prayer sticks later 

We shall now proceed with descriptions of various ceremonies. By 
far the most important phase of commimal ceremoniahsm at Acoma 
is the personation of the k'atsina by masked dancers." And if one 
wall keep Ln mind fruitfulness of fields, which implies abundance of 
rain (brought by the k'atsina), and the regular sequence of the 
seasons (the solstices), he will have the conceptual core of the larger 
part of Acoma ceremonialism. A detailed account of the kachina 
(k'atsina) cult, then, will be the best preface to the ceremonies which 

The Kachina Cult 

As we have already seen, the k'atsina are spiiit rain makers. In 
appearance they are exactly like the masked dancers. In the old 
days, when the Acoma people were still living in the north (see 
Origin-Migration Myth), the k'atsina used to come to the village when 
the people were lonesome or sad and dance for them; this cheered them 
greatly. The k'atsina used to bring gifts, too, such as food of all 
kinds, buckskins, bows and arrows, beads, etc. ; they taught the people 
arts and crafts and himting. And after the people began to grow 
their own food the k'atsina would come to the ^^llage when the fields 
were dry and thirsty and dance. Ram always followed. The Indians 
owe almost everything to the k'atsina. 

But after the great fight between the k'atsina and the people (see 
myth Guititanic for accoimt of this episode) the spirits refused to come 
to the village any more. However, they told the Indians that they 
could wear masks and costumes to represent k'atsina and act as if 
they were k'atsina. If they did this and honored and respected the 
k'atsina, then they would come and possess the persons of the masked 
dancers and all would be well — rain would come. That is why the 
Acoma people have masked dances to-day, and that is why the 
k'atsina are so revered. 

The k'atsina live at a place called Wenimats'; it is "somewhere out 
west, perhaps near the Zufii Mountains." There they hve very much 

8* I say communal to distinguish one order of ceremonies from those of the curing societies, which are, 
strictly speaking, the property of these secret societies. 

70 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

as the Indians at Acoma do. They have a chief, or hotceni, named 
k'imac". They have fields, they hunt, gamble, and dance much as 
the Acoma people do. (See the various myths which tell about the 
k'atsina.) There are some k'atsina women, too. These are usually 
called k'otcinako, or yellow woman. But some of them have faces of 
other colors (it is the face alone that has the distinguishing color); 
there is one with a white face, g'acinako. According to some of these 
myths, these women are vii-gms; they never Hve with the male 
k'atsina. StiU, there is the story of Tsictik'atsame (q. v.) which 
impHes family life at Wenimats' ; one of the chiefs had a daughter who 
became the bride of Tsictik'atsame, who was himself a k'atsina. 

Not all of the k'atsina, however, live at Wenimats'; a goodly 
number live near Acoma. This, I believe, is due to the very long 
occupancy of the mesa of old Acoma; every inch of ground near there 
is very familiar to the people, and some of the sites have become 
associated with myths and legends. Another consideration is the 
richness of the kachina cult at Acoma and the elaboration it has 
undergone since it arrived; abundance of kachinas is probably both 
cause and effect of these special spirits who live at designated spots. ^* 

The kachina organization. — With reference to the k'atsina the peo- 
ple of Acoma are divided into two groups — those who believe that 
the masked dancers are really gods and those who know full well 
that they are the men and boys of the village with their heads en- 
cased in buffalo hide. The first group, of course, is made up of 
young children. At an early age they see the dancers in the plaza; 
perhaps one of them, impressive in his mask, costume, paint, and 
feathers, picks his way through the spectators to give some child a 
present of fruit, or perhaps a k'atsina oak (baby, or doll, q. v.). 
They are told that these dancers are great gods from Wenimats'; they 
are taught to regard them with awe. 

Then comes the day of awakening; they are initiated into the 
secrets and mysteries of the k'atsina and the dancers. Boys and 
girls alike are initiated, but the role played by women in the kachina 
organization is negligible. ^^ The women prepare food for the dancers, 
assist them in their distributions of gifts, etc., but they never wear a 
mask in a dance even though a k'otcininak'o (a k'atsina woman) be 
impersonated. The people who have been initiated into the secrets 

" The fact that Acoma is not far from Zufii, where the kachina cult is especially luxuriant, illuminates 
the situation somewhat. Acoma received the mask cult before the Rio Grande villages did (assuming, 
of course, that it came from the west, which I believe to be the case) and has received more kachinas than 
her eastern sisters. 

^ Among the eastern Keres the women are kept in theoretical ignorance of the identity of the masked 
dancers, with the exception of a few women (called sicti, or initiated) , who assist the masked dancers during 


of the k'atsina are called G'uiraina tcaian'.^' Children affiliate with 
the kiva of the father. 

There is a headman for each estufa G^va, or k'a-atc).^' He is 
appointed by the cacique and serves for life. His duties are in gen- 
eral the administration of the unit of the kachina organization be- 
longing to his estufa; specifically, he is the custodian of the masks, 
keeping them safely secured between ceremonies; he takes them out 
and paints them for dances and feeds them and offers them cigarettes; 
he summons his men for ceremonies and instructs them in matters 
of preparation, etc. 

Initiation of children into the kachina organization. — The war chief 
keeps track of the children to be initiated. Initiations are held at 
intervals of about five or six years. In the old days initiations were 
held at the winter solstice; now they are held during the summer. 
Formerly, children were initiated at ages ranging from 9 to 12 (ap- 
proximately) ; now, however, the initiation is usually postponed until 
the children come back from the schools to stay in the village. 

When the war chief thinks the time has come for another initiation 
he confers with the cacique, who sets a date. Then the war chief 
goes through the streets (four days before the initiation is to take 
place) announcing the forthcommg event. 

On the fourth day before the ceremony the father of a chUd to be 
initiated (or the child's maternal uncle, if the father be dead) looks 
about for some one to act as his child's sponsor during the initiation. 
He always chooses a good friend, and usually a clansman. The 
father makes four wanani (feather bunches, q. v.) each one contain- 
ing a wi'icBi (corn-husk cigarette which has been lighted and extin- 
guished) and wraps them in a corn husk. This package he carries 
to the man he has chosen for sponsor and hands it to him, sayuig 
"Dium"" (brother). The recipient replies, "Dium"." The father 
prays, asking his friend to look out for his child during the initiation, 
and asks the spirits to grant him a long, useful, and happy life.^' 

" In the Rio Grande villages there are two complementary secret societies, the Koshare and the Quirena. 
They are definitely organized, have a headman, new members are secretly initiated, etc. They assist at 
ceremonies. At Acoma the Koshare Society is found, but the Quirena exists in quite a diflerent form. 
There, instead ot being a small secret society with special functions, the Quirena (called Q'uiraiua at Acoma) 
is simply the aggregate of all individuals who have been initiated into the secrets of the Iv'atsina. The 
features which characterize the Quirena in the east, such as special ceremonial functions, a distinctive 
costume, a mythological residence, etc., are not found at Acoma. Acoma, it seems, has worked out a 
compromise between east and west. It has the names "Koshare" and "Quirena," and the form and 
functions of the Koshare Society, which are eastern features. Then it has the idea of a tribal society whose 
functions are closely associated with kachina impersonation (viz, the G'uiraina tcaian'), which is a Zuiii 
characteristic. The absence of the moiety principle, too, is a western feature rather than an eastern one. 
One might suppose a priori that such a situation would be found at Acoma, since its geographic position 
is about midway between Zufii and the pueblos of the Rio Grande. 

*8 Another informant stated that there were two headmen. The man who told me that there was one 
headman said that there was an assistant. 

s» The man who acts as sponsor is called neyawairaiitu; the children to be whipped are called naiyama- 
watna tsiwatcomasa. 

72 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

The sponsor divides the package of wasani and com meal into 
two parts. With one he prays for the child; the other he takes to 
his brother or uncle, telling him that he is sponsoring a child (is 
"going to raise a child") at initiation, and asks his assistance at that 
time. (This man is to place a feather in the child's hair immediately 
after he has been whipped.) 

The initiation ceremony is always held in tsitcinic ka'atc, or 
Mauharots (the "head estufa"). On the daA^ of the ceremony the 
cacique goes to Mauharots and the Antelope altar is erected. In 
the evening the cacique and the Antelope men, the war chiefs and 
their cooks, and some medicine men gather in the head estufa; all 
the other men of the village go to their respective kivas where they 
spend the evening singing. 

The children are to be whipped by a k'atsina, Tsitsiinits ("Big 
Teeth"). This spirit is personated by kaeina tcaiani. In the 
evening of the initiation he goes to haimatats' k'aatc to get his mask 
and costume. He will be accompanied by four (more or less) 
g'omaiowic ("scouts," pi. 10, b). They, too, get their masks at hai- 
matats'. They dress and go out on the west side of the mesa; they 
are to come from Wenimats', you see, which lies in the west. 

After Tsitsiinits has gone to the west side of the village the war 
chief goes through the streets summoning the children to the head 
estufa. The sponsors, who have been waiting in their homes, rush 
to get their children. Both sponsor and child have been bathed for 
this occasion, and their heads washed in yucca suds. The sponsor 
wears a cotton shirt and trousers (somewhat resembling pyjamas), 
a "banda" or ribbon around his head, and moccasins; a blanket is 
thrown over his shoulders. The boys to be whipped wear only a 
breechcloth; the girls wear a thin calico dress. All of the sponsors 
try to reach the ceremonial chamber first in order to secure good 
seats. The sponsor carries the child on his back, covered with his 
blanket. He carries the child down the ladder and then puts him 
on the earth floor. Then he leads him to the altar, taking the child 
by the left hand and leading him forward on the east side of the 
fireplace. The child faces the altar; the sponsor stands behind him. 
The sponsor puts the wasani in the child's hands and places his own 
under them. The sponsor prays; when finished, he throws the 
wasani on the altar. Then they find a seat, leaving the altar and 
passing to the west of the fireplace. The sponsor takes ofl' his blanket 
and folds it up for a cushion. The child sits in front of him. 

All the while the singers (called maoaikotitc, "grape men"), the 
kuuts' hanotc (Antelope men) are singing. The war chiefs will be 
along the west wall near them; they join in the singing if they wish 
to. In the other estufas men are singing. No women are prtsent 
in Mauharots; the girls are sponsored by men. 


It is now time for Tsitsun'its to arrive; the war chief sends a lieu- 
tenant to get him. Tsitsimits and the g'omaiowic approach, "hal- 
looing like k'atsina." They cry "Ho, ho, ho, ho!", or "Ho-o-o-o-o!", 
or "Hu 111 lu lu!" They traverse the circuit of the eight dancing 
stations (see fig. 1), walking very fast. Then they go up on top of 
Mauharots. There thej^ halloo and stamp their feet very fast; this 
is to frighten the children. The entrance to the estufa is covered 
with a buffalo hide. Two or three of the men who are assisting 
Tsitsiinits lift one side of this cover and thrust their forearms (which 
are painted white) inside; their hands are filled with fruit or nuts. 
The sponsors scramble to get these gifts for their children. (>Some- 
times a sponsor has himself hidden away some gift, which he slyly 
produces for his ward.) The children are told that these gifts have 
come to them from the k'atsina. Tsitsiinits and his men sing a few 
songs on top of the chamber. 

At the close of the songs on the roof, the cacique rises and goes to 
the altar. He picks up a small pottery bowl of ashes mixed with 
water. He carries it toward the fireplace, pauses, 
and hurls it toward the roof opening.*" Immediately 
the buffalo hide is snatched away and Tsitsunits 
comes rushing down the ladder (his back toward 
the rungs), followed by the g'o'maiowic. Tsits- 
units goes about m a menacing attitude, glaring 
at the children. He brandishes his whip. The 
g'o'maiowic run around the chamber frightening 
the children. "Oh, look at all the children in here! figuee 2— Diagram 
How did you all get in here?" they cry. And head estuta. 'ts= 
"All you children are going to get a whipping!" fireplace 

Tsitsunits goes to the east end of the tsiwai'mttyma (the planks 
over the resonance chamber, fig. 2) and begins to dance. He dances 
two songs and then goes over to the east end. Then the sponsor 
who is nearest the west end rises and places his child on the center 
of the tsiwai'mityim, facing south. He causes the child to lean forward ; 
the sponsor clasps the child's hands in his. Tsitsunits then strikes the 
child four times with his soap-weed whip: twice on the back near 
the shoulder blades, once on the back of the legs between hip and 
knee, and once on the calves of the legs. The child and his sponsor 
then e.xchange places, and Tsitsunits whips the sponsor in the same 
way. All the while the g'o'maiowic run and jump about the room 
yelling "Oh, look at the blood! Look at the blood, how it's running 
down!" etc. 

fco I could not learn why this is done. Ashes are used in other connections as a prophylactic against 

6066°— 32 6 


1" 1 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

After the sponsor has been whipped he and his ward leave the 
tsiwaimitytm to return to their places. The sponsor's brother comes 
up and fastens a wasa'ni (feather bunch) in the child's hair and gives 
him a new name.'*' Then they go back to their seats. The scouts 
(the g'o'maiowtc) come up and give the sponsor some herb medicine. 
He chews it, spits in his hands and rubs it on the child where he has 
been whipped, then on his own body. 

All of the children are whipped. Tsitsunits goes out, followed by 
the g'o'maiowic; they go back to the west (to Wenimats'), unmask, 
dress and return to their estufa. The cacique rises, gives thanks for 
the new initiates and wishes them well. Everyone is given permis- 
sion to leave. The sponsors take their children home. Then they 
and their brothers go to their respective estufas to join the other 
men there in singmg songs of, and to, the k'atsina. The cacique 
and the Antelope men (Ivuuts' hanotc) and the war chiefs remain in 
Mauharots, singing. All during the night groups of men from the 
five estufas come to Mauharots (tsitctmc ka'atc) to dance. 

The whipped children wear the wasa'ni (feather) for four days after 
the ceremony. On the morning of the fifth day the wife of each 
sponsor goes to the home of their "child" and brings him to her 
house. Thei'e she removes the feather (wasa'ni) from his hair and 
washes his head with yucca suds. She bathes him and dresses him 
in new clothing that has been made for him. Then she gives her 
"son" (or "daughter") breakfast. After breakfast she gives him 
some presents, some com, fruit, nuts, etc. These gifts have come 
from the k'atsina. Then she takes the child home. The "mother" 
carries the basket of fruit and nuts, but the child nmst carry the corn 
himself, in a blanket. He must plant this corn. 

The households of the newly initiated children must not eat meat 
or salt nor have sexual intercourse for four days following the whip- 
ping. Most of the other households observe these restrictions too. 

Some time after the whippmg a maternal uncle takes the child back 
of the old Mission chm-ch. There they find the cacique gathered 
with some Antelope men (kuuts' hanotc) and some k'atsina. The 
k'atsina are sitting down with their masks on the ground before 
them. The secret is out now — the children learn that the masked 
dancers are really their fathers and uncles. The imcle causes the 
child to make a prayer stick, and with it to pray to the k'atsina. 
Then he takes the cliild to the cacique and seats him on the ground 
facing the cacique. The cacique tells the child that the time has 
come for him to learn all about the k'atsina and the masked dancers. 
He tells him the story of the great fight at White House (kacikatcuf*) 
long ago in the north, when almost all of the Indians were killed by 

" In former times the children had their hair clipped close to the head except for the crown; the waBa'ni 
was attached to this. The man who fastens the feather is called maiyatcotia Q'onic. 


the oflFended spirits. He explains why the k'atsina do not now visit 
the village in person and why it is necessary for men to impersonate 
them. The cacique impresses the child with the importance of these 
ceremonies and the necessity of undiminished respect and reverence 
for the k'atsina. Fmally, the child is bound to secrecy and is warned 
of some terrible calamity that would befall him should he ever reveal 
any of the secrets. 

Then the cacique takes the cliild to the head k'atsina, who holds 
some prayer sticks in liis hands. The child's hands are placed under 
those of the k'atsina, and the cacique places his hands under the 
child's. The cacique prays at great length. He blesses the child, 
asks that he may have a long Ufe, that he may be successful in farming 
and in hunting, that his parents may live long, etc. Then the cacique 
formally presents the chUd to the head k'atsina, stating that he is 
now a member of G'uiraina tcaian'.'- 

Catalogue of the K'atsina 

The foUo\ving is a list of the k'atsina impersonated at Acoma, with 
a few notes regarding each. Pictures of most of them have been 

1. Wai' oca (duck); full company; belongs to Daut'korits estufa, 
appears in Natyati (the summer dance) and sometbnes at the summer 
solstice; sometimes in the September masked dance; is accompanied 
by Pai'yatyamo as side dancer. 

2. Guacsto-tc; full company; belongs to Kockasi'ts kiva; appears in 
Natyati; is accompanied by two Co"nata side dancers. 

3. Guabitcani; full company; belongs to Coskats kiva; appears in 
Natyati; is accompanied by Pai'yatyamo side dancer. 

4. He'mic; full company; belongs to Cutrini-ts kiva; appears in 
Natyati; is accompanied by Gauwactca'ra and two k'otcininako. 

5. Mo-ots (Moqui, Hopi); full company; belongs to Haimatats 
kiva; appears in Natyati; is accompanied by one or two G'o'maiowic. 

6. Saiyai'tuwi; full company; belongs to Cutrinits kiva; appears 
at winter solstice. 

7. K'aiya; full company; belongs to Daut'korits and to Haimatats; 
appears at winter solstice; sonietunes comes at sunxmer solstice. 

8. Tc'akwiya; full company; Kockasits kiva; appears at winter 
solstice; sometimes at summer solstice. 

&J With regard to the kachina organization at Acoma, two significant features should be noted: (1) At 
Acoma there are five units in the Icachina organization (there may have been six at one time, since both 
Mindeleff and Bandelier state that there were six kivas); among the eastern Keres there are only two 
kachina units (except at San Felipe, where there are three, but there are only two kivas; moreover, the feel- 
ing is for two groups. The situation at Santa Ana seems to be abnormal, too), the Squash and the Tur- 
quoise groups. (2) There is no ceremonial whipping at initiation in the east. In both of these features 
Acoma resembles Zuni practice rather than that of her eastern cousins. 

76 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

9. Na"'wic; full company; belongs to Kockasits kiva; appears in 
September masked dance always; appears sometimes at winter sol- 
stice or summer solstice; accompanied by Gauwactca'ra and two 

10. Nai'yu; they live southeast of Acoma near a large red rock. 
They used to come up to Acoma in the middle of the summer. They 
brought with them a buckskin bag filled with seeds — all kinds of seeds. 
They dance in the village. They call all of the people to the plaza 
to play a game with tlieir buckskin seed ball. The headman of the 
Nai'yu draws a hne on the groimd; some of the people stand on this 
line. Others, men and women, stand up on the roofs of houses. 
Then the head Nai'yu stoops down to the groimd, holding the ball 
between his hands. Then he straightens up quicldy, thi'owing the 
ball over his left shoulder backward. If it Mts some one, that person 
will have good luck, live to be very old, have good crops, etc. He 
will also receive some seeds. In return he must pay the Nai'yu with 
a piece of buckskin. The people who are standing on the ground 
must not move off the line, else they are disqualified. The Nai'yus 
when they stoop down try to look up the women's dresses. This 
causes the women to experience inordinate sexual desires. After the 
ceremony, the Nai'yus carve representations of female genitalia on 
the face of cliffs south of Acoma. I have seen and photographed 
these carvings. 

11. G'otitca'nicam*; full company; belongs to Coskats kiva; 
appears at siimmer solstice; they hve at Acoma on the northwest side 
of the mesa; they clean out the water holes; they are good farmers 
(green bean vines are placed on the top of the mask when they dance). 

12. Nakutc (Red Eyes); full company; belongs to Haimatats kiva; 
appears at the winter solstice; Uves at Wenimats'; carries rattle in 
right hand and bow and arrow in the left. Nakutc used to guard the 
cornfields at Wenimats'. He had a camp there and always had a 
fire going. He used to roast com. Smoke would get in his eyes and 
make the tears come. When they smarted he would rub them. 
His eyes became red and inflamed; that is why he is called Nakutc. 
He was an expert corn roaster; other k'atsina used to get him to roast 
corn for them. But he had a very ugly disposition. Wlien some one 
would come near his fields, he would throw rocks at him with his 
sling (yauc Biinin). But if the visitor were not afraid, if he did not 
run away, Nakutc would then let him come closer. 

Nakutc also appears in the mixed dance, G'aiya'. 

13. Tcainokanatca; fuU company; belongs to Daut'korits and to 
Coskats kivas; they talk an imintelligible language; they are good 
hunters and feed the K'otcininakos; they appear at the winter 


14. He"iya; full company; belongs to Coskats kiva; lives at Weni- 
mats'; carries a rattle in dances; appears in the winter solstice cere- 
monies; he doesn't walk straight — plays along. 

15. Hawak'o; full company; belong to Haimatats estufa; they live 
at Wenimats' and also at Acoma on the south side; they appear very 
seldom; come out at the winter solstice to kill dogs with clubs (when 
they become too numerous). 

16. Kac'ko (Mountain Sheep); full company; belong to Haimatats, 
Cutrinits, and Kockasits kivas; they resemble sheep; the G'o'maiowtc 
drive them like sheep; appear at the winter solstice. 

17. Stcuta (Crow); considerable number; belong to Daut'korits 
kiva; represent crows; live at Wenimats' and near Acoma; appear at 
winter solstice. 

(This completes the Ust of k'atsina that are represented in consid- 
erable numbers — 20 to 30 masks; the masks which follow appear 
singly, or in twos and threes.) 

18. Dapo-po; these are the two brothers w'ho lived at Acoma; 
belong to Haimatats kiva; they come during the winter solstice ; they 
don't dance, but merely walk around, stopping at the various dancing 
places. They carrj' buckskins. When they see a good-looking girl 
they wave their rattles at her; they want to give her the buckskin to 
sleep with her. They were good hunters. 

19. Heleleka; one only; belongs to Kockasits and Cutrinits kivas; "^ 
he comes only at the winter solstice; he dances with a woman; he 
carries a cactus whip. While HeUlcka is busy dancing, some man 
steals his woman. When HeUleka misses her, he hunts her out and 
whips the man who took her. 

20. Tstcttkatsame ; one only; Uved near Acoma (see myth about 
this spirit); belongs to Cutrinits estufa; appears during the winter 
solstice ceremonies with Gacinako ("white-face woman"), his wife 
from Wenimats'. 

21. He'ruta; one only; belongs to Haimatats, Kockasits, Cutrinits, 
and Dautkorits estufas; appears in G'aiya' at winter solstice; he whips 
the k'atsina if they don't sing right. 

22. KauBat; one only; belongs to Cutrinits and Coskats estufas; 
appear with Cura^tca in the masked ceremony of the Corn clan, and 
at G'aiyaBai'tsani (the fight with the k'atsina); he is blind and is 
always accompanied by his mother, a k'otcininako, who leads him 
by rattling the shoulder blades of a sheep; see myth which tells how 
he lost his eyes. 

23. Kauayackutckutsita; there are two; they belong to Mauharots 
estufa; are personated by Flint or kasi'na shamans; they appear at 
the winter solstice only; they carry a little house made of reeds tied 
together with buckskin. 

63 Only one h«l€leka appears at a time, but the mask may be owned by more than one kiva group. 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

24. Ipanikaudauskonaiya; mask is keptinMauharots; impersonated 
by a flint or a kaei'na medicine man; appears at winter solstice only, 
accompanied by a woman (K'otcininako); he carries a long pole with 
cactus on it. 

25. Masewi; the elder of the twin war gods; mask kept in Mau- 
harots; personated by an o'pi; appears in the k'atsina fight and at the 
winter solstice. 

26. Oyoyewi; the younger twin war god; mask kept in Mauharots; 
personated by an o"pi; appears in k'atsina fight and at the winter 

27. Pai'yatyamo; belongs to Dautkorits, Kockasits, and Haimatats 
estufas; appears as a side dancer with wai'oca k'atsina; also in G'aiya' 
at winter solstice ; canies flute ; one only appears. 

28. G'otcininako ; mythical women k'atsina; any estufa may have 
some ; they come in different colors (their faces only being distinguished 
with different colors) : There are red, yellow, green, and white faced 
women; yellow, however, is the most common. They come with 
other k'atsina in various dances. (See references to them in notes 
on the other k'atsina.) 

29. Mictcaikoros ; belongs to each of the five kivas except Coskats; 
one or two appear; they come at the summer dance, natyatt, and some- 
times at the summer solstice; they have white faces with a cross on 
the forehead; they carry a little pottery bowl of ashes which they 
throw into the eyes of spectators who come too close to the dancers. 

30. Nyenyeka; one only; belongs to Cutrinits; appears in the fight 
and sometimes at the winter solstice. Nyenyeka was a great rabbit 
himter. One morning he went out hunting. He saw a jack rabbit. 
He was going to hit him \\4th his throwing stick (drainitca) when 
the rabbit spoke to him. The rabbit said, "Wait! Don't hit me. 
Come here." Nyenyeka went up to the rabbit and asked him what 
he wanted. The rabbit called Nyenyeka by name and said, "I am 
going to make a bet with you. I'm going off a little ways and sit 
down. You throw your stick at me. If you hit me you win my 
clothes; if you don't, then I win your stick." Nyenyeka said, "All 
right." So the jack rabbit went off a short distance and sat still. 
Nyenyeka threw his stick at him and cut his head oft". So he won 
the rabbit's clothes (he won the right to wear the rabbit's fur). He 
skinned the rabbit and wore his fur over his head. That is why he 
wears rabbit fur on his head in the dances to-day. Nyenyeka is one 
of the k'atsina hotceni (chiefs). 

31. A'aik'ani; one only; he is a k'atsina hotceni; mask is kept in 
Mauharots or in Haimatats (when taken from the former it is worn 
by a Flint shaman; when from the latter by the head of Haimatats 
estufa); appears in the fight and in G'aiya' sometimes. 


32. Dyaitskotume (dyaits, pinon; kot, mountain; "he of the pinon 
mountain"); one only; belongs to Haimatats estufa; he Hves south- 
west of Acoma; he is a k'atsina hotceni and carries a yasi; appears 
in the fight and sometimes in G'aiya, at the winter solstice. 

33. G'o'maiowtc; an indefinite number; there are red and white 
G'o'maiowtc (i. e., their bodies are either red or white; the faces are 
the same); the red ones belong to Daut'korits kiva and the white 
ones to Haimatats; they appear at various times — with Tsitsiinits, 
with mo'ots k'atsina as side dancers; at the fight, etc. They act as 
scouts or messengers. 

34. Sa'romBia; one; each of the five kivas has one; appears some- 
times at either the sunmier or the winter solstice; he carries deer 
shoulder-blade rattle. 

35. Sai'yataca; one; in Daut'korits, Haimatats, and Cutrinits 
estufas; appears at Natyati and at the winter solstice; he whips the 
dancers if they don't sing right. He lives at Wenimats'; he nms 
early in the morning — you can hear his bells as he goes by. 

36. Tsitsunits; one; fomid in each kiva except Coskats; appears 
in the fight and in the mixed dance at the winter solstice and G'aiya' 
when it is held at other times; he whips the children in Mauharots 
when they are mitiated into the kachina organization. 

37. Cura'tca; mask found in each of the five kivas; personated by 
a yo\mg boy in the masked ceremony of the Corn clan (q. v.); also 
appears in G'aiya'; carries a fire dj'ill. He lives west of Acoma on a 

38. Co-nata;'"* two of these; found m any estufa; are side dancers 
for Guacstotc; also appear at summer solstice (sometimes) or at the 
winter solstice and in G'aiya. Carries a staff to walk with. 

39. Mactcoai; two; found in Haimatats and Cutrinits kivas; lives 
at Mataitcata, northwest of Acoma; carries hoop (mackutc) and 
javelin and wears sleigh bells; he calls out the shiwanna early in the 
morning; steals girls (see myth); appears in G'aiya. 

40. Gank'ak'aiya; one; found in Haimatats andDautkorits; appears 
in G'aiya. 

41 and 42. Dziu'kirt and K'oktn; the two headmen of the k'o'- 
sictaiya; masks kept in Mauharots; worn by flint shamans; appear 
with the k'o'sictaiya at the winter solstice. 

43. Gauwatcuk'aiya; this is A'aik'ani's brother; he, too, is a 
k'atsina hotceni and carries a yasi (little wooden staff' cariied by 
officers); mask is kept in Haimatats or in Mauharots; appears only 
in the fight. 

44. K'ak'uipe; there are two; masks kept in Mauharots; appear 
in fight; they carry medicines which they give to the children so they 

«* Doctor Parsons equates this k'atsina with the Zuni Shulawitsi. Notes on Isleta» Santa Ana, and 
Acoma. American Anthropologist, vol. 22, p. 69. 


[eTH. ANN. 47 

won't be too frightened. He lives on the south side of the Acoma 

45. Leoleobac'tca; one; Hves west of Acoma; appears at G'aiya; 
during the dance he throws small balls of mud from the end of a 
hickory switch ; if he hits you, you will hve a long time. 

46. G'o'yaotca; one; each estufa has a mask; appears sometimes 
in the G'aiya; she (is an old woman) gives deer milk to cross children 
who fret; sometunes at night she comes to a house and reaches inside 
with a crook stick and hooks a child's leg. 

47. Ma'tsitsai'yackati'ta; one; appears in G'aiya; each kiva has a 
mask; carries blood to children; lives west of Acoma. 

48. Basityamiti; one; lives north of Acoma; he comes with the 
k'oBictaiya (maybe he is a k'oBictaiya, one informant said, rather 

49. Hawi'a; one; appears very seldom at the winter solstice (one 
informant, about 35, said that he had never seen Hawi'a); he is a 
k'atsina hotceni and lives at WenLmats'. He has a long blue penis 
(he-'yina) which is a "sign to make you believe." One must "see 
Hawi'ya before one can see the k'atsina close"; he "opens the 

50. Tsitcukanackaiti, also called K'ohaij^a (Bear) k'atsma; one; 
mask kept in Haimatats, Cutrinits, and in Dautkorits; appears in 
G'aiya; he is a k'atsina hotceni and lives at Wenimats'. Another 
informant stated that K'ohaiya k'atsma once had a race with a bear. 
He won the race which entitled him to wear the bear's paws on his 
face; they appear on the mask. 

51. K'ocai'ri k'atsma (the clown society is called K'acale); one; 
mask kept in Mauharots; appears in G'aiya at winter solstice; carries 
bunches of spi-uce (hak'ak'). He lives at Wenimats'. 

52. K'uuts' (antelope) k'atsma; hves at Wenimats'. ^^ 

53. Dyan' (Deer) k'atsina; one or two appear at the winter sol- 
stice; they carry spruce. 

54. Gauwactca'ra; one; he carried a stool for the G'otcimnako 
who sit in the plaza during dances and rub a deer leg bone along a 
notched stick. He comes at the winter solstice and also with He'mic 
k'atsina, as a side dancer. Sometimes he comes with the Na'wic in 
the September dance. 

55. Tsaiyakacdek"; one; mask in Haimatats, Kockasits, and 
Cutrinits kivas; comes sometimes at the summer dance (Natyati) 
and sometunes at the solstices. He lives below Acoma on the west 
side. At dances he thi-ows something resembling axle grease at 
spectators who are too close to the dancers. 

6s I could not understand the informant's remarks concerning Hawi'ya. It seems that the blue penis 
is designed to carry conviction to slieptical minds. "lie opens the children" was stated several times, 
but I could not understand what was meant. 

^ There must be several of these. 


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56. Kasewat; one; mask kept in Mauharots; appears in winter 
solstice. (See tale concerning Kasewat.) 

57. Hictian k'oasut ("flint being with wings"); comes with 

58. K'omutina; there are two; they accompany Ciiratca in the 
masked ceremony of the Com clan. 

59. K'imac"; there is said to be a mask of K'imac", the chief of the 
k'atsinas; it is kept in Dautkorits. K'unac" appears at the winter 
solstice. (Pis. 2-10.) 

General remarks concerning the masked dancers. — The summer dance, 
Natyati (to be described shortly), is perhaps the clearest example of 
the kachina cult to be foimd at Acoma; that is, the least contaminated 
with other elements. There is a great masked ceremony at the winter 
solstice, but there the central idea is concerned with the sim's course; 
the k'atsina appear in the mixed dance (G'aiya) in a perfect medley, 
serving merely as a ceremonial katharsis, an effervescence of cere- 
moniaHsm. I believe that the "original" purpose of the k'atsinas is 
expressed in the Natj^ati, and that later they were iised in the winter 
solstice ceremonial srniply because they had them and because the 
general effect of the occasion was heightened by their use ; it made the 
observation of the sun's change of route spectacular. I believe, also, 
that the oldest masks are the five which are used by the five kivas in 
the Natyati (though perhaps there are others just as old), and that 
many later importations (or creations) were gathered together in the 
mixed dance, G'aiya', given at the winter solstice. Take the mask 
Sa'romsia, for example (which is the Zuiii Salimobiya). Although 
they have this mask at Acoma, it is not associated with any particidar 
idea, legend, or function; they simply have it — each kiva has one — 
and it appears in the mixed dance. If we assume that it is a recent 
importation from Zuiii (which I believe to be the case), this will 
explain why there is no story about him, and it also accoimts for his 
role in the mixed dance. Where else were they to put him? I beUeve 
that the mixed dance at the winter solstice is evidence (and result) of 
an efflorescence of the kachina cult. 

But perhaps the best argument in support of this view is to be 
foimd in comparative evidence. In Zuiii and among the eastern 
Keres there are both summer rain dances and masked ceremonies at 
other times and for other pxu'poses. But the function served by Nat- 
yati at Acoma is the most uniformly distributed; there is greater 
diversity in the other aspects of the cult. Hence, one is led to the 
conclusion that this rain-making function, the core of the Natyati 
ceremony, is the purest expression of the kachina cult. 

Data for the masked dance in September are meager and very 
unsatisfactory. I believe that the dance is not always given. I 
take it that it is of the nature of a harvest dance, a thanksgiving to 

82 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

the k'atsina who have so faithfully provided the rain for the crops 
during the summer. 

The fight (G'aiyaBai'tsani) is a k'atsina ceremony in pure form, 
but it is secondary to the summer dance (Natyati); it is an after- 
thought, so to speak. It is said that it was instituted after the people 
had migrated south from White House and had settled at Ako 
(Acoma). It was done to commemorate the great fight mth the 
k'atsina and to show the young people what had happened. It is 
simply mythological history dramatized; it does not have that essen- 
tial core that makes the summer dance the k'atsina ceremony par 
excellence, viz, the dancing of the k'atsina to bring rain for the crops. 

The ceremony of the Com clan belongs to stUl another category. 
It has the appearance of being very old and rather fimdamental 
(Curatca seems to be the equivalent of the Zufii Shulawitsi).'' The 
full import of this ceremony, however, was not learned. I do not 
know why it is performed by the Com clan.** 

Natyati, the Summer Dance for Rain*' 

It is in this dance that the k'atsina assume their supreme role, that 
of rain making. The ceremony begins about the 10th or 12th of July 
and lasts four days. The date is set a considerable time in advance 
by the cacique. Two Idvas, selected by the cacique, are to take part ; 
one will dance the first two days, the other the last two. (The kivas 
alternate in succeeding years.) At the request of the cacique, the war 
chief visits the heads of the two kivas that are to dance and instructs 
them to prepare for it. After conferring with each other, the head- 
men report to the war chief, who carries their message to the cacique ; 
the day is now fixed. The cacique then requests the war chief to 
announce the ceremony to the pueblo eight days before its execution. 

During this 8-day preface the men who are to take part in the 
dance practice songs and dances. The headmen of the kivas take 
out the masks, repair them if necessary, paint them, and give them 
food and a smoke. The women of the village grind coiti, bake bread, 
make pottery, etc., in considerable quantities. The dancers make 
dolls to give to the children at the dance. Four days before the dance 
a rabbit himt is held to get meat for the feast. The dancers drink 
herb brew in the morning and vomit. Shortly before the dance they 
make prayer sticks. Usually one or two men go to Albuquerque to 
buy fruit for the occasion. Great quantities are shipped out — 
melons, oranges, grapes, peaches, plums, etc. 

" See Stevenson, M. C, The Zuni Indians, pp. 157-158. 

•* Doctor Parsons suggests that the reason is a conceptual association: Shulawitsi is a corn god, spotted 
over to represent corn. 

68 Acoma differs widely from tlie Keresan pueblos of the east with regard to summer rain dances. See 
Goldfrank's account from Cochiti, pp. 104-lOfi. This is quite similar to practice at Santo Domingo and San 


On the day before the dance the kiva group that is to dance first 
eats dinner, after which they fast until noon on the day following. 
They do not drink water after about 8 o'clock in the evening preceding 
the dance. They sleep in the estufa that night. Early m the morning 
the dancers bring gifts to the back of houses just north of the plaza; 
these are guarded by the tcukacac hotceni ("httle chiefs") imtU the 
afternoon, when they are distributed. 

At sunrise the dancers leave their estufa, masked. They dance 
in eight places along a definite circuit. (See fig. 1.) They finish 
about noon. Then they go back of the church. They take off their 
masks, take a deep di-aft of herb brew, and vomit. Then they eat 
dinner. After dinner they put on their masks again. After practicing 
a song or two, they again dance in the eight points of the circuit. 
Then they go back of the church for a brief rest and to practice another 
song. They come out again and dance m the first fom- stations ; this 
brings them to the plaza, where the cacique and the war cliiefs have 
been watching them from their seats on the south side.'" After 
dancing there, they go back of the houses to get the gifts. They 
bring them out and place them in the plaza. The war chief goes to the 
head of the k'atsina and tells him that the cacique (who is, it will be 
remembered, the "father" of the k'atsina) is present. The head 
k'atsina dancer returns with the war chief and greets the cacique; all 
of the dancers follow suit. Then they bring presents to the cacique 
and his family. They go back to dance in the plaza. AU the people 
are crowding around, for the presents are to be distributed. When 
they finish dancing, they throw the gifts to the people. Then the 
dancing is resumed and they pass on to the end of the circuit; then they 
are finished. 

The dancers go to tsitcinic K'aatc, or Mauharots, the "head 
estufa." They take off their masks and place them on the north side 
of the room. Then they go to their own estufa; the cacique and the 
war chiefs are gathered there. Cutim'iti (the war chief) goes through 
the streets singing, telling the women to brmg food to the estufa for 
the k'atsina (dancers). The cocineros (cooks) of the war chiefs 
receive the food at the entrance of the kiva and pass it down inside 
for the men. 

After supper the dancers go outside the kiva dressed in their blan- 
kets. They dance a bit at the foot of the ladder. They are free to 
go to their homes, but they must return to sleep in their kiva. 

Early next morning, without breakfast, the same group of dancers 
begins to dance again. They dance in the first four places in the 
circuit, which brings them to the plaza. Presents are to be distributed 
again. Early that morning women have brought gifts and have 
hidden them (as on the previous day) back of the houses on the north 

"0 Another informant stated that the cacique led the dancers in the plaza. 

84 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

side of the plaza (there is a narrow alley leading from the plaza to the 
rear of these houses). When the dancers go back for the presents the 
women are there to tell the dancers whom to give each present to/' 
The k'atsina dance again, and then proceed to the rest of the dancing 
stations. More presents are thrown to the people. When they have 
completed the circuit they have finished their dance. They take off 
all their costume except their masks and G-strings. The cacique is 
there, standing on the north side of the eighth dancing station. He 
is holding a basket of hatcamuni (prayer sticks). He gives them to 
the head k'atsina. All of the dancere go out onto the south mesa, 
which is some little distance from the \'illage. There each dancer 
reclaims the prayer stick that he has made and prays with it. The 
masks are removed, the feathers taken off and put in folds of their 
blankets. They dress (in their everyday clothes) and go back to 
their estufa. The masks are put away in a little side room, hung in a 
cloth from the ceiling. They may go home now, but they must have 
no sexual intercourse for eight days after the dance. Nor may they 
eat salt or meat for four (eight?) days after. 

On the two days following the same program is executed by the 
second kiva group. 

At the beginning of our catalog list of k'atsina we gave the names of 
the k'atsina which appears for each kiva in this dance, together with 
his "side dancer." The dancers dance in a long line, composed of 20 
or 30 men, all wearing the same kind of mask. The man in the center 
of this line is called maiyo (Spanish, mayor, elder); he leads the 
singing (the dancers supply their own music \\-ith rattle and song). 
In addition to this line of dancers similarly masked there are usually 
one or two side dancers. These are masked personages who do not 
really dance, but go about freely near the dancers. Often they whip 
spectators who come too close to the dancers. They are called 
tsanawan', or "mean" ones. 

Sometimes the kachale come out at the Natyati, but not always. 

The Summer Solstice (DtDrA'MicoKo) 

About the middle of June the cacique begins to watch the sun rise. 
He stands at a certain spot in front of the Cathohc church and notes 
the point at which the sun first appears over a great mesa in the east. 
(The sun moves north toward the summer solstice.) When the sun 
has almost reached its northermnost point the cacique proclaims that 
the day of his turning south will fall on a certain daj% specifying a time 
a few days subsequent to liis announcement. 

^1 Each household has a place where its members are accustomed to sit during the dance. 


Everyone makes prayer sticks to be deposited on the morning of 
the solstice. Each person makes four sticks which are tied together 
and wrapped in a corn husk. On the morning of the solstice two men 
and two women take the sticks for all the people to the east edge of the 
cliff and offer them to the sun and to the k'oBictaiya. 

The cacique erects (or causes to be set up) his altar in Mauharots. 
For the most part, I understand, the ceremony at the summer solstice 
is confined to the head estuf a, Mauharots ; there is seldom any dancing. 
The kiva ceremony consists of prayers and songs. It is said, however, 
that masked dancers sometimes appear at the solstice and dance in 
the plaza. The k'acale also come out." 

The Winter Solstice (IvoamicOkO or Koamicakurtsa, 
"Southeast Corner") 

The cacique watches the sun, as for the summer solstice. He sets 
the date for the solstice eight days in advance; everyone in the village 
is notified. A person from each household goes out into the moun- 
tains to get herbs for making brew. This brew is drunk every morning 
for the first four mornings of the 8-day prelude. The brew causes one 
to vomit; it cleanses and purifies one. On the fifth morning after 
the announcement prayer sticks are made by everyone. From this 
time until the ceremony is over no one may eat salt or meat, and there 
must be no sexual intercourse. On this morning also the cacique and 
the Antelope men take their altar to Mauharots, where it is set up. 
On that night groups fi'om the five kivas go, singly, to Mauharots and 
dance; the kuuts' hanotc (Antelope men) sing. 

On the fourth day before the solstice the medicine societies go into 
their chambers, where they lay out their paraphernalia.^^ Sometimes 
groups from the kivas come here to dance too. 

On the following day (the tlrird before the solstice) the men take 
their prayer sticks out to their fields and bury them ; the women carry 
theirs to the east edge of the mesa and throw them down. On this 
day the head men of the five kivas get out the masks of the k'ofiictaiya; 
they are painted and refeathered for the ceremony. Other prepara- 
tions are made; new moccasins are made; seeds of all kinds, shrubs, 
cactus, small trees, etc., are collected for use in the solstice ceremony. 
Rabbits are caught alive and kept. 

^^ Data for the summer solstice were more sketchy and unsatisfactory than for the winter solstice; I am 
not sure why. Perhaps the summer ceremony is less strictly determined in ritual. Certainly it is not so 
well attended: at this season most of the people are husy in their fields in the Acomita Valley, whereas 
nearly everyone is present at the winter ceremony at old Acoma. I believe that the functions of the cacique 
and the medicine men are faithfully performed at the summer solstice, but that the "extra ceremonial" 
features are left to the convenience and wishes of the men at large. 

^3 The Fire Society uses its own chamber: the Flint Society rents a house for the occasion. 

86 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. an.n. 47 

The Coming of the K'oBictaiya 

On the day before the k'osictaiya are to come the men who are to 
personate these spirits make prayer sticks, called hatcamini hi'asthimu, 
or "brave prayer sticks" (they are also called "war" sticks). 

Children take part in the k'oBictaiya ceremonies; it is especially 
desirable to have sickly children participate, as it makes them stronger, 
but all boys must take part four seasons before they may wear masks 
in the k'atsLna dances. (They do not, however, take part in the 
k'osictaiya ceremony until they have been initiated into the k'atsina 
organization. Some time elapses, however, between the initiation 
into the kachina cult and participation in masked dances.) When a 
father wishes to have his son take part he takes a handful of meal 
to the headman of his estufa, which he gives to him with a prayer, 
and asks him to select some man to "look out" for his son. The 
person chosen for this purpose is called nipaoieuusiumanic ("he who 
gives him an early rise"). He takes the child into custody and tells 
him what he will have to do. Very early in the morning, before the 
k'oBictaiya come, these little boys are taken out and hidden in fissures 
in the rock at the eastern edge of the mesa. They are nude; they 
wear only a little piece of rabbit fur tied around the penis, and a few 
feathers are glued to the body. They sit, hidden in the crack of 
the rock, sitting on a sheep pelt wrapped in a blanket. 

On the morning of the final day, very early, the men who are to 
impersonate the k'osictaiya rise, paint, take their masks, and leave 
the village. They go down the mesa and travel toward the east. 
At some distance from the village they pray with their war prayer 
sticks (hi'asthimu). Then they scatter, two by two, singing war 
songs. They begin to return shortly before sunrise. 

The war chief rouses the people before dawn; they must come out 
to greet the k'oBictaiya. Everyone goes to the eastern side of the 
mesa. About sunrise the k'osictaiya arrive. They come in two 
files, one led by Dziukiri, the other by k'okiri, the head men of the 
k'osictaiya. They are carrying httle fox-skin bags of seeds and fuzz 
from cat-tails, small trees, shrubs, cactus, etc.^' They go to the east 
edge of the mesa where the people are gathered. When they come 
to the fissures where the children are hiding one k'osictaiya will throw 
a handful of cat-tail fuzz at the spot, reach down and extract a naked 
boy. They release their live rabbits, appearing to cause them to 
spring from the ground when they throw the cat-tail seeds. People 
who are ill or weak come to the k'osictaiya to be treated, to be given 
strength. The k'osictaiya touches the person, or the part affected, 
with the tip of his Ughtning symbol. (PI. 11, a.) As the sun rises 

" The k'oBictaiya ascend the mesa via the southwest trail, arriving back of the church. Here they pick 
up the trees, shrubs, etc., which they have hidden here. 


they pray to him with corn meal. They plant their shrubs in the 
cracks of rocks. Seeds (and sometimes gifts of nuts or fruit) are 
given to the spectators. The seeds are kept with their seed for the 
spring and planted. 

After walking about for a time, the k'oBictaiya go to their kivas, 
where they take off their masks. Then they go to Mauharots, at 
the invitation of the cacique, where they bi-eakfast on rabbit stew. 
Then they go back to their estufas. They spend four days and four 
nights in the village. The masks, which repose on the floor, are fed 
and given a cigarette three times a day. At night the men put on 
their masks and go to Mauharots to dance. (They may go to the 
chamber of either of the curing societies if they wish.) When they 
leave their estufas to dance they all holler " Hu-u-u-u-u-u ! " (with 
rising inflection). All the people say, "G'oaiyu Bunya" ("they are 
going out to dance")- Sometimes the k'oBictaiya dance in the plaza, 
and, as we have seen from our catalogue of k'atsina, many of these 
supematurals come to dance at this time. There is a dance called 
g'aiya, or mixed dance, which is usually held at this tune. A great 
assortment of k'atsina appear in this. 

On the morning of the arrival of the k'oBictaiya the cacique, 
accompanied by the war chiefs and some medicine men, goes out to 
a site on the mesa above which the sim rises. This place is called 
the Sun's House (Ocatc G'am); it marks the southernmost pomt of 
the sun's course. The medicine men who go with the cacique carry 
their flints, eagle plumes, and bear paws. The cacique has a very 
diminutive suit of clothes, a little shirt, trousers, moccasins, etc., for 
the sun. A spot is cleared and the suit buried with prayers for the 

After the k'oBictaiya have spent four days in the pueblo the war 
chief notifies them that it is time to leave. Early in the morning of 
the fifth day he comes. The k'oBictaiya leave the kivas and go to 
the east side of the mesa. (The men wear the masks on the top 
and back of the head; the faces are not covered.) The men are 
careful not to look back when they leave the kivas, for if one did 
the spirit which he had impersonated would not leave the village and 
would disturb him throughout the year. When they get to the edge 
of the cliff they throw the shrubs, little trees, etc., which they had 
previously stuck in the cracks of the rocks, over the side. Then they 
take off their masks. Facing east, they move the masks upward and 
forward four times, holding the masks with both hands. This is to 
speed the departure of the spirits. The food which was given the 
masks during their stay in the kivas is thrown over the cliff for the 
spirits. Then each man draws four lines on the groimd with a flint 
between his mask and himself; this prevents the spirit of the mask 
from returning to the village. Then they go back to their estufas 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

and the masks are put away by the head men. (They are put in a 
little side room, the door of which is plastered shut.) The men who 
have impersonated the k'oBictaiya may not sleep with their wives 
for 18 days after the ceremony. 

The Fight with the K'a''ts'ina 

This ceremony has not been held for many years. In former times 
it was held every five or six years, in the spring. It was referred to 
as K'a-'tsina nau'wa si' i dyu"usa, "K'a''tsina are going to fight us." 
It is a dramatization of the myth of the fight at White House (q. v.), 
except that m the ceremony it is the k'a-'tsina rather than the people 
who are killed.'* 

When the time came to hold this ceremony the cacique told the 
war chief to notify the headmen of the five estufas, and to request 
their presence at Tsitcimc k'a'atc (the head estufa, Mauharots) at a 
designated time. "WTien they were assembled at Mauharots the 
cacique told them that it was time to reenact the fight at K'aci- 
k'atcuf* (White House) and requested each estufa to get as many 
young men as possible to serve as k'a"'tsLna warriors. 

Then the headman of each estufa gets all of his men together. 
He tells them that they are going to have the fight and asks each 
yoimg man if he is willing to be a k'a"'tsina warrior. 

The pueblo is to be defended by the Antelope people (Kuuts' 
ha'notc) and the O'pi (the Warrior Society). The Antelope people 
secure the services of boys and girls whom they have sponsored at 
k'a-'tsina initiations; they will help in preparations for the defense 
of the village. If one of these boys is going to serve as k'a''tsina 
warrior, however, the Antelope people may not enlist his support. 

After preluninary coimcils the date for the fight is set. The war 
chief announces m the pueblo that there will be a k'a-'tsina dance 
in eight days. Of course, the old folks luiow what is to happen, but 
all the children think they will receive presents, as at Natyat' (the 
summer dance). 

The yoimg men who are to be k'a-'tsina warriors practice rimning 
and jumping, early in the morning and late in the evening, in prepa- 
ration for the fight. They drink herb brew and vomit night and 
morning. Very early in the morning of the fifth day each one goes 
out to the mountains, barefooted, to get wood for prayer sticks. 
They cut eight sticks and return to the village, arrivmg shortly after 
simrise. They eat breakfast and return to theu- estufas. That day 
is spent in making prayer sticks. While they are doing this one man 
at a time goes into a side room where the masks are kept. The three 
headmen are there. A mask is selected for him and placed on the 

» Compare this with the Zufii; Kyanakwe. This ceremony is not found at any other Eeresan pueblo. 


other side of the room, and covered with an identifying cloth. No 
one knows what mask the other is to wear, for one might take advan- 
tage of his opportimity during the fight to kill a man he did not like, 
and no one would know who did it. On the day of the fight, however, 
brothers or close friends arrange to recognize each other by the 
style or design of theii' moccasins, or some other sign, so that they 
may stay together duruig the fight to help each other. 

On the sLxth day each warrior k'a-'tsina kills a sheep — his own if 
he has them, if not, he must buy one. He saves the blood in a clean 
bowl. The blood from the heart he puts in a gut and seals it up. 
He will wear this about his neck during the fight. The mutton is 
saved for the feast on the eighth day. The blood which he has 
saved in the bowl is nuxed with guayave (a com bread) and tallow 
and boiled with the sheep's head. This is eaten on the seventh day. 
The gut of blood is concealed imtU the day of the fight. 

Dm-ing these days the O'pi pray night and morning in the different 
directions and in the hole in the wall of each estufa. (See sections 
on estufas.) The Antelope people are making preparations for the 
defense of the village. 

On the evening before the fight the governor (dapop) appoints 
men to serve as sentinels (guawactu) to see that no one approaches 
the village during the ceremony. They set out early in the morning, 
two for K'atsi'm" (the Enchanted Mesa), two go about 5 mUes south 
of Acoma, two north of Acoma, near the spring G'o'mi, and two at 
Dyaits Ko't (Pinyon Momitain), southwest of Acoma. These men 
are those who did not wish to serve as k'a"'tsuia warriors and who 
are not members of the Antelope clan. They take limches with them, 
which they receive from the war chief's cooks. One could not refuse 
to serve as sentinel without very good reason. On top of the mesa, 
during the ceremony, some of the officers of the pueblo, the heuten- 
ants, bickales, etc., keep watch with field glasses. 

Shortly after midnight of the seventh day aU the warrior k'a-'tsina 
leave their homes, taking a lunch with them. They tell their wives 
and mothers good-by, for they may not retmn again. They go to 
therr estufas, get theii- masks and descend the mesa, going west. 
They go out about 3 miles from the pueblo. They keep their masks 
concealed. They have new moccasins wrapped up so no one can 
see them. 

Early in the morning of the eighth day two red go'maiowic arrive 
in the pueblo, crying "Ah-a-a-a Ai'!," the war ciy. The war chief 
meets them. The red scouts warn him that the k'a-'tsina will soon 
come and destroy the village and advise him to prepare defense. 
Then several friendly k'a''tsina are seen walking about the village. 
There were two k'akuipe who lived at the foot of the mesa to the 
6066°— 32 7 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

south, two gotitca'nicame who Uved at the foot of the mesa to the 
north, and two nyenyeka who Hved out west. These k'a-'tsina 
belonged to and were prepared by the estufas, Cutrini'ts, Coska'ts, 
and K'ock'asi-ts, respectively (q. v., catalogue of k'a-'tsina). The 
red or friendly scouts (go'maiowie) lived at the foot of the mesa to 
the southwest at Bun'yakocokome (southwest comer). They belong 
to Daut'kori-ts estufa. Then Masewi and his brother were there. 
(They were impersonated by Flint medicine men.) 

The 0-pi and the Antelope people were gathered in Mauharots 
together with the war chiefs and their cooks. Masewi and his brother 
go aroimd to aU the houses carrying a flint in the right hand and a 
bow in the left. These they press against the two walls at each 
comer to give them strength. The k'akuipe did the same, but used 
a cane in the left hand instead of a bow. The other k'a-'tsina go 
about the village giving the children herbs to swallow so they will 
not be too frightened. 

Soon the white scouts (go'maiowie) arrive from Wenimats' armed 
with bows and arrows. They find the war chief and the red scouts 
in the plaza. They tell the war chief that the k'a-'tsina -will soon 
come brmguig presents as usual. They call the red scouts liars for 
sayuig that the k'a-'tsina are going to fight. They argue a while. 
The red scouts offer the whites cigarettes, but the latter refuse. 
They do not wish to have anyone come near them, and when the 
red scouts tiy to take theii- bows from them they struggle violently. 
After a brief scuffle the white scouts shake themselves free and run 
awaj^, back to Wenimats'. 

There is great excitement in the viUage. Masewi and his brother 
and the k'ak'uipe continue to strengthen the houses and the others 
administer their antiterror medicine. Before long the white scouts 
return, still with the same report. The red scouts begin to lose 
patience, and urge the war chief to fight. The white scouts are 
invited into tsitcinic k'a-atc, but they refuse. They refuse cigarettes 
and food. They quarrel for some time and then depart a second time. 
This time, however, they take food peace offerings with them to 

By this time there are some men erecting a barricade near the pond, 
west of the village, to defend themselves when the k'a-'tsina come. 
The barricade (ai'tcin') is made of upright poles of birch (?) and 
hides. It is about 14 feet wide and about 12 feet high. There were 
six men whose duty it was to keep the materials for tliis barricade, 
and to erect it on occasion. They were called aitciniti'tca. They 
served for life and were succeeded by their sons. Duruig the day of 
the fight they stay at tsitcinic k'a-atc with the Antelope people and 
the war chiefs, when they are not busy with the barricade. 


For the third time the white scouts (gO''maiowac) enter the pueblo. 
The red scouts meet them halfway up the mesa and overhear their 
conversation. Then they run on ahead to the plaza, and annoimce 
to the war chief, in alarm, that the white scouts are maldng threats, 
that all the people in the village are to be killed, or taken captive to 
^Venimats', etc. When the white scouts arrive in the plaza the red 
scouts fall upon them and disarm theni. The white scouts become 
very angry, and for the first time threaten everyone. Then they 
start to run away. The red scouts give chase and take their mocca- 
sins away from them. The white scouts throw rocks and make 
threats as they retreat to Wenimats'. 

Then the people in the village prepare for the fight in earnest. The 
Antelope people paint themselves pinlc all over their bodies; their 
faces are painted with ya'katca (reddish brown) with stcamu'n 
(black, sparkling) put on over the red under the eyes. They wear 
long breechcloths. Each has a cpai'ak' (soft eagle feather) in his 
hair. The women have their faces, hands, and arms painted yellow 
with corn pollen. They wear mantas, buckskin leggings, and mocca- 
sins. The o'pi paint their faces black above the mouth and white 
below (like Masewi). They wear buckskin shirts over their regular 
shirts; a hai'acon (feather) hangs from their hair in the back; eagle 
down (waBon') covers their heads and eyebrows; buckskin skirts 
(ho'tsi-ni) tied at the top with a woman's belt, red buckskin leggings 
above their moccasins that reach almost to the knee, legs painted white 
from leggings to skirt. The Antelope people carry ya'si (wooden 
cane); the opi are amied with flints and knives. 

When the wliite scouts return to the west for the third time the 
warrior k'a-'tsina prepare to attack the pueblo. They separate, 
going by twos, so that only friends or brothers will see each other don 
his mask. They first pray with their prayer sticks. Then they put 
on their masks and new moccasins ; they wrap the old ones in the mask 
sheet and tie them to their belts. They start running toward the 
west, then, yelling. When they have come together in a group they 
turn about and start for Acoma, running. Some distance west of 
Acoma there was a mesa which they had to cross. At one point there 
was a deep narrow chasm over which the k'a-'tsina had to leap, one 
at a time, as the passage was quite narrow. One k'a-'tsina was 
stationed on the east side of this fissure to see that they crossed in 
order. (Once, however, two warriors collided just as they were about 
to make the jump. Both fell down the deep chasm and were killed. 
The others could not stop to help them; the bodies lay there until 
nightfall. Their bodies were never returned to their homes but were 
buried secretly.) As the warriors near the pueblo they wrench small 
trees and shrubs from the ground and brandish them fiercely, yelling 
all the while. 

92 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

When the warriors reach the mesa the cacique and some men go 
down to meet them. They take the big clubs away from the warriors 
and give them smaller, less dangerous ones. The cacique and the 
Antelope men hold the warriors back with their ya'si while Tsitsinuts 
and Dyaitsko'tume go to the top of the mesa to the barricade. They 
place their foreanns on the ai'tcin' and their heads on their arms and 
cry. Then they pray."^ 

After Tsitsinuts and Dyaitsko'tume have had time to pray, one of 
the Antelope men cries "Cauo!" (Let's go!), and they rush up the 
mesa, followed by the clamorous k'a"'tsuia. The Antelope men join 
the people south of the pond. They hold the k'a-'tsina back with 
their y a' si until all have gathered, when one of the Antelope men again 
cries "Cauo!" Then they all run back of the screen (the ai'tcin'). 
The warrior k'a''tsina then run up to the barricade, one at a time, 
pray, and then strike it with their clubs four tunes. The cacique 
stands by to see that none strikes it more than four times. Should 
one do this, the cacique will order two of the warriors to seize him 
and beat him with their clubs. 

When all of the k'a-'tsina have struck the screen the aitcinititca 
(the men who tend the barricade), assisted by the o'pi, take the 
barricade to the next station, where it is erected, and the same pro- 
cedure is followed. At the third station the o'pi cut the throats 
of some of the k'a"'tsina. (Four days before the fight each warrior 
k'a"'tsina goes to one of the opi taking a waBa'n' (feather, q. v.), 
with which he prays, and arranges with him to cut his throat, care- 
fully designating the time and place, and perhaps giving him a 
sign of recognition. This is to insure ha\4ng one's throat cut bj' a 

Each time the ai'tcin' is moved the warrioi-s are held back with 
ya'Bi until it is erected in place. \^Tien the o-pi cuts the gut of blood 
at the k'a-'tsina's throat the blood runs out onto the ground, where it 
remains. This is a sacrifice to the earth. If a k'a'tsina has more 
than one gut of blood he will have his throat cut again. They lie face 
downward on the ground after their throats are cut, and pray. 
Masewi and his brother come around to the slain k'a''tsina and with 
their flints and bows touch their heads, shoulders, backs, and legs. 
This resurrects them. They come to life slowly and finally stand up. 
Gradually they regain their former fury, and grabbing up a club dash 
into the fight once more. Sometimes though the k'a"'tsLaa does not 
recover, but continues to he inert on the groimd where he fell. In 
such a case the other warriors will drag him up to the screen (ai'tcin') 
and lean him against it. Only k'a-'tsina are killed in the fight; the 
Antelope men and the opi are not killed. 

"fi Tsitsinuts, it will be remembered, was in the fight at Kacikatcuty*. He tried to pacify the k'a''tsina 
before the fight; he did not wish them to destroy the village. Now he and Dyaitsico'tume (' ' he of the Pinon 
Mountain," a mountain west of Acoma) try to restrain the warriors; they do not wish to fight the pueblo. 


At the I'oiu-tli Station many throats are cut. It is now about 4 
o'clock in the afternoon (the fight having begun about 3). And so on 
through the fifth and sixth stations. At the seventh station the opi 
seize the white scouts who have been encouraging the warriors all this 
time, and castrate them. (They wore their guts of blood concealed 
in their- breechcloths.) Masewi and his brother run up with their 
flints and bows and apply thcni to the disfigured k'a-'tsina, but they 
continue to sit, rocldng back and forth, in great pain. 

Allien the fighting is finished at the seventh place, boys arrive from 
the house of the Antelope clan with baskets of prayer sticks which 
have been made by the Antelope people. Each basket contains a 
ball of cotton with beads inside. The opi and the men who tend 
the barricade carry their own prayer sticks with them. The o"pi 
have taken the clubs away from the k'a'tsina. Each person has 
four prayer sticks tied in a corn husk with com meal. The ^Vntelope 
men go to the baskets and get their prayer sticks and give them to the 
warrior k'a-'tsina, placing them in their hands and holding theii- own 
underneath, praj'ing. They also divide the cotton ball of beads 
among them. A big smoke fire is built on the west of the mesa, to 
recall the sentinels. The o-pi and the barricade men give their prayer 
sticks to the Marrior, or to the friendlj" k'a-'tsina. The Antelope 
women ti-j^ to give theii- sticks to then husbands. Now the k'a-'tsina, 
both friendly and hostile, depart, the friendly ones going north, south, 
and east to their respective homes, the warriors descenduig the trail 
back of the church, accompanied by the red and white scouts. The 
Antelope people go to their house; the o'pi to Mauharots. The bai-- 
ricade men dismantle the screen (the ai'tcin'), return any skins they 
may have borrowed to then owners, and take the poles to their homes. 
The ^Vntelope men undress at then house, remove the paint from then- 
bodies, and lay their ya-Bi in a pile. A day or so later some boys 
take these ya-si to the foot of the mesa and tkrow them into a cleft 
in the rocks or bury them. 

AVhen the k'a-'tsina arrive at the bottom of the mesa they unmask 
and go out west where they eat and rest. They retiu'n to the pueblo 
sometime after dark, go to their estufas, put their masks away, and 
go home. 

Everyone who takes part in this ceremony may not sleep with his 
(or her) mate for eight days before the fight and for eight days after. 
No participant may eat meat or salt for fom* days before, except 
women who are nursing children. Everyone may eat meat and salt 
on the day of the fight." 

-' It is believed that bad luck or some great misfortune would befall anyone who violated this food ordi- 
nance. Someone would be killed or have some bones broken in the fight, perhaps; but on the day of the 
conflict they eat meat to give them strength. 

94 THE ACOMA INDIANS (eth. ann.4- 

The whole village is sad for several days after the fight. The blood 
of the k'atsina lies drying in the plaza. There are no games. The 
men may return to work in their fields." 

Cura'tca Lights the Fires 

This is the ceremony of the Corn clan. It is held every five years, 
about the last of July.'* 

Wlien the time approaches the head man of the Corn clan (the 
nawai) summons all Corn people (ya'k'a hanotc) to their house, which 
is situated just east of k'ock'asits k'aatc (kiva). They set the date 
eight days in advance. They inform the war chief and he notifies 
the pueblo that Cura'tca will visit the pueblo in eight days. 

During the first four days there are the usual preparations for a 
ceremony — making herb brew and vomiting night and morning, get- 
ting wood for prayer sticks, grinding meal, etc. The Corn men and 
Com women get the boys and girls, respectively, that they have 
sponsored at initiations into the k'atsina organization to help them. 
They convene nightly in their house to practice songs and dancing. 
After four days thej' begin to make prayer sticks and wana'n'. 
None of the Corn people may eat meat or salt from that time until 
the day of the ceremony, and all must abstain from sexual intercourse. 
On the seventh day they paint their masks and prepare their costumes. 
On this day some of the Corn men go rabbit hunting. 

At midnight of the seventh day some of the boys that have been 
sponsored by Com clan people at k'atsina whipping set out from the 
pueblo to go to neighboring mountains and mesas, where they build 
fires early on the following morning. Each couple is equipped with 
a fire drill (a"'tiutco'm'). Two boys go to each of the following moun- 
tains: K'awecDima (about 12 miles north of Acoma), Cak'aiya 
(about 12 miles west), Dyai'ndv'o-t (about 8 miles southwest), and 
Stcamuna kot (about 10 miles southeast). They have had a good 
dinner. They may not drink water imtil they have finished building 
the fires and have returned to the camp of the personators of the 

There are seven k'a''tsina impersonated: One Cura'tca, who is 
represented by a boy about 10 years old. He is entirely naked, 
except for his mask; he does not even wear the customary breech- 
cloth. Two Cuma'acka, who wear skirts and carry bows and arrows 
in a Hon skin quiver (o'ictiwacoan). Two K'o-muoina, and K'auBat'* 

"^ This ceremony is rather puzzling. It is said to be a dramatization of the tight at the mythical White 
House, but in that tight the people were killed. In this ceremony only k'atsina are killed; and why is it 
that the k'atsina warriors strike the barricade and not the people'? Doctor Parsons has suggested that 
this ceremony, the Zurii kyanakwe ceremony, and the Hopi version (described in a manuscript by Stephen), 
might be a imeblo rendering of a Spanish dance. Los Moros, which is a dramatization of the expulsion 
of the Moors from Spain. 

" Compare this ceremony with the Zuni shulawitsi; Stevenson, The Zuni Indians. I understand that 
several years have passed since the last ceremony. 


and his mother complete the Ust. K'ausat''', who is blind, carries 
an antelope head. He wears a buckskin shii't and leggings. His 
mother is dressed like a gc'tcLninako; this role is always taken by a 
man. The people who are to impersonate these k'a-'tsina are chosen 
in a coimcil of the Com clan at the time the date is set, or shortly 
afterwards. These roles belong to no special persons. K'aiiBat""s 
mother carries a bundle of shoulder blades of deer, which she rattles 
as she walks so that her son may foUow. (See story which tells how 
K'auBat'" lost his eyes.) 

Meanwhile other Corn clan people have been busy in the pueblo. 
Early in the morning before sunrise, while the dancers are away at 
the spring, some Corn people place a pile of wood that they have pre- 
viously gathered at each dancing station and also in front of the Corn 
clan house. 

The dancers eat at midnight. From then until after the ceremony 
no one may eat or drink, except small children under about 8 years 
of age. After their supper the dancers set out for k'oaea, a spring, 
some distance west of Acoma. They carry their masks with them. 
They are accompanied by the head man of the clan, and perhaps 
some other old men, and some Corn women. About halfway to the 
spring, they stop and make a camp, where they leave the women and 
their masks. (The rabbits that have been killed are brought to this 
camp.) Then they go on to the spring. 

At sunrise the two boys who have gone north to K'awec'Dima 
build a fire on the mountain top. Then they proceed toward Mc- 
Carty, westward, building about six fires along the way. When they 
build their last fire on top of the mesa at McCarty, then all the other 
fire builders make their fires, and start toward Acoma, building fires 
along the way. The dancers at the spring build a fire when they see 
the one at McCarty. They pray at the spring, leave their prayer 
sticks, and return to the camp. Cura'tca fills his httle jar with water 
and lights his firebrand before leaving the spring. He carries a 
pottery canteen (cpo^na), hung from his neck, down the back, by a 
piece of soapweed. He has a firebrand which he has made by stuff- 
ing a roll of cedar bark with soft bark shreds. He lights this before 
leaving the spring; it continues to glow for a long time afterwards. 
He also carries a piece of charred wood, which he picks up. 

It is about 1 o'clock in the afternoon when the k'atsina impersona- 
tors return to the camp where the women are waiting with their 
masks and the rabbits. They put on their masks and set out for 
Acoma. Cura'tca carries the rabbits hanging on his back. Arriving 
at the foot of the mesa on the west, they dance a bit, and then ascend 
the trail southwest of the church and dance at the rear of the church. 
Then they go to the first dancing station, where they dance, each pair 

96 THE ACOMA INDIANS [kth.ann.47 

of dancers having its owti song. Cura'tca does not dance, but lights 
the pile of wood at each station. They proceed to all of the dancing 
stations in this manner, and then on to the pile of wood in front of 
the Com clan house. When they have danced here, some Corn clan 
women come out and take the jar of water, the rabbits, and the charred 
wood from Cura'tca and carry them mto the house of the Com clan. 
Then they all go inside, immask, bathe, and have a feast. 

The nawai' of the Corn clan (the headman) calls the war chief to 
the Corn clan house and gives him the jar of water. The war chief 
takes it to the cacique, who orders him to take it to every house in 
the pueblo, giving each household a few drops. If there is any water 
left after this is done, a few drops are put into the water resers'oirs 
on the mesa. If any remains then, the cacique sprinkles some, with 
prayers, to the cardinal points. Then, if any still remains, the 
cacique puts it in his household jar. The charcoal is distributed by 
the Corn clan women to each household in the pueblo, a small bit 
being placed in each fireplace.'^ 

The O'pi, or Warriors' Society 

There used to be a society of warriors at Acoma. This group was 
composed of men who had killed an enemy. The killing, however, 
must be accomplished according to definite prescription. The con- 
test would be hand to hand. The Acoma warrior would mortally 
wound his opponent, who would fall.*" Then the victor would take 
his scalp; he would place his thumb on the crown of the head for a 
measure and cut around the thumb. The Acoma warrior, ha\Tng 
removed the scalp, would chew the flesh and swallow a bit of it.*' 
Then he sings with the scalp to the four cardinal points. When he 
has finished singing he goes to a large red ant hill and draws the scalp 
across it four times to the cardinal points. Then he picks the scalp 
up and flings it to his comrade, saying "dyum"" (brother). His com- 
rade catches the scalp; this makes him an o'pi, too. When the other 
warriors come up they strip all clothing from the two men and throw 
them on the ant hill. The ants sting them severely. This makes 
them strong and capable of enduring great pain. When they come 
back to the pueblo a scalp dance is held.*^ 

^ My informant was not sure of the meaning of the ceremony. He thought it emphasized (and drama- 
tized) the importance of fire — "all over the whole world." The importance of water, too, is symbolized. 
But why the Com clan performs this ceremony rather than some other unit and why those particular 
k*a*'tsina are represented he could not say. 

* One informant stated that the foe in falling had to touch Ihe Acoma warrior, otherwise he could 
not become an o'pi. This was denied by a second informant. 

*i The second informant said that one did not chew the scalp. 

M The scalp dance will be described in connection with the k*acale. 

white] ceremonies and ceremonialism 97 

The K'acale 

This society is the equivalent of the Rio Grande koshare. It is a 
secret organization with clown and wax functions. They are asso- 
ciated with the Sim and with Paiyatyamo.** Along the Rio Grande 
(among the eastern Keres) tliis society is closely associated with the 
Flint curing society; sometimes there is a close correspondence of 
membership, but at Acoma these two societies are quite separate. 
It is interesting to note, however, that at times of mitiation the 
K'acale use the chambers of the Flint and Fire societies. The K'acale 
appear at various dances, such as the September masked dance, at 
the summer solstice sometuiies, at natyati, etc. (The war chief de- 
cides sometimes whether the K'acale shall come or not.) Theii' dress 
is like that of their eastern coimterparts, body painted white with 
black horizontal bands; black rmgs around eyes and mouth; corn- 
husk headdress; black breechcloth; barefoot. They dance around 
and ui and out among the dancers. Dming natyati they lay a line 
of ashes between the k'atsina dancers and the spectators; if anyone 
should cross this line the K'acale seize him and take him to Mauharots 
where they make hun dance K'acale. They often amuse the people, 
too, saying and doing comical tilings. 

The relation between the K'acale and the o'pi will become manifest 
in the foUowuig accomit of their collaboration \vith the o"pi in the 
scalp dances. The K'acale headman tells the society that they belong 
to the Masewi, and that they must help the o'pi. For a time, durmg 
this ceremony, the K'acale are m complete control of the pueblo.** 

The K'acale society is vu-tually extinct at Acoma. There remain 
only one or two of the old members.*^ Nowadays, when the K'acale 
come, other men impersonate them. They are not real K'acale — they 
have not been initiated; they do not know their secrets; they merely 
act like K'acale. 

The following is an accoimt of the last scalp dance at Acoma and 
of the last time new members were initiated mto the K'acale society. 

" Paiyatyamo, too, is associated with tlie sun. 

" Certain features stand out quite clearly in a study of the koshare, their clown, war functions, and their 
skatological rites. Nevertheless I feel that a thorough imderstanding of this society has not yet been 
attained. I do not understand how such a combination of features could have been made. The K'acale 
are fools at times and at others the most important officials in the pueblo. They amuse and terrify people 
and disgust them, too, with their filthy rites, and they are associated with the medicine societies, too, 
in a way. Koshare are to be seen on medicine bowls sometimes. (There are some in the American Mu- 
seum of Natural History.) It is said also that a witch may assume the guise of a koshare, which seems to 
indicate that the koshare are powerful in black magic. There is no doubt but that they do possess, or are 
able to manipulate, supernatural power to a considerable degree. Is the koshare a conglomerate, his sev- 
eral qualities being associated through historical accident, or is he the product of a peculiar psychological 
situation? I feel the need of a more intimate understanding of these personages, and I feel that it is at 
tliis point that a deeper understanding of pueblo religion (and "psychology") could be most profitably 

« Why did the K'acale society die out while two ctu'tag societies remain with considerable strength, 
and the kachina cult seems even to be growing? Was it because the opi were forced into extinction? 
r>id this remove the reason for their existence? This is a suggestive clue. 

98 THE ACOMA INDIANS (eth.ann.47 

It is recounted by a man who was made K'acale at that time, about 
40 years ago. 

At this time there were just a few o'pi left, and they were old men. 
There were no more wars, so the society was doomed to extinction; 
they could get no new members. But the old o"pi decided to have 
one more scalp dance before they died, so they took the scalps that 
they had preserved out to Dyaits ko't (Pifton Mountain), southwest 
of Acoma. On the east slope thej' built a Navaho hogan and placed 
the scalps inside. This was in the fall, about the last of October or 
the 1st of November. About 1 o'clock in the afternoon a man was 
seen nmning toward Acoma \\-ith great speed, crying "Ah-h-h-h-h 
Ai!" the war cry. The boys in the sheep camps were frightened and 
began driving their flocks toward the pueblo for protection. The 
village was thrown into turmoil. All the o"pi and other men armed 
themselves quickly and hurried away from Acoma toward Dyaits ko't. 
When they arrived at the hogan they fired several volleys into it. 
Then two o"pi went in and got the scalps. The warriors rested about 
the hogan while one of the war chiefs returned to Acoma with the 

The messenger arrives in the pueblo and goes to the head war 
chief's house where the cacique and the principales are gathered. 
When Cutimiti gets the news he goes out and walks through the 
streets pubUshing it to the people. He tells the story in detail, re- 
counting each incident of the fight and how they were finally victori- 
ous. He teDs the people to prepare food to be sent out to the warriors. 
The women prepare lunches which they bring to the war chief's 
house, where his cooks receive them. Then some men take the food 
to Pinon Moimtain. 

That night in their camp the warriors sing. The next morning 
they return to the camp with the scalps. The two o'pi who had 
"renewed" the scalps — i. e., made the killing — were the "head" o-pi 
for the occasion. (There was another opi who was headman as long 
as he hved.) The warriors wore a headdress of spruce. Their faces 
were painted with ya"katca, with stcamu'n under the eyes and above 
the mouth, and with i'pict"" (white) below. They sing the Anakaci'a 
when they march back into the village \\ith the scalps. Thej' ascended 
the southwest trail, arriving on the mesa behind the church. The 
o'pi carried cedar brushes with some hau's from the scalp on them. 
The women met the warriors. The scalps were carried on a pole. 
The girls took the cedar brushes with the scalp hairs and waved 
them. Going aroimd to the door of the chiu-ch, the sacrist ano bap- 
tized the scalps. This was to "adopt" them into the pueblo. The 
procession then passed through the seventh dancing station to the 
eastern edge of the mesa, then west through the first street (the one 
farthest north) to the chamber of the Fire society, where they turned 


south to the middle street; then east to the main plaza where they 
plant the scalp pole in the center. 

The scalps are left in the plaza for four days and four nights. 
Each night they dance in the plaza for four nights. They do not 
sleep, except to doze a few minutes between dancing. At the end of 
the fourth day the scalps are taken to the house of the o'pi where 
they are kept. (See fig. 1 for location of opi house.) The scalps 
are now adopted into the pueblo. 

Preparations are now begun for the scalp dance nakats'niyaniettta 
Dyu'. One of the head o^pi goes to one of the headmen of the 
k'acale taking four wana'n' with cigarettes in a corn husk with corn 
meal. He prays and requests the headman to have enough k'acale 
for the dance. The other head cpi goes to the other head k'acale with 
a similar prayer and reriuest. There were not enough k'acale at that 
time, so it was necessary to recruit new members. They sought out 
sons of former k'acale whom they compelled to go to the estufa to be 

There wei'e two groups of k'acale, one having headquarters in 
Mauharots, the other in the Fire Society house. In addition to the 
headman of each group there were two k'acale called cu-t'pai'yatyam" 
and Cpat' pai'yatyam".*^ The other k'acale were called ocatc pai- 
yatyamo (sun youth). In the dances under the supervision of the 
k'acale the five estufas divided, Haimatats' and Ko'ckasi'ts dancing 
with Mauharots; Coska'ts, Cutrini-ts, and Daut'kori'ts with the 
k'acale in the house of the Fire society. 

The boys were taken into the estufas. (Narrator of this account 
was taken to Mauharots.) There were many men there and one 
woman, a medicine woman belonging to the Flint society. She was 
k'acale, too. When all were assembled the head k'acale rose and 
made a little speech. He told them that the k'acale belonged to the 
Masewi, and that they were to help the o'pi at dances. Then the 
woman approached the candidates with some ashes; the k'acale 
headman brought some yaic'atca (reddish-brown paint). He wet 
his finger, dipped it in the ya'k'atca and applied some to the crown 
of the head, the breast, the palm of each hand, and the sole of each 
foot of each candidate. Then he applied ashes in the same way. 
The woman tore strips of corn husk, which she crimped, and hung 
one from each temple of the initiated boys. They wore these for 
many days. Then they all went home, \vdth instructions to stand in 
readiness for further orders. 

About a week later some of the boys were called into Mauharots; 
the others were summoned to the house of the Fire society. It was 

»• Put' is a small unidentified bird. Cpati is a mockingbird. The head war chief and this k'acale are 
called cu't' because they have access to any ceremony or household in the village, resembling the bird 
by this name. Pai'yat yamo means ' ' youth. ' ' 


announced that they were going to dance the ahi'na as they now had 
a sufficient number of k'acale. Then they go out, Mauharots and 
its two estufas going first, and dance the ahina in the plaza. At 
the end of the song an opi announces that in eight days they will 
have a scalp dance. The k'acale and o'pi from the chamber of the 
Fire society attended by the men from Coska'ts, Cutrini'ts, and 
Daut'kori'ts then dance in the plaza. From this time until after the 
dance the k'acale are in full control in the village. 

On the first evening cuti pai'yatyam", one of the head k'acale, goes 
out to get the o'pi to bring them to the estufa; cpati pai'yatyam* 
brings one woman. (The procedure is the same for each estufa. 
Cuti pai'yatyam" from Mauharots gets his women from the east end 
of the village; the cpati pai'yatyam" from the other group secures 
his women from the west end.) She sits at the k'acale's place in the 
southeast corner. There is no altar. The men sit in the northwest 
corner, the o"pi on the west side. They sing and dance. Then the 
men sit down while one woman (on the second night two women are 
brought to the estufa, on the third night, three, and so on until the 
eighth night) stands north of the tsiwai'mitymi and dances the aci'a 
while a man stands in front of the fireplace and instructs her. When 
she has finished, a k'acale conducts her to her seat, and, when the 
evening is over, to her home. No one may smoke during these 
eight da.ys unless given cigarettes by the k'acale or the o'pi. Con- 
sequently, every evening the heavy smokers of the pueblo come to 
the estufa for tobacco. This is a rule imposed by Masewi. 

On the second day the k'acale hire women to make sweet corn 
meal. It is ground on the third day and returned to the estufa on 
the fourth. In the afternoon of that day they go into a side room 
adjoining the estufa. There they set up their altar. They have 
one ho'nani (corn ear, q. v.), a bowl for medicine, and several jars 
of water. They make a sand painting on the floor. 

Shortly before sundown they paint and dress themselves in some 
grotesque manner and go out of the estufa. They climb up on the 
highest house near by and yell. Then they go about the village by 
twos, amusing the people, and notifying the men to come to the 
estufa that evening. 

When the k'acale have returned to the estufa they go into the 
side room and paint themselves all over with i'picty" (white) with 
black horizontal bands. Then they prepare the mush. They put 
filth and human e.xcreta in it, stir it up, and later give it to the people 
in the ne.xt room to drink. 

In the ne.xt few days the k'acale get together the costumes for the 
opi to wear in the dance, and for the women, the k'otcininak'o. 
On the eighth evening, the last one preceding the dance, each group 


of k'acale has eight women in its estiifa, practicing; one song is sung 
for each dance. 

The next morning, before dayhght, the k'acale come out from 
their estufas and sing on a housetop. Thej' are not painted yet. 
Then they go back into the estufas. When they come out again, 
just before sunrise, they are painted white ^\'ith horizontal black 
stripes; the ocatc pai'yatj^amo wear old clothes in some grotesque 
fashion. They call all the men and 0"pi to the estufas and the two 
groups of eight women that are to dance. On this morning they tie 
two turkey feathers on the left side of the head of all the participants. 
These are worn the two days of the dance. On the evening of the 
second day the k'acale remove them and take them out at night, 
with corn meal, and pray. 

At sunrise the first K'acale group comes out from Mauharots. The 
men of the accompanying estufas comprise the singers; one woman 
and one o'pi dance. The woman goes ahead, dancing in and out 
among the singers, the o"pi following behind, dancing. As they arrive 
at the plaza the k'o'tcininak'o goes out into the middle and dances 
alone. This dance is also called by its Mexican name, "Montezuma 
dance." The relatives of the o-pi throw presents to the dancers. 
\Mien k'o'tcininak'o has finished dancing they all return to Mauharots, 
and the other group comes out and repeats the same dance. Each 
estufa group dances eight times, once for each of its k'o'tcininak'o on 
each of the two days of the dance. When the women have finished 
on the second day, the father's sister of each one takes her to her 
(father's sister's) house and bathes her and washes her head. On the 
eleventh day, the day after the dance, the K'acale go to their estufas, 
where they await women from their fathers' clans, who take them to 
their houses and bathe them and wash their heads.*' 

At the close of the dance the K'acale dismantle their altar and sweep 
up and throw away their sand painting. 

The Caiyaik, or Hunters' Society 

There used to be a society at Acoma called Caiyaik. It was a 
secret society; the members were called tcaian' (which is the term 
used for the members of the curing societies). Their business was to 
supply medicines to himters to insure theii- success. They drew upon 
supernatural power, of course. The mountam lion was then- patron 
beast god, but it is thought (by informants now living) that they 
prayed to other spirits as well. Just what spirits were offered prayer 
is not known, although it seems quite certain that they prayed to 

•^ See Dr. Elsie Clews Parsons's article in American .\nthropologist, toI. 20, pp. 162-186. The dance 
she saw at Acoma when new officers were installed was undoubtedly the " Montezuma," or scplp dance. 
£5ee, also, her The Scalp Ceremonial of Zuni. 

102 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. anh.47 

the sun. Little was learned concerning their paraphernalia and 
litual. There seems to be no doubt, however, that they possessed 
a stone figure of a mountain lion (as do himters' societies else- 
where). The Caiyaik, in addition to supplying individual hunters 
with medicines (and fetishes — little mountain lions, perhaps), were 
in charge of commimal hunts, such as rabbit hunts; that is, they were 
the ones who made the necessary arrangements with the supernatural 
world, the beasts, etc. The war chief of the pueblo directs the himt. 

The rabbit hunt. — Nowadays the war cliief officiates at the rabbit 
hunts. He annoimces the time in the pueblo. All the people go out. 
They go to some chosen place. The war chief prepares to build a fire. 
First, he gathers some grass, rabbit manure, sticks, etc., which he 
puts in a little pUe. Then he draws a meal line aroimd it and four 
lines across it, intersecting at the center (lines from each of the 
cardinal points and midway between them). A little com meal is 
put in the center, too. Then some fresh flowers are gathered and 
placed on the meal lines and in the center. Then the war chief hghts 
the fire. When the smoke begins to rise the war chief prays: "Sun 
hunter, I wish you to help me to-day. Cause lots of cottontails and 
jack rabbits to come together here." The rabbits are supposed to 
come then. The people go about with clubs (woBaits) and slings 
(yaucBunin) to kill them. It is said that before a person strikes a 
rabbit the sim will strike it and make it "kind crazy." All the 
himters throw com meal on the fire before they kiU rabbits. 

When the hunt is over and the people have leturned to their homes, 
the war chief goes around to all the houses and asks for rabbits. If 
they have killed many, they give him some. When the war chief 
comes to a house and finds that they have brought home no rabbits, 
he says to the boys "ba-tco wetstia" ("you must vomit"; i. e., drink 
herb brew in the morning and vomit). Corn meal is put in the rab- 
bit's mouth after he is brought home, and a pinch of meal is thrown 
in the fire. 

The Fiesta of San Estevan 

San Estevan, the fu-st martyr, is the patron saint of Acoma; his 
"day" is September 2. A big fiesta is held at this time in his honor. 
Almost all of the Acoma people from Acomita and McCartys go up 
to old Acoma on the 1st of September. Many whites, Mexicans, and 
other Indians from Isleta, Laguna, Zuni, Navaho, etc., come to spend 
the day. 

Early in the morning of the 2d, just at sunrise, the great bells in the 
old Spanish chm-ch are tolled. The village, which during the summer 
months is practically deserted, is swarming with people, bustling 
about getting ready for the ceremonies. The war chiefs are at work 
on the little house which is to shelter the saint when he is removed 


from the church. It is a small structure about 12 by 18 feet, made of 
poles and covered over with green cottonwood boughs. Bunches of 
green corn are laid alongside the walls at the entrance. The inside 
walls are himg with the nicest Navaho rugs to be found. A table is 
in the rear, ready to receive the saint. Benches are arranged along 
the walls. The entrance is wide open. 

Many people (Indians only, though I beheve I did see a Mexican 
once) sell fruit, melons, ice cream, etc., near the plaza during the day. 
They set up their httle stands early in the forenoon. 

The church is opened and made ready for the services. The priest 
arrives about 9.30, but visits with friends for a time before preparing 
for Mass. This is the only time duriog the year that Mass is held at 
old Acoma. The chiu-ch is very large. There are no seats; people 
stand or kneel. 

Church services begin about 10 o'clock. Most of the people attend, 
although some of the old people do not come. I have seen some of 
the old people come in some time before the services began, go up 
to the altar and kneel and pray, and then go out. Whether they 
were shy about attending the services, or whether they preferred to 
worship in their owti way, or whether they were sunply shirking, I 
could not say. 

The priest, assisted by some Indian boys, conducts Mass. Then 
he makes a speech in Spanish, which is translated by the governor. 
He makes announcements, perhaps, and tells the people again why 
they are honoring San Estevan, and that they should lead good lives, 

Then the saint is taken out of the church. The governor and his 
lieutenants and the fiscales come in and take the saint from his place 
at the altar and cany him on a litter out of the church; all the people 
fall in behind. When the saint reaches the door a dnniimer beats a 
small drum (using two drum sticks; one is always used in the regular 
Indian ceremonies). When the saint is carried outdoors, several men 
fire rifles into the air.** Then the saint is carried all through the 
village, up one street and down another. As the procession passes 
points of the mesa, boys fire revolvers into the air. When the circuit 
of the village is completed the saint is brought to the httle bough 
structure and deposited on the table in the rear. Candles are lighted 
and placed near by. Women bring in great quantities of bread, 
melons, and bowls of meat (rabbit or mutton) stew, for the saint. 
Some old men, the war chiefs, etc., sit on the benches in the house 
with the saint. 

^ I do not know why these shots are fired. One informant did not linow; another said that it was to 
drive away the bad (witches). 

104 THE ACOMA INDIANS 1etb.ann.47 

It is now about noon. The dancers are getting ready. The priest 
remains in the church after the saint leaves to talk to anyone who 
wishes to see liim and to marry couples who have waited for this 
occasion. Sometimes a couple that has been "married" — ^i. e., hved 
as man and wife — come at this tune to have their union receive the 
sanction of the Catholic Church. Sometimes the dancers come out 
and dance once before noon. 

After dinner the dance begins. There is great hospitality shown 
at this fiesta. Ordinarily, strangers are received at old Acoma with 
suspicion, distrust, and surliness — in addition to charging all visitors 
$1 per head for the privilege of inspecting the pueblo, but at the feast 
of St. Stephen, Acoma is hostess to everyone. Indians from other 
villages and Navahos are housed and fed. Even white people are 
treated with some kindness and hospitality. Several people who had 
never before sho^v"n any inclination to be kind to me invited me to 
have dinner wdth them during the fiesta. 

There are two groups of dancers, each coming from its own kiva. 
They file into the plaza, dancing; men and women alternate in the 
line. A group of men, usually old men, follow, singing. One man 
carries a great drum which is beaten veiy loudly. At the head of 
the line of dancers is a man carrying a long pole which is "dressed 
just like the dancers." It is called ocatc paiyatyamo (sim youth). 
At the top of the pole is a bimch of colored parrot feathers Ulce the 
headdress of the men dancers. Then there is usually a bulb of wood 
(resembling in size and shape an "Indian club") painted green with 
a band of white and black. Then comes a ceremonial sash, made of 
cotton and embroidered with colored yam, which is also worn by the 
dancers. A fox skin hangs down from the point where the sash is 
fastened (just as a fox skin hangs dowTi from the waist of the men 
dancers, in the back). The man who carries this standard moves 
about in the plaza during the dance, sometimes at one end of the 
line of dancers, sometimes in front of them at the middle. 

The costume of the dancers is quite lilic that of all fiesta dancers 
in the eastern pueblos.** The men wear parrot feathei-s in their hair 
at the crown of the head. Their hair, which is freshly washed, hangs 
down their back. They are nude to the waist. Theii- bodies are 
painted (sometimes one group will be painted blue green and the 
other a sort of reddish brown). They wear the usual dance kilt, or 
skirt, with the cloud and weather symbols on the side. They wear 
bells around their legs below the knee, or at the ankle. Sometimes 
they tie hanlvs of colored yam around the leg below the knee. They 
wear moccasins topped with skunk fur. They carry a gourd rattle 
in the right hand and a bimch of spruce twigs in the left. 

** There is an excellent photograph of hesta dancers in Kidder's Southwestern Archfieology, p. 40. 


The women wear a "manta " (a black woolen dress, without sleeves 
and fastening over the right shoulder only). Their feet and legs are 
bare. A wooden tablita or head board is worn over the head. They 
cany spruce in each hand. 

The dance lasts all afternoon. First one group dances, then 
another. Between dances they rest and practice songs. After the 
first dance all of the dancers file into the little house where the saint 
is and pray to him, one man and one woman kneeling before him at 
a time. Along toward the close of the afternoon the two kiva groups 
come out at the same tune and dance together. Various dance 
figures are executed throughout the afternoon. There is no individual 
performance; it is entirely a group affair. Indeed there is no leader 
so far as anyone can see, but all of the dancers keep step, turn, etc., 
at the precise moment and in jjerfect coordination. 

At the close of the dance all of the dancers gather near the house 
of the saint. Before they stop dancing the war chief begins to pray. 
He prays in a droning, singsong voice. Then all of the dancers stop 
and kneel. The war chief prays and thanks the people for dancing 
for the saint. Then the saint is carried back to the church, followed 
by the dancers and some people. 

That evening, after supper, people visit with each other. Usually 
one large house is cleared, and they have a "com dance." There is 
no costume; men and women just dance to singing and a gourd rattle. 
Sometimes they have a "Mexican dance"; i. e., three Mexicans, one 
with a guitar, another with an accordion, and the third with a fiddle, 
play American jazz and a variety of Mexicaii selections. The young 
men and girls dance together.^" 

The fiesta dance at Acoma is not as well done as at the Keresan 
villages in the east. The costumes are not pure; there is a mixture 
of Indian and wliite. Some men wear vuiion suits and American 
shoes, socks, and garters. Some even wear shirts and trousers, but 
some of the men, especially the older men, insist upon purity of cos- 
tume. The dancmg itself is mferior to that of then- eastern cousins; 
it lacks finish. I think tliis is to be attributed, in part at least, to 
the fact that the eastern pueblos are stunulated by comparisons with 
each other. They visit each other at fiesta times, and compare notes; 
and, of course, each village is anxious to appear well in the dancing. 
Acoma, on the other hand, is quite isolated. She has only Laguna 
to compete with, and she is even worse. The young people at Acojna 
are not particularly interested in putting on a finished dance; that 
means a lot of work. About all they want is to have a good time, and 

w Some of the old folks disapprove of these dances very much; it is another step away from the old ways. 
6066°— 32 8 

106 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth.ann.47 

the old men are not greatly concerned either, for the saint's feast is 
not really an important event. It can not compare with a k'atsina 
ceremony. Consequently the art is declining. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Week 

On Christmas Eve people (those who care to do so) bring small clay 
figm-es of horses, cattle, sheep, corn, etc., into the church in baskets 
or bowls. They place them on the floor and pray to God and to San 
Estevan. A cross is placed in the bowl for God. This is to encourage 
a generous multiplication of beasts and crops during the year to come. 
These figures are kept in the church four days, after which they are 
taken out and deposited in fields, at the base of cedar bushes, or in 
cracks in rocks. 

After midnight, on Christmas Eve, many people come to the church 
to pray. They pray to God, Jesus Christ, and to their patron, San 
Estevan. At simrise they dance. 

Dining the four days that follow there is much dancing in the church. 
They dance buffalo, eagle, Comanche dances, etc. No masks are 
worn. These dances are not esoteric, and are not connected with 
the k'atsina. They are danced merely for pleasure. 

Rooster Pulls '' 

On the morning of a cliicken pull one Flmt and one Fire shaman 
go to the house of the war chief to make medicine. The rooster is 
given this medicine to drink. They pray to the rooster. Then some 
of this medicine is put into the white clay with which the men paint 
theii' hands. Two men from the group are chosen to be the first to 
grab the fowl. The war chief makes four wasa'n' (feather bunch), 
each accompanied by a wi'ics' (reed cigarette), which are wrapped in 
a com husk. He gives a package of this kind to each of the two first 
men. Thej^ pray with the wasa'n'. The rooster is suspended from 
a crosspiece between two poles, erected in the plaza. '^ Before they 
start, the men paint their hands in the plaza, using the white clay 
mixed with medicine. All the men run under the crosspiece several 
times before the two men, who have already been chosen, seize the 
rooster and tear him down. Then everyone pursues the man with 
the rooster. They grab it and fight with it. In the end he is torn to 
pieces. It is said that rooster blood is "good for rain.'"^ 

>■ These are always held on some saint's day. Chickens were introduced into the pueblos by the Span- 

•2 Sometimes, after the first pull in the plaza, a rooster is buried in the sand at the foot of the mesa. Men 
on horses ride by until some one snatches him out of the sand. Then they fight with him. 

»3 It is interesting to note how this alien custom is interpreted in terms of the native philosophy of rain 


The Medicine Cult 

There are four medicine societies at Acoma, viz, the Flint (Hictian'), 
Fire (H'ak'an'), Kasina,^* and Shiwanna ("Thundercloud") Soci- 
eties.'^ There are also snake medicine men, but they do not consti- 
tute a society; they are simply individuals who treat snake bites. 
Neither the Shiwanna nor the snake medicine men are of much conse- 
quence. They are quite unimportant so far as sickness is concerned, 
and they exert even less influence in the ceremonial and political life 
of the pueblo. The chief purpose of the Shiwanna Society is to treat 
persons who have been shocked by lightning and to set broken bones. 
They also treat persons who have "a bad smell from the stomach" 
(haUtosis?). It is the three societies, the Fire, FUnt, and KaBina, 
that are really important. They cure ailments due to the machina- 
tions of w-itches and purge the village of these evil spirits. They also 
exert a very great influence in the politico-rehgious Ufe of the people. 

These societies are secret organizations whose ciiief purpose is to 
combat witches. They are composed of men and women, and 
children who are old enough to be intrusted with secrets. The 
women, however, merely assist the men at ceremonies; they do not 
cure. A headman (naicdia, father) presides over the society; he 
summons them when necessaiy, supervises the ceremonies, etc. The 
Fire Society has a chamber in which its meetings are held (fig. 1)."^ 
The Flint Society usually holds its ceremonies in the head estufa, 
Mauharots, unless it is being occupied by the cacique, when it "rents 
a house somewhere else " (ahnost any large room would do). KaBina, 
as we have noted before, kept his paraphernalia in an "east side 
room" (hak'aiya) adjoining Mauharots. 

Disease, its cause and cure. — Everyone at Acoma knows, of course, 
that if you violate some of the simple but important rules of hygiene 
you will become sick; you should not eat too many green peaches. 
They have a number of herb medicines which they employ in treating 
minor ailments or complaints, and I have no doubt but that some of 
them possess healing properties of real merit. But if an ailment 
becomes serious, does not respond readily to these simple treatments, 
it is evident that the person in question has been stricken by a witch. 
It then becomes necessary to secure the services of a medicine man or 
a societj'. 

" Informants at Acoma did not know what kaBina means. An informant at Santo Domingo said that it 
meant, or was applied to, a person who "ate too much." The kaBina society became extinct at .\coma 
during the winter of 1926-27. There was only one man left in the summer of 1926. Since his death his 
functions have been taken over by the Flint Society; I understood that the head of the Flint Society 
initiated the war chief at his installation in 1927. 

'I .\n informant about 50 years old told me that "there used to be" bear, eagle, giant, lizard (meyu), ant, 
and cikame medicine societies at Acoma. I do not know what this statement is worth; certainly none of 
these societies has existed there within the past few generation.s. 

»« The chamber of the Fire Society was referred to as a k'aatc, wliich is the term for the kiva (or estufa) 
of the kachina organization. In structure, so far as I could learn, it is similar to the regular kiva. Kivas 
in the eastern Keresan villages are called tci'kya. 


lETH. ANN. 17 

There are many witches in the world, evil spirits whose sole pur- 
pose is to injure people, to make them sick.^" A witch may appear 
in a number of guises. He may come as abnost any kind of animal 
or bird or he may appear as a person. Sometimes persons in the 
pueblo itself prove to be witches. There is no sign by which one may 
recognize a witch in the body of a dog, or an owl, or a person. This 
fact makes witches even more insidious and dangerous. One can 
detect a witch only by associating some person or animal wdth some 
malady. For the layman tliis association amounts to little more than 
mere suspicion (sometimes abetted by jealousy or dislike in the case 
of persons accused of witchcraft). But the medicine men are infalli- 
ble. When by means of their instruments and rituals they have 
secured power from the animal medicine men thej' can see and know 

Witches cause disease in two ways. They shoot such things as 
thorns, sticks, pebbles, broken glass, rags, j'arn, or snakes into some 
one's body, or they steal a person's heart and make off with it.^^ In 
either case, of course, the patient becomes very ill and will die unless 
the objects are removed or the heart returned. 

A person who is ill may secure treatment from a medicine society 
(or a single doctor) if he so desires. A sick person is not compelled 
to submit to treatment, but the medicine men are obligated to treat 
any person applying to them for aid. 

Whether one doctor or an entu-e society is summoned depends upon 
the wishes of the patient (and his immediate senior kin) and upon the 
nature of the ailment. If the ailment is relatively slight, one doctor 
only may be called ; if the ilhiess is quite serious an entire society' would 
probably be summoned. 

If one medicine man is to be called, the father of the patient makes 
a prayer stick and prays for the health of his child. Then he places 
the stick in the hands of the sick one, who prays. Then the father 
takes the prayer stick to the doctor who has been chosen and asks 
Mm to come. 

The doctor visits the patient, brmging with him two eagle plumes 
and a gourd rattle, and some buckskin bags of medicine. He sings, 
prays, and smokes. He examines the patient to determine the 
location of the objects which have been injected by the witch. He 

" There is a feeling among the Indians, however, that witches do not, or can not, injure white people. 
There is no reason why the Indians should prefer white physicians to their own, they say; each one treats 
his own ailments— the white doctor for white diseases, the Indian for Indian; and witch diseases are peculiar 
to Indians and can be treated only by native medicine men. 

^ The first method seems to be more common than the second. I received one account of witchcraft at 
Acoma that described another method of causing illness. There was an epidemic of whooping cough in the 
pueblo. Persons walking about the village late at night heard a man walking around the houses, lie 
was beating a drum, making a gasping sound which resemblecl coughing and gasping. lie was a witch 
who was responsible for the sickness in the pueblo. Perhaps this case may represent another category in 
the etiology of disease which might be formulated as follows: A witch by simulating the symptoms of a 
disease may spread sickness among the people. This is, of course, a species of sympathetic magic. 


removes them by sucking them out, or in some cases he withdraws 
them with his eagle plumes. He also "wliips disease away" with 
the plumes. He will treat the patient for four days and nights, if 
Jiecessarj', conring several times during the day and evening to sec 
liim. If at the end of that time the patient's condition is not much 
improved it is quite likely that another doctor, or an entire society, 
will be summoned. The doctor is paid for his services in corn meal, 
f^our, or other commodities of value. 

Curing by a society. — A patient may desire to have an entire society 
treat him. If he is critically ill the entire society usually comes; if the 
patient wishes to join the society upon recovery the whole group 
always comes. It happens, however, that a whole society might 
come with all its paraphernalia and treat a patient who had not 
e.xpressed his intention of joining. ^^ 

If the patient expresses a desire to join a curing society he tells 
his father, naming the society of his choice. The father and other 
relatives of the patient then make some wasani (feather brmches, 
q. v.). The father takes one and prays mth it, aslcing that his 
child may recover from his illness. Then he places the feather 
bunch that he has just used in the hands of the sick child, who prays. 
Then the father takes the wasani to the headman (naicnia) of the 
society and asks him to cure his cliild. The headman calls his 
doctors together, distributes the wasani among them, and tells them 
about the sick child. They agree upon a time to visit the patient 
(they go at once if he is critically ill), after which they go out with 
their feathei' bunches and pray for their success. 

At the tune appointed the society comes to the house of the sick 
person, bringing their paraphernalia with them. A room has been 
cleared of fuj-niture and placed at their disposal. They set up their 
altar and lay out theu- paraphernalia.' Each doctor has a ho'nani 
(corn ear fetish, q. v.) which is laid out m front of the altar. (PI. 1, b.) 
Then there are medicine bowls, small stone figures of animals, the beast 

** There is some confusion in the accounts of two informants on this point. One stated that the doctors 
would not dre^s, or rather undress, and paint themselves if the patient did not wish to join. Another 
stated that the ceremonj- by the group was the same whether the patient wished to join or not. However, 
there is this difference between the two situations; If the patient does not wish to join, the society is 
summoned with corn meal; if he does wish to join, the family and relatives of the patient make waeani, 
which are taken to the headman. 

' I received two pictures of this altar from two informants. The other pictiu"e is included in the section 
Paraphernalia and Ritual (q. v.). These two pictures are quite different in design and structure. It is 
possible, of course, that nejthei informant was guilty of misrepresentation. They might have been de- 
scribing dilferent altars, although each stated that the one he had drawn represented the altars of both 
the Fire and the Flint societies. (KaBina had a different kind of altar; it was described in the account of 
the initiation of the war chief.) If, however, either informant is at fauk, I am inclined to believe that it is 
the one who drew the most elaborate picture. At .\coma this altar is called yaBaicini. .\mong the east- 
ern Keres yaBaicini refers to the sand painting which the medicine societies outline on the floor at cures. 
At Santo Domingo and at San Felipe a wooden slat altar is not used in curing ceremonies. They 
have one, which they call aitciu, which is used at solstice ceremonies (and perhaps at retreats). 

110 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

gods,^ bear paws, large flints, a bowl of water and a gourd dipper, 
a refuse bowl, a rock crystal (quartz ?), etc. The medicine men 
are nude, except for a breechcloth. They have a black band painted 
across the face covering the eyes. They have their long hair tied 
up in front with a corn husk. Two short turkey feathers are worn 
at each temple. 

The patient is brought in and placed on a blanket on the floor.^ 
The father or mother and perhaps one or two relatives may be there, 
but the general public is not admitted. 

The head medicine man begins to mix the medicine (wawa). He 
takes a gourd dipperful of water from the water jar which he poin-s 
into the medicine bowl (waititcani), singing the while a song to the 
north.* Then another dipperfid with a song to the west, and so on 
through south and east. Then he fills the bowl. Perhaps he sings 
another song or two. Then he takes from his collection of buckskin 
bags some herb medicines which he sprmkles in the medicine bowl.* 
Then the other medicine men put in their medicines. If there are 
any women tcaiani they put their medicines in last. 

Then diagnosis and cure are begun. The headman picks up the 
small rock crystal which lies before the altar and peers through it 
at the patient. This crystal (ma'caiyoyo) enables the medicme man 
to see the objects which have been injected into the patient's body. 
He can see witches, too. In fact, a doctor can see anytliing any- 
where with the aid of this lens; even if he be blind ordinai'ily, he can 
see during curing ceremonies with the aid of this crystal.^ \Mien 
naicnia (the headman of the society) has finished his examination 
each doctor in turn uses the crystal to inspect the patient.^ 

2 The medicine men do not themselves possess "power" to oppose witches and to cure ailments caused 
by them. They receive the power necessary from certain animal spirits who are the "real" medicine 
men. These are the bear, who ranks first, the mountain lion (who probably comes next), the eagle, bad- 
ger, snake, and wolf. One animal is associated with each cardinal point, but my informant was not sure 
of the point to which each belonged. 

3 If the patient is a boy he is brought in naked. Girls wear only a cotton dress: the body must be free 
for examination, 

* Four colors correspond to the cardinal points: North is yellow, west blue, south red, and east white. 

6 The medicine men gather their herb medicines on Mount Taylor, which lies 20 or 25 miles to the north 
of Acoma, and whose summit is approximately 4,000 feet above the elevation of Acoma. The doctors 
walk all the way; it takes them several days to go, gather herbs, and return. At the summit they deposit 
prayer sticks in the depression which was once the mouth of the volcano. Several days are spent after 
the medicine men return to Acoma in grinding their medicines and putting them away for future use. 
Some of these medicines are dispensed at this time to households for their own use. 

^ The following incident is rather interesting: An old medicine man had a son who had been away to 
school and who had returned a "progressive": he did not fall in line readily with his father's way of life. 
So he ran away. No one knew where he had gone, but it was rumored that he had gone to California. 
The old man wanted his son to come back. He told others that he would bring him back all right, he 
"had power"; he could find him and make him return. Some of the younger folk who were also progressives 
and in sympathy with the runaway "kidded the old man along" (mildly), and asked him why he didn't 
get out his ma'caiyoyo and find his son that way. 

" Each medicine man makes his own diagnosis, and there is no consultation among them afterwards; 
each man does as he thinks best. Also each doctor puts his own herbs into the medicine bowl according 
to his own notions and without considering the kinds already put in by his colleagues. 


Ml of the doctors save two go behind the altar, sit down, and begin 
to sing. The two remaining in front dance in front of the altar and 
about the patient. They hold an eagle wing feather in each hand. 
They move these about the patient with cutting and slashing mo- 
tions (away from the patient); they are "whipping the disease away." 
Then they lay theh- eagle feathers by the altar. They go to the sick 
person and massage him here and there. If they succeed in finding 
some foreign object in his body they suck it out. They go over to 
the refuse bowl and spit it out in the bowl ("you can see it when it 
comes out of their mouth, and hear it when it falls in the bowl").* 
They gargle their throats, wash their hands, and go back of the altar. 
Two other doctors come out and repeat the process. All of the 
medicme men cure in this way; the headman is last. The women 
doctors (if there are any) merely sing; they never perfonn any cures. 

When the curing is finished the headman gives the patient medicine 
from the medicine bowl.' It is administered externally or internally 
or both. The remaining medicine is given to the members of the 
patient's household, who drink it. 

This concludes the ceremony. The doctors go home, leaving two 
of their number to watch the patient. The altar, with its attendant 
paraphernalia, remains in place for four days, after which it is removed 
to the society house. The patient is attended by the doctors in turn 
imtU he recovers — or dies. The attending doctors pray and sing a 
great deal. If the patient recovers he will be pledged to the society 
effecting the cure, although he may not be initiated for a year or 
two thereafter. The society will receive no compensation upon the 
recovery of the patient, but will receive a considerable quantity of 
corn meal, flom-, bread, etc., when he is formally initiated. 

During the foiu- days of curing the doctors may not eat salt or 
meat. Also, during this period, and for four days thereafter, they 
may not sleep with their wives, nor bathe nor wash their heads.'" 

Securing new members. — As we have just seen, a person may join 
a medicine society after having been cured by it. This is the most 
approved way of becoming a medicine man. Theoretically, a person 
may become a member of a curing society without having been HI; 
he coidd request to be initiated, and if accepted, he would be made 
a medicine man. This method, however, is almost unheard of. Then 
there is a third way of recruiting new members, viz, by "trapping" 
persons and compelling them to join against their will. 

* They spit out stones, thorns, rags, yarn, and sometimes a snake, a live one. 

e The medicine bowls have four terraced sides. They are black and white. Bears, snakes, lions, light- 
ning, and cloud symbols are painted on the bowls. 

11 Compare with Stevenson's accounts of ciu-ing ceremonies; e. g., the ceremony of the Giant Society, 
pp. 97-101, The Sia. 

112 THE ACOMA INDIANS |eth. ans. 47 

There ai'e several wajs in which a person may be trapped by a 
medicine man. If a medicine man asks a youth (or man) for a ciga- 
rette (usually when with a group of men) and the youth gives him 
one after having lighted it, the medicine man will take a puff, touch 
the youth, and say, "You are my son." Then the youth may be 
compelled to join the society of the man who trapped him. Youths 
are, therefore, careful not to hand a medicine man a cigarette that 
they have been smoking; if a doctor asks for a smoke they give him 
a cigarette unlighted. 

During the initiation ceremonies of the Fire Society lines of ashes 
are drawn in the street near their house. If anyone should step over 
one of these lines a medicine man (who will be on the roof watching) 
wUl chase liim. The person who has stepped across the ashes will 
run to his house as fast as he can. If the doctor catches him before 
he reaches the ladder which leans against his house, the victim must 
join the society. If, however, the person who has violated this pre- 
scription of the medicine society succeeds in catching hold of the 
rungs of his house ladder, he is safe. 

Also, during the initiation ceremonies of the Fu-e Society, for a 
specified period of time, no one may build a fire out of doors, or carry 
live coals outside. If anyone breaks this rule he will be compelled 
to join the society." 

Trapping persons and forcing them to join a society is far less 
desirable than securing new members of their- own free wUl. But of 
late j-ears it has become inci'easingly necessary for the medicine 
societies to recruit their ranks in this way; fewer people are joining 
voluntaiily. One might tliink that a person who had been forced to 
become a medicine man would rebel and fail to give them sphitual 
allegiance after his initiation. This may be true in some cases. I 
knew of a yoimg man who liad spent some years at Haskell Institute, 
who was quite intelligent and spoke English very well, who A'as 
trapped by a medicine society. He had been a lukewarm liberal 
before his initiation. After he became a full-fledged medicine man, 
however, he became just like liis colleagues; he was just as conscien- 
tious in the performance of his work as anyone else. And, it was 
said, he became possessed of considerable "power." 

Initiation oj neio members. — A society usually does not have an 
initiation ceremony imtil it has at least two persons to join. (This 
means that a person might wait two or three years for an initiation.) 
When a society decides to initiate the headman tells the war chief, 
and he informs the cacique. A date is set (by the medicine society, 
with the advice and consent of the cacique and war chief), usually 
two weeks in advance. Tliis gives everyone time to prepare for the 

" It was said that this rule was employed by the Flint Society as well, but I am not sure that it is true. 


event ; the relatives of the initiates grind corn, make flour, bread, etc., 
which wiU be given to the medicine men. 

The ceremonies of initiation are concluded \\-ith a public exhibition 
held in the chamber of the society. Four days before this night the 
novices will be taken to the house of the society. There they are 
kept for four days and nights. No one except medicine men Icnow 
what goes on during tliis time. Nonmedicine men seem to think, 
however, that the candidates are subjected to very trying and even 
painful ordeals. It is thought that they are given some filthy, nasty, 
or othei-wise unpleasant medicine to drink. But, unfortunately, 
these conjectures must remain conjectures imtil data can be secured 
from the medicine men themselves. It is not to be doubted, though, 
I believe, that the candidates are instructed in many things, such as 
prayers, songs, medicines, paraphernaha, and feats of magic, for 
young doctors often display great skill and proficiency soon after then- 

After the four daj^s and nights of seclusion the society holds a 
public ceremony in their chamber. It commences after supper, just 
after dark. Anyone may attend. Those who are especially eager 
(such as friends and relatives of the candidates) come early, as the 
chamber will hold onlj' 30 or 40 persons. When they come in they 
find the altar of the society set up, with the customary paraphernalia 
(the corn-ear fetishes, honani, the medicine bowls, flints, bear paws, 
stone figures of the animal spirits, etc.) laid on the floor in front. 
The medicine men are dressed as for a curing ceremony: naked save 
for a breechcloth, faces painted with the horizontal black band, their 
hair tied up with a corn husk, two turkey feathers at each temple, 
etc. On the four walls are painted an eagle, a bear, cloud and rain 
symbols, a water snake, a koshare, etc. (q. v.). Each doctor carries 
a rattle in the right hand and two eagle plumes in the left (the boy 
candidates have them too, but the girls are empty handed). (Pis. 
11, 12.) 

All of the doctors except two sit behind the altar and sing. The 
two remaining in front dance. When they have finished they take 
their places behind the altar and two others dance. All of the doctors 
dance, by twos; the headman and the candidates dance last. When 
they have finished the candidate goes about the chamber demon- 
strating his newly acquired powers. He goes to the pictures on the 
walls and gathers from them, between his two palms, seeds of various 
kinds, which he distributes to the people present. Then he goes 
around the chamber "curing" people. Having selected some person, 
he will withdraw from the body a pebble, stick, or string, with his 
eagle plumes. Or, he may massage some part of his body and then 
suck some object out. 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

When the candidates have finished the headman prays and the 
ceremony ends. The candidates are kept in the society chamber that 
night and returned to their homes in the morning. 

Fire and sword jugglery of the Fire Society. — After the 4-day period 
in their chamber the Fire Society has an outdoor fire ceremony.'^ 
The war cliief orders people throughout the village to bring firewood to 
the house of the Fire Society. The medicme men dig a shallow pit 
in front of their house. Lines of ashes are drawn around the pit and 
the front of the house. No one may cross these lines; if someone 
does, and is caught, he will be uiitiated mto the society. The women 
members of the society bring four large black pots out of the house 
and place them near a wall in front of the chamber. The pots are 
partly filled with water. About noon a fire is built in the pit; a 
considerable quantity of wood is thi'own on. The women build a 
fire under the pots. Then they aU go into the chamber (except one 
or two, who keep watch on the roof). 

After a time they come out. The men are naked (except for a 
breechcloth) and barefooted. They are painted with ashes. Their 
long hair is tied up on top of the head. Two short turkey feathers 
are worn at each temple. They carry a gourd rattle in the right 
hand and two eagle wing feathers in the left. Leather wristlets are 
worn on the left forearm. The female members wear a calico dress. 
Their arms, feet, and legs are bare. 

The M'omen bring four baskets of corn meal out of the chamber. 
The meal is put in the four pots of boiling water. They stir the 
boilmg mush. It is thick. They stir it with their bare hands. 
They take it out in balls and throw it to people who are gathered 
about on housetops. 

When all the mush has been thrown to the people aU the medicine 
men (and women) go to the pit. It is full of ashes and glowing coals. 
They dance around the pit, coimterclockwise, while they sing four 
songs. Then the medicine men give their rattles to the medicine 
women. They tuck their eagle plumes into their wristlets. The 
fifth song is begun. Naicoia (the headman) stoops down by the pit 
and stirs the ashes and hve coals with liis bare hands. Then he 
jumps into the hot bed of coals (jumping from west to east). All 
of the doctors follow suit (the women do not, however). 

When all of the doctors have jumped into the fire a medicine 
woman thi-ows a basket of shelled corn into the pit. The doctors 
then seize the boy who is being initiated and throw him into the 
pit on top of the shelled corn. He alights on his back. The doctors 
aU stoop over him and quickly stir everything together — the ashes, 
live coals, shelled com, and the screaming boy. Then they take him 

'^ .\conia resembles Zuni at this point more than Rio Grande pueblos. Fire and sword jugglery is 
prominent at Zuiii, but not found at either Santo Domingo or San Felipe. 


a. Cloud, rain, and lightning symbols, Willi liorned snal;e 

6. Eepresentation of a Koshare standing on the moon, holding corn in each hand. The four marks 
on either side mean that rain will fall for four days before and after each moon 

Wall paintings 



a. Bear "medicine man" with eagle plumes and rattle. Painted on wall of chamber when a boy is 

made a medicine mtin 

b. Eagle i»ainted on wall of chamber at time of initiation into a medicine society 
Wall Paintings 


out and make him stand. All of the candidates are thrown into the 
pit in like fashion. If there are any girl candidates they are thrown 
in too, but after the boys, when it wiU not be so hot. 

When all of the candidates have been taken from the pit the head 
man withdraws the ashes, coals, and shelled corn from the pit with 
his hands and scatters them about on the ground. Then the doctors 
go into their chamber. As the head man is ascending the ladder he 
announces to the people that they wiU have a sword-swallowing 
ceremony in eight days. When the doctors have gone in the people 
gather about the pit and pick up the parched corn. 

About seven days later some of the doctors go out to the mountains 
and get some small spruce (or other) trees. They leave the tops 
untouched, but whittle the butt down, making it quite small and 
very smooth (they are going to swallow this). This wooden sword 
which they swallow is called oado'ts. They have some made of 
flat boards, into which designs have been cut. They are painted. 
The women dance with carved and painted boards in their hands. 
They are called amakaiyum" (they are catalogued in museums, 
usually, as "dance wands"). 

On the eighth day they dress for the dance. The men wear a 
close-fitting skull cap with small downy feathers glued on it. Their 
shirts are blue, red, or yellow. They wear new moccasins, with 
leggings that reach to the knee (there are usually silver buttons in the 
front of the leggings, in a line from top to bottom). They wear a 
white dancing Idlt. A fox skin hangs from the waist in the back. 
Their legs are painted white. They wear two tm-key feathers at 
each temple and a white downy eagle feather at the crown. There 
is considerable variety among the men's costumes, except for the 
dancing kilts, which are all alike. The women members wear 
mantas (white woven cotton mantas wath terraces, etc., embroidered 
on the ends), white moccasins, and leggings. They wear varicolored 
ribbons in their hair instead of feathers. The faces of both men 
and women are painted with ya-katca (reddish brown) from the 
mouth upward. They have some black (stcamu-n) beneath the 
eyes. They are painted with i'pictya (white clay) beneath the 

The next morning they come out at sunrise, dressed for the dance." 
They dance toward the east. This takes them to the big plaza. 
The men go first; the women follow. One man carries a large di-um. 
When they reach the plaza they form a line from east to west, facing 
north. The men keep dancing. Then one man, carrying an oado-ts, 
and one woman step forward and dance to the middle of the plaza. 
They dance higher and faster. Then the man moistens his oado'ts 

" If they prepare their costumes on the eighth day, they dance on the ninth. If the dance is to be on 
the eighth day, they prepare on the seventh. 

116 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

(sword) with saliva (or, it may be smeared \vith honey). Then 
he thrusts the stick down his throat. He dances with it for a time, 
thus. The woman merely accompanies him, dancing with her 
amakaiyum*. Sometimes he swallows two swords at once. This 
couple is replaced by another, and another, until all have danced 
with the sticks down their thi'oats. The candidates who are being 
initiated also swallow the swords. 

When all have finished they return to their chamber, where they 
rest for a while. Then they return to the plaza, where they dance 
and swallow swords as before. They dance thus four times durmg 
the forenoon. They usually vary their costume a trifle, such as 
changing a blue sliirt for a yellow one, etc. They have lunch in their 
chamber. After a short rest they go back to the plaza to dance 
again. They dance four times during the afternoon. Many people 
are there all day watching them. 

This concludes theii' ceremonies. 

The communal curing. — Commimal curing ceremonies are usually 
held in the spring, shortly before the people leave old Acoma for 
their farms. Whether one is held or not depends upon the cacique; 
he will order one if he thinks it expedient." If the cacique decides 
that it is necessary, he sends for the war chief. When the war chief 
arrives the cacique greets him, taking both his hands, and seats him. 
Then the cacique prays and offers (cigarette, wiicBi) smoke to the 
cardinal points, and to wenimats'. When he has finished the cacique 
tells the war chief that a communal curing ceremony should be held 
to ciu"e everyone who has a cold or who is sick and to purge the whole 
village of evil spirits (witches, k'anadyaiya). 

The war chief departs, but soon returns with his lieutenants and 
the cooks. They busy themselves making wasani (feather bunches, 
q. v.), one for each medicine man. They make two balls of cotton, 
each containing a quantity of beads, corn meal, pollen, ya'k'atca, 
stcamu'n (paints), etc., in the center. The war chief sends his cooks 
out to tell the headmen of the curing societies to await a visit from 
the war chiefs. 

When they have finished making the wanan' and the itsatyun* 
(the cotton balls), the head war chief (cutimiti) takes some of the 
waBani and one of the balls of cotton to the house of one of the head 
medicine men. Cpatimiti, the first Ueutenant war chief, visits the 
other head medicine man, also with waBani and itsatyun". 

When the war chief arrives at the house of one of the head medicine 
men he calls out "K'aiya!" (a greeting). The medicine man responds 
"Ha'ai!" "May I come m?" the war chief asks. "Yes!" "Will 

1* Sometimes a general curing is held; sometimes not. If an epidemic should strike the pueblo at any 
time (other than spring), the cacique would probably order a general curing. 


you receive me friendly?" the war chief again asks. "Yes! Come 
in." The war chief enters and says" Giiatzi!" ("HeUo"). "Dawai! 
eh!" repUes the medicine man. The medicine man brings a stool 
for the war chief and seats him. Then he makes a corn-husk cigarette 
for the war chief. When the war chief has laid down his cigarette 
the medicine man asks, "Now, father, what do you want v/iih me?" 
The war chief tells him that the cacique has decided that a coimmmal 
curing ceremonj' is necessary and that he wishes the medicme societies 
to make the necessary preparations. The war chief then places the 
waBani and the itsatyim" in the medicine man's hands, and, placing 
liis own under those of the doctor, prays. Then he leaves. 

The headman calls his men together and tells them to prepare for 
a curing ceremony. Each medicine man places his hands imder the 
basket containing the wasani and the itsatyun" and prays. Then 
naicoia (the headman) divides these articles among the doctors. 
Each goes out and prays, burying the articles afterwards. Later a 
joint meeting is held by the two societies in one of the chambers.'* 
The}' decide upon a date for the ceremony. The war chief informs 
the cacique. The cacique instructs the war chief to publish the news 
to the people."' The ceremony will be held four days after the 
annomicemcnt is made. 

On the day the annoimcement is made the "little chiefs" (the 
tc\ikacac hotceni; the war chief's aides) bring the unmarried girls to 
the war chief's house, where they shell corn. Then the httle cliiefs 
take this corn about through the village, leaving it at various houses to 
be ground. The women return the com meal to the house of the war 
chief. Then the little cliiefs take the meal to various houses to be 
made mto guayaves (Httle loaves of bread). They also take wood 
from the woodpile of the war chief to the houses to cook the bread. 
The women return with the guayaves on the third day. The war 
chief gives them some for their trouble. (The war chief has kept 
back half of the corn meal and flour to give to the medicine men.) 
The little chiefs go about the village asking for meat for the feast 
(which is to take place on the night of the curing). On the third day 
the people of the village di^^de themselves (approximately) into 
three divisions, each one to supply the medicme men with one of the 
day's meals. On the fourth day the women are busy preparing food 
to be given the medicine men that evening. 

The niedicine men vomit with herb brew every morning for four 
mornings preceding the cure. On the day before the ceremony they 
retire to their houses. They set up their altars. They paint the 
walls of their chambers with pictures of bears, eagles, mountain 
lions, snakes, and, perhaps, some k'atsina or koshare. 

1* It will be remembered that kaeina joined the Fhnt Society in cures. 

1"^ This news is published by the war chief, who walks through the streets of the pueblo instead of calling 
from a housetop, as is done at other pueblos. 



[ETH. ANN 47 

At about 8 o'clock on the evening of the ceremony the war chief 
goes through the village summoning the people to the curing chambers. 
Everyone has bathed for the occasion. The pueblo is di%'ided into 
two groups; one goes to the chamber of the Fire Society, the other to 
the Flint Society's house (the Flint Society uses the head estufa, 
Alauharots, unless it is othei-wise occupied). Some of the people do 
not go to the curing chambers (there would not be room for them all); 
so they remain in their houses, keeping them brightly lighted all night. 
The people throng into the curing chambers, men, women, and 
children. The men wear only a breechcloth. They wear a blanket 
when they enter, but they remove it and fold it up to sit on. The 
women wear a simple dress. (There is a side room for the women 
with young babies.) Two medicine men stand at the foot of the 
ladder. They lead the people to seats with their eagle plumes. 
Some people come early in order to get the best seats, which are the 
places against the wall. (This allows them to lean back and rest; 
the others have to sit bolt upright throughout the night.) 

As the people enter the chamber (fig. 3) the medicine men are sitting 
behind their altar, singing. (All of their para- 
phernalia is laid out in front of the altar.) They 
have their hair tied up in front with a corn 
husk. Two turkey feathers are worn at each 
temple. They wear a small breechcloth, sup- 
ported by a woven belt (such as are worn around 
the waist by women). They have vertical white 
stripes painted on their bodies. The women 
members paint their faces with ya'k'atca (reddish 
brown) with a bit of stcamu'n (black) over it. 
Seated near the west end of the altar are two 
cloud men (henatititc; henati is cloud). They 
were appointed by the headman of the society at the time the date for 
the ceremony was set. Their business is to make cigarettes during 
the ceremony. They come early and set to work. As they finish a 
cigarette they lay it down in front of them imtU someone calls for it. 
When, durmg the ceremony, a doctor has finished dancing or curing, 
one of the cloud men Ughts a cigarette and hands it to him. If anyone 
in the chamber wants to smoke duiing the ceremony he must ask one 
of the cloud men for a cigarette. 

When the chamber is filled a medicine woman brings in a jar of 
water and a gourd dipper. The head man begins to fill the medicine 
bowls. Sis gourdfuls are dipped for the cardinal points (including 
zenith and nadir). Then the bowl is filled. The other medicine 
bowl is filled in the same way. Then the doctors put herb medicines 
into the bowls, taking them from their little buckskin bags. The 
headman puts his medicine in first. 

f^ r^MMt^^ 




Figure 3.— Diagram of 
curing chamber. M= 
medicinemen. ++ = 
their iarriko. #0 = 
medicine bowls. F = 


During this time there is much singing by the doctors who sit 
behind the altar. Prayers, too, are said, chiefly by the headman. 
These prayers are offered to ahnost all of the supernaturals, such as 
the sun, the earth, etc., but chiefly to the animal medicine men; the 
bear, mountain lion, badger, eagle, and snake.'' They ask these 
spirits to help them. 

When the medicines have been prepared the headman rises and 
addresses the gathering. He tells the people to be brave and to do 
their best, that they must suffer for the good of the whole world, etc. 
He assures them that the medicine men are doing their best. The 
doctors resume their singing. Naicnia (the headman) goes to the 
medicine bowls. He stirs each one with a large ffint (the largest one 
in the collection; it is also caUed naicoia, or father). Then he dips 
his eagle plumes into the medicine and sprinldes one doctor on each 
end of the line seated behind the altar. Then the headman goes back 
of the altar and sits down. 

The two doctors who have been sprinkled begin to gesticulate and 
grimt "Ah' Ah'." Then they come out in front. They hop about 
in front of the altar "scjuatting hke an eagle. "'* A medicine woman 
brings some ashes from the fireplace (which is caUed k'ohaiya, or 
bear) and places them on the floor before the altar. Then the two 
doctors in front begin to sing. They dip their eagle plmnes in the 
ashes and go about the chamber "whipping the disease away.'"® 
Sometimes a doctor extracts some foreign object from a person's 
body with his plmnes. 

The two doctors now lay their eagle plumes by the altar. They 
daub themselves all over with ashes. They peer into one of the 
medicine bowls, placing a hand just beneath the eyes (the palm is at 
right angles to the face). When they look into the medicine bowl 
they "can see witches." Then they look about the room. They are 
looking for some one to cure. WTien a doctor has selected some one, 
he goes to him and begins to massage some part of his body. He 
removes some object — a stick, thorn, stone, or some rags. He may 
remove it with his hands, or he may suck it out. When an object is 
removed mth the hands or with the eagle plumes it is usually caused 
to vanish. This is accomplished by holding one hand up, well above 
the head, and the other down below the waist. Then the positions 

I" One informant stated in this connection that the medicine men called upon the "four great rivers that 
flow to the south." I could not learn the significance of this reference from him, and other informants had 
not heard of it. 

1* During curing ceremonies the doctors frequently imitate the cries or movements of the animal medicine 
men. particularly the bear, eagle, and mountain lion. 

'* .\shes are used as a prophylactic against witches. The "whipping" motions with the plumes are 
sharp, cutting movements, the arms moving like the blades of a huge scissors. Motions away from patients 
are also made. 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

of the hands are swiftly reversed. The palms of the hands slap 
smartly as they pass each other. This causes the object to pass out 
of the chamber (theoretically each corner of the chamber is open) 
and on "out of the world." When an object is sucked from the body 
the doctor spits it out in his hand. He shows it to his patient and to 
the people near by. Then he rolls it in the pile of ashes before the 
altar and deposits it in the refuse bowl, or, instead of dipping it in 
ashes, he may biu-n it in one of the tallow Ughts that burn at the 
fireplace, and then put it in the refuse bowl. "WTiile going about the 
chamber curing people, the two doctors grunt hke a bear. 

When they have finished they wash theu- hands, gargle their throats, 
and sj)it in the refuse bowl. They take up their eagle plumes again 
and sprinlde two doctors (the end men) seated behind the altar. 
Then they go to their seats behind the altar while the second couple 
comes out and repeats the performance of the first two. All of the 
doctors take then- tiu-n at cm-mg. 

During the ceremony the war chief and his lieutenants, who always 
guard medicuie men during curing ceremonies, come down from the 
roof whciT they have been guarding the entrance and are cured by 
the doctors. 

When all of the doctors have had their turn at curing naicoia (the 
headnum) comes out in front of the altar. He picks up the rock 
crystal, the ma"caiyoyo, dips it into the medicine (wawa), and looks 
through it. Then he kneels and holds it before the eyes of the 
doctors, saying " Doa hi lii ! " (here, look !), Each medicine man looks 
through the translucent rock. They are looking for witches.^" Then all 
of the doctors come out from behind the altar. The headman rubs the 
eyes of each one as he conies out, with the ma'caiyoyo dipped in wawa 
(medicine). Then naicoia lays the rock down and goes back of the 
altar. The doctors nm and jump about the room. "Maybe they're 
mad (angry)." They cure people. They may grab a person and 
take him to the fireplace and rub him with a bear paw. They may 
dip the ma'caiyoyo in the medicine bowl agam and rub their eyes 
w ith it again. 

Then some medicine men prepare to leave the chamber. They are 
gomg out to cm-e people who ha\c remained m the houses and to rid 
tlie pueblo of any witches who might be lurking about. They draw 
the skin of a bear's foreleg on their left forearm. They carry a large 
flint loiife in the right hand. One group of doctors (the two society 
groups, it must be remembeied, are curing at this time, each in its 
own house) goes about the village, ciu-ing people in the houses. The 
other group goes to the foot of the mesa where li/estock has been 
secured in corrals. They "whip disease away" from the horses, 

* Witches are quite lil^ely to gather around a curing chamber during a ceremony. They want to injure 
llie inediciue men. 


cattle, and sheep, with their eagle plumes. When the gi-oiip returns 
from the houses to the curing chamber the doctors vomit forth various 
objects wliich they have sucked out. When the doctors have all 
returned the headman rubs their eyes again with the ma'caiyoyo, and 
if they see any witches they go out agam. Sometimes they fight 
wdth witches which they find lurldng about the houses. The doctors 
return to the chamber, after a fight with witches, smeared wdth 
"blood and black." 

It is now time to get the winock (heart). ^' Naicoia rubs the eyes of 
three or foiu- medicme men, and they go out to get the "heart." 
They wear their bear paws and carry flint Iviiives. They go arm in 
arm. A war chief accompanies them. 

After a time they return. A medicme man representing a bear 
and called k'ohaiya (bear) comes in first. He crawls on his hands 
and knees, grunting like a bear. He carries the winock (heart) 
between the bear paw in his left hand and the flint in his right. Two 
other medicine men representing mountain lions stay up on top of 
the chamber a while, fighting; then they come into the chamber. 
K'ohaiya (the "bear" medicine man) crawls along the floor, going 
toward the altar. The head medicine man grabs the heart away from 
him. The other doctors then seize him quickly and hold him, for 
he fights violently. The mountain lions fight, too. The headman 
and one or two others spriulde them with medicine from their eagle 
plumes. Gradually they become quiet; they lie dowii on the floor as 
if completely exhausted.-^ 

Naicnia now takes the heart to the altar. He kneels, facing the 
people, and begins to untie the strings which bind the winock (heart). 
Each strmg he scorches at a tallow hght and then deposits it in the 
refuse bowl. He imwraps the rags. Inside are many kernels of corn. 
He lays aside defective grains.^' He tells the people that they shoidd 
be very thankfid to receive the heart from then- mother, latik". 

A medicine woman brings the headman a basket for the shelled com. 
Again the com is examined, the defective grains being placed by the 
medicine bowls. Then he goes about the room distributing the corn 
to the people. Each person receives one grain. He goes to the west 
side first, then south, then east. He goes into the side room where 
the women with small children are. He gives each woman a grain for 
herself and one for each child. If the child is too small to swallow his 
kernel the mother chews it for the child and spits it into his mouth. 

^' Among the eastern Keres the winoek represents the heart of a patient which has been stolen by a 
witch. In the present instance this heart is said to have been made at Cipapi by latik", the mother of the 
Indians. It is a ball of rags, with a quantity of shelled com in the center. 

" The "lion" medicine men try to escape. They are restrained, for. it is said, if tbey got away they 
would become real mountain lions. 

23 It is said that one person will die in the village for each defective grain. 

6066°— 32 9 

122 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth.ann.47 

When everyone has received his kernel the war chief is called in and 
given the basket. He keeps a kernel of com for himself; the rest he 
takes around the village and distributes it to the persons who have 
remained in their houses. 

When the war chiefs return the headman asks two doctors to come 
out from behind the altar. The medicine (wawa) is going to be admin- 
istered now. Each doctor picks up a medicine bowl. They pray. 
Then they go about the chamber, giving each person a draught of 
medicine in a shell. The war chiefs are given some first. Some 
people get two doses. Then they go back to the altar. They fill their 
mouths with the wawa (medicine) and blow it all over the people. 
Then the medicine men and medicine women are given medicine to 
drink, and more is blown from the mouth over them. The medicine 
bowls are put back in their places. The headman addresses the 
people. He thanks the medicine men for their work and thanks the 
people for their help. He hopes that everything will be all right, etc. 

Everyone leaves now except the medicine men. It is almost dawn, 
the ceremony having lasted all night. The wives of the medicine men 
gather up the paraphernalia of their husbands, which they take to their 
homes. The objects which have been sucked from the people are 
taken out, together with a lunch for the spirits, and thrown over a 
cliff. -^ The medicine men sleep in their chamber for four nights 

Feats of magic oj the medicine men. — We have already noted a num- 
ber of magical performances of the medicine men, such as are found 
in their curing and initiation ceremonies, but they have many others. 
Not infrequently the medicine men will perform some magical feat to 
convince seme skeptic of their genuine prowess. A young man who 
was fairly well educated, quite progressive, and who frankly and 
openly "did not believe in the tcaiani (medicine men)" told me of two 
episodes as follows: 

One night there was a curing ceremony in progress. This young 
man (I shall call him Juan) was sitting near the doctors; he wanted 
to see how they accomplished their miracles. The medicine men well 
knew that he was skeptical. So one of them told him to follow him 
as he went out of the chamber. They went out to the eastern edge of 
the mesa. It was a bright moonlit night, and there was snow on the 
ground. It was almost as bright as day. The doctor stopped at the 
edge of the mesa. At this point a finger of rock rises from the flats 
400 feet below to the level of the mesa. It is about 40 feet from the 
main mesa. Juan said that the medicine man backed away from the 
edge of -the mesa a bit and then started running toward the pinnacle 
of rock. Just before he reached the edge of the mesa he put his flint 

^* This food, according to my notes, is offered to the witches, but something causes me to doubt this at 
the present writing. 


down to the ground. A shower of sparks flew forth. The medicine 
man left the ground, soared through the air, and alighted on the 
pinnacle of rock 40 feet away (the intervening chasm was over 300 
feet deep). Then, in like manner, the doctor jumped back to the 

Episode 2. Then the doctor told Juan that they were going to 
descend the trail which is near this point. I have inspected these 
points closely. The trail is very difficult to negotiate, even for the 
Indians, and at this time it was covered with snow. The medicine 
man told Juan that it would be too dangerous for him (Juan) to go 
down by hunself, so he told Juan to climb on his back. Juan jumped 
on the doctor's back (the doctor was quite a small man). "Put your 
arms around my neck," the doctor told him, "and don't open your 
eyes. If you open your eyes, we'll both fall." Juan did as he was 
told. "I had no more than got myself fixed on his back and closed 
my eyes," Juan said, "when the medicine man said, 'All right; open 
your eyes.' I opened my eyes and we were down at the foot of the 

Another informant told me that once he was attending a curing 
ceremony. A medicine man had been curing a patient; he had been 
sucking things from his body. When he tried to vomit them out he 
could not do it. He tried and tried. "You could see he was in great 
pain. He broke out all over in a sweat, and he began to writhe in 
agony." One of the other medicine men came over to help him. He 
laid the sick doctor over on his back. Then he picked up a big flint 
knife and cut him open (cutting a median line down his thorax and 
abdomen). "When he cut him open you could see his heart and 
stomach and everytliing." The doctor looked inside the body and 
took out a big ball of cactus thorns, which he threw into the refuse 
bowl. Then the doctor closed the great incision. He rubbed the flint 
over it, clapped his hands, and blew on it, and it was just hl^e it was 
before; you would not know that he had been cut open. Finally the 
doctor who had swallowed the thorns got up and staggered over to 
the altar. * 

The following story is also of interest: There was an epidemic of 
whooping cough. At night they heard a man walking through the 
village beating a drum; it sounded just like a person coughing. It 
was a wdtch who was making people sick. So the medicine societies 
held a meeting. They set up their altar and laid out their parapher- 
naha. With the aid of their ma-caiyoyo (the rock crystal which 
gives second sight) they located the witch. So some medicine men 
armed themselves with their bear paws and flint knives and set out 
to capture him, while aU the people v/aited. They went out west of 
Acoma, about 3 nules. There they found a horse fuUy saddled and 

124 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. axn. 47 

bridled. It was a horse named "Bessie" which was kept at the 
Indian school at Albuquerque. They caught a man (the witch) near 
by and brought Iiim back to the chamber. The people inside heard 
the medicine men struggling with him on the roof of the chamber. 
Then they saw the feet and legs of the \vitch man being pushed down 
into the room. When he had been pushed in as far as his waist he 
suddenly turned into a rat which dropped to the floor and scurried 
about the room. The medicine men caught the rat and killed him 
and threw him in the fireplace. Then thej' told the people the name 
of the witch. ^* It was a young man from Acoma who at that time 
was at the Indian school at Albuquerque. 

The next day about noon the government farmer at Acoma received 
a phone message from Albuquerque stating that the boy who had been 
named a witch the night before at Acoma had IdUed himself bj- jump- 
ing from the thii'd floor of his dormitoiy. When lois body was brought 
home it was not buried in the churchyard because he was a witch. 

It is said that some medicine men can produce green corn, bushes 
with fresh berries on them, etc., in the dead of mnter. 

Medicine men and the kachina cult. — We have already noted a 
number of functions performed by the medicine men in connection 
with the masked dancer organization, viz, at the initiation, their 
assistance at dances, etc. Also, there are a number of masks that 
may be worn only by medicine men, such as aaikan' (see hst of masks). 
Among the eastern Keres a medicine society always goes into retreat 
(i. 6., retires to its chamber for four days and nights to pray and per- 
form certain rituals) before a masked dance for rain. It is said that 
this was done at Acoma at one time but is no longer observed. But 
then the Acoma scheme is quite different from that in vogue on the 
Rio Grande. In the east several masked dances are held during the 
summer for rain, each dance lasting one day only. At Acoma there 
is only one rain dance, and it lasts four days. The medicine societies 
do not own any masks, however, nor do they use any in either curing 
or initiation ceremonies. ^^ 

OtJier ceremonial junctions oj medicine men. — We have already noted 
the functions of the medicine men at the solstices, and their imper- 
sonation of the two headmen of the k'oBictaiya; also the role of 
kasina tcaiani at the initiation of the war cliiefs. The part played 
by them at elections has also been discussed. Their role in connec- 
tion with birth and death will be treated in our discussion of the life 
of a typical individual. 

25 The name of the witch is never divulged until the animal whose form the witch has assumed is killed. 
If it were told before, the witch could get away. 

^ At Santo Domingo and San Felipe medicine societies use masks in initiation ceremonies but not for 
curing. The Giant Society at Cochiti has one mask that is used at cures. 


Summary comment}^ — The medicine societies are very important at 
Acoma, as indeed they are at other Keresan villages. The kachina 
cult and the medicine cult loom up as the two most important phases 
of ceremoniaUsm. It is difficult to say which is the more important. 
The kachina cidt is more ostentatious, more spectacular, but the 
medicine cult is older and more deeply rooted in the Ufe of the people. 
Their range of activities is much wider and their influence, so far as 
social control is concerned, is unsurpassed. 


Prayers are said often at Acoma. As we have already seen, the 
war chief rouses the people at dawn to pray to the rising sim, at inter- 
vals throughout the year. They sprinkle a pinch of corn meal as 
they pray. Some of the old men, especially officers, carry a buckskin 
bag of corn meal with them. The war chiefs carry a small leather 
pouch of meal slung over one shoulder with a strap. Prayers are 
frequentl}^ said with corn meal; sometimes a person will pause at the 
opening in the wall of a kiva adjoining a street and deposit a pinch 
of meal in it, with a prayer, as he passes. It is a custom to offer a 
bit of food at meal time to latik", to naiya h'ats' (mother earth), and 
to the k'atsina, wath a prayer, before eating. The morsel is then 
thrown into the fireplace. 

Rock Shrines (Okatsim')^' 

There are many smaU columns or piles of rocks, vaiying in height 
from 12 inches to 2K feet, near Acoma and Acomita. There are 
many at old Acoma on the mesa south of the village; at Acomita they 
are located on the mesa south of the houses. There are others in 
other localities also. These are said to be erected to the Shiwanna 
or k'atsina. When one puts a rock on one of these columns he first 
holds it up, spits on it, and then lays it down "so no bad luck will 

When one has gone on a long trip and is about to return it is proper 
for him to pick up a rock or stick, spit on it, and throw it backward, 
so no evil luck will follow him. 

Prayer Sticks (Ha-tcamun') 

These mstruments ai-e, as we have seen throughout the ceremonies, 
very important; no important occasion passes without them.'' 

2' See White, Leslie A., Medicine Societies of the Keresan Pueblos, in Proceedings of the Twenty-third 
International Congress of Americanists. 

>•' See Doctor Parsons's War God Shrines of Laguna and Zufii, American .Anthropologist, vol. 20, No. 4, 
October-December, 1918. 

'» Except ceremonies of the curing societies. 

1 26 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. asn. 47 

Prayer sticks are of varying sizes and are carved in a great number 
of ways. They are usually made of willow, although spruce (or 
cedar), and possibly oak, is sometimes used. (I found one stick that 
was made of what seemed to be the stall? of the soap weed plant.) 
The accompanying diagrams illustrate the size, shape, and design of 
some of the prayer sticks.^" 

Prayer sticks are always cut from hving trees or bushes ; dead wood 
would be useless. The prayer sticks are felt to be animate; some 
of them have eyes and mouth painted on one end, usually upon a 
facet which has been cut to represent a face. They also have sex, 
the males having green faces and the females faces of yellow. They 
are deposited by twos or by fours. Sticks for Masewi and Oyoyewi 
(the twin war gods) are painted red, "because blood is red"; some 
are carved to represent an arrow or club. Prayer sticks in the shape 
of a shepherd's crook or cane (g'onac) are offered to the k'atsina, who 
use them to walk with, it is said. 


A. (Collection No. B17.) Willow. Blue paint on peeled end, with pos.sibly 
some yellow on the very tip. Undoubtedly had feathers tied to butt end. 
Length, 14 cm. 

B. (Collection No. A7.) Willow. No paint visible. Note that on this stick 
the feathers are tied in the groove farthest from the peeled end; on stick A they 
are tied in the groove nearest the peeled end. Length, 18 cm. 

C. (Collection No. A8.) Willow. There seems to have been yellow paint 
between the grooves, and a paint midway between them and the beveled tip, 
but this is doubtful. Definite traces of blue paint are found on the beveled 
surface. Note plant fiber tied around butt end. Length, 15 cm. 

D. E, F, and G were found in a small niche on the face of a high mesa about 
4 miles south of Acoma, about 200 feet from the bottom and 150 feet, from the 
top of the mesa. There were no other sticks in the vicinity. Informant said 
that they were probably deposited there by a war chief, one stick being deposited 
at the time of installation each year. When four sticks had been deposited in 
one place, another site was chosen. The sticks were made, he thought, by the 
war chief, with instructions from the cacique. This is largely conjecture on the 
informant's part, for one not a war chief would not know much about such mat- 
ters. But it is quite certain, I believe, that these sticks were made and deposited 
by some officer. Moreover, they show different degrees of weathering, which 
indicates that they were deposited at different times. D, E, and G are of 
spruce (ha'k'ak') ; F is also, I believe, but I am not sure. Note that they all have 
faces (the beveled facets). Note, also, that each bears a lightning symbol, 
running down from the grooves, point downward. D has two lightning marks. 
E and G were said to represent spruce trees. When the clouds come down from 
the mountains the tips of these tree sticks catch them and hold them, causing 
rain. B was said to represent a woman (k'otcininak'o) bearing a jar of water 
on her head. No interpretation was given for F. These sticks are markedly 
different from any others I have seen at Acoma (some 200), and noticeably 

w I collected about 40 prayer sticks at old Acoma and at some canyons southeast of the pueblo. I also 
saw several hundred sticks on a ledge at old Acoma. They had been thrown over the cliff and were plainly 
visible but out of reach. I also secured drawings of sticks from an informant. 


different from those in the American Museum of Natural History. Lengths: 
D, 19 cm.; E, 36 cm.; F, 26 cm.; G, 22" cm. (PI. 1.3.) 

H, I, J, and K (collection Nos. B3, B7, Bl, and B9) were said to have been 
offered to Masevvi. They are painted red "because blood is red." H and J are 
double arro\ys; they may stril^e both ways. I is a club (drai'its). K is a 
weapon, a sort of arrow and club combined. Sticks such as these are offered to 
Masewi to secure strength to fight, to vanquish a foe, or to protect himself. 
I do not know whether feathers were attached or not. Lengths: H, 8 cm.; 
I, 9 cm.; J, 11 cm.; K, 8 cm. (PI. 14.) 

L. (Collection No. A6.). Willow. Blue paint from the grooves to about the 
mid-point Ijetween them and the end; the upper half is yellowish in color, but 
I can not determine whether it is the natural color of the wood or paint (stain). 
Length, 20 cm. 

M. (CoUection No. AlO.) Kind of wood undetermined. Blue paint over 
entire peeled surface. This stick is shown because of the short point on the 
peeled (head) end; it contrasts with A, which is pointed from the grooves to the 
end. Both L and M had feathers tied to the butt. Length, 18.5 cm. 

N and O. Crook only; peeled. No paint visible. Height, 15 cm. Both O 
and P, according to informant, are called g'o'nac (cane). In the dances some 
k'a-'tsina carry canes. It was said that these sticks were offered when one was 
going to take a long trip and needed strength. Doctor Parsons was told at 
Jemez that this crook was "to puU down the rain." (See The Pueblo of Jemez, 
p. 102.) (PI. 14.) 

P. Bark entirely removed. Painted reddish-brown (va'k'atca). Height, 
15 em. 

Q, R, and S. Q is a stick split in half. The black line down the middle is a 
"road." R is a kick stick. S, a loop of cat-tail stems. They are placed in the 
order shown, in an arroyo in the early spring, by the war chief. The water runs 
down the road, washes the kick stick into the mack'utc (loop), which carries the 
kick stick down into the fields. This keeps the fields moist all summer. Q and 
R have eyes and mouth. (I found Q. R and S were painted by an informant.) 

T. Bow and arrow and shield. Painted red. Offered to Masewi. From 
drawing; none were found. (PL 15.) 

The prayer sticks are made by the persons who deposit them. 
One person does not see another make his stick (although sometimes 
a whole group of sticks is placed in one or two baskets and later 
distributed to dancers, as in the natyati). One is alone, also, when 
he deposits the stick, with a prayer. At old Acoma most of the 
prayer sticks are thrown over the cliff at various points, although 
some are buried at the foot of the mesa by some great rocks (at the 
foot of the sand trad). Sticks are also deposited in canyons or 
clefts in mesas at some distance from Acoma. No one touches a 
stick after it has been used. 

\Mien 1 asked an informant why his people prayed with prayer 
sticks he rephed " 'Cause that's the way they do," which is, without 
doubt, the reason. It seems, however, that the prayer sticks are 
felt to serve as vehicles of prayer. The feathers which are tied to 
them are light, and they "float like clouds" to Wenimats'. They 
also seem to be regarded as gifts to the k'atsiaa. "They like to get 
these hatcamuni from us." 



[ETH. ANN. 47 



I took 35 prayer sticks and classified them according to design, 
paintings, etc. I found about 17 different types. There were three 
or four sticks in each of a few types, but only one in many others. 
The classification was based upon the following factors: Kind of 
wood, shape of the "head" (i. e., the peeled) end, whether pointed, 
beveled, or cut square across, the number and position of the grooves, 
the position of feathers, color — red, yellow, or green. There were 
10 sticks, each of which was different m its combination of the above 
elements from any other stick. I tried to have these sticks classi- 
fied by informants, but the residts were very imsatisf actory ; not 

only did the informants disagree, but the 
same informant betrayed deplorable dis- 
crepancies in repeated classifications (at 
intervals of tune). There are, I believe, 
thi-ee factors which determine the precise 
design of a prayer stick: (a) The person 
or group niakmg it — i. e., whether it be 
the cacique or the war chief, or dancers 
from Haimatats or Dautkorits estufas; {h) 
the occasion — e. g., a solstice, at natyati, 
etc.; (c) the spii-it to whom the stick is 
offered — latik", Masewi or the k'atsina. 
Each one of these three groups of factors 
contains a great many elements. There 
are many groups in the village, many 
supernatiu'als, and a groat variety of 
occasions for honoiing them. The com- 
binations and permutations nuide pos- 
sible by all of these factors (each repre- 
sented by a stylistic device) must be very 
numerous indeed. If 17 types are found 
in 35 sticks, how many would be found in 
300 sticks? The difficulty encountered in 
having informants classify prayer sticks 
is due largely, I believe, to the high esoteric character of these items 
of paraphernaha; one group probably does not know anything about 
the stick used by another. The most one could expect from a single 
person woidd be a complete hst of sticks that he himself would use 
on all occasions and for all spirits. 

Prayer sticks, either in the shape of a cross or a single stick with 
the cross painted on the head end, are offered to the Catholic God. 
They are painted with eyes and mouth, and feathers are tied to them 
as to other prayer sticks. Years ago, it is said, God (called YoTthi, 
from Spanish Dios?) said to Tatik", the mother of the Indians, "If 

Figure 4. — Ceremonial objects 


AcoMA Prayer Sticks 


















Sand painting for Child-naming Ceremony 


your people will pray to me I will help them." latik" did not object; 
but whenever a stick is offered to God, one for latik" is always 

The waBan' is shown in the accompanying diagram. (Fig. 4, a.) 
The)' arc used in much the same way that prayer sticks are. 

A wi'icBi, or ceremonial cigarette, is shown in Figure 4, b. 

A ya'Bi is a staff, or cane, about 3 feet long, with a wanan' tied to 
one or both ends. A yasi is a symbol of ofBce, and contains 
"power." (Fig. 4, c.) 

A kachina doll is shown in Figure 4, d. 

The Ho' nan' 

This is the chief fetish of a medicine man. It is a corn ear, a 
perfect one, completely kerneled to the tip. It is wrapped with 
native cotton. The base is inserted in a sheath of buckskin. It is 
placed in an upright position in front of the altar during ceremonies. 
The top is encircled with strings of beads and decked with vari- 
. colored parrot feathers. It is very similar to the mili described by 
Mrs. Stevenson in The Zuni Indians (pp. 418-420). Ho'nan' is the 
Hopi word for badger.^' In the Keresan pueblos of the Rio Grande 
this fetish is called i'arik" (i'atik"). ^Vhy the word ho'nan' is used 
at Aconia I can not say. The badger is an important medicine 
animal because he digs roots out of the groimd. 

The Altars 

These have already been mentioned in connection with ceremonies 
and have been illustrated with drawings. As we indicated, there 
is some doubt regarding the construction of the altar of the Fire and 
the Flint Societies, raised by the discrepancies of different drawings 
of them.'- (Fig. 5.) I am left with an uncomfortable suspicion of 
the altar attributed to the Antelope clan (the cacique's altar). I was 
not able to secure di'awmgs of this altar from another informant. 

Wood from a tree that has been struck by lightning is the best 
for the manufactiu"e of altars. It is best to secure this wood from 
Mount Taylor. A 55-year-old informant told me that the altars 
used when he was a boy have been replaced with new ones, as the 
old ones were almost worn to fragments. The new ones are much 
larger, he said, and are more neatly and skillfully made, since Amer- 
ican tools were used instead of aboriginal ones in their manufacture. 
It is said that when an altar becomes too old for use it is taken out 
and hidden in some canyon or on a moimtain. I was shown a 

SI Fewkes, J. W., in Handbook of American Indians, pt. 1, p. 562. 
32 See the other drawing of a curing society's altar on p. 130. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

mesa some distance south of Acoma, where, it is said, an old altar 
is hidden. 









Oy I" K 

FiGiiRE 5. — Altar of a curing society. The figure on the right (Ma) is Masewi; his face is red. Figure on 
left (Oy) is Oyoyewi; his face is canary yellow. The two round faced figiues (K) are K'o tcininako; 
their bodies are mahogany in color, their faces whitish. The two notched uprights (P) are prayersticks; 
above the diagonal line near the top, the sticks are painted yellow. The large terraced upright in the 
center is called "Prayerstick Chief." In the foreground are two medicine bowls (MB). The parallel 
lines on either side of the terraced bowls are lines of meal 


All masks were made of buffalo hide, except those of the gomaiowic, 
Avhich were made of deerskin.^' Cowhide now replaces buffalo hide 
in the maldng of new masks. Feathers, and sometimes flowers, are 
worn on the tops of the masks. The collar is usually of spruce twigs, 
although a fox skin is freely employed, and feathers rather rarely. 
In some cases designs or symbols on masks are explained, such as, 
for example, the face markings of Paiyatyamo; the diagonal path 
across the face of the k'oBictaiya is said to be the road that they took 

*3 "Are masks ever made of cloth?' 
tuous reply. 

I asked. "No; they used to do that at Laguna," was the contemp- 


when they went from Shipap (the place of emergence) to h'ak'oaik'utc" 
(the sunrise). 

Before a dance the masks are taken from their storeroom and 
refurbished for the ceremony. Feathers and flowers are put on, and 
they are freshly painted. The paints used are prepared as follows: 

Blue green. — Made from a rock secured in the mountains west of 
Acoma. It is called mo'ock' (I presume it is a copper ore). First, 
the rock is ground into a fine dust; then it is boiled in pitch. Wlien 
it gets thick it is allowed to cool. It is then made into balls. In 
this condition it is put away for use. When painting a mask one 
puts some of this substance into his mouth with eagle feathers. He 
chews it for some time and then blows it onto the mask (the breath 
is expelled with it, giving the effect of a spray). Cow's milk is then 
blown from the mouth onto the mask to make the paint bright and 

Black. — Chimney soot is mixed with the white of an egg and ap- 
plied with a stick, such as is used to paint pottery. For the eyes, 
the soot is mixed with the yolk of the egg. 

Yellow. — A j^ellowish rock is ground fine, and the dust mixed with 
water. The sediment is thrown away after being allowed to settle 
twice. The third accumulation of sediment is kept. It is mixed with 
the yolk of an egg and is applied with a pottery paint brush. 

Red. — A red clay (i'pc' k'uk'anic) is used. It is applied with the 
pottery paint brush. 

Blue. — This is purchased at the trader's store. 

A coating of white paint is put on the mask, covering it completely, 
before the designs are painted on. 

Kachina Dolls (K'atsina O'ak) 

These are made of wood, painted, and decorated with feathers and 
flowers. They are given to children by masked dancers during cere- 
monies. The children treat them with great care and respect. 
(Fig. 4, d.) 

Rock Carvings 

Southeast of Acoma there are some cliffs whose faces contain many 
carvings. (Fig. 6.) There are pictures or representations of the sun, 
of k'atsina, lightning, geometric designs (significance unknown), of 
female genitalia (see account of the k'atsina naiyu), a few deer, a 
human hand, etc. South of Acoma there is a great rock with a slender 
pinnacle rising to a height of almost 300 feet (estimated). On the 
side of this column there is a great picture of the sun, carved in the rock 
and painted. There are also some carved paiutings of k'osictaiya. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

Ritual Patterns 

It might be well to summarize at this point some of the ritual 
patterns which we have met during our accounts of ceremonies: 

Fasting and continence; salt and meat and sexual intercourse are 
taboo during sacred ceremonies. 

Vomiting before breakfast, using an herb lirew as an emetic, is 
considered salutary and purifying. 

The counterclockwise circuit of the four directions (each with its 
color): North, yellow; west, blue; south, red; east, white. 

The number four is the conventional ceremonial number. 

Whipping is appropriate at the initiation of children and war chiefs; 
the o"pi (warriors) are subjected to some physical pain. 

Smoking is done ceremonially. Corn-husk cigarettes are used. At 
official calls, during curing ceremonies, etc., cigarettes are used. 


FiGVRE 6. — Pictographs and petroglyphs near Acoma. Note the K'atsina in lower right 

Medicine men trap persons with them. The masks are offered ciga- 
rettes during their stay in the kivas. Cigarettes are placed in wasani 
for the spirits. 

Food is given the masks in the estufas. It is also thrown over 
cliffs for spirits. All important ceremonies are attended with feasting. 



During pregnancy a woman modifies her ordinary conduct some- 
what. She should not stand in a doorway; this would retard delivery. 
She should not go out walking very much. She is not supposed to 
eat fruit. She must not work too much. One should never show 



her thorns (reason not given). One should never "talk bad" in her 

A midwnfe assists at childbirth. 

^^Tien the child is born the father makes a wasani, which he takes 
to a medicine man with a long prayer; he asks him to come to his 
house to take the baby out to see the sun and to give him a name. 

Early in the morning (about 2 a. m.) of the fourth day after the 
birth of the child the medicine man sohcited by the father comes 
with his wdfe to the house of the child. '^ The parents have cleared 
a space in one of their rooms for him. He begins to make his sand 
Dainting and to lay out his paraphernalia. The design of the sand 
painting is illustrated in Plate 16. A horned toad might be used 
instead of a turtle. Two or three ho'nan' are placed on the turtle. 
A medicine bowl is placed on the turtle's head. Some flints, miscella- 
neous fetishes (depending somewhat upon the medicine man's sup- 
ply), and perhaps a bear paw are placed on the sand painting on 
either side of the turtle's head. A basket of prayer sticks is placed 
near the turtle's head. 

While the medicine man is making his sand mosaic and aiTanging 
lus paraphernalia his wife is bathing the mother and baby. When 
the medicine man has finished with his altar he sits near the turtle's 
head and begins to sing, keeping time with a gourd rattle. He sings 
for some time. When his wife has finished bathing mother and child 
she sits on the floor near the head of the turtle, with the baby in her 
lap. The mother sits near by. As the medicme man sings he dips 
his eagle plumes into the medicine bowl from time to time and 
sprinkles the baby. 

Shortly before sunrise the medicine man asks the parents if they 
have prepared wasani for prayers. The mother and father fetch 
the waBani. They bring them back and, standing on either side of 
the turtle's head, they pray. When they have finished they lay their 
waBani in the basket of prayer sticks. Then the medicine man asks 
the parents if they have selected a name for their child. If they 
have not done so, the medicine man selects one himself. 

Just before sunrise they all rise and go outdoors. The %vife of the 
medicine man carries the baby, following her husband to the east 
edge of the mesa. The parents stop a few paces outside their door. 
The medicine man carries with him the basket of prayer sticks, a 
ho'nan', a flint, his eagle feathers, and a bear's paw (if he has one). 
The medicine man sits on the edge of the cliff, praying to the sun. 
When the sun appears over the great mesa in the east the wife of the 

3< For further notions regarding pregnancy see Parsons's Notes on Acoma and Laguna, American 
Antllropologist. vol. 20, pp. 162-186. 
35 This ceremony seems to be lacking among the eastern Keres. 

134 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. anv. 47 

medicine man holds the baby out toward him.'^ The medicine man 
prays. When he finishes he throws the basket of prayer sticks over 
the edge. Then he rises and approaches the baby. He gathers in 
his arms all the air he can hold and blows it toward the baby; he 
gathers air from the four directions, north, west, south, and east. 
As he blows the air toward him, he speaks the child's name. He is 
giving the child breath of life. 

The medicine man and his wife return to the house with the baby. 
As they approach the door the medicine man caUs out "K'aiya!" 
(hello!). The father answers "Haiyeh!" the mother "Heh O!" Then 
the medicine man says, "Baby (mentioning the child's name), this 
is his home; here he comes; he is going to Uve here. May he have 
long life and all kinds of crops, fruits, game, beads, with him. He is 
coming in." The parents reply, "Let him come in!" Then the 
medicine man steps aside and allows his wife, carrying the child, to 
enter first. The mother stands just inside the door to receive the 
baby in her arms. The family gathers around. The medicine man 
takes up the bowl of medicine and pours a little bit into the baby's 
mouth. Then he gives some to the mother and father and to the 
relatives. Finally he gives some to his wife to drink and takes some 
himself. Food is now brought in for the medicine man and his wife 
and put down in front of the turtle's head. The doctor wafts steam 
from the food over the altar four times with his eagle plumes. He 
may take a morsel of food and deposit it near the bowl of medicine. 
Then they all sit down, a short distance from the sand painting, 
and eat. After breakfast, the medicine man sweeps up his painting, 
gathers up his paraphernaha, and goes home with his wife. 

Before taldng his departure, however, the medicine man prays over 
the baby's cradle and sprinkles it with medicine. The mother has 
selected an ear of com which she wiU tie on the cradle board (at the 
left side of the baby). This com is also prayed over and sprinkled. 
When the doctor has gone the father or mother will shell some of 
this com and put it in a little buckskin bag and tie it on the left of 
the baby board. The remainder of the ear will be kept until planting 
time, when it will be planted. A small flint is tied to the cradle 
board, near the bag of corn. When the child leaves the cradle this 
flint is often himg from a string around his neck. In former times a 
father often took a young son to one of the (f pi who would make a 
small leather wristlet for the left wrist. This was to protect the 
wrist from the recoil of the bowstring and algo to give the child 
"power." If the child is slow in learning to talk, his parents will 

as In the origin myth, latik". the mother of the Indians, placed all her children in a row, facing east. 
Their eyes had not yet opened. The sun had not yet made its appearance. While they were facing east 
she caused the sun to rise. The eyes of the first children opened. That is why the children of Acoma are 
presented to the sun to-day at birth. 


put some shelled corn in a mocking bird's nest and leave it there for 
a few days. Then they take it out, grind it, and put it into the child's 
mouth, slightly moistened. 

The baby boards are made of wood taken, preferably, from trees 
that have been struck by lightning. During the winter solstices these 
cradle boards are frequently taken to the medicine men (who are 
curing in their chambers) to have them "cured" (i. e., exorcised) and 
charged with "power." 

Childhood '' 

Cliildren are well-behaved and respectful; they are much more 
reserved and subdued than American children of to-day. At a fairly 
early age they assist their elders in their occupations. Nowadays 
they begin school at an early age — about 6 or 8. They attend either 
the Aconiita or McCartys day school, or the Indian school at Albu- 
querque or the Catholic school at Santa Fe. 

A few generations ago the children were initiated into the kachina 
organization at about 8 years of age. Nowadays children are not 
usually initiated until after their return from school; it is felt that 
the children should not possess these secrets while away from the 
pueblo — they might tell some one. 

After school days are over the children are quite well grown and are 
ready to take their places as full-fledged members of the community. 

Marriage and Divorce 

Monogamy is the rule at Acoma. The Catholic faith being pro- 
fessed, divorce is, theoretically, impossible. Many couples are mar- 
ried in the old mission church at old Acoma by the priest (Franciscan). 
These marriages usually take place on September 2, at the feast of St. 
Stephen, Acoma's patron saint. But frequently a man and woman 
live together as man and wife without any formal ceremony. Al- 
though divorce is not recognized, there are several cases of "separa- 
tion," after which one or both parties may live with some one else. 
Very few adidts sleep alone. I have heard rumors of a certain man 
who is said to haye murdered one or two wives to get rid of them, but 
these stories are not well founded and are certainly very rare. Do- 
mestic violence is extremely rare. 

There are many illegitimate cluldren. Many girls become mothers 
before they many (or live with a man); sometimes they have two 
children before marriage. Sometimes, indeed, they never marry but 
rear large families. I know of one family of several children whose 
mother never married. It is said that all of the mother's children 
are by the same man, however. He has a wife, though, with whom 

" Additional data on birth and child rearing are to be found in Parsons's Notes on Acoma and Laguna, 
American .Anthropologist, vol. 20, pp. 162-186. 

136 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

he lives, and children by her, too. Quite often, after a girl becomes 
a mother she marries, very frequently the father of the child (if 
knowTi). Among the unmarried, both boys and girls, there is a great 
deal of sexual intercourse. But, it is said, a woman usually remains 
faithfid to her husband after marriage. 

Neither illegitimacy nor extraconjugal sexual relationships are con- 
sidered sins or even immoral. That boys and girls wiU exercise sexual 
functions before marriage is taken for granted. The "unmarried 
mother" is not looked upon with pity or with condemnation. Her 
status is practically eqidvalent to that of a widow with a child. 
Marrying a girl with an illegitimate child involves an economic con- 
sideration sometimes, but not a moral one ; some men entertain a dis- 
inclination to support the child of another man. But this does not 
figure strongly in the pueblos, where the husbands very frequently go 
to live with their wives in their houses, and where the women con- 
tribute so much to the support of the families. In case a woman 
with children never marries, she does not become destitute by any 
means. She continues to live with her mother (or perhaps sister) 
and contributes much to the support of her children through her 
labors in the garden and in pottery maldng. 

Men and women select their own mates, as a ride. Of course 
parents sometimes voice then- wishes, but the children are free to dis- 
regard them if they choose. As is the case with matches among 
whites, it is very difficult sometimes to determine which party makes 
the first advances, the boy or the gu'l. But at Acoma, after the couple 
have become quite friendly (or sexually intimate) the giii is as likely 
to urge marriage as the boy.^" 

Regarding marriage with non-Acoma persons, I received the 
impression quite decidedly that marriage outside the pueblo is not to 
be encouraged, even with other pueblos, and marriage with whites or 
Mexicans is disapproved of. 

There is no fixed custom (nowadays, at least) regulating the resi- 
dence of wife and husband after marriage. The husband may go to 
live at the house of his wife, or vice versa. Or a new house niay be 

Nearly every family has at least one cluld. Practically all adults 
seem to be very fond of children, especially very small children. 
Very often men, especially old men, take care of children when they 
are about the house or village. 

38 1 knew one young man who used to have sexual intercourse with a girl. She wanted him to marry her, 
and asked him to do so. He did not wish to marry her. One night the girl's father caught them in bed 
together. He agreed to cause no trouble when the young man consented to marry the daughter. But 
before morning, the young man slipped out of the house, packed his grip and left the village. The girl's 
father went to the governor and wanted to collect $250 damages from the boy. But this could not be 
assessed in his absence. Within six months the girl married someone else, the boy returned, and no trouble 

whttk] life cycle of an individual 137 

Sickness and Election to Office 

Adult life for the men and women is filled with their domestic and 
field activities. As ceremonies come and go they take theii- part, or 
perhaps only attend as spectators. A severe siclcness, however, 
might well mark an event in the life of anyone. A medicine society 
might be called in, and the patient might-join it upon recovery. This 
would be a very important event. 

Any adult man is eligible to hold office (imless barred because of 
his liberal tendencies). A minor office, of course, does not materially 
change the course of one's life. A major office, such as the war 
captamcy or the governorship, however, marks an epoch in one's life, 
as wdll be realized from our discussion of these offices. 

The values which the average person cherishes as he passes middle 
age seem to be a long life, many children, a clear conscience — a feeling 
of having done his duty toward men and gods. Wealth, beyond a 
comfortable living, seems to be httle sought after. It is true that 
some feeling of contempt is attached to poverty; it means that the 
people are lazy or "bad." But in the scale of virtues wealth cer- 
tainly does not head the list.^* 

Death '"' 

The face of the deceased is painted with ya'katca (reddish brown) 
by some medicine men. The father makes four prayer sticks, painted 
black, which he puts in the right hand of the deceased. Then he 
makes four more which he puts in a pottery bowl, together -wdth four 
made by the mother. Shortly after death the body is interred in 
the yard in front of the old Spanish church at old Acoma; tliis is con- 
secrated ground. The body is buried dressed in the best clothes 
owned by the deceased. No tools or weapons are buried with the 
body. After the grave has been filled a pottery bowl of water is 
broken over it by a relative to give the deceased "his last drink." 
Sometimes a few flowers are planted on the grave, but they soon die." 

39 1 heard that some of the people at Acoma (mostly men, of course, but one or two women) have two or 
three thousand dollars in the bank at Albuquerque. This is, of course, very rare: very few, indeed, have 
bank accounts. Wealth exists largely in slieep, cattle, horses, corn, houses, etc. The average family han- 
dles little cash during a year. Supplies are bought at the trading post at Cubero (where the Indians are 
very often cheated or imposed upon) and are charged. Accounts are balanced with sales of wool and 

*" Additional data on death and burial are contained in Parsons's Notes on .\coma and Laguna, Ameri- 
can Anthropologist, vol, 20, pp. 162-186. 

^i -Ml of the Acomas who have died for many generations have been buried in this churchyard. It is 
quite small. Whenever a new grave is dug now at least one or two old ones are disturbed, and many bones 
are exhmned; these are thrown back into the new grave. A few bones and many fragments of potterj- lie 
about on the surface of the graveyard. The relation to the Catholic Church is interesting in connection 
with burials. All of the biu-ials are in the churchyard, but the medicine men function rather than the priest . 
In one instance that I know of the Catholic priest performed the burial ceremony (the father of the deceased 
was a " progressive") . The girl was not buried in the churchyard for this reason. Persons who have been 
witches are not buried here either. 

6066°— 32 10 

138 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

The heart (soul) of the deceased goes back to Shipap. (It will be 
remembered that there is a little hole in the floor of Mauharots, where, 
it is said, the soul goes after death.) Nothing specific is known of the 
existence of an individual after death; he simply goes back to the 
place of emergence, to latik", the mother of them all." 

Four days after the death a medicine man, solicited with corn meal 
by the father of the deceased, takes the burnt stick which has been 
placed where the deceased lay, the prayer sticks made by the father 
and the mother, and a "lunch," and goes to the grave, where he 
prays. Then he goes down the sand trail to the foot of the mesa, 
and then to the north. He goes out to some mesa or canyon, where 
he deposits his burden. The sticks are for latik". 

Hidden Ball (Aioakutyey) 

There were four hollow tubes. They were about 8 inches long and 
2 inches in diameter. One was painted black in the middle; this was 
called tsoyo. Another was painted black on one end; tliis was called 
teli. A third was painted black on both ends; it was called k'aci. 
The third had two black marks in the middle (name not learned). 
A pebble ball is hidden in one of these tubes. 

The game may be played by a great number of people, who are 
divided into two groups opposing each other. Each group is repre- 
sented by one man. They decide who shall play first by letting a 
corn husk that has been blackened on one side flutter to the ground. 
Wliile it is falling one man guesses which side will fall uppermost. 
If he wins he will be the first to hide the pebble. The object of the 
game is, of course, to hide the ball in one of the tubes so that the 
opponents can not locate it. If the person who is guessing touches 
the tube containing the pebble on the first guess he must pay his 
opponent ten straws (each of the two men has 100 straw tallies). If 
he touches the tube containing the pebble on the second guess he must 
pay six straws. If he guesses it on the third guess he takes the tubes 
and hides the pebble himself; but he wins no straws. If he guesses 
wrong the first three guesses he must forfeit five straws. The one 
who loses all of his straws first loses the game. 

While these two men are playing the others stand by and sing and 
dance "like k'a-'tsina." Men from each group make bets with men 
from the opposing group. Considerable property changes hands 
sometimes at tliis game.*' 

" It is interesting to note that neither latili" nor any other native spirit punishes anyone after death. 
Those who recognize the Catholic God as a spirit, however, say that he is quite likely to punish people after 

" Culin in his Games of the North American Indians, Twenty-fourth Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer, Ethn., 
p. 3S1, speaks of hidden ball at Acoma. He calls it aiyawakotai. 


Other games. — There were kick-stick races between groups of boys 

or men." 

Culin also mentions a game played with cane dice.^^ 

A game called sishi is cited by Culin from Acoma. It is said that 

it was invented by KauBat, who played against the sun and lost his 


Salt Gathering 

When they were living at Kacikatcuf* (White House) in the north 
there was a woman named Mina Koya. She was the Salt Woman. 
She quarreled with the people. They quarreled with her because 
she was so dirty. So she left and went to the south. She stopped at 
various places on the way, but kept on going southwest. Finally 
she stopped where the Zufli salt lake is now. She stopped there to 
rest and turned into the salt lake." 

The people at Acoma used to send out expeditions to the Ziini salt 
lake to get salt. Only men from the Pumpldu and Parrot clans went. 
One or more of the war chiefs went with them, however. When they 
got to the salt lake they bathed. They made prayer sticks and 
prayed. The headmen of the clans had a ho'nani. Wearing only a 
breechcloth, the men went into the lake to gather the salt. No one 
laughed during the time thej^ were at work; it was a very solemn 
occasion. When they came back to Acoma with the salt every house 
had the sign of its clan painted on the wall by the door. The Parrot 
and Pumpldn men distributed salt to each house.** 

A Love Charm 

If a young man wants to make a girl who has remained indifferent 
to his demonstrations of affection fall in love with him, he executes 
the following formula: 

The young man finds a spider web which has been spun over the 
mouth of a hole in the ground. This he removes carefully and 
preserves. In payment for the web he gives the spider a ball of 
cotton which contains in its center some yaicatca (a reddish-brown 
rock), some pollen (the beings that creep on the earth, such as ants, 
are supposed to feed on pollen), some rabbit meat, or deer meat if 
it can be secured, and perhaps some beads. This is deposited with 
a prayer to the spider. 

Then the young man proceeds to the house of the girl whom he 
wishes to win. Without being seen by anyone, he places the web 

" See Culin, p. 668. 
" Ibid., pp. 119-121. 
« Ibid., p. 121. 

" See other accounts of the Salt Woman; this is very fragmentary and incomplete. See Boas's Myths 
and Tales from Laguna. 
<• Compare accoimt of salt gathering described by Doctor Parsons in Laguna Qenealogies, p. 225. 

140 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

in some place where the girl is sure to touch it. Then he goes home- 
That night he sings the songs that Diakatcoa sang when, in the 
form of a butterfly, he lured the kotcininakos from their home. 
These songs are esoteric and must be secured from some one who 
knows them. AU of these songs he sings on this night. 

The next day (or very soon thereafter) the girl will readily yield 
to his wooing. 


In a piecemeal description of Acoma culture it would be easy to 
lose sight of a very fundamental feature, namely, integration. Not- 
withstanding the many and diverse elements to be found in the 
cultural totality, there is a great degree of interpenetration of function 
and coincidence of form; pueblo culture is close-knit. It might be 
well, then, briefly to envisage Acoma culture as a whole as an organic 

I like to view Acoma social organization as consisting of two strata, 
or as existing upon two levels. These are the kinship (and clan) 
level and the socio-ceremonial level. And I usually think of the 
fonner as a substratum upon which the elaborate ceremonial structure 
is reared. Of course, these two strata are not sharply divided by 
any means; they cof unction at many points and there is a constant 
flow of influence (of a personal or kinship nature) between them. 

First, then, we have the kinship level, on which the clan constitutes 
a very definite form of organization. Its chief fimction is the regu- 
lation of marriage. But, as we have seen, many ceremonial elements 
are conditioned or determined by clan consideration. It is on this 
level, too, that a great current of forces flows which influence pueblo 
affairs to a veiy great extent. These are the attractions and rcpid- 
sions between person and person; the loves, hates, fears, jealousies, 
suspicions of the people. The alignment of individuals within the 
two parties, the progressives and the conservatives, is determuied 
largely by kin and clan ties.*' One might take all this for granted, 
of course. But too often, I believe, in a study of the anatomy of a 
culture one fails to take due account of these subinstitutional forces 
which vitaUze it to such a great degree. 

On the second level we have ceremonies whicli are, for the most 
part, of a supernatural nature. Most of the ceremonies seek to 
derive favor or to avert evil from supernatural beings; they are 
magical attempts to gratify wishes. But in addition to this purpose, 
ceremonial life is fed and nourished by purely esthetic and social 
motives; many ceremonies are beautiful, impressive, and pleasant 
social occasions. 

J" I knew of an instance in which a young man married the daughter of a very conservative family. He 
had been a liberal before his marriage but became an "old-time" conservative afterwards. 


On this ceremonial level we can distinguish several organizations 
of interest, although each one is connected with another at some 
point. These organizations center around rain and fertility, medicine 
and disease, war, and hunting. But the organs for serving one 
purpose frequently assist another; medicine men assist in the kachina 
dances (and initiate new members) ; they also initiate the war chiefs, 
and the war chiefs guard the medicine men at their cures; the Hunters' 
Society ofTiciated at ceremonial hunts; the k'oBictaiya treated weak 
and sick persons at the winter solstice, etc. There is a quality of 
sphericity about the oi^anization ; any point is connected or con- 
corned (more or less directly) with all others. 

The position of Acoma in the southwest.^'^ — Although differing at 
many points from the Keresan pueblos of the Rio Grande, Acoma 
resembles them very much more than she does the Hopi or the Zuni 
of the west, or the Tewa villages of the east; Acoma is definitely 
Keresan in culture. Geographically, Acoma is almost midway 
between the eastern and the western pueblos and is decidedly pe- 
ripheral to the Keresan area. One mjght expect to find this position 
reflected in Acoma culture, and one does, indeed, find a mingling of 
the east and the west at Acoma. 

The six-kiva system at Acoma (only five now) is like Zuni. The 
moiety feature which is prominent in the ceremonial organization of 
the eastern pueblos is absent at Acoma, as at Zuni. The kachina 
cult shows more affinities to Zuni than to the eastern pueblos. In 
addition to the presence of certain individual kachinas, the masked 
ceremonies of the k'atsina fight, and of Curatca, suggest the Zuni 
kyanakwe ceremony and shulawitsi ritual, respectively. 

Differences in political organization between Acoma and the eastern 
Keres are: In the east there are two war chiefs; at Acoma there is 
one and two lieutenants. The cacique at Acoma is always a member 
of the Antelope clan and is not a medicine man (although this is not 
prohibited). In the east the cacique is not chosen with reference to 
clan, but he is usually (and in one or two instances must be) a medi- 
cine man. The 10 "little chiefs" and the three cooks at Acoma are 

Acoma medicine societies closely resemble the eastern Keresan ones. 
It is characteristic in the east, however, for the Flint Society to be 
closely associated with the koshare (sometimes amounting to com- 
pulsory coincidences in membership), and a similar bond between the 
Cik'ame Society and the Quirena. At Acoma the koshare are 
extinct and so is the Ci'k'ame Society. And the Quirena Society 
is identical with the kachina organization. These are striking 

so White, Leslie A., Summarj- Report on Field Work at Acoma, American Anthropologist, vol. 30, 
pp. 559-568. 

142 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

Another item of interest here concerns paraphernalia. At Acoma a 
wooden slat altar is used at cures. It is called yaBaicini. Among 
the eastern Keres the slat altar is used at the solstice ceremonies (and 
presumably at retreats), but not at cures. Moreover, it is called 
ai'tcin; in the east yaBaicini refers to the meal painting and layout of 
fetishes used at cures. Possible explanations of these (and other) 
differences must be reserved for other studies. 

Acoma culture, then, in a word, is marginal Keresan, -with evidences 
of strong western influence. 


Emergence and Migration 

They came out of the earth, from latik'", the mother. They came 
out through a hole in the north called Shipap. They crawled out 
like grasshoppers; their bodies were naked and soft. It was all dark; 
the sun had not yet risen. All of the little people had their eyes 
closed; they hadn't opened them yet. latik" lined them all up in a 
row, facing east. Then she had the sun come up. When it came up 
and shone on the babies' eyes they opened. They crawled around. 
In eight days they were bigger and stronger. They walk around now. 
There was a lake at Shipap. There was an island in the center of the 
lake, and there was a building on the island. latik" left her people 
when they got big enough to take care of themselves and went to 
live in this building. Before she went she told the people how to get 
food to eat. She also told them about the k'a-'tsina who Uved out 
west at Wenimats'. She told them that the k'a-'tsina would come to 
dance for them. She told the people that they must respect these 
spirits, for they were very powerful. latik" told her children to 
multiply and to teach their children to live as latik" wdshed. She 
said that she would always be near them to help them and to take 
care of them. 

Among the children of latilv" were two brothers, Masewi and Oyo- 
yewi. They were very powerful and very wise. They became the 
leaders of the people. 

One day two G'o'niaiowic (scouts) came to announce the coming 
of the k'a-'tsina in four days. Everyone busied himself in prepara- 
tions for the reception of the k'a-'tsina. The women ground corn 
and made bread ; the men hunted rabbits and deer. Masewi and his 
brother showed the people how to make prayer sticks (hatcamoni) 
and how to worship the k'a-'tsina. On the evening of the third day 
everyone prayed to the k'a-'tsina with their prayer sticks and com 
meal (ckati-na) and made offerings of bread and game. The next 
morning the k'a-'tsina arrived, preceded by two go-'maiowic. The 
k'a-'tsina were dressed the way the masked dancers are to-day (but 


of course they did not wear masks; their faces looked the way the 
masks do to-day). They came into the plaza. Masewi and his 
brother went forward to meet them, handing them bimches of prayer 
sticks. The other people were close behind and they, too, met the 
k'a-'tsina. Then the k'a-'tsina distributed presents. They carried 
small buckskin bags with them. When they were opened and their 
contents discharged they became magnified and multiplied manifold. 
They had bows and arrows, clothing (for the people were still naked), 
pottery, flints, buckskins, tools, etc., which they distributed to the 
people. The k'a-'tsina then instructed the people in the uses of all 
the gifts, and they made inquiries regarding the clans. (Just what 
inquiries and why I do not know. It seems they merely asked each 
person what clan he belonged to.) Then Masewi and Oyoyewi told 
the people that they must "believe in the k'a-'tsina," that they were 
powerfid, that they were rain makers. Then the k'a-'tsina began to 
dance in the plaza. They danced all day. In the evening they left, 
returning to We'niniats', their home in the west. The scouts told 
the people, before leaving, that if they wanted the k'a-'tsina to come 
they should make prayer sticks and worship to them. In each case 
the scouts would come to announce the k'a-'tsina four days before 
their arrival. 

Then the people were happy. They had food, tools, clothing, and 
weapons. When they became bored or lonesome they had the 
k'a-'tsina come to dance for them. They had learned many things, 
himting, a few games, etc. They made herb brew which they used as 
an emetic. (This is said to be very healthful. If one drinks brew 
and vomits upon arismg in the morning he "will feel good all day.") 

After a time the people decided to move from Shipap', for it was a 
very sacred place and they feared they might defile it. So Alasewi 
decided to move to Kacikatcutia (White House) wliich lay to the 
south. Leaving Shipap', they migrated to Kaciliatcutia, where stood 
the Wliite House. They settled there. 

When they had become established in their new home they decided 
to try to call the k'a-'tsina; they were not sure that they would come 
to their new home. So they made praj'er sticks and worshipped as 
they had been taught. The scouts came, followed after four days by 
the k'a-'tsina. In the evening, following one of these dances, the 
people were gathered in a large room to play at aioak'iityeyi (liidden 
ball). They were in high spirits; everyone was happy. It occurred 
to one man to show the others how one of the k'a-'tsina had danced. 
He danced, exaggerating the peculiarities of the k'a-'tsina. Everyone 
laughed. Then others gave comic imitations of various k'a'tsina. 
This caused great merriment among the spectators. Suddenly some 
one left the room. It was Mac'tuiktsatca't', a k'a-'tsina who had 
been sitting in the room all the time. They tried to catch him, but 


lETH. ANN. 47 

he had disappeared when they reached the door. He returned to 
Weniniats' and told his fellows. They were very angry and decided 
to return to Kacikatcutia and destroy the village. That niglit the 
war cry "Ah-a-a-a-a-a Ai!" alarmed the whole village. Masewi and 
his brother went out, meeting four scouts from Weniniats'. The 
scouts told the brothers that the k'a-'tsina were going to come and kill 
everyone. Masewi and Oyoyewi returned and began preparing for 
defense. They got poles and skins and made a barricade (ai'tcini). 
(See the account of the "fight" ceremony, also the other myth 
describing this episode.) 

The morning following thousands of k'a"'tsina were seen running 
toward Kacikatcutia from the west, raising a big cloud of dust. They 
were met by the people of the village, the women behind, the men 
in front. They fought all day. Many people were killed. If a 
k'a'tsina was killed he immediately came to life again and resumed 
fighting. At nightfall the fighting ceased and the k'a-'tsina returned 
to Wenimats'. Most of the people had been killed. The rest were 
very sad. And they quarreled among themselves, blaming each other 
for their misfortune. 

The next day the scouts returned from Wenimats'. They told the 
people that they would never see the k'a''tsina again. If, however, 
they vnshed them to come in spirit they should dress just like the 
k'a-'tsina, pray in the usual way, and then impersonate the k'a"'tsina 
in their dances. 

The following days were spent burying the dead and in mourning. 

A month or two passed, when Masewi summoned the people to- 
gether to talk again about the k'a"'tsina. They finally decided to 
impersonate the k'a''tsina as they had been directed by the go'maio- 
wic. So Masewi and his brother began to make masks. But they 
did not take all of the people into their confidence, because many 
were skeptical; they did not think that such a substitute would be 
effective. With six or eight men the two brothers prepared as many 
masks to represent k'a-'tsina. Then they built a house in which to 
practice songs and dances. 

Early one morning two men, dressed as go'maiowic, left the village 
and went out west. At daybreak they returned to the village. The 
people who were ignorant of the scheme were very frightened; they 
feared another attack. Masewi and his brother met the scouts in 
the plaza. The scouts said that the k'a''tsina would come to visit 
them in four days. Everyone was glad, and set about making prep- 
arations for their reception. Peace was to be made. On the third 
day Masewi appointed three war chiefs — a head chief and two lieu- 
tenants — and told them how to receive the k'a"'tsina. 

In the morning of the fourth day two scouts arrived in the village, 
followed by six or eight k'a-'tsina, Masewi and his brother taking 


the part of k'a*'tsma. The war chiefs met them and made them 
welcome. They told the people about the wrong done the k'a"'tsina, 
and how they must be respected now. The k'a"'tsina danced all day 
and at sunset returned to Wenunats'. 

But the people could not agree among themselves; some thought 
it unwise to impersonate these spirit beings, others thought it neces- 
sary. Dissension spread in the village. Little bands detached them- 
selves from the main body and migrated in various directions. (This 
implicitly accounts for the northern pueblos.) Many, however, 
stayed behind and followed the advice of Masewi. It was during 
these days of discord, too, that latik" caused the people to speak dif- 
ferent languages so that they could not quarrel with each other. 

•After a time Masewi and his followers migrated to Wacpaceka, 
where they lived a long time. There was still discord among them 
concerning the k'a"'tsina. 

Now Masewi had tv/o eggs, one a parrot egg, the other a crow egg. 
One was blue and the other was white, but no one knew which was 
the parrot's egg. They decided to go to the south, where lay a place 
called A'ko. They wished to go there and raise parrots. So they 
set out. In their wanderings they would pause at various mesas, 
thinldng perhaps that they had found A'ko. Masewi would call out 
in a loud voice " Aaaakoooo-o-o ! " If the echo sounded favorable 
they would settle there for a time to make sure. But if the echo 
was not "good" they would pass on. 

On their wanderings they stopped for a time at Dyup'tsiyam, but 
it was too small to raise parrots, so they moved on. They also 
stopped at Guicti and at Tsiama. But always, when they moved, 
they traveled towai-d the south. As thej^ passed K'atsi''m° (Mesa 
Encantada) some of them paused and made their homes there; the 
others followed Masewi southward. When they came to the east 
point of Acoma, Masewi called out " A-a-a-ko-o-o-o ! " and received a 
perfect echo. "This is Al'co," he announced. Then he held up the 
two eggs, the blue and the white egg. The people divided themselves, 
some preferring the blue egg, others the white one, but both parties 
were, of course, trying to select the parrot egg. Most of the people 
chose the blue egg, so Masewi threw it against the cliff. Swarms of 
crows flew out. Those who had chosen this egg were sadly disap- 
pointed, but they had agreed to remain at Ako. Those who had 
chosen the white egg went on farther south, carrying the egg with 
them. (And my informant said that he had been told by some of 
the old men that far to the south were a, people that spoke a language 
almost like that of the Acomas. He thought those must have been 
the people who went south with the white egg.) 

Now there were many snakes and ants on top of the mesa at A-ko, 
so the people settled at the foot at the east point, which was called 

146 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

Akohai'titu (east point of Ako). There were also rabbits, squirrels, 
birds, and trees on top of the mesa. MasewT told his people that he 
was going to live on top of the rock. So he and his brother ascended 
the mesa. After a few days they returned and told the people that 
some day they would all live up there; that the village at the foot 
would be destroyed. They also said that they were going to disap- 
pear, but that they would be living beneath a rock on the east end 
of the cliff. (On the cliff to-day stand two rock pillars under which 
the spirits of Masewi and Oyoyewi live.) But some day, Masewi 
told them, he and his brother would return as great warriors, riding 
on tsityaiowic (?). Then the world would come to an end. Every- 
one would be killed. After that some people (presumably the faith- 
ful) would live forever. 

The settlers at the foot of the mesa began to build a village. First 
they built the war chief's house, then those for the medicine men, 
then the houses for the others. Each was to help the other in this 
work. They had some altars and masks that they had made at 
Kacikatcutia. They planted corn, beans, squash, and melons. They 
did not irrigate at that time. 

When they had become settled in their new home they decided to 
try to bring the k'a^'tsina back. They made more masks. The war 
chief (at that time the war chief served for life and was succeeded 
at death by his son) appointed two men to serve as go'maiowic. 
They were to hold this position permanently and at death to be 
succeeded by their sons. 

When all preparations had been made and the prayers offered to 
Wenimats' the two scouts appeared in the village the morning fol- 
lowing and told them that the k'a-'tsina would come in four days. 
They told the people to make every preparation for their arrival, to 
clean up the whole village, grind com, bake bread, hunt game, etc. 
They were to make a food sacrifice to the k'a-'tsina. The older 
people knew that the k'a-'tsina were merely impersonated by their 
own people, but the younger folks thought that the real k'a-'tsina 
were to come. 

On the morning of the fourth day the k'a-'tsina, preceded by the 
go'maiowic, came. They came around the south side of the mesa 
to the east point. The war chief met them in the plaza. The 
k'a''tsina brought no presents, and they never spoke, as they had 
done before the fatal fight. The k'a-'tsina danced in the plaza and 
prayed for rain. (It was said that they prayed either to latik" or 
to the Shiwanna.) Rain came. This ceremony became sacred and 
was repeated. The masks were preserved carefully. 

Among the dangers and annoyances in the hfe at Akohai'titu were 
a Flint bird (Hictiani Koasut, something with wings of flint) that used 
to steal away young gkls and carry them off to his home above the 


sky, and some giants who roamed the country, carrying off stragglers 
to their moimtain homes, where they were eaten. (See the stories of 
Kasewat, the great hero of this time, and his encomiters with these 

At certain tunes the war chief would have the medicine men purge 
the village of sickness. And they would have rabbit himts at various 
times, usually before some ceremony, to provide meat for the feasts. 

For his heroic exploits Kasewat was made war chief. The old 
war chief, the father of his wife, died without leaving sons, so Kasewat 
was made chief. Shortly after assuming the office Kasewat caused 
the medicine men to ascend the mesa and remove aU the snakes and 
ants. They were planning to move on top of the rock, as it had 
become dangerous to live at the foot. So the medicine men brought 
the snakes down and turned them loose. 

After a council they moved up on top of the mesa. There were 
some, though, who did not wish to go, so they left and journeyed 
southward. Before makhig the ascent, however, they examined the 
rock carefully to ascertain the sources of water, traUs, etc. When 
they had moved they built homes of stone and of adobe. Some were 
three stories high. At this time there were some old people left who 
had witnessed the fight with the k'a"'tsina at Kacikatcutia. They 
wished to reenact that episode, partly to teach the others what had 
happened and also to impress upon everyone the sacredness of all 
matters pertaming to k'a-'tsina. So after long dehberation they 
decided to reenact tliis fight. (See page 88 for accounts of tliis 

Origin and Emergence ^' 

The first supernatural being was Utc'tsttt (male). Then there 
were two sisters, Nau'tsttt and la'tik". Utc'tstti told themin adi-eam 
that the people were imder the earth. The two sisters wanted to 
dig for them. They got the gopher to dig for them. The gopher 
dug down and reached the people, and the two sisters told them to 
come out. They crawled out. They were very small, like babies; 
then- eyes were shut. The sun had not come up yet. The sisters 
made the people face the east. When the sun came up aU their 
eyes opened. This was at Shipap'. 

One night Utc'tsttt gave the two sisters all kinds of fruits, vege- 
tables, game, sheep, etc.^- It was all in a basket. There was a book 
in the basket. When the sisters woke up in the morning they foimd 

" This version, I suspect, is one that was told at Laguna, or Zia, perhaps. I do not believe it is common 
at Acoma, for other informants did not know about it. But U tctsiti and Nautsiti are mentioned in my ths 
collected at Laguna by Professor Boas; Naotsete and Uretsete are mentioned by Duniarest (p. 212, Notes 
on Cochiti, N. Mex.). Mrs. Stevenson speaks of Utset at Zia. The reference to the book, of course, 
indicates that some recent myth maker has had his hand in it. 

« This informant, and indeed others, believe that the Pueblo Indians have always had sheep. 

148 THE ACOMA INDLAJSTS [eth. axn. 47 

the basket. Nau'tsitt said, "Oh, look; this is our present from 
Utc'tsttt. We will divide all the things." Naii'tstti told la'tik" to 
pick out the things she wanted. So la'tik" picked out the wild game 
and the \vild plants, things that grew by themselves. The animals 
and plants that had to be planted and tended in order to grow she 
left to Nau'tsitt. Then Nau'tsitt offered the book to la'tik", but 
la'tik" didn't want the book; she thought it would be too much 
trouble to read it. Then they called all the people together and told 
them to choose between the two sisters. Most of the people went 
with la'tik"; only a few went with Nau'tsttt. But Nau'tsttt told 
la'tik" that she was making a mistake. "You don't want to work," 
she told la'tik", "but some day you may want what I have. I 
will get the best of you yet," she said. Then Nau'tsiti went to the 
east. She became the mother of the white people (who later came 
back to the land of the Indians). la'tik" was the mother of the 

GuitiDa'nic (Performing Miracles), a Story of the Fight at 


Mic"Hama, there was a dance going on at Kacikatcutia one day. 
Toward evening the k'a^'tsina that were dancing went back to 
Wenimats'. But there was one k'a-'tsina named Mactiktsatcati who 
remained in the estufa, sitting Ln a comer. That night some men 
gathered in the estufa and fell to discussing the dancers. Some of 
them began to ridicide the k'a-'tsina and to mimic their ways of 
dancing. "This one was bow-legged," "This one danced this way," 
etc. They did not notice the k'a''tsina sitting quietly in the corner. 
After Mactilvtsatcati had listened for some time he got up and went 
out of the estufa. Some men noticed him leave and recognized him 
to be a k'a-'tsina. They rushed after him to endeavor to detain 
him, but by the time they had reached the exit of the estufa Mac- 
tilitsatcati had disappeared. 

When Mactilvtsatcati arrived at Wenimats' he told the k'a-'tsina 
how the people had mocked them. The k'a*'tsina dancers became 
very angry. They determined to revenge themselves. The next 
morning two g'o'maiowic (scouts) were summoned. They were 
instructed to go to Kacil-catcutia and teU the people that the k'a-'tsina 
would attack them in four days and pimish them for their misde- 
meanor. So the scouts went to Kacikatcutia where they met the 
tsatyao ho'tcen' (outside, or war chiefs) to whom they deUvered their 
message. The chiefs summoned the people to one of the estufas and 
told them of the decision of the angry k'a-'tsina. After some dis- 
cussion the chiefs decided that there was nothing to do but to prepare 

" Although there is no doubt about the existence of an Utc'tsiti and a Nau'tsiti in Keresan tradition, 
I feel that this particular version is largely the product of seme individual fancy, perhaps the informant's. 


for defense. The head chief announced to all the people, "Prepare 
for the coming fight. Meanwliile I shall go to Weniinats'." So he 
set out for Weniniats'. There he sought out Aaik'an', two Tsitsiinits, 
two K'ak'uipe, Dyaits'ko'tunie, Nye"nye'k'a, Na"'yu, G'otitcanicame, 
Masewi and Oyoyewi. 

He asked these k'a"'tsina to help the people of Placikatcutia. 
The k'a-'tsina agreed to do so. It was planned that when the 
k'a-'tsina dancers came to attack the pueblo these k'a''tsina were 
not to join in the fight, hut were to stand by until about half of the 
people had been killed, when they were to seize the dancers and 
bring them to Masewi and Oyoyewi, who were to kill them. 

On the fourth day the k'a-'tsina left Wenimats ' and set out for 
Kacikatcutia. Some watchers in the pueblo saw them approaching 
and gave the warning signal. All the able-bodied people in the 
village came out to meet them. Then the fight began. They all 
mixed together. Some of the k'a-'tsina tore arms or legs ofl' the 
torsos of young men and used them as clubs to beat others with. 
The war chief was watching, and when about half of his people 
had been killed he gave the signal to his friendly k'a-'tsina. They 
ran about seizing the other k'a-'tsina and loiocking them dow^l. 
Masewi and his brother ran up and cut their throats. This con- 
tinued until all the hostile k'a''tsina had been dispatched. After 
remaining inert for a while they would return to life and begin their 
retreat to Wenimats'. 

The war chief and his people returned to the village, bringing 
their k'a"'tsina friends with them. They took the k'a'tsina to an 
estufa and fed them. Then the war chief told all the people to make 
prayer sticks and to bring them to the estufa where the k'a''tsina were. 
This was done, the prayer sticks being placed in baskets. These 
the war chief gave to the two scouts and told them to take them 
back to Wenimats'. He prayed and asked forgiveness of the 
k'a-'tsina, and asked for their help in the future. 

The scouts returned to Wenimats' with the prayer sticks which 
they gave to the hotceni (chief), Kimac". Kimac" said that from 
that time the k'a''tsina would never return to the pueblo. Then he 
directed the scouts to take some masks that had already been made 
to Kacikatcutia and to tell the people that the k'a''tsina would 
never come again in person; instead, they were to wear those masks 
when they danced, and that rain would follow. The people were 
to pray to the k'a''tsina, and even though they would not be present 
in person they would be there in spirit. But it would be necessary 
for the dancers to believe in the k'a"'tsina and to treat them with 

When the war chief received the masks he called the people to- 
gether and told them never to ridicule or mock the k'a-'tsina again. 

150 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

"We have made a terrible mistake," he said, "but from now on we 
must do the best we can." The friendly k'a-'tsina were present in 
the pueblo when the masks arrived. War chief told the people 
that they were to regard these k'a"'tsina as ho'tceni (chiefs) and that 
they must respect them. War chief proposed having Tsitsun'its 
whip all the children four days from that time. (In summoning 
the people to the estufa he had admitted only adults.) In four 
days all the children were brought to the estufa, where they were 
whipped by Tsitsunits. Four days after the whipping the men 
put on their masks for the first time and danced in the plaza. WTien 
they had finished dancing they retired to the estufa. Here the 
war chief caused all the children over eight years of age to assemble. 
They were told the secret of the masks and the k'a-'tsina dancers. 
They were told to believe in the k'a^'tsina and to treat them with 
great respect. They were forbidden to tell the younger children. 

In the evening the dancers pretended to return to Wenimats'. 
Then they went out west, waited until nightfall, when they removed 
their masks and returned to the village. This is the way they must 
do even to this day. Dahama tcaitc. (This is the way it happened.) 

Masewi Abandons Iatik 

Mic"Hama Oong ago), when the Acoma people were still living 
at Kacikatcutia (White House), Masewi and his brother Oyoyewi 
lived in the same house with Iatik. Iatik had an altar (yaBaicini) 
in her room with a medicine bowl (waiititcani) sitting in front of it. 
Masewi and his brother used to go into latik's room every night and 
dance for her imtil morning. They would dance in front of the 
altar so that the water in the medicine bowl would not dry up. 
Clouds arose from the water in the medicine bowl and spread all 
over the world, thus insuring a sufficient supply of rain. 

After a time, however, Iatik appeared to tire of the nightly visits 
of the two brothers. At last she showed it so plainly that they 
decided not to return, so one night they stayed away. Instead of 
dancing before the altar they went to each house in the village and 
got some com; they collected corn of all kinds and colors. The 
next mornuig early they left the village, traveling toward the north. 
After journeying some distance they selected a spot and dug a hole 
in the ground, a deep hole, leading down into another world. Before 
descending into the lower world they found a horned toad (taBinock"). 
They told him that Iatik had tired .of them and their dancing and 
that they had decided to leave the village for 10 years; it was their 
way of making the people reahze that it was they and not Iatik who 
brought the rain. The toad was to guard the hole during the ab- 
sence of the two brothers; he was to sit on the entrance to the hole. 
Masewi caused some flowers to grow about the hole so that the toad 


would have food during his long watch. He also supplied the toad 
with water to drink. Before descending into the hole Masewi told 
the toad to sit on the entrance faithfully and not to move even 
though told to do so by some passer-by. But if someone should 
ask the toad to open his mouth he should obey. 

So the brothers went down the hole, way down to a lower world. 
When they reached the bottom they went west to a place called 
Akutcstcototsica (Flower Mound). They selected this place be- 
cause they loiew that there was a well there. At Kacikatcutia 
there lived a man named Waikuti-miti, whom the people hated. 
(The meaning of his name and the reason he was disliked are not 
known.) This man Masewi and his brother brought with them to 
Akutcstcototsica. The brothers started a farm with the seeds 
they had brought with them; Waikuti-miti was to tend the fields. 
And so they lived in this way and were happy. They had plenty of 
everything. But they worked hard and stored up much food, for 
they Ivnew that the people at Kacikatcutia would be starving at 
the end of the 10 years. 

Four days after Masewi and Oyoyewi left latik was looking for 
them. She wanted them to dance for her because the water was 
going down in the medicine bowl. Not being able to find the 
brothers, latik decided to dance, but all her efforts failed to raise 
the water in the medicine bowl and to bring rain. Day by day the 
water went down. Becoming alarmed, latik asked the k'a"'tsina to 
come to her house to dance. The k'a-'tsina came to her house and 
danced for her, but no clouds arose from the bowl and no rain 
followed. The water continued to fall in the bowl. At the end of 
a year the bowl went dry. There was a spring near the village where 
the people got water to drink. But it never rained and there was 
no snow. latik appealed to the four rain makers of the four cardi- 
nal points (see p. 66), but they could do nothing. 

Five years continued in this way. latili became desperate. Then 
she called a humming bird (miitc*) and asked him to find Masewi and 
Oyoyewi. On the first day of his search the humming bird went to 
the north, but could find no trace of the two brothers. The next day 
he went to the west, but was again imsuccessful. On the third day 
he went to the south; no success. The fourth day took him to the 
east, but nothing could be learned of the brothers. Then the hum- 
ming bird set out again, going to the north. Attracted by the flowers 
that Masewi had caused to grow to supply the horned toad with 
food, the humming bird came upon Tasinock, sitting on the hole. 
"Duictraa" (Are you there?), humming bird greeted homed toad. 
"Yes," he replied. Humming bird asked the toad to move to the 
north, but he refused. Then he asked him to move to the west, but 
again he refused. Humming bird asked him to move to the south, 

152 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. « 

but the toad would not move. Then he asked him to move to the east, 
but the toad sat motionless. Then humming bird asked the toad to 
stand up, but the toad would not stand up. Then humming bird 
asked the toad to open his mouth. The toad opened wide his mouth 
and the humnung bird flew in and right on through him, down the 
hole. When he got to the bottom of the hole, he went to the west to 
Flower Mound, where he found Masewi and Oyoyewi. 

"Guatzi, Masewi!" greeted the humming bird. 

"Dawai, Miitc"," replied Masewi. 

"I am looking for you," the bird said; "latik's medicine bowl has 
dried up." 

""WTiat's the matter?" asked Masewi. "Can't latik bring the 
water and make it rain?" 


Then the humming bird asked Masewi when he and his brother were 
going to return. Now, the brothers, being great hotceni (chiefs), 
spoke a language that diff"ered somewhat from the language of the 
common people at Kacikatcutia. So when Masewi told the humming 
bird that they would return in four years, the bird misunderstood him 
and thought he had said four days. Then they fed the humming 
bird, for they had plenty to eat. 

The next day the humming bird set out for Kacikatcutia. When 
he got to the top of the hole he called out to the horned toad, "Open 
your mouth!" The toad did as he was told and the humming bird 
again flew through him and went back to latik's house. 

"Did you find them?" latik asked. 



"Down in the lower world." 

"\Mien are they coming back?" 

"In four more days," the bird told her. 

But latik knew that the brothers meant four years and she began 
to weep. She asked the hummmg bird why they were going to stay 
away so long, but the bird said that he had not learned anything else. 

Then latik sent the humming bird to Wenimats' to get some 
k'a-'tsina to help her. Four k'a'tsma — two Tsitsiinits, Aaik'unu and 
Dyaits'ko-tume — came to her house. It was latik's plan to have 
these k'a-'tsina remove the toad from the entrance to the hole. But 
all this time Masewi and his brother knew all about these plans. So 
when the four k'a-'tsina approached the hole they caused a great 
cloud to appear over them and it began to hail with great violence. 
The k'a-'tsina were compelled to return. latik wept when she saw 
them return baffled. The k'a'tsina askedlatik to go move the homed 
toad herself. But she would not go. 



Just then a swallow (seseka) happened along. He volunteered to 
go down the hole and meet Masewi and his brother. latik told him 
to go. So the swallow, accompanied by the humming bird, set out. 
Before they reached the hole the humming bird told the swallow to 
ask the horned toad to open his mouth and then to fly through. 
"But be careful not to let the toad bite you," he warned. 

When they reached the hole the swallow asked the toad to open his 
mouth and both birds flew through and went down to the lower 
world. They found Masewi and Oyoyewi, who welcomed them and 
invited them to eat. The swallow told the brothers that he had come 
to bring them back: latik wanted them. But Masewi said that they 
did not wish to return yet. After a time, however, the brothers agreed 
to return on one condition. "If latik sends us something that we 
really like to eat; if she can guess what it is that we like best and sends 
it to us we'll return." So the birds set out for Kacikatcutia. Coming 
up the hole they called out to the toad to open his mouth. Hum- 
ming bird flew through first. The swallow was a little slow and when 
he was flying out of the toad's mouth the toad bit his tail and pulled 
four feathers out of the middle. That is why the swallow has a 
forked tail to-day. 

The birds went to latik's house and told her what the brothers had 
said. latik thought a long whUe, trying to decide what the brothers 
would like best to eat. At last she chose some ho'nuk" and diak'unu 
(dried berries). "Perhaps this is it," she said. So she ground the 
berries up and made them into four Uttle balls. She wrapped each 
ball, with a cigarette, in a corn husk. She knew that Masewi always 
wore a cpaiak'a (a short downy eagle feather, worn on top of the head) 
so she put in one for him. 

During this time the four years had almost elapsed. Some of the 
people in the village had alreadj^ died of starvation. 

When latik had prepared the gifts she called the two birds and told 
them to take them to Masewi and Oyoyewi. So hummmg bird and 
the swallow made another trip to the underworld, passing throiigh 
the horned toad as before. They gave the four husks to the two 
brothers. Masewi and Oyoyewi imwrapped the husks and found the 
balls of dried berries; it was just what thej^ wanted. So they told the 
birds to return to latik and tell her that they would return in four 
days. They told them to tell latik to announce to all the people 
that they would return in four days; they wished to have the people 
expect them. Then Masewd got a sack of seeds — all kinds of seeds — 
and gave it to the birds. He told them to give it to latik and to tell 
her to spread them out before her altar so that they would multiply 
sufficiently to supply all the people of the village. After the seeds 
6066°— 32 11 

154 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

had remained before the altar one day they were to be distributed to 
the people who were to go out and plant them. 

The birds returned to latik with the seeds and told her what Masewi 
had said. latik spread the seeds out in front of her altar. They 
multiplied many, many fold. The next day she distributed them 
among the people of Kacilvatcutia and told them to plant them, 
which they did. 

On the fourth day Masewi and Oyoyewi came up from the world 
below. '\Mien they came out of the hole they thanked the homed 
toad and dismissed him. As soon as they had done this a great cloud 
formed over all the fields of Kacikatcutia and it began to rain. It 
rained for four days and four nights. Masewi and Oyoyewi returned 
to their house. latik was glad to see them. The seeds that the people 
had planted sprouted and grew. "WTien the rain ceased four days of 
sunshine followed. On the fourth night after the rain Masewi and 
Oyoyewi went all through the fields and prayed. Everj^thing began 
to ripen at once, for the brothers knew that the people were in need 
of food. Then the people gathered their crops. They set aside a day 
to visit Masewi and Oyoyewi. Then the people realized that the two 
brothers were very great, that they possessed great power. That is 
why the Acoma people to-day believe in Masewi and Oyoyewi. 
Da hama tcaitc. (This is the way it happened.) 

Antelope Man Brings Back the K'atsina 

Mic" Hama, two gomaiowic came from Shipap to look for the 
k'atsina. The k'atsmahad hid in a hole in the ground in the north- 
west. The kuuts' hanotc (Antelope people) were looking for the 
k'atsina, too. The Antelope man met the gomaiowic (scouts, like 
the Zuiii "mudheads") on the road and asked them what they were 
doing. The scouts told him that they were lookmg for the k'atsina. 
The Antelope man said that they were looking for them, too. The 
scouts said, "Let's go to ask Spider (Gamack"). Guess he knows 
where went those k'atsina." Then they got to the Spider's home 
and asked her where the k'atsina were. Spider woman said she didn't 
know where they were. Then she said, "1 guess I'll go to Salt Lake 
and ask the Salt woman (Mina K'oya) if she knows." She told the 
scouts and the Antelope man to wait imtil she came back. The Salt 
woman said, "Yes, I know what place they stay, those k'atsina. 
You tell the Antelope man and scouts to wait until the horns of the 
antelope are ripe (hard, matm-e)." The Salt woman told the Spider 
woman to tell the Badger (dyup') to be ready. (The Badger was to 
dig a hole before the Antelope broke the door with his horns.) Then 
Spider woman went home. 

The scouts and Antelope man asked Spider woman what the Salt 
woman said. "Yes; I know where they are, those k'atsina. But you 



got to wait until the Antelope's horns get ripe, and the badger got to 
dig a hole first before the Antelope knocks the door dowTi. 1 go to 
see the badger now. You staj' here for four days. On fifth day we'll 
go to where the k'atsLna are. You can stay here and hunt deer and 
rabbits, so we can feed the k'atsinawhen they come out." Then she 
went to see the badger. 

On the first day the scouts and the Antelope men went himting in 
the north. They got a deer and brought it home to the Spider w^oman's 
home. The next day they went west and got a deer. The third day 
they went south and got a deer. The foiu-th day they went east; 
killed a deer. Spider woman made some matsini diu-ing the four 
days. On the fom-th evening they boiled the meat in four big pots. 

On the fifth morning they went to the Badger's house. Then they 
aU went to where the k'atsina were. The Antelope was there when 
they got there. The gomaiowic dug iti the groimd a Uttle way with 
their flint knives. Then one of the gomaiowic gave liis knife to the 
Antelope man (the Antelope man just carried a cane, crooked stick, 
gonac), and he dug a Httle. Then the Antelope man told the Badger 
to dig down to the door. The Badger dug down until he got to the 
door. The door was a thin rock. Then .\ntelope man told the 
Antelope to break the door with liis horns. The Antelope backed off 
and ran toward the door and hit it with his horns. He hit it iour 
times. The third time he cracked the door. The fourth time he 
crashed through inside. The Antelope man went in, too. The 
gomaiowic stayed outside. There were lots of flowers, corn, melons, 
inside where the k'atsina were. The Antelope man met the head 
k'atsina, Kimac", and told him he had come to get the k'atsina out. 
The people were himgry because they did not have the rain. Kimac" 
said, "All right. We go out to-day and make rain for those peoples. 
And we got fruit here. We drop them right by the pueblo for the 
people to eat." The Antelope man said, "All right. I be glad if you 
do feed my people. They hungry." Then the Antelope man said, 
"We got to stop at Spider's house. We give you good meal there. 
After that you could make the rain." Ivimac" said, "All right." 

They went out. The Antelope man led the way. Then came the 
antelope (who had butted the door down). Behind the antelope 
came the badger. Then the k'atsina; Ivimac" was at the head of the 
k'atsina. The gomaiowic were way behind. When they got to the 
Spider's house they gave the k'atsina the deer meat. When they 
finished, there was lots of meat left, so the Antelope man told the 
k'atsina to take a lunch with them. So they took a limch. Kimac" 
said, "We got to go back to Wenima first, but to-morrow we going to 
make rain for whole world." The Antelope man said, "All right." 
Ivimac" told the Antelope man to teU the people they were going to 
bring fruits and make rain four days and four nights. 

156 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

The k'atsina went back to Wenima. (Wenima, or Wenimats', is a 
place "out west"; it is always referred to as "the home of the 
k'atsina.") The gomaiowic and the Antelope man went back to 
Shipap (the place of emergence, located "in the north"). They told 
the people it was going to rain four days and foiu- nights. After, on 
the fifth and sixth day, they could plant anything they want. 

Next day the clouds came from Wenima and it rained hke every- 
thing. The people had a meeting at Shipap. They made the Ante- 
lope man, the headman, to call out the k'atsina. No one else could. 
The people, everybody, made prayer sticks. After the rain, in the 
morning, Ivimac" came to the Antelope man's house and said, "Well, 
we finished now. You can tell your people to plant to-morrow. It 
%viU be all right." "All right." ' 

The people came in with prayer sticks to give to Kimac". Kimac" 
told the people that the Antelope man was their headman because he 
was the one who had brought them back. He would be cacique.'* 

The k'atsina went back to Wenima. 

Da Hama tcui naut". 

Masewi and Oyoyewi Kill a Giantess 

They were living right near Acoma, with their mother. (The sun 
was their father. They used to hve at HaKaaitc — place where sun 
rises — but he sent them away to hve near Acoma. They grew big 
enough in four days.) They were pretty brave boys and smart boys 
too. After four daj-s they went out hunting rabbits and deer. 
They brought in rabbits and anything they could get. Next day, 
went out again. They got an antelope and some other animals 
too. Next day they got a deer. Next day, got a bear. 

Then they wanted to go to the east to the sun. The cacique (of 
Acoma, presumably) wanted to know where they came from. From 
the sun they told him. "How you come?" They told him the 
sun sent them. Then he beUeved them. Then they told their 
mother they wanted to go back to the sim, their father, to see him. 
The mother said, "How you can go? There is all kinds of dangers." 
But they said, "But we can go. We can manage those things, 
those dangers. Our father will take care of us, and we got arrows 
and bows to protect with. And we got hictian tcaipitcan (this is a 
piece of flint shaped somewhat hke a boomerang. When it is thrown 
it looks 'like lightning')." They get to the sun. "Now we got 
back here NaicDia Ocatc (Father Sun) to see you. Doco domako 
skaaitsa (now we are grown big). We come to get you to help us 
to get more strength and to be brave in this world and to have more 

^» The cacique at Acoma is always an Antelope man (member of the Antelope clan, the kuuts' hanotc). 
He is spoken of as the "father of the k'atsina." 


power." The sun said "All right. I give you the power because 
there are many ckoyos (giants) who carry peoples away with their 
baskets and eat them." The boj's said that they wanted to kill 
those ckoyos. The sun said they could Idll them with their flints. 
"And 1 am going to give you advice. You stand this far from the 
ckoyo and tell him to look back. When he look back you can throw 
this flint and cut his head oflf." "Now we better go back (the boys 
said) and do what we want to the ckoyos. Because there is one 
place where a ckoyo has got lots prisoners. He got them full in 
all his rooms." 

They start back to their mother. When they got back they told 
their mother what they going to do. "We want to kill all these 
ckoyos now. When we are ready we are going out to kill them." 
Their mother said, "No; better not go out 'cause surely they going 
to get you fellers and eat you up." They told her, "No; the.y 
wouldn't eat us up. We're going to cut their heads oft"." "How 
you going to Idll those ckoyos? You haven't got the power to Idll 
them." "Yes; Father Sun gave us the power and told us to kill 
them." "How, and with what, are you going to kill those ckoyos?" 
"Well, we got bows and arrows, and here is the flint that we going 
to use to Idll those ckoyos." "No; dear cliildren, I don't think you 
can do it. They going to grab you before you can run away. They 
got long hands and long-legged, too." "Well, mother, we know 
how to kiU them. We can hide. They can never find us where we 
hide." "The ckoyo will see you very far off. They will see where 
you hide and get you right there," she told them. "Never mind, 
mother, you will see how we going to do it, to get them." "No, my 
dear children, 1 wish you would mind me." But the boys say, 
"Now we want to go where the ckoyo, his home is." 

When they start out they laughing, dancing. "Oh, we going have 
lots of fun with that grandmother ckoyo (stcra basa). (The inform- 
ant always used the word ckoyo, never translating it. He formed 
the plural easily by adding 's.') Let's go out here where she can 
see us." Then they went out to the northwest from their home 
south of Acoma. They loolc for a place where clcoyo can see them. 
They stopped on a sandy place and played like children so the ckoyo 
could see them. Pretty soon a ckoyo saw them; Masewi Icnew it. 
"Let her come here; we going to get her to-day." Oyoyewi was a 
Httle afraid. 

Ckoyo lived at Cakaiya (a large mesa near Acoma) on top. Ckoyo 
saw them; look down. She knew it was Masewi and Oyoyewi. "I 
am going to get those children. I am going to eat them up." She 
takes only four steps and gets where Masewi and Oyoyewi were. 
When she get there they pretended they didn't see her. "Let's 
holler and play and she'll feel funny," Masewi said. Oyoyewi said, 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

"I'm afraid of her." Masewi told liim, "Don't be afraid. We'll 
get her before sundown." 

Ckoyo said, "Here, my dear grandchildren, come here." Masewi 
and Oyoyem didn't want to listen, but kept playing. Ckoyo said, 
"Now I'm getting tired waiting. Let's go to a nice place to play. 
Come get in my basket. I take you to a nice place." Masewi said, 
"Let her alone till we find out a way to get her." Then he said 
"All right. Let's go get in her basket and let her carry us away." 

Then they went to the basket. "iVll right, get in." Masewi got 
in and jumped out and in and out. "You got fine basket here to 
carry us." "Yes; I got fine basket to carry you." They both 
jumped in. "Now are y^ou ready? Sit down so when I get up you 
won't fall ofi'." "AU right, grandmother." Then Masewi say, 
"See what fine basket our grandmother got to carry us?" Oyoyewi 
said, "Yes; that's pretty nice basket." 

Ckoyo stooped down and put basket on her back and she walk ofi'. 
Some one saw them. "Oh, some one is caught by the ckoyo. Oh! 
it's Alasewi and his brother. Let's go back and tell their mother." 
They went back and told their mother. The mother was afraid. 
"I tell them not to go, but now they will see how they AviU do them, 
those ckoyos." She was crying, "I'U never get to see them no 

Ckoyo got up on top of mesa in the pines and pifions. Masewi 
and Oyoyewi would hang out the basket. Ckoyo would look back. 
"Don't fall out!" "No; we just playing. We like to play." The 
boys would pull her hair and say to each other, "I wonder what this 
is?" Ckoyo would say, "Don't do that; that's my hair." They 
would pull the buckskin on her shoulders. "Take us under that 
tall pifion tree. We want to get brushes to play with." When she 
took them under the tree they broke off some branches and got some 
pitch. "Let's get some pitch and burn her hair off. Then she will 
throw us down." And they asked again, "Take us under that pine 
tree. We want to get brushes to play with." Then she did. Then 
they asked to go under a dry pine tree. "We want to get pitch to 
make chewing gum out of." They got the pitch to make gum out of. 
Now they get to her home, the ckoyo. "Now, grandchildren, get 
down. Here's the place where you can play all the time and be 
happy." "All right." They jumping around and hoUermg 'round. 
"Better go over there on west side. There is an arroyo there. 
There is a nice place to shde down. But don't go far away. There's 
lots bear and hon there." 

They stay there and play around till afternoon sometime. Then 
they thinking there. Masewi said, "Let's build fire down here so she 
won't see us. Or maybe we can get some rabbits or a deer and we 
will take to her." They walk oft" little ways and get some and take 


them to her. When they get to her house they say, "Here is some 
rabbits. You can roast it and eat it." "Oh, fine, dear grandchihiren. 
You are good boys and good hunters." "Yes; then we can go out 
and get deer for you. We see some tracks." "No; you better not 
go. Maybe will get you some bear. You better go back and play." 
"AU right." 

They said, "Let's build a fire." So they got lots dry wood and 
make big pile. Then they go out little ways and foimd a deer. 
They catch that deer and take to ckoyo. "Oh, fine, boys. You are 
good hunters. I wiU have plenty to eat now." "Then we can go 
again and get some more." "No; don't try to get bear or hon. 
They will get you to eat." 

Then after while said Masewi, "Let's go get some deer or bear for 
our dear grandmother." And they try to go back to where they have 
the wood. On their way they went by the house where the ckoyo got 
many prisoners — mans, womans, childrens, little kids. They teU 
them the ckoyo giving them the deer meat. Ckoyo called them 
away from the house — "Don't do that." (They're looking through 
the hole.) "They pretty fat, those people," the boys said. (When 
the ckoyo wanted one she asked them to stick finger through a hole. 
If they weren't fat, their finger would go through the hole easily.) 
They told Masewi, "If we can't put finger through the hole she opens 
the door and takes us out and butchers us and roasts us and eats us." 

Masewi sends Oyoyewi out every once in while to see what ckoyo 
is doing. Masewd tells people, "Now we going to get you out. We 
going to kill her, the ckoyo. This is the last day for her." Some 
were happy and some cried. "No; you can't do it. The ckoyo going 
to eat us all up." "Yes; sure. We going to get you out; we going 
send you home to-day." 

Then they went out to where the pile of wood was. It was after- 
noon. Then they build fire there. After while ckoyo called them 
back to get something to eat. When they get back to ckoyo's home 
they see deer meat, rabbit, and some other meat. "What's that?" 
Oyoyewi asks. "That's person meat, what you going to eat." "No; 
I won't eat person meat. I going to eat deer meat." Then they eat. 
She tries to make them eat person meat. "No; its too fat. We don't 
like fat meat." Then they got through eating and went back again. 
They put the fhnt ball in the fire to heat it. They put two balls in. 
When they got back they saw the balls pretty well heated hot. Then 
the ckoyo went to the house 'cause she heard crying and talking, and 
she didn't know what was the matter. " Wliat's the matter? I hear 
crying. Do you want to get something to eat? " "No ; we not doing 
nothing." "Yes; I heard sometliing, look like crying or hollering. 
Did Masewi come around?" "No; we never see him." But ckoyo 
thinks so. "No; we never see him." 

160 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

"Now be ready for her. Let's call her to come out here." They 
told her to come out to where they were playing. "You come out 
and watch us. It's pretty hot to-day. You better stand up on that 
rock there and see how we playing down below." Ckoyo said, "All 
right. I'll come out and see you." Masewi and Oyoyewi got down 
and picked up the flint balls. Covered the fire with ashes and sand. 
They left the fhnts on one side. 

The ckoyo stands up there; and she was pretty sweat, too. She 
wears some kind hanging-down dress, the ckoyo. Masewi told his 
brother, "When that ckoyo gets up there I'm going to tell her to 
stand by the edge of the rock and cool off." He told Oyoyewi, 
"Then you'll be next; I'm going to do it first. I'm going to pick this 
red-hot fUnt up and throw at her first. If I don't get her then you 
be next to throw at her." 

The ckoyo come out and stood on rock and looking down at them. 
When she get there she say, "Hello, boys. You playing nice there." 
"Yes." "Oh, grandmother," the boys say, "Get cool off. Pull your 
dress up." And she pulled dress up. Get wind in. "Turn around 
and cool your back off. Pull dress up higher." Masewi threw the 
red-hot rock up her rectum and she fell down dead. Oyoyewi hol- 
lered, "Now you got her. I didn't get no turn to throw at her." 

They went up to the prisoners. "Now you free." Some of the 
prisoners didn't believe it. Masewi said, "Get your things and go 
home." Then Masewi hit the door with his fhnt and smash it open. 
The prisoners came out and started to run home. Masewi told the 
people not to go away. He said the ckoyo would come back with 
hail and kill them. "I got bucksldn. I gouig to make a tent of 
hides" (he had bear hides, buffalo hides, etc.). Masewi tore the 
house with his flint and made a shelter of hides, and poured melted 
pitch over it and it got hard. "Better get all j'our people in here or 
the ckoyo will get you with a big hail." Then he called them all 
back. "Now you see it already clouding up. Coming a big storm 
from all directions." And they all come together right above the 
shelter just as they had finished. They went under. Then came the 
hail. Sure pounded those hides. Great big hail. "See what I told 
you? Now you are safe. This is the last time the ckoyo can trj'^ to 
kiU you. Go home now and be happy. You will have no more 
trouble." All went home. 

Masewi got back home that evening. The people already knew 
about it. Some people doubted it even when they saw them. That 
evening people came to ask them. The people told them that Masewi 
had freed them. 

white] myths and tales 161 

Masewi and Oyoyewi Rescue a Girl from a Giantess 

The people went out to hunt rabbits. They went to the east. When 
the people came home in the evening there was a girl left behind. 
She had lots of rabbits. She got too much. She didn't Icnow how 
she was going to get home. She tried to carry them, but they were 
too hea\^. She couldn't carry them so she looked for a place to camp 
that night. She found a place in a chff — a cave. She stopped there 
and built a fire. The war chiefs were watching the people, but they 
didn't miss her. 

A ckoyo (giantess) saw the fire from the Sandia Mountains (north- 
east of Albuquerque, 70 or 80 miles away). She took 10 steps and 
got to where the fire was. She saw the girl roasting rabbits. She was 
roasting aU of them to carry home next day. Ckoyo said, "Who are 
you?" The girl told her her name. "Where did you come from?" 
the ckoyo asked her. "We went out to hunt rabbits. I got lost, 
that's why 1 camp here. And what are you doing here?" "I same. 
I can't go home it's so late, so I came here to camp with you." 

The girl got scared. She didn't know what to do. Ckoyo was 
sitting down. The girl then saw a great big head and face. "That 
must be a ckoyo" (she said). "Oh, dear me, she going to get me. 
She going to eat me up." Ckoyo said, "Oh, you got fine roasting 
rabbits?" "Yes." Ckoyo asked for some rabbit meat. "I am 
himgry. If you can, let me have one to eat." "Which one do you 
want to eat?" "The one on the east side." "All right." The giri 
pick it up and give it to the ckoyo. Ckoyo threw it in her mouth 
all at once and swallow it. Ckoyo said, "Who is your father at 
Acoma?" "I am the daughter of hotceni (chief)." "Which hot- 
ceni?" "Tsatyao hotceni" ("outside chief," the war chief). "Oh, 
yes. I know who you are now." 

In the village they were asking about her. They waited for her 
all night. "Yes; we saw her. There is a boy with her. They wUl 
come home late," some one said. 

Ckoyo asked for another rabbit. "I'm so hungry. Give me the 
one lajdng on south side." She took it and swallow it right away. 
After while she asked for the one laying on west side. The girl give it 
to her and she swallow it aU at once. Then the ckoyo asked for the 
rabbit laying on the north side. Ckoyo swallow it up. Then the 
ckoyo took rabbits two or three at a time and ate them. She ate up 
all the rabbits. It was late in middle of night then. Before the 
ckoyo had come the girl had taken off her leggings. "I wonder what 
she's got," the ckoyo said. The girl was scared. She moved back in 
the cave. "What you got in back of j^ou? " the ckoyo ask her the girl. 
"Those are my moccasins." "I wonder if you can let me have one? 
I am not full yet." So girl threw her one moccasin. Ckoyo pick it 

162 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

up and swallow it. "I wish I had another one." The girl threw her 
the other one. After while the ckoyo asked the girl for one of her 
leggings. The girl gave it to her and the ckoyo ate it. Then she gave 
her the other legging. Then the ckoyo kept asking for her clothes. 
The girl give her aU her clothes, one at a time. First she gave the 
ckoyo her stockings, one at time, then her dress, then her odinuts 
(the silk "back apron" which pueblo women wear on their backs), 
her belt, her shawl. The girl was naked now. She was crying. 
"Don't cry; I won't hiu"t you. Come home with me," the ckoyo told 
her. "No; I won't." The fire went out. Ckoyo said, "I wish I 
have your body." "No; I can't give you my body. Can't you go 
away from me? " Ckoyo kept on asking. Ckoyo tried to reach her 
with hand. Then she stuck a stick in. Then she went out to get a 
hard rock. She pounded the cave away with the rock. It could be 
heard far off. 

Masewi knew it. He went out and listened. He heard that the 
girl had not come home. He woke his brother. "Let's go," he said. 

They left early in the morning. They took the flint (the curved 
flint that they had received from the sun, their father. When this 
flint is thrown it looks like lightning). They ran. They saw the 
ckoyo. Masewd said, "You watch. I'm going to run; and if I don't 
cut her head off, you be ready next." He sing to his flint. Then he 
throw his flint and cut giant's head ofl". They told the girl to come 
out. They threw her the clothes that ckoyo ate. The girl put her 
clothes back on. They went home in the morning. They scolded 
the girl. That's the way it was. 

The Blind Brother and the Crippled Brother 

Tsildnimii. They were Hving down below Acoma on north side, a 
kotcinnako (a woman; this temi is used almost exclusively in myths) 
and her two boys. One boy could walk aU right, but he was blind. 
The other boy could see, but he was crippled ; he had hands and feet 
just lilce a duck (webbed) and kind of skin like what was between his 
fingers was hanging down from his arms and aU down his sides and legs. 
He couldn't walk good. Sometimes when they want to go out to 
play, the one that is blind he carries on his back liis brother. The one 
that was blind he carries bow and arrows. They go out to hunt 
sometimes. The webbed one woidd see the birds and he would say, 
"There's the birds! Let's catch the birds!" he'd teU him. "Shoot 
him with your bow and arrow!" "Where? Just tell me where to 
shoot." The blind boy would hold his bow and arrow and the 
webbed boy would move it until it was right. "Shoot! " That's the 
way they used to go out sometimes and bring them (the game they 
shot) to their mother. Then when they get strong enough they want 
to go far awav to hunt. 


One time they went to the spring, Go 'mi, west side. They found 
a deer there. "Oh, there's a deer!" the webbed one said. The bhnd 
boy said, "Where?" "Right there! Let's shoot him!" The blind 
boy took his bow and arrows. The webbed one showed him where to 
point. They shot that deer right there. The blind boy said, "How 
we going to take home this deer (he says), we ain't got nothing to cut 
with? " When they got to where the deer was the blind boy felt all 
over him. "How we going to get him home? He pretty heavy." 
The webbed boy said, "Let's go look for flint." "What kind of a 
flint do we have to look for?" says the blind boy. "The one that is 
sharp and is shaped like a linife." 

The blind boy put his brother on his back. The webbed one was 
singing about something to cut with. He was singing that way. 
They looking all around. They heard a coyote that was near by. 
Finally they got to where there was many trees. The coyote was 
standing there. Then he was hstening to what the webbed brother 
was singing. "Hello, boys; what you looking for?" "Nothing," 
the webbed boy said; "We not looking for nothing. We just walking 
around here," he told him. "Yes; one of you boys singing that you 
looking for knife to butcher with." And he says, that boy, "No! I 
didn't say I am looking for something like knife to butcher with. 
I says this way caiutsi, caiutsi (the wind sounds like this when it 
blows fast)." "No; you must have something killed around here." 
"No; how can I kill something. I am webbed and my brother he's 
blind. How can we kill anything?" "No; you must have some- 
thing, a deer maybe, killed around here." Then the coyote he walk 
off. Then they found right near there a flint and then they went 
back. Then that blind boy said, "Let's look for the coyote and see 
if he is going ofi'. Let's get up on a high place so we can see if he's 
going off. Yes; he's going oft' now; let's go back." Then thej" go 
back where he's laying, that deer. When they got back there they 
commence to cut the sldn right in the middle. When they got that 
open, that skin, they skinned some oft'. They took the guts out and 
cleaned out good. Then they put some blood Ln one of the guts and 
tied up good. Then they set it away. "We going to take this to 
our mother. Then she can fix for us with the corn meal. She will 
fix the oven in the ground and mix the blood with the corn meal and 
cook it. Let's save everything." 

They skinned aU oft'. They were stay there all day. Then comes 
night there. "I wonder what we going to do with this deer? Well, 
let's get all this meat and put on top the trees here." "Let's camp 
here, then," the webbed one said, "and go home in the morning. I 
wonder what she will be thinking about us; our mother, if we don't 
get home. She will think some wUd beast get us and eat us if we 

164 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

don't, go home. Let's go." "No; she won't think that. We got bow 
and arrow. No one gomg to get us. We will protect ourself." 
Then they hang all the meat on the tree. Then they had the guts 
with the blood in it. The blind one said, "Let's build some rocks 
aroimd and bury the blood right here. We'U eat it in the morning." 
The webbed boy showed his brother where to find the rocks. Then 
they build the oven and start a fire in it. After it all got heated up 
good they clean out the fire and use the cedar brushes to sweep it out 
good. Then they put it in, the guts and blood together. When they 
put it in they cover it over with a thin flat rock Then they build 
a fire on top of the flat rock. They keep the fire going that way a 
little while till they think it's cooked enough. Then they start to 
fix the bed. "Let's go to bed," they say. Then they went to bed. 
Next morning they get up early in the morning. Then the bhnd 
boy asked his brother, "Where did we bury the guts?" "Right 
there," and he show him where they were. "Let's get them out and 
eat early and then we can start out early for home." Then the blind 
boy took it out and laid it out on cedar branches. 

The webbed boy moved around; he could hardly move; he just go 
around slow like frog. The webbed boy touched the gut. It hot. 
"How we going to open it, this gut? " Then the blind one sharpened 
a stick and stuck the gut with the sharp stick. And it was full of 
steam. When it got stuck with the stick it explode. And the webbed 
one he was sitting right near, and when it explode, all the blood went 
over him. It was hot, that blood. And when the blood got on him, 
all that skin between his fingers and toes and aU along his sides, it 
came loose and came off. "Oh! Look what the blood did to me." 
And he start jumping around and dancing. He was glad; happy. 
And the same way, when the gut explode, it went over the blind boy. 
And when he wipe the blood oft" his face, his eyes, he could see. They 
were both glad. They dance around. They glad. "See what it 
done for us, this noctin' (sausage)!" 

They start home right away. They pack up the deer meat and 
run home right away. They didn't have to come back. When they 
get to their house, their mother is up on the house. "I wonder who 
is coming with those packs. I wonder if they are my children. I 
don't think so. He isn't carrj^ing his brother on his back, but they 
are carrying something." 

When the boys got to their house they called out, "Here we are, 
mother. We have lots deer meat. Open up the door; we want to 
get in." The mother was surprised. "Wonder how you got that 
way?" she said. "Yes; that's wonderful that noctini, what it done 
to us," they told their mother. And they told her how it happened. 


How KauBat Lost His Eyes 

Once, in the old days, when the Acoma people were still living at 
the foot of the eastern end of the mesa of Ako (at Akohaitit"), they 
were making baskets to hold meat. The war chief decided to send 
eveiy one out to get some reeds (ya''a) to make the baskets with. 
Someone loiew that lots of these reeds grew at a place north of Acoma, 
so they all went there. 

There was a man named Kausat', who lived west of Ca"'kaiya 
(a large mesa near Acoma). He laiew that the Acoma people were 
going out to get reeds, so he went along, too. He met a girl. He 
gave her some reeds that were nicely colored for her baskets. He 
asked her to come with him to his house. He said he had more of 
the colored reeds there and that he would give her some more. Then 
he showed her his mack'utc (this was a small hoop of reeds. It was 
rolled on the ground with a stick, and perhaps used in a hoop-and- 
javelin game. The pot rest that women wear on their heads to 
support water jars is called a mackutc). Kausat' told the girl to 
stand where she was and that he would roU the mackutc toward her. 
If she could catch it, she could keep it. So he roUed it toward her 
and she tried to catch it. But when she stooped over to get it, she 
got caught in it and disappeared inside. Then KauBat' rolled the 
mackutc along until he came to the north slope of Ca"'kaiya, where he 
lived. Then he took the girl out of the mackutc and had intercourse 
with her. When he had enough of her, he went off, leaving the giil 
in the woods. 

The girl was scared and began to cry. She walked aimlessly 
through the woods, crying, imtil evening. A badger heard her and 
came to see who it was. "Sa ma'ak" (my daughter), the badger 
called to her. "Yes, mother, where are you?" the girl answered. 
"Here," the badger said, coming from beneath a pinon tree. "Why 
are you crjdng?" "Because a man brought me here. He deceived 
me." "It was KauBat', perhaps," the badger said. "WTieredoyou 
live?" "At Akohaitit"." "I don't Imow what direction that is from 
here," the badger said. "Come on home with me." 

The girl followed the badger to her home. "Put your foot down 
there and the door will get larger," the badger told her. The girl 
did this and the door grew large enough to go through. "Make 
yourself at home, dear," the nice old badger told the girl. "I don't 
have much to eat what you hke." "What do you eat?" the girl 
asked. "Oh, deer, rabbit, etc." 

The badger went out to get some food. She saw a rabbit nm m 
a bmTow. She dug it out and killed it. The gu-1 did not know how 
to build a fire, so the badger showed her how to make and use a tire 
drill (atyutco'mi). The girl did not want the fire to go out because 

166 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

it was dark. The girl cleaned the rabbit and cookedit. The old 
badger made a mattress of grass for her to sleep on. 

The gu-1 hved with the old badger like this. The girl gathered 
pinon nuts while the badger gathered other lands of food. They had 
game to eat, and hock'an (a fruit that grows on the stem of soapweed). 
The girl dried the meat. In two days she showed signs of pregnancy. 
In eight days she gave birth to two boys. The old badger was very 
happy. She loved the girl and the two babies. The oldest boy was 
named Ca"'kaiya; the other was named Go'mi. (It was near the 
spring Go'mi that the gul had met Kausat' and it was at Ca^'kaiya 
that she had been seduced.) The boys grew very fast. When they 
coidd talk they called the old badger "Basa" (grandmother). Soon 
they could talk and sing a few songs. Then they learned to walk. 
In two years they were fuU-grown boys. The old badger taught 
them to use bows and arrows. They himted deer and antelope. 
They began to build a house. They liked the old badger very much. 

One day when they were out himtmg they climbed to the top of 
Ca"'kaiya. They were looking around. They saw some smoke 
coining from the village at the east end of the Acoma mesa. They 
were surprised; thej^ didn't know what it was. "Some one must live 
there," they thought. 

When the boys went home thej^ asked their mother, "Where do 
we live? How did we come to be here?" The mother told them 
that she used to hve at the foot of Ako. "WTiere is that?" they 
asked. "I don't Icnow." "Who is our father?" "Kausat'.'' 
They asked the badger where Kausat' lived. "Way out to the west," 
the badger said, "it is a two day trip." The boys said they wanted 
to go out to see their father; "We are going to visit him," they said. 
"No, don't go," the badger begged the boys. "Yes; we want to go." 
"All right, if you insist, you can go.'' Then the badger told the 
boys about their father. He was a great gambler, she said. He 
played with anyone who came along, perhaps with some people, or 
perhaps with some k'a"'tsina who came from Wenunats' to gamble 
with him. Kausat' was very lucky aod he always won in the end. 
Then the badger told the boys about a buckskin bag that Kausat' 
had hanging from the ceiling in his house. Wlien Kausat' lost every- 
tliing he had, sometimes when he was imlucky, he would bet that 
his opponent coidd not guess what was in the bag. He woidd bet 
lus heart against everything that the other fellow had. They could 
never guess what was in the bag. The badger told the boys what 
was in it. 

The boys got all ready to go. They had new moccasins, buckskin 
clothes, and bows and arrows. They traveled two days. Then they 
got to Kausaf's home. "Guatzi, naicoia (Hello, father)," they said 
when Kausat' came out to meet them. "I have no sons," he told 


the boys. Then the boys told him how they happened to be his 
sons. KauBat' was land to them and invited them to come inside 
and have something to eat. KauBat"s mother was in there, and she 
talked to the boys. She asked them about then- mother and about 
how she had met KauBat'. She scolded her son. "Why didn't you 
bring the girl here?" she asked. She took a lildng to her grandsons. 
The boys stayed all night. 

The next morning KauBat' tried to get the boys to gamble with 
him, but the boys didn't know how to play. Then Kausat' showed 
the boj^s how to rim a stick race (atcawaiyi). The boys won. That 
evening a k'a"'tsina from Wenimats' came to Kaunaf's house. He 
brought lots of buckskins, mantas, belts, etc., to gamble \vith. They 
played aioak'utyeyi (hidden ball). KauBat' won every tiring from the 
k'a"'tsina. The boys watched everything and learned how to play 
the game. Then KauBat' asked the boys to try their luck. All the 
boys have to bet is their bows, so they bet them. They won. The 
next day they gambled all day. The boys won right along. Kaunaf's 
mother is nice to the boys. The next day the boys had abnost 
everything that Kausat' owned. They even had his house. The 
next day Kausat' bet his mother and lost. Then he bet Ms lion 
skin quivver (o'ictiwactan). He lost this. He lost all of his clothes, 
one piece at a time. At last KauBat' bet his heart against every- 
thing that the boys can't guess what is in his little buckskin bag 
that hung from the ceiling. The boys didn't want to do this, but 
Kausat' insisted. Ca''kaiya, the eldest, was to have eight guesses; 
his brother was to have fom-. Go'mi, the younger, tried first and 
failed. Then Ca"'kaiya started to guess. He had guessed almost 
eight times when he said "stci'ta!" (stars). That was what was in 
the bag. Kausat' gave up. But the boys didn't want to kill him; 
they felt sorry for him. "We don't want yom' heart," they told him, 
"so we will take your eyes out instead." So they took out his eyes. 
This made Kausat' very mad; he would rather have been killed. 

The boys packed up all their winnings; they had sacks and sacks 
fidl of mantas, buckskins, moccasins, belts, etc. They decided not 
to take Kausat"s mother, but to leave her to take care of Kausat'; 
they felt sorry for hina. Then they set out for home. 

KauBat' was very mad. He groped aroimd the house feeling with 
his hands because he can't see. He found some pitch and his fii'e 
drill. He made a fire. Then he began to sing; he was asking a 
coadyam (evil one) to help liini; he wanted to destroy the whole 
coimtry. Kausat' keeps on singmg. The fire burns up good. Then 
he put the pitch on the fire; he wanted it to melt and run over the 
whole coimtry and kill everyone. The fire kept getting larger and 
the pitch boUs out and starts run nin g all over. Kausat' called to 
his mother to take him away from the flames. She came and got 

168 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth.ann.47 

him, but not before the fire and smoke had turned his face black 
(the mask of Kausat' is bhnd and has a black face). She took him 
out of the house and ran to the southwest. They kept on going 
imtn they came to Stcamimako't (Black Mountain). They settled 

The pitch and fire began to spread over the whole covmtry. The 
boys saw it coming and ran as fast as they could. Then Maiyatcuna 
(the rain maker of the north) called out the clouds (shiwanna) and 
rain and put the fire out. It rained for four days and four nights 
before the fire was all out. The pitch became cold and hard. You 
can see it near Grants to-day (the lava beds). 

The boys got home all right with their winnings. They told their 
mother and the badger all about their visit to KauBat' and showed 
them his eyes. They threw the eyes up to the sky in the south. 
You can see them to-day; they are called Kausat' K'an (KauBat, 
his eyes). 

The boys and then* mother lived with the badger for a long time. 
One day while out him ting the boys met some hunters from Akohaitit". 
The boys told their mother, and they decided to go back. They 
told the nice old badger good-by and left. They went by the spring 
Go'mi; the boys' mother recognized it as the place where she met 
KauBat'. Everyone was glad to see the girl again and the boys. 
They kept the bag of stars in their house. It helped them to become 
great gamblers. 

KauBat' and his mother appear in the masked ceremony of the 
Corn clan. 

Tsictik'a'tsame Brings a Bride from Wenimats' 

Tsictikatsame hved on top of a rock a short distance west of 
Aconia. One day he said he was going to Wenimats' for a k'o'tci- 

Tsictik'a'tsame was the son of Ocatc (the sim). He always dressed 
in a grotesque manner to amuse the people. When he annomiced 
his intention of going to search for a girl, all the people at Ako laughed 
and made fun of him; they said he didn't have a chance. Never- 
theless, he left early one morning. He arrived at Wenimats' about 
noon. He carried a rattle. Walking about the village, he passed 
the house of the cliief of the K'a-'tsina, Kmiac°. (This chief appears 
in the story of the fight, or Guititanic.) Kimaco had a daughter, 
Ga'caiinako (white woman). The daughter was amused by the 
antics of Tsictik'a'tsame, who pleased her very much, so she asked 

" All of the mythical women were called k'o-'tcininak'o. This term has been translated often as 
"yellow woman," but it is a generic term applied to any or all women of the mythical era. 



her father if she could follow him to his home. Ivimaco gave his 
consent. So the daughter followed him and unitated Mm. They 
went about the village; everyone was pleased. 

Kimac" Hked Tsictik'a'tsame and asked liina to come to his home. 
So he came to the house of the chief. Kimac° invited liim to be seated 
and offered him a smoke, "^\^lere do you hve, son? " the chief asked 
Tsictik'a'tsame. "At A-ko— at Tsicti'a'tsame," rephed he. Then 
Eamac" asked him if he wanted his daughter. "Do you want her 
to-day?" he asked. "No," Tsictik'a'tsame answered, "I am going 
to stay here four days before I return." He wanted to prove himself 
worthy before he took the gii-1 home. 

On the first day Tsictik'a'tsame went himting to the north. He 
killed a big buck deer, which he brought back and gave to the gii-l's 
father. The next day he went west. He killed an antelope, which 
he gave to the chief. The following day he hunted in the south, 
where he killed a moimtain sheep (K'acKu). On the foiu-th day he 
himted in the east ; he killed a bison (Mocaitc) which he returned to 
Kimac". Then he asked the girl's father if he were satisfied. The 
chief replied that he was. "Well, I have won her," said Tsictik'a't- 
same, "1 shall take her home to-morrow." 

On the morning of theh- departiu-e the people gave the gul some 
spruce boughs. Tsictilv'a'same and Gacaiinako danced m the plaza. 
Then they started homeward. The people at Ako were watching 
for the return of Tsictik'a'tsame, mtcndmg to ridicule luni for his 
failure. But when they saw him retiu-ning with the chief's daughter 
they all felt "cheap." Tsictik'a'tsame was very proud. He decided 
to have a dance in the village of Ako. So he and his wife went up on 
top of the rock and danced in the plaza. Tsictilv'a'tsame belonged 
to the Tansy Mustard (I'sa) clan, so he stopped at the house of one 
of the families of this clan, where he and his wife were served with 
food. In the evening they went to their home, west of the mesa. 
The Akomeetc (Acoma people) told Tsictik'a'tsame that he was 
welcome and invited liiin to come with his wiie to the village to dance 
whenever he felt like it. 

Tsictik'a'tsame and Gacaiinako dance in the K'aiya during the 
winter solstice (and at Christmas, if they decide to have it). Some- 
times, at no particular time, Tsictik'a'tsame and his wife come up 
to the village to dance. The part of Tsictik'a'tsame is then taken 
by one of the war chiefs. The part of Gacaiinako is taken always by 
a man. The dancers need not belong to the Tansy Mustard clan. 
(Gacaiinako is similar to K'otcininako except that she has a white face 
instead of a yellow one.) 
6066°— 32 12 

170 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

Mactcoai is Killed Trying to Recapture a Girl 

Mactcoai lived to the northwest at a place called Maf'tcat. He 
lived with his mother. He always went out early in the morning. 
He went to Dautimi' in the south. Gets up on top of a mountain 
and calls to wake up the clouds. Then he went to Kutc'ana and hol- 
lered. Then to Kawecnima. Then he went home. Before sunrise. 

Then he traveled around. He lilved girls. He would catch them. 
He had a mackutc (this is a small cylinder made of reeds. It is rolled 
on the groimd in a game). He would meet a gui. He would tell her 
she could have the mackutc if she could catch it when he roUed it to 
her. When she would try to catch it she would get caught inside it 
and disappear. Then Mactcoai would pick it up and take it home. 
When he got home he would take the girl out. He used to catch girls 
that way. 

Once he took a girl home. He caught her at Go'mi (a spring near 
Acoma). He had a big house at his home where he kept the girls he 
caught. Had about fifty girls in there. He fed them deer meat. 
This girl he brought home he got tired of her. He didn't want her 
any more. He told her, "I guess I send you home to see your 
mother." He told her in the afternoon. He told her she could take 
some pretty bh-ds home with her. (There was a cliff, a steep mesa on 
the east side. There were parrots lived there.) The girl went down 
to the water hole. A spider lived there. "Guatzi!" (Hello!) 
"Dawai!" (the reply to guatzi) "Are you going home?" the spider ask 
her. "Yes, Mactcoai told me. I am going to take a bu'd along." 
The spider said "No, don't believe it. He going to kill you. But you 
keep your eyes open. I'll be there to help you. I'll hold you up. 
(Mactcoai would take the girl to the cliff to get the parrot. He would 
hold her by the foot while she reached down to get the bird out of its 
nest. AVhen she was stretched down, Mactcoai would let go her leg 
and she would fall down the cliff and kill herself.) I'll take you home." 
"All right." The girl went home. 

The next morning Mactcoai said " Come out. I'll send you home." 
He took her down to the chff. The girl saw the birds. "I'll hold 
your foot." The ghl hung down — Mactcoai was holding her by the 
ankle — to get a parrot. Mactcoai let go and the gu-1 dropped. But 
she caught a parrot when she fell. She fell slow, slow. Mactcoai 
went back. He thought the girl died. The spider called to the girl. 
"We must run fast to escape Mactcoai." Mactcoai went down to see 
if she was dead. 'WTien he got down he saw her tracks where she ran 
away. He tried to catch her. The spider luiew Mactcoai was com- 
ing. She told the girl to run fast. The girl was tired. She cried. 
At Gaca lived four K'otcin-nako (women in myths are called 
k'otcin'nako). Spider said "Let's stop there." So they stopped 
there. There was a big hole in the ground with a ladder — "just like 


estufa." The spider told the girl to tell the women she was running 
away and to ask them to help her. "They are smart," the spider said. 
The girl told them, "Can you help me? Mactcoai is coming after 
me. Can you help me something to save my Ufe?" The women told 
the girl to go ui another room. "When we have lolled him, you can 
come out," they said. "All right!" 

Mactcoai was coming. He came on top and hollered, "Is she in- 
side? Tell her to come up!" "No, she won't come up. You come 
down." So Mactcoai went down the ladder. "Where is she?" 
The kotcinnakos took Mactcoai in a side room. There were four 
big potteries (pottery jars, or bowls) in there, one north, one west, 
one south, and one east. They told Mactcoai to holler in each one 
of those bowls, and if he could, he could have the girl. So Mactcoai 
began to holler into the bowls. First he holler in the north bowl. 
Then he holler in the west bowl. His voice get weaker. Then he 
holler in the south bowl. His voice weak now. Then he holler in the 
east bowl. He died in the east bowl : his limgs came out. They tied 
them up in the bowl. Then the kotchinnakos called the girl out. 
She saw Mactcoai. The women said, "Let's pick him up and throw 
him out on top." Mactcoai always dressed good. Looked nice. 

"Where is your home?" "At Gomi." "Well, you can go home 
now." The girl got home. Her mother and father saw her coming. 
They cry 'cause she been lost long time. She told aU about what's 

Mactcoai lay there four days. He tiu-n black. The shiwanna 
(cloud men) missed him. "I guess someone they kill him. He like 
the girls. We get tired laying down. No one tells us to get up to 
make the clouds." Those shiwanna had a meeting. To decide what 
to do. Try decide to himt for him. "To-morrow morning we hunt 
for him." "All right." Next morning the clouds came from west, 
south, east, north. Rained like dickens, all whole world. Finally 
they find Mactcoai. He all black. The shiwanna said, "Here he is. 
He's got no heart any more." They look aromid a while. They find 
the house where the kotcmnakos hved. "I guess they got that heart 
in there, those kotchinnakos." So they come up with clouds and 
lightning. It lightning and it scare those kotcinnakos. They throw 
the pottery out with the heart in it. The sliiwanna pick up that heai't 
and the body. They took him to Kawecoima. They put the heart 
back. Mactcoai all black. He cry; he don't look lilie he was. 
"Can you fix me up so I be nice looldng fellow?" So the shiwanna 
took snow balls and made white stripes. "That's more better now." 
Then they make earrings for liim. They took two lizards (meyu) and 
made him earrings (he had had turquoise earrings before). Then 
they gave him a headdress of turkey feathers, and gave him his 
mackutc and stick back. Then they sent him home. Mactcoai's 

172 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

mother did uot know him. "That's me. I'm Mactcoai. They kill 
me. I lay there fom- days. Turn black." "Well, that's your faidt," 
his mother say. "Well, mother, I guess I turn loose these girls." 
He turn them loose. "I guess you still remember where I pick you 
up," he told those gii'ls, "I guess you can find yom* way home. I 
won't keep you any longer." Da hama tcaitc. 

Kasewat Rescues His Wife from Flint Bird 

In the old days, when the Akomtetc (people of Ako) were living at 
Akohaitit" (east point of Ako, at the foot of the mesa), there was a war 
chief who had a daughter. She did not care anything about men. 
She woidd never speak to them, and she wouldn't let them try to 
marry her. But there was a man named Kasewat who was a great 
hunter and a great warrior. He married the war chief's daughter 
and took her to his home at K'atsun" (the Enchanted Mesa). Kase- 
wat wasn't a very good-looking fellow, but he was very powerful and 
had all kinds of weapons. He was the best hunter in the whole 
pueblo. He had killed some giants (ckcyo) that used to roam 
aroimd the country. The mother of K'asewat was very fond of his 
wife and used to be very nice to her. 

One day the war chief ordered a rabbit hunt. Everyone in the 
pueblo was going. Kasewat was getting ready. The night before 
the hunt the caiyaik (the medicine men of the hunt) got their medi- 
cines read}^ and danced and sang the hunting song. 

Kasewat's wife was going hunting, too. She was so eager to go 
she prepared everything in advance. Kasewat's mother wanted to 
go too, so she could be near the girl (Kasewat's wife), but Kasewat 
wouldn't let her go. When they started out Kasewat asked his wife 
if she were going with him, but she said that she would go alone. 

The hunters set out from the village east of Ako. They were going 
to go in two groups; one would go one way and the other another, 
then they would come together in a great circle, driving the rabbits 
toward the center. The war chief saw Kasewat and asked him if his 
wife was along. Kasewat told him that she was mth some other 

Kasewat's wife went along with some other people, but she strayed 
away from them. When she was alone, away from the other people, 
Flint Bird (Hictian' koasut) swooped down from the sky and stopped 
right by the girl.^" He had been watching her from a door in the sky. 
He used to do that. He would watch tlirough his door in the sky 
and when he saw a good-looking girl he would fly down and get her 

^^ This Flint Bird seems to be a man who wears a suit made of flint knives, a suit which makes him 
appear like a bird and able to fly like one. When he is home he takes this suit off and hangs it up on 
the wall. 


and take her up above the sky to where he Uved. He used to get lots 
of girls this way. 

When the Flint Bird came up to where the girl was he said, "Where 
are you going, girl? Hunting? I'm going too. We can go together. 
Hop up on my back and I wiU take j^ou fast." The gui cUmbed on 
his back. "Now, hold on tight and keep your eyes closed," FHnt 
Bird told her. Flint Bird began to fly away. He went round and 
round and on up mitil he came to the door in the sky. He flew in 
and went out of sight. 

Kasewat heard the whirring of wings and looked up just in time to 
see his wife disappear. The war chief was very sad and went home. 
There was little hunting that day. Everyone was sad. Kasewat 
went to his home at Katzimo. He found his mother crying. She 
had seen the Fhnt Bird carry the girl off. Then Kasewat became 
angry and deternuned to recover his wife. That evening he went to 
the war cliief's house and told him of his decision. Then he returned 
to his home. 

The next day he told his mother that he was going to prepare for 
four days to attack the Fhnt Bird. He went out in the mountains 
and got herbs for the emetics. He ran and jumped each day; night 
and morning he vomited mth the herb brew. He looked over all his 
weapons and got them aU ready. On the fifth day he left at dayhght, 
going toward the south, singing a war song that he might be more 
powerful. Everyone knew he was going. You could hear his song a 
long ways. He repeated it four times; the people could hear it as if 
he were very near. No one could understand how Kasewat was 
going to beat the Flint Bird and get his wife back. 

It snowed veiy hard that day. In the afternoon Kasewat foimd 
himself far to the south of Acoma. The snow was almost knee-deep. 
Presently Kasewat came to a tree where an old spider had her home. 
"My dear son, where are you going at this time of the day?" the old 
Spider woman asked. "I am going to find mj^ wife, dear mother," 
Kasewat repHed. " Oh, is that so? " said the Spider. "Well, I want 
you to come into my house; there are some things I want to teach 
you." Kasewat, who had not seen her, but had heard only her 
voice, now looked all around to find her. "Where are you? I can't 
see you," he said. The Spider woman let herself down from the tree 
on her web. Kasewat said, "Oh, so it was you that spoke." Spider 
woman, "Yes." Kasewat, "Where do you live?" "Right down 
here," said the Spider, disappearing in the snow. "You put your 
foot down here." Kasewat stepped where he was told and it opened 
up, leading down into a large room imderground. Kasewat descended 
into the room and looked about. Two or three little girl spiders were 
there. There was a Spider boy, too, but he was out hunting snow- 
birds. "You have a nice place here," Kasewat said. "Yes,"repHed 


[eTH. ANN. 47 

the Spider, "and we would like to have you stay with us for a few days; 
I have some advice to give you." "All right; I'll stay," Kasewat 
replied; "I'll take your advice." "So you are going to get your 
wife back?" asked the Spider woman. "Yes." "Well, you can't 
do that yet, as I must prepare a way for you to go." Kasewat agreed, 
and decided to spend a few days with the spider family. 

By and by the httle Spider boy returned with one snowbird that 
he had killed. The Spider woman cooked it and brought it to 
Kasewat. He ate it all. One of the httle Spider girls exclaimed, 
"Oh, he ate it all. He didn't leave any for us." Kasewat rephed, 
"Oh, I'U kill you some more birds; enough to last for some time." 
The Spider woman said, "Oh, let him eat." Kasewat then went 
outdoors accompanied by the Spider boy who had taken quite a 
fancy to him. Kasewat pulled some hairs out of his head and 
made a snare (wa-sa) to catch birds. With it he snared many 
birds which he carried back to the spider's home. He threw them 
down on the floor and began to pick them and cook them. He 
showed the spiders how to make a bed mth the feathers. He spent 
the night with them. 

The ne.xt morning, after breakfast, the Spider woman sent her 
boy up through the hole in the sky, climbing up on a web. The 
boy was to look around the home of the Fhnt Bird and to learn just 
how his flint siut was made; the Spider woman planned to make 
one Uke it for Kasewat. Before leaving his mother gave him an 
herb. He was to chew this when he arrived at the hole in the sky 
and spit toward Fhnt Bird's house. This would cause him to sleep 

Kasewat went out into the woods and got some pine boards, 
which he split with liis stone ax. He got pine that had lots of pitch 
on it. He made a rope of soapweed and made the boards into a 
bundle which he carried home on his back. 

Wlien the Spider boy had crawled through the hole in the sky 
he looked about and then started toward Fhnt Bii'd's house. When 
he neared the dwelling, he spit out the herb as his mother had di- 
rected, to cause the Fhnt Bird to sleep soimdly. Upon entering the 
house, Spider boy saw the Flint Bird's suit hanging on a wall; 
Flint Bird was in the back room asleep with Kasewat's wife. Spider 
boy examined the flint siut carefidly and returned, down the web, 
to his home. 

When Kasewat returned he found the Spider boy there. "Oh, 
are you back so soon?" he asked. 

The next day (second day) they hewed the pine boards to the 
proper sizes and designs. They boiled the pitch in a bowl and dipped 
the boards in it; this made them resemble flint. That afternoon 
they made the bird suit. On the third day Kasewat tiied on the 



bird suit. "Imitate a bird," the Spider woman told him. Kase- 
wat hopped about like a bird, flapping his wings. "Now fly a 
Uttle and get used to the suit, for you are to set out to-morrow 
morning," the Spider woman told him. Kasewat flew about for a 
time, circling four times in the sky. He made so much noise that 
the people at Ako heard him and were alarmed; they feared another 
visit from Flint Bird. 

When he returned to the Spider woman's house she gave him 
many kinds of medicine. She advised him as follows: "When you 
get to the gate in the skj^ chew this herb and spit four times toward 
his house. Your little brother (the Spider boy) will be with you. 
Fly quietly and ahght outside his house. He will be in the back 
room asleep with yoiu- wife. The coat will be hanging in the front 
room. Go in, take his flint suit and hang yours in its place. Put 
his suit on and go away quietly. Then come back, maldng lots of 
noise. He will wake up and come out to fight you, wearing your 
suit of boards. Then you can kill him and bring your wife home. 
But be careful; Flint Bird is very cunning; he may try to play some 
trick on you and kill you." 

On the morning of the fourth day Kasewat set out. The little 
Spider boy sat right behind his ear, so he could talk to him. The 
old Spider woman told her son to take good care of Kasewat. "I 
hope you will have good luck and bring my daughter back safely. 
I win wait for you." 

Off they flew, and soon arrived at the gate. "Open the gate," 
the Spider boy said in Kasewat's ear, "but be very quiet." When 
they had passed through the gate Kasewat chewed the herb and 
spit four times toward the house, flying slowly. The Spider boy 
showed Kasewat where the flint suit was. They went in and ex- 
changed coats and went out again. Flint Bird's mother, who saw 
him enter, thought that it was her son, but when he went out again, 
she was surprised. 

Soon Kasewat returned, flying with great noise. FUnt Bird heard 
him and ran out to see what it was. "Guatzi (heUo!)," Kasewat 
greeted the Flint Bird. "Dawai— eh! " rephed Flint Bird. "Where 
did you get that suit, Kasewat? How did you get here? Did you 
come for your wife?" "Yes, I did," replied Kasewat. "WeU, you 
can't have her," Fhnt Bird told him. "Then I wiU kiU you," Kase- 
wat declared. "All right, if j'ou can." 

As they were about to begin to fight, Flint Bird's mother came out 
and said, "Don't fight him. He's your brother!" "No he isn't," 
the Fhnt Bird rephed, "he is Kasewat." Just then Kasewat's wife 
was seen peeping out from the house. Flint Bird told her to go 
back into the back room. Then he asked Kasewat to come in and 
have some supper. He told his mother to give him some supper 


[ETH. ANN. 47 

and let him stay outdoors. Then FHnt Bird retired to the back 

Kasewat took off his suit and went mto the kitchen where Flint 
Bird's mother gave him food. He saved some for the Spider boy. 
When they had finished Kasewat put on liis suit again and went 
outside. "He doesn't want us to stay inside," he told the Spider 

Back of FUnt Bird's house there was a spring and a pond into 
which four streams flowed. They were of four colors, red, white, 
yellow, and blue, and when properly treated would produce hail, 
rain, snow, and wdnd, respectively. Into the red stream Flint Bird 
dropped some ice. Soon it began to blow and to haU with great 
violence. The Spider boy spun a thick web under which Kasewat 
crawled, the Spider boy resuming his position behind Iiis ear. The 
hail could not penetrate the web, and sunrise found Kasewat and 
Spider boy unhurt. 

When he woke up in the morning Flint Bird came to the door. 
"I'U bet Kasewat is dead," he said to liimself. Then he called 
"Kasewat!" "Yes!" Kasewat rephed. "Why, that son of a gun 
(or words to that effect), he didn't die," Flint Bird exclaimed. Then 
he asked, "Are you cold?" "No, I'm not," Kasewat answered. 
"You must be tough, you beast. Well, come in and have some 
breakfast, for I want you to hoe my cornfield." 

Kasewat came in and ate breakfast; Flint Bird went into the back 
room. When Kasewat had finished, Flint Bird came out and took 
him out to a large cornfield. "Now, you must hoe all this field 
to-day. If you don't, you can't take your wife home. " Kasewat 
looked at the field and was discouraged, for it was of great size. 
But the Spider boy told him to hoe here and there about the field. 
Meanwhile, he spun a web aU around the field, save for a small 
patch. When the Spider boy returned he handed Kasewat the web, 
and told him to draw it tight. Kasewat pulled the web and it 
cut down all the weeds. Then Kasewat lay down to sleep, the 
Spider boy keeping watch. About noon the Spider boy woke 
Kasewat up, as Flint Bird was coming with Kasewat's wife. Kase- 
wat jumped up and began hoeing the httle patch of field that re- 
mained unfinished. As they came up Flint Bird said sarcastically, 
"Look at your husband, worldng so hard." Kasewat finished the 
task just as Fhnt Bird and liis wife arrived. Kasewat spoke to his 
wife. This made Flint Bird veiy angry and he told Kasewat not 
to speak to her. Kasewat's wife gave her husband a lunch she had 
brought and she and the Flint Bird watched him eat. Flint Bird 
ridiculed Kasewat while he was eating, calHng him a glutton and 
a beast. 

white! myths and tales 177 

"Since you have finished so soon," spoke the Flint Bird, "I will 
have you make an oven this afternoon. I want you to parch corn 
tomorrow." So Kasewat set about to make the oven. But Spider 
boy found a badger and they got her to help them. The badger 
began to dig and finally had a hole through the sky. Thi'ough this 
they dumped the earth they did not want. They built a very large 
oven. When it was finished, Kasewat and Spider boy went to FUnt 
Bird's house and told him it was finished. Kasewat ate liis supper 
and went to sleep outdoors as before. But nothing happened this 

The next day Kasewat got ready to parch the corn. Fhnt Bird told 
him to get the wood for the oven, and that his lunch would be brought 
him at noon. To get enough wood for such a large oven would be a 
big job. But again Spider boy came to the rescue. "Just go into 
the woods and select the biggest logs you can find. Strip off some 
bark and get some chips and bring them back." Kasewat did as he 
was told. When he returned and untied his Uttle bundle the chips 
and bark became many big logs. Then he built a fire. When it was 
burning brightly he went to fetch the corn to be parched. Spider 
boy spun a web all around the corn and when Kasewat pulled it, all 
the corn came to the oven. 

Then Flint Bird came, bringing all his women — he had about 50 or 
60. (They never had any children by the Flint Bu-d.) The women 
felt very sorry for Kasewat and among themselves they said, "Poor 
man, he is going to be killed; he is going to be pushed into the oven." 
Flint Bird came up to the oven and said, "Have you enough wood in 
there, Kasewat? Put more in." Kasewat, who stUl had his flint 
suit on, put more wood in the oven. "Now poke the fire a bit,' 
Flint Bird commanded. Kasewat poked the fu-e, facing the oven 
door. Then FUnt Bird pushed Kasewat into the flaming oven. All 
the women screamed. Then Flint Bird had all the women put the 
corn in and close the oven door. "Why are you crying?" Flint Bird 
asked harshly. 

^Mien Kasewat and the Spider boy were pushed into the oven 
Kasewat spit some hakani wawa (fire medicine), which he had been 
chewing for this purpose, into the fire. Tliis caused the heat to be- 
come less intense. Then he crawled into a secret cave that the badger 
had prepared, for they had suspected some kind of treachery on Flint 
Bird's part. Fhnt Bii'd and his women returned home. The women 
were verj^ sad, but Flint Bird was in high spirits. 

The next morning, after breakfast, FUnt Bird and the women 
returned to the oven. When they opened the oven some steam and 
smoke issued forth. They took some of the corn out of the oven and 
then FUnt Bird called "Kasewat! " "Yes! " Kasewat repUed. Then 
Flint Bird flew into a rage. "Can you come out?" "Yes." So 

178 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth.ann.47 

Kasewat crawled out of the oven. The women were dumfounded. 
The women began to husk the corn which they afterwards took to 
Flint Bird's house. Kasewat slept outside again, that night. 

The next morning Flint Bird came out and said to Kasewat, 
"You are going to have to fight with me to-day." Then he ordered 
Kasewat to prepare two piles of wood. So Kasewat made two piles, 
one smaller than the other. They were going to set these on fire. 
Then each one would sit on one pile and see who could stand it 
longest. Kasewat knew that the Flint Bird would choose the smaller 
pile. So he spit some medicine on it. That noon Kasewat was not 
given any dinner. When FUnt Bii-d had finished his meal he brought 
Kasewat's wife out to watch. As Kasewat had anticipated, Flint 
Bu'd chose the small pile. When the wood piles were burning, each 
one sat on one. They were wearing their flint suits. Kasewat began 
to sing a war song. Flint Bird repeated it. Kasewat sang another. 
FUnt Bird repeated this, but not so lustily. The bird suit made of 
pitch pine that FUnt Bird was wearing was beginning to bum ; more- 
over, the medicine spat upon the woodpUe by Kasewat was beginning 
to have its effect. Kasewat sang a war song for the thii-d time. 
This time the voice of Flint Bird was very feeble. At the fourth 
song Flint Bird died. Then Kasewat jumped off his pile and seized 
Flint Bii-d's mother and threw her on the fire. Kasewat's wife came 
foi-ward and embraced her husband. 

Then Kasewat gathered aU the women together. He divided 
among them the possessions of Flint Bird — aU the buckskins, mantas, 
beads, etc. They descended to the earth in a basket woven by 
Spider boy. They passed one day and one night at the home of the 
old Spider woman, who was very glad to see them. Most of the 
stolen women belonged to the northern pueblos, so they set out for 
their homes. Kasewat and his wife returned to Ako. AU the 
people were very glad to see the couple again. 

Kasew'at Rescues His Wife from a Giantess 

Sometime after her adventure with Flint Bird, Kasewat's wife went 
out to a spring to get some water. Wliile she was there a great giant- 
ess came up, put the girl in her basket, and carried her off. There 
used to be some giants in the old days who roamed the country about 
Acoma. They carried great baskets on their shoulders. When a 
giant (cko-yo) foimd a person out alone he would pick him up and put 
liim in his basket. When the giant got home he would cook the 
person and eat him. 


'' Some miles south of Acoma, according to native report, there are some great bones, larger, according to 
description, than those of any living mammal in .\merica. These bones are said to be those of one of the 
former giants of the region. I looked for these bones one afternoon but was unable to find them. 


Kasewat was out hunting on the day that his wife was carried off, 
but he did not have any hick. He could not kill anything/* so he 
went home. When he got home his mother told him that a cko'vo 
(giant) had carried his wife off; she had not seen the giant, but she 
had seen her tracks at the spring, and had foimd the girl's water jar. 
Kasewat decided to foUow the giantess and resciie his wife. So he 
set out, but he lost the giant's trail during a storm that night, so he 
came home and decided to try another plan. 

He watched for the giantess, and when she came back around 
A'ko (Acoma), he went out near where she was, alone, so she could 
catch him. The great giant saw him, caught him, and put him in 
her basket which she carried on her back. Then she started to go 
home. She went out west, and took him to the highest peak of the 
Zuiii Mountains. 

When she got home she threw Kasewat into a large room where 
there were a lot of other people that she had caught. She was 
keeping them until they got fat enough to kill. Kasewat looked out 
into the room where the giantess Uved. He saw some of her children 
there, playing. They were as large as a full-grown man, but they 
were very young; they were not old enough to walk yet. Kasewat 
could see the giantess. She was working round a fire. Kasewat 
called out to her, "What are you doing, mother (naiya)?" The 
giantess said, "I am making a fire to cook someone." "Who are 
you going to cook?" "Oh, you'U find out," the giantess replied. 

Pretty soon the giantess took Kasewat out of the room. Sbe took 
hun to her room. Sbe took off all his clothes and started to wash 
him. The women in the other room peeped out to look at hina. 
The giantess had put some stones into the fire to heat. She was 
going to cut Kasewat open, take his insides out, then she would put 
those hot stones inside hina, and they would cook him. That is the 
way she cooked them. While the giantess was washing Kasewat, 
he got to talking to her. He remarked about the heat. It was hot 
in there by the fire. He told the giantess that she looked hot; that 
she was all sweaty. He told her she had better get some fresh air. 
So the giantess went over to a window (or opening in the wall) and 
stuck her head out to get some air. "Lean out more," Kasewat 
told her. So she leaned way out; she was stooping over hke. Then 
Kasewat took up one of the hot stones from the fire and threw it at 
her. She fell out of the window and fell down a cliff and died. Then 
Kasewat grabbed her children and threw them in the oven and roasted 
them. Then he went to the room where all the people were. He 
let them out so they could go home. He got together all of the 
belongings of the giantess — her beads, buckskins, mantas, etc. — and 

^ The conduct of a wife is felt to affect the husband while hunting, in many instances. Particularly if 
she is unfaithful will the husband have bad luck. 

180 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann.47 

divided them among the people. Then thej^ set out for home. 
Kasewat took his wife home. Da hama tcaitc. (This is the way it 

The Adventures of San Diego 

San Diego '' lived east of Acoma on a mesa with his mother. She 
was very old. One day San Diego took a trip to the south on horse- 
back. He had lots of horses. He took the best horse he had, a 
mare, kind o' red.^" He went down south. At about sundown he 
reached a little Mexican town. He stopped at a Mexican's house a 
mile north of the town. There were just a man and his wife. They 
didn't have any children. They were very poor. They just had 
one rooster; that's all. They just had one bed. The old Mexican 
in the door saw San Diego ride up and said, "Hello, son." "HeUo, 
father; can I sleep here to-night?" "Sure, get off your horse. I'll 
take the saddle ofl" and put hobbles on the horse and put him in the 

The old woman gave San Diego his supper. "You eat first, and 
we eat last," she said. "AH right." After he got through eating 
the woman said, "You better go to bed. You're tired. You been 
riding all around all day horseback." "All right." So the old man 
told his wife, "Let him have the bed. We can make a bed for us 
with your dress and my coat. Let him have what we got." "All 

In the next room they talked about breakfast. "What we going 
to have?" "Well, I guess we kill our rooster." And then he took 
their dollar (they had only one dollar) and went to the store and 
bought some chili, flour, and lard. The old woman kill that rooster 
that evening. Boil him up. The old man came back from the store. 
They made their bed with the woman's dress and the man's coat. 
San Diego, he's not sleep t'all; he's just waiting tiU they get to sleep, 
those people. San Diego, he's very glad those people treat him 
good, and he's going to pray to God to give those people sheeps, 
horse, pigs, chickens, house — good house — mans to take care of 
sheeps, chickens, pigs. San Diego, he get up way in middle of night 
and pray for all those things. And that night eveiy thing finished: 
On the north side made corral for sheep ; on the west side a corral for 
cows; on the south side a corral for horses; on the east side a corral 
for pigs and chickens. There were two girls to work in the Icitchen, 
six men to take care sheeps and horses. House was finished. Had 
12 rooms, all furnished nice; nice bed. 'Longside was table with 
best man's clothes; woman's clothes, too. San Diego had same bed, 
same blankets what he had; he never change it. 'Bout 4 'clock in 

6* San Diego was said to be a k'atsina. ^ This tale is recorded almost verbatim. 


iiioming, lots roosters, they're hollering, and cows, sheeps. That 
man he wake up and hear them hollermg. He keep his eyes open 
for whUe. Then he grab his bed. "What kind mattress is this we 
got?" His wife said "Wake up!" "Look, we're sleeping on bed!" 
"We haven't got any bed." "I Ivnow it, but look!" Then they 
heard the roosters hollering. "We killed our rooster last night, but 
he stiU hollering." "Well, I guess our boy he's glad we treat him 
right. Let's wait until the morning." They trj^ to sleep, but they 
keep on talking, talking. They very glad. 

In the morning the man get up and look around the house. There 
was lots of eveiything. He walk aroimd. San Diego, he sleep same 
way; same blankets, same mattress. "Look at our boy. He's got 
same bed. It must be God's son. I guess; yes." 

Pretty soon the two cooks get up in kitchen and make fire in the 
stove. They heard them. The woman wanted to go in and see. 
"No," said the man, "let's wait. They going come out, I know, and 
tell us to come to breakfast. Let's go back to bed." So they went 
back to bed. 

The two cooks came out to wake up man and his wiie. "Good 
morning, father." "Good morning." "Well, you better get up — 
wash, and put yom* clothes on — for breakfast." So they got up. 
Then the old man woke up San Diego. "You better get up and wash. 
We going to have breakfast pretty soon." They put on their new 
clothes. Old man wanted to give San Diego a new suit, but he don't 
like to wear new suits. He won't put on. So old woman she cry. 
San Diego said, "Don't cry, mother. It's all right. That's the way 
I Uke it." 

After finished eating, the old man told his man to take the sheep 
out and make camp. Same for horses and cows. Other man he told 
to feed the pigs, chickens. 

The old man got a letter from a town on south side from king who 
lived there. He sent a letter t-o everj^ house. He said he was going 
to have a buUfight. Anyone if he wants to can fight him. If he 
win he can marry the king's daughter — any one of them. (He's got 
eight.) It was going to be next day. San Diego said, "Well, let's go 
down. I'd Uke to see how they going to do down there." "All right, 
we'U go down next morning." San Diego said, "Well, I'll look for 
my horse." He found the horse. San Diego, he carry two little 
(loaves of) bread to feed the horse. The horse, he taUt. "Guatzi, 
Kaiotsa!" " the horse told hun. San Diego said, "WeU, we going to 
king's house to-morrow morning. We going to fight that steer." 
"All right," the horse said, "I'll be walldng kind crippled in the 
morning. The people, they'll think they going to kill us, but you 

" Ouat?i is the Keresan equivalent of "Hello." Kaiotsa is a proper name; I do not know what it 

182 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

kill him, that steer." Then the horse said, "Down there what place 
we stop that Mexican got nice saddle and blankets. But don'1 take 
them. We'll take om" own stuff. Don't change your clothes, either." 

In the morning they get up and get ready to go to king's house. 
The two cooks fix the lunch. The man and wife were going in a 
buggy. San Diego said, "Well, I guess I get my horse." The horse 
said, "Good morning!" That horse, his name's "Feather." He 
walldng crippled lilve. "When we get down there, your father, he's 
going to tell you to take the big horse he's going to have in liis buggy, 
but don't you do it. Take me. The corral has gate on south side. 
The steer be standing on west side. I'm going around to east side, 
then north, then west. Then the steer chase us. I'm going to i un 
around the corral four times." 

San Diego brought his horse to the house. Old man said, "You 
better get another horse. Your horse land crippled." "No; this 
my own horse. I'm not going to change." "Well, take the new 
saddle." "No." "WeU, take the new blankets." "No." The old 
woman, she cry. "Don't cry, mother. This way I Hke it." Old 
man went in front. San Diego came behind. They got down to 
king's house. They lots peoples there, lots peoples. A Mexican was 
trying to kill the steer, but he got killed. And he killed his hoi'se, too, 
that steer. In northeast corner of corral was a hole. When anybody 
got killed, they throw them in there. They throw the Mexican and 
his horse in the liole. San Diego got mad. The Icing kill the mans 
there eveiy year. The Idng said, "WeU, anybody going to try to kill 
this steer?" Nobody say anytliing. Then San Diego, "Well, father 
and mother, I guess I go in, fight that steer, kill him." "Well, you 
better take my horse. Your horse kind crippled. I don't want you 
to get killed right here." "No; I want to take this, my own horse. 
I know liim." The mother cried. "Don't cry, mother. It's all 
light. I'm mad now. The Idng kiU the peoples. I'm going to make 
him stop." 

He went in and went around. Talked to the king, "Guatzi, rey 
(hello, king) ! " He asked the Idng what he would win if he lulled the 
steer. "You not going to mn any money. You can win my 
daughter. Don't you see my daughter up on the porch? You can 
pick out one you Uke best." "All right." Iving said, "Well, I tell 
the people if they want to bet they can." Band was playing first 
before goes in it. After finished those band, he opened the gate and 
went in. Look at that man. "I bet he's going to get killed right 
away. His horse, he's crippled, and he's so small." "No," others 
said, "he's not going get killed ! " And they talk that way and every- 
body hollering. San Diego went in and rode around the corral and 
went in front of the bull. He chase lum. (The bull chased San 
Diego.) San Diego rode around the corral four times. Fifth time 


the horse he turn around quick, right behind the bull. San Diego, he 
grab that bull by tail and turn hiin up on his head so his horns stuck 
in the giound and broke his neck. Those people hollering. Men 
throw hats. Women waving shawls. Hollering, "This is best man 
fighting steer!" The mules dragged the bull to the hole and threw 
him in. 

King said, "Well, you win. Let's go upstairs. Pick out my 
daughter, which way you lilic." They went upstairs. The girls 
sitting 'round the room. San Diego picked out the center one. 
"This is the one; I pick him up."*^ The girl jump up, grab his 
neck. "Tills be my husband!" King said, "Well, what yom- name?" 
"My name's San Diego." "Well, you can't sleep with your wife 
to-night. We going to have bronco busting to-morrow. If you can 
ride all the hundred horses before sundown, you can sleep with my 
daughter." San Diego said, "Well, I guess I'll tell my father and 
mother to go home. I 'U stay here." "All right, you go tell them and 
come back here." 

San Diego was ready to eat his supper. After supper he told king, 
"Well, I go put my horse away somewhere." "AU right" (king), 
"here's a key. Take yoiu- horse and water and feed him and put 
him in the barn. When you come back I give you a room to sleep in." 
San Diego took his horse to a spring on south side king's house. The 
spider she knows he was coming to water his horse, so she went to the 
spring. When San Diego came Spider said, "Good evening, San 
Diego." "Where are you?" "Right here in the grass. Don't step 
on me! Can you tie your horse to that post and come with me to my 
house? I want to talk to you a little while." "AU right." And he 
tied bis horse to the post. They went to the south to the spider's 
home. There was a little hole in the ground. Spider went in. San 
Diego stopped. "Weil, I can't go in it." "No; you just put one 
foot on the hole, and it will be wide." San Diego stepped there, and 
it got wide. There was a ladder there, and San Diego went down 
inside. Spider had lots young ones inside. They playing. Spider 
told them to be quiet as San Diego was visiting. 

"Well, San Diego, you be ready to-morrow to bust those broncos." 
"Yes." "Well, I'll help you along. Here is some medicine. You 
chew it up good. Go to-night to the corral and tell the two big ones 
that you're going to put a rope on them in the morning. Then spit 
a little medicine on the others." 

He took his horse and opened the corral. "Guatzi, caballo!" 
(hello, horse!) They all nmnin' aroimd. "HeUo, San Diego. You 
coming in here?" He called up the two big ones. "To-morrow 
morning you be rough. Buck round foiu" times. Then go north 

82 This informant used the phrase ** pick him up " as equivalent to " choose, " For example, in referring 
to some dish on a menu he said, " This one here; I pick him up." 

184 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

about two miles. Go round mesa. Come back." (Then San 
Diego would take off the saddles, crawl imder the horses' bellies and 
show the king how tame they were.) "Now rest of you fellows don't 
buck. I'm not going to use rope; just whip. I'm going to ride 
around mesa." Then he spit the medicine (wawa) aroimd. "Good 
night, horses." "Good night, San Diego." 

San Diego went back to the king's house. "Where you been? 
Been gone long while." "Well, Mexican talk to me. He good 
friend of mine. Talk long while." "Well, let's go to bed. I'll 
show you yoiu" room." Went upstairs. King locked his daughter 
in her room and San Diego in a room right near. The girl opened 
the ■window and jumped out and knocked at San Diego's window. 
He got up and let her in, and they slept together there that night. 
Have a good time. 

Early in the morning she got up and went back to her room. King 
came down and let them out. Told them to wash and get ready to 
eat breakfast. They ate breakfast. King said, "Let's go. I'll show 
you the place. I guess you know." "Yes; I put my horse in last 
night." Iving said, "Here's a rope to use." But San Diego's horse 
had told him not to use it 'cause there was a snake in the rope to 
make the horses wild. "No; I use my own rope." "Well, here is a 
saddle you can take," the long said. "No; I take my own saddle." 
"Well, here are some blankets you can use." "No; I use my own 
blankets." "Well, use yom* own way, then," the Idng said. 

Lots people came to watch. Some said, "He's going to get killed 
sure." "No; he's all right!" San Diego opened the corral. Horses 
ran aroimd wild. He roped one of the big ones. He drag (San Diego) 
aroimd, buck, try to bite, kick. People hollering. Pretty soon San 
Diego told the horse to stop. He put on the bridle and saddle. 
Got on. Bucked 'roimd four times, then ran to the north like hell. 
He came back. Took saddle off and bridle. Crawled vmder beUy. 
"King, look here. He not wdld." King got mad. "Sure going to 
IdU him sometime," he think to himself. Then he roped the other 
big horse. He did lilie first one. Went same place. Came back, 
took saddle off and crawled imder his belly. "Look here, king. 
He not wild." Kiug sure mad. San Diego pick up his quirt and 
went in corral, jumped on a horse, guided him with whip. Went 
to mesa and come back. He just keep on that way. Finished before 
sun goes down. Last one he came to king. "All right, thank you." 
Then he said to himself, "Sure damn I'm going to kill him to-mor- 
row." ^^ King said, "Well, let's go back." They went back and 
washed for supper. 

83 "Sure damn" was a favorite expression of this informant. 


San Diego said, "Well, I guess I'll water my horse; I haven't 
watered him all day." "All right, but don't stop at the Mexican 
house. You're tu-ed. To-morrow you got to go up on the moimtain 
to haid timber. You're going to have 100 wild oxen. If you finish 
before simdown you can sleep -with my daughter." 

San Diego went to water his horse. He tied his horse and went 
to the Spider's house. He had the key that locked the oxen up. He 
went into the Spider's house. "Guatzi, k'amack'" (Good evening. 
Spider)." "Good evening, San Diego. What does the king want 
now?" "I got to go up on the mountain and get timbers with wild 
oxen." "All right, I'U go up to-night and tell the woodpeckers to 
cut the timbers. You want 100?" "Yes." "Here's some medi- 
cine to put on. Yoke two and send them up early in the morning. 
Then the others. My spiders (and others) will go up on top of corral 
gate and jmnp down on each pair oxen when they come out. I'll be 
up to-night and get woodpeckers and cut logs and get Gaiyac hatctsi 
(Squirrel man) to tie them on. If in the morning when you go up, 
you meet the first two coming back, don't go up, but come back 
with them." (The Spider was going to have the woodpeckers cut 
the timber, a log. Then Squirrel man was going to tie one end of 
the log to the yoke. The oxen woidd then draw the log down the 

San Diego went out to corral and told oxen to be ready to go up 
in the morning to get logs. "First ones I rope, you try to hook me. 
When I tell you stop, you stop." He told same to his partner (i. e., 
the other ox of the team). "Now rest of you fellow, I'm not going 
to use strap on you. Be gentle." Oxen said, "AH right." "Good 
night." San Diego went back to the long's house. The king said, 
"Where have you been? You been gone long time." San Diego 
said, "I been down to that Mexican's house." "Well, let's go to 
bed," the king said. So he locked liis daughter in her room and put 
San Diego in his. That night again the girl she climb out of her 
window and go into San Diego's room, and they slept together again. 
The kmg's daughter said, "My father try to IdU you; he Idlls fellows 
all time. But I help you; I like you." "All right." "Try your 
best to-morrow." The girl went back to her room in the morning. 

In the morning the king came and let San Diego out. They washed 
and had breakfast. "Well, let's go now," the king said. The king 
offered San Diego the rope with the snake in it again. "No; I use 
my own rope," San Diego said. Then he went down to the corral 
to get the yokes and the straps. When they got to the corral the 
wild oxen were jumping around. He caught the two tame ones and 
yoked them up and sent them up on the mountain. Then he caught 
the others and yoked them and sent them up too. He followed the 
6066°— 32 13 

186 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

last team up. When he got half way up, he met the first team coming 
down Avith a log. The Spider woman was coming too. "Go hack 
now," the Spider woman told San Diego, "and ask the king where 
to put the timbers. Then put the o.xen back." "All right." 

When San Diego got baclv down he asked the king where to put 
those timbers. "What, you back already?" The king told San 
Diego where to put the timbers. All the oxen came back down with 
timbers and San Diego he pile 'em up and put the oxen away. He 
finished before sundown. "All right, king, I'm finished." "Thank 
you," the king said. He very mad. Then they went in to supper. 

The Iving said after supper, "Well, last time for you to-morrow. 
You got to herd rabbits to-morrow, fOO rabbits. If .you lose any I 
cut your head off. If you bring back all of them you can sleep with 
my daughter." San Diego said, "Well, I guess I go water my 
horse." Then he went to the spider's house. "What does the king 
want now?" the spider asked. "He wants me to herd rabbits to- 
morrow, and he going to cut off my head if I lose any." The spider 
said she would hel]D. She got a little whistle and gave it to San 
Diego. "Take this whistle. Go to where rabbits are and tell them 
you're going to use this whistle, and when they hear it to come 
around." San Diego took the wliistle. "The king will try to buy 
rabbits," the spider told him. "He will come around with paint on 
him so you won't Icnow him. He will ask you to sell him some rab- 
bits, but don't you do it. Then he will offer you any amount of 
money. Then you tell him that if he wants one you will sell him one 
if he will put his pants down. I bet the king will do it." 

So San Diego went back. He went to where the rabbits were. 
"Good evening, rabbits." "Good evening, San Diego." He told 
them what he going to do to-morrow. He showed them the whistle 
and blew it, just like rabbits. "Better hide," San Diego told the 
rabbits, or the king will Idll you, but when I blow this whistle, you 
come back." "All right." Then San Diego went back. 

"Where have you been?" the king asked. "Down to those Mex- 
icans' house." Then the lung took San Diego to his room and lock 
him up. The daughter slipped out of her room that night and went 
into San Diego's room and slept with him again that night. Next 
morning she went back to her room. Then the king came and got 
vSan Diego. They went down to breakfast. They put up a lunch 
for San Diego to take with him. Then San Diego took the rabbits 
out. He counted them. There were 100. He took them out and 
went down south side canyon. The rabbits were running around, 
eating. San Diego blew his whistle. The rabbits came back. 
"What do you want?" they asked. San Diego said, "I'm going to 
lie imder that tree. If the Idng comes, you go hide. When he goes 
I'll whistle, and you come back." "All right." San Diego went 



over and sat in the shade, and then he lay down. About 11 o'clock 
the king came. "Hello, boy," he said. "Hello." "What are you 
doing?" "Herding rabbits." "Can you give me one?" "No." 
"Why not?" "I would get my head cut off if I lost one," San Diego 
said. The king tried to buy one, but San Diego he won't sell. "1 
give you lots o' money — anything — for one of those rabbits," said 
the king. "All right," San Diego said. "All right, now let's get 
the rabbit." But they hunt all over, and they can't find any; they 
all liid. They hunt long time. 'Bout 2 'clock it's hot. Iving he 
got tired. He thought that San Diego would lose anyway, 'cause 
they can't find those rabbits, so he went home. »San Diego ate his 
dinner. About 4 'clock he went down. He blew his wliistle, and 
all the rabbits they come runnin'; all the hundred. 

"Are you all here?" "Yes," the rabbits say, "you count up; we 
go bj^ one at a time." So all the rabbits went by San Diego, and he 
count them. They were 100, aU there. Then they went back home. 
The lung was watching San Diego. When they got back the Idng 
opened the door of the pen and counted the rabbits as they went in. 
They were all there. "All right," said the king, "you can sleep with 
my daughter to-night and many her to-morrow morning." "All 
right." So they went in and washed for supper. After supper, San 
Diego went out to water his horse. "All right," the lung said, "but 
come right back, don't stop at that Mexican's house." San Diego 
went out to where his horse was. "To-morrow morning you going 
to get married, ain't it?" the horse asked San Diego. "After you 
marry, but before 11 o'clock, you ask the lung for his luiife. Sharpen 
it up good, and cut my throat." "Why?" " 'Cause you're going 
to get married." He told San Diego to knock him dowTi and mark 
a cross on his throat, then cut his thi'oat open. He was to say, "Go 
on, my horse, go to heaven." The horse said, "First, I'll blow out 
my blood, and lots horses will come out. I'll blow out four times. 
The first time will be gentle horses; the second time gentle horses; 
the third tune, gentle; the fourth time, wild horses. When I finish, 
you pick out the horse you like best and that wiU be me." Then 
San Diego went back. "Where have you been?" the king asked. 
"Down to the Mexican's house." The king gave San Diego the key 
to his daughter's room. The girl said, "We going to marr^'^ to- 
morrow." San Diego said, "Yes; but I going to kill my horse." 
"Whj^?" "Well, I going get married and I going help my father 
get other horses." "How?" "I show you." 

Early in the morning the lung came down and washed for breakfast. 
The king gave San Diego a suit, 'cause he going to be the king's son- 
in-law. Then he gave a suit to the girl, too. They going to bs 
married in the church. The king told the people to come at 12 
o'clock for dinner. There was to be a dance that night. San Diego 


[ETH. ANN*. 47 

asked the king for his best knife — "Your own knife. I'm going to 
kill my horse." "Why?" "To help you. Get different colors 
horses." "How?" "I show you." Then San Diego went out and 
got his horse, and watered him. He took him outside the king's 
house and tie up one foot. He made a cross on his neck. Then he 
cut quick. The blood came out (in spurts). The first horses had 
four "trees" in their eyes."^ The next had three, the next two, and 
the next one. San Diego chose a kind of a white and blue horse, same 
size as his old one. "I'm going to take this one home." The king 
thanked him for all the horses. San Diego said, "I'm going to go 
home to-morrow." "Wliere do you live?" "Long ways. But we 
comeback. My mother she's very old, and I want to see her." The 
king said, "I'll give you 50 men to guard you and my daughter." 
"All right.' 

That night they had a big dinner. That night they had a big dance. 

Next morning the lung woke up. He went down and washed for 
breakfast. "Well, I get my horse and go home." The king said, 
"Well, I'll tell the soldiers to get you four horses and some lunch." 
When San Diego went out to get his horse he found him crying. San 
Diego asked him why he was crying. " 'Cause we going home. Your 
mother is dying right now. Better hurry up. We going to a hill. 
When we're halfway up, I'll fly up the rest of the way. Be sure and 
keep your eyes closed, and tell your wife to keep her eyes closed. 
When we get home I'll tell you." 

So San Diego told the king that he dreamed his mother was dying 
and he had to hurry. So the king sent the soldiers out, 50 of them, 
25 on each side. San Diego sat in his saddle, and his wife sat behind 
him. San Diego put two cpaiak' ^^ on his right temple. They went 
out to the west. Pretty soon they came to a hill. They went up. 
A twister came and blew the horse up. The two feathers (the 
cpaiak') helped hft them up. The soldiers saw the horse and San 
Diego and his wife go up in the air. They ran back to the king and 
told him that his son and daughter were lost. "All right," the king 
said, "he be back." 

Pretty soon they got home. San Diego opened his eyes. He was 
home. He went in his house. He find his mother dead in bed. San 
Diego cried, but he couldn't help her. So they buried her. He 
stayed there three days. Then he said to his wife, "Well, I take you 
back your home now. I can't keep you here 'cause I travel over 

w If you look into a horse's eye, you see, sometimes, some little objects that look like "trees," or little 
fungous growths. Sometimes there is one, sometimes two, three, or four. Some Acoma Indians believe that 
these little "trees" are indices of a horse's disposition. If he has one "tree" he is a mean horse, very mean. 
If he has more than one he isn't mean. The narrator of this story had some months before explained this to 

•5 A cpaiak' is a small, white, downy eagle feather that is often worn in the hair during ceremonies. 
Masewi, the elder twin war god, was very fond of these feathers. 



whole world. I've got to go to old Acoma September 2d." ^* The 
girl cry. "Don't cry. I see you once in while, but I can't carry you 
with me." So they went back to the girl's home. They shut their 
eyes again when the horse went up in the air. They came down near 
the king's house. The lung and his daughters came out. "King, I 
brought j'our daughter. I can't keep her, 'cause I travel all over 
whole world, to Acoma and heaven, but I visit you again." "All 

Then San Diego left and went up to old Acoma. It was September 
1st (the day before the fiesta dance). He went inside the church. 
The next day he dance around in the plaza on his horse. In evening 
he went back inside the church. Went back to heaven. On his 
way he met God (lyos, Dios). God said, "Well, San Diego, this is 
last time for you to travel on earth. You going stay here with me." 
"All right." 

Da hama tcaitc. 

Three Snake Tales from Acomita 

There were some Mexicans and Indians working on the section 
near McCartys. One day while working near the track a Mexican 
found a snake's nest. There were some little snakes and one or two 
eggs in it. The Mexican destroyed the nest, killing the little snakes 
and crushing the eggs. He did this in spite of the warnings of the 

That evening when the men were sitting around after supper a 
snake was seen approaching. (It was a "kind of dark snake with red 
on his sides.") The snake came right into the camp. It would 
approach each man and, raising his head high from the ground, would 
examine each one very carefully. He continued this until he came 
to the man who had destroyed the nest. When the snake had found 
the guilty one he crawled swiftly iip the Mexican's body and wrapped 
himself firmly around his throat. The Mexican screamed for help 
and tried to free himself, but the snake held on, tightening his grip. 
At last the Mexican dropped, strangled to death. The snake uncoiled 
himself and slid away. 

(This from an eyewitness.) 


Some men were seeking shelter from a hailstorm under some lai^e 
Cottonwood trees. The clouds were low and the wind was strong. 
Rain and hail were falling in torrents. While standing under the tree 

66 San Diego had to be at the fiesta dance at Acoma, for he appears in the plaza riding bis horse. This 
actually occurs every few years at Acoma. 

190 THE ACOMA INDIANS [eth. ann. 47 

the men noticed a dark snake with red on his sides climbing up one of 
the Cottonwood trees. He was cUmbing veiy sw-iftly. Soon he 
reached the top of the tree. But he did not stop; he went on, out 
into the air. He was seen for some time traveling swiftly through the 
air and clouds, until he finally disappeared. 


Some boys were herding cattle. One of the boys noticed that a 
cow trampled on a snake's nest, crushing the eggs. A few hours later 
the old snake came back and found her nest ruined. The snake 
followed the footsteps of the cow until she sought her out from the 
herd. When the snake had located the guilty cow she crawled down 
the cow's throat. Verj' soon the cow died. When the men cut the 
cow open thej' found that her insides had been cut all to pieces. 


Bancroft, H. H. History of Arizona and New Mexico. San Francisco, 1889. 
Bandelier, a. F. Final report of investigations among the Indians of the 

southwestern United States, Part II. Papers Archaeol. Inst. Amer., Amer. 

Ser., vol. IV, Cambridge, 1892. 

See also Hackett, C. W. 

Benavides, Fray Alonzo. iVIemorial. Translated bj' Mrs. E. E. Ayer. Anno- 
tated by F. W. Hodge and C. F. Lummis. Land of Sunshine, vols, xiii, 
pp. 277-290, and xiv, jjp. 227-232, Los Angeles, 1900, 1901. 

Boas, Franz. Keresan texts. Publ. Amer. Ethn. Soc, vol. viii, pts. 1-2, 
New York, 1926-1928. 

Bolton, H. E. Spanish exploration in the Southwest. New York, 1916. 

Cdlin, Stewart. Games of the North American Indians. Twenty-fourth Ann. 
Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn., Washington, 1905. 

Dumarest, Father Noel. Notes on Cochiti, N. Mex. Translated and edited 
by Elsie Clews Parsons. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Asso., vol. vi, no. 3, Lan- 
caster, Pa., 1919. 

Escalante, Fray Silve.stre Velez de. Relaci6n. Land of Sunshine, vol. xii, 
pp. 247-250, 309-314, Los Angeles, 1900. 

Fewkes, J. Walter. [Article] Hopi. Handbook of Amer. Inds., Bull. 30, 
Bur. Amer. Ethn., pt. 1, pp. 560-567, Washington, 1907. 

Goldfrank, Esther Schiff. The social and ceremonial organization of Cochiti. 
Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Asso., no. 33, Menasha, Wis., 1927. 

Hackett, Charles Wilson, ed. Historical documents relating to New Mexico, 
Nueva Viscaya, and approaches thereto, to 1773. Collected by Adolph 
Bandelier and Fanny Bandelier. Vol. i, Carnegie Inst., Washington, 1923. 

Hodge, Frederick Webb. Katzimo, the Enchanted. Land of Sunshine, vol. 
VII, no. 6, pp. 225-236, Los Angeles, 1897. 

The Enchanted Mesa. Nat. Geog. Mag., vol. viii, no. 10, pp. 273-284, 

Washington, 1897. 

Ascent of the Enchanted Mesa. Century Magazine, vol. LVi, no. 1, 

pp. 15-24, New York, 1898. 
Kidder, Alfred Vincent. An introduction to the study of southwestern 

archaeolog.v. Published for the department of archaeology, Phillips Academy, 

Andover, Mass., by the Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1924. 
Khoeber, a. L. Zuni kin and clan. Anthrop. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 

vol. xviii, pt. 2, New York, 1917. 
Libbey, William. A Di-senchanted Mesa. Harper's Weekly, Aug. 28, 1897. 
Lummis, C. F. The Land of Poco Tiempo. New York, 1893. 

See aho Ziirate-Salnier6n. 
Mindeleff, Victor. A study of Pueblo architecture: Tusayan and Cibola. 

Eighth Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 3-228, Washington, 1891. 
Parsons, Elsie Clews. The Antelope clan in Keresan custom and myth. 

Man, vol. 17, art. 131, London, 1917. 
Notes on Zuni, Parts I and II. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Asso., vol. iv, 

nos. 3 and 4, Lancaster, Pa., 1917. 


192 BIBLIOGRAPHY [eth. ann. 47 

Parsons, Elsie Clews. Notes on Acomaand Laguna. Amer. Anthrop., n. s., 
vol. XX, no. 2, pp. 162-186, Lancaster, 1918. 

War god shrines of Laguna and Zuni. Ibid., no. 4, pp. 381-405. 

Notes on ceremonialism at Laguna. Anthrop. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. 

Hist., vol. XIX, pt. 4, New York, 1920. 

Notes on Isleta, Santa Ana, and Acoma. Amer. Anthrop., n. s., vol. 

XXII, no. 1, pp. 56-69, Lancaster, 1920. 

Laguna genealogies. Anthrop. Papers Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. xix, 

pt. 5, New York, 1923. 

The Scalp Ceremonial of Zuni. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. A.sso., no. 31, 

Menasha, Wis., 1924. 

The Pueblo of Jemez. Dept. Archaeol. Phillips Acad., Andover, Mass., 

Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1925. 
Stevenson, Matilda Coxe. The Sia. Eleventh Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., 
pp. 3-157, Washington, 1894. 

The Zuni Indians. Twenty-third Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn., 

Washington, 1904. 

White, Leslie A. Summary report of field work at Acoma. Amer. Anthrop., 
n. s., vol. XXX, no. 4, pp. 559-568, Menasha, Wis., 1928. 

Medicine Societies of the Keresan Pueblos. Proc. Int. Cong. Amer., 

23d sess., New York, 1928. 

WiNSHip, George Parker. The Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542. Four- 
teenth Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., pp. 329-613, Washington, 1896. 

Zarate-Salmer6n, Fray Geronimo. Relacion, 1538-1626. Trans, by C. F. 
Lummis. Land of Sunshine, vols, xi, pp. 336-346, and xii, pp. 39-48, 104-113, 
180-187, Los Angeles, 1899-1900. 






Introduction 201 

Historical and contemporary relations 203 

Town and population 208 

Economic life 211 

Personal life 213 

Conception and pregnancy 213 

Birth and naming ritual 214 

Name lists, comparative remarks 216 

Child rearing 218 

Kinship 219 

List of kinship terms 219 

Age and sex terms 220 

Application of terms by persons cited in genealogies 221 

Kinship terms applied to nonrelati ves 228 

Spanish terms, application in genealogical tables 229 

Principles of kinship nomenclature and comparative discussion.. 230 

Dress and headdress 232 

Marriage; house ownership; marriage choices; family composition 233 

Games 239 

Sickness and cure; witchcraft 241 

Insanity; albinism; man-woman 245 

Dreams; clairvoyance; omens 247 

Funerary practices 248 

Secular government 250 

Ceremonial organization 254 

Ceremonial groups 264 


Prayer sticks and feathers 274 

Offerings of corn meal or pollen; road making; food offerings 275 

Fetishes 277 

Altar 279 

Medicine water and bowl; aspersing and water pouring 280 

Smoking; cigarette; tobacco offering; pigment offering 280 

Breathing rites 282 

Song and dance step (altar ritual); racing 282 

Ritual gestures and postures ' 283 

Circuit and orientation; ritual colors; favored numerals 284 

Crystal gazing 285 

Medicine 285 

Continence; fasting 286 

Hair washing and ritual bath 286 

Other rites of exorcism: Brushing or wiping, sucking, rubbing with 

ashes, mlling, whipping, purging, spitting 287 



Calendar: Pag« 

List of months 288 

Solstice determination and calendrical events 288 

Ceremonies and ritual complexes 290 

Solstice ceremony of the Corn groups 290 

Ceremony of bringing in the horned serpent 301 

Christmas Eve and Christmas dances, 1925 303 

Kings' dance, January 5-10 306 

Ceremony of general cleansing 307 

Ritual for expelling grasshoppers 314 

Kachina basliet dance 314 

Ceremony of initiation into medicine society (Laguna Fathers) _ . 315 

Liwapor or sharu'por (land turtle dance) 317 

Irrigation ditch ritual and dance 318 

Ritual of fetching red paint 320 

Planting ritual 32 1 

Liwa fy'nide, dark kachina 321 

Races; war ceremonial 324 

Moiety transfer ceremonies 330 

Ceremony of bringing down the moon and stars 330 

Rain ceremony 330 

Advent of liwale; koinpor or the pinitu dance; rabbit hunt, Sep- 
tember 25-October 5 332 

Cerenionj- of bringing in Salt old woman 336 

Ceremon.v of hunt chief 336 

Hunting ritual 337 

Type ceremony of curing 339 

Supernaturals 340 

Comparative discussion 345 

Orai'bi, the Laguna colony 348 

Folk Tales 

Emergence and other origin tales 359 

1. The emergence 359 

I. Tale fragments 360 

II. The origin of the Eagle people 362 

III. Prayer fragment about the emergence 363 

2. The disobedient town chief 363 

3. How the town chief got his Mother 366 

4. The sun's kick stick 368 

5. The origin of the liwa (pinitu) dances 372 

6. The war captain who was incontinent 373 

7. The cacique who turned his son to stone 374 

8. How humuhu was born 375 

Variant 378 

9. The town chief flies away on his eagle and is recovered by bat.. 379 

10. The first rattlesnake 384 

11. How they began to race for the sun 386 

Variant 388 

12. The Sun takes a head 390 

13. Unwelcome suitors; impregnation by Sun; Lake boy; the twins 

seek tlieir Father Sun; shot inside the arrow; Grandmother 
Spider's little pot; Dove girls; the twins make the serpent dis- 
gorge; heart in the egg; Sun tests in oven; Sun gets a nev.' heart. 392 


Emergence and other origin tales — Continued. Page 

14. Test for paternity; Variant (Lake boy; the twins seek their 

Father Sun; Sun tests in oven) 398 

1 5. Sun and his sons 402 

16. How the deer got their red eyes 403 

17. The girl who married a bear 404 

18. The borrowed bear cubs 405 

19. The girl who turned eagle; the man who understood animals 407 

Variant (the girl who turned eagle) 409 

20. The girl flies away with eagle 410 

21. Founding of Laguna 411 

22. Rock grandfather (Hiotee're) 412 

23. Our Father Dius and our Father W^ide 412 

Variant 412 

Spanish Tales 

24. Montezuma 413 

Variant 415 

25. San Escapu'la 415 

26. The sanctuary at Chimayo 415 

27. Gum man (tar baby) 416 

Variant 418 

28. Holding up the mesa; schoolmaster to the bees; hail coming; moon 

cheese 418 

29. Variant (hail coming; schoolmaster to the bees); duck sheep; 

variant (moon cheese) 421 

30. The skeleton who fell down piece by piece 423 

31. How burro catches fox 424 

32. The goat and the padre 424 

Tales of Witchcraft 

33. The devil's daughter (Lspkurude berpiu) 425 

34. Witch initiation 430 

35. Witch wife 431 

36. Bewitched into coyote 432 

Variant 435 

37. The girl who was restored to life 438 

38. The hunter's hair cut 439 

Variant 440 

Tales of Personal Experience 

39. How Juan was cured of ants 443 

40. After I killed a bear 445 

41. The incontinent medicine man 448 

42. How I recovered my stolen goods 449 

43. Other thefts 450 

44. Marcellina and American law 451 

45. A rejected suit 451 

46. White arrow point 452 

47. How my father went after the Apache 453 



48. How the railway came through Isleta 453 

49. Two celibates 454 

50. How my brother wrestled with the Navaho 454 

51. How the Laguiia Father perished 455 

52. The death of Francisco 456 

53. They rear their grandchild 457 

54. The priest who resurrects 457 

55. The haunted house 458 

56. The hat 458 

Genealogy 461 

Bibliography 465 

Index 1087 




17. Designs on walls of the chamber of the Laguna Fathers 210 

18. a, Southeast corner of plaza, b, Houses on east side of plaza, c, Rec- 

tangular kiva of the Black Eyes, d, Roundhouse (kiva) of the 

Black E.ves 210 

19. a. Isletan woman, b, Street for racing, and for dancing by Laguna 

kachina. c, Southeast part of town 210 

20. a, Dark kachina. 6, Hea (?) kachina 210 


1. Containers in hidden-ball game 240 

2. Diagram of ball game 240 

3. Regalia of town chief 257 

4. Grandfather (te'e) 264 

5. K'paran (unidentified bird) 271 

6. Prayer stick for Sun 275 

7. K'oata 279 

8. Diagram for head washing and emetic ritual of Corn group 291 

9. Prayer stick for woman to give Water people when she fetches water, 294 

10. Altar and water jar in Corn group ceremonial 296 

11. Chief of Corn group sitting on his blanket with meal basket in hand. 297 

12. Food distribution in Corn group ceremonial 299 

13. Positions of Corn group in ritual for stillborn 300 

14. Horned serpent altar and horned serpent 301 

15. Town Father 309 

16. Altar of Town Fathers in ceremony of general cleansing 310 

17. Altar of Laguna Fathers 311 

18. Headdress in land-turtle dance 318 

19. Dark kachina 324 

20. Prayer stick to deposit in spring to ask for spruce 333 

21. K'apyo, Black Eyes J 334 

22. K'apyo, shur6 334 

23. Pinitu dancer 335 

24. Altar of hunt chief 337 

25. Sun's kick stick 368 

26. Chamber of Laguna Fathers during curing ceremonial 447 


Map of houses with ceremonial connections (drawn bj- townsman) 200 



2 « r- 5 


Map of Houses with Ceremonial Connections 
(From sketch by townsman) 

1. Town chief's house. 2. Town chief's ceremonial house. .3. Black Eyes roundhouse (Iriva). 4. Kum- 
pa's house. 5. Ceremonial house of chief of Laguna Fathers. 6. Ilouse of chief of Goose Corn group. 
7. House of chief of Yellow Com. 8. War chief's house. 9. House of chief of shure'. 10. Cbakabede's 
house. 11. House of chief of Blue Corn. 12. Courthouse. 13. Black Eyes kiva. 14. Shure' kiva. 
15. Public kiva. 16. House of chiefs of Eagle Com group and Goose Com group. 17. House of chief of 
All Colors Corn. 18. House of chief of Town Fathers. 19. House of chief of Laguna Fathers. 20. Cere- 
monial house of chief of Town Fathers. 21. House of Poplar and Magpie Black Com. 22. Shure' 
roundhouse (kiva). 23. House of chief of White Corn. 24. House of hunt chief(?). 25. House of chief 
of Shichu Corn group 



By Elsie Clews Parsons 


Isleta has been a baffling place to the student of the Pueblos. 
Isletans are particularly secretive, and what information was obtained 
from them contained contradictions The only student who ever 
lived in the pueblo was Charles F. Lummis, and his interest in the hfe 
of the town has expressed itself scientifically only in a collection of 
folk tales rendered in a more or less Uterary form. So that when 
in 1924 Esther Schiff Goldfrank midertook a study of the pueblo, and 
after much difficulty succeeded in securing an informant, there was 
matter for congratulation. Mrs. Goldfranlv has published an analysis 
of the folk tales she and I recorded, in the Journal of American 

In 1925, thanlvs to Mrs. Goldfrank's introduction, I was able to 
work with her informant where he and I were not subject to Pueblo 
inquisitorial pursuit. It was soon apparent that our fluent informant 
was of a type unusual among the Pueblos. Shrewd as he could be at 
times, he was also exceedingly credulous. Had he not only heard, but 
seen, the horned serpent on his mountain? Had he not seen a living 
deer walk through the door of the hunt chief's house, and a medicine 
man fly away as an eagle to a great distance, to return within an 
hour to the ceremonial chamber? Thrice had he seen the padre with 
gold teeth resurrect from under the altar of the church. Even of 
Mexican or white signs he was a ready behever; he believed in his own 
dreams; he believed in anybody's "power" and in any gossip of magic. 
One day he told me about a certain townswoman who was hving with 
"two husbands" since, thanks to the "power" she had got out of a 
"black book," her husband actuaUy wanted to have her lover in their 

That a man of this mentality should not be accurate in description 

at large is not surprising. And Juan Abeita would be, in fact, quite as 

glib about ceremonial he had not seen as about what he had seen. So 

that his accounts of ceremonial must be taken with reservation and 

6066°— 32 14 201 

202 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

at the first opportimity checked up.' But in all his descriptions he 
does not depart, I think, from the pattern, i. e., he may improvise the 
combination of patterns, but not the patterns themselves. His very 
creduhty is quite according to pattern. In Pueblo folk tales, and I 
have in mind more particularly Tewa tales, the homed serpent is seen 
by all, when he comes into the kiva; in the witch kiva men transform 
into deer and other animals to go abroad with evil intent; through evil 
or good magic men are able to levitate or fly.^ Even the hysterical 
character Abeita gives to some of his accounts, notably his account 
of exorcism after a bear Idll, is not, I incline to think, fictional. 
Keresan exorcism is known to have a similar exciting effect.' How- 
ever, it is obvious enough that the outcome of work with such an 
informant by two students must vary. This fact, the emotional 
irresponsibihty of our informant, as well as differences in our own 
methods of study, have led Mrs. Goldfranlj and me to keep our 
observations in separate forms. 

Among contradictions recorded by earlier observers, including 
myself at a past period, were statements in regard to clan organiza- 
tion. The Corn divisions of Isleta are not true clans, and we were 
misled in trying to assimilate the Isletan social organization with that 
f amiUar in other pueblos, particularly Keresan.^ The following study 
I had the advantage of making after I had acquired some familiarity 
with the Tanoan-spealving peoples of the north, with the people of 
Jemez and the Tewa among whom clanship is of sUght importance, 
with clanless Picuris and clanless Taos. 

Whether the Isletan Com groups are or are not clans is more than 
a question of description or classification; for it is concerned wdth the 
experience of a migratory clanless group with bilateral descent, but 

^ That opportunity I have since sought but faUed to find at all fully in a woman informant whom I shall 
be referring to as Lucinda. Although she was corroboratory of Juan Abeita in many particulars, on cere- 
monial she was absolutely close-mouthed, and so consistent was she that she would never give me an 
Isletan personal name. Isletan names are peculiarly associated with ceremonial. Keresan names she did 
not hesitate to impart. Lucinda was more truly a person of "one heart," as she said of herself, and more 
scrupulous than almost any other Pueblo I have met. It undoubtedly pained her to hear me allude in any 
way to the secrets of religion. When I referred to the war spirits as living in the moimtain under whose 
feet we were one day passing — Sandia Mountain — Lucinda began to weep. And yet the next moment, 
like a child, she was correcting my pronunciation of the name of Masewi and remarking that Masewi and 
Uyuye were "the greatest men in the world." Lucinda was, of course, apprehensive, as well as conscien- 
tious. "I hope I won't die soon," she remarked after telling me the kind of folk tale that is told to little 
children, .\nother time she repeated what was no doubt told her when she herself was a child: "If I tell 
about our religion, some time when I am out in the hills a bear or some other wild animal might get me 
and hurt me." Another time she told of what had happened to the Ilopi Indian who lay the altars 
in the Harvey House at .Mbuquerque. "In two days he began to swell up. His tongue was swollen and 
hanging from his mouth." And then there was Lucinda 's enemy and antithesis, a woman bold to reckless- 
ness, unreliable, and unscrupulous. Fortunately, I knew enough about Isleta when I came to work with 
her to be able to check her up. We were friends and enemies, for we respected, even admired, each other, 
and our duel of wits is a high spot in my Pueblo experience. Out of it came some valuable information. 

^ Parsons, 17: 20-1, 26, 37, 90. .\ Jemez acquaintance also told me he had seen the homed serpent in his 
spring. (Parsons. 18: 125.) 

3 Compare Parsons, 8; 121, n. 7. 

* Compare Parsons, 9: 154. .Analysis of these clan lists reveals quite plainly the specific fallacy of 
informants who use the term for people, t*ainin, indiscriminately for clan, society, animal spirit. 


if anytliing favoring the patrilineal, in contact with groups with 
matrilineal clans. Here is an interesting case of cultural conflict to 
which we should be alert. According to my interpretation the 
Tanoan migrants took over the niatrilineal theory of their hosts or 
neighbors, Keresan, perhaps Hopi, applying it to their ceremonial 
groups wliich continued to be primarily ceremonial, unconcerned with 
naarriage regulation and thought of but shghtly if at all as kinship 

In the northern towTis descent is bilateral, with a leaning, if any, 
to the patrilineal. Contact with the matrihneal tribes resulted for 
the migrating Isletans in a mixed system of descent. Ceremonial 
and ritual show similarly mixed strands — indi^^dualistic shamanistic 
"powers" of the Plains type, society organization of the Pueblo type, 
and the characteristic Pueblo hierarchy. To this composite the 
Catholic Church has not failed to contribute. A candle may be 
offered in the hills to the dead as well as a prayer stick; the veterinary 
medicine man may diagnose the sickness of the horse as a transfer 
of sickness from its ownei' — scapehorse instead of scapegoat; gallstones 
removed by a white doctor are identified as witch-sent objects; the 
saint is carried about fields parched by drought; the stillborn are 
prayed to because, I surmise, they are in limbo; confession is made to 
medicine men as well as to the padre. No pueblo is without Catholic 
acculturation, not even the Hopi pueblos, but among them all we 
shall find Isleta contributing peculiarly interesting instances of this 
cultiu'al process. 


It is probable that Isleta stands on or near a site that was occupied 
in 1540, the year of the Spanish discovery.^ There is a town tradi- 
tion about an older site or sites below the mountains to the east, 
where there are many ruins. The people there "got crazy talking 
about how the yellow and red faced people with red hair were coming 
(i. e., the whites); then they ran away and crossed the river and made 

About 1675 Isleta received accessions from the Tigua pueblos of 
Quarai,'^ Tajique, and others east of the Rio Grande, when those 
pueblos were abandoned because of Apache depredations.' Possibly 
the Isleta settlements on the east bank date back to that period. 
However, as early as 1581 settlements on the east bank were observed 
by that remarkable party of 3 friars, 9 soldiers, and 19 Mexican 
Indians, presumably from southern Chihuahua, known as the Rodri- 

' Handbook of the American Indians, 622, citing Lummis. See Bandelier, 234. 
• Here in 1643 Fray Juan de Salas was resident priest. (Bandelier, 233, n. 1.) 
" Handbook of the American Indians, 623; Bandelier, 234. 

204 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

guez or Gallegos expedition. The settlement on the west !)ank 
which the expedition called Taxiunulco and described as having 123 
houses ot two and three stories was probably Isleta.* Of interest as 
bearing upon the question of early Spanish-Mexican influence among 
the southern Tanoans is the fact that the two surviving friars of the 
expedition, together with the Mexican Indian servants, stayed on at 
old Sandia (Puaray°). The friars were soon Idlled. What became 
of the Mexican Indians? In 1629 Benavides reports that there are 
two monasteries, very costly and interesting, one at San Francisco 
de Sandia'" and one at San Antonio de la Isleta." 

After the great rebel'ion, in 1681, Otermin took southwest with 
him from Isleta 519 captives, of whom 115 afterwards escaped, and 
others settled at Isleta del Sm*. Then those left in Isleta abandoned 
the town and are said to have gone to the Hopi country, not retm-ning 
until 1718.'^ Reminiscent of this visit may be the name of the 
suburb Orai'bi, and the legend of the origin of the Eagle people.'^ 
As usual in Pueblo circles, the historical memory is short and there 
is no specific tradition about the Hopi visit. 

Isleta exhibits the interpueblo relationships usual in other pueblos — 
the receiving and paying of friendly visits, particularly at times of 
fiesta, or the entertainment of delegates on some affair of importance, 
now and again an interman-iage, and always an underlying degi-ee of 
suspicion of witchcraft practice by alien townsman (or tribesman). 
In my account of Jemez I have referred to a letter wiitten by a 
notable of Isleta — the White Corn chief — to his compadre in Jemez 
inviting him to visit during the pinitu dance. Recently the WTiite 
Corn chief and his wealthy brother-in-law have been regular visitors 
to Zuni during the Shalako ceremony. Later we shall hear how 
Zuni sent a delegation to Isleta in the autumn of 1925 asking for 
aid against some siclaiess prevailing in the town, and how, the better 
to preserve certain cultural standards, aid was refused. Diu"ing the 
Great War influenza, of which I was told the germs were sent out 
into the world by the Kaiser, the population of Sandia, already 
meager, was so reduced that the townspeople feared extinction. 
Consequently a delegation from Sandia came to Isleta and deeded 
to Isleta all the Sandia lands. Isleta still holds the deeds. Three 
Isletan men are married into Sandia " where there are to-day but 24 
male heads of families. A generation ago two Isletan brothers 
visited Taos. One recalls his visit by the race he won there against 

' Hammond and Rey, 350, n. 80, citing Mecham. 

• Ibid., 351, n. 83, citing Mecham; also 356, 359. 

" The first church at Sandia was in existence in 1614. (Bandelier, 220, n. 2.) 

11 Benavides, 19. 

" Bandelier, 233-234. 

» See p. 362. 

" Naplhun, Sandians; Napipiena, Sandia Mountain. 


a Ute; the other married into the town, leaving descendants, one of 
whom has visited his kindred at Isleta and learned to speak Isletan. 
So great are the dialectical differences in the Tanoan speech of the 
two towns that when the Isletan cousin of this Taos man in his turn 
visited Taos he had to speak either Spanish or English with his 
hosts. '^ 

Isletans have not learned to speak Keresan, although, as we shall 
see later in detail, they have had special opportunities. About 1880 
they welcomed some immigrants from Laguna, to whom they gave 
lands and with whom they intermarried. Of this interesting Laguna 
colony we shall give a fuller account, and particular intermarriages 
with Keresan townspeople and others we shall also note later on. 

As to witchcraft suspicions of the foreigner, we hear in general that 
strange lights at night are likely to be explained as witches flying 
from abroad to hanii some townsman and that if you are anxious to 
harm a fellow townsman you will resort to the witches of another 
town. Significant in this connection is the tradition that at Shimtua, 
where the witch cave of assembly is placed, there was once a Sandia 
settlement.'^ A keen trader among my Isletan acquaintances said 
that because of the witches at Sandia she would not go there to trade. 
She expressed an extraordinary aversion to the Napihun, the dusty 
people. ("The faces of the Sandians look dusty.") 

As elsewhere, Navaho witchcraft has been feared. Navaho were 
also an overt enemy. The scalps preserved in the round houses are 
all accounted Navaho, although it is said that "once" there was a 
fight with the Comanche. Every Saturday night the Captive dance, 
nakurfur* (kuride, captive), is danced,'' also Hanch or Comanche. 

Contacts with Mexicans (lapahde, ? hairy) have been compara- 
tively close. At the southern end of the reservation lands, about 5 
miles from Isleta, is Los Lentils or, in Isletan, Berkwintoi, Rainbow 
village. There live still "a few old Indians," but the place is so 
largely Mexicanized that, because the father of the White Corn chief 
came from there,'' the chief has been referred to, by those who do 
not like him, as half Mexican. Although only a few Mexicans are 
married into town, there are many Mexican neighbors on the road 
to Albuquerque and in settlements around the reservation. Every- 
body in Isleta speaks Spanish, and I get the impression that a good 
many Spanish words are used in speaking Tanoan. Assimilation of 
Catholic ritual and ideology is unusually striking. A candle may 
be offered in the hills '^ instead of a prayer feather; during irrigation 
ceremonial a cross blessed by the padre is placed at the river at the 

!• But sec Bandelier, 218, n. 1. 

'« See p. 430. 

'' Danced also by the Tewa. 

1* The parents of the woman in house 2.3 also come from Berkwintoi. 

'• See p. 466. 

206 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth.axn.jt 

same time that prayer feathers are thi-own into it; the government 
canes are aspersed by the town chief as well as by the padre; ritual 
whipping is referred to as penance, and my informant compared the 
power of the tachide -" or padi-e to change bread and wine into the 
host to the powers of the medicine men.-' To show people his power: 
Did not Father Andrew, who has been padi-e in Isleta for 34 years, 
curse a piece of cheese and turn it black as ashes? ^- He had been 
scolding the people for not coming to Mass, meeting their excuse 
that they were shoeless by pointing out that they went to their own 
ceremonies without shoes. Father Andi-ew was also reported to 
want people to observe "semana sancta" by not chopping wood or 
moving wagons, "staying still as they do at Taos," in December- 
January, and at Nambe during Holy Week when they do not hammer 
lest they "pound on the Lord," or chop wood, or wear shoes, "lest 
they step hard on the Lord." ^ 

How much the rite of confession is observed in the church I do not 
know, but curiously enough, it is observed in connection with the 
Fathers who are medicine men. Some years ago an Isletan woman 
told me that if she fell sick from giving me information she would 
have to "confess it." And now after a discussion of kinship terms 
Lucinda says, "What I am telling you I am going to confess it before 
I die. I am not going to carry it away with me." At another time 
Lucinda said she confessed once a month to the padre, and felt vers- 
"lively" afterwards. 

The wen in or underlake people of the west from whom the maskless 
kachina dancers get their power were said to be "like the saints." 

Mexicans wait to plant until the Isletans begin, saying that "the 
cazique" has a good guess. Of the Isletan irrigation ditch proces- 
sion Mexicans on meeting it "will say, "Now we are going to have a 
good year." 

Nevertheless, in spite of this reputed sympathetic attitude, from 
the ceremonial life of the town the Mexican is quite strictly shut out 
as elsewhere. Also the wliite. Guards are placed to keep away 
Mexicans and whites from that part of town where the Laguna 
kachina dance and, during the solstice ceremonials, from the town 
at large. The use of Mexican words is taboo to those engaged in 
ceremonial. Whites and Mexicans are excluded to-day from cere- 

"> Probably from the Zuni term for father (tachu). 

*i He might well have cited in this comparison the rite of bringing down the sun as a rite of transub- 

" At Jemez silver necklaces and shoes are not to be worn at the meetings of one of the societies. The 
silver becomes black; footgear shrinks up. (Parsons, 16: 71. n. 1.) The Yayatu of the Hopi also make 
magical transformations. Once they changed the black hat and the garters of a visiting Isletan into a 
raven and a snake. (Stephen, MS.) 

23 At Palma, in the Balearics, no wagons or automobiles may be used on Holy Thursday and Good 
Friday, and no work is performed, practices observed also, I am told, in other parts of Spain. In the Holy 
Thursday penitential procession men go barefoot. In Mexico no work is done from Holy Thursday to 
Easter Monday; the animals are confined in the corrals. 


monial because "in old times" they were excluded. Giving informa- 
tion about the customs is strictly taboo. It is said that the violator 
would be whipped with a strap by the governor; he might even be 
interred to his waist in a secluded part of the towai (near houses 1-2, 
the houses of the town chief). A man was once actually punished in 
this way, it is said, for betraying the costumbres.^* Isletans will 
warn one another of the presence of an alien by referring to the hawk. 
If the stranger understands Isletan, they will say, "The beam is 
broken," meaning "Beware lest the roof fall." 

It was said of Charles Lummis that he was well liked in Isleta, 
because although he lived in town (in house 136) "he never wanted 
to go to ceremonies." We may note, by the way, that the Lummises 
had each an Isletan name. Mr. Lummis was called Paxola, star; 
Mrs. Lummis, Turbe'se, sun, cloud design;"^ their son, Kimbato, 
wliite lion; their daughter, Papkui, spread prettily. 

A year or so after the above comment was made on the popularitj^ 
of Lummis it might not have been made. In 1927 a "council" was 
held on his Pueblo Indian Folktales which seems to have come to 
general notice for the first time. The two townspeople most noto- 
riously in touch with whites — Pablo Abeita and Candelaria Chavez — 
were summoned to the meeting in the courthouse by the war chief 
(paiwilawe). Candelaria Chavez, a woman of extraordinary mentality 
and character, pointed out to the Mothers and Fathers that the book 
was written 30 years or more ago and that the stories which were 
"not very important stories" at any rate (being mostly of Laguna), 
were got by Lummis from one Patricio, now dead. She was excul- 
pated and dismissed, but for some reason Pablo Abeita was held and 
his case carried from the courthouse to another house, some cere- 
monial house, where it was continued for four days. Possibly they 
discussed Pablo's indiscretion in contributrag the name, Kimo, 
mountam Hon, to the moving picture house opened in Albuquerque 
by some Italians. The theater is decorated with Pueblo designs and 
a prize of $50 had been oiTered for the best name for it. Pablo got 
the prize, also much hostile criticism from his townspeople. 

In 1890 there was a Presbyterian mission school in the southeast 
comer of the plaza. (Was it the present courthouse over the roofing 
of which there has been so much dispute? Was it to be a tin gable 
or a flat old-style roof? See pi. 18, a.) This mission has long since 
disappeared, but for a time it maintained "its membership against 
the opposition of both priest and present governor." ^'' 

Albuquerque (Le'ui) is only 13 miles away from Isleta, and there 
is considerable \dsiting of that large town. Among other conse- 

'* Such punitive burial is itself a Mexican costumhre. borrowed from the Penitentes. (Lummis 1: 108.) 
" See p. 210. 
" Census, 113. 

208 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

quences of its proximity I construe a familiarity with crime which is 
more observable at Isleta than in other pueblos. A few years ago 
a Mexican who had killed a white man was shot and kUled by an 
Isletan,^ likewise a Mexican who was stealing from an automobile. 
In 1924 an Isletan policeman was killed by a negro fleeing from 
Albuquerque. Dming the Christmas Eve church dance in 1925 the 
hat of a prayerful townsman was pilfered by one of the many visiting 
Mexicans, who spent the rest of the night in the town jail. Was it a 
Mexican or a white man or a townsman who not long ago stole from 
the kiva its ornate ladder, for one week, returning it, according to 
Juan Abeita who suspects a townsman, when the fear of being found 
out by the detective of the medicine society possessed him? I did 
not suggest to Juan Abeita that in a week a kiva ladder might easily 
be copied for reproduction in museum or in a "picture." 


The town which is called by the townspeople ^' Shiaw'iba,^ and 
by their Mexican neighbors, San Agosti(n), lies on the west side of 
the Rio Grande. On the eastern side there is a settlement of about 
six houses, the people of which are referred to as namchut'ainin, earth 
yellow people, or nabatortot'ainin. White Village people, who are said 
to be "mean people," '° also to speak a little differently, dialectically, 
from the townspeople proper. In folk tale these names refer to two 
different groups, the Yellow Earth people being locaUzed in the ruins 
in the bluff above the White VUlage.^' I have heard also that from this 
district went the immigrants to Isleta el Paso, Isleta del Sur. Before 
the bridge was built by the Government, a decade or more ago, it was 
the business of the White Village people to ferry passengers across the 
river. Then came the great flood '^ which destroyed all the houses but 
one at White VUlage or Ranchito, and drowned a woman with child 
and a youth, and led to the building of the bridge. Only recently 
have people been returning to rebuild at Ranchito. Three miles 
down the river (pela') lie two suburbs or ranching colonies called Shila 
(Mexican, Chikal) ^^ and T'aikabede ^* of which the people are called 
T'aikabehun. Several miles farther east rise the Manzano Moun- 
tains. Conspicuous in the range is the peak which Isletans refer to 

*' By Escapula, the Isletan policeman, according to Orai'bi witnesses. Now, Escapula was a relative of 
Pablo Abeita, and it was these charges which turned Pablo against the Laguna people. (See p. 353.) 

J8 To Lummis they translated the name Shiewhibak as "knife laid on the ground to play whib." Hand- 
book, 622. But the right translation, I surmise, is prayer feather kick stick. (See name list on p. 216.) 

^'* Phonetic note; p, b indeterminate written as P; p, f indeterminate written as p; thl written as 1; t sub- 
letter indicates nasalization; letter written above the line indicates slurring; ' glottal catch; and ' breathing. 

» Compare pp. 386, 388. 

'» S>e pp. 386, 388. 

>» In 1905. according to Hodge. (Benavides, 222.) 

" Name of an unidentified bush. The river has been diverted and Shila now lies about a mile east of it. 
Formerly people did not live here throughout the year, the houses being strictly summer or ranch houses. 

3* Town chief: The district is so called because the town chief's fields lie there. 



in English as "our naountain," Shyubato, "White Eagle, the home of 
the Kwa or kachina. 

On the southwest border of the towTi, in a place called Orai'bi, were 
placed the colonists from Laguna (Bimin). At the time of settlement 
there was a larger gap between Orai'bi and the town than there is now, 
more houses having been built in recent years in this neighborhood. 

Enumerated in the town proper were 220 houses, and in Orai'bi, 43, of 
which only 16 are lived in by the Laguna immigrants or their descend- 
ants. Across the river, in the ranch suburbs, there are about fifty 
houses. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs reports the population of 
Isleta as 1,036 in 1930. In 1890 the population was accounted 1,059.^° 

There are a few 2-story houses, but for the most part the houses are 
1-story and mth their porches and walled yards have somewhat the 
appearance of a Mexican town. (PI. 18, b.) There are a number of 
outside Mexican ovens. In some of the older houses the big hooded 
hearth for baking wafer bread is stOl to be found. House 23 (see map) 
contained one of these fireplaces until the house was bought by the 
leading man of the town who had the fireplace removed. Conserva- 
tive though he be, ceremonially, wafer-bread maldng was not for his 
household ! 

Five buildings are referred to as kivas (tula) — the two detached 
"roundhouses" (houses 3, 22), associated with the moiety organiza- 
tion, the two undetached rectangular houses also used by the moieties 
(houses 13, 14, pi. 18, a, c), and a building which is used for general 
asemblage, the public tula (house 15). The two houses of the two 
medicine societies which are also used ceremonially are not referred 
to as tuia, but as nap'ainato.^^ (Houses 5, 20.) The roundhouse 
of the Black Eyes moiety is called paki'mu (fog or mist) tula (pi. 18, d); 
that of the shiu-e' moiety, keyu (protecting wall)^' tula. The terms 
"turquoise" and "squash," used by the Keres, for the roundhouses 
of their ceremonial moieties, are not used in Isleta. 

In the roundhouses fmu: posts are referred to, also the kijkauu 
which is the hole in the middle of the floor corresponding, inferably, 
to the sipapu of the Hopi-Keresan kiva. Within the kokauu the 
town chief "keeps the wahtainin" (all, people), meaning the super- 
natural animals and other spirits. (I question if the stone fetishes of 
these spu'its are actually kept here.) The kijkauu is plastered over. 
It is opened on the installation of the town chief and of the moiety 
chiefs. It is because of the kijkauu that grave conduct is always 
exacted in the kiva. In the undetached kivas of the moieties as weU 

« Census, 92. 

3" Nap'ai, "something like a dream of something happening long before, as when the people came up,'* 
i. e., vision; nato, house. In one connection I heard the term for the medicine society bouse as p'aiboa, 
suggesting the derivation p'ai, old, (na)I6a, witch bundle {see p. 311). 

9^ Whether this term refers to a special wall or to the house walls around the kiva I do not know. It is 
impossible for the stranger in Isleta to place the kiva, built around as it is. 

210 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [etii.ann.47 

as the round klvas there is a kokauu in the chamber which is reserved 
for ceremonial as distinct from the chamber for the use of dancers. 

In all the ceremonial chambers the fire wall or screen is surmounted 
by the familiar terrace cloud design,^* at Isleta called bersa?'. In the 
round Idvas the hearth is toward the center of the chamber and there 
is but one fire screen. Where the corner hearth is used and there 
are two screens or walls, each is terrace topped, as are also the ladders 
of the round kivas. The fagades of the undetached moiety Idvas also 
show the same design (pi. IS, c), which may also be observed on some 
of the older yard walls. 

Among the ceremonial houses is to be noted that of the towTi chief 
(t'aikabedetoai) (liouse 2) which is distinct from his dwelling 
(house 1). Another distinctive ceremonial house is that of the 
^Tiite Corn chief (liouse 23). The chiefs of the other Com groups 
hold their ceremonial in their dweUhigs. 

Between the town and Orai'bi stand the Government buildings, 
schoolhouse, administration biuldings, and a small 1-room jaU 

The Catholic Church stands on the north side of town and of the 
plaza. Formerly, as elsewhere, the dead were buried in the church- 
yard, but now the cemeteiy is to the southwest, near Orai'bi. The 
removal caused "big trouble." The churchyard is one of the dance 
stations. (Just as is the atrio in Mexico.) There is but one plaza,'' 
which is very large, and through it runs the high road. The street 
between the two most southerly rows of houses is used also as a dance 
station, especially for the Laguna kachina dances (pi. 19, b). Through 
this street lies the race course, which was described consistently with 
Isletan coimt, as 500 yards long.^" 

On each of the four sides of town there is an "ash pUe." (PI. 1 9, c.) 
To one or another of these ash piles witch bundles are taken and 
buried. On them offerings to the high god, W^ide, and to the dead are 
made, and there are various taboos " in regard to the ash piles which 
seem reminiscent of some ancient burial practice ^ . . . To the ash 
piles the boys at night will go to sing " the songs of their own side of 

38 A design which is Spanish-Moorish. It appears on the tiles of the Alhambra and tops buildings in 
Granada and in the Balearic Islands. It appears also in the pre-Conquest sculpture of San Juan Teoti- 
buacan, Mexico. 

3» Faxb'a. Pa.\bla means a big arroyo. Paxo means water, grain (p. 331). In the plaza the town chief 
performs a night rain-making ritual. 

*o -According to Lummis 1; 120, who secretly took its measure, .320 yards. 

» See pp. 213, 321. 

« Anciently the ash or refuse heap was a common Pueblo burial place. (See p. 432.) 

" See too, p. 333, note 49. 















«. Southeast Corneh of Plaza 
Note Blue Corn house in center; right, courthouse; left, rectangular kivfi of shure'. 

House of Eagle and Goose Corn groups, and, on farther corner, shure' kiva. 

c. Rectangular Kiva of the Black Eyes 
Note terrace design over door. 

d. Roundhouse (Kiva) of the black Eyes 


o. ISLETAN Woman 

/i. Street for Racing, and for Dancing by Laguna Kachina 

c. SOUTHEAST Part OF Town. Manzano Mountains in Background 
Xote ash pile in foreground and house of chakabede. 







Mask yellow (right), blue Oeft); top pieces of leather; spruce 
armlets; bell leglet. 


Topknot of feathers, hair fringe below. 



The Islctans, like other Pueblo Indians, are primarily farmers. 
As elsewhere, the staple crops are corn and wheat, grown on irrigated 
land, although wheat may be planted in Febniaiy, before the work of 
irrigating is begun, if the ground is sufficiently wet from winter snows 
or rains. Vegetable crops — onions and peas or beans — are planted in 
January. The March winds, wc may note, are hard on the crops, 
even harder than frost. Alfalfa is grown — two plantings, one in May, 
one in August. Cotton is grown, enough for ritual use as well as for 
weaving into belts, and 500 pounds are sold out of town. On the 
outskirts of town there are orchards and vineyards, unrivaled by other 
pueblos.*^ Grapevines are now yielding to alfalfa. A family is 
allowed one barrel of wine by the agent, and wine may not be sold. 

Flocks and herds are scant. There used to be "lots of sheep," but 
the people have been selling them off, so that to-day only two men 
have flocks. Only 10 or 12 men keep cattle. There are some pigs. 
The usual time for butchering is in connection with the last night of a 
ceremony when food dishes are to be contributed by attendants. 

There are the usual rabbit drives. The rabbit stick of the false 
boomerang type is known, ^'^ but probably little used. There is still 
some deer hunting, and only a few years ago a man went antelope 
hunting in the JicarUla Mountains. Now and again a wildcat is Idlled, 
of which the skin sells for about $5. Bear are not killed.^* Eagles 
are shot; the pit snare and nest robbmg were unfamiliar methods." 
There is an eagle hunt before an initiation into the medicine societies. 
There is no domestication of eagles because people might forget to 
feed their birds and the birds would get angiy, like the eagle of the 
town chief of Berkwjtoe'.^' . . . There is a baited horsehair trap for 
bluebirds whose feathers are used in prayer feathers. The snared 
bird will be plucked and then released. Snowbirds (upoowe') are 
also snared. Boys use slings. Fish are caught by hook and net, and 
eaten at pleasure, according to Juan Abeita. Lucinda said that 
boys might catch fish in the drainage ditch, but people would not 
eat them. "We do not eat fish," said she most emphatically, and 
she woidd not eat the smoked salmon I once ofi'ered her.^' The horned 
toad (koale kireude, sheep droppings, full of marks) is sometimes 
caught and with a piece of yarn tied around its neck it is told to go 
and make a manta or belt.^° 

" Cp. Census, U3. 
« See p. 377. 
'« See pp. 338-339. 

'■ But for the latter method, see p. 379. 
« See p. 380. 

*" Although trout and an edible sucker abound in the Pecos River, no fishbones have been found in the 
rubbish piles of Pecos, writes Doctor Kidder, and he infers that they did not eat fish at Pecos. 
w Compare Laguna, Zuiii, and Pima practices. (Parsons, 12: 196, n. 3.) 

212 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. a.nn. 47 

There is some spinning and weaving of the home-grown cotton, for 
hair and dress belts *' and dance leglets and kilts. There are four 
women belt weavers. Men's dance kilts used to be woven by women; 
now men weave them. There are two women weavers of woolen 
blanlvets. One of the oldest men of the towTi was once a blanket 
weaver. You are told that blankets (manta, the woman's dark 
woolen dress, also the so-called Hopi ceremonial blanket) are not 
woven because these they did not have when "they came up." 

Bead making is practiced by a few men, for themselves, not for 
trade. A Hopi silversmith lives in the town. And there is also a 
native silversmith. 

Thanks to the Laguna colonists and to an American tourist market 
there have been in recent years changes in pottery making.^- The 
product is of an inferior quality in design and in modeling to the 
Laguna-Acoma ware, bric-a-brac novelties predominating. Lucinda 
invented, so she said, a bird model from a quail her son shot, to be 
used as a bank.°^ Native cook pots°* are of a crude, undecorated 
type, poUshed on the inside "so the beans won't stick." These are 
the pots, not the decorated ware made for the American trade, that 
are given with food to the clowns (k'apyo) in the pinitu dance by 
their "aunts." 

July is the season for house plastering, inside and out, the plastering 
being done, as usual, by the women. New houses or rooms are built 
in March. 

We have referred to the passing of wafer-bread making. Grinding 
by metate, except the grinding of meal for ritual use, is also going 
out — it is "too hard" for the "schoolgirls." There are three mills*^ 
owned by Isletans in which the grain is ordinarily ground, also the 
chili. One of the mill owners is the man we referred to as removing 
the hearth for wafer bread from his newlj' acquired house. He is 
also a storekeeper. As elsewhere, the performance of ceremonies has 
a bearing on trade in connection with the last night of the cere- 
mony — that is, "the time they make lots of money in the store" or 
stores, as there are three, two kept by townsmen, one by a white man. 

"The old people say," remarked Lucinda, summarizing changes in 
the economic Ufe, "that we keep ourselves too hot and eat too much." 

" At the bottom of women's dress belts there is a design of five lines. On men's belts there is a lightning 
design. Women are "scared" to put on men's belts, my guess is, because of this design. See pp. 213, 301 . 
" See p. 351. 

" Such bird banks are made in Mexico. 
5< Kwerete (Mexican cahete). 
M Mining dates back to 1870. Census, 113. 


Conception and Pregnancy 

Women, whether wanting a child or not wanting one or not wanting 
another, "if they have suffered in having baby," will apply to a 
member of one of the medicine societies, to whom a buckskin, black 
cloth, a belt, and cotton will be given. Two women were cited as 
having no children after three or four years of marriage, thanks to 
their medicine man. If a woman does not wish to conceive she will 
not have intercourse for nine days after menstruation. There is no 
intercourse during the four days of menstruation, nor during preg- 
nancy, nor for six months after childbirth. At least in theory. A 
case was cited of a man who sought intercourse 10 days after his 
child's birth; his wife wept, thinldng she would conceive, and her 
mother scolded her husband. At first menstruation a medicine may 
be given a girl which will preclude child bearing. . . . Lucinda had 
ceased menstruating at the age of 35. An "old man" said she 
was too young for that and offered to bring the function on again, 
but she refused. In speaking of her daughter's family, Lucinda 
opined that two children were enough for her daughter to have. 

A pregnant woman should be generous, and give things to children 
passing the house. Were she stingy and tenacious of her things, the 
afterbirth woidd stick, too. She should not turn her back on the 
sun or on the fire. A case was cited of a girl having ignored this 
taboo and dying in childbirth, the afterbirth looking black as if 
burned. A pregnant woman should always carry something in her 
arms in front of her. She should not peek out of the door and reenter 
the house, else the child will not be delivered quickly. 

A pregnant woman should not fry anything nor use much powder 
lest the child have sore eyes or be blind, nor should she blow on the 
fire lest the child be born with a big belly, nor should she step on 
the ash piles of the town, lest the child be bom deformed, without 
fingers or toes. A pregnant woman should not go into a house where 
the dead is lying (she should not be scared), nor to a ceremonial where 
lightning and thunder are brought down, nor to church. She should 
not go to a moving-picture show lest the child twdtch, moving cjuickly 
like the film, and have no sense. A girl was mentioned on whose 
neck there was a mark which lessened with the waning of the moon 
and increased and darkened with the waxing moon. Her mother 
when she was pregnant went outdoors during an eclipse of the moon 
which "did this" to the baby. This same girl is deaf and dumb, and 
her grandmother once suggested to her mother that it was because 
during her pregnancy she had mocked at the little chattering bird 
called bebatire (dizzy flying) that her child was bom dumb. I heard 

214 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 4? 

also of an infant that had been born -with teeth, because a yellow whip 
snake (naw'enare) had whipped her mother before her birth. 

A prospective father should not slaughter sheep or go hunting or 
fishing lest the child be marked. Once when Lucinda was pregnant 
her husband had gone deer hxmting. Her baby was bom gasping 
for breath. So her husband had to go out and run as if chasing a 
deer, then return and pass his hands over the baby. As soon as he 
did this, the baby began to breathe all right.*^ 

Women do not like to bear twins (kuinin, two). "Our Lord 
punishes by sending twins." Is this a paraphrase for the theorj' of 
solar impregnation, familiar at Taos and elsewhere but of which at 
Isleta I could learn nothing, or is it a substitute theory? If the 
mother of twins give away her dress to any woman, that woman will 
have twins. 

Birth and Naming Ritual 

In both medicine societies there is a cliildbirth specialist and a 
woman assistant. Their attendance is requested in the usual way, 
with meal, which the doctor gives in turn to his Mother (iema'paru) 
asking her to help liim. The doctor visits the prospective mother two 
or three days in advance of the birth "to clean up the body of the 
woman"; i. e., to exorcise her. During the delivery the doctor holds 
the woman. Relatives leave the room. The doctor's woman assist- 
ant washes the baby. The doctor carries the baby to the middle of 
the room where he thanks W^ide and his Mother (iema'paru) and 
heads the baby in the different directions, beginning as usual with the 

The afterbirth and the cord are buiied in a field, for a boy; for a 
girl the afterbirth is buried imder the house ladder, the cord, in the 
house. If the cord is lost the girl will be a wanderer from home. 

The stillborn is carried early in the morning to Nampe'koto (sand 
red piled up), a place in the mesa side to the west or northwest. It is 
buried \v'ithout wrappings. A woman will refer to the stillborn as 
"my poor little Navaho!" "It is just like a Navaho, people are 
afraid of it. "*' I asked Lucinda if tliis kind of burial was outside the 
cemetery because the padre so dii'ected. "No, old-time way," she 

The child's father annoimces the birth by firing off a gun — three 
shots for a girl, five shots for a boy. The morning following the 
birth, at sunrise, the father's sister carries the baby outdoors, sprin- 
kles meal, and asks Wspide and Sun for long life for the child to whom 
she gives a name. The doctor and his woman assistant are present. 
The parents give them breakfast and presents of meal or bread. 

" Cp. Parsons 6: 170. " See p. 299-300. 


On the fourth morning the mother steps across fire wliich is then 
taken out of the house, to take away the sickness. Then they bathe 
the mother. Again the aunt takes the infant outdoors, tliis time 
announcing its name to the fanaily. Relatives of both parents come 
and bring presents. . . . The mother may not go outdoors for 12 

The name received at this time is the same name that is given when 
the child is taken for adoption into one of the seven Corn groups, at 
the solstice ceremony which is subsequent to the birth. Isabel 
Abeita, for example, who was born in April, had her name confirmed, 
so to speak, at the following June solstice ceremony. Had she been 
born in July she would have been taken to the December or winter 
solstice ceremony. Isabel was carried to the house of the Corn 
group's chief while he was conducting his 4-day retreat by the same 
aunt who gave her her name, this aunt happening to be a woman 
assistant in the Corn group of Isabel's mother to wliich Isabel also 
was to belong. Ordinarily the woman assistant, an mu-elated woman, 
fetches the infant. 

The woman assistant throws meal on the ground altar. While she 
is annoimcing the infant's name the chief sprinkles the infant from 
the medicine bowl with two duck feathers, also giving the infant a 
taste of the medicine water oft' the tips of the feathers. Then he 
gives the woman an ear of corn from those stacked on or near the 
altar, com of the same color as the Corn group is associated with. 
The woman breathes out on it three times. The chief dips the ear 
in the medicine water, drips the ear into the child's mouth and liim- 
self mentions the iiame. Again he dips the ear into the medicine 
water and with the ear crosses the infant on the forehead, each palm, 
each sole. In both hands he holds the ear, breathing on the near end, 
and then passes the ear over the body of the child — this three times. 
In conclusion he gives a drink of the medicine water from the shell to 
the woman, who says aka'a (? father), and he also pours some of the 
w'ater into the little bowl she has brought to take home with her. 
During these various rites the male assistants, sitting as usual behind 
the altar, sing the songs associated with the rites, e. g., the palore 
song which belongs to the medicine water w hen the cliief is sprinkhng 
it, or the song appropriate for gi\ing medicine water to drink. 

With similar ritual, except that corn is not used, the child receives 
his moiety name, another name, the day the ditch is opened, a day of 
moiety ceremonial. Again the naming ritual is confu-matory, for the 
moiety "father" had already named the child, coming four days after 
the birth and spitting into the child's mouth. It is this "father" 
who carries the child to the moiety kiva when the name is confirmed.^** 

» Compare Hopi, Parsons, 10: 104. 



[eTH. ANN. 47 

On initiation into any ceremonial group or on installation into any 
ceremonial office a name is given which may or may not be generally 

Name Lists; Comparative Remarks 

Male Names 

kim'vi, mountain lion. 

kinipato, mountain lion, white. 

te'ri, parrot. 

teriwipaloa, parrot tail bright. 

turshan, sunrise. 

turshanpaw'iepiiyu, sunrise lake bright. 

turpaloa, sunshine. 

turw'iv, sun kick stick.^' 

turuu, sunny. 

ko'awa, spruce. 

koawake'tu, spruce standing. 

p'sepaloa, road shining. 

p'feto', road mark. 

p'ffiwero, road ? digging. 

p^kui, road good. 

luau', arrow (? little). 

hiapato, arrow white. 

takoapien, among (?) the mountains.'" 

shiuu, eagle (? little). 

shiukye', eagle wing feather. 

shyupato, eagle white (see p. 209). 

shiupaeto, eagle road marked. 

na'horai, the mountain '"' to one side of 

Eagle Hill. Naho is a tree "like the 

shie'pato', prayer feather white, 
shieto, prayer feather marked, 
shiepyyu, prayer feather bright, 
turnapab, sunflower, 
w'ireu', bow. 

torw'irto, living (? sun) bow mark, 
w'iru, "smoke into medicine water." 
w'ibu, kick stick (? little). 

narpato, poplar white. 

narw'iv, poplar kick stick. 

shi'opato, arrow-point white. 

pab'u, Sp. Pablo (?). 

paptao, pollen. 

na'fa', feather down. 

kiijpato, goose white. 

kgiw'i, goose tail tip. 

na'pato, whiteness. 

paw'iapvyu, lake bright. 

turshure, a red bird.'- 

tuefuni, cane black. "^ 

ati, metate motion (moving up and 

down) . 
atita, metate motion shuttle, 
tau, shuttle, also swallow-stick.** 
mati, "seooping-in motion in grinding" 

(ti, grinding motion), 
kuyuyu, "a Laguna word." '^ 
kieto, standing mark, 
po'u, cane (plant), 
iepato, corn white, 
l^erseu, terraced fire screen of kiva. 
piempuyu, mountain bright, 
piento", mountain mark, 
pi'enao, mountain leaf, 
opvyu, leaf bright, 
p^'u, plain (Spanish Uano). 
churma, yellow call, 
pa'wi, water pine, 
pawire, water digging, 
paxola, star. 
kapviyu, tip bright. 

'» Compare p. 368. 

6« Compare pp. 343, 372. 

•1 Here the sacrosanct red paint is found, see p. 320. 

62 Of which the feathers are used in prayer feathers. 

•' Referring to the Mother of the Water-sizzling people. 

" See p. 267. 

"5 In Isletan, kuyu is a term for the sacrosanct corn. Kuyuyu was the man-woman from old Laguna 
who spent some time at Oraibi. where he was called Naiye (mother) Huye. I incline to think that kuyuyu 
is not a Keresan word but the Isletan equivalent for naiye (mother) as applied to the corn fetish mother. 
Kuyude is also given (see p. 277) as meaning twin, referring to the corn ear with branching tip. 




kapu, tip small, 
kapeo, tip made, 
kapalo, tip shining, 
lurto, rain. 

Male Names 

fiema, dart game.'" 
k'oatason, war club youth." 
takita, cottonseed, 
tupsi, whistle."' 

Female Names 

kokauu, sacrosanct liole in kiva floor 
(Keresan, sipapu). 

shieyu, prayer feather there (yu, de- 
monstrative particle). 

shiepyyvi, prayer feather Ijright. 

shie'kiri, prayer feather prone. 

shie'pap, prayer feather spread out. 

shieshuri, prayer feather blue. 

shiejuri, prayer feather yellow. 

shiefuni, prayer feather black. 

inaxore, circle. 

berkwi, rainbow. 

I)ak6la, star. 

turbap, sun spreading. 

turberse', sun zigzag. 

p'iberse', mountain zigzag. 

kyeu, standing. 

kyeupab, standing, spreading. 

koawa, spruce. 

koawapabmaxore, spruce spreading cir- 

kepap, mother spread out. 
toyo, prayer stick small, 
kitu, the meal altar zigzag design, 
ia', corn silk, 
piechuri, road yellow, 
iechuri, corn yellow, 
mapo, corn on stalk.™ 
kyena, "I place it." 
hoakire, sacrosanct bundles '" prone, 
p'ienao, mountain leaf, 
wiw'ia, tail plaque (dance parapher- 
nalia) . 
napato, whiteness, 
kiru, spreading or laying, 
tii'kum, day rising, 
klechiu', rain little. 
iou, corn small, 
paxo, water grain." 


Endara, football, a certain old man was so named from the lumps 
on his feet. Ko'ashide, roast lamb, a certain lousy man is nick- 
named. The reference is to something nice to eat. Chinade, curly 
head, is a common nickname. Also, Weru, blond. A certain very 
dark-skinned man is called Punu, nigger. 


As among other Tanoans, the etymological meaning of personal 
names is apparent; likewise a notable number of names have some 
religious'^ import. 

In our lists I note that sLx names — whiteness, star, spruce, moun- 
tain leaf, bright prayer feather — are borne by both male and female. 

«« See p. 240. 

" See p. 279. 

^* Referring, probably, to the ritual whistle used in calling the rain or the animals. 

6'' Elsewhere translated as corn with glumes. (Parsons 9; 160.) 

'« See p. 278, n. 37. 

" See p. 331. 

" Compare Jemez, Parsons, 16: 32-3; Tewa, Parsons, 19: 18-29; Taos, Parsons, 22. 

6066°— 32 15 

218 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [etb. ann. 47 

Among male names to', marlc (marked or painted), is a common 
sufRx, as at Jemez, although at Jemez as t'o'o, it is a suffix of female 
names." Paloa and pyyu, shining, bright, are also common male 
suffixes. \A'Tiite is very commonly used as part of a name — white 
mountain lion, white arrow, white eagle, white prayer feather, white 
poplar, white arrow-point, white goose, white corn — all male names, 
with whiteness, as noted, the name of both a male and a female. 
Yellow occurs in several female names — yellow prayer feather, yellow 
road, yellow corn. 

Child Rearing 

A girl infant is suckled for one year, a boy imtil he r}uits of himself. 
Boys have a good heart, girls are mean nnd meddlesome. That is 
why girl infants are not allowed as much mother's milk as boys. To 
wean the girl, powdered sheep bile is rubbed on the nipples. The bile 
was taken from the sheep that was Idlled at the birth to keep the 
mother supplied with broth. Formerly to an infant deprived of its 
mother's breasts chewed pifion was given; nowadays the nursing 
bottle is used. 

For sore nav'cl, one who has been snake bitten or has been a scalp 
taker (or shot at by a Navaho) will spit or blow on the navel of the 
baby. Lucinda stated that the navel becomes sore because a snake- 
bitten or Navaho-assaulted man passed bj^ the door of the infant's 
house. ^* 

The cradle board is literally a board, not made, as among the Hopi, 
of basketry. To safeguard the house, and presumably the baby, you 
should keep a poker of cactus, and on going out motion the poker in 
the directions. 

For a crying baby there is a plant (taerao') extract which puts it to 
sleep. The leaf is moistened and squeezed into a cloth. There is 
another plant, called pe'batiraoliu (swallow ? old woman) of which 
the juice looks like blood, which is given in water by the medicine man 
to a child slow to speak. Of a certain child who was dumb it was 
said that his grandfather put a darning needle (chicu) into his mouth 
to buzz, and then gave the child a piece of the insect to swallow. 

Mothers will threaten naughty children with Chapaiuna, the bogey 
spirit, who lives upon a mesa to the northeast, where all about may 
be seen the bones of the little children he has eaten. Lucinda told 
me about this, which may be one of her Keresan traditions. 

A woman will tell her child when he loses his first tooth to throw it 
to the sun, asking him for a new good tooth." 

Formerly boys would bathe in the river every morning. They still 
bathe two or three times a week, until the close of the solstice cere- 
's Parsons, 16: 31. 

"' Compare Laguna. Parsons. 8: 124, n. 2; Uopi, Stephen. 
" Comiiaro Tewa, Parsons, 13: 150. This is Mexican practice. 


mony in December, and begin again in April. . . . Formerly boys 
were not allowed to smoke until they killed a coyote, meaning a 
Navaho;'* now they will smoke when they are 16 or so. In the pres- 
ence of their parents they will not smoke until they are married. If a 
boy at play saw a senior kinsman passing by, he would stop his play. 

Education proceeds, as ever in pueblo life, by imitation or imitative 
play. Lucinda would tell me of the play at being grown up of two 
little girls who greatly amused her. Now they would play at a woman 
having a baby. The "midwife" would press the expectant mother 
all over. "Stretch out your legs," she said to her. "Keep warm! 
It is coming soon." And she pretended to send everybody out of 
the room." Again they played at mother and daughter. The 
"mother" told the "daughter" to fetch water "and put it in the 
usual place," to sweep the floor "so we can have everything all clean 
and sit down to do our work." The work was to play at being gover- 
nor. (Their father had served as governor.) Now one was a man 
come to report to the governor trouble with his wife. "I will lock 
her lip for five days," said the governor. "No," said the "hus- 
band," "let us keep it to ourselves. You whip her." 

Boys and girls begin to attend the solstice ceremonies of their Corn 
group at about the age of 15. (I heard of a mature girl of 16 who 
had not yet attended her ceremony.) Nobody, either young or old, 
is forced to attend this ceremonial, for attendance must be vohmtary 
to be of value. There is no initiation of the youth into Corn group 
or into moiety organization (as at Taos, for thus, as initiation into 
moiety, was described by an Isletan the initiation of the Taos boys). 


List of Kinship Terms 

nkai, father (desc). 

tata, (voc). 

iiike', mother (desc). 

nana, (voc). 

imie'i, son (desc and voc). 

impyiiwe'i,™ daughter (desc and voc). 

inlurei, father's mother (desc). 

luru, (voc). 

inchi'i, mother's mother (desc). 

chi'i, (voc). 

inte'i, grandfather (desc). 

tee', (voc). 

inniaku (nmaku'i grandchild (deso). 

maku, (voc). 

"• ("ompare Tewa, Parsons, 1.3: 1.50. 

"' Despite the anecdote, nt another time Lucinda opined that girls were kept completely ignorant of the 
nature of childbirth and of intercourse. 
"* Before p, b, n becomes m. 

220 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

impape'i, older brother fdesc). 

papa, (voc.)- 

impaiyowe'i, younger brother (desc). 

paiyo', (voc). 

intutc'i, older sister (desc). 

tutu, (voc). 

inkvvenV'we'i, younger sister, man speaking (desc). 

kwemu, (voc). 

imbachuwe'i, younger sister, woman speaking (desc). 

bachu, (voc). 

inmemo'i, uncle (father's or mother's brother), male collateral considerably 

senior to speaker (desc). 
meme' (voc). 

ky'uu, aunt (father's or mother's sister), female collateral considerably senior to 

speaker (desc. and voc). 
aiya, aunt, female collateral considerably senior to speaker. 
ia, aunt, female collateral considerably senior to speaker, 
ke'chu, aunt, woman speaking, 
ch'unu, reciprocal to meme', man speaking. 

t'uu, reciprocal to ky'uu, woman speaking, and applied only to male. 
6'awi, reciprocal to ky'uu, woman speaking, and applied only to male, 
chabe, younger female relative, woman speaking, 
be'humi,"' junior collateral. 
])ali, younger ™ male relative, 
mali, younger female relative. 

intarawe'i, parent-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law. 
insooiwe'i, contemporary male *' connection Vjy marriage, 
inso'awe'i, my husband. 

inyewe'i, contemporary female connection by marriage, 
yeide, (voc). 

inhowe'i, my wife, "my old woman." 
berla, his wife. 

inmatuu, any kinsman or kinswoman, applied to the more remote (desc). 
matuy, (voc). 

intaiwei, my family. 

Age and Sex Terms 

u'ude, infant. 

owaude, bo\' baby; upiyude, girl baby. 

tasbnwem, boy of 2 or 3; tahuweui, girl of 2 or 3. 

ma'te'we, boy of 10; tao'wa, girl of 10. 

tako'wewe, boy or girl from 15 to 20. 

takaut^wenwe, boy or girl from 20 on. 

ak'ovvem, man or woman of 50. 

lu'hde, old man; Houde, old woman. 

paye, "grandfather, te'e," pa'i refers to "something happening back." 

chubwa'i, older (boy or girl). 

" This term is said to be applied at Sandia to almost every relative. 

s" Presumabl.v pali (mali) is an age term, denoting juniority. It lias been compounded with a kinship 
terra, e. g., (Genealogy II, 13, refers to Genealogy II, 5, her mother's mother's brother, as inte'e pali, "my 
younger grandfather." (The reciprocal is impyumaku.) 

One informant insists that pali, mali should be translated "dear." 

'1 According to Juan .\beita, but Lucinda applies this term to female connections, and the following 
term inyewe'i to male connections, and Lucinda's applications are those of earlier informants. Compare 
Parsons, 9; 151. 


toaiwa'i, younger (boy or girl). 

owade, boy before marriage. 

luJi, married man. 

tarape'u, unmarried; i. e., celibate, including widowers of any age. The term 

means asking, begging; i. e., suitor. To pray is nata'rape. 
ch'anide, girl before marriage, 
liu, married woman, 
amanjiem, married, male or female. 

mashuim, widowed. The Spanish terms, viudo, viuda, more common. 
inl<a'a ntawei, my stepfather, 
inke'e ntawei, my stepmother, 
melma, child, 
umnin. children. 

Applic.^tio.n of Terms by Peksons Cited in Genealogies 
nkai, tata, father 

Gen. I 
12>1, father. 
31>12, father. 
16>1, mother's brother. 

Gen. Ill 

61, 63>33, mother's father's brother's daughter's son. 

Gen. IV 

22>13, husband of mother's brother's daughter whom 22 calls aiya. 
22!>10, mother's sister's husband. 

inkb', nana, mother 

Gen. I 
12>2, mother. 
31 >8, father's brother's wife. 

Gen. Ill 

22>4, wife of father's brother whom 22 called grandfather. 
33>22, mother's father's Ijrother's daughter. 
74-81>22, father's mother's father's brother's daughter. 

Gen. IV 

44-50>22, mother's mother's sister. 
41>22, wife's mother. 

1, 2>12, son. 


Gen. I 
Gen. Ill 

22>31, father's sister's son. 
22>70, father's sister's son's son. 
22>33, father's brother's daughter's son. 

222 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. axn.47 

Gen. IV. 

22>31, 32, 33, iiuiwei Lipi, imiwei Tomasi, inuwei Juaii, mother's brother's 

daughter's .son. 22 calls their mother, kerclui. 
22>26, 27, mother's sister's son. 
22>35, sister's son. 

impyuwe'i, daughter 

Gen. Ill 
22>63, daughter. 

22>40, father's brother's daughter's daughter. 
22>83, father's brother's daughter's son's daughter. 

Gen. IV 
11>22, sister's daughter. 
22>42, 43, brother's daughter. 
22>36, sister's daughter. 
22>44, sister's daughter's daughter. 
46>22, husband's sister's daughter. 
12, 14, 16>22, father's sister's daugliter. 


Gen. I 
24, 31 > 2, father's mother. 
32>3, father's mother. 
33 > 6, father's mother. 

IN'CHl'l, CHl'l, mother's MOTHER 

Gen. I 
33>3, motlier's father's mother. 

Gen. II 
13>2, mother's mother. 
13>6, mother's mother's brother's wife. 

Gen. IV 
22>2, mother's mother. 
55>22, mother's mother. 

inte'i, tee', grandfather 

Gen. I 
24>1, father's father. 

Gen. Ill 

22>3, father's brother. "He was the oldest in the family." However, the next 

oldest brother was also so called. 
22>5, father's brother. 

Gen. IV 
22>1, mother's father. 

INMAKU, MAKD, grandchild 

Gen. I 
1, 2>24, son's daughter. 

Gen. IV 
22>55, daughter's daughter. 


impape'i. papa, older brother 

Gen. I 
12>7, older Ijrothcr. 
3>1, older brother. 
15>12, older brother. 

31>27, father's sister's son, 27 is senior to 31. 
12>5, mother's brother. 
27>r2, mother's brother. 

impaiyowe'i, paiyo', younger brother 

Gen. I 
12>1-1:, younger brother. 

Gen. IV 
22>24, younger brother. 
42>46, 54, fatlier's sister's daughter's son. 
54>46, mother's mother's sister's daughter's son. 

ixtdte'i, tutu, older sister 

Gen. I 
12>10, older sister. 
15>10, older sister. 

12>8, older brother's wife, senior to m. speaking. 
27, 28>24, mother's brother's daughter, 24 senior to 27, 28. 

Gen. 11 
3>2, older sister. 

13>11, mother's mother's sister's daughter. 
11>10, mother's sister's son's wife, 10 .senior to 11. 

Gen. IV 
22>20, older sister. 

inkwem"we'i, kwemu, younger sister, m. sp. 

Gen. I 
1>3, younger sister, m. sp. 
12>15, younger sister, m. sp. 

Gen. IV 
54>55, younger sister, m. sp. 
64>43, mother's mother's brother's daughter. 

imbachuwe'i, bachu, younger sister, w. sp. 

Gen. I 
10>15, younger sister, w. sp. 

Gen. II 

7>1, mother's sister's daughter, 11 junior to 7. 

Gen. IV 
20>22, younger sister, w. sp. 

224 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eihann.47 

inmeme'i, meme', senior male collateral 

Gen. I 
24>12, father's brother. 
28>12, mother's brother. 
31>27, father's sister's son, 27 senior to 31. 
12>16, father's sister's son, 16 senior to 12. 
19>12, mother's brother's son, 12 senior to 19. 
31>16, fatlier's father's sister's son. 

Gen. II 

11>9, mother's sister's son, 9 senior to 11. 

Gen. IV 
22>3, 5, mother's brotlier. 
54>24, mother's mother's brother. 

ky'tju, senior female collateral 

Gen. I 
12>3, father's sister. 
24>10, father's sister. 

31>24, father's brother's daugliter, 24 senior to 31. 
28>24, 31, mother's brother's daughter, 24, 31, senior to 28. 

Gen. II 
11>2, mother's sister. 
7>3, mother's sister. 

Gen. Ill 
22>11, father's sister. 
22>12, father's brother's daughter. 
22>14, father's brother's daughter. 
22>53, father's brother's daughter's daugliter. 

Gen. IV 

31, 32, 33>22, mother's fatlier's sister's daughter. 
]8>22, father's sister's daughter. 

ch', junior collateral, m. sp. 

Gen. I 
12>24, brother's daughter, m. sp. 
1>16, sister's son, m. sp. 
27>31, mother's brother's daughter, m. sp. 
16>12, mother's brother's son, m. sp. 
12>19, father's sister's son, m. sp. 
12>32, father's sister's son's son, m. sp. 

Gen. II 

9>11, mother's sister's daughter, m. sp. 


Gi'n. Ill 
3>22, brother's daughter, m. sp. 

Gen. IV 
35>22, sister's daughter, m. sp. 
24>54, sister's daughter's son, m. sp. 
54>42, motlier's mother's brother's daughter, m. sp. 

t'dU, JDNIOB male COLL.iTERAL, W. SP. 

Gen. I 

3>12, brother's son, "'* w. sp. 
6>12, husband's sister's son. 

3>9, sister's son, w. sji. 
6>12, husband's sister's son. 

Gen. II 

Gen. IV 

7>18, brother's son, w. sp. 

22>18, mother's brother's son, \v. sp. 

6'awi, junior female collateral, w. sp. 

Gen. I 

10>24, 31, brother's daughter, w. sp. 

24>31, father's brother's daughter, 31 junior to 24, w. sp. 

31>28, father's sister's daughter, 28 junior to 31, w. sp. 

Gen. II 
3>7, sister's daughter, w. sp. 
2>11, sister's daughter, w. sp. 
7>11, mother's sister's daughter, 11 junior to 7, w. sp. 


Gen. I 

31>24, father's brother's daughter, 24 senior to 31. 
12>8, older brother's wife, 8 senior to 12. 

Gen. II 
11>7, mother's sister's daughter, 7 senior to 11. 


Gen. I 
31>10, father's sister. 
12>3, father's sister. 
31 >3, father's father's sister. 
12 > 6, mother's brother's wife. 

"» Also brother's son's son. 

226 ISLETA , NEW MEXICO [eth. a.nn. 47 

Gen. II 
7>3, mother's sister. 
13>3, mother's mother's sister. 
13>11, mother's mother's sister's daughter. 

Gen. IV 
42, 43>22,"'> father's .sister. 
22>4, 6, mother's brother's wife. 


Gen. I 
31>10, father's sister, w. sp. 
31 >3, father's father's sister, w. sp. 

Gen. II 
7>3, mother's sister, w. sp. 
13>3, mother's mother's sister, w. sp. 

Gen. IV 

22>11, mother's sister, w. sp. 

35>22, mother's sister, m. sp. (?). 

36>22, motlier's sister, w. sp. 

22>12, 14, 16, mother's brother's daughter, w. sp. 

26, 27>22, mother's sister's daughter, m. sp. (?). 


Gen. I 
10>31, brotlier's daughter, w. sp. 

Gen. II 
3>13, si.ster's daughter, w. sp. 

Gen. Ill 

12>22, father's brother's daugliter, w. sp. 

53>22, mother's father's brother's daughter, w. sp. 

Gen. IV 
22>42, 43, brother's daughter, w. sp. 


Gen. I 
12>32, father's sister's son's son. 
12>33, mother's brother's son's son. 
31>16, father's father's sister's son. 
16>31, mother's brother's son's daughter. 

"sh Of this application 22 remarked, " I am tlie old aunt now since my sister {referring to 20) died." 


intarawe'i, parent-in-law, son-in-law, or dacghter-in-law 

Gen. I 
8>1, husband's father. 
8>2, husband's mother. 
1, 2>S, son's wife. 
1>11, daughter's luisband. 

Gen. II 

I>8, also melina, child, daughter's husband. 1 called his daughter melma. 

Geu. IV 
8>23, daughter's husband. 
23>8, wife's father. 
22>41, daughter's Imsband. 

insooiwe'i, contemporary male connection by marriage 

Gen. I 
12>11, sister's husband, m. sp. 
11>12, wife's brother. 

12>23, mother's brother's daughter's husband. 
8>12, husband's brother. 

Gen. II 
3>1, si.ster's husl)and. 


Gen. IV 

22>19, mother's brother's son's wife. 
21>22, wife's sister. 


Gen. I 
12>S, brother's wife, m. sp. 

Gen. II 
1>3, wife's sister. 
8>3, wife's mother's sister. 
11>10, mother's sister's son's wife. 


Gen. Ill 
22>13, father's brother's daughter's husband. 

Gen. IV 
22>21, sister's husband, w. sp. 
24>23, sister's husband, m. sp. 
22>37, sister's daughter's husband, w. sp. 


Gen. 1 
12>27, sister's son. 
5> 12, sister's son. 
6>12, husband's sister's son. 
24>27, father's sister's son, 27 is junior to 24. 

228 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eih. ann. .7 


Gen. I 
12>'28, sister's daughter. 
10>31, brother's daughter. 
11>31, wife's brother's daughter. 
24>28, father's sister's daughter, 28 junior to 24. 
27>31, mother's brother's daughter, 31 junior to 27. 

Gen. II 
9>11, mother's sister's daugliter, 11 junior to 9. 


Gen. I 
12>20, mother's brother's son. 
10>33, brother's daughter's son. 
10>25, l)rother's daugliter's liusband. 
8>2, husband's motlier. 
1>11, daughter's husband. 

12>descendants of his i)aternal grandfather by a second wife. Same patro- 

Gen. IV 

54>44-51, mother's mother's sister's daughter's children. 


An old man or woman will be addressed as tata or nana, sometimes 
followed by his or her name; any man or woman senior to the speaker, 
"a little older," as papa or tutu; any junior, as pali or paiyu, or mali 
or kwemu (m. speaking). . . . The Navaho maybe referred to as 
papa t'ainin, older brother people. Axa is a "sassy word " for father;*^ 
akye, for mother. 

Any male sacerdotaUst is addressed as ka'a or tata,*' and any 
female, as ake', which are forms, inferably, of the terms for father and 
mother. In giving a cigarette for ritual smoking, the giver says ka'a ; 
the recipient rejoins tata'u. The crier is called pali by everybody. 

In general, tat'uu is said in ceremonial to anyone who is senior to 
the speaker, and t'uu to anyone who is junior. A man speaking to a 
k'apyo or clown (see p. 333) might call him t'uu, and the k'apyo would 
reciprocate with the term for aimt, kyu, or with meme-kyu, uncle- 
aunt. The chief of each Corn group refers to the membership of the 
group as wahkuan, "all my sons"; and the members of the medicine 
societies are also referred to by the chief as his sons, he being their 
father, and the chief woman member or keide (mother), their mother. 
She is addressed as nke. I noted a written reference to the chief of 
the Town Fathers as tata Rey. The terms ke'chu and e.habe are used 
in ceremonial by women. 

»' See p. 246. 

" His name may follow as, e. g., ka'a Pablo or tata Key. 


Ceremonial kinship terms appear to take precedence over kinship 
terms, e. g., Genealogy II, 7, called Genealogy II, 5, her mother's 
brother, tata shifun,** he was her moiety father, instead of meme, 
uncle. Similarly piba, the term for Catholic godfather, may be used 
in preference to a Idnship term. 

The spirits are referred to or addressed as our father, Idkaawei ; our 
mother, kikewei; our son, kinmwei; kikaawei turide, our father Sun, 
or Idkaawei dios, our father god; kikewei namburuliu, our mother 
Clay old woman; Idmuwei paxolan, our sons the stars. In a folk tale 
the animated house broom is addressed as inkewei, my mother, and 
responds with inpyiiwei, my daughter. As elsewhere, Spider is 
addressed as grandmother (chi'i) ; men in folk tales are referred to as 
the sons of Rattlesnake. Ka'an ati is a term for "Indian spirits." 

SPANISH terms; application in genealogical tables 

Spanish terms of kinship or address are in considerable vogue, even 
taking precedence at times over native terms — kykyyu(?), tio, uncle; 
primo, prima, cousin; coinpadre and comadre for the godparents of 
your child, and, reciprocally, for the parents of your godchild; and 
piba, godparent and godchild. One with the same Mexican name 
as yours, you address as tokaiyu. 


Gen. I 

10, 12>9, second husband of sister-in-law (deceased brother's widow) (also 
insoiwe'i) . 


31>11, father's sister's husband. 

Gen. I 


Gen. I 

12>20, mother's brother's son. 
20>12, father's sister's son. 

inkumpare'i (compadre) 

Gen. I 

12>25, brother's daughter's liusband to whose cliild 12 is godfather. 


Gen. I 

r2>24, brother's daughter, to whose child 12 is godfather. 

5< See p. 261. 

230 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ans.47 


Gen. I 

12>33, brother's daughter's son, his godchild. 
33>12, mother's father's brother, his godfather. 
33>1, piba te'e, mother's father's father. 


12>22, mother's brother's daughter. She having the same Spanish name as 

the daughter of 12. 
22>12, father's sister's son. (See above.) 



Descent, whether paternal or maternal, is indicated only in the 
grandmother terms, there being distinctive terms for father's mother 
and mother's mother; but even this distinction was not followed 
with care by my informants who seemed entirely indifferent to the 
principle of descent. We note with interest, however, that the term 
for mother's mother is the grandmother term used in the folk tales. 
The collateral terms do not express descent. There are, to be sure, 
several terms for aunt, and possibly in some families these may be 
applied differently to father's sister or mother's sister. Here, cer- 
tainly, Keresan influence might be expected, and we are led to com- 
pare the Isletan terms, ky'uu, aiya, ia, with k'uya, father's sister 
(Laguna), and naiya, mother and mother's sister (Laguna); yaya or 
ya, vocative, mother, aunt (San FeUpe); iya, vocative, mother, aunt 
(Santo Domingo).** When the Isletan term for aunt, ky'uu, is used in 
connection with ritual functions, it is always the father's sister who 
is referred to, and Lucinda, with her Laguna associations, always used 
ky'uu to mean father's sister, and ke'chu (mother great) for mother's 
sister with reciprocals inuwei and impyuwei. Ia, she insisted, was 
merely short for the personal name Maria. 

There are several variations in usage of kinship terms between my 
informants. Just as Lucinda never used the ia term for aunt, Juan 
Abeita never used the ke'chu term. Lucinda favored son-daughter 
tenns for junior collaterals; Juan Abeita, brother-sister temis. 
Comparison of the applications from Genealogies I and II with those 
from Genealogies III and IV will show other minor variations. Such 
variation in family usage has been observed in kinship nomenclature 
in other towns. It suggests that kinship nomenclature is not a 
stable trait among the Pueblos. 

The sex of the speaker and of the person addressed is frequently 
expressed, although not consistently, e. g., there are distinctive terms 
for son and daughter, but there is none for grandson or granddaughter. 

»* Parsons, 12; 201, 202. Note, however, that ia is the Taos term for father's sister. 


Again, in the collateral terms certain terms express the sex of the per- 
son addressed but not that of the speaker, whereas other terms express 
the sex of both. 

In the nomenclature as well as in the psychological attitude seniority 
is the outstanding principle. Lucinda frequently referred to some- 
body as the "oldest in the family" to explain the application of one 
term or another. Not only in the brother-sister terms is seniority 
expressed but in the terms for collaterals, the uncle-aunt terms being 
applied to senior collaterals in general and the ne]5hew-niece terms to 
junior collaterals. However, the brother-sister terms may be applied, 
and not only to cousins but even to aunts and uncles. 

There is the characteristic Pueblo looseness of usage in appl,A"ing 
kinship terms. As noted, an uncle may be called older brother, 
as Genealogy I, 27, 28>12 or Genealogy I, 12 > 5, or an uncle may 
be called father or grandfather. As noted, Lucinda had the habit of 
calling junior collaterals by son-daughter terms. The term used by 
a child in the family may be used by other members of the family, as 
for example, in the case of GenealogA' II, 2, who was called chi'i, 
mother's mother, not only by her grandchild but by her grandchild's 

The principle of reciprocity is observed only in marriage or affinity 
terms. Affinity terms in address are, as elsewhere, the terms corre- 
sponding to those used for the connecting relative, i. e., parents-in-law 
are addressed as father, mother, a brother-in-law as brother, etc. 
Genealogy' II, 13, calls her mother's mother's brother's wife, grand- 
mother, because she calls her mother's mother's brother grandfather 
or younger grandfather. Again, Genealogy II, 7, calls her mother's 
brother's wife nana shifun because she calls her mother's brother 
tata shifun, although the woman is actually shure', not shifun. On 
the other hand, Lucinda called her father's brother's wife, mother, 
although her father's brother she called grandfather. Aunts and 
uncles by marriage are usually called by mother-father terms, prob- 
ably merely as courtesy terms. GenealogA' I, 5, called Genealogy 1, 
1, his sister's husband, meme' tee'. Why? I do not know. 

To distinguish between one relative and another to whom the same 
term would be applied, descriptive words are compoimded, e. g., 
Genealogy- I, 31, referi'cd to her father's eldest brother, as nmeme 
ula'de, my big uncle. Her mother's mother's brother she referred to 
as yoimger grandfather, nte'e pali. 

Comparing the Isletan nomenclatiu-e with that of Taos-Picuris we 
may note that the term for mother's mother, chi'i, does not occur in 
the latter system which has but the one grandmother term, Taos, 
anhtona, Picuris, antetona, which may possibly be related to the 
Isletan grandmother term inhirei. Isletan nomenclature is also 
enriched by two terms for younger sister, man speaking and woman 

232 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

speaking. In the Taos-Picuris system there is but one term for tlie 
junior, whether A'ounger brother or sister. Again Isletan nomen- 
clature is richer than the northern system in terms for collateral 
seniors and juniors, which suggests that thei'e has been some borrowing 
from the Keres. 

Dhess and Headdress 

Men and women dress as in other eastern pueblos, mostly in Amer- 
ican store-bought clothes, keeping the native woven garments for 
ceremonial or dance occasion. However, many women wear their 
manta daily. (PI. 19, a.) 

The black, footless stocldngs which are commonly worn by women 
in the west are worn also at Isleta. They are knit by the women. 
In shoes a bit of cotton is placed to indicate that, although the shoes 
are American, their wearer is Indian. Once at Taos, when an Isletan 
visitor was being taunted with being more American than Indian 
because he did not wear his blanket or his hair in braids, he retorted 
by asking his hosts if they were wearing cotton in their shoes. They 
were not wearing it, and they at once admitted that he had scored. 
As usual elsewhere, shoes or moccasins are removed by those engaged 
in ceremonial. 

The bandoleer and pouch '* for ritual meal and fetishes is used. 
The usual pueblo silver and shell ornaments are in use. Among them 
we may note the gorget of pink shell or abalone *' with a silver button 
mounted in the center, which is worn by male dancers. 

The women wear then- hair unhanged, slicked across the forehead, 
worn left to right, and tucked behind the right ear, with the back 
hair belted in a queue (w'ifi) "like Laguna women." Once a neighbor 
had cut off Lucinda's hair so she could wear it banged in Santo 
Domingo st.yle. "That is not our way," protested Lucinda, "that is 
not right." The men, less conservative, wear their hair short, except 
the Fathers, of whom the older wear their hair long and in queue, and 
the younger in a Dutch cut, wliich dates back at least to the end of 
the last century, when the banda was to be seen worn as a hat band.** 

In the tale of the unfortunate deer hunters the faithless wife cuts 
away some hair under her husband's queue. "You took the luck 
away and gave it to somebody else," he reproaches her. "Now, we 
shall have nothing until my hair grows in again." Lucinda said 
there was another hamaha *^ of a woman who put her husband's hair 
cuttings in her belt to keep him home. He would go deer hunting all 
the time. After she did this they got very poor. That long hair is a 

*^ Shertai'mu. Sheride. left hand; mu, pouch. 

s" FienipoJoa, earring bright. 

S6 Census, 112. In 1890. in the pueblos, men still wore leggings tied by garters: to-day only a ceremonial 
display. In Isleta, it was noticed that the leggmgs were fastened not by garters but by silver buttons, 
buttons being used lavishly upon the costume. 

'• The reference in Laguna terms to folk tale. 


secret of success and potency was a belief, I surmise, once held at 
Isleta and still held at Taos.^" To make the hair long: and thick, after 
washing, a salve of cow marrow mixed and boiled with very young 
tobacco leaf is rubbed on the head. 

Marriage; House Ownership; Marriage Choices; Family Com- 

Girls are said to marry at a comparative]}' advanced age, aliout IS 
or later, 1 heaid of few such early marriages as are made, for example, 
at Jemez.'' Formerly a husband was chosen for a girl by her par- 
ents — Lucinda's husband was thus chosen for her — "this was the old 
way," now girls choose for themselves. "A pretty man" was de- 
scribed by Lucinda as being tall and thin, with a dark skin and long 
hair. . . . There is in town a 17-year-oId girl who is a deaf-mute. 
"Would she ever get married?" I asked. "Oh, no! Oh, no!" 
answered Lucinda, surprised by the very question, an attitude I liave 
noted in other pueblos over any question of the marriage ability of 
the defective. It is the economic disqualification M'hich, consciously 
at least, is being considered. 

In courtship the boy maj' talk to the girl somewhere, perhaps by 
the river bank when she is filling her water jar.'^ . . . Lucinda had 
been surmising that a certain neighbor, a middle-aged widow, was 
entertaining the suit of a certain widower. One day on visiting her 
neighbor she found her washing the man's head. Then Lucinda was 
sure the widow was going to marry him. ... If a widow or girl is 
obdurate, a man maj' go to a medicine man for help. The medicine 
man bids him return in the morning, for he, the medicine man, has 
first to ask his chief's permission to help. The permission obtained, 
the medicine man passes on his "power" to the suitor. The suitor 
visits the woman, saying only "Akuwam!" (greetings). She looks at 
him. That is enough. If he does not return to her, she will feel 
compelled to go to him and beg him to marry her. Then the suc- 
cessful suitor reports to the medicine man, who removes the power 
from him. 

After preliminaries with the girl, the suitor asks her parents for her 
in a letter which is breathed from '^ when it is received. If they do not 
answer within three days he knows he will not get her. But if tliey 
do not reject or "pumpkin hiin,"*^ his parents will kill two or three 
steers and send half the meat to the girl's parents. They send for 
wood and half the load they also donate to the girl's parents. The 

** For hair cuttings and black magic, see p. 244. 

" But see Parsons, 9; 167. 

" See p. 452, 

" See p. 282. 

" See pp. 392, 403. Also Parsons, 9; 1C6-168 for further details; also minor discrepancies in the accounts. 

6066°— 32 16 

234 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO 1eth.ann.47 

boy himself brings presents — a buckskin, one or two blankets, a 
shawl, two mantas and silver nianta pins, a mattress and pillow.'^ 
During the betrothal period girl and boy receive no visitors lest visi- 
tors speak ill of them. Three nights before the weddmg all the rela- 
tives of the boy take presents to the girl — coffee, sugar, soap, dishes, 
perhaps over $50 woilh. . . . The boy's father has arranged the 
wedding day with the padre. It is generally on a Monday. The 
wedding feast is in the girl's house, where the couple will remain five 
or sis days before going to their own house. 

As a rule, the man provides the house. It is usually given to him, 
built or bought, by his father, or with the cooperation of his kindred 
he may himself biuld or buy it. At his death he will leave the house 
to one or more of his children '* or to his widow. The only rule or 
practice is that the house goes to the one not yet pro^aded with a 
home. Through this course women in many cases own houses, 
either as widows or as daughters who inherit. Women married to 
nontownsmen (including men of Laguna descent) also appear as house 
owners. The following cases will illustiate the various practices of 
house owTiership or inheritance by women: House 1 ''''' belongs to the 
Isletan woman who has married into Zuni, but whose first husband 
was an Isletan. He owned the house and at his death left it to her. 
They had no children. She married a man of Lagima descent, retain- 
ing ownershij) of the house. She separated from her second husband 
and went to Zuni;"' but of the Isletan house she is still accounted 
owner. House 11 belongs to a girl who has just been married. She 
inherited the house from her father, her mother having remarried. 
The husband of the girl owns a house which is for the time being 
empty. . . . House 13 belongs to the younger sister of the owner 
of house 11. Houses 11, 12, 13 had been one house. When the 
father of the family died, and his widow remarried, the house was 
split up, one part (now house 11) going to the older sister, another 
part (now house 13) to the younger sister, and the nuddle part (now 
house 12) being sold out of the family. House 13 is empty, the 
younger sister being still in school. . . . House 23 belongs to a 
woman who is married to a Navaho she met at boarding school. Her 
parents bought the house for her. . . . House 27 belongs to a woman 
married to a Hopi. She got the house from her first husband. House 
44 belongs to a woman who was married to a man of Lagima descent, 
then after his death to a San Domingo man. House 65 belongs to a 
woman who was married to a man of Laguna descent. He is now 

0" Compare Mexican practice. (Parsons: 20.) 

^ I liave no specific information on land iniieritance. It was said, in general, that more land would 
be left to a son than to a daughter. 

""aThe map of the houses to which this and other numerals refer has been lost. 

"' This is the woman of whose Isletan clanship affiliation I tried to learn repeatedly, in Zuiii. At Zuni 
she affiliated herself with the Pikchikwe clan. At Isleta she belongs to the Yellow Com group (the Earth 
or Lizard people). Now there are no Lizard people at Zuiii. 


living at old Laguna, married to a Lagiuia woman. House 64 belongs 
to a woman who got it from her first husband. She lives in it now 
with her secoiad husband, who was a widower. House 78 belongs to 
a woman married to a man from Zuni; and house 108 to a woman mar- 
ried to a man from San Felipe. She got the house from her first hus- 
band. House 138 belongs to the widow of a man of Laguna descent 
for whom at his marriage his father bought the house. At this time 
his father also gave him 150 head of sheep. To the bride a horse and 
wagon were given by her parents. The house belonging to Genealogy 
in, 1, was inherited by his two daughters, Genealogy HI, 7 and 11, 
half going to each. The son of Genealogy IH, 7, inherited her half. 

The only restriction on marriage choice is blood relationship as 
accounted, in both paternal and maternal lines, to fourth or fifth 
cousinship. Just where in the kinship circle of maty, relations, the 
restriction woidd not apply is a little uncertain in theory and, no 
doubt, in practice, calling for family consultation. The restriction 
appears more far-reaching than that of the Catholic Church, with 
which it, of course, does not clash, but to which, I incline to think, 
it was antecedent. In Isletan opinion, also, the restriction is native. 
"Mexicans marry second cousins; we will not marry second, third, 
fourth, and fifth cousins." "People say you can not raise children 
when you many cousins," and Lucinda cited two cousin marriages 
where the ofl^spring have died — the marriage of Tita Lucero and Juan 
Trinidad Lucero,'* her mother and his father (Bautista) being sister 
and brother; and the marriage of Bautista Lucero himself to his 
father's sister's daughter. This Lucero family is rich, and the cousin 
marriages in the two generations were to keep the property in the 
family. For a lilce reason Pablo Abeita is said to have married his 
father's brother's daughter. On the other hand, Fina Zuni, "an 
old-fashioned woman," broke off the marriage between her brother's 
daughter (chabe) and the girl's first cousin, although the boy had 
aheady made the girl presents, his mother had paid the three conven- 
tional wedding visits, and the wedding was to be in three or foin- days. 

Of the marriages I recorded in makmg a house-to-house paper can- 
vass with our informant, about as many were within the same moiety 
as between moieties. The same enumeration showed a like indUfer- 
ence to endogamy or exogamy among the Corn groups. It verified 
the statement that the Corn groups are not concerned (as are Pueblo 
clans) with restriction of marriage choices. 

Neither moiety nor Corn group is ever changed at marriage. A 
foreigner (Indian) marrying into Isleta will in time be taken into the 
moiety or Com group of the Isletan spouse. For example, the Navaho 
husband of the owner of house 23 is shure' and Poplar, to which 
groups his wife belongs. The Zuiii husband of the owner of house 78 

^ For the benefit of the padre— i. e., to deceive him — the names were changed for the wedding. 

236 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

belongs also to his wnfe's moiety, although, for some reason I did not 
learn, not to her Corn group; he is shichu, she is of the White Corn. 
There is also a Laguna woman (in house 91) married into town who 
belongs to the shichu, instead of to the Yellow Corn group her hus- 
band belongs to. "Because there are not many shichu — maybe that 
is why they put her in there." On the other hand, the Hopi silver- 
smith who is the husband of the owner of house 27, but who has been 
married only two years, has not yet been taken into any Corn group 
or properly (i. e., by getting a name) into the moiety organization; 
still he "plays shure'" (his wife's moiety) in the shinny games. 
Similarly the San Domingo husband of the owner of house 44 
"played " with her moiety. Black Eyes; but he, too, got no name, nor 
was he taken into a Com group. After three years of marriage he 
returned to San Domingo. Of the San Felipe husband of the owner 
of house 108 it was said that, although married two years, he belonged 
to no group, "perhaps he would never belong." 

There is a man of Laguna descent who has been married to two 
Isletan women — the first died; from the second he is separated — but 
who belongs to no Corn group. He is shure'. Another Laguna man, 
married to a Mexican woman in house 52, belongs to no group. He 
had left the town when he was yoimg. In house 201 hves a man from 
Powati who, although married to an Isletan, belongs to no group. 
There are no instances of white or Mexican being taken into any 
town organization. Of the Mexican wife of the owner of house 201 
it was said specifically that she belonged to no group. According to 
Lucinda there is a saying that the Isletan who married a Mexican may 
be turned into stone,'^ and in illustration she told the story of the 
cacique's son who flirted with the queen.' 

Of other foreign marriages we may note that of the son of the White 
Corn chief to a white woman who Uves in California; of the son of the 
owner of house 210 to a white woman (they live near the railway station 
and keep a restaurant); that of the daughter of the owner of house 58 
to a white man; that of the daughter of the widow owner of house 
96 to a white man, an Italian whom she divorced, marrying a Mexican 
who left her; that of this woman's half-breed daughter to a white 
man; that of the owner of house 71 to a Mexican woman. Three 
Navaho — two men and one woman — have married into Isleta. 
Three Isletan men are married into Sandia. One Isletan woman is 
married to a man of old Lag\ma (they live at Gallup); another Isletan 
woman is married at Zuni, where she had gone with her Isletan hus- 
band. "She sent him back and married a Zuni man." The use of 

p» This consequence of breaking a sex taboo is familiar in Mexico. For example, on the road to rhalma 
are two stones which represent a priest and his housekeeiwr who erred on their pilgrimage to the sanctuary. 
' See pp. 374-375. 

parsons] personal LIFE 237 

"Zuni" as a patronymic at Isleta points to some earlier Zuiii inter- 

Incidentally, we have noted several cases of conjugal separation. 
Others Mere mentioned also in the house census. In house 40 lives 
a woman who separated three years ago from her husband. The 
three children remain with her in the house which belongs to their 
father who has returned to his parents' house. House 82 is similarly 
occupied by a woman with two little children, the husband to whom 
the house belongs having gone to live with his parents. In house 67 
lives the ex-wife ^ of the crier, with her grandson. The house belongs 
to the crier who lives separate in another house that he owns. In 
house 41 lives a man who is also separated from his wife. So that, 
although in theory — Catholic Church theory — the married "have to 
live together for their life" (unlike the Zuni practice where a man 
can "get another one" or, such is the reputation of Zuni marriage in 
the east, a woman can have five husbands at one time), in practice 
there is some separation, legal divorces through the Federal agent 
or informal separation and, one surmises, informal remating. In 
1922 a youth of 22 who was jealous of his wife shot himself. In 1924 
a man killed the man he found with his wife and beat her. The 
murderer was tried in the Federal court and discharged. One case of 
loose living was cited as taken in hand by the governor, a woman of 
Laguna descent began "to go around, making trouble." The gover- 
nor put her out of town. (She went to Sandia. "They put her out." 
Then she went to old Laguna.) . . . Another woman was referred 
to by Lucinda as being the unmarried mother of five children. Child- 
birth is so easy for her that she will say, "It is coming now," and at 
once the baby is born. "No wonder she keeps at that business," 
commented Lucinda. Lucinda told of how once when she went to 
the ash pile a man standing there asked her if he could be her "hus- 
band iu hiding." She refused. Just then her own husband rode by. 
On her return home her husband asked her what the man had been 
sapng to her. She had to tell him. She always had to tell him 
everj'thing. Formerly an erring husband would be taken by the 
"old people" (not the governor) and, with his arms tied in front, 
whipped five times "if there was five of them." To-day the governor 
fines. To a boy with two sweethearts somebody might say, "You 
want to be like Coyote old man"; i. e., to sleep between two girls.* 
Formerly, when presumably the hooded chimney was common, lovers 

' A man from Zuni called Jos6 Sara or Jos6 Zuni was cited as having lived ;^ long time at Isleta as a young 
man. He did not marry, hut returned to Zuni. where he died. 
' She is the head woman assistant of the Laguna Fathers. 
* But of the Pueblo tales in which this incident occurs no parallel at Isleta has been as yet recorded. 

238 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

would make their escape through the chimney.^ Young people who 
are intimate may be made to marry by their parents. 

There appears to be no fixed time for remarriage after widowhood. 
Lucinda's widowed daughter-in-law remarried within a month. She 
still weeps, though, when she encounters her sometime mother-in-law, 
who no doubt weeps in her turn. For Lucinda is like many Pueblo 
women, easily tearful. Her son used to say to her, "Mother, you 
must not cry about everything." She cried in particular when he 
told her he was going to the war "to see what he could do to the 
Kaiser." . . . Lucinda is set against remarriage for herself. "lam 
not for men," says she. "I think only about my pottery." Art, not 
men. A distinguished sacerdotalist used to come courting. Once he 
brought her a wagonful of crops. She took them, but she said flatly, 
"Father, I am not going to marr^^ you." Lucinda also rejected the 
suit of a man who had been governor — Lucinda rather enjoyed telling 
about her rejected suitors — who then married another widow. After 
some time these two separated — first getting in their crop and dividing 
it, which is the proper thing in Pueblo circles for a couple who are about 
to separate to do. 

As in all but the western pueblos the family is of the single, not of 
the joint or compound type, since at marriage the couple remove to 
their own house. But there are some instances of families of more 
than two generations living together, and, of course, the old ])eople, 
widows or widowers, not uncommonly have married children living 
with them or a grandchild. Orphans are taken into the house of 
some relative, jjerhaps their mother's sister or their father's sister. 

Of all the relatives only the father's sister appears to have any 
specialized functions, in connection with the clowns at the ]3initu 
dance, in naming ritual, at initiations, and at death in preparing the 
corpse. After salt-fetching trips salt was given to the "aunts."** 
The hunter takes the eyes of his deer to his oldest aunt. "She cleans 
his eyes," so when he hunts he can see far. A man will haul wood for 
his aunt. A visit paid an aunt may be accompanied by a gift. When, 
for example. Genealogy III, 12, visited Genealogy III, 22, her father's 
brother's daughter, she would bring with her a large basket of meal, 
to receive in turn a kerchief or shirt. "That is the way we do with 
our kyiuu." The boys who are going to run in the Easter Sunday 
race (see p. 324, n. 43) go that morning to their aunt's house for break- 
fast, whence they come out wearing white clothes and white banda, 
"to show they are not going to turn to frogs," and to sing kwa! kwa! 

^ Formerly a house was locked by slippinK a wooden bar into a wall hole on either side of the door whit-h 
opened inward. This would be done by a child who then made his exit through the chimney. 
* Compare Parsons, 9: 226. 



Family property, including land, houses aside, is distributed equally 
among ofl'spring or descendants, at least in theory. Lucinda has a 
brother and sister and each of the three inherited a field from their 
parents, ^^^len Lucinda's mother-in-law discriminated in bec(ueath- 
ing her flock of sheep in favor of her daughter's children and against 
the children of her son, Lucinda felt outraged, and in spite of the 
governor's decision she stDl feels outraged. "Was that right? Was 
that right?" she vociferated. 


Shinny (napoaha) is played for four days after the spring work on 
the ditch, with practice playing late in the afternoons of that work. 
The course is fromOrai'bi up to the oil well, no playing, as sometimes 
elsewhere, in the fields. In practice play the ball is placed in the 
center of the plaza, wath the goal of the shure' in the southwest 
corner, that of the Black Eyes in the northeast. Should the ball fall 
among the houses in the neighborhood of the town chief's house, he 
or his appointee has to be asked to get it out. As suggested above, 
the play is by moiety. There is betting on the game, the stakes, an 
acre of land, a cow, a house, and the winnings are distributed within 
the group, only the size of the group is uncertain. I incline to think 
that as elsewhere betting is more individualistic than communal. 
This betting, rather than any ritual purpose, was the outstanding 
character of the game in the opinion of my informant. And j^et the 
ball has to be made in the usual ritual way, covered with deerskin 
and stufl'ed, in this case not with deer hair, but with "the strings that 
pop out" in tanning the hide; " and the parties of players meet in the 
churchyard to sing; and, most significant of all, as the players pass 
by the houses the girls inside throw water on them by the dipperful, 
the familiar Pueblo practice to bring rain. 

A girl's ball game was formerly played — ipohata'lii, rendered "they 
are betting po'tci (corn meal)." Two balls tied together were used, 
the balls covered with buckskin and stufl'ed with wool. The stick 
was of willow. The game might keep up for two weeks. The 
players were yoimg girls, six on a side, east-side people (hebaii wein) 
against west-side people (hehnaiiwein) or welima people, whicii terms 
refer, I take it, to the Black Eyes and the shure'. As tliis alignment 
seemed a "secret" to Lucinda, no doubt the game was ritualistic. 

Hidden ball (ku'wi) is played, by men, three or four to aside. It is 
played any time during the winter, at night, at home, not in Idva 
where no games are aUowed. . . . The four containers are of cane, 

' If the ball bursts, another ball is brought into play, which fact corroborates the view that the game 
is not played, as by the Tewa and Hopi, to fertilize the fields. When their ball bursts they stop playing. 



with markings. (Fig. 1 .) The "ball " is a piece of the bone of a deer 
leg. The hiding is done as usual behind a blanket which is held up 
curtainwise. There are songs: Bear and mountain lion are asked to 
help. Much betting; stakes of blankets, horses, land. 

Papoahaka'piu (poaha, ball; ka'piu, burn liim) is a hand ball 
game played by men against women, married men against married 
women, or boys against girls. It is played in the late autumn. The 
ball of buckskin is stuffed with goose feathers. From behind the 

line A (fig. 2), a wo- 


Figure 1. — Containers in hidden-ball game 

man bounces the ball 
out with her hand, 
and runs to B or C. 
If a man touches her 
with the ball, he 
scores. At B or C,' she 
is safe. If touched, 
she may try to throw the ball into one of the set of l-l holes and, if 
succeeding, preclude being scored against. Three scores, to win the 
game. Betting. 

K'oai' (cob there) is a woman's winter game, although men some- 
times play it. Four, five, or six women will play. Half a corncob 
is set up at B with two or three bead necklaces on top. A is a stone 
mark. The players first throw a stone from B to A, the nearest to 
A having the first turn. She then throws from A to B. If she 
knocks over the cob, scattering the necklaces, 
and the stone drops on the farther side of the 
cob, not between the cob and the necklaces, 
she wins the necldaces. When men play they 
put up money. 

Formerly, girls played a cow horn(namaite') 
game,^ si.x girls fined up on each side. The 
only other detail that I have is that "the 
winner carries the loser on her back to find the horn." 

The dart game is played — fiematie' (fiema, the feathered cob; tie', 
throwing). It is played by three boys to a side. Two targets of 
cardboard with a bull's eye in charcoal are attached to opposite house 
walls. Betting. 

The kick stick or ball is not used for racing, which is of the relay 
type. The kick-ball (w'iv) is referred to, however, rituafistically and 
in tale.^ 


B C 

o • 

Figure 2.— Diagram of hall 

8 Imaite' tawe, they are throwing at the cowhorn. 
' See pp. 279, 368. 



There is a boys' game called abalone shell (fieruku'ni) '" or 
labiirnpakau'u (box shining) or maboro pakaii'u (beads shining) in 
which the one who is "it" is called kuchi (Mexican, hog) wiy (tail) 
or taika (Isletan, hog) wiy. 

Sickness and Cure; Witchcraft 

For any slight sickness invitation to doctor is sent directly to the 
cliief of either medicine society, the Town Fathers, or the Laguna 
Fathers, who w411 appoint one of Ms assistants for the case. If the 
case is very grave and a ceremony in the house of the medicine society 
is required, the recpiest is sent to the society chief through the chief 
of the Corn group the patient belongs to." This is done, too, in the 
case of snake scare, when the society chief will direct the Snake Father 
(piru ka'ade) to doctor. But in snake bite, apphcation will be made 
directly to the Snake Father or doctor, who has to find the snake for 
the victim to spit into its mouth, thus making the snake cure the 
man. After the man spits, the snake bursts and dies, and the man 
recovers. . . . No female should approach the snake bitten lest she 
instantly swell up. 

There appears to be no ceremonial cure for the Ughtning struck. 
A certain plant is boiled and given him to drink to get rid of the 
"smoke" that is inside him.'^ After the man is struck anyone must 
wait before approaching until it thunders three times (as it always 
does). Otherwise the stricken man might die." And the first person 
to touch him, to feel him over, should be a sacerdotalist. ... In 
the great river flood a girl who was nearly drowned was left "half 
crazy, perhaps because she got scared." Ritual was performed for 
her;'* more than that I could not learn. 

For toothache you might "feed the scalps" which are kept in the 
roundhouses, and even before you have sprinkled the pollen or meal 
your toothache is gone. A story was told of a man who had tried 
something without success for his toothache. "Go and feed the 
scalps," he was told. He asked his brother to go with him. His 
brother was afraid, but he said he would go and stay outside. The 
man himself was so afraid that when he was halfway down the ladder 
he merely threw the meal down and ran back to his brother, telling 
him that the toothache was gone. "Perhaps because he was so 
afraid," was the shrewd and yet not at all skeptical comment. (See 
p. 456 for another method of treating toothache, oflfering a candle 

" Fieru, earring; kuru, dipper. Which etymology points to familiar but obsolescent Pueblo use of alialone 
for earrings: and to the use of shell as ritual dipper. 

11 At another time it was said that the chief of the Cam group would apply to the town chief, who would 
assign the case to one or the other of the medicine societies. 

" Compare Parsons, 12: 276, n. 4. 

13 Compare Parsons, 12: 276, n. 3. 

" Compare Parsons, 8: 121, n. 4. 

242 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ank. 47 

to a deceased townsman who had great power.) The water the 
scalps are washed in is a medicine against "worry." '^ 

Paralysis may be treated by sweat bath. The chief of the Town 
Fathers is applied to. A hogan is buUt in the orchard southeast of 
town and the patient taken there early in the morning. Special 
stones called shihio', eye stones, are heated red hot and then sprinkled 
with water. The chief stays in the hogan with the patient to 
sing three songs. ("He's got his power; may be he don't feel the 
heat.") . . . One old man was cited as having been cured by this 
treatment, after he had been treated in the family, without success, 
with applications of the blood, stUl hot, of a coyote. 

Kalaichu, a plant wdth a yellow bloom, is used by the medicine men 
to regulate the menstrual flow, but whether to promote it or check 
it my informant did not know Women assistants in the ceremonial 
groups, if menstruating at the time of their ceremony, are expected 
to notify their cliief and absent themselves from the ceremony. 

Nor do . menstruating women go to church The Mexican 

woman who was housing my informant one day had a sharp pain in 
her side and asked her tenant for medicine. He recommended a plant 
called h\i in Isletan, yerba awelo (Spanish, abuelo, grandfather) in 
Mexican, with reference to the clown masks both Mexicans and 
Isletans (also Tewa) call grandfather. A plaster for broken bones is 
made of foala, jucca root. 

There is a skin disease called pafu'na characterized by water 
blisters and itch, wliich is said to be caused by gimi running into 
pifions in a good pinon year. Sldn eruptions may be caused by 
ants or by mtches or by natm-e. "We can tell by looking at it 
which it is." 

Sore eyes are caused by small thorns (lifola) sent into the body, or 
sticks, stones, rags, etc., by witches. They have to be removed by 
the medicine men, either privately or at public ceremonial. (See 
pp. 312, 44.3.) Thirty or more years ago there was a smallpox epi- 
demic which was believed to be witch sent. 

Belief in witchcraft is quite as vigorous and comprehensive as in 
other pueblos. Among other familiar ideas are those about the 
witches assembling in a cave, which is placed at Shimtua, in the 
mesa side, 5 miles to the southwest, and about the efficiency of for- 
eign ^vitches. Should one want to harm a relative one would com- 
mission a witch from another town. If you are bewitched, you may 
offer a relative in yom- own place. The woman who was drowned in 
the flood '^ was thus given by her own husband, "they say." . . . 
"If a woman is not right (i. e., a witch), her children get it"; that is, 
witchcraft runs in families. "'^ The witch comes as a light in the night 

"Seep 327. "Seep. 208. i*- gee p. 432, n. 27. 

!vvii,-,ojjsl PERSONAL LIFE 243 

(fluride) which we may note, incidentally, was the term first applied 
to the railway with its flashing locomotive lights. The witch light 
jumps from place to place. Witches are abroad in particular during 
ceremonial by the medicine societies. If an attendant at a ceremony 
faints, the inference is that his or her spirit has gone abroad on witch- 
craft. When the medicine societies initiate a new member, the witch 
society feels called upon to initiate one also." After killing a person 
the witch society may exhume him to initiate him.'* A witch will 
lurk about the graveyard in the form of an animal.'^ An animal may 
be sent to do harm by a witch. In one case it was a burro the ■witch 
woman sent to bite a boy. The boy's father killed the burro. 
Witches put on the skins of animals or birds to go to their meeting. 
The witch ceremony is called na'ihi^,-" meaning to pack or put below 
something. It is nashau, of their own will power. The prime dif- 
ference between asking a witch or asking a medicine man to help you 
in any undertaking is that after you succeed the medicine man 
removes from you the "power" he has imparted to you, whereas the 
witch does not, and the "power" may abide Math you for life in 
punishment for having resorted to it, something like the affliction of 
King Midas. 

As in other pueblos, certain persons are reputed to be witches and 
more or less feared. A woman of Laguna descent was mentioned, 
and her San Felipe husband. "They say they are both witches." 
One time this woman asked Lucinda to sell her a piece of potter\'. 
Lucinda refused. A friend of Lucinda remonstrated: "Sell it to her. 
She is a witch. She might hurt you." "No, she can't hurt me," 
retorted Lucinda. Lucinda 's husband was ever very set against 
having visitors in theii- house: "They might bewitches," he would 
say. As at Zuni, anyone peering into another person's window 
renders himself suspect. Witches are abroad at night until cockcrow, 
when their time is up. One midnight when returning from boarding 
school Lucinda had to wallc home from the railway station. She 
heard loud breathing behind her. She would take a step and then 
have to stop, she felt so heavy and constrained. Until cockcrow 
something kept her on the road; she could not reach home. Recently 
Lucinda had to go out one night and at the corner of her house she 
saw a man jumping up and down four times, as if he were starting to 
fly. She called, "Who are you?" No answer. Again she called. 
No answer. She said, "I will throw a stone imless you say who you 
are." "It's me," said the man. "Wliat are you doing?" "Not 
your business." But it became her business because she thought of 

'■ See p. 430. " See p. 249. 

'« See pp. 249, 438. =» See p. 388. 

244 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth ann, 4? 

it SO much during the days following. She had never thought of that 
man as a witch before, although she had once suspected his sister/' 
but there was no doubt she was thinking of him now as one. She 
should have hit him on the chest four times, she said. When you do 
that to a witch "the bad goes back into him." Formerly when a witch 
was caught he would be placed sitting on his toes; i. e., squatting, and 
kept in that position, bemg replaced when he fell over, until he died. 

At Isleta, as elsewhere, hair cuttings are buried or burned or care- 
fully kept, lest witches work through them. Sweepings from the 
floor are also burned "because we have stepped on them and these 
bad people might get them if we threw them out." The root, pakyli 
(Mexican, kacharna),^^ is an antiwitch prophylactic which is carried 
in the pocket by men, in the belt by women. "When you carry it, 
nobody can do you any harm." One informant had been paying a 
visit to Taos and he observed that where at Taos ashes are used 
against witches, at Isleta, paktjli is used. . . . During his visit at 
Taos a girl in his host's house fell sick of a fever and a medicine man 
came in to see her, Santiago Kuncha or Paw'iapap.^^ After feeling the 
girl over, Kuncha (Spanish, abalone shell) looked at the Isletan 
visitor and straightway remarked that in that Isletan pocket were 
three roots with which he should doctor the girl, enabling her to 
recover without ceremonial. There were, in fact, three roots in that 
Isletan pocket: KarH, wolf root, which is good to be chewed for a 
pain in the stomach; palefia, which is a bear root (called p'awa, at 
Taos), and the antiwitch root, pakgii, which must have been particu- 
larlj' good for the girl who was sick because someone had envied her 
her employment by some white people in Fei-nandez de Taos. . . . 
All these roots the Isletan promised to send to his Taos hosts. 

The well-known clay pit of the church at Chimayo which is referred 
to as sanctuario is visited for medicine. A sick person mav walk 
to sanctuario in two or three days, when ordinarily it takes a week — 
an amusing carrying over into Catholic cult of the Isletan notion of 
rapid progress when on supernatural quest. San Escapu'la is the 
saint ^* of sanctuario. ^^ He is the "luckiest"; i. e., the most powerful, 
of saints. When you ask him for something you make him a promise; 
i. e., vow, which you must keep to.^'^ Recently in childbirth a woman 
made him a promise." She has had a Mass for him and later she will 
visit sanctuario. Lucinda visited sanctuario a few years ago to get 

» See p. 242. 

" The practice itself is Mexican. See Parsons, 18, for this and other Mexican witch practices and beliefs. 

'3 In Isletan, lake spread out. He was, I surmise, he who is referred to by Taos townspeople as the big 
earring man, chief of the three north side kivas. Big earrings were made of abalone. 

^* A cristo (crucifix), but formerly a bolto, image in one piece. 

« See pp. 415-116. 

"Seep. 415. 

'■ Promesa, as would be said in Mexico. The visitatious of sanctuaries in connection with promesas is 
characteristically Mexican. (See Parsons, 16. J 

parsons] peesonal life 245 

the medicine clay for a rheumatic leg. Another Isletan of my 
acquaintance had twice visited sanctuario "for pains in the body and 
for being sad." 

The notion of the evil eye, mal ojo, is familiar. Something is done, 
by a medicine man, I surmise, whereby the Mexican old woman will 
get a headache and for relief have to come to the sick child's house 
where they will besmoke or mcense her and make her sweat, together 
with the child. ... I heard of the case of a youth who was taken 
sick one night and unable to pass water. The day before he had been 
visiting at Jemez with a Mexican. Both the sick boy and his mother 
believed that he had been bewitched by the Mexican. 

A sick person during ceremonial treatment will not take the 
medicine of a white doctor. During the influenza epidemic of 1918 
which was disastrous at Isleta as in other pueblos and resulted in 190 
deaths, among the strongest and best, a white doctor gave a sick girl 
some medicme which made her menstrual flow discharge through the 
mouth and she died. People said that the doctor had poisoned her. 
That epidemic was sent by "bad people"; i. e., it v/as witch sent. 
Lucmda had also heard that it came from Germany whence "bad 
blood" spread over the world. As at Zufii and other pueblos, the 
white doctor is called in at childbirth only in difficult cases as a last 
I'esort. After a labor of four days he had been called in to attend the 
daughter of Pablo Abeita. "It was too late," said the doctor, and 
the girl died. 

There is a tradition at Isleta against having your picture taken, 
because several years ago a woman on seeing the photograph of her 
deceased daughter in the house of a white woman exclaimed, "There 
she is, but she was gone long ago!" and dropped dead. "That is 
why some people are afraid to be photographed." 

Insanity; Albinism; Man- Woman 

But one case of insanity has been known to my middle-aged inform- 
ant. This "crazy man" would not keep his shoes on, and he would 
go about hollering before it began to blow or rain or snow. "It is 
going to blow," people said, when they heard him holler. No reason 
for his insanity was given. He died at the age of 40. 

There is said to be in town one albino woman with two sons aged 
21 and 16, also albino. The woman has no other children. She and 
her husband are said to be wholly of Isletan descent. Her parents 
who are living are not albino, nor is her sister, nor was her deceased 
brother. Our infoi-mant did not know of any local explanation of 
this family's albinism nor of albinism in general. 

There is no man-woman (hmide) to-day in Isleta. About 30 
years ago there was one called Palure who died at a very advanced 

246 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO |eth. ans. 47 

age; he walked with a cane. Palure wore woman's clothes. He was 
a plasterer. He always Uved alone. Boys would visit him, chop 
wood for him, calling him "mother," and would stay late at night, 
until cockcrow, to be scolded afterwards by their parents. They 
could not keep away from him. Pahu-e or Pa Jur did not like girls, 
but girls came to his house to meet the boys. The younger girls 
who had to carry the babies on their backs would come, too, to rest 
themselves. Nobody made such good cakes as Pa^lur and he would 
give them to the children. When the boys came in he would send 
the children away. Pa'lur was a very pretty person, and "they would 
sell him for a night, sometimes three or four times of a night, to some 
Mexican or white, fooling them." His name appears to be a nick- 
name for this, meaning water, jump in. Jumping into the river is 
an Isletan phrase for sexual intercourse. But pahire means also water 
dripping or sprinkling (see p. 280), and this was the first translation 
of his name that I got. In spite of some of these facts, there was not 
in the minds of my two informants, one a man, the other a woman, 
the sUghtest idea of attributing perverse sexual practice to this man- 
woman. To these informants the idea of sexual perversion seemed 
completely unfanuliar. This ignorance on the part of the woman 
in particular, a woman completely without sex reticence, is the most 
convincing evidence I have found of the lack of perversion on the 
part of the Pueblo man-woman. 

Another Isletan man-woman was called Axa Hose lunude, old 
father Jose man-woman. He dressed in men's clothes which were 
always Indian buckskin trousers and moccasins. 

From Lucinda I heard again of the last man-woman who lived at 
old Laguna, and who was involved there in a murder.-* After this 
"Valentino" was released from prison he came to Orai'bi to ^^sit 
his mother's brother, Francisco Torres. 

Valentino woidd teU them how he had carried the murdered 
husband to the railway track, crying as he told about it. (And 
Lucinda, the emotional one, cried too.) Valentino was a fine potter. 
. . . Still earlier there had been another Laguna \asitor of the same 
type at Orai'bi — Kuyuye, who was called Naiya Huye, Mother Huye, 
at Orai'bi. He had been at school with Lucinda at Santa Fe. "We 
called him cumare." After some time he was found out at school 
and made to wear boy's clothes and placed Vi-ith the boys. From 
school he went to Orai'bi, where he hved with his uncle, Jose Antonio 
Correo. He wore trousers, but he did woman's work, grinding and 
making wafer bread, and carrying water. He would not chop wood. 
He talked like a girl. After staying there three or four years at 
Orai'bi, he died. 

'! See Parsons, 12: 166, 237, 272. Dyamu (Valentino) was of the Chaparral Cock clan. 


Incidentally Lucinda described a man-woman of San Felipe who 
is employed in a store at Albuquerque, where he wears men's clothes. 
At home, in San FeHpe, he wears women's clothes. When he visits 
Lucinda at Isleta he acts shy Uke a gu'l. He talks like a girl and he 
will wash dishes for his hostess. 

Dreams; Clairvoyance; Omens 

Dream of grapes means something is going to happen to your 
relations (maty). Dream of somebody passing in a canyon means 
a grave, a relation is going to die. Dream of shaking hands with 
somebody or talldng close up to them means something good for you. 
Dream of a medicine man brings good luck. Men would not touch 
the scalps^' lest they dream of them. Our informant, Abeita, was 
himself a dreamer and attached importance to his dreams. One 
morning he told me of a dream about a girl of our acquaintance, a 
white girl, in which she was caught by a wolf and cried out; but the 
dreamer's neck was stifi' and he could not turn around. "You dream 
when you worry," said Lucinda. For her part tliis cheerful spirit 
did not worry, so she said, and did not dream. But one night when 
she had gone to a house alone in which there was no light, no fire, 
she was very nervous and coidd not sleep for thinking of the man she 
had seen the week before jumping up and down'" where he had no 
business. When she did get to sleep she had a bad dream. With 
another woman from Isleta she was on a cliff from which she could 
not descend.^' She was wearing a dirty American dress. She won- 
dered in her dream why it was so greasy. 

Formerly people would talk together about their dreams and so 
found out what was going to happen. The old man nicknamed 
Football used to interpret dreams. The old people told about the 
white people coming before they came; also how wagons without 
horses would come (automobiles), and horses with two legs (bicycles). 
(Let us note in comparing this statement with others of the same 
Icind among other Indian peoples that it is the power of prediction 
which is the main postulation; the content of the prediction will vary 
and be kept up to date.) 

Clairvoyance is a notable attribute of the medicine men iu general, 
and of the ritual detective in particidar. But clairvoyance appears 
to be practiced also by persons of either sex who are referred to as 
nathorde, with power, powerfid. Unhke witches, they use their 
power to travel long distances'- or to see what is going on at a dis- 

" See p. 260. 
■" See p. 243. 

-1 Imprisonment on a cliff is a not uncommon folk tale incident. \t Namb6 it is believed that such 
imprisonment is a punishment after death for an unworthy ceremonialist. 
'•' See pp. 152 and 26.5, 310, 321, 331. 

248 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

tance,^' only for good or harmless ends. A white arrow point and 
some pollen are all that they need. 

In ritual clau'voyance or prediction the root called lifiew'a, pre- 
sumably a narcotic, is commonly used. 

Any grain of corn you saw dropped outside you would pick up and 
bring into the house. It will bring corn to the house. If you leave 
it lying, you will not grow good corn, or the corn you grow will not 
last long. 

If your eye twitches, you will get news. The left eye of my friend 
had been twitching one day and he opined that he was going to receive 
shortly a letter from his daughter. The day following he did receive 
the letter, to his twofold satisfaction. A big fly in the house means 
company. "Let's clean up," the woman will say. On hiccoughing, 
Lucinda says, "Somebody thinking of me." A crow cawing is calling 
cold weather. 

In some curing ceremonies, with a special feather the doctor will 
make a circle around the patient, and then circle the patient himself 
with the feather, five times. After tlais the feather Hies up into the 
roof. When it drops, if it fall within the circle, the patient will 
recover, if without the circle, he will die.'^ 

Tuesday is an ill-omened day — mala suerte, say the Mexicans. 
People would not get married on Tuesday, or hold meetings, or start 
on a trading journey, or hunt. For the ominousness of a deer whistle 
see p. 439. 

Funerary Practices 

A kinsman, the son of the deceased, or other relative, goes to the 
chief of the Corn group of the deceased, who will send an assistant 
to the house to sprinkle meal from the feet of the corpse to the door. 
(There is no orientation of the corpse. Formerly the head was placed 
on a block of adobe.^^) The aunt (ky'uu) ^^ of the deceased is also 
summoned. (If the deceased have no kyunin the Corn chiei will 
appoint a woman assistant to perform the proper functions.) With 
her she brings a bowl of water and cotton and a twig brush. She 
brushes the hair of the deceased, washes^'' and dries the face. The 
water she has used may not be thrown outside the door. She tlirows 
it within the threshold where she also breaks the bowl, leaving the 
pieces, that the people coming in may step on them.^' The hands of 

" See ijp. 452 and 285, 340, 458. 

'* For other omens in ritual see pp. 313 and 448, 449. 

" Mexican custom. 

^ The father's sister, as at Laguna (Parsons, 12: 195) and elsewhere. 

3' When I referred to this function of the aunt, Lucinda, the secretive one, was startled, and covered 
her mouth with her hand, the Pueblo motion to conceal emotion. Recovering, she said that the aunt 
had to "clean every corner" of the room "to start a new life." 

■^* This practice seems strangely non-Pueblo. L'p. a like funerary practice among the Tarahumare. 
(Lumholtz, I, 36.) 

parsons! PEKSONAL LIFE 249 

the dead are placed clasped together, and between the middle fingers 
is placed a small cross of perliu.'^ The aunt covers the corpse with 
a black blanlcet (manta) which is sewn together. Four men volunteer 
to cany the body fii-st to the church, then to the cemetery. 

In the new cemetery outside of town, as in the ancient churchyard, 
the burial is head to the south, facing the church, a position in which 
people ai-e loath to sleep.^" Ai'ound the grave a circle is drawn with 
an arrow point or blade, and on it a cross is marked — protection 
against wdtches.*' If a person has been mtched to death, he is not 
really dead, and after four days the witches may try to exhume him 
and so "get a child"; i. e., another witch member.*^ 

The relatives remain in the house of the deceased four nights, 
which are referred to as fom- years. On the thii-d day everybody 
washes his or her head. On the fourth day, before sunrise, every- 
body in the funerary house has to go to the river to sprinkle meal 
in the water and bathe. On their way going or returning, whatever 
sound they may hear, they are not to look backward — the deceased 
may be following.'*^ From the river they return to their respective 
houses, when the women prepare food for the ceremony that evening 
which the Corn cliief and his assistants are to conduct. About 9 in 
the evening the Corn Fathers arrive at the house of the deceased and 
lay down their meal altar on which are medicine bowl, arrow points, 
and the prayer feathers made by the chief for the deceased. A hne 
of meal is sprinkled from the altar to the door, for the deceased to 
come in by. On the meal road stands a bowl, to which each relative 
and each Corn Father has contributed a bit of food, and any objects, 
such as bow and arrow, used by the deceased. . . . The Corn assist- 
ants stand in a row near the food offering. With a prayer feather 
the chief sprinkles all from the medicine bowl. All sing. The chief 
sprinkles meal on the meal road, in his song caUing to the deceased 
to enter. Then the chief opens the house door, singing that the 
deceased is coming. "You can not see him, but you hear footsteps 
outside and fumbhng at the door." The chief bids the deceased to 
come and eat. Then from the Mother ^ to the door the chief sprinkles 
the road for him to leave by. Then the Fathers take out the bowl 
of food and the prayer feathers and "chase him (the deceased) out 
of the village." With them they also take pieces out from the de- 
ceased's clothes and personal belongings. The Fathers return on a 
run and close the door, making a cross on it with their arrow point 

^ A high bush with a white bloom which grows in the mountain arroyos. 

" Cp. Parsons, 9: 168-16a. 

" See pp. 278, 438. 

« See p. 438. 

" A notion held also by the Tewa and at Zurii. 

" I do not understand this reference, as the Corn chiefs are not possessed of Mothers. 

6066°— 32^— 17 

250 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

or blade, which they also pass over the walls of the room. The chief 
tells those present "to forget it *^ all; it is now four years he is dead." 
The altar is removed, the corn meal given to the man of the house 
to give to the river or to bury in his field. A Corn assistant takes 
out bits of food to give to Wseide and the dead. (See p. 341.) All 
present eat. What is left over the Corn a.ssistants divide for them- 
selves, leaving one basketful and one bowlful for the household. The 
chief gives permission for all to withdi-aw. 

A deceased chief is painted (color unknown) on his palms, elbows, 
soles, and knees. As in ceremonies, red paint is put on the hair 
parting of the deceased chief of either medicine society. Also Ught- 
ning marks are painted in white on arms and legs. On the fourth 
night the deceased is exorcised, not from his dweUing, but from his 
ceremonial house. His own Corn group chief functions as usual. 

After the ceremony on the fourth night, attendants are free to go 
out "to do their work," but they would not go visiting diuing the 
following eight days. 

The dead go to Wimda,'"' the underground world, whence the people 
came up. Shipapung, the Keresan term for tiiis world, was referred 
to as a place Uved in after the people emerged or again as the spring 
whence the Black Eyes " emerged. 


The secular officers who are annually chosen are the governor 
(tabude or piba'kaade (? wet head or baptism father)), the lieutenant 
governor, auki'i (the regular word for vice or assistant) or teniente, 
and a second teniente. There are sis war** captains, wilawe, three 
from each moiety, besides the three war captains chosen by the 
Laguna colonists, but cooperating with the war captains of Isleta. 
There are also two sheriffs (kabeude) who alternate each week, two 
mayordomo to take charge of the irrigation ditch, and a crier 
(tokwini'de) who has been chosen by the townspeople, but whose 
office is permanent. The present crier, a man of 55, has held the 
position for 20 years. He is exempt from other forms of community 
service. There is a permanent sacristan (t^iide). There is no office 
of fiskale, as elsewhere. 

In addition to the aforesaid officers there is a council of 12 men, 
tonyimnin, translated as councUmen. The same men have been in 

*s One who does not forget, but worries, may be incensed, as elsewhere, with smoke from hair combings 
from the deceased. 

« Identified by Lucinda with welima, which is the wenima of the Keres, the western home of the l^achina. 
See too p. 239. By another informant wimdaat was translated "dead, gone to the land of the dead.*' 

" See pp. 263, 360. 

" According to one informant " the little captains" (wilaweun) are always 13, 6 from each moiety. 



the council now for five j'ears; before that tliree or four men, the less 
useful members, would be replaced each year, the new members 
being appointed by the governor. "Smart young boys who laiow 
more than old people in some ways" are eligible as well as ex-governors 
or ex-Ueutenant governors. The present incumbents are: President 
(chumi'), Jos6 Hohola (chief assistant AVhite Corn); vice president 
(ebe'shiwei), Bautista Zuni (some time governor. Town Father, chief 
of the Magpies); Simon Zuni (some time governor, thrice in office); 
Dabi (David) Lucero (some time lieutenant governor) ; Erudiz Hohola, 
(some time second lieutenant governor); Remez Serafico; Domingo 
Churma (chief of Earth people); and, referred to as "boys," Domingo 
Hohola (assistant. Magpies. Erudiz is his father's brother, meme) ; 
Rumaldo Hohola, Pasqual Abeita, Lazaro Abeita, Joe Abeita (son of 
Pablo Abeita). 

After Christmas there will be two or three meetings at the governor's 
house to discuss new officers. The night of December 31 there is a, 
final meeting at the house of the town chief to decide on *^ three 
candidates for governor. All the Fathers are present. On January 
1 there is a public meeting at the courthouse or public kiva to vote on 
the candidates. Any married man, whatever his age, may be a voter. 
"Boys" or unmarried men must be 22 or so. Out of the three can- 
didates one wiU probably be left behind on the first vote. Then the 
town chief makes an address, telling the men they must choose be- 
tween the two with the highest number of votes. Sometimes there 
is a big fight, and the agent is called in as arbiter. The town chief 
will advise with him. There are two candidates also for the office of 
head war captain. The man who is elected war captain chooses his 
assistants. The newly elected governor asks the town chief to choose 
the lieutenant governor, but the town chief will say, "No; you have 
to choose him yourself." Then the governor chooses him, but he 
says to the meeting if they do not like his choice, to choose for them- 
selves. But the meeting will accept his choice. The appointee will 
say to the town chief that he does not want the office of fieutenant 
governor, but the town chief will insist upon his acceptance. All 
present choose the teniente and sherifi's. 

After these elections, which may take from one to three days, the 
town chief, kumpa, and the war chief meet in the ceremonial house of 
the town chief "to bless the canes," hke the padre, by sprinkling with 
their own pakwimpa (medicine water). What else they may do " to get 
power for the canes," which are used in all secular cases as well as in 
the ceremony of general exorcism,^" was not Icnown. The town chief 
takes the canes to the courthouse where he gives them to the new 

*^ In the account which maintains that there is a vacancy in the town chieftaincy, it is kumpa 
(kumpawiiawe ch'umida (? presiding)) who nominates the governor. (Parsons, 9; 159.) 
» See p. 307, 

252 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

officers, kneeling before him, to the governor, lieutenant governor 
and teniente, and to the war captains. (The sheriff has his badge.) 
Now in the public kiva all meet to give thanks to the outgoing officers. 

The first business of the new officers is to decide whether the dance 
on Kings' Day and three days afterwards will be performed by Isletans 
or by the Laguna colonists. ... In this dance, as in others, the war 
captains appoint the dancers. The war captains call out orders for 
the ritual hunts; they enforce the exclusion on ceremonial occasions 
of Mexicans and whites; they clean the roimdhouses and the church- 
yard. For a general street cleaning the governor takes responsibility. 
Permission to leave town on a visit must be had from the governor, 
whom one also notifies on returning home. Arrest and punishment 
for crime, exclusive of crimes of witchcraft, are functions of the gov- 
ernor and his officers. Murder, in the rare cases which occur in the 
pueblos, is a matter for the Federal court as a rule, but in 1904 there 
occurred at Isleta a case of murder in self-defense which did not get 
into the Federal court and which illustrates how the governor and 
his officers may act. One night a drunken man in town was being 
baited by some boys. To one of them he took a strap and then 
grabbed him to choke him. The boy picked up a rock and hit 
him. He fell dead. The boys ran away. Somebody notified the 
dead man's father, who notified the officers. They made the roimds 
of the town, arresting all the men who were outdoors. Next day in 
the bush they arrested the murderer, whom the governor fined $350 
and a team of oxen, the fine going to the murdered man's widow. 
The agent was informed of this settlement and agreed to it. 

The governor acted also in a recent murder case of which the story 
is as follows: One day a townsman told his wife he was going out 
after his horses. He went and did not return. His wife thought he 
had probably gone to cut adobe for a Mexican at Los Padillos about 
whom he had told her. When, after three days, he did not return, 
she sent word to the governor. This was Saturday night. The next 
Sunday morning after the race the governor had the crier call out for 
all the men and boys to ride out and search. A boy had seen the 
missing man and another man riding the same horse. The searchers 
found horse tracks across the river and a place where two men had 
been sitting and smoking. Then the tracks were lost in the bushes. 
The governor had the other man arrested. He said his friend had 
gone to Los Padillos to cut adobe. They kept the suspect in jail five 
days. After he was released he was seen several times on the bridge, 
crossing and recrossing. The governor was informed and the man 
was rearrested. Twenty-two days after the disappearance of the 
man, white engineers saw ids body lying in the river with a rope 
around legs and neck, showing the body had been weighted. The 
white doctor who was sent for said the skull had been broken by a 


shovel. The governor had the crier call out to the men to bring in 
the body. Meanwhile the suspected man had been asking the mur- 
dered man's widow to marry him. She told the governor about it. 
For the third time the man was arrested and jailed, this time for 
three months. During this period his brother had to support the 
widow and children. When the suspected murderer was released he 
had to support the family. He still supports it. The agent wanted 
to keep the suspected murderer in prison, but the governor said, 
"No; better have him out and supporting the family." 

The above stories indicate that the idea of compensation for murder 
is familiar at Isleta as it is at Zuni and probably in other towns where 
murders are, however, so uncommon that Uttle or nothing has been 
recorded on the subject. There are two other murder stories at 
Isleta which corroborate this conclusion about an existing theory of 
compensation. On San Juan's Day two boys who were "playing 
rooster" and slapping at each other got angry. That night when 
they went out to sing at the ash pile one boy said to the other, "That 
is not the way to be a man!" The other rejoined, "How should you 
be a man?" And they fell to. After fighting, one boy went home 
and to bed. Along came two boys and shot into the wall over his 
head. He snatched the Winchester above the door and fired and 
killed a third boy who was coming toward the house. The parents 
of the killed boy would not agree to settle the case — i. e., receive 
compensation — so the murderer was sent to prison at Santa Fe for 
13 years. "And the father of the murdered boy got nothing. 
They had thought that by appealing to the agent they would get 
more than by settling it together. But they got nothing! " The 
second case was that of the father of this murderer who had himself 
killed a girl, unintentionally, firing off a gun which he thought was not 
loaded wliile dancing on I\ings' Day before the house of the town 
chief. After the accident the Idller ran away to the mountains to 
the south, where he stayed by day, going to a Mexican house at 
night. After 10 days his people came for hina. They had settled the 
matter with the victim's family, giving them a team of oxen, a horse, 
and some money. 

Over houses and lands the governor has some final jurisdiction, in 
cases of absenteeism or of dealings \vith nontownspeople. For 
example: When Juan Rey Churina, of the Laguna colony, went to 
live at Sandia liis title to house and land at Oraibi was considered to 
lapse; and when Juan Key's daughter'' returned to Isleta after her 
father's death to claim the property she found that the governor had 
"handed" it to Bautista Hohola, an Isletan, and one of the Town 
Fathers. (See p. 356.) This, of course, was a pecuhar case, for Juan 

*i Another daughter was married to an Isletan whom she left to marry into San Felipe. Subsequently 
she returned to her Isletan husband. 

254 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO (eth.ann. 47 

Rey, a notable ceremonialist, had removed to Sandia against the 
wishes of the townspeople. The confiscation and disposal of his 
property, however, exemplify gubernatorial functions. 

Probably most disputes over property are taken to the governor. 
At her death Lucinda's mother-in-law left her whole flock of 1,000 
sheep to the husband of her deceased daughter. With him and his 
son the old lady had been living. She left nothing to the widow and 
children of her deceased son, Lucinda and her children. So Lucinda 
appealed to the governor. As it happened, the governor was imcle to 
the heir and decided in his favor. 

As elsewhere, the governor is the go-between for Washington and 
the hierarchy. Were any important question to the fore, as was, for 
example, the introduction of the office of Federal judge, the governor 
would call a meeting of the chiefs and others (presumably the council), 
a pubhc meeting (shuna natoyim), in the Mexican term, junta, in the 
pubhc kiva. The office of Federal judge was introduced, we should 
note; it was held by Pablo Abeita for five years. For two years now 
(1926) the office has been vacant. While in office Pablo Abeita was 
severe. I heard of his fining four women for tale bearing — one $20, 
two $15, and one $5 — the last for saying that two years before she 
had seen the husband of her niece-in-law visiting another woman. 
The wife had come in crying about her husband to her aunt-in-law 
and spent the night with her. Gossip goes that the judge kept the 
fines for himself. Such would be the gossip, I surmise, about any 
judge in any pueblo. 

For two years (1924-25) Juan Trinida Abeita has been governor. 
He is cousin to Pablo Abeita, who is himself lieutenant governor. 
One of Pablo Abeita's sons, as noted, is in the council. His brother- 
in-law, Fehpe Abeita, has also served as governor. For Pueblo circles 
the Abeita family is remarkably self-assertive. Of Pablo Abeita, 
people say that he wants to keep up his own ways (i. e.. White Corn 
ceremonial, see later), but that he wants to destroy the others. . . . 
In 1927 Jose Padilla (chief of the Corn people, iet'ainin), was governor. 


Ceremonial Groups 

Succession to office in the ceremonial groups appears to be based 
mainly upon the principle of apprenticeship; the successor to office 
is the trained understudy. He is the auki'i, or, as we shall call him, 
the chief assistant. The next or second assistant is called toap- 
tadelopi'i "following him." The chief or first assistant sits at the 
right hand of the chief; the second, at his left hand.^^ Among the 
other assistants the one most recently taken in, "the last helper," 

w Compare right-hand man and left-hand man in the ceremonial organization of the Tewa and at Jemez. 

parsons] ceremonial ORGANIZATION 255 

sometimes has particular functions assigned to him.^' The groups are 
ever guarded by the war captains, but within the group itself there 
are two who serve as guards. Neither in theory or practice is there 
any expression of hereditary piinciple in the ceremonial organization 
other than the theory which is barely pertinent that the office of town 
chief is filled in rotation from the Corn groups in the regular color 

Group membership proceeds through dedication in infancy (as 
always in the case of the moieties and of the Com groups) or through 
self-dedication in later life, generally as a residt of a vow in sickness. 
In the Corn groups the chief may appoint an assistant. 

Women members or assistants perform the particular services for 
the group which are associated with women — water-fetching, clean- 
ing, cooldng, hair washing, grinding — i. e., of ritual pigments — spin- 
ning of cotton thread for prayer feathers. Kitual may attach to 
these services and the women may engage in independent ritual, but 
because the women do not join in the song ritual they are not thought 
of as occupying the same ceremonial position as the men. They are 
economic assistants rather than ceremonial colleagues. 

All the ceremonial offices are lifelong. On joining any group or 
coming into office a person receives a name. In general, the medi- 
cine men are referred to as toynin, and the Corn group chiefs and 
assistants as penin. 

The ceremonial chiefs or groups are as follows: 

1. t'aikabede, people chief, or cacique. We refer to him as town chief. Two 
women called mafornin do the housework in his ceremonial house. They also 
"feed the scalps." 

2. kumpa, assistant to t'aikabede and prospective successor; one assistant, 
kabew'iride. Nos. 1 and 2 might be considered as a single group — that of the 
t'aikabede and two assistants. 

3. wilawe, war chief, with several assistants. 

4. a'uku'wem, scalp takers. 

5. humaxu, hunt chief; one assistant. 

6. shifun kabede, Black Eyes chief, chief of the moietj' of the Winter people, 
with three assistants. 

7. shure' kabede, chief of the moiety of the Summer people, with two assistants. 

8. te'en, grandfathers; six clown masks, besides the t'aikabede who is their 
chief; three belong to the Black Eyes, three to the shure'. 

9. chakabede, liwa or kachina chief; one male assistant; one female assistant. 

10. toe'ka'ade. Town Father, medicine society chief; referred to as tutude, 
elder sister; one assistant; seven other male members of group and three female. 

11. birka'ade, Laguna Father, medicine society chief; referred to as bachude, 
younger sister; one assistant, who is also childbirth doctor, with one woman assist- 
ant; eight other male members, three female. Among tlie specialists are piru 
ka'ade. Rattlesnake Father, intu ka'ade. Ant Father, the fire builder, the thief 
catcher or detective or seer of lost objects. 

12. Chief of White Corn people; with one assistant; two other male members, 
and three female. 

" See pp. 2fl9, 300, 446. 

256 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

13. Chief of one of the two Black Corn divisions, Magpie (k'para), with assist- 
ant, and one other member. Chief of the other Black Corn division. Poplar 
(naride), with assistant, and one other member. 

14. Chief of Yellow Corn people, with assistant, and one other member. 

15. Chief of one of the two Blue Corn divisions, pachiri, with assistant, and 
one other member. Chief of the other Blue Corn division, tutenelui', with 

16. Chief of All Colors Corn people, who are referred to as ietainin (Corn 
people), with assistant. 

17. Chief of Eagle (shyu kabede). All Colors Corn people, with one member. 
Chief of Goose (koi kabede konide), All Colors Corn people. 

18. shichu kabede, chief of shichu, All Colors Corn people, with assistant. 


The ofRce is not hereditary nor is it associated with or filled from any 
ceremonial group, although, as already stated, there is a theory that it 
is filled in turn in the usual circuit from the Corn groups. The present 
town chief belongs to the White Corn group and so does liis assistant 
and prospective successor, referred to as kumpa. When I pointed out 
the failure of the theory of succession, I was told that should kumpa 
not wish to take the office, then the chief of the White Corn group 
would seek for a successor in the Black Corn group, the group next 
to the White Corn in the color circuit. 

The present town chief is Dolores Hohola or paptoa (Bapthur) or 
Pollen. He is between 65 and 75 years old and has been in office from 
13 to 14 years." He had been kumpa to his predecessor, Luo, Arrow, 
who belonged to All Colors Corn group.'' paptoa belongs to the 
Black Eyes moiety. 

The town chief is constantly referred to as the source of all the 
ceremonial hfe, in the sense that permission to hold ceremonies or 
dances must be sought from him, and reports of ceremonies are made 
to him. On his own initiative he may ask for ceremonies, as when 
he asks the medicine societies for their spring ceremony to qiuet old 
man Wind, or their summer ceremony to enliven him against excessive 
heat; or to perform ritual against grasshoppers. The summer rain 
ceremony the town chief appears to conduct liimself . 

M That the office of cacique (town chief) is now filled is generally denied by Isletans. I presume this is 
camouflage, just as when I referred to the t'aikabede to Lucinda she murmured, '* T'aikabede, t'aikabede, 
what is that word?" However, Felipe of Laguna, who had no reason for concealment, also stated that the 
office was vacant (Parsons, 9: 158, n. 3). . . . According to one account, the last town chief was Antonio 
Montoya or Turluo (Sun Arrow), probably identical with Luo above named, of the Blue Corn people 
(pachurnin). He died about 1896, so old he could not walk. His successor died before he was installed. 
(See, too. Parsons, 9: 158, n. 3) . . . According to this same account, a considerable period, 10 years or so, 
is allowed to elapse before installing the town chief, during which the candidate is in training and the widow 
of the deceased town chief is looked after and worked for by the peopie as if she were town chief . . . The 
predecessor of Turluo was his father, Turshan, Sunrise, of the Blue Corn people. Turshan was town chief 
"before the railway came through," i. e., 1880. A descendant relates that once Turshan broke the 
"t'aikabede rules" and was whipped. (See p. 365.) 

8* The houses of paptoa and Luo were adjacent. 


The town chief keeps sacrosanct supplies which the ceremonial 
groups*^ may draw upon, as the native grown tobacco," or flint-made 
fire. His own sacrosanct property or paraphernaUa consists of his 
mother or corn fetish, buckskin moccasins (fig. 3), buckskin pouch 
or naw'u'i,** and hair feathers (lawashie').^^ The animals which he 
"uses" in his ritual (see below) he may not kill. The same taboo is 
laid upon kumpa, the hunt chief, the members of the medicine socie- 
ties. It is not laid upon the chiefs of the Corn gi'oups. Antonio 
Montoya, the defunct town chief, is said to have been "very power- 
ful." He could bring in a rabbit, and he could make wheat grow 
under your eyes, with his five songs which he had learned from a 
Mexican captive among the Navaho. 

The town chief of Isleta appears to be thought of as the head of the 
hierarchy more consistently than is the town chief in other pueblos. 
"His iema'paru (Corn mother) is head of them all." In the folk tale 
about the town chief of Berkwitoe'*" is expressed the conviction of 
how dependent upon their town chief is the welfare of all the people 

Figure 3. — Regalia of Town chief (hair feathers, moccasin, bandoleer, as drawn by 

and of all the animals. So intimate is the relationship that the town 
chief may not leave the town. In the aforesaid tale the sun feeds 
the town chief marooned in the eagle nest. The races for the sun are 
called the town chief's races. There appears to be a particular 
relationship between the town chief and the sun. 

The land of the town chief is planted and harvested for him by the 
townsmen at the time set by the war chief. On these days the 
women contribute food which the men workers, on their return from 
the fields, eat in the house of the town chief. The town chief is 
supposed not to chop wood or do any but ritual work. He may not 
kill anything, "not even an insect." "' 

The two women referred to as mafornin, who feed the scalps in the 
roundhouses "once a week" and work for the town chief in his cere- 

M See pp. 333, 337, 419. 

" Compare pp. 337, 361. See Parsons, 19: 1 10. 

" Referring probably to his tobacco supply, w'iri meaning cigarette. 

»' Compare pp. 331,368. 

"> See pp. 381, 384. 

«' Compare pp. 364-365 and 286, 448. 

258 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

monial house, are Dominga Benabides or Kepap (mother, spread out), 
aged 30; and Rufina Abeita or Koawa (spruce), aged 22. The latter 
was vowed in sickness. 

Possibly these mafornin represent the girl who originally brought 
up from wimda to the town chief his mother and sacrosanct 


They serve as assistants to the town chief; but as they conduct a 
distinctive ceremony and are possessed of distinctive ritual it seems 
proper to classify them independently. Besides, kumpa has a war- 
like character, and he is sometimes referred to as kumpa wilawe or 
war chief. Kimipa is associated with the horned serpent, ikaina, 
from whom he gets his power and who is "his father" (inkabere), 
and bringing in the serpent constitutes kumpa' sceremony. (See 
pp. 301-302.) In kumpa's distinctive paraphernalia, a bandoleer bag 
called auti'wehimai in which his power is contained,*^ there is a powder 
which he applies to his eyes with his index finger, making him clair- 
voyant (as the medicine men become with their crystal), and making 
him act like a snake, turning and twisting and hissing. Scales from 
ikaina are in this bag. 

Kumpa takes a prominent part in racing ritual (see pp. 325, 
329), also in witch finding (see p. 431), both functions significant 
of his warrior character. Besides, kumpa can handle a snake of any 
kind and, sprinkling the snake with pollen, make him withdraw from 
the town. 

In his prayers kumpa taUvS "corners way," instead of naming the 
cardinal directions he names the points between: northeast (he'uhe- 
bai), northwest (he'uhenai), southwest (hekuhenai), southeast (heku- 
hebai)." For the fifth direction, up, down, and middle (kyenai 
pienai) he says middle, down and up (pienai naikye). He mentions 
the sunset before the sunrise. Also he refers to a kiva (tuia) as tikon, 
and instead of saying karnide for horse, the usual word, he says pakimu 
h^shan pe'de, (mist, breathe out, made). And he refers in his 
prayers to what the other chiefs do not refer to — snow, hail, frost, 
north wind, south wind, and the scalps. Some people hke to go to 
hear his talk, it is so different. 

Kumpa's personal names are Tupsi (tup, whistle) and Turashan, 
sunrise. Also Psewere, road, red, digging."^ His Mexican name is 

" See pp. 367-368 and 331. 

" And from which, our informant suggesti'd, the term kumpa is derived— kon, pod, p^, rubbing (? weav- 
ing) strands of cotton together. 

^ This we recognize as Hopi usage. 

6» Perhaps both the names road maker and sunrise are in reference to the tale in which the prototype of 
kumpa made a road for the sun with his kick stick. See pp. 368-372. 


Ramihon Liicero. He is between 65 and 70. He belongs to White 
Corn and to Black Eyes. 

The kabew'iride (chief, bow)"* is possessed of the ritually used 
k'oata (a blade a foot long) and is referred to as the guard of kumpa. 
He succeeds to the office of kumpa. 

The kabew'iride is Antonio Hohola or Kasalo (tip shining or 
opalescent).'' He belongs to Yellow Corn*^ and to shure'. (? Gen. 
HI, 13.) 


The office is lifelong, but the assistants are the annually elected 
wilawe. From one of these the office may be filled. This is Juan 
Abeita's account, which does not correspond to the accounts of other 
informants who refer to the war chief as p^ide *' and state that he 
has several™ lifelong associates. It is a war society in short, which 
is recruited through sickness '' by way of a vow — pt^iwilawe or kum- 
pawilawe the members are called. I felt that Juan Abeita was not 
being frank on the organization of the war chieftaincy or society, so 
that I am inclmed to credit the existence of the war society as reported 
by other informants. Because of the variety of terms used, however, 
it remains in doubt whether or not the society attaches to kumpa 
(who may or may not be the same as p^ide) " or to another war 
chief, the war chief of the cane. My guess is that the war society 
attaches to kumpa,'^" and that the annually elected war captains 
function with the war chief of the cane. 

As elsewhere, the chief functions of the wilawe or war captains, 
permanent or annual, are safeguarding the ceremonies against intru- 
sion by white or Mexican and against native witches. War captains 
will accompany the doctors on leaving their ceremonial room in pur- 
suit of witches, and all suspicious witch cases are reported to the war 
chief, who in case of general sickness may ask the medicine societies 

66 Why not tobacco, tobacco chief? See p. 257. 

5" One informant stated that the office was vacant (see Gen. HI, 13); also that the kabew'iride succeeds 
to the office of t'ailcabedc, not kumpa whom she called p^ide. Should the kabew'iride not want the 
office, then it would be filled from the Corn group next in rotation. 

68 Here again is evidence that the theory of succession to the town chieftaincy by Com group is unsub- 
stantial, at least if kumpa and kabew'iride are the potential successors. Given the present incumbents 
of the offices of town chief and assistants we would get as successive town chiefs a White Corn man, again 
a White Corn man. a Vellow Corn man. 

66 P^i meaning "from the beginning of the world to its end," i. e., everlasting, the same word, com- 
mented my informant, as is found in the term for folk-tale (p^ishieO- 

^6 Eight or nine (Parsons, 7; 63); six (Parsons, 9: 159); or by last report, twelve male and two female, one of 
whom declared she was "the tail of them," the pg^ide having asked for her when she was sick. "My fam- 
ily said if I recovered, they would give me up." This woman, who is of a very masculine type, referred 
to herself as a kind of tut'uude (see p. 363). With two others she was expelled from the war society by its 
chief. The other two he has called back. The trouble was over Pablo Abeita. The woman had said 
that there were "some good things to him." 

;i Parsons 7: 63; Parsons 9: 159. 

"' The p^ide referred to was named Dolores. Dolores Hohola was kumpa about the time in question. 

"• And see Lummis 2: 221. 

260 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

to conduct a ceremony of witch exorcism or finding. The war chief 
himself has no ceremony. Nor does he ever make prayer sticks or 
feathers." He is possessed of the cane fetish called tue'funihili, cane 
prayer stick black old man, which in any ceremony of general curing 
lies on the altar to be sprinkled, and he is sometimes referred to as 
tuwilawe, cane war chief. 

The present war chief is Merihildo Chiwiwa or Leide ("he stays"). 
He is between 50 and 60 years old. He belongs to the Poplar division 
of the Blue Corn and to the shure'. 


In EngUsh the reference to the three old men who survive from 
the sometime larger group of scalp takers is "they kill Navaho 
(tehebnin)." Their function is in connection with the sporadically 
performed war ceremony when they lead the war party and for four 
weeks take care of the scalps (pik^'i). At other tunes they are not 
concerned with the scalps; nor do they appear to cooperate in any 
way with the war chief m his guardianship of the town. 

As already noted, the woman assistants of the town cliief are the 
regular purveyors of food to the scalps. Men are told to offer them 
food, and they do, sporadically. Should they do so regularly, once a 
day, the dead Navaho would show themselves, with a rope around the 
waist, in the mountains, or at night in town. At night the scalps are 
said to be very noisy and clamorous. If you are out at night with 
food they will follow you, crying, imtil you drop crimibs for them. 
Sometinies passers-by hear them crying inside the Idva, and wall say, 
"Guess a Navaho has been Idlled somewhere; they were crying last 
night." The town chief teUs about the noises they make. - 

One of the scalp takers who knows all the scalp songs is quoted as 
saying that if you keep thinking of these songs you always dream of 
the scalps. ... In one of these songs there is mention of the cliicf 
of fhes, pQyolade. 

The scalp taker had to remain on his return 12 days outside of 
town. . . . When they first tanned the scalp they would bite it, 
making it soft with their teeth as well as hands. The idea of kicking 
the scalp, as at Zuni, was unfamUiar. There appears to be no rain- 
making association with the scalps, and no reason could be advanced 
for keeping them. 

The scalp takers, all of whom are described as 90 years old, are: 
Chief, Jose Tomas PadiUa or Luao (arrow) ; Juan Domingo Lucero or 
Nafa (feather down); Lorenzo Olgen or Kapeo (tip designed). 

"3 In view of the function of prayer stick making and depositing, a highly elaborate function, of the war 
captains of the Keres, this statement seems questionable. 



The hunt chief conducts annually a ceremony in the autumn (see 
p. 336), and individual hunters go to him at any time to get prayer 
feathers.'^* The prototype of hmnaxu lives in Paw'iennowai, the lake 
of emergence at Taos. The tale about him is paralleled by a Taos 
tale. In both tales the chief is thought of as in control of all the 
animals (and birds), actually the hunt chief of Isleta is so thought of. 
Perhaps he were better called chief of the animals. 

The hunt chief is Manuel Chiwiwa, brother to the war chief. He 
has been in office three years, having been assistant to his predecessor. 
He is about 40 years old. He belongs to (?) Yellow Com and to 
Black Eyes. 

The assistant (auki) to the hunt chief is Manuel Hohola or Shyeto 
(prayer feather mark, referring to the paint on the cotton string) ; but 
like the hunt chief himself, he is always referred to as humaxu. He 
is 24. He belongs to White Com and Black Eyes. There was a 
second assistant who died.'^" 


The moiety organization is all inclusive; everyone is either 
shifuni'de or shure're, belonging to the Black Eyes (shi, eyes, fun, 
black) or to the shure'.''* A cliild belongs to the moiety of his or her 
parents, if the parents belong to the same moiety; otherwise the 
children are assigned (by parents) alternately in order of birth to 
both moieties, the eldest child to the father's moiety. Thus in 
theory. In practice such regularity of assignment seems to be con- 
siderably broken into. Isabel Abeita (Gen. I, 31), a first boiTi, is of 
her mother's moiety because her mother, a Black Eye, so reciuested 
of her father, a shure'. Again, a sickly infant may be given to the 
moiety other than the one in order, as was Tranquilino Abeita (Gen. 
I, 7), who was given to his mother's moiety, although he was a first 
bom and his father belonged to the other moiety. If for any reason 
a child is promised or vowed to any ceremonial group, he is given to 
the moiety to which his ceremonial father belongs. Again, if any 
one, relative or even nonrelative, desires a new-born child to become 
a member of his own moiety, he has but to spit into the infant's 
mouth to ensure the membership." A former Black Eyes chief did 

'3» And predictions for iiunt or journey. (Lummis 2: 216.) 

'3b According to Lummis there were seven members in ttie Hunt society. They conducted, each in 
turn, a series of seven weelily rabbit hunts, beginning in May. (Lummis 2; 211.) 

" The pocket gopher is similarly called, but our informant did not think that the ceremonial term had 
this meaning. The term "gophers" for the group must have been of some popular use, however, for 
Lummis mentions it (Lummis 1:45). Another derivation occurs to me, from shurmuyu, turquoise. The 
Isletan shure' are the homologues of the Keresan Turquoisekiva people, or kashare. See p. 262. In English, 
the shure' are referred to as Red Eyes, no doubt from the red pigment they use in contrast to the black of 
the other moiety. 

" Reminding us of the usual method of obtaining a ceremonial father among the Hopi. 

262 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

this to his sister's child (Dolorita Hohola) who afterwards called him 
tata shifun, and his wife, nana shifun (although this woman was a 
shure'). Ordinarily, any member of the chosen moiety may be 
selected as "father" to the child, to spit into the child's mouth four 
days after the birth and later during the ditch-opening ceremonial or 
the spring or autumn moiety ceremonials to cany the child to the 
moiety kiva for his adoption into the moiety. No particular distinc- 
tion is required of this "father." He might be a little boy. ... A 
man might have a dozen moiety "sons" or "daughters." . . . After 
the adoption or initiation the moiety may not be changed. . . . 
Obviously the moiety classification has nothing to do with marriage 
(there are about as many marriages without the moiety as within), 
nor with affiliation in any other group, nor with residence. All of 
which statements will find support in the map of the houses where 
the moiety affiliations of the heads of families are noted. 

The moieties are referred to as tuwinide (winter) (shifun) and 
tawinide (summer) (shure'),'° the Winter moiety taking charge at a 
transfer ceremony in late October, the Simimer moiety at the corre- 
sponding transfer ceremony in late March. On November 2 and 
April 8 moiety ceremonies are held. On these occasions infants may 
get their moiety name. 

The chief of the Black Eyes makes use ritualistically of the feathers 
of the tiriure, a bird which from the description ^' must be, I think, 
the sparrow hawk, and in dance make-up the Black Eyes use this 
feather, while the shure' use the turkey feather. In equating the 
groups with the Keresan or Jemez or Zuiii groups, kwirena or tsun'ta 
tabosh' or ne'wekwe, using sparrow hawk,^* and kashare or tabosh 
or koyemshi using turkey — this detiiil is of much significance. . . . 
The Black Eyes use a turtle shell rattle, the shure' a gourd rattle.'^ 
With the water turtle the Black Eyes are associated; the shure', with 
the land turtle.™ The Black Eyes talk backward, to one another 
and to others,*' "saying no when they mean yes." Their chief might 
say to the shure' chief," 'I don't need you at my place.' That is the 
time he wants him to come. The shure' talk straight." . . . As 
noted before, each moiety has two Idvas, its rectangular ceremonial 
chamber and its roundhouse. The moiety chief is in charge of both. 
There is not even a subordinate manager for the roundhouse. 

" See Parsons, 7: 57; Parsons, 9: 156. With this latter reference according to which the shifun are the 
Summer people and the shure' the Winter people, agrees the narrator of the tale about the origin of the 
liwa or pinitu dances. (See p. 373.) 

T" Spotted black and brown. The name tiriure refers to the quick motions the bird sometimes makes as 
it remains in one place in the air. 

'» See Jemej, Parsons, 16: 64, 98, n. 1. 

'» See Parsons, 16: 136. 

so For associations between animals and moieties in the southwest, see Strong, 48. Also passim for moiety 
traits in general 

61 Like the tsunta tabijsh of Jemez and the ne'wekwe of Zuiii. 


In all moiety ceremonial the two groups act separately, with the 
Black Eyes taking the lead, they being thought of as senior to the 
shure', their "elder brothers." At the emergence, shifung kabede 
and his people came out first — from the spring Shipapy, being followed 
by shure' kabede and his people — from the spring Kailirepe'ai.^- 

Chief of the Black Eyes (shifun kabede) is Bautista Lenti or 
Na-fa' (feather down). He is 30, but he has been in office six years. 
He was a companion to the deceased chief; but he was not his formal 
assistant; he was not even "in the ceremony." There had been no 
auki or chief assistant. The present assistants are three men, all 
about 20 — Pedro Lujan (White Corn), he is cliief assistant, Severino 
Zuni or Turbaloa' (sunshine) (White Corn); and Jose Lujan or 
Psekui (road good) (Yellow Corn). 

Chief of the shure' (shure' kabede) is Andres Hohola or Kgibato 
(goose white). He is between 40 and 50, succeeding about seven 
years ago Tomas PadUla. Hohola belongs to White Corn. His two 
assistants are about 25 — Felipe Karpiu or Py'enao (mountain leaf) 
(Yellow Corn), and Romero Abeita or Shukye' (eagle wing feather) 
(\Miite Corn). 

It will be noted that there are no women assistants. But in their 
ceremonial the moiety cliiefs appoint four girls, aged 6 or 7, to serve 
them, fetching water, etc., and it is these little girls who are called 
liuun, old women, who wash the men's hair. 

8. te'en (grandfathers) 

In each moiety there are, theoretically, four Grandfathers; but at 
present there is a vacancy among the shure'. The position is life- 
long. Vacancies are filled in the usual way as a result of a vow in 
sicloiess. The town chief who is at their head installs or initiates. 
With yucca blades he whips the initiate three times, the initiate 
calling out yayaya ! This whipping is ' ' like when they make k'atsina " 
(in the Laguna colony). The first time the grandfather is "finished " 
he has to go himself to the mountain for spruce for his collar and for 
yucca for his whip. "At a dance somebody might ask him, 'Where 
did you come from? ' He would show on his fingers. ' Where from? ' 
He would point to the mountain.*^ 'How many deer did you kill?' 
He would show on his fingers." The Grandfathers may not speak.** 
At the beginning of their play for a while, their head, the town chief, 
is with them. 

The masks worn by the Grandfathers are kept by the moiety chiefs 
in their kivas. They alone can put the masks on the Grandfathers. 

«' See p. 360. 

" Manzano Mountains. Compare Parsons, 7: 58. Equated by Pedro Martin' of Isleta=old Laguna 
with the chapio' bugaboo of Laguna. Compare Tewa (Parsons, 11: 150) where the tsabiyii are moiety 
representations, one from the Winter people, one from the Summer people. 

" Compare the pantomime of the leader of the kachina at Cochiti. (Dumarest, 177.) 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

Grandfather (te'e) 

The masks are of buckskin with long ears; *^ they are painted all 
white or all yellow or all red. (Fig. 4.) The Grandfathers wear 
a coat and trousers of buckskin; and a collar of spruce, and, as noted, 
they carry a whip of yucca blades. The Grandfathers are referred to 
in English as watchmen. 

The Grandfathers of the Black Eyes are: Domingo Martinez, aged 
30, belonging to the Blue Corn (tutenehu) ; Ramon Zuni or Paepato, 

aged 25, of the La- 
guna Fathers (see 
p. 268) and of the 
White Corn; Cre- 
scencio Armijo or 
Kapu (tip small), 
aged 30, White 
Corn ; with the 
town chief, as 
noted, making the 

The shure' 
Grandfathers are: 
Patasio Zuni or Tau (shuttle), aged 30, White Corn; Francisco 
Martinez or Mati (scoopingin, grinding), aged 24, Blue Corn (tutenehu) 
(he is brother of Domingo Martinez, the Black Eyes Grandfather); 
Lelo Montoya or Shiupffito (eagle road marked), aged 20, All Colors 
Com (shichu). 


His ceremony includes the Spruce or pinitu dance of September 
25-October 5, with the advent by night of the supernatural Ijwale. 
Chakabede appears to have no other function. 

The chakabede is lala'kab (willow tip) or Pablo Polaka. He is 
commonly called by his title chakabede; he is 40; *° YeUow Corn; 
Black Eyes. He was assistant to his predecessor, Juan Rey Montoya. 
His male assistant is Jos6 Trujillo or Pabu, 30; Yellow Corn; shure'. 
His female assistant who grinds his prayer stick paint is Paxo (water 


Curing by cleansing or exorcising is the distinctive function of these 
two groups, with minor functions of weather control, jugglery, and 
thief catching. In general they have the powers of clairvoyance and 
of prediction, powers which are attributed to them so insistently and 
in such high degree in comparison with any like references in other 

w The Black Eyes of Taos were once possessed of such masks. 

w At another time he was said to be 60, having held office 20 years or more. 


pueblos that their exercise should perhaps also be considered a major 
function. Going a far distance and returning within a short time is 
another of their distinctive powers.*' Sometimes they are requested 
to fetch spruce from the moimtains. Within a quarter of an hour 
their representative will arrive with the spruce, and on it and on his 
head there is snow. In witch catching a doctor will also travel a 
distance in short time. 

The societies or their members individually have to be ritually 
invited to perform. In the case of an individual cure, the doctor 
(toyide, medicine man; pi. toynin) goes to the house of the patient, 
unless a full or big ceremony has been asked for by the patient or 
his family in the society's house. For this full ceremony as well as 
for ritual at childbirth the doctor is invited through the chief of the 
Com group the patient belongs to. 

A convalescent does not necessarily join the society. The doctor 
is paid otherwise. On the other hand the sick man may take a vow 
to join the society. He need not choose the member curing him for 
his ceremonial father. Also a man may join the society without any 
experience of sickness. 

Besides their ceremonies of curing and of initiation, the medicine 
societies perform ceremonies in the series of solstice ceremonies, like- 
wise a ceremony of general exorcism, the ceremony of bringing down 
the moon and stars and ceremonies to quiet the wind, to bring rain, 
to expel grasshoppers. 

Moreover, either the town chief or the war chief may ask the 
societies to perform special ceremonial. A case in point occurred in 
November, 1925. A delegation '* from Zuiii arrived in Isleta to ask 
for medicine men to come to Zuni to cure their "coughing sicloiess." 
There was a meeting in the house of the town chief who asked the 
Towm Fathers to consider the matter. The same night the chief of the 
Town Fathers performed his ritual to discover what was happening at 
Zuiii. He learned that the sickness was a "punishment" to the Zuiii 
for letting whites and Mexicans see their ceremonial.*' So the Fathers 
refused to go to Zuiii, and the Zuiii delegates had to go on to Jemez 

8" The power to make long distance flights is possessed by Keresan shamans also, as it was also possessed, 
it may be of interest to note, by the nun Maria de Jesiis who told Benavides of her flights from Spain to 
the Indians of New Mexico, beginning in 1620. (Benavides, 276-277.) Benavides relates that the Xu- 
manas, a Caddoan tribe neighboring the southern Pueblos, reported that they were visited from the hills 
by a young woman who preached to them and for this reason they wanted to be converted. The padre 
who went to them was Father Salas who was to go later to Quarai (Benavides, 58-59), whence there were 
immigrants to Isleta. 

** Pitasio and Leopold were mentioned as delegates. 

89 The ceremonial in mind was undoubtedly the shalako in which the kachina masks appear. During 
the past few years there have been visitors to Zuiii during the shalako from the eastern pueblos, San 
Domingo, San Felipe, Isleta, among them Pablo Abeita of Isleta. And these visitors are critical of the 
admission of whites (Mexicans are excluded) at Zurii to the equivalent of what in their own towns whites 
are rigorously excluded from. And so the Zuni sickness is interpreted as the hand of Qod. 

6066°— 31 18 

266 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

to ask help from the doctors there. With them went from Isleta 
that influential townsman, Pablo Abeita. 

Between the two societies there is no specialization. Of speciali- 
zation within the society there appears to be more among the Lagima 
Fathers than among the Town Fathers. A would-be patient or cUent 
can apply directly to the specialist practitioner in the Laguna society ; 
if applying to the town society, you must apply to the chief who assigns 
the case. The ceremonial of the Laguna Fathers is said in town to 
be "stronger" than any other. This was an ex parte statement. 
However, at the emergence, bachude, younger sister, from whom the 
Laguna Fathers are named, also had more power; it was she who 
brought everything up. Tutude, elder sister, was the greedy one. 
This reference points to that competition between the sisters or 
Mothers which is fully set forth in Keresan myth.^" 

In each society there is a koatq,mide, a speciaHst for pregnancy and 
childbirth, with a woman assistant. 

One of the Town Fathers is a veterinary. Before undertaking the 
cure of an animal, say a horse, he decides whether or not the animal 
will recover. Sometimes he states that a horse is sick from the 
sickness of its owner having been transferred to it. On the other 
hand it is said by the Fathers that once a year a horse is possessed of 
the will to kill its owner, so the Fathers advise people to treat their 
horses well. 

In each society there is a thief catcher or detective (nanuka'ade).^' 
This Father is invited by the loser of property with a cigarette. He 
goes to the loser's house to perform his ritual or office (see p. 449) 
which is veiy much like that borrowed from the Navaho at Zuni.°- 
The house or the appearance of the thief is described, but his name 
is not mentioned. After the property is recovered the detective may 
be given a present; but like the other medicine men he does not ask 
for pay. Isletans "Icnow that if they steal they will be found out." 
Once the ladder was stolen from the roundhouse of the Black Eyes. 
There was talk of performing the detection ritual. Perhaps it was a 
townsman who had sold the ladder. Within the week the ladder 
was brought back and left in front of the church. The thief was 
afraid of being found out by the ceremony. 

The fireman (fe't'aide) for all (?) the kivas, in which matches are 
taboo, belongs to the Laguna Fathers. He gets his fire from the town 
chief, fire which has been made with flint and cotton. (There is no 
drill.) The fireman can handle fire and stand on coals without being 
burned. The fireman exercises his office at the request of the town 
chief or the war chief. 

M See Boas, 224-226; Dumarest, 212-215. " Parsons, 1. See, too, Dumarest, 196. 

" Noem, night time, was the suggested etymology. 



Among the Laguna Fathers are cited a Snake doctor (piruka'ade) 
and an Ant doctor (intu ka'ade), a hunt doctor (sho'ka'ade, shonuwe, 
hunter) who works for hunters, also one who performs ritual for a 
new house, setting out his Mother in it and an arrow point (no altar 
design), and burying in the middle of the floor, also hanging in the 
midmost place in the roof, behind a beam so as not to show, three 
tied prayer feathers (?sticks) (nato'ye) such as are used in the liwade 
ceremony. . . The Ant doctor was taught by Juan Rey, of the 
Laguna immigration. 

Although among the Laguna Fathers there are now no Laguna men 
or even men of Laguna descent it seems probable from its name and 
other facts that the society was originally organized by Laguna 
immigrants;'^ a fact which would explain the greater degree of 
specialization, since the original Laguna members must have belonged, 
in accordance with what we know of Laguna histoiy and ceremonial 
organization, to different Laguna societies. Of one Laguna member 
of the Laguna Fathers we have an interesting history. This was Juan 
Rey or Sheride (Laguna narae).'^ He was one of the original Laguna 
immigrants and one who was especially desired to remain at Isleta 
because of his power. He was an Ant doctor and a stick swallower 
(takoonin) .'° In 1923 he planned to move from Isleta to Sandia 
where he sent on ahead a box containing his swallowing sticks as weU 
as the canes of office of the sometime governor and officers of the 
Laguna colony. A woman told somebody about this, who told the 
governor, who told the cacique of the Laguna colony. "They had a 
meeting about it. They would not let Juan Rey go to Sandia until 
they got back his box. They sent some men for it. Then Rey went 
to Sandia. After a year he died. He did not last long because he 
broke his promise to do his ceremony at Isleta." . . . Rey had used 
the house of the Lagima Fathers for his ceremony to which only 
Laguna people went, no Isletans. There is no stick swallowing now. 
It was Juan Rey who made the pictures on the walls of the kiva of 
the Laguna Fathers. It was Casildo of Laguna who taught the pres- 
ent fire maker his ritual of fire building and of exposing himself to 

gpg 95a 

Chief of the Town Fathers is Rey(es) Zuiii or Turshanpaw'iepuyu 
(sunrise lake light), aged 60, Black Eyes, White Corn. His chief 

»s This origin is denied, as might be expected, Jby the townspeople. "They had birka'an, Laguna Fathers, 
at Isleta before the Laguna people came. When they came up (i. e., at the emergence) they were already 
named birka'an." Possibly the organization does antedate any particular migration from Laguna, merely 
showing Keresan influence. 

»' Possibly from the shahaiye, the Laguna society of which the Ants and the Giants (shkuyu) were 
subdivisions or orders. 

" Tako is the shuttle used in weaving. This is the kind of stick that is swallowed. Compare Lummls 
2: 83. 

»s» Compare Lummis 2: 80. 

268 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

assistant is his brother's son, Bautista Zufti or Churma (yellow, call), 
aged 30, shiire'. White Corn. 

He is the doctor for pregnancy and birth. The woman assistant 
to Bautista Zuni is Pefeita Ansara or Kepap (mother spreading), aged 
30, shure', Yellow Com. This woman is the wife of the hunt chief. 
The other male assistants are Jos6 Chiwiwi or Pa'wi (water pine), 
aged 40, shure'. White Corn; Francisco Armijo or Paxola (star), aged 
30, Black Eyes, White Corn (he is the veterinary) ; Crescencio Carpio 
or Pawire (water digging), aged 25, shure'. Yellow Corn; Bautista 
Martinez or Kapyyu (tip hght), aged 24, shure', Black Corn (Magpie) ; 
Jos6 Carpio or Luabato (arrow white), aged 25, shure', White Corn; 
Bautista Hohola or Atita (metate, grinding motion, shuttle), aged 22, 
Black Eyes, Yellow Com; Crescencio Lucero or Kimbato (mountain 
lion white), aged 20, shure'. White Com. The other women assist- 
ants are: Hetrudes Chiwiwi or Turpap (sun spreading), aged 22, Black 
Eyes, White Com; Canda Lucero or Shiekire (prayer feather prone), 
aged 25, Black Eyes, White Com. 

Chief of the Laguna Fathers is Jose Chave(z) or Turuu (sunny), aged 
30, Black Eyes, White Com. His chief assistant, who is also the doc- 
tor for pregnancy and childbirth, is Jos6 Armijo or Lurto (rain), aged 
30, shure', White Corn. Armijo's woman assistant is Marcellina 
Lucero or Berkwi (rainbow), aged 25, shure'. White Corn. The other 
male assistants are: Bautista PadUlaor Fiema (corncob dart), who is 
the Snake doctor, aged 25, shure'. Blue Corn; Remigio Maruxo or 
K'oatason (war blade young man) who is the Ant doctor, aged 26, 
Black Eyes, Black Corn (Poplar) ; Juan Chato orTakita (cotton seed), 
who is the fire builder^'' (see p. 356), aged 40, shure', Yellow Corn; 
Lorenzo Padilla or Pienpyyu (mountain light), aged 30, Black Eyes, 
All Colors Corn (ietai) ; Jose Istibula Hohola or Teriwipaloa (parrot 
tail bright), who is both government pohce officer and the thief 
catcher or detective, having studied imder Jose Chav6, the society 
chief (he held the office of detective before he became chief), aged 25, 
shure'. White Corn; Ramon Zuni, or Psepalo (road shining), who is the 
house-finishing ritualist, also a Grandfather (see p. 264), aged 25, Black 
Eyes, White Com; Juan Hiron or Po'u (cane), aged 17, shure', All 
Colors Corn (shichu). The other female assistants are: Reyes 
Lucero or Shieshoni (prayer feather blue), aged 30, shure'. White 
Com; Maria Lujan or lou (corn httle), aged 20, shure', All Colors 
Corn (Eagle) (Gen. HI, 62). 

» He has a 6-year-old boy "given" him by the boy's parents as apprentice. 



These groups are also all inclusive ; everybody belongs to one of the 
seven. Theoretically he or she belongs to his mother's group, but 
not merely from birth; as in the case of the moiety, he or she has to 
be adopted ritually into the group. And a group, not the mother's, 
may be selected for the child by the parents, as in the case of Gene- 
alogy I, 10, whose parents, themselves belonging to the Black Corn 
group, gave her to the Yellow Corn or Earth people. Initiation or 
adoption ritual is performed at either the \vinter or summer solstice 
ceremonial following the birth. 

The Corn groups have nothing to do with marriage. From the 
house census ^^ I made there appears to be about half as many 
marriages within the group as without, which would indicate, if any- 
thing, an endogamous tendency. But about half of the marriages 
within the group are within the WTiite Corn group, which from its 
numerical preponderance might be expected and which offsets some- 
what the impression of a general endogamous tendency. The pres- 
tige of the Wtite Corn group may possibly affect marriage choices. 

Each group has a chief (kabede), a chief assistant (auki'i) and a 
varying number of other assistants (k'abnin) or helpers as my inform- 
ant always referred to them in Enghsh. The women assistants are 
called keide (mother). One of them is thought of as the head. In 
particular they fetch the water used in ritual, they wash the hair of 
the male members, they grind the paints for prayer feathers or sticks, 
and they have charge of the sacrosanct bundles and of the basket of 
sacred meal. They perform dance steps in ceremonial, but they do 
not sing. 

Benin is a collective term for all members of the group. The chief, 
or rather chief assistant who is in training for the chieftaincy, may 
come into the position from a vow in sickness, as may also the other 
male or female assistants. Also the chief when he is in need of 
another assistant may call a general meeting of all his sons (wahkuan) 
to choose an assistant. The Corn Fathers or Mothers, as they may be 
referred to in English, "work for the whole world," including Mexicans 
and Americans. 

" Wakuan, members of the group; imwakuo, my Corn group: wakukabede, Corn group chief. Awakua, 
cornstalk with ears; wa, all, kua, the alternating ear. 

»s My informant, I should state, was in many cases self-contradictory in regard to a person's Corn group 
afflUation. He was not willfully misstating; I think he was merely guessing at the affiliation, and he 
would forget what his guess had been. As Corn group affiliation does not affect marriage choices, the 
affiliations are not generally as well known, I surmise, as are clan affiliations, at least in the western pueblos. 
The usual way of knowing wliat are the affiliations of people not of your own Com group is by noticing 
where they go in at the solstice ceremonials. Of one family of Laguna descent Lucinda remarked, for 
example, "They are all meyu hano (Lizard people or clan; i. e., in Isletan terms, Earth people or Yellow 
Com group), because we see where they go." 

270 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

These Com groups have no Corn mother fetishes, but "mothers" — 
i. e., fetishes — I infer, they do have. A black cane was referred to 
as the Mother of the Tutenehu Bhie Corn people. 

The Corn groups are named and are associated conceptually and 
ritually with the corn of the five color directions as follows: 

12. to'tainin, Day people: our mother white com, kikewe'i iabato 

(ie', com, bato, white), east. 

13. narnin, Poplars 

1 Ti /r ■ QQf our mother black com, kikewe'i iefuni, north. 

koaran, Magpies""] ^^ 

14. namtainin. Earth people: our mother yellow corn, kikewe'i 

iechuri, west. 

15. pachimin. Water-bubbling (people)lour mother blue corn, 
tutenehy', Cane blowing through. ) kikewe'i iechuri, south. 

16. ietaide, Corn person 

our mother mixed corn, kikewe'i k'uabo- 

tim. Up, down, and middle. 

jshyu, Eagle 
18. shichu 

^''•jkoi, G 


This group takes precedence of the others in so far as its chief 
(natoyim) goes into retreat at the solstices one day in advance of the 
others. The group is the largest of all the Com groups.' Its chief 
is the leading man, as it happens, in town, distinguished by his wealth, 
American education, and no doubt by his character. He is Pablo 
Abeita or Turw'iv (sun kick stick); aged about 50. He belongs to 
the Black Eyes. His assistants are: Chief assistant, Jose' Hohola ^ 
or Na'bato (whiteness), brother of the chief of the shure', aged 35, 
shure'; Patricio Lujan or Shiepyyu (prayer feather light) (Gen. I, 11), 
who was vowed in sickness by his father, aged 35, Black Eyes; Juan 
Rey Lucero or Paw'iapyyu (lake light), aged 22, shure'; and as women 
assistants or keide, Beatris Orgen or Kity (meal altar design, see p. 279), 
aged 25, shure'; Maria Maruxo or la' (corn silk), aged 30, shure'; 
Juana Batista or Toyo (prayer stick Uttle), aged 25, Black Eyes. 


These divisions alternate in taking charge of the ceremony. It is 
optional with the parent to which division the child may belong. 

Chief of the Magpies is Bautista Zuiii' or Turshan (sunrise), aged 
70, shure'; his first assistant being Domingo Hohola or Narw'iv 

" Identified through Spanish term oraka. 

■ Yellow Corn is the next largest group. Practically all the hierarchic offices are filled by representatives 
of the White and Yellow Corn groups. 

' Not kin to the chief. 

' In December, 1925, he died, and the solstice ceremony was not performed by the group. It was said 
that at the following June solstice ceremony the first assistant would be installed chief. 


(poplar kick stick), aged 30, Black Eyes; his other male assistant, 
Salanion Lenti or Turshure (a red bird, see p. 274), aged 25-27, Black 
Eyes; his female assistant, Predicana Abeita or P'ienbese' (mountain, 
terrace cloud design), aged 27, Black Eyes. 

The skin of a magpie is displayed on the altar in their ceremonial.'' 
But in their prayer feathers no magpie feather is used. Our inform- 
ant insisted that k'oaran (fig. 5) did 
not mean magpie which was k'oara'de. 
There is another very similar sounding 
word for bluebird, koara'de, and it is 
by this term that a child belonging 
to the group might be jeered at.^ 

Chief of the Poplars (narkabede) is 
Vicente Wanchu or Naride (poplar), 
aged 40, share'. His assistants are: 
Chief, Alcario Harnuo or Tuefuni 
(cane black ),^ aged 22, shure'; and 
Juan Bautista Lucero or Ati (a, me- 
tate; ti, grinding motion), aged 22, r,a„„E s.-KVran (unidentified bird) 
shure'. The women are: Dominga 

Armijo or Paechuri (road, yellow), aged 35, shure' ; Lolita Carpio 
or Koawa (spruce branch), aged 30, shure'; Josefina Jiron or Shiepap 
(prayer feather spread), aged 25, shure'. 


The chief is Domingo Churina or Turbatoa (sun bright), aged 40, 
shure'. His assistants are: Chief, Lelo Abeita or Kukuyu (Laguna 
word), aged 35, Black Eyes; Jose' Abeita, brother to Lelo, aged 30, 
Black Eyes. The women are: Josepita Ansela or lechuri (corn 
yellow), aged from 60 to 65, shure'; Marcellina Abeita or Maxo 
(circle), aged 40, shure'; Rufina Lucero or Mapo (ear of com with 
glumes, see p. 217), aged 35, shure'. (Gen. I, 10.)' 

15. water-bubbling people (pachirl) * and cane-blowing people 

(tutenehu') ° (blue corn) 

These divisions, like the Black Corn divisions, are alternately in 
charge of the ceremony; and here, too, the divisional membership is 
optional with the parent. 

* We recall the bird skins on Hopi altars. 
' Compare p. 273, n. 14. 

fl Referring to the Mother; i. e., fetish of the Pachirnin. 
^ Discrepancy in family name is deliberate. 

* Or pachirnin, meaning, according to one informant, water red shell. 

^ .\nother etymology tu, cane, tene. long, did not seem convincing to the informant. The chief of the 
group has no cane. See pp. 372 and 270. 

272 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

Chief of the Water-bubbling people is Juan Lucero or QpyJ" 
(leaf light), aged 35, shure'. He took office in December, 1925. 
His chief assistant is Ronaaldo Abeita or Shieto (prayer feather 
marked) who is 50, conspicuously senior to his chief, the explanation 
given that he was perhaps vowed to the group but lately. He is 
Black Eyes. The other assistants are, male, Macellino Hohola or 
Kieto (standing mark), aged 18, shure'; female, Reyes Zuni '" or 
Kyena (I place it), aged 40, shure'; Oloxia Montoya or Hoakire 
(hoa, sacrosanct bundle, kire, lay), aged 32, Black Eyes; Lupita 
Churina or P'ienao (mountain leaf), aged 40, shure' (Gen. IV, 14). 

Chief of the Cane-blowing people is Juan Jos6 Usolo or Po'u 
(cane), aged 40, shure'. His chief assistant, and he has but one male 
assistant, is Tomas Chabe (Chaves) or Kimu (mountain hon), aged 
20, Black Eyes; his female assistant is Rehina Lenti or Wiwia (tail 
plaque, referring to the plaque girt with feathers worn in dances). 


This group may serve as a land of omnibus group for disaffected 
members of the other Corn groups. Were a man to fall out with the 
chief of his own Corn group — he may have been chided, for example, 
for revealing the religion — he might go to the chief of All Colors 
group who would advise him to go back to his own Corn group or, if 
his own chief is to blame, would retain him in All Colors group. 
Such a situation rose within the family of the group's chief. His 
son," a Blue Com man, having quarreled with the Blue Corn people, 
now participates in the ceremony of the Corn people, the ceremony 
of which his own father is chief. 

Chief of the main group, the ietaide kabede, is Jos6 PadiUa or 
lebato (corn white), aged [?] 40, shure'. His chief assistant is Felipe 
Vilardi or Berseu (kiva cloud terrace design hearth), aged 30, Black 
Eyes. He has no other male assistants. His female assistants are: 
Maria Torres or Nabato (whiteness), aged 50, Black Eyes; Hertrudes 
Vikirdes or Berkwi or Rainbow, aged 25, Black Eyes. 

The group has three subdivisions or splits-off: Eagle, Goose, and 


Eagle and Goose alternate in taldng charge of their ceremony. 
These groups separated as recently as 1923, from the Corn people, 
the present Eagle people chief (shyut'aikabede) taking with him, on 
his withdrawal, his ceremonial children; i. e., those members of the 
mother group to whom he had been ceremonial father, 15 persons; 

10 Her mother belongs to the White Corn people. 

" One of the two Padillas among the Lagima Fathers. 



and the present Goose people chief (koit'aikabede) taking with him, 
similarly, 7 persons. Of the withdrawals all that our informant 
would say was "perhaps they quarreled."'- The subdivisions. 
Eagle and Goose, existed in the Com people group before the sepa- 

Chief of the Eagle people is Domingo Lujan or Shyubato (eagle 
white), aged 35, Black Eyes (Gen. Ill, 42). He has no chief assist- 
ant. He has a little boy assistant, Jos4 Hiron or Piempuyu (moun- 
tain light), aged 8, Black Eyes; and one female assistant, Felicita 
Hiron (no relation to the foregoing child) or lechuri (yellow corn), 
aged 30, shure'. 

Chief of the Goose people is Nicolas (?Juan) Lenti or KqIw'} 
(goose, tip of tail), aged 30, Black Eyes. He has no male assistant; 
one female, Petra Valdes or Kir'u " (spreading or laying). 

18. SHICHU '■' (all colors COKN) 

The Shichu group is of a much older '^ establishment than the 
above group, and their chief has particular functions. He takes part 
in the racing ceremonial, at which time (see p. 325) the infants of his 
group may receive their Corn name. At the liwa ceremony in Feb- 
ruary the Shichu present a night dance (see pp. 318 and 373), and at 
this time also the infants of his group may receive their name. From 
these infants in later life he selects the dancers. Shichu kabede is 
mentioned as cooperating in planting ritual and in the ceremony of 
bringing down the moon. He seems to be closer to the town chief 
than the other Com Fathers, a relationship which is explained in the 
folk tale about the town chief of Berkwjtoe.'* Here, too, we learn 
that from Bat the Shichu chief gets his power. 

The solstice ceremonies of the group are the same as those of the 
other groups; but they are the last in time, by one day. When the 
Pecos Eagle Watchers Society was fitted into the calendar at Jemez 
their retreat was placed at the close of the series of both solstice and 
rain retreats. Also the Pecos immigrants introduced a dance. It 
is tempting to specidate that the Shichu group was founded by immi- 
grants, perhaps from Berkwitoe. 

Chief of the Shichu is Bautista Wanchu who is referred to by 
title, shichu kabede. He is aged 30, and a shure'. His chief assist- 
ant is MigueH Lenti or Pq'u (the plain or in Spanish llano), aged 30, 

'2 Corroborated by another informant. Juan Lenti, cliief of the Goose people, who quarreled with Jos6 
Padilla, chief of the Corn people. 

" Her mother belongs to Yellow Corn. 

1* The word means rat or mouse, but our informant was insistent that as applied to this Corn group the 
word did not mean rat. I am not certain, however, that it was not a nickname given to the group. The 
term (shichure) may be used as a jocose insult to any contemporary or as a term of ridicule to a child who 
belongs to the group. You big Shichu (Mexican, raton)! See, too, p. 372. 

1* Before the memory of our middle-aged informant. 

'« See p. 3S4. 

274 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

shure'. Two female assistants: Olaia Lenti or To'kum (day rising), 
aged 35 to 40, shure'; Lupita or Klechiu' (rain little), aged 30, 


Peayek Sticks and Feathers 

Only the chiefs (hunters excepted) make prayer sticks or feathers 
which are referred to indiscriminately '* as nashie' or shie'.^' I get 
the impression that prayer feathers are used more commonly than 
prayer sticks. For example, the Hunt chief makes only prayer 
feathers, never prayer sticks; and prayer feathers only are made for 
the dead or to secrete in a newly built house or to tie to the "sun." 
The prayer feathers offered to the sun are called lawashie' (lawa, 
fringe, shie',^"' tied), which is also the term for the ritual hair feathers 
of the town chief. To similar prayer feathers for the moon are 
attached red beads. 

The prayer stick made by the chakabede for his spruce gatherers 
is called to'ai. It consists of a joint of cane and two turkey feathers. 
A to'ai ^' is also made by the chief of either medicine society to be 
deposited in the river by the woman assistant who fetches water, 
and a to'ai is made for the sim (fig. 6) ; by whom I did not learn. 
During their solstice retreats the medicine societies make prayer 
sticks called mapotowai (map5, ear of corn -wath glumes), with which 
are included the crook stick type of prayer stick familiar at Jemez, 
at Laguna, and at Zuni. These are buried in the corn fields. " 

Besides turkey (piendirude) feathers, which are thought of as having 
preeminence,^' duck (p'apire) and goose (ko'uire) feathers are men- 
tioned as well as feathers of the humming bird (w'sputu'shureure), 
tushore, an all red bird, and tujumare, a yellow bird. Humming- 
bird feathers are used on the stick for the stillborn. Blue bird 
(kow'aioaken) feathers are used by the shure'. . . . Among the 
prayer stick feathers none is referred to as mantje or blanket or dress 
for the stick as is the practice elsewhere. The midribs of feathers 
maybe painted. (See p. 292.) Ritual feathersare kept, as elsewhere, 
in oblong bo.xes of cottonwood. Domestic turkeys are kept for their 

" Her mother belongs to Yellow Corn. 

IS Compare a like indiscriminate use of pe, stick, for prayer feather among the Tewa. 

" Possibly the etymology is the same as in the term for folk tale (see p. 359) and means talk, referring 
to the messagelike Quality of the offering (compare Parsons, 17; 55) or the term may mean "tied." See 
below; also compare Parsons, 16: 100. 

" See p. 292. The term lawashie' refers to hair prayer feathers at large, I infer, like the Zuni term 
lashowane. " With lawashie' we clothe the sun," meaning dress or rather headdress. Compare Parsons, 
16; 137. The lawashie' referred to are painted, for the directions. 

^1 The term for medicine man, toyide, may possibly be related to this term for prayer stick. 

22 Parsons, 7; 60-61. According to Parsons, 9; 160, the chiefs of the Corn groups make these prayer sticks 
for the fields. The medicine societies make them during their oeremony of general exorcism. (lb. 162.) 

" See p. 291. 




feathers, three by the chief of the Laguna Fathers, and four or five 
by the chief of the Blue Corn group. (Wild turkey is eaten at Isleta.) 

The wood commonly used for prayer sticks is \villow (iaia). Red 
willow is used by the Black Eyes and referred to in ritual as tupaKwa 
(tu, cane, pa, water, for hwa, see pp. 343-344). Yellow willow is 
used by the shure' and referred to as 
paw'iala (lake willow). Willow is used 
also by the town chief and by kumpa for 
their prayer sticks. The stick is worked 
but little; the representation of a face 
through a facet at the tip was unfami- 
liar to my informant. The usual hand 
measures are followed: From base of 
thumb to tip of middle finger, the length 
of the middle finger, or the last two joints. 
The pigments used are koafunto, dark 
blue mineral (? malachite) which is also 
described as black, used on the sticks of 
the Black Eyes; natope', a red pigment; 
pari', also a red pigment, used in the 
sticks of the shure', also on the face. 

Feathers are tied with native grown 
cotton. (For the ritual of this tying 
see p. 292.) As elsewhere, the tie string 
may be painted. (See p. 292.) 

Prayer stick or feather is not buried ; ^* 
it would bring misfortune. Nor are there 
shrines. ^^ The sticks or feathers are 
placed out of sight under bush or rock, 
Laguna fashion, or thrown into spring 
or river. 

In a folk tale a large bunch of prayer 
feathers, together with a cigarette, is re- 
ferred to as w»mi (w'emi), pay, suggesting that at Isleta as else- 
where, prayer feathers or sticks are thought of as compensation to 
the spirits for what is asked of them. 

Figure C— Prayer stick for Sun. 
Willow, from wrist to tip of middle 
finger. Black, and spotted with 
various colors. Feathers, eagle, 
turkey, duck, red bird, yellow 
bird, k'Qrade (black, spotted 

Offerings^* of Corn Meal or Pollen; Road Making; Food 


Corn meal or pollen (our informant uses the terms indiscrimi- 
nately)" is in very general ritual use. It is sprinkled by everybody 

" But see p. 374. 

" Again see p. 374, where a hunter's shrine is clearly indicated. 

" Any gifts to the spirits, including prayer sticks or feathers, are called "pay." 

" This failure to discriminate should be held in mind in reading the accounts of ceremonies. 

276 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth ann. 47 

to the sun at sunrise.^* In ceremonial it is sprinkled to sun, moon, 
stars. It is sprinkled in all the directions, or in the direction of any 
spirit that is being addressed. It is sprinlded on prayer feathers, on 
the altar, and on the sun spot. It is placed in the basket or on the 
hand where sacrosanct objects are to be placed or given. It is 
thrown into the river or buried in the field. The meal and poUen are 
contained separately in buckskin in the pouch of the bandoleer. Corn 
pollen only is used; not as in some other places pollen from flowers. 
Corn pollen may be gathered by anybody, "with a song," asking one 
of the cornstalks in the row for it. "We always ask for what we 

Ritual road (p'aeide) making by sprinkling com meal occurs as else- 
where. Persons are led in or out of the ceremonial room by sprinkling 
meal before them. The chakabede makes a pollen road for liwale 
when he leads him into town. Similarly, the chiefs lead a returning 
war party, or an irrigating party, into town by sprinkling meal. (See 
p. 326.) The town chief sprinkles meal for the sun in a line from east 
to south when the runners name the sun in their song, which sprinkling 
is "like calling him"; i. e., maldng a road for him. Sunilarly by meal 
road making, the deceased is smnmoned, as well as dismissed. 

Food offerings are made at meals, when men go for wood or go 
hunting, and on various ritual occasions, to Wffiide and to the dead. 
The crumbs are dropped on the ground from the right hand for 
Waeide, from the left for the dead. In the solstice ceremonies these 
offerings are made on the nearest ash pile. "Let us remember the 
fire," said Lucinda, "by throwing into it the crumbs of the cake we 
spilled." ^ The oft'erings to the scalps are dropped below the niche 
in the roundhouse where the scalps are kept. On the fourth night 
after death a bowl of food is taken out for the deceased. ... All 
such food offerings are taken in bits from the bowls and baskets of 
food provided for the performers of the ceremony or the attendants. 

On All Saints Day the mothers of deceased children bake meal in 
the form of animals, rabbits, horses, etc.,^° thinking the children 
(Mexican, angelitos, Isletan, nawi'eu) would like them. The dough 
images are placed on the church altar. The women also put food in 
a bowl for the dead, believing that the dead come for it. On this 
day responsos (namahu), responses for the dead, are paid for, in grain 
and bread. The padre is said to keep the grain; the bread he sells to 

Criunbs may be sprinlded outside of town, by anyone, to the ants. 

" See p. 368. 

» She added, " Food you don't like you are sure to spill, just as I am sure to spoil my pot (in the making) 
if I don't like it." 
'»» Compare Laguna, Parsons, 3: 260. 

parson?] ritual 277 


Each member of the medicine societies is possessed of a Corn 
mother (kei'de, mother; or iema'paru), Ukewise the to\\Ti chief. This 
fetish is wrapped with cotton and dressed with beads '^ and feathers, 
among them two parrot (terikya) tail feathers which are obtained 
from a sacerdotalist in San Domingo who keeps a hve bird. Of the 
composition of the Mother our informant professed to be ignorant, 
insisting that she was "just bom," born ready made. (Seep. 367.) 
But there is little doubt that the Mother is an ear of corn, probably 
of perfectly kerneled com (iekap, com, tip, or kaimu, kai, com in 
husk, mu, cover). Such ears when foimd at husking are kept in their 
husk in the store room for planting. They are placed first in the 
stack — i. e., they are under the stack — and they are placed with a 
song. Curiously enough, kaimu are said not to be used as elsewhere 
in naming ritual. ... At his death a man's Mother is given to his 
widow to look after, if she is able to, and until she remarries. Then 
it is taken from her, and "they send it back"; i. e., whence it came. 

The corn ear with a double tip is called twin (kuyude), but there 
is no special use or treatment for it, whereas if there are several tips 
to an ear they are broken off, because this kind of ear (kike'wei maxo 
tenede, our mother fingers greedy or monopolistic) "would send all 
the rest of the corn out of the house." This from Juan Abeita, but 
Lucinda said, drawing perhaps from her Keresan lore, that such an 
ear (berupehim'ai, baby to have) is given to cattle to have a big 
family, with the words, "I want you to have as many children as are 
on the corn," perhaps five or six. There is a form of ear where the 
cob is grainless in spots near the grain covered tip. Whoever planted 
this ear, it is said, was hungry, and the ear is called kike'wei hq;huu, 
our mother hungry old woman. 

In this connection of corn fetishism I wall give the beginning of the 
song that has to be simg whenever anybody picks up the grains that 
drop from the ear (xorlur, grain dropped) in harvesting.'' 






I am picking up dropped grains 




I am finding 


I find 

There are animal 


(ke'chu),'* of whom mountain lion 
(kymide) is the first, " the first helper." The others are bear (koide) ; 
eagle (shiwile); badger (karnade); rattlesnake (charara're). These 

" Maboro. Possibly this is the etymology for iema'paru, com, beads, or it may be ia, corn silk, mapo, 
corn with glumes. (See p. 274.) 

-• See p. 248. 

3* Ke' or ker means a defensive, protective, town wall. Ke'chu also means great mother (see p. 230), 
and the usual Pueblo term for fetish is " mother." 

278 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

ke'chu are to be found, together with stone arrow points, under any 
tree that was struck by lightning seven or more years before. 

Stone arrow points or blades (koshi, ko'anshi'e), thunder knives, 
are also coughed up by the deer which the hunt chief draws in with 
his ceremonial. The hunt chief takes the point from the deer's 
mouth.'* Points, most particularly white arrow points, are used 
considerably in ritual. One occupies an important place on the altar, 
and an arrow point may be carried for personal protection or power ^' 
by any one — by a racer in his mouth, for example. When a certain 
Isletan, now an old man, once raced as a youth at Taos, he ran with 
an arrow point in his mouth. (And he beat the Ute he was put up 
against. "Heavy betting on that race.") Lucinda had an anecdote 
of how her two little girl neighbors, frightened at being left alone in 
their house, came into her house late one night. Each little girl 
carried an arrow point in her hand. And Lucinda remembered that 
a spear point was stuck in the rafters of her grandfather's house. 
Around a new grave a mark may be made with a point to keep away 
witches or, perhaps, to keep the dead in place, just as in ceremonial 
a circle is drawn around a live rabbit or deer "to tie him." In exor- 
cising the dead a point is passed over the door and walls of his house. 
Again in exorcising against witchcraft a cross may be made on the 
door with a point, and a witch's bundle is cut open with a point. 
The "witch" who is caught and brought into the ceremonial chamber 
is himself Idlled ^nth a stone loiife. 

In the solstice ceremonies figures a stone called weryu tainin, 
representing .all the animals, tame and wild; there are still other 
stones (ksenim) which represent animals and birds. Every medicine 
man has two or three which he keeps in the bag containing his corn 
ear fetish," and sets out on his altar. These ksenim ask for power 
from the animals whose shapes they resemble. They are natural, 
not carved. Some, the people brought up with them; some have 
been found in the mountains. 

Other stones, oblong with rounded top, resembling a moimtain, 
are called shunai. Each is named for a particular mountain, as, for 
example, tutur'mai,'* San Mateo Mountain. They represent the 
mountain homes of the animals or k^nim.'^ They are a few inches 
high.« (Fig. 16.) 

An anthropomorphic fetish stone, representing a legendary hunter, is 
said to be in the keeping of the Town Fathers. (See pp. 373-374.) 
The hunt chief is possessed of an irregularly shaped stone, "shaped 

'' That medicine stones are found in the stomach of " medicine deer " is a Taos belief. 

»' See pp. 452 and 302. Compare Parsons 8 : 121, n. 2. 

" whatever sacrosanct things are bundled up are referred to collectively as hoa. 

38 Also tuturmapqai. 

>• Also, presumably, as such stones do on Hopi altars, the abodes of the chiefs of the directions. 

" Compare Parsons, 12, Figure 19. 


like a man," called k'oata ■" (Fig. 7), of which it was said that 
"perhaps they brought it up with them." I take it that the k'oata 
is an antique war club. Kumpa or kabew'iride is also in possession 
of one. (See pp. 259, 301, 331.) In the keeping of the town chief is a 
stone Idck-ball (w'iv) which in time of war, against whites or Mexi- 
cans, not against Indians, would be used to send lightning and 
thunder against the enemy .^- In connection with the kick-ball was 
mentioned a stone whistle (tup) to call the rain. A lightning stone 
(upini), described as an opalescent stone from water, figures in the 
solstice ceremonies; also a stone called leaclii tainin, rain people, 
described as a spiral-shaped stone about 4 inches long. All the stone 
fetishes figuring in the solstice ceremonies are re- 
ferred to collectively as wahtainin,*^ all the people. 

A very notable, and as far as I know unique, 
fetish at Isleta appears in the sun calling or "pull- 
ing down" ritual. The object is described in 
vague terms as opening and closing and, pre- 
sumably when open, glittering with the white 
brilliance of the sun. It is thought of as the 
sun himself, with power of flight. Presumably 
there is a like fetish of the moon.^* 

Inferably (see p. 302) there is a fetish of the 
horned serpent, ikaina, of the animal masktypefoundinotherpueblos. 

The cane of the war chief which is called tue'funiluU, cane prayer 
stick black old man, is "the one that came out with them." It is the 
"father" of the war chief. As elsewhere, the canes of the governor 
and officers have also somewhat of a fetishistic character. 

In this connection may be mentioned the clay figurines of the 
domestic animals and of chili, corn, and melons, which are made by 
the women, and on the morning of December 29 taken by the senior 
male of the household and buried in the corral, "so there will be more 
of them," that the household may be "never short." *^ 


Of the medicine societies the altar (nake'e) consists of the terrace 
cloud design in white meal at the base of which are set in clay the 
Mothers.'*^ (Figs. 16 and 17.) This design is called kity, meaning 

" The only etymology my informant could suggest was koa, sheep (but koa also means rabbit stick), 
ta, " all right," but this, he insisted, no doubt quite properly, was not the right etymology. 

^2 See p. 368. In the tale the kick stick is also thrown to help the sun's daily process. 

" Compare Parsons, 7: 60. 

<< See p. 330. 

" Compare Parsons, 6; Parsons, 3: 260; also Gruening, illustration opposite p. 249. 

" Compare the altar of the pekwin of Zufii (Parsons 14: 17) and see p. 331. According to another inform- 
ant there are painted wooden frames on the altars of the medicine societies, as at Laguna and Zuiii. (Par- 
sons 7: 60.) 

280 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

village.^" Other sacrosanct objects are set out on the altar — the bowl 
of medicine water, the fetish stones, arrow points, bear paws, prayer 
feathers, meal basket, and crosses which are called by the same name 
as the cloud terrace design, be's§. The altars of the moieties and 
Corn groups are still simpler, as there are no mothers — only the meal 
design (kity), bowl, stone fetishes, arrow point, and prayer feathers. 
(Fig. 10.) 

In certain ritual, instead of a meal design, a buckskin serves on 
which to set paraphernaUa, as when the thief finder goes into trance, 
or when kumpa brings in the horned serpent (fig. 14), or when the 
town chief blesses, as we might say, the seed corn with his medicine 

Medicine Water (Pa'kwimpa)^* and Bowl; Aspersing and 
Water Pouring 

Medicine water is made by every ceremonial group or chief and the 
bowl figures on every altar. The fluid is used to pour out in the direc- 
tions or to sprinkle with in the directions as well as on sacrosanct 
objects ^ and on persons, and it is given to persons to drink or take 
home. Also the chief may squirt the water on persons from his 
mouth. The song used in sprinkling is referred to as palore. . . . 
Members of one moiety may not drink the medicine water of the other 
moiety. No doubt the composition of the medicine water of any 
group is peculiarly esoteric. 

In ceremonial the stone fetishes are dropped into the medicine 
bowl, and the supernaturals that are "called in" diuing ceremonial — 
thunder, hghtning, rain, as well as the animals — appear to be directed 
into the medicine bowl. They are whistled or sung for. As the 
dance chief steps before the altar, the assistants sing, mentioning in 
the middle of their song what is wanted — "they are calHng it in." 
At this point the dancing chief makes passes of drawing something in 
and of throwing it into the bowl — "working with his power." 

Duck feathers and the sacrosanct ear of corn are used as aspergiUs. 

The medicine bowl is also used as a land of clairvoyant mirror, to 
reflect the outside world,'" also the dead.^' 

Smoking; Cigarette; Tobacco Offering; Pigment Offering 

Ritual smoking is referred to as paki'mu, mist or fog; chichi, give. 
Native tobacco (lepa'b') is used, and there is the expression lepa'b' 

'^ Or tribe. Kitun t'ainin are the village people, i. e.. all the Pueblos. 

« Pa, water; kwimpa, whirling, boiling. A spring is also described in English a.": "boiling." My guess 
is that bubbling is meant and that, as elsewhere, the medicine bowl and water represent a spring. 

" And even on merely ornamental glass beads. 

M For a charming account by a San Juan townsman of such reflection in witch finding, see Parsons, 
17: 45-47. 

" See p. 316. 


paki'mu. The towTi chief is the custodian of the supply of this 
tobacco.'^ Corn hiisk ^vrapping is used; also cane. A small stone 
pipe is said to be used in the medicine societies. As usual, the smoke 
is puffed in all the directions which are accounted five — east, north, 
west, south, and, as a single direction, up and down and middle— 
the circuit beginning, as we see, in the east; and smoke is puffed in 
the direction of any supernatural who is being addressed, as for ex- 
ample toward the river, for the Water people — "he thanks the Water 
people with smoke" — or upward again to the sun in the solstice cere- 
monies, or when the sun is asked to help in the race.^^* 

Sacrosanct objects are also smoked, e. g., the "mothers" on the 
ground altar, the bowl of medicine water, ritual water from the river, 
the scalps. 

There is the same belief as elsewhere that ritual smoking produces 
clouds and rain.'' Also that by smoking, game, deer or rabbits may 
be blinded or bewildered. 

In ritual smoking, on giving the cigarette the giver says ka'a; the 
recipient rejoins tatu'u. 

All ceremonial requests are made by the offer of the cane made 
cigarette, e. g., the application for services of a medicine man or, 
in the emergence tale, of him who is to become town cliief,^^ and a 
request thus made has, as elsewhere, a compulsory character. For 
example, a medicine man who is thus asked by a runner to give him 
power '^ apparently has to give it, although it is against the ride to 
aid one townsman against another.^* 

A cigarette may be offered with prayer feathers *'' or after being 
smoked the remainder may be left in offering,'* as in the folk tale of 
how they began to race for the sun were the three cigarettes for the 
patron spirits of the Laguna Fathers. Tobacco of itself may be 
offered with crumbs of food as in ant-ciu-ing ritual. When a man 
attends the ceremony of a Corn group not his own, he presents the 
group with some tobacco. 

The black and red pigments '^ of the moiety groups are offered to 
the sun in the irrigation ceremony. (See pp. 319, 320.) 

" Compare p. 257. 

M" Compare Boas, 297. 

" Compare pp. 361, 387, 389, 390. 

" See p. 364. 

" A medicine man can also affect a race by throwing a powder toward the one he would have lose. (Cf. 
Lumholz, I: 284.) 

*6 See p. 328. Andyet sick cases can be refused. I heard of a certain man who having severe pain in one eye 
applied for treatment which was denied him because "he was a mean man." He was told to go to the 
white doctor who would cure him by taking out his eye. He did go; his eye was removed, and now he has a 
glass eye. 

" See p. 275. 

8« Jemez and Zuni practice. (Cf. Benavides, 46.) 

»» Offering of pigments is both Tewa and Plains Indian practice. 

6066°— 32 19 

282 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

We have noted ^ that a sickly infant may be promised or given to 
a ceremonial group moiety or Corn group other than that it would 
normally belong to. Membersliip in the medicine societies or in the 
war society may also be the result of a vow in sicloiess. 

A sick person or the parent of a sick child may promise San Agostin 
"to take him out." On recoveiy, the image woidd be kept over- 
night in the house of the vow taker (Mexican, belorio), and taken 
around the plaza the next day.*^' Vows are made also to San Escapula. 

Breathing Rites 

Meal that is to be sprinkled in offering is breathed on. The sacro- 
sanct ear of com is breathed on (ham'bewe; the term for ordinary 
breathing is haniwe). The clasped hands are breathed on or from 
(wa'shihan', washi, "give long life," ^^ han>haniwe, breath), in 
Zuni fashion, with the left hand folded over the right, the thumbs 
parallel, when the sun materializes in the solstice ceremonies or when 
other fetishes are exposed; or the clasped hands are breathed from, 
when the hands have been passed over a dead deer. The eagle 
feathers of the medicine men are breathed from.''^ 

Lucinda breathed from her hands when she passed a church, or 
when she received a present of any kind — iwashihakura nakamu 
'good luck) she called it. A present, by the way, said Lucinda, you 
must never demur to taking. 

Song and Dance Step (Altar Ritual); Racing 

A considerable number of rites are mentioned specifically as having 
songs attaching to them: "work on the prayer feathers"; i.e., grind- 
ing ritual paint, painting the feathers or string, grouping and tying 
the feathers; ofTering prayer meal in the directions; sprinkling the 
altar with pollen; making medicine water; calling the sim; calling 
deer. In general we get the impression that the ritual songs are a 
very important part of ceremonial, as elsewhere. It is to be hoped 
that opportunity to record the text of these songs may sometime be 

Dance steps, more particularly by the chief, are performed with 
some of the ritual songs. As when the Corn group chief dances 
during the sprinkling of the altar — the women assistants dancing 

•» See pp. 201-262 and 272 n. 10, 273 n. 13, 274 n. 17. 

•ii Compare an account of curing through saints by Mexicans in Santa Fe in 1857. " Upon one occasion, 
when visiting a family, a member of which was quite ill, a number of friends came in with a small image 
of a favorite saint, altar, and other necessary apparatus. They were placed in the middle of the room, 
when a few coals of fire were brought from the kitchen and put in the vessel that contained the incense 
which ignited and filled the room with its odor, the whole party the while performing some ceremony 
that I did not understand." (See Davis, 225, 226.) 

8^ Children are told not to blow on food, such as rabbit or deer, to cool the meat, lest the animal come 
alive again and get away. 

" See p. 444. 



also — or when kumpa dances in calling the horned serpent, or the 
medicine society chief on gazing into his medicine to learn of the 
world outside. In these dances there is some dramatic action 
also. . . . There is an interesting reference ** to dancing as a form 
of "helping" or, as wc might say, of compulsoiy magic. 

Ritual racing is thought of similarly to help the sun's progress.*'* 
This racing is of the relay type, which is Tanoan in distinction to the 
kick stick or kick hall race type of the Keres and of the west. The 
kick stick is known ritualistically at Isleta; ^" but it is associated with 
the sun, not, as elsewhere, with rainfall. 

Ritual Gestures and Postures 

An antisunwise circuit made with the eagle feathers or with the 
clasped hands seems to have the meaning of gathering m some influ- 
ence, either for oneself or to bestow it on others, as when the chief 
waves his feathers toward the Mother on the altar and then waves 
them toward the audience, or when, after breathing on his clasped 
hands, he moves them in circuit and says, "The water people are 
sending you all long life and health." The runner will make this 
gesture, asking help from the scalps or from the sun. (See p. 329.) 

There is stUl another motion of drawing something to oneself — 
the hands held cuplike and moved to and fro.'*^ 

There is an antithetical motion of discarding, an exorcising motion, 
in which the palms are passed together quickly to and fro in a slicing 
movement. This rite is also performed with eagle feathers. The 
two eagle feathers are also tapped one against the other at right 

The eagle feathers are used in conducting or leading persons to 
ceremonial places, as when "his father" leads a patient to the 
society's room. The Father crosses the feathers; the patient takes 
hold of them by the tips; then the Father swings them over his head, 
leaving the patient stUl holding the feathers in a position behind 
the Father. 

Sacrosanct objects, more particularly the corn fetishes, may be 
held in the right hand resting in the crook of the left arm, which is 
folded over the right forearm. The corn ear or the eagle feather 
may be held by butt and tip, in both hands, to breathe from them. 

In tliis connection we may note that, as elsewhere, bare feet and 
flowing hair are associated with ritual performance. Also we note 
that a kind of massage by pressing is practiced as a restorative for one 

•• See p. 318. 

« See pp. 324-325, 388. 

«« See p. 368 and Fig. 25. 

" See pp. 292, 296. Compare Laguna, Parsons, 8: 125. 

M Ibid. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

who has been through ritual stress or exertion, a practice which has 
been noted also among the Keres. 

Circuit and Orientation; Ritual Colors; Favored Numerals 

The circuit is antisunwise and begins in the east. There are three 
sets of terms for the directions, long ceremonial, short ceremonial, and 






pathywe toe' 

li'oafaewe toe' 

fierywe' toe' 

pachinwe' toe' 

li'ienai pyenai 













Zenith, Nadir, and 


Through com there is an association of color with the directions: 
(n)bato'i, white (east); (na)funi'i, black (north); (na)ch'uri'i, yellow 
(west); (na)shijri'i, blue (south). Terms for all colors are thorjun or 
kferim (mixed). Ritual points or blades are also associated with 
color direction. ^' The white arrow point is the favored one. There 
appears to be no color-direction association, as elsewhere, either with 
the kachina (liwa), except in one folk tale, or with the animals. 

The townspeople are sometimes referred to according to the direc- 
tion of their houses as: hebaihun, henihun, henaihun, hekuihun. 

The directions, we have seen, are counted as five instead of as six 
as in other Pueblo circles (Taos perhaps excepted). The same direc- 
tions as elsewhere are considered, but curiously enough, the zenith 
and nadir are counted together with the middle point between. 
Another notable anomaly is the use of three instead of the character- 
istic Pueblo four, for specific ritual acts.™ But the most notable 
nvmieral for ritual repetition, as well as to indicate mere plurality or 
indefinite repetition, is five. Five figures constantly, whether in 
ritual or secular coimts or estimates of time.'' For example, it is 
every five years that the pinon crop is supposed to be very abundant. 
In 1921 I was told that the cemeteiy had been removed five years ear- 
lier; in 1926 I was told the same thing. One December day, in 1927, 
there was to be a council in regard to the distribution of some funds 
from leased pasture lands, and the question came up whether or not the 
children should share. Even 5-year-old children (i. e., Uttle children) 

5» See pp. 295, 297. 

'1 See pp. 291, 292, 313, 444. 

" See pp. 237, 248, 252, 319, 363, 365, 433, 437, 

440, 442, 444, 449, 452, 454. 



should share, opined somebody. . . . Conforming with Pueblo prac- 
tice is the use of 12, as a count for ritual days, etc." 

Crystal Gazing 

A crystal (p^shiko) belongs to each medicine society chief and he 
uses it repeatedly in his ritual, to determine who are sick and in need 
of attention, what the witches are doing abroad or have already done 
in the wjy of sending obnoxious things into the persons ^^ of those 
present at the ceremonial, or in case of an epidemic, in the town at 
large. (See pp. 339, 340.) Other immoralities or improprieties are 
learned of in the same way. Perhaps a runner has got power from a 
medicine man to \vin his race against a fellow townsman, by causing 
cramps, or perhaps strings have been sent into a runner's legs by a 
witch. Injurious things on the race track are seen through the 
crystal, also who will win the race. Weather — winds, rain, or a hail 
storm — is predicted similarly through a crystal. 

The crystal hangs as a pendant from the neck of the curing chief. 

It is firmly believed that medicine men, whether or not through 
their crystal, are possessed of second sight. A recent curious develop- 
ment of this belief in second sight finds expression through a certain 
townsman who has boldly set himself to find veins of gold and ruins '^ 
which may yield old pottery for trade. As a blind he takes digging 
tools along, but he makes his discoveries, he believes, through his 
ritual work at night. 


There is a notable use of the root medicine which is called lifiewah. 
It is spat over the altar,'* over or toward attendants at a ceremony, 
and by the thief-finder who goes into trance. That this medicine is 
thought of as very powerful," as an Isletan would say, is evidenced by 
the fact, among others, that only the chief (in the Corn group) may 
swallow it. 

There are, of course, medicines other than tifiewah, but of them we 
have no particidars, except a reference to wolf root (karh) and to bear 
root, an association between the animals and disease through roots 
similar to that observed at Zuni. 

Curing at a distance or performing anything magical at a distance 
is very much of a criterion of magical power. One of the observa- 
tions on the kachina cult of a much-traveled Isletan woman was that 
the kachina had no power as they did nothing at a distance. 

'3 As at Taos (Parsons, 22) and Picuris (Harrington and Roberts passim.). 

?< Compare Laguna practice (Parsons 8: 119). 

"s Looking for gold and ruins is said in Isleta to induce blindness. May there not have been some cultural 
clash between the Mexican tradition or practice of seeking buried treasure which is ghost guarded (see Par- 
sons, 20) and the Indian aversion to disturbing the ancients? 

"* At Zufii a root medicine is spat over certain prayer sticks (Ruth L. Bunzel, personal commimication). 

" See p. 449. 

286 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO • [eth. ann. 47 

Continence; Fasting 

Continence is required before engaging in a ceremony, for four 
days, whether staying at home or in retreat. One informant refers 
also to four days of continence after the ceremony. "We have four 
days inside getting ready; on the fourth night we perform the cere- 
mony; then we have four outside days, during which we may not 
touch a woman or kill anything, not even an insect, or hurt anybody's 
feelings." This abstinence at home is associated with a daily emetic 
and is referred to as ibewaeyue, outside fasting (fasting from sexual 
intercourse, not from food). Such abstinence may be practiced not 
only by sacerdotalists but by lay members who want "to help," i. e., 
increase the efficiency of the ceremonial.^* 

Were a man to break his continence taboo he might turn into a rock 
or log or into an animal. (See pp. 374, 448.) In the folk tale about 
the Com girls and the kick stick player '^ who is "working" for the 
sun, to aid his daily progress, we find a most interestmg expression of 
the familiar idea that breaking taboo precludes ritual efficiency. 

In retreat, i. e., segregation in ceremonial room, there is fasting 
from food (naw'jeyim), and our informant was very insistent that the 
fast consisted of total abstention from food and drink, for the usual 
four days. With this fasting is associated also the taboo on killing 
anything, "even a spider or fly." 

The initiate into the medicine societies fasts from wheaten ^ 
dishes. Dishes eaten during retreat *' are round cakes of blue corn 
meal (shekoyl, she, tied; koyl, round); a mush called w'se'opaku made 
of a wild water plant; and corn meal tamale (nata' mare). 

The padre would have the people fast from wine and meat in holy 
week (semana santa) and two days each week for seven weeks before. 
Some fast, some do not. In holy week the padre would also have the 
people "keep stiU," pQ^wae, not chopping wood or making use of 
wagons, just as in the "keeping still" time at Taos, remarked my 

Hair Washing and Kitual Bath 

The hail' is washed in connection with ceremonial conducted both 
by the medicine societies and the Com groups. As elsewhere, yucca 
root (pala) suds are used. 

Funerary attendants have theii' hair washed, on the third day; on 
the fourth they take a ritual bath in the river. In the solstice cere- 
monies hands and face are washed in the river. The k'apyo wash 
off their face and body paint in the river. A woman sick of tonsillitis 

'» Compare pp. 290, 367. 

" Pp. 369, 371. 

^ Whereas for "dances" cakes of sprouted wheat (nadeka'J are made. 

>' During the 12-day fast of the medicine men. 


told me she was recovering because she had taken a very early 
morning bath in the river. 

Other Rites of Exorcism: Brushing or Wiping, Sucking, Rub- 
bing WITH Ashes, Willing, Whipping, Purging, Spitting 

To "clean" houses, corrals, plaza, or river, the slicing and discarding 
motions are used with eagle feathers, and the feathers are also used to 
brush out whatever bad thing there may be inside the body — stick, 
stone, bit of cloth, thorn (naloa poare, naloa, witch bimdle, poare, 
brush). The disease-causing ants are also brushed out. Similarly 
there is brushing or rather wiping out with the bear paw, or -with 
cotton. Sucking out *'" is practiced in the ant cm-e, in which ashes 
are also used in exorcism. (See p. 444.) 

Sometimes the chief, sitting in front of the altar near the large 
stone blade, draws out the injurious things from the bodies of those 
present merely "by wisliing," and makes a big pile of them. 

Sometimes a sick person might ask the town chief to send a Grand- 
father (see p. 263) to whip liim to get well. For this my informant 
himself used the term penance which I had, of course, carefully 
avoided. It was the first time I had ever heard ritual whipping thus 
referred to, either nominally or conceptually, by a Pueblo Indian. 
But I was to hear of it again, as a rite and as a fonn of pimishment 
after death. Lucinda opined that if she betrayed the customs of 
Laguna people perhaps her deceased Lagima husband who had been 
so strict with her in life would be waiting for her after she died with 
a whip.*- The wHlows carried by the kyapiunin are thought of as 
whips to inflict punishment.*^ The town chief who broke his taboos 
of office was whipped by invisible agents, whipped in punishment. 
In referring to the ceremony of whipping the boys at Jemez,** my 
Isletan informant said it was done as a punishment for having been 
in school and disbelieving in Indian ways. Punislunent was her word 
rather than the usual word for exorcism, cleansing. Even the concept 
of sin or sinner is expressed iu English by rendering the term 
nabiiriade "sianer in this world," i. e., living in a state of sin. 
Illustrations of the use of the term indicate that it means failure to 
quahfy to use magic power. *^ 

»>• Lummis describes a rite of sucking through a feather, the tip against the patient and the quill in 
the mouth of the doctor. (Lummis 2: 79.) 

«' See, too, p. 202, n. 1. 

«> Pp. 33t, 362, 365. 

s* It occurs, according to this account, every four years, in February, and it was due again in 1928. All 
the boys who are not returning to school are whipped. Before the whipping the boys icnow nothing about 
the costumbres, after it they may know everything. The whipping is not with yucca, but with cactus, 
and the mother of a certain boy was described graphically as engaged in picking the thorns out of his flesh. 
There is a dance. 

M See p. 399. 

288 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

The practice of eniesis at home was referred to above. In the 
solstice ceremonies there is an elaborate purging rite. 

In the ceremonial of general exorcism there is a rite of spitting 
into a jar on the altar or toward it, or toward the witch bundle or the 
"witch" himself. 


List of Months 

December nofepa, night fire ** (i. e., Christmas) moon. 

January tawinchibena (tawinide, samples of year's prospective yield, 

in crops or rabbits; *' chibeua, new). 

February k6shq,pai, raising, coming up, moon. 

March kapai, bury (?) moon. 

April lita kaai, wheat pile or Htapaai (wheat pile moon). 

May paxorai, water (? grain, month).*' 

June pepa, nape', ceremony of Corn groups moon. 

July pahonminai, moon, sucked in.*^ 

August tilpaai, grind moon. 

September nakyenepai, motion up and down moon. 

October ko'wepai, brown-jellow moon. 

November p'oyapai, dead'" moon. 

Solstice Determination and Calendrical Events 

All the ceremonial groups contribute to the year's calendar, sys- 
tematically or as certain occasions arise. But the winter and summer 
solstice ceremonials of the Com groups set the calendar, so to speak, 
and these ceremonials are correlated, not with solar observation, of 
which there is none," but with the Augustan calendar, December 1 
to 20 and June 1 to 20 being the periods assigned to them. The 
"Wiiite Com group goes in one day in advance of the others, and the 
shichu Com group is the last to go in, otherwise there is no rule for 
dating the various retreats or for their sequence. Evidently all the 
retreats might be concluded several days before the 20th of the 
month, or the series might be prolonged to the 20th. At any rate 
from the first to the 20th there are taboos on hunting and bird- 
trapping and on dancing. The other " staying-stUl " taboos which 
are observed at Taos at the corresponding ceremonial season which 
is prolonged at Taos and Picuris to January 6 are not observed at 

»« See p. 303. 

*^ See pp. 262, 313, 318, 319. Also referred to as what the ceremonialists "bring up.'* 

88 Referring to rain-calling cereifcony. See p. 331. 

88 Or swallowed, as is something floating after getting water soaked. But I am wondering if paho does 
not refer to the * ' water grain " rain-calling ritual of July. 

^ Referring to All Souls observance. 

91 The common Pueblo concept of the " Sun*s house," some mesa or hill fixed point on the horizon, also 
seemed unfamiliar. Nor is there any observation of the moon for timing ceremonies. 


December 1-20 '- Winter solstice ceremonial of Corn groups and medicine 


December 12 Guadalupe day. Boj's dressed as Navaho or as girls, 

and girls dressed as boys visit the houses of the 
Lupes to dance and be given bread, etc. 

December 15 Bringing in the horned serpent. 

December 24 Lanterns on the roofs, and tires in the plaza and else- 
where. Dance (nupoa shorti, Christmas dance going 
in) within the church, before the midnight Mass. 

December 24—30 Households possessed of saints set them out at night, 

with candles, and people are invited in (Isletan, 
ixiwe'; Mexican, belorio). 

December 25-28 Various dances, mostly by moiety, distinctively 

hawinaa'ye (named from song word). 

December 29 Clay models of the domestic animals, also of produce, 

are buried in the corrals, for increase. 

January 1 Election of secular officers; canes blessed. 

January 5-10 Kings' dance. 

January 10-14 Shunad, general exorcism of fields: Retreat by medicine 

societies. Rabbit hunt. 

January- February Kachina dances by Laguna people. 

January-February Kachina basket dance. 

February Season for initiation into medicine societies. 

February Liwa dance by moietj': Dance bj- shichu, for snow or 


February-March Irrigation ditch ritual and dance. 

February-March Shinny played by moiety for four days. 

February-March Dark liwa dance, for weather and crops. Rabbit hunt. 

March Shure' take charge. Ceremony of transfer. 

March Ceremony to quiet wind, by medicine societies. 

March- April Races: War ceremonial (sporadically, performed in 


April 8-11 Shure' ceremony. 

April Rain ritual. 

May 25-June 5 Ceremony of bringing down the moon and stars. 

June 1 San Escapu'la carried in antisunwise circuit four times 

around plaza by girl who was given to him at birth. 
Family keeping this saint makes a feast.*^ 

June 1-20 Solstice ceremonial of Corn groups. 

June 20 Laguna people dance kachina. 

June 26, 29 San Juan's Day, San Pedro's Day. Boys carry from 

church blue flag of San Pedro, red flag of San Juan, 
three times around town and to the fields. On 
return carry corn stalks to church. Visit houses of 
Juans, Juanas, Pedros, Paulas, etc.; given roosters, 
bread, and cheese. First rooster placed near altar 
for pedest. Rooster "race." 

July Lechide, 12-day rain ceremony. 

" la accordance with the calendar in other pueblos we begin with the winter solstice ceremony, although 
I have heard it referred to by an Isletan as "the last ceremony of the year." For another Isletan calendar 
of a more Catholic cast, see Parsons, 9: 160-165. 

»3 On Corpus Cristi (June 6, 1926) I heard of another private saint being brought out. 

290 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

August28 San Agostin. Mexican dancing in courthouse and in 

tents. Fair. In drought, prayer and song all night, 
then Indians (or Mexicans) carry San Agostin out to 
the fields. In 1926 the saint was carried out to the 
Chikal fields. Two days later it rained so much 
"they got scared." 

September 4 San Agostinito. Fiesta of Taikabede and Chikal. 

Chikal people sweep the plaza. Dance (nupoas- 
horti), to thank the saint for the crops he has given. 
At night, dance by all around fire (nahtilpoa, circle 
dance). Feast for visitors in public kiva, where San 
Agostin is placed on a table altar. In drought, 
image carried out to the fields, in charge of mayor- 

September 25-October Pinitu dance for frost, preceded by night ceremony of 
5 (sporadic) ." bringing hVane into town, followed by rabbit hunt. 

October (end) sporadic. Ceremony of bringing in Salt old woman. 

November 2 All Saints (po'yana or dia de todos santos). Mexicans 

visit, making "responses" and receiving left-overs 
from what has been given to the priest from whom 
they will also buy the bread given by the Isletans, 
who first carry the bread around their graves, four 
times, in antisunwise circuit."^ The graves are or 
were sprinkled with holy water by the padre. Can- 
dles on the graves. 

November 2-5 Black Eyes ceremony. 

October-November after Ceremony of Hunt chief, 

Ceremonies and Ritual Complexes 


The chief summons his assistants to his house to talk about begin- 
ning their ceremony, saying inkaawei turide miwap wEekui (vvteui), our 
father Sun is going south (December solstice), or north (June solstice). 
One assistant goes to the town chief to tell him they are going to begin 
their ceremony in four days (December 4 or June 4), for during the 
ceremony the town chief wiU remain in his ceremonial house. The 
evening of the third day a Corn group assistant goes to the houses of 
all the men of the group, of all the wakuan, "his sons," to summon 
them to a meeting at the chief's house, at which he will tell them that he 
is going to begin to fast the following morning, for four days. If any 
wish to fast for this time or for a shorter period, one, two, or three 
days, they are to prepare for it. The following morning three men are 
chosen to go to all the houses of the group to tell the people that their 
wakukabede is going to fast and to say that if they wish they can 

« Danced in 1926. 

05 Compare Census quoting Lummis, 112. 

" The attendants at the ceremony are called penin. Pe' means bed for planting. 






help and fast for a day or a half a day. . . . There is a rabbit hunt 
managed by the war captains for the Fathers, but whether it is held 
after or before their retreat begins I am somewhat uncertain; probably 
the second day of the retreat as the rabbits are destined for the supper 
feast at the close of the ceremony. . . . 

The chief takes a seat by the fireplace with his assistants. Of the 
attendants the men are on one side, the women on the other. The 
chief sings one song; then he gives permission to his assistants and to 
any attendants (amuwe'i) to sing. The chief summons his women 
assistants (keide, mother), who stand in front of him. 

He gives them permission to work with him, to get water and have 
their bowls ready for the purging and the head washing. (He has 
sent a man out the day before to get soapweed.) The women set out 
three bowls. Three by three the assistants kneel in front of a bowl, 
the chief assistant 
(auki'i) taking the 
middle bowl. Each 
sprinkles pollen to 
one side of the 
bowl and from the 
dipper drops some 
water to the east, 
north, west, and 
south, and at the 
south point up 
and down. Then 
he drinks, his 
hair having been 
imbelted by the 
Mother as he knelt, 
since he may not drink without loose hair. After drinking each with- 
draws back of the fireplace and in the bowl set there vomits the warm 
water he has drunk. (Fig. 8.) The chief is the last to perform the 
rite. There is a song for this purging rite. Head washing follows.'^ 

Now the chief stands in the noiddle of the room and throws pollen 
toward the east. Prayer feather making follows. The chief bids 
the Mother to set out the basket, and a man assistant to bring down 
the box of ritual feathers from where it hangs to a beam. A feather 
is placed in front of each assistant, there are to be 12 feathers, the 
turkey feather, "the oldest one," in front of the chief. All sing the 
song that belongs to work on the feathers. The Mother begins to 
grind the ritual black paint, with a duck feather dropping some water 
from her little bowl on to her stone ** for grinding. A song is sung 

Figure 8.— Diagram for head washing and emetic ritual of Corn group. 
Chief at fireplace, and bowl for emesis. Three bowls for head washing, 
another for cold water. Women to left, men to right 

'^ There is some confusion here in my notes, 
"s With grmding stone or pebble called ali'o'o. 

292 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. .ujN.47 

for this grinding, in which the grinder is called koamaku'de. An 
assistant carries the paint to the others, each putting some of it on 
his index finger. Then each paints the midrib of his feather, all 
singing the song of the black paint and the feather. . . . The chief 
assistant gathers up the feathers, taldng first the turkey feather of the 
chief and placing the feathers one on top of the other. Another song 
for this. The assistant tells a Mother to take to the chief some 
cotton string which he wdll measure off by holding the end between 
the tips of his middle and fourth fingers and stretching the string to 
his wrist, doubling this measure three times and then cutting the 
string with his flint knife, leaving 12 ends. The chief assistant brings 
him the grinding stone of black paint, of which he takes some on his 
index finger and thumb. Holding one end of the string in his left 
hand, he rubs the paint from his index finger and thumb on to the 
other end of the stiing and on the middle. Turning the string, he 
then paints the other end, thus in three places he has painted the 
string. For this painting of the string there has been a special song. 
And now, again, as he ties the feathers there is a tying (shie') 
song. . . . 

A Mother takes a basket ^ of meal of the color characterizing the 
group to the chief. Facing the east, he breathes out on the meal 
three times and then waves it in the antisunwise circuit. This rite, 
to which there is a song, is repeated in turn by the chief assistant, the 
other assistants, and any others present. Then the Mother returns 
the basket to the chief. On it he lays the prayer feathei-s. to a song, 
and sprinkles the feathers with meal. 

Follows the rite of drawing down the sun (turide, sun, amchawe', 
pulling down) by the power the chief has asked from the town chief. 
In the roof of the ceremonial room there is a hole tlirough which at 
noon the sun shines on to a spot on the floor near where the chief 
now stands. In front of the chief stand his assistants, then the row 
of the other men present, and then the row^ of women present. All 
turn to face the east, singing to caU the sun. This is repeated in the 
antisimwise circuit, before each song each sprinkling meal from the 
meal basket or poUen received from the chief assistant. All return 
to their places, except the chief, who makes drawing-in motions from 
all the directions from the com mothers, throws poUen up toward the 
roof hole, and points upward with his stone knife. All sing the song 
of "puUing down the sun," while the chief makes the motions of 
drawmg something toward himself. Now the sun drops down on the 
spot of sunlight on the floor. It is a round object, white as cotton, 
which opens and closes.' To this the chief ties the prayer feathers, 

" ToakoaHcha, corn meal basket. 

^ Possibly a ray of light has been refracted with a crystal into the chamber, as is done in Ilopi altar 
ritual. On Easter Saturday the sun's rays are refracted by mirror to the altar, in the church of Santa Ana 
Xamimilulco, Puebla, Mexico. (Parsons 20.) 



as all sing. All stand and throw pollen toward the sun obj ect. The chief 
waves the sxin object which shijies so brightly you can hardly look at it. 
(The room has been darkened by closing windows.) All breathe 
on their clasped hands. As the chief waves the sun aroimd his head 
the sun goes back through the roof hole.'" This is noontime when for 
a little while the sun stands stiU. Elsewhere in the towTi at this time, 
luiowing the work that is going on (in the ceremonial houses) people 
wdthdraw indoors or stay in and ask the sim to help. . . . 

After the sun leaves, the chief takes bis place by the fireside and his 
chief assistant comes and presses him all over, restoratively. The 
chief is tired from holding the sim and from all he has been doing. 
His assistant gives the chief a cigarette to smoke, first in the direc- 
tions for the help he has had from all the Com mothers, then to the 
sun. Now the chief gives permission to all to stand up and walk 
about and rest. After a while the chief makes an address, advising 
the people to be good to their parents and wives, and to help one 
another. He tells them about old times. He tells them not to think 
about food and drink, to think only about their ceremony. Then he 
teUs his assistant to see that all resume their regular positions and 
practice their songs. The Mothers who care to go oiit to attend to 
their own work now may go. They are not fasting, they may eat at 
home. The assistant tells them when to return. Toward sunset 
when they do return, permission is given to others to stop practicing 
and walk about. 

Now the chief sends out a Mother to call in the first boy or man 
belonging to their group whom she may encoimter. At the door the one 
summoned takes off his shoes. "Aukuwam! Greetings!" he says, 
as is usual on coming to a house. He helps himself to meal from the 
basket, unless he happens to have meal with him; he breathes on it, 
waves it in the directions; throws it toward the sun. He approaches 
the chief, saying api'we, do you need me? The chief answers that 
the last ceremony of the year is coming; as one of their sons he asks 
him to help them and go out into the hills and get some yucca in order 
that they can wash their heads on the fourth morning. He will say 
aU right, he is glad to help his Fathers. . . . Now they resume their 
places and start song practice. 

After dark, about 7 or 8, the chief assistant says, "All right, my 
sons, it is time to go out." All take meal from the basket. The chief 
starts out, his assistant follows, all follow. They stand in fine, facing 
the east. The chief says ready. Then all breathe out on their meal, 
wave it in the directions, thi-ow it to the east, throwing it to the moon 
and stars, praying and giving thanks for their first day. They return 
indoors to their set positions, to be given permission to walk about. 

1" Compare the Navaho rite of moving tlie sun. (Lummis 2; 86.) 



[eTH. ANN. 47 

Now is the time they will sit around, teUing tales. If any one is 
sleepy, the chief gives him permission to sleep. 

The second and third days and nights are passed similarly. Each 
morning, at simrise, the women will fetch water from the river, the 
chief giving to the senior Mother a prayer stick (fig. 9) to cast into the 
water when she asks the water people for their water. On the return of 
the Mother the water jar is placed in the center of the floor, and from 
his usual seat by the fireplace the chief thanks the woman, also the 
water people. Then one of the male assistants gives the chief a 
cigarette to smoke in circmt and toward the river, thanking the 
water people with smoke. The chief concludes with breathing on 

his own clasped hands and 

Mc^U( Ift-u. 


with them making the ritual 
circuit, saying that the water 
people are sending all pres- 
ent long life and health. 

The third evening the mes- 
senger for the yucca returns. 
The chief makes a road of 
meal for him from the door 
to the meal basket and on 
it the messenger foUows the 
chief to the basket where he 
gets meal, waves it in the 
directions, throws it toward 
the sim. The chief takes 
his seat by the fireplace, 
beside him, the messenger. 
The chief thanks him and 
the chief assistant gives each 
of them a cigarette. Both 
smoke in the directions and 
to the sim. All present are 
now given permission to walk about and smoke. The messenger 
may leave and rest, if he wishes. 

It is the fourth day. In the morning between four and five the 
chief starts for the river, the others following in line. In line they 
stand on the river bank. Each breathes on the meal he has taken 
with him and throws some of it to the sun; the rest he moves in the 
directions and throws into the running water. Tliis rite is to ask the 
sun when he turns southward ^ "that they will be hving" (? i.e., 
live long). They wash their faces and hands and return in line to 
their house. 

Figure 9. — Prayer stick for woman to give Water people 
when she fetches water 

'■ Pachi'uretbe; or northward, kofinuwetoe. 



Now the Mothers are to go for water. The chief leads the Mothers 
out of the house, sprinkling meal, as the assistants sing. At the river 
the senior Mother stands in the middle and throws meal into the water. 
Then she places in the water the prayer feathers the chief has given 
her for the water people. Returning to the house they step into the 
center of the room and the senior Mother relates to the chief assistant 
the whole episode, from the time she received the prayer feathers 
from the chief to their retiu-n. The chief assistant gives thanks. 
Two water bowls are placed in the center of the room, the tliird in a 
comer. Then the Mothers wash the heads of all present, including 
themselves. The rite of purgation is performed. 

Prayer feather maldiig is in order. Five bunches of prayer feathers 
are to be made. The turkey feathers are put down first, in front of 
the cliief and foiu* assistants, next a duck feather, next a goose feather, 
next a tushure (unidentified red bii-d) feather, next a turshimiari 
(yellow bird) feather. AU this to a song. Follows the rite of paint- 
ing the string. This time red paint is used. 

Follows the ritual of medicine-water making. A Mother places 
the water jar in front of the hne of assistants. The chief assistant 
takes meal from the basket and sprinkles it in the directions. From 
the water jar, with a shell, he sprinkles a few drops of water in the 
directions. He bids the Mother pour water from the jar into the 
medicme bowl. All this to singing. He bids the Mother fetch the 
wahtainin (all the people) ^ from the buffalo skin bag wliich hangs 
from the beam to which the ceremonial properties or supplies are 
himg. Among the wahtainin are the ke'chu tainin. As the chief 
assistant takes these he breathes in his own hand, as does every one 
present. The assistant drops the ke'chu tainin into the bowl, begin- 
ning with one on the east side and so on in circuit, the one for the 
fifth direction of up and down being dropped in the middle of the bowl. 
. . . The Mother takes up the upini or lightning stone, dips it into 
the water jar, rubs it on her small metate, letting the drip from it fall 
into the medicine bowl. The chief assistant tells the Mother to fetch 
the leachi tainin,* rain people. Wetting this stone, she again grinds, 
letting the drip fall into the bowl. And this grinding and dripping 
is repeated with the stone called weryu tainin, all the animals, wild 
and tame; also with the stone called tor'ju tainin, tor'ju meaning 
in between or in the center to top and bottom, pienai, but what 
"people" were being referred to I could not elicit. Again the 
grinding and dripping is repeated with points white, black, yellow, 
blue, spotted, each groimd in all the directions, for this rite refers to 
all the Corn mothers, who are mutually helpful. Any one of their 

8 Compare p. 320. In the folk tale the term refers to all the ammals and birds. Liunmis gives wahr as 
a generic term for supernatural. (Lummis 2: 243.) 
* Ceremonial term for rain; luride is the usual term. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

" children " can drink of the water. . . . The chief assistant smokes 
in all the directions, reverses the cane cigarette, holding the lit end 
in his mouth, and blows the smoke into the bowl. He passes the 
cigarette on, and so it circulates, each assistant smoking in the direc- 
tions and swallowing the smoke. ^ From the assistants the cigarette 
passes to the other men who may be present and from them, if any- 
thing of the cigarette is left, to the women present (who always hope 
that none of the cigarette will be left over for them to smoke). 

The chief assistant drops two duck feathers into the medicine bowl. 
He takes up an ear of corn of the color of the group, holds it in both 

FiGVRE 10. — Altar and water jar in Corn group ceremonial 

hands by butt and tip, blows on the butt as he circles the bowl with 
it three times. Then he dips the tip in the water and sprinkles with 
it in circuit, everybody breathing in from their clasped hands. The 
assistant passes his hand over the bowl as if gathering something in 
which he gives to himself and then waves in circuit as if bestowing 
upon those present. This rite is called wakautu, a ceremonial term 
meaning imparting understanding or virtue, as well as the informant 
could express. 

Now the meal design of the altar is to be made. The chief assist- 
ant bids the Mother fetch the meal basket. She also removes the 

• A favorite incident in Pueblo folk tales to test a person's power. 





water jar to upper left comer and takes out the wahtalnin. As the 
chief assistant sprinkles meal for the nake'e or nakity' (village), as 
the design proper is called, the others sing. The meal is of the color 
which characterizes the group. (In the case of the All Colors Corn 
groups meal of any color is used.) The arrow-point or blade on the 
altar is of corresponding color. The wahtainin are placed around 
the kitij', and the prayer feathers laid dowTi. On each side of the 
Idty' several ears of com are stacked (for the name-getting infants), 
and at the foot of the kitu' is placed the medicine bowl. (See fig. 10.) 
Now the chief assistant chews the ritual root (hfiewah) and spits out 
all over the kity'. Chewong another piece, he spits out over those to 
the left in the room, beginning with the chief, then over those to the 
right. A Mother gives him some water to rinse his mouth, since he 
may not swallow any of this root, only the chief may swallow it. 
With the two duck wing feathers from the bowl the chief assistant 
sprinkles the kitu', tapping one feather 
against the other. Similarly he thrice 
sprinkles the chief, who responds ka'a, 
father. All present he sprinkles in one 
circuit, saying, 

awa shie ukoweje 

your life arrow-point may you grow old 

All respond, ka'a, ka'a, ka'a. 

Now the chief takes the place of his 
assistant, sprinkling the altar with meal, 
and, with water from the duck feathers, 
his assistant who says ka'a, to which he 
responds tatu' (my son). The chief 
chews the root which he has to swaUow. 
He picks up the arrow-point with his 
left hand, and in his right holds some pol- 
len. Facing the east he begins to dance, the others singing. To help 
him the Mothers dance also. At a certain word in the song the chief 
sprinldes the pollen on the altar, saying ha'i, ha'i, truhi, truhi. Then 
in turn facing the north, west, and south he repeats this rite. Finally, 
for the fifth repetition he faces toward where the sun is shining through 
the roof hole; it is noon. The chief puts the prayer feathers in the bas- 
ket, breathes from them and passes the basket on for each to breathe 
from as was described before. If there is not tune for all to do this 
whUe the sun is shining through, from their seats they wiU merely 
thi'ow meal toward the prayer feathers. (Fig. 11.) Now the Mother 
ties back the hair of the chief with corn husk. With basket in left 
hand and arrow-point in right he dances, pointing the stone up toward 
6066°— 32 20 

Figure 11.— Chief of Corn group 
sitting on his blanket with meal 
basket in hand 

298 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

the sun and calling out, ha'i, ha'i, truhi, truhi. They conclude this 

Putting down the basket, the chief dances with his arrow point, 
drawing down the sun. Another song. Now the "sun" comes 
do\vn and the ritual already described for this solar advent is re- 
peated. The five prayer feathers are tied to the "sun" by the chief 
and his assistant. With the "sim," the chief dances again, waving 
the "sun." When the "sun" opens, the people breathe in. The 
"sun" goes. The chief takes his seat by the fireplace. Same ritual 
as before at this time. 

Everybody rests. About one, the errand man (toashiu'de) ^ 
arrives, at the door removing his moccasins and loiocking. The 
Mother opens the door. Akuwam! says the man. The chief assist- 
ant bids him approach the medicine bowl and gives him a mouthful 
which he spits over himself. He sits down near the men attendants. 
There is general talk except on the part of the chief who is silent 
because he still has his power in him. The errand man reports that 
he went aroimd town among his wakuamnnin (members of the group) 
to tell them to come in and get the water of their Com Mother and 
to bring out their infants for the Mother to fetch. . . . The chief 
assistant gives a cigarette to the chief. Smoldng ritual. Now in 
his talk the chief states that this is their last day of fasting. 

Now the people begin to come in, to get their drink, at the door 
removing their shoes or moccasins. Each woman brings a basket of 
bread and a dish of beans or stew, setting the food in a comer of the 
outside room. This is the time they sing the song about the emer- 
gence, giving the names of all the springs, beginning with those "from 
which we were bom," shipapy', and kailirebe'ai,' and of the moun- 
tains. . . . About four they begin to bring in the infants. By sun- 
down all have come in. The chief teUs his assistant to lay on their 
side aU the wahtainin. AU the men present smoke, in the directions 
and on the altar, giving thanks to the wahtainin. A Mother restores 
the wahtainin to the bag. With duck feathers the chief assistant 
sweeps up the meal of the Idty' of which every one has to get some to 
wrap in a corn husk. The chief assistant says they are to take it 
home to their corn storerooms to bury in their field in the springtime 
or, if a person has no field, to throw into the river. Then every one 
receives a drink from the medicine bowl and puts some of its contents 
in their own small bowl to take home. The chief addresses them aU, 
thanking them, and releasing them. 

The Mothers bring in the presents of food, including the large 
bowlfuls from the women of the house. The largest basket with a 
bowl of stew in front of it are placed where the chief had stood in 

fl Toa, call; shiu'de, *'he this time." 
' See pp. 369, 360. 



front of the altar. Then a basket and bowl are set out for each 
assistant and behind these are rows of baskets all edged around the 
bowls of stew. (Fig. 12.) The chief assistant and the assistant next 
to him start from different sides to go around these baskets and dishes, 
each carrjdng a tortilla into which he puts bits of the food, the first 
man carrying the tortUla in his left hand and picking up the bits 
with his right hand, the second man reversing this, carrying with his 
right and gathering with his left. Both men go up to the chief who 
puts some tobacco on each food collection. The first or right-hand 
man takes some meal from the basket with his right hand, the second, 
or left-hand man, with his left hand. They return to the farther 
end of the baskets and wave their food collection in circuit. All present 
perform the exorcising slicing motion. Then the two assistants go 
out to the ash pile where they pray, the right-hand man feeding 
Wffiide, the left-hand man feeding the dead. They return and tell 

the others what they have done „_ 

and that Waeide and the dead have I 

sent them their washihii, they have / /i 'i X-^v^ 

x : : ; t : 

got their food, what is left "their 
sons " may eat. The chief goes to 
the basket and bowl of the first 
assistant, takes a httle, prays to 
Wffiide, for permission to feed 
"his son," and puts the food in 
his mouth. This he does for each 
assistant. Then he takes his own 
seat and the chief assistant in turn 
feeds him, while the others give ^'^'^'^'^ i2.-Food distribution in com group 

.^ . , , , , ceremonial 

thanks to VVffiide and to the people 

and ask that all may get more food, for themselves and for aU the town. 
Then the chief gives permission to all to eat. After eating, the last 
assistant (toaiwe'i) divides all that is left between attendants, appropri- 
ating one basket and dish for the people of the house, another basket 
and dish, as is usual, for the town chief to be taken to him the following 
morning by a Mother, and another basket and dish for the stillborn. 
Now the chief gives permission to all to go home and take their food 
with them, after joining their relatives who have been waiting outside 
in another room for them. 

The last assistant will have told one of the attendants to return 
early in the morning, before sunrise. When this man returns he finds 
the chief and his assistants sitting around the fireplace (fig. 13), where 
they have been making for the stillborn (yoimay) a prayer stick, 
which consists of an uhpainted piece of willow, measvu-ed on the last 
two joints of the middle finger, and tied to the end several himiming 



[eTH. ANN. 47 

bird (w'aeotushuriure) feathers. Now the group stands. (Fig. 13.) 
The extra man or outside helper, we may call him, is instructed to 
take some crumbs from the basket and bowl that have been reserved 
for this purpose, i. e., to feed the stillborn. The chief sprinkles meal 
in the directions and then sprinkles a meal road to the door, over 
which the last assistant and the outside helper pass and leave the 
house, the one carrying the food offering, the other the prayer stick. 
The two are referred to as tokumi'we which may mean "they who 
are going to feed the stillborn." The last assistant tells his companion 
not to turn back or look to one side.* When the two arrive at 
Nam'pekoto'ade ^ they find there a bank with a hole in it, through 
which the last assistant throws meal, then goes in a Uttle way, extend- 
ing his hand with the prayer stick, praying, and waiting for the still- 
born to take the prayer 
stick from him. This 
they do. Then he with- 
draws and calls to the 
outside helper, who 
has been throwing his 
meal and burying his 
crumbs under a near-by 
bush. Both men run 
for a little way and 
then walk back to their 
ceremonial house. As 
usual, they say aku- 
wam ! then, after enter- 
ing, the last assistant 
tells the story of the 
whole affair from the time they made the prayer stick to their return, 
what they met on their way, how the stillborn took the prayer stick, 
how they ran, and then walked back. 

By this time the sun has risen. All go out and throw pollen to 
the sun and give thanks. When they reenter the house they dismiss 
the outside helper who carries with liinr (as pay) the basket and bowl 
from which he had taken the crumbs. Now the chief and his assist- 
ant go to the ceremonial house of the town chief '" to tell him all 
about the ceremony they have accomphshed. Returning from the 
town chief they tell the waiting assistants of how they made their 
report. All thank one another. The chief gives permission to all 
to leave. The ceremony is finished. 

Figure 13. — Positions of Com group in ritual for stillborn: a. Chief. 
6, Last assistant, c, Outside helper, d. Bowl and basket 

» As in feeding the dead at Nambe' (Parsons, 19: 236). 

« See p. 318. There has been a proposal to run a highway near this sacrosanct place, to which the towns- 
people will not agree. 

10 During the days of the ceremony the town chief has remained in his house to receive reports, but he 
has not himself engaged in ceremonial. 




The ceremonies of all the Corn groups are said to be identical. 
The ^¥hite Com group go in a day ahead of the others. No order 
of retreat is set for the other Corn groups except that the shichu 
group is the last to go in. 

The medicine societies also observe a retreat, performing their own 
distinctive ceremonial of which in so far as it may differ from their 
other ceremonies I have no accoimt, except that, like the Corn groups, 
they send up prayer feathers to the sun through the opening in the 
roof of their room and also early on the fifth morning send out prayer 
feathers to Yomaupienai, as the place of the stillborn is also called. 
The medicine societies go in two days after the White Com group 
go in. 


Kumpa talks at night with the town chief about the time for 
bringing in ikaina. On the set night, about December 15, all the 
fathers will be 
present — kumpa 
and his assistant, 
kabew'iride, the 
town chief, the 
war chief, the hunt 
chief, the chiefs 
and chief assist- 
ants of the two 
medicine societies, 
the chiefs of the 
Corn groups . The 
only outsiders al- 
lowed in are the 
three scalp takers, 
and it was from 
one of these that my informant had his account of the ceremony. '' 
No women would be present, nor youths, and those present sit with 
bowed heads, "thinking about having a good heart," lest ikainare 
jump at them. "People had to have a big heart to go into that room." 

There the fathers sing all evening, until about 10 when they go 
home to return about 3 in the morning. By that time kumpa has 
his altar in place. On a buckskin are set his Mother, his stone point, 
ke'chu, pollen bag, and a meal basket, under all some meal. Light- 
ning designs are painted on the buckskin with "powders." (Fig. 14.) 
Kumpa is nude but for breechclout and bandoleer, his auti'we himai, 
the bag he keeps his power in. Kabew'iride is dressed in buckskin 
(like the Grandfathers) ; in his left hand his k'oata stone (see p. 259), 
in his right, a small black gourd rattle. Kumpa dances, calling out, 

Figure 14.- 

Horned serpent altar and homed serpent, a. Mother. 6, 
Ke'chu. c. Pollen bag. d, Meal basket 

11 Which should not be taken as an accurate account. 

302 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

ahi ahi truhi truhi, the familiar call. The others present help with 
their song. Kumpa sprinkles pollen in the directions, he dances, 
calls out, hisses. He is going to work to bring hghtning. He tells 
somebody to open the door, then as he throws poUen toward one 
of the two lightning designs on the bucksldn altar, lightning actually 
flashes in through the doorway.'- Kumpa says, "Upiri t\ipu," 
lightning, (?) see ! He throws pollen on the other hghtning design 
and again the hghtning flashes in. Kumpa says to hghtning, "Hu'pi- 
tanin'!" Stay still! and lightning stops at the two altar designs. 
To those present kumpa says, "The road of ikainare is now cleaned 
up," i. e., opened. 

Kumpa is dancing and calling, looking toward the door. Kabew'i- 
ride is singing: Ikanare kaare atur'jire (ikanare father drawing 
him ?). In comes ikainare, short and chunky. He hisses, shooting 
out his tongue. All stand up; kabew'iride says, Hu'pitanin'! 
hu'pitanin' ! Stay still ! Stay stUl ! They throw poUen to him 
which he sucks into his mouth. He hes down on the back of the 
bucksldn as if asleep. The two chiefs of the medicine societies come 
and sprinkle him with pollen and meal. Kabew'iride bids ikainare 
to feed from the basket of meal and he proceeds to suck in the meal. 
All smoke in the directions and to ikainare. Kumpa makes an 
address, giving thanks that the dangerous one did not beset them. 
The town chief gives his medicine bowl to the war chief who gives 
it to kumpa who spits from it on ikainare, saying, 

howaiawa chiache kikaawe wai'ide upiri somba 

that you may have a long life our father antelope-deer lightning man 

a'pisheche kikaawe shia muoye aki'beche 

cleans up for you our father stone point guards takes care of you 

papthuT weba aoko'weche 

pollen actually (?) reaches you 

Now all leave but kumpa, kabew'iride, the town chief, the war 
cliief, the hunt chief, the medicine society chiefs, all of whom go on 
with the ceremony of which they alone know until the following noon, 
when, after pajdng ikainare mth beads and turquoise around his 
neck, they send him up to the sun." 

In the ceremony, whenever ikainare has hissed he has been cleaning 
up the town, washing away whatever is bad. This night the elders 
tell you not to go around outside, lest ikainare catch you. And the 
women close the doors and windows. 

» Compare Tewa, Parsons 17: 89. See Lummis 2: 83. 

13 In the folk tale he who was to become the horned serpent was the son of the sun, throwing the sun's 
kick stick. (See p. 372.) 



As we crossed the town about 10 p. m., rows of lanterns were to be 
seen on the roofs of '* several houses, a dozen or more, and there were 
small bonfires, one in the plaza, one iu the church yard, one on the 
outskirts, on the farther side of the drainage canal. These are the 
night lights or fires which give the name to the season — nofe, night 
fire, i. e., Christmas. 

The dance was to be by moiety, and the Black Eyes came out first, 
from house 13, their house. Into the church, crowded with visitors 
from Albuquerque and with townspeople, the dancers walked, a 
space in the center of the church having been cleared for them by five 
or six men, each wearing a red blanket and holding aloft a candle. 
A dab of white paint was on their cheeks. Among these men I 
recognized the chief of the White Corn people and the sheriff. The 
choir of five or six men and the drummer stood near the entrance of 
the church and from that point the 12 dancers started to dance step 
toward the altar, in single file, men and women alternating. The 
line turned, danced back to the choir, turned again and repeated its 
single file movement. Then the men and women separated into 
vis-a-vis lines, the men on the east side, the women on the west. A 
forward bending dance step and a fourfold repetition of the move- 
ment by the opposing lines in antisunwise circuit, i. e., in the second 
movement the men faced south, the women north, etc. In changing 
position the men shook their rattles. After this quadrillelike figure 
the dancers went individually, first the men, then the women, to the 
bower for Mother and Child set near the altar rail, each loieeling in 
turn, some of the men removing their banda as they said the prayer. 
The single line reformed and danced back to the choir, to disperse. 
The shure' group was waiting to come in, with their choir. Between 
the two dance groups. Black Eyes and shure', there were no distinc- 
tions either in their dancing or in their appearance. 

The men wore the Hopi dance kilt, with pendent fox skin and girdle 
of bells; also moccasins and leggings with red and green belting. 
Their nude chest and back were painted with a Y-shaped design in 
white, their forearms and hands were whitened, and there were white 
zigzag lines on forehead, cheeks, and chin. Each wore a red banda, 
his hair in queue. In the left hand, a bow ; in the right, a gourd rattle. 
The women wore the native black dress, over the usual cotton slip, 
and the silk kerchief pendent across the shoulders. Wrapped moc- 
casins; hair in queue, with a downy white feather on top; cheeks 
dabbed with white and hands whitened; two stifl" eagle feathers in 
each hand. 

•* On Christmas Day on the roofs of many of the Mexican houses on the road from Isleta to Albuquerque 
paper bags were set out, containing, it was said by a white man, "offerings to Jesus." These were not 
observed in Isleta. 

304 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

After the two groups had finished dancing, each maldng only the 
single appearance, Pablo Abeita, the White Com chief, gave a talk 
in Isle tan, telling the people to stay to Mass; but only a few did stay 
either for the Mass or for the talk in Spanish by Father Dozier, who 
noted the fact that it was the thirty-fourth anniversary of his coming 
to Isleta. Meanwhile outside of the church the sheriff was busy. 
A Mexican had stolen the hat of one of the town boys. Some girls 
saw the hat under the Mexican's coat and reported to the sheriff, 
who opened the thief's coat and proceeded to take him to the jail, 
refusing on the way a bribe of $15. 

The following morning, Christmas Day, about 10.30, the shure' 
dancers came out first, from their house. The men walked with the 
choir, the women followed in a group behind, until all reached the 
middle of the plaza, whence in a line, the sexes alternating, they dance- 
stepped into the churchyard. Four men in red blankets went ahead, 
clearing the way, picking up stones, making one of the sightseeing 
automobiles move from the churchyard gate, motioning to a photog- 
rapher not to take pictures. One man in particular with a wand 
stick appeared to be in charge of the dancers. The dance figures in 
the churchyard were somewhat more complicated than those of the 
night preceding in the church. The dance make-up was the same. 
One man was wearing black shoes and trousers with the kilt over the 
trousers. He wore a green banda over closely-shaven hair — a 

In the churchyard stood a row of women who one by one would 
approach one dancer or another and put something into their right 
hand, which the recipient tucked away in his or her belt, perhaps com 
meal, perhaps money. Toward the conclusion of the groups' dancing, 
bulkier gifts were made — I noticed a large water jar and a large paper 

The shure' group withdrew to give place to the Black Eyes, and all 
day, with a break for dinner, the groups would alternate, I was told, 
dancing always in the churchyard. 

Thanks to the secretiveness that so often expresses itself in odd 
turns among Pueblo Indians, the name or names of this Christmas 
dancing I was unable to learn from my host — perhaps he thought I 
might use the Isletan term casually in town, and so betray him. But 
in other circumstances he had given me the names and descriptions of 
four dances which form the usual Christmastide program, to none of 
which did the dance as I observed it entirely correspond. These 
four dances are: 

1. Nopoashorti (night dance ?). Six men alternating with six 
women, on entrance, three in opposite lines. Men wear dance kilt, 
fox skin, beUs; body whitened; two parallel lines of white on cheeks; 
bow and arrow; feathers in fan at back of head, turkey tail for shure', 

parsons] calendak 305 

sparrow hawk (tiriure) for Black Eyes. The women wear the white 
manta. The Black Eyes carry two turkey feathers in left hand, 
one in right hand; the shure' carry eagle feathers. 

2. Lijapo'aro, basket dance. 

3. Kai'lircpo'aro, corn husk hot dance. 

4. Tuindakpoar, morning dance. 

In the description given me there was little or nothing to distinguish 
the last three dances from the first — all are by moiety, with men and 
women in quadrilleliJce figures; but possibly the night dance was No. 1 ; 
the morning dance No. 4. I did learn at a later date that the usual 
program had been curtailed because of the death, early in December, 
of Keyes Zuni, the tutude or chief of the Town Fathers. A part of 
the hierarchy had wanted the Christmas dancing omitted altogether. 

There are still other dances which may be programmed for the usual 
four days of Christmas dancing: Kumanche (Comanche), danced as 
elsewhere by a few men, five or six (not by moiety) ; toapore,'^ danced 
by men and women in two lines, men behind women, men dressed in 
buckskin, danced by moiety; nabepuw'i'apore, giving thanks dance, 
or Santa Maria pore because the dance song begins with Santa Maria 
kike' we 'i (our mother), men dressed in white cotton shirts and 
trousers wearing bandoleer and carrying bow and arrow, by both ends 
in both hands, women moving up and down, their arms held in the 
familiar dance position, at right angles to body, danced by moiety; 
maw'iapore, jumping dance, danced by men wearing cotton belt, 
bell girdle, and pendent fox skin, spruce armlets, and carrying bow 
and arrow and gourd rattle, and by women carrying spruce, danced 
by moiety. In all these dances presents are "thrown" to the danc- 
ers — bags of meal, pottery, calico, buckskin, sUk kerchiefs, belts, 
beads, bracelets — by relatives, it was said, or by those in the houses 
the dancers danced in front of, as in the final fourth day dancing by 
the children who dance first in the churchyard, then in turn before 
the houses of the town chief, kirnipa. Black Eyes chief, shure' chief, 
chief of the Town Fathers, chief of the Laguna Fathers. 

Certain animal dances, buffalo, deer, eagle, customarily danced at 
other pueblos, at Taos, and at Tewa and Keresan pueblos, at Christ- 
mas time, are not danced then or at any tune at Isleta. "Because 
we have them (buffalo, deer, eagle) in oiu- ceremonies,'^ we don't 
want to make fun of them outdoors." 

Diuing Christmas week (December 24-30) the younger boys and 
girls visit at night from house to house to dance Navaho (teiiefpor) 
or chierapor in which they wear feathers on their head like the crest 
of the bird chiera, a browTi and yellow bu'd, and feathers, including 
a bird's tail tied in corn husk to their arms. "Navaho " will be danced 

16 Toa means angry, but not in this case. 

18 Presumably a reference to the animal fetishes of stone- 

306 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ans. 47 

by three boys and three girls; chierapor by two boys with a girl be- 
tween them. 

kings' dance (NABEIPOA), JANUARY 5-10 

Some Laguna man " will go to the newly installed Isletan governor 
for permission to hold reininad, permission which he gets unless the 
governor and ofheers happen to be meanly inclined toward the 
Laguna people. Permission received, the Laguna town chief visits 
the houses of the Isletan town chief and of the Isletan moiety chiefs. 
Each will say to him, "All right, you are my son. Whenever you 
need anything, come to me." When the people see him going aroimd 
making these visits, they are glad, for they know they will be having 
kings' dance for five days. The Laguna dancers will practice in the 
ceremonial houses of the moieties. To practice with them the new 
Isletan war captain will choose six Black Eyes and six shure', because 
to represent Isleta these have to start the dance. But the night of 
January 5, in the church, the Lagima dancers perform. The following 
day, in the churchyard, the Isleta Black Eyes dance first, then the 
Isleta shure'. After that, the Laguna dancers, six in each moiety 
set, dance outside the houses of the governor who has been notified 
by the Lagima town chief, and of the war captain, lieutenant governor, 
and second war captain. Presents are thrown to the dancers by the 
officers — food, a quartered sheep, a hog, chickens, rabbits, tobacco, 
cloth. Once a man threw a cat arrayed with silver earring, a necklace, 
and ribbons. This was taken, of course, as a huge joke. On the 
second day there will be 8 dancers in each alternating set; the third 
day, 10; the fourth day, 12; the fifth day, 15.'* On the second and 
subsequent days the dancers meet in the house of the Isletan town 
chief to dance first in the churchyard, then in the street south of the 
town chief's house. A few Isleta women or men may have been 
invited by the Laguna dancers to dance with them; but only a few, 
because this is a ceremonial dance which the Isletans do not loiow. 
My Isletan informant held this opinion about the dance being cere- 
monial because of the head feathers worn by the women which are 
the same as those worn in ceremonial by the Isletan medicine men, a 
bunch of varied colored feathers called in Isletan nafiechure, root 
yellow, and because of the oblong tablets of sun and moon worn on 
the back" by the men. The men dance without shirts and carry 

" This from Juan Abeita (see p. 355), presumably it is the gorernor of the Laguna colony. 
18 According to another informant the dance is for four days. 

IB To Lucinda it was this position of the tablet or plaque which distinguished the dance from the fiesta 
dance at San Domingo on October 4, in which the tablet is carried on the head. 



The evening of the day they conclude the Kings' dance, January 10, 
the town chief siunmons all the chiefs and the war captains to his 
ceremonial house to tell them they are going to look after the crops 
and, if they see anything bad coming, to take it away. He says he 
has chosen the chiefs of the medicine societies to help him and he 
bids them to go to their ceremonial houses and wait there for the 
war chief and kumpa to come. They go to their houses to stay in 
them all night. 

At simrise the town chief takes meal from liis bowl, faces the east, 
waves the meal in the directions, wraps it in a corn husk, breathes 
out on it three times, shows it to the sun, hfting his hand, and praying, 
moves it in the directions. He gives the husk of meal to kumpa to 
repeat the ritual. Kumpa passes the meal on to the war chief from 
whom it passes to the hunt chief and to each Com group chief, shichu 
kabede being, as usual, the last. Each chief mentions his own name 
in his prayer. The town chief divides the meal into two packets to 
each of which kumpa ties a cigarette. The town chief chooses four 
men, two couples of kumpawilawe and wilawe, each to cany the 
request packet to one of the medicine societies. In each house the chief 
and his assistant are waiting to receive these messengers. The war 
captains also notify the governor and lieutenant governor who will 
go, the governor to the house of the Town Fathers, the lieutenant 
governor to that of the Laguna Fathers. This is the occasion on which 
with their canes the officers participate in ceremonial. 

Now for four days the two medicine societies will be in retreat each 
in their ceremonial house — ka'anitaib, "the fathers are in." The 
Fathers will fast entirely from food and drink. Of toakoa (i. e., 
iema'paru and Wffiide) they ask the power to cleanse the ditch, the 
fields, the plain, to cleanse the towTispeople, the aninaals and birds, 
and against weeds the growing corn. They are to search out any 
one who may have done harm to the animals, asked to do this by the 
town chief. They themselves ask also for power from lion, bear, 
snake, eagle, badger. 

On the first day a war captain will call out from roof top (any roof 
top in the block of houses south of the plaza) that they are going to 
have shun'ad; not to buUd fires outside;'' not to go out to work; not 
to dig the groimd. A second time the war captain calls out, for the 
boys and men to get ready for a himt, that the town chief might have 
rabbits to give to the medicine societies. The war captain mentions 
the place of meeting — at Nambnru, earth bowl, the hill by the railway 
station where the women get clay for pottery, or Shemtua in the south- 

■° The term means collectively, "everything together," and the ceremonial is "for everybody, even 
Mexicans and whites." 
21 The smolce would keep the medicine men from seeing to a distance. Smoking outdoors is permitted. 

308 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO (eth. ann. 47 

west, or Tq.kenatua in the southeast, or Turjur'manatua, yellow bird 
hUl (northeast). . . . This day the war chief will send two wagons 
to the mountains to get wood for the houses of the medicine societies. 

On the second day all the men go out to the hunt. The women 
stay home preparing food to take to the medicine societies. The war 
chief is out with his assistant war captains, and he talks to the himters, 
telling them they have to hunt for the Fathers. . . . The himt is 
over early in the afternoon, the hunters going to the ceremonial house 
of the town chief, with their rabbits at their belt. Here the war 
chief tells them that the day following they will clean town. In the 
evening the same annoimcement is made from the housetop. That 
evening also the war captains skin and cook the rabbits. The war 
chief appoints two or three men to sweep and clean each roundhouse, 
and the churchyard; and two or three to visit the houses to see that 
people send away any Mexican or white they might be entertaining. 
The Laguna settlement is also visited to tell the people not to let any 
Mexicans who may be there come into the town. 

On the third day everybody, including the children, is at work 
cleaning up. People sweep all day; wagons come into the plaza to 
coUect and haul away refuse, governor and officers supervising. 
General traffic is diverted from the road through the plaza to the 
road around the town. 

On the fourth day all the chiefs of the Com groups and the hunt 
chief go to the house of a war captain; nobody walks through the 
street of the town chief, which is closed. The war captains go from 
house to house asking for }i|ide, a ceremonial word for beans, apples, 
peaches, meats of aU kinds, to carry to the house of the war chief 
(house 8), where they make a pile, adding to the pile already here 
of cooked rabbits. These supplies are taken to the houses of the 
medicine societies. The war chief calls out how the Com groups are 
to be distributed between the houses of the medicine societies: 
Always the Wliite Corn group are assigned to the Town Fathers, and 
the Yellow Com group to the Laguna Fathers, the other groups being 
divided between the two houses, in varying order. The town chief 
and kmnpa h ave to go to the Town Fathers ; the town chief's assistant ^^ 
and the kabew'iridi, to the Lagima Fathers. Similarly the chief 
assistant in each Com group goes to the house the chief does not 
go to. 

At noon, in the house of the war chief, the town chief talks to the 
people, describing the ceremony, and telling of the expectations of 
crops. He sprinkles meal in the dii'ections and to the piles of food. 
He gives permission to take food out to Wseide and the dead. The 
war chief and the head war captain each sends an assistant to gather 

23 This reference I do not understand, as in other connections the only assistant of the town chief is 




bits from the piles of food, one passing to the right, one to the left 
(see p. 299), and to take to the ash pUe. The moiety cliiefs also send 
assistants to collect from the piles of food, the Black Eyes assistant 
going to the right, the shure' to the left. These several messengers 
return and report. The food that is left is now taken to the houses 
of the medicine societies where the town chief in one house, his assist- 
ant in the other, presents the food. The Fathers exorcise the food with 
their feathers and remove the food into an adjacent room. . . . 

The Fathers are nude but for a clout of buckskin to which a fringe 
of tin pendants is attached. There is a line of white paint across the 
chest and lightning zigzags in white on arms and legs, two on the 
outside of each arm and leg, two on the inside. The Town Fathers 
have the body spotted with yellow 
paint, the Laguna Fathers spot with 
cotton. For both groups there is a 
line of pakalama pigment, presumably 
micaceous hematite, across the bridge 
of the nose and imder the eyes. In 
the hair is worn a prayer feather 
(lawashie), a downy eagle feather 
painted with red pigment (napiewi), 
which is also smeared on the hair-part- 
ing.^^ A necklace of bear claws is worn, 
the claws fastened to a strip of bear 
fur, and the precious pQshkci or crystal 
for second sight is pendent from the 
neck. There is a wristlet (kafi) of cow- 
hide set with arrow points or olivella 
shells. The two exorcising eagle feath- 
ers are carried in the left hand, a bear 
paw is in the right. (Fig. 1.5.) 

To return to the ceremony, after 
" cleaning up " the food, theFathers take 
position in front of their altar (figs. 16, 
17) ; they dance; they circulate among the people, saying truhi' ! truhi' ! 
The chief assistant passes from the altar to the door, making brushing 
motions mth his feathers. He is cleaning the road; and at the door he 
makes the cutting or slicing and discarding motions with the feathers. 
Two assistants go aroimd the walls, one going in one direction, one in 
the other, exorcising with their feathers. One goes to the fireplace in 
the ceremonial room and one to the fireplace in the next room, where 

PiGUEE 16.— Town Fattier 

" Compare Laguna, Parsons 8 : 119. Also a Tewa practice. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 


61 W 


the food is, to exorcise with ashes. One goes to "clean " the ceremonial 
house of the town chief, the Black Eyes' roundhouse and Idva; the 
other goes to "clean" the shure' roundhouse and kiva and the house 
of the shure' chief. "VlTiile they are absent the chief works at the 
altar; on their return he performs the ritual of bringing down the sun 
(see pp. 292, 298). The chief sends two assistants in each direction, 
bidding the war chief to send a war captain with each couple to clean 
out in each du-ection. They say they go to the end of the world 

within an hour.^* The war cap- 
tains go only to the edges of the 
town to wait for them. Drop- 
ping their baskets, they say to 
the accompanying war captain, 
"Good-bye. Ask Wroide to help 
me so I may return and see 
you again." They run a little 
way, then you see them flying 
in the air. (Informant who once 
served as war captain asserts 
that he saw this flying in the air 
in the daytime.) Like'call boys" 
they go and notify the Chiefs 
(kabere) of the Directions to 
come at night and help. While 
they are absent, the chief looks 
into his crystal to see where 
they have gone and where the 
war captains are. He puts the 
crystal back into place and says, 
"Well, my sons, everything looks all right," or he may say, "Some- 
body is near the war captain, perhaps a Mexican." If anything 
goes wrong on their journey he mtH teU the people. At this tune 
the witch chief is around. 

Should he meet a medicine man he would fight with him, as he does 
not want him to achieve anytliing good. The witch chief may be 
carrying with him worms, grasshoppers, all the pests of the fields. 
Then the medicine men would pm-sue him to take from him his 
bundle of pests. They may be delayed. The chief wiU describe to 
the people the course of the pursuit and struggle, telling which medi- 

" Such was also the claim of the nun Maria de Jestis whose flights from Spain to New Mexico occurred 
in 1620-1631. These "flights" werelinown to Benavides and, inferably, to the padres at Sandiaand Isleta, 
notably to Fray Juan de Salas, missionary to Isleta, to the Tigua to the south, and to the Jumano. These 
last, a non-Pueblo people, asked for baptism because of the young woman who came down from the hills 
to talk to them. Now the Jumano were neighbors to the southern Tigua who about 1675 migrated to 
Isleta. (Benavides, 58-59, 275-277.) 

Figure 16. — Altar of Town Fathers in ceremony of 
general cleansing. The Mothers set in mud ridge; 
medicine water bowl; meal design with fetishes 
(kaenim); long line of shunad (shunai); prayer- 
feathers; stone point; meal basket 




cine man captures the witch bundle (naloa). The people say, 
"Thanks! thanks!" when they hear that the bundle is captured. 
The chief saj's, "They are coming." He begins to sing to call them 
in, singing three songs. Then one by one they knock at the door, 
saying aukuwam! They may be several minutes apart. The war 
captains follow. The captor of the bundle stands, the others take 
their seats. The chief assistant holds the captor around his arms; 
the chief tries to take the bundle from him; but he clasps it so tight 
the chief can not get it from him. Then kumpa, who "has his power 
on him" (i. e., he is wealing his bandoleer and pouch), makes a cross 
on the door with his stone point, and encircles the room, by the walls. 
After that it becomes easy for the chief to take away the bundle. 
He puts it near the stone point of the altar. Then there is the usual 
smoking ritual for those who 
have been out, and, as usual, 
they make report of their trip. 
With the altar blade the chief 
cuts apart the bundle. In- 
side the rags are worms, 
grasshoppers, ha'u (? snails) ^' 
or potato bugs, which are 
exhibited to the people. . . . 
The chief, town chief, kumpa, 
war chief, and others make a 
line and one by one step on 
the yucca crosses on the floor 
and spit into the bowl of cot- 
ton, and encircle the snake 
design. (Fig. 17.) All this 
to song. All resume their 
places and the chief dismisses 

the people, about 3 p. m., to go and eat dinner. About 5 p. m. the 
people get ready to take food to the house of their Corn group, and 
thence to one or the other of the medicine societies. They leave the 
food in the first room they enter, and taking their blankets to sit on, 
pass on into the ceremonial room. . . . The war chief sends a war 
captain to "close" the street poabahoa, also the "gate" between 
houses 18 and 19.-" 

The ceremonial resumed, the chief performs the ritual of drawing 
in the animals, sho'wing the fetishes (kerchu) to the people and then 
placing them in the medicine bowl. Through his crystal he looks for 
the witches who may be lurking outside, showing them through the 
crystal to his assistants who utter the cries of moimtain lion and bear 
and eagle and make gestures of pulling the bow. All smoke ritually. 
The chief addresses the people, asking them to have good thoughts 

" Corn pest. It is the size of one's nail, brown, with horn on its head. 
2* References to lost map. 

Figure 17. — Altar of Lagtina Fathers. Crosses on ground 
made with yucca. Jar for ritual spittle at left. Medi- 
cine water bowl at top of meal design. The Mothers, 

312 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

and help in the ceremony. With his stone point and his exorcising 
feathers the chief dances, approaching the medicine bowl and peering 
into it in order to see what is going on everywhere outside. He 
gestures into the bowl as if pulling a bow. He performs the ritual of 
bringing in hghtning and thunder (see p. 339). The assistants leave 
their seats and, standing in front of the altar, exorcise with their 
feathers. One of them carries away the jar of exorcism, first waving 
it in the directions where the people spit toward it. Now the assist- 
ants go out "to clean with their feathers" (exorcise) all the ceremonial 
houses, the plaza, the corrals into which all the horses have been 
brought, and they even "clean" the river. On the return of his 
assistants the chief begins to chew some of the medicine society root, 
moving around the altar as the assistants sing, untU he sits down in 
front of the altar, swaying imder the elTect of the root. "This is the 
time he is going in heart (spirit) around the world." During the hour 
or more his "heart" is away, the people may not move into the 
passage through the room which has been kept open, "because the 
chief's heart is out." Now his chief assistant leaves his place and 
peers into the medicine bowl; with a drawing-in gesture he begins to 
caU back the "heart" of the chief. At last the "heart" returns; the 
chief stretches his arms, first one, then the other. The chief assistant 
orders the door closed — while the "heart" was gone it was open. 
The chief is now in possession of the witch bundle. It was because 
of having it that the chief assistant had to help him back. The chief 
shows the bimdle to the people, who spit toward it. He places the 
bundle in a large bowl, resumes his place in the Une behind the 
altar, where the war chief gives him a cigarette to smoke ritually .... 
The chief assistant looks into the crystal where he may see some 
sick person asking to be cured. Three assistants will go out to cure 
him. Sometimes an assistant will draw on a bear's paw and going 
up to somebody will slap him with the paw on the shoulder and press 
his chest and then show him something he has taken out of him, per- 
haps a cactus point, something a witch has sent into him. On one 
occasion the Father took out in this way from the girl sitting next to 
our informant a little piece of manta cloth. The giii began to cry. 
Then the Father rubbed the paw on her neck and brought out a lighted 
candle. Showing it to the people, he said that a boy the girl had 
refused to marry had sent these things into her. In a few days, 
before she could have married any one else, she would have died. 
Now she was safe. This showed how powerful were the Fathers, 
commented our informant. A witch might be working evil against 
you for a year, and then in one ceremony "the Father would take it 


This doctoring by exorcising may be kept up until the eariy morning, 
about 3 a. m., when the tawinide-'^ ritual begins. The chief begins 
to dance to the singing of his assistants. Presently a rabbit is seen 
in his hand, there through his power. He gives the rabbit to the 
hunt chief who says ha'u'! ha'u! ha'u! (thanks! thanks! thanks!) and 
gives it to the war chief who stands out in the middle of the room 
showing the rabbit to the people and sajHing, "What power our 
Fathers have, to bring in a live rabbit! Believe in them!" The war 
chief gives the rabbit to the chief who places it near the altar, drawing 
a circle aroimd it with his stone point, "tying it so it can not move 
away." Again the chief shows the people his hands empty. He 
moves around, sits down, sways, comes to, saying ahi! ahi! truhi, 
truhi! He has something under his left arm, and he whistles. The 
lightning flashes, the thunder sounds. You hear the rain falling into 
the medicine bowl into which lightning has also passed, and thunder. 
If it is going to be a good year the thunder sounds several times, if a 
bad year with no rain, it sounds once or twice only or perhaps three 
times. The chief summons an assistant who shows the tawinide of 
the crops — com and wheat sprouting in mud — to the town chief, the 
hunt chief, and the war chief, all saying ha'u! ha'u! The chief makes 
the drawing in gestiu'es from the corn ears pictured on the walls 
(pi. 17), and his hands fill with kernels, of which he gives three, 
first to the town chief, then to the other Fathers, then to ever\' one 
present. (It is for this, to get the new seeds, the people like to go to 
this ceremony.) Sometimes the chief •wdll draw the seeds, not from 
the wall pictures, but from the altar ears.''" He shakes the iema'paru 
out of which the grains fall for the people to scramble for. 

Finally they clean the road. It is nearly sunrise. All smoke 
ritiuilly. The chief addresses the people, holding in his hand two 
or three of the iema'paru, and at the end of his talk, displaying them 
in waving motions to the people who breathe from their own clasped 

Four assistants stand up, two %vith bowls of medicine water, two 
with dippers. They pair off, taking diiTerent sides of the room to 
give the medicine water to the people. Visits are exchanged between 
the two houses of the medicine societies, each sending six members 
to the house of the other to cleanse with their feathers the people in 
the house. After this the war chief gives the people permission to 
go home. The Fathers remain to remove the altar and to dress. 
The bear and lion claw necklace each has worn must be removed by 

-" In English rendered "new >ear"; but this is probably a paraphrase since new year is tawin (year) 
kui (good). 
'"» Compare Lummis 2 : 85, 25:1. 

6066°— 32 21 

314 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

the chief or his assistant, just as it had to be put on by one of them. 
Each Father rubs his eyes and makes the gestures of throwing 
away. . . . Food is distributed as already described (see pp. 299, 

After this ceremony people may begin to work in their fields; for 
as early as February wheat is to be planted. 


The years the grasshoppers are bad, when the crops are coming up 
there is a ceremony "to condemn the head grasshopper (kauru 
kabede)." The town chief teUs kumpa to instruct the war chief to 
initiate the ritual which is to be conducted by the medicine societies 
in the roundhouses, the Town Fathers in that of the Black Eyes, the 
Laguna Fathers in that of the shure'. The ritual is performed at 
night and is in general like that of the cleaning of the fields. Through 
a crystal the chief locates the grasshopper chief. The chief assistant 
and another find him and take him away. Like bees, the grasshoppers 
will follow their chief. 


Any night in winter a man may ask for this dance, liwa hcha por, 
kachina basket dance, the men who are giving the dance asking per- 
mission of the town chief. There are in town five houses which con- 
tain the old time grinding stones, five or six in a row, and in one of 
these houses the dance will be performed, as the women grind the 
meal which is needed to give to the Fathers. In other words, it is 
ceremonial meal which is ground on these occasions. 

In the dance there are four male figures, and three female imper- 
sonations by men, with a man, as they say at Zuni, to beat the bundle. 
Sitting on a folded blanket, he beats with a stick on a bundled 
sheep pelt. He is called tiwa; he wears little deer horns. This part is 
taken by the man who asked for the dance. The male dancers wear 
a buckskin mantle, no kUt, at the back of the head a fan of turkey 
tail feathers; their face painted white with red lines across the cheeks; 
in the left hand, bow and arrow; in the right, a gourd rattle. The 
female impersonators carry an arrow in the right hand, a shallow 
basket in the left. They wear the white Hopi blanket or manta 
and women's moccasins; their hair hangs loose; their face is red all 
over except a white horizontal line across each cheek. 

People come in to see the dance, and after the dancers leave these 
visitors themselves dance the Mexican cjuadrUle (Mex., hanchi; 
Isleta, kurpor'). 

parsons] calendar 315 


Initiations take place in February. Much preparation is neces- 
sary: wood to be hauled, food prepared; beads and feathers to be 
obtained to embellish the new iema'paru. Beads will be contributed 
by the man's relations, there may be a hundred dollars' worth of 
beads for iema'paru, and the man will go to San Domingo to get the 
needed parrot tail feathers (see p. 277). 

On the part of the society there is a retreat with fast of four days, 
during which time the initiate stays in a room of his own house, un- 
^nsited by his family; liis ceremonial father, who is any one of the 
society members he has chosen, has to feed him. Wheat flour is 
taboo. During this time the aunt (probably father's sister) of the 
initiate will prepare various things: cotton, a big basket of smoking 
tobacco, a belt, a pair of moccasins, hau' belt, hair broom, water bowl. 

On the afternoon of the fourth day the chief comes to fetch the 
initiate, leading him hj the tips of his eagle wdng feathers (see p. 283). 
With her prepared things, the aunt follows. On reaching the cere- 
monial room the initiate and his aunt sprinkle meal on the altar. The 
chief takes the initiate in to the ne.xt room where his aunt will take 
care of him; that evening she may not leave him alone. He must 
keep his mind on asking iema'paru to help him, that he may not be 
afraid. He must be strong. A war captain goes to summon rela- 
tives to the ceremonial room. Other war captains are outside on 
watch against the witches who are always lurking about on these 
occasions.^ The chief cleans aU present with his feathers (see p. 445). 
The chief summons the Corn mothers, ke'chu, thunder and lightning. 

The chief brings in the initiate and his aunt who takes a seat at 
the fireplace. The initiate has to sit near the stone point on the 
altar and next to the keide, the senior woman member of the society 
who is to act as his Mother. She has an eagle feather in her hair; 
cotton is stuck to her bodj'; she wears a white Hopi blanket. Now 
around both Mother and initiate as they sit near the altar a white 
blanket is wrapped, which means that the initiate is to be born from 
the Mother. The initiate has to stand on the head of the snake 
design on the altar, and step along the outline of the snake, holding 
to the chief's eagle wing feathers, the chief walking alongside, not in 
front. Then the initiate steps on the yucca made crosses (fig. 17) 
and spits into the bowl for the spittle of exorcism. AU present follow 
the same course. The initiate resumes liis place next to his Mother. 
The Fathers stand and surround the initiate, making all lands of 
animal sounds and with their feathers cleaning up (exorcising) the 

*8 The initiation ceremony of the Town Fathers was the same, opined our informant, but he had seen only 
that of the Laguna Fathers. 
» See p. 430. 

316 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

initiate and the Mother. Over them the chief puts back the manta. 
Then from under the manta the Mother draws forth the new iema'- 
parii which through the power of the chief has been born from the 
Mother. The chief shows the iema'paru to those present who say 
ha'u! ha'u! thanks! thanks! The Mother and the initiate sprinkle 
meal on the iema'paru. The chief with his feathers takes the initiate 
to the next room; i. e., the initiate follows the chief holding to the tips 
of the feathers. . . , The new iema'paru is placed to the right of 
the altar blade and all, beginning with the father or wife of the 
initiate, have to sprinkle meal on it. Then the Fathers sprinkle it 
with meal. 

The Fathers perfonn the smoldng ritual, in the directions and to 
the new iema'paru. All the men present smoke. The chief preaches 
about the new iema'paru or keide and how everything has come out 
well. The chief fetches back the initiate, holding behind to the tips of 
the feathers. The initiate, who has now the power of clairvoyance, and 
the chief stand looking at the people whose hearts they can see and 
tell what they are thinking about. Again the initiate is seated next 
to the Mother and aroimd them the Fathers sit in a semicircle. The 
chief tells the initiate to stand and look into the medicine bowl. 
Sometimes the initiate faints when he first looks into the bowl, for 
the first things he sees are dead persons. The Fathers are singing. 
The others are asking Wseide to help the initiate. A second and 
third time he looks into the bowl. The chief takes the "sun" which 
has lain to the right of the altar blade and puts it on top of the manta 
with which he has covered the Mother and the initiate. Now is the 
time the initiate is going to be born, a new ka'a. The others give 
animal and bird calls. The chief is standing with his arms around 
the Mother and the initiate imder the manta. The chief calls out 
nianabe'puwe Wseide, "thank God." Then thej' know^ he is being 
born. All the Fathers stand. One holds the Mother, the chief and 
his assistant hold the initiate. In her place to the right they seat 
the Mother again, giving her a drink from the medicine bowl. From 
under the manta the initiate comes forth as a bear.-'* "That is the 
way they are born, in the form of a bear." 

They lead the bear to his wife or father whom he slaps with his 
paws and from him or her takes out a naloa which he places in front 
of the new iema'paru. Then bear who is being held under the arms 
by one of the assistants takes naloa from all present, including the 
fathers who are sitting in the usual place beliind the altar. Then 
bear from his position in front of the altar blade "cleans" the beings 
represented on the walls. (PI. 17.) The chief gives him his own 
seat, the middle one, in the hne of the Fathers, who now perform 
smoking ritual, giving thanks to "God." The Fathers repeat the 

"• Compare Lummis 2 : 8ti. 

riRsossJ CALENDAR 317 

feather cleansing ritual. The cliief leads hear in front of the altar 
blade, where the town chief and kumpa sprinkle him with meal, 
followed by his wife or father, and the others. The chief leads bear 
in to the next room where his bearskin falls off. The chief paints 
him all over with pakalama (a blue-black pigment), spots him all over 
with cotton, and gives him his eagle feathers and stone point. They 
return ([uicklj-. The people pray, and some of them will cry. The 
initiate sprinkles meal on his own iema'paru, which the chief gives 
him to hold in his right hand, resting it in the crook of his left arm, 
the left arm folded over the right forearm. In this position he 
preaches to the people, giving thanks for everytliing having come out 
well. After this he is led by the chief to his permanent seat, at the 
end of the line of Fathers, with his iema'paru in front of him, and 
his living "mother," the keide, to sit next to him. After so placing 
her, the chief takes his own seat in the middle of the line. Now the 
cliief assistant and then others and the initiate stand in front of the 
altar blade, the chief assistant showing the initiate the crystal to look 
into and see the world. Then all go out, going in the directions, all 
around the world. They return and resume their seats. One of the 
assistants gives a drink of the medicine water to all present, with 
permission to leave. The Fathers remain. The altar is dismantled 
(see p. 298). In the morning the chief assistant conducts the initiate 
home, where people come to call on him. . . . 


This is danced in February, at no fixed time.^' The moiety chiefs 
are the managers; and the moiety Grandfathers (te'en) come out to 
play, but the shichu Corn group has a projuinent part, presenting a 
distinctive night dance which is to call the snow or ram. 

The name of the general dance, land turtle dance, indicates that it 
is a shure' dance, most significant evidence that the shure' are, 
AVinter people. (See, too, p. 262, n. 76.) Both moieties are represented, 
however, in the dance, the dancers coming out in alternating moiety 
sets. They dance in the plaza, on the east and west sides, sometimes 
for two days, sometimes for four. Men only. The headdress differs 
from that of the pinitu or spruce dance, otherwise the dancers are 
similarly arrayed, and spruce is fetched for them and received by 
them as in the pinitu dance. Instead of the k'apyo there are the 
Grandfathers who serve as watchers and who are the ones to give 
permission to catch the turtles. The dancer's headdress is a plaque, 
round or square, of colored cotton encircled b}* feathers, to which 

i> The leg rattle is made of sharu, land turtle: in the pinitu dance (see p. 335) the rattle of the shure' is 
land turtle, and the rattle of the Black Eyes, water turtle (bakorare). 

3' Seasonal vicissitudes and the time of planting (see p. 321 J have probably some tjearingou the date of this 
dance and of the dance which follows it, liwa funide. 

318 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

horizontally two eagle wing feathers are attached mth corn husk and 
red and green yarn. (Fig. 18.) 

In the evening in the pubhc kiva patykwane is presented by the 
shichu chief. There are a drunmier and three singers, and two men 
and two women dancers. These dancers have been practicing in the 
house of the shichu chief. The women wear the Hopi blanket, and 
in their hair is a white eagle feather. The men wear clothes of buck- 
skin, their face is whitened. They carry a 
gourd rattle and a crook cane to which 
eagle feathers are attached. The drum is 
whitened. Any woman present may join 
in the dancing, moving their arms up and 
''» down, and stretching them in front. 

\ Halala this dancing is called, and it means 

riouKE i8.-neaddress in land- " they are helping them." After this dance 

is finished for the evening, the two sets of 
hwa dancers come in to dance in succession. 

In his house at this time the shichu chief keeps medicine water for 
any one who wants it to drink. And any infant might be taken to 
him to be given a name. Children thus named are those who in 
later life he puts into his dance. . . . The morning after the dance 
the shichu chief deposits prayer feathers out toward the west at 
Nampeikotoa', where is the shrine of the stillborn. 


The mayordomo tell the town chief they are going to start the 
communal work on the 5-mile ditch. The town chief notifies the 
moiety chiefs, and he and they, kumpa, and the war chief begin 
to fast; i. e., remain continent, the first day the work of three days 
begins. On the fourth morning these five men go out to the end 
of the ditch to perform ritual. This morning the crier has called 
out to the people to run the water. The governor and the other 
elective officers go to the river to pray, carr3dng a cross the sacristan 
has had blessed by the padre. The cross is planted in the river bank. 
The five Fathers are also praying by the river, to which they have 
carried 12 prayer feathers to pay to the Water people for water to 
run into the ditch for the year's crop. The feathers are thrown into 
the river; also bits from the bundle of sample crops (tawenide) each 
moiety chief carries. The mayordomo tell the men to run the water. 
As all assemble, the town chief bids them give thanks for the coming 
year and urges them all to behave well. The moiety chiefs, first as 
usual, the Black Eyes, then the shure', repeat the same exhortations 
and add that the men must tell their famihes to go to the river before 
sunrise the morning following to sprinlde pollen and meal. (This 


they do, and after sprinkling people immerse their hands and then 
draw them out in a sweeping gesture as if drawing something to 
themselves, the something being understood to be the bits offered in 
the river of watermelons, melons, com, etc., from the moiety bundles.) 

The chief of the Black Eyes has a bundle of black paint (koafunto), 
the chief of the shure' a bundle of red (pari').^^ The men present line 
up by moiety, each passing his moiety chief and helping himself to a 
bit of paint which he proceeds with index finger and thumb to snap up 
toward the sun, at the same time asking for what he wants — long Hfe, 
crops, etc. After the first roimd by aU present there is a second in 
which the paint is snapped in the five directions. On the third round 
the paint is applied to the man's own face in a spot or line under the 
eyes. . . . 

Now the limch everybody has brought with him in a napkin is 
eaten, everybody as usual dropping crumbs in his right hand to 
Waeide, in his left, to the dead. The five Fathers who have been 
fasting now eat also. In fact, the lunch at large is thought of as a 
kind of accompaniment to the lunch of the fasting Fathers — "We help 
them eat." 

The town chief tells the men to walk back to town. Little boys 
have already started back with the wagons. The men go by moiety. 
The town chief walks ahead, under his blanket sprinkling meal, making 
the road. After him walk the chief of the Black Eyes and his assist- 
ants. Then kumpa and war chief, then the Black Eyes at large. 
At the head of the shure' walk their chief, his assistants, and the 
assistants of kumpa and war chief. Each moiety chief carries his 
tawenide. All the Fathers sing, different songs in each moiety. . . . 
As the Mexicans pass them on their 5-mile walk they say, "The 
Indians have nm the water with prayer; we are going to have a good 

The procession halts at the railroad crossing, near the drainage 
ditch. The women watch it from the housetops. Two Black Eye 
boys fetch the dark-colored drum of the Black Eyes and their turtle 
sheU rattle (pa'kwara); '^ and two shure' boys fetch the red drum of 
the shure' and their gourd rattles. The war captains have to use the 
drums and in each moiety six men are appointed to use their respective 
rattles. They start into town, singing, drumming, and rattling. The 
women come out to meet them. The women breathe on the meal 
they have carried with them and throw it toward the tawenide, Black 
Eye women throwing toward the Black Eye bundle, shure' women 
toward the shure' bundle. Then the women of each moiety fall into 
position between the moiety chief and the other Fathers and the 
moiety men members. As they all proceed, the women move their 

" See pp. 320, 335. 

» Tin bells are strung into holes around the shell. The hand fits into a strap. 

320 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

arms up and down. In the plaza there will be other women and chil- 
dren to throw meal on the crops bundles. Before the ceremonial 
house of the town chief the procession stops and the war chief calls 
out to the people to gaze on the crops bundles. Each moiety chief 
removes the cover from the bundle which he holds in both hands in 
front of his chest. The town chief steps up to look, saying' yayu, 
yayu (a ceremonial term). Kunipa follows, then all in turn, every- 
body saying yayu, yayu. The town chief, kumpa, the war chief, and 
the moiety chiefs withdraw uito the house of the towii chief to per- 
form ritual of which none knows anything but themselves. The 
people remain outside singing. . . . 

The moiety chiefs reappear, each standing in front of his moiety 
group, to thank them and give each a drink from their bowl of medi- 
CLDe water. Sometimes a member of one moiety will visit the other 
moiety, in which case the chief will sprinkle water on him from his 
mouth; but a diink he would not give him. Only a member of the 
moiety may drink the moietj^'s medicine water. The moiety chiefs 
now dismiss the people, saying they may proceed to perform the 
uwepore, fertility dance (uwe' refers to a woman who has many 

This dance, referred to in English as ditch dance or round dance, 
is danced in a circle, antisunwise, men and women alternating.^* 
Each moiety forms its own circle,^^ both dancing at the same time. 
In one connection I was told that the k'apyo ^^ come out at this time. 


Red paint (pari') is to be found '" "in a rock" on Nahorai, the 
highest peak of the Alanzano Mountains, the range east of Isleta. 
Youths are appointed by the moiety chiefs to get the paint, which 
is used ritualistically by racers and ditch workers. They are given 
prayer feathers to deposit in the mountain spring where the wahtainin 
live of whom they are asking the pigment. The water of the spring 
is "boiling," '* i. e., bubbling, and the prayer feathers, after they 
are put in, disappear. The pigment lies in rock which is hard, but 
after you have asked properly, i. e., with the prayer feathers, for the 
pigment, it becomes soft enough to take out with your fingers. You 
should not take much, only what you need. The story goes that 
once a boy was about to take too much and the pigment began to 

3' Compare Jemez, Parsons, 16: 77. 

" Recently on this occasion the moiety chiefs were drunk and the moiety circles intermingled, for which 
ritual transgression the dancers were whipped. Consequently, in 1926, "these boys" refused to dance 

» See pp 333 tt. 

" The Supai (Isletan, Kawia) of .\rizona are also said to have this red pigment. 

38 This is a stock description of our informant who is referring to the motion of the water of a spring 
rather than to its temperature. 

piRsoNs] CALENDAR 321 

harden so that he could get only what he needed. The place is called 
paripeai, red paint in the water. 


Seed grain is taken by people to the town chief who with kumpa 
and the shichu kabede performs ceremonial, any specific account 
of which I was unable to get from m.v informant. Merely that the 
town chief placed the seed on a buckskin, sprinkling it with medicine 
water; that the exorcising stone point was used, and songs were sung — 
a simple ritual. 


This is danced in February-March after the Hwa dance, to have 
a good spring for the crops. There is a 4-day retreat by the dancers 
in the moiety kivas when they prepare what they need. During 
these four days people may not go to the ash piles. Daily, early in 
the moiTiing, about 3 o'clock, the moiety chiefs go out to the four 
comers of the plaza, and call out, probably to Hwa fy'nide. (But 
they do not bring him into town as liwale is brought in.) ^° During 
this time one or two young men go on horseback for spruce, to White 
Eagle Mountain where the Hwa fyni live. The man who "has 
wanted the dance" " and who, after getting permission from the 
town chief, \nll be the head man, sends forth the spruce gatherers. 
In case of hurry the medicine men will be asked to get the spruce, 
for they have only to send out an assistant and, performing ritual, 
to have him reach the mountain and return in half an hour. As he 
starts they sing a song and by the time they have sung a second 
song he is back. He has flown by their power. For such service 
in getting spruce the medicine men will be paid a hair belt or a pair 
of garters, a bundle of cotton, and a bundle of tobacco. 

The Grandfathers (te'en) come out. On the first day they go about 
town, lowering the house ladders. On the second day the Grand- 
fathers call out to the women to sweep their yards; and to the young 
men each to bring two or three sticks of wood to their respective 
kivas. On the third day the dancers, led by the moiety chiefs and 
their assistants, go out to meet the youths returning with spruce, 
who have to ford the river, using neither bridge nor boat. 

On the town side, drj' clothes are at hand for the spruce gatherers, 
and a fire. They dance and sing, teasing songs. Anybody in town 
may be referred to. The Black Eye boys will tease shure' people; 
the shure', Black Eye people. Gossip of any kind serves. For 
example, a boy courting a girl had offered her land which she would 

>» See p. 332. 

*" Compare Parsons, 15: 6.5, 71. Possibly, as among the Uopi, "the man who wants the dance" has 
had sickness in his family. 

322 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eih. ann. 47 

not accept because only nae'ra (some animal smaller than a mouse) 
lived on it; i. e., it was not arable. The song about this was considered 
very amusing, "people laughed and laughed." Again there was a 
song about a boy who was in a girl's house when he saw her parents 
coming and he ran out through the window. Unable to get an Indian 
girl for a wife, he began to court a Mexican girl. He asked a certain 
old man with a beard to help hun. Late at night the old go-between 
carried some*' beans and two cans of sardines to the house of the 
Mexican giai. Her father came to the door provoked by so late a 
call. He grabbed the old man by the beard, and the Isleta boy had 
to run away. He threw himself on his bed, saying it was no use trying 
to get married. The next morning he cut off his cjueue and went out 
to look for work, because the girls did not want to marry him. Boys 
are not only willing to go for spruce in order to be able to sing these 
teasing songs, they even volunteer. And other boys will tell the 
spruce gatherers what to tease about, giving them a cigarette, "pay- 
ing" them with a cigarette. Whether or not the teasing songs already 
cited were of actual persons seems somewhat uncertain; but the song 
about one Francisco Seyo was cited as based upon an actual occur- 
rence, his visit to a woman neighbor who gave hiin supper. "Where 
is Francisco Seyo?" ran the song. "And where is Maria Pinta (a 
term of abuse)? Let us go again to-night and eat beans." At this 
song the wife of the "old man" got mad and began to shake him. 
The old man went to the boys and gave them a cigarette to stop their 
teasing song. 

Habitually, people give the teasing singers a cigarette to close their 
mouths. , . . We left the spruce gatherers teasing people at the 
river. Thence by the road the women have swept from river to plaza 
the spruce gatherers come into the plaza to dance and continue their 
teasing songs on all four sides on the roofs to which the Grandfathers 
had restored the ladders. (They had removed the ladders so there 
would be nobody on the roofs at this time.) They may be dressed 
up as an old Mexican or Indian, carrying a bag or "something funny." 
Should the padre come out to watch, the burlesquers would make 
fun of him, stroke his beard or kneel in front of him asking for his 
blessing. They might surround a white or Mexican and not release 
him untU he danced for them. At this time the boys are called 
pachu'un, funny men. . . . Were a man absent — all should be at 
hand — the pachu'un would beat a little drum or can at his house, and, 
unless he has put a cigarette inside his door, they would take him and 
throw him into the pond near the town. If the man has made himself 
safe by putting down the cigarette, the spruce gatherers have to take 

<> A measure for beans called nashau 

parsons] calendar 323 

it and merely tell the man to hiiriy up and go to his kiva. Otherwise, 
after ducking the man, they nm back toward the kiva to which the 
drenched man has to go directly. There the pachu'un greet him with 
akuwam, poyo! Hello! friend! as if unaware of what has happened. 
Following him into the kiva, they shake hands with him, saving, 
"Where have you been? We did not see yoi:." . . . By this time 
it is noon; people go to dinner. 

Afterwards the moiety chiefs, the dancers, the spruce gatherers, go 
to the river to fetch the spruce which was left there. All the way 
back to the kivas they sing. Back in the kivas the spruce gatherers 
have to report on their trip, reporting on eveiything they did, what 
they saw, whom they met. Then the moiety chiefs "let them go free," 
for dinner. It is about 3 p. m. . . . When they come out from 
the kivas they holler yayayaya! meaning they are free. Hearing 
this call, the women and girls come out of their houses to take the 
pachu'un back to feed them, a Black Eye woman taking a shure' 
boy, a shure' woman, a Black Eye boy. The boys eat a lot. 
Left overs they stow away in bag or l)lanket. Later, when they 
meet anyone they have made dance, a poor person or a Mexican, they 
will give him a tortilla, to pay him for dancing. At this time the 
children are afraid to go out lest the spruce gatherers make them 
dance or nm a race. Now the spruce gatherers go after the Grand- 
fathers to bring them into the plaza. They ask the Grandfathers if 
they are angry that they do not speak. They will write a make- 
beUeve note with carbon and give to the Grandfathers to deliver to 
some white man or Mexican in the crowd from Albuquerque. The 
recipient will, of course, not understand the note, so the Grandfather 
will lead the sender over to explain. Tlie sender will say that the 
Grandfather is asking for a smoke and "for you to go to the store to 
buy him something to eat. He comes from a distance and is hungiy." 
When the Grandfather gets his tobacco or crackers he takes the giver 
into the middle of the plaza to hug or pat him or to make him kneel 
down and receive the sign of the cross. Of course, all the people are 
laugliing. . . . Now a few dancers come out, about seven. First 
come the Black Eyes, then the shiu-e', each set dancing only once, the 
former on the west side of the plaza, the latter on the east side. The 
Grandfathers are out also, keeping the lookers-on from crowding up 
or "acting funny," i. e., untowardly. The spruce gatherers are out 
also, to look after any disarray of the dancers, loose feathers, etc. 

The dancers wear a Hopi dance kilt with pendent fox skin, also a 
fox-skin collar. The body is painted a Ught red. Moccasins, home- 
knit socks, skunk fur heel bands. Their cheeks are spotted with 
black (micaceous hematite, pakalaman). In their hair, wild goose 
feathers painted red and yellow; a gourd rattle in the right hand, 
spruce in the left. (Fig. 19.) 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

On the fourth morning about sunrise each dance set, the full set, 
comes out in turn, each set coming out three times before breakfast. 
Then the spruce gatherers bid the dancers go each to his own house 
for breakfast. After breakfast the dancers redress and begin to dance 
again, perhaps twice more in the morning, thrice m the afternoon. 
The dancers all wear a tabhta or head tablet, that of the Black Eyes 
painted red and black, that of the shure', red and yellow. The Black 
Eyes wear black moccasins, and their bodies are blackened. The 
shure' wear red moccasins and are painted red. At dinner time the 
spruce gatherers will set out in the plaza the food that may have been 
contributed from any house, and if there are ^'isito^s from other 
pueblos they will be invited to partake. Before the final dance the 

spruce gatherers mount a roof to call out 
that the day following they will have a 
hunt, and the people are to prepare all the 
good things to eat that they can — water- 
melons, fried eggs, cheese, etc., aU of which 
is mentioned with gusto to raise a laugh. 
From this annoimcement the people know- 
that the next dance will be the final 
one. . . . The dancers go to the river to 
wash. They return to their respective 
Idvas where their chief sets them free. 

The rabbit hunt the following day is 
like that to be described in connection 
with the pinitu dance, ^-' e.xcept that no 
lumt lire is built. The war chief and cap- 
tains are not in charge; in charge are the 
Grandfathers and the spruce gatherers, 
who at, the close thank and dismiss the people. The hunters keep 
their game for themselves, except what they have given to the women 
who go horseback to this hunt. (The hunters go afoot; the old people 
and the children go in wagons, with two barrels of drinking water.) 
Also one rabbit is reserved for the town chief, one for kumpa, and 
one for the war chief. 

Figure 19.— Dark kachina 

races; w'ar ceremoni.\l *^* 

About the middle of March or early in April *^ on three or four 
Sundays there are races, t'aikabede nakwiawi, town chief races, 
for the sun. "The town chief is going to clothe the sun and help him 

« See pp. 335-336. 

«• Compare Lummis 1: 109-130: 2: 23.5-242. 

" .\ccording to Lummis 1: 112, the series always begins on Easter Sunday afternoon. Lucinda also 
said that the series begins on Easter with a race by the little boys who are painted on their back with figures 
in white of chicken hawk (takire) or rabbit or turtle. Six boys stand at the southwest corner of the plaza 
and six boys at the southeast corner. .\n "old man" sprinkles water from a jar on the boys. 



run; that is why they run east and west." The war chief talks over 
the first race date with his assistants and notifies the town chief who 
has summoned kumpa and shichu kabede. All perform cerenionial 
the night before the race in the Black Eyes kiva, the roundhouse. 
They make naw'emi (w'emi, pay or, as we would say, offerings) the 
nature of which was unknown to our infonnant, to bury at midnight 
in the middle of the racetrack. Medicine water is also made and 
any one may go to the town chief's ceremonial house the next morning 
and get a diink. 

In the morning from eight to ten there is dancing in the plaza — 
nawiawipore, racing dance, a dance open to all. It is after this that 
people go for their drink of medicine water. Also, at this time, the 
babies that are to belong to the shichu Com group may get their 

Meanwhile this morning the war chief in the plaza has called out 
for those who want to race to go to the Black Eyes roundhouse, it is 
a "free race" for anybody. As the men come in the war chief sings 
and drums. The town chief and the shichu chief bring in their 
medicine water and sprinkle it on the foiu" posts of the kiva, also on 
the kgkaim (see p. 209). AH stand and sing a song for the sun during 
which whenever the sun is mentioned the town chief sprinkles meal 
in a line from east to south. ("This is like calling the sun.") 

After they finish singing, one by one the men pass in front of the 
town chief who squirts medicine water on them from his mouth. 
As each withdraws he takes off his clothes to prepare for the race. 
Each passes in front of kumpa and shichu chief who paint, kumpa, a 
streak of red (pari'), shichu chief, a streak of white (to'i), across each 
cheek. Then shichu chief gives permission to all to paint themselves 
on their hands and body. All the elder men smoke in the directions 
and to the sun, asking the sun to help them in the race. The town 
chief is wa telling the sun hole in the roof and when the sun shines in 
he sprinkles the sun spot with pollen. Then after the sim has moved 
a little they divide up the runners, kumpa on one side and the war 
chief on the other, choosing the fastest runners, regardless of moiety. 
The runners stand in four rows, two to the west, two to the east, with 
kumpa in the middle to pray and sing, the rimners joining in the song. 
Kxmipa holds his bow and arrow and is wearing his sacrosanct 

The town chief, kumpa, and the war chief go out to the starting 
point at the east end of the track. One appointed man leads the two 
eastern rows of runners to the east end, and another appointed man 
leads the western rows to the west end. The town chief and the war 
chief sing while kumpa takes out the first two runners, one from each 
row. At the close of the song kumpa with his bow and arrow pushes 
the two runners from behind to start them. At the west end of the 

326 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

track the runners who are to relay are placed in position by the 
aforesaid appointed men. 

At the close of the race all return to the kiva whence with a drum 
they make a circuit of the town, singing. All but the town chief, 
kumpa, and the war chief, who remain in the kiva. The last runner 
of the losing side who has been overtaken and had his queue caught 
by the last runner of the winning side has also to remain in the kiva 
to pick up all the husk refuse from rolled cigarettes which he will 
give to kumpa to burn. This is called cleaning up, i. e., exorcising, 
the kiva. . . . When the runners return from going around the town 
they stand on the kiva roof and sing. The kinswomen (matu) of 
the runner who caught the queue of the loser carry to the kiva baskets 
of meal and bread with packages of sugar, coffee, etc. From these 
kumpa takes bits to sprinkle below the wall niche of the scalps. 
Then the war chief presents all the baskets to the man whose queue 
was caught; the loser, let us call him. The loser presents a basket to 
the town chief, another to kumpa, another to the war chief. The 
bread the loser distributes among all the runners. What is left over 
he keeps, his relatives helping him carry it home. The war chief 
addresses all and dismisses them. The chiefs remain to give thanks 
to one another. 

On the two following Sundays there are similar races with similar 
ritual. On the third Sunday the town chief inquires if the men want 
a fourth race, to be nm by Corn groups or between the suburbs or 
ranching districts of T'aikabede and Shila. In connection with this 
race there will be no ritual, and more betting. The race as a whole 
is bet on, whereas in the first three races bets are placed only on the 
first couple. A rancher from T'aikabede said, "We T'aikabede 
people always beat Shita." 

Every three, four, or five years the fourth race is held in connec- 
tion with the scalp ceremony which the towm chief decides upon 
performing, "making up his mind to wash the scalps, to give them 
fresh air." This race is the fourth race in the series, but the scalp 
ceremony begins before the first race is run off. 

Toward evening the scalp takers leave town with some young men 
("to show them," and the youths vary from time to time) and a 
burro packed with camp supplies and wood. With them they are 
taking the scalps, "to give them fresh air." The party shoots oft' 
guns; people come out on the housetops to see them off or follow as 
far as the railway station. The war party goes on to the west to 
camp overnight, building a fire. In the morning the town chief, 
kumpa, the war chief, and others go out to meet the campers, shouting 

e' o ! e' o ! All return singing, through the orchards to the 

north and into the plaza, which they go around five times, the town 
chief, kumpa, and the war chief in the lead, sprinkling meal and 



pollen, making the road. In the plaza the town chief buries some- 
thing known only to himself, kumpa, and the war chief. All shout 

e' o! e' o! The town chief addresses the people. The 

party proceeds to the roundhouses to replace the scalps, and to be 
dismissed by the town chief. 

During the next four weeks — the racing period — the scalp takers 
have to take care of the scalps, taking them out of their wall niches 
several times to comb the hair and wash it. With the water from the 
washings they make mud balls (teh'ebnaba, Navaho mud, teli> 
te'Hmne, Navaho, eb (?), naba, mud) which medicine may be asked of 
the town chief by any one sick from worry or longing (piewe'be'owa, 
piewe', mind, be'owa, want it). 

Sometime after the above account was recorded another account 
was given by the same informant which differs from the first accoimt 
or amplifies it in several particulars, as follows: The town chief sum- 
mons all the chiefs, including the scalp takers, to talk about the cere- 
monial. There follows a 4-day fast, for the chiefs, outside fasting 
(ibew^yue), i. e., the men live at home, taking a daily emetic, and 
Uving continent. During this period people will not go abroad at 
night, especially women, because the Navaho dead (teliefp'oyan) are 
about. The Saturday afternoon before the Sunday race," the war 
party, including the scalp takers and their young men arrayed with 
lance and bow and arrows, start forth with their pack horses and 
burros to stay out overnight. . . . The following morning the chiefs 
meet at the town chief's to go forth to meet the war party with the 
scalps. . . . After all return, singing, they enter the churchyard to 
kneel and pray, giving thanks for their safe return. A dance follows 
in the plaza. Two dance lines of men with the scalp takers between, 
led by kumpa; the women stand on the other side of the lines of men, 
protected by them against contact with the scalp takers. The women 
wear their manta. The hair of the men must hang loose like that of 
warriors, and they wear beaded buckskin clothes. The scalp is carried 
on a lance, bound with red, and surroimded by feathers. ^^* The scalp 
takers wear buckskin and a bandoleer, and carry bow and arrows, club, 
gun, lance, and shield. Their faces are striped across with various 
colors. . . . The dance is started on the east side of the plaza and 
continued in a circuit. The scalp takers "sing in Navaho" ^^ which 
sometimes angers Navaho visitors. There is shooting into the air 
and yelling. . . . After the scalps are taken to the roundhouse *^ and 
restored to theu' wall niche the scalp takers offer them crumbs of food 

** This must refer to the fourth Sunday race. And yet the war party was first said to go out before the 
first Sunday race. 

*'» Lummis, who saw this dance, "mad dance'' in 1891, says the scalps are carried in a buckskin on her 
back by the woman custodian referred to as the Bending woman. (Lummis 2: 241.) 

'^ Which probably means merely using one or two Navaho words. 

to In another connection it was said thai there were scalps in both roundhouses. 

328 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

and blow smoke on them. The rest of the day the scalp takers remain 
in the roundhouse. 

The town chief having asked the chiefs of the Corn groups for their 
members (wakuan), that Saturday night the chiefs assemble their 
wakuan and tell them to prepare for the race next day. In the morn- 
ing the men meet at the respective houses of the Corn group chiefs 
to be led to the roundhouse, where are met together the other chiefs. 
The war chief asks the moiety chiefs for their drums and the town chief 
tells the war chief to give the drums to the boys. The Day (WTiite 
Corn) people and Earth (Yellow Com) people receive one drum; the 
other peoples, the other drum. Both sets begin to drum and sing at 
the same time, different songs, while in the hubbub so the boys can 
not hear what he says kumpa addresses the seniors. In the midst 
of his "preaching" he gets out the scalps, and moving them up and 
down, he sings. He moves the scalps in the directions, calling thrice 

e' u! e' u!, to the "Navaho dead." Tv.ining his fingers in 

the hair of the scalp he hits the scalp takers, each of them, three times 

with the scalp, calling out at each blow e' u ! e' u ! Then he 

returns the scalp to the scalp takers. (The runners would not 
approach the scalps lest they dream of them.) 

The town chief begins to "preach," watching for the sun. At noon, 
when the sun shines in, everybody stands and dances. Everybody 
sprinkles meal on the prayer feathers (lawasliie') of the town chief, 
who sends them up to the sim (see p. 292). The medicine society chiefs 
e.xorcise with their feathers. They may remove strings from the 
runners' legs, sent in by witches. Two war captains are sitting 
beside the ladder on the roof to keep out intruders. The Laguna 
Fathers' chief holds up the crystal and the Town Fathers' chief gazes 
into it, to see what day high winds are coming,^' or hail. By way of 
the crystal the race track is examined for tacks or anything injurious 
to runners, and the war captains are directed to clear the track. 
This is the time the medicine men know who will be caught in the 
race; but they do not tell. They do tell if they see that some boy 
has apphed to one of their assistants for power to win in the race 
and, ha\ang asked with a cigarette, been given the power. Through 
kumpa or the war chief the boy will be sent for and then deprived of 
his power, "cleaned out," by the curing chiefs. For this power, 
which consists of inducing cramps in the runner opposed to you, 
should not be used against a townsman.** 

The runners divide into the usual four rows, but by Com groups, 
the town chief having in charge the Day people and the Earth people, 

" Thunder in the southwest means dry wind; in the northeiist, frost; in the southeast, clouds. These 
weather signs were given very uncertainly. 

*s There are several stories of its successful use against Navaho and white; also in horse racing, cramps 
being caused in the horse of the outsider. 

parsons] calendar 329 

kumpa having: the remaining groups to form his two rows. Each 
runner has a stripe of white on the left cheek. They undress. As 
the town chief and kumpa lead them out, each runner makes with his 
clasped hands the gathering or drawing in motion (see p. 283), asking 
help from the scalps, and on top of the kiva repeats the ritual motion, 
asking help from the sun. The town chief and kumpa stand at the 
east end of the track, where on this occasion the former will push 
forth, i. e., start, the first two runners. At the east end also stands 
the Town Fathers' chief, with the Laguna Fathers' chief at the west 
end, both safeguarding the track. The Corn group chiefs are dis- 
tributed along the track to keep the onlookers back. Under their 
blankets the curing chiefs have their exorcising things so that each 
runner as he comes in approaches one chief or the other to be "cleaned 
up," the chief moving his things in circuit, always under the blanket. 

Each runner may be called upon to race several times. If a man 
does not want to race again, he may nm directly from the race track 
to the roundhouse. In the roimdhouse the scalp takers have re- 
mained, not going to the race track because there are too many per- 
sons around, especially women. . . . Sometimes the racmg is so 
even that nobody is caught. Then they have to run again the fol- 
lowing day. . . . After the runner is caught, the routine is as usual 
after a race (see p. 326) except that after supper there is a fire dance 
or circle dance (naxolpoa) in which anybody may join — men, women, 
and children. They first dance in front of the towTi chief's house, 
then around the big fire in the plaza, dancing in antisunwise circuit. 
The scalp is borne aloft near the fire. The town chief and kumpa are 
out, the body and head of the town chief is spotted over with cotton. 
His face is striped horizontally with various colors. He wears a 
mountain-Uon hide. Kumpa wears a lion or wolf hide and carries a 
bow and quiver of arrows. The war chief is there with his assistants, 
who from time to time shoot off" their guns. The defeated runners 
have to drum for the dance, and fetch wood for the fire. About mid- 
night the wives or daughters of all the chiefs and of the scalp takers 
carry food to the chiefs in the plaza. The women of the scalp takers' 
households carry a big bowl of a're (sirup from sprouted wheat) for 
all the chiefs to drink. At this time the chiefs withdraw to the round- 
house, others staying to dance until svmrise, under the charge of the 
war chief. 

There are races, nonritualistic, at other seasons, probably in the 
summer. Such a summer-time race maj^ be nm between the west and 
east side people, the dividing line being drawn through the Black 
Eyes square kiva. The west side people carry a red flag; the east 
side people, a blue flag. A purse is made up for the winners. And 
there are races by moiety, when, I failed to learn, only I was told that 
6066°— 32 22 

330 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. h 

the Black Eyes rvmner always stands on the right hand, at either end 
of the race track. Also races may be run between the married (luh, 
old men) and the unmarried (tarape'u, asking, i. e., suitors*"), the 
married painting themselves one way, the unmarried another. Per- 
haps the married will paint the right side of the face yellow, the left 
side, white, with a frog or turtle painted on the back; and the unmar- 
ried will paint a rabbit or deer on the back, with a zigzag on the legs 
or a cross on the chest. At all these races there is much merriment. 
The girls will tease the married men; one side will say, "We run like 
deer or a bird, you run like donkeys or dogs." 


On November 2 the Black Eyes chief holds his ceremony; on April 
8 the shure' chief holds his. In both cases there is a retreat of four 
days, the people going on the foiu-th night for their medicine water, 
and the women contributing baskets of food. There is a meal altar 
(kitij), but of course no Mothers of which the moiety chiefs are not 


The ceremony lasts for two days, with four preliminary days, of 
which two are spent in fasting outside and two in retreat. . . . The 
towTi chief sends the shichu chief to ask the Fathers, Town and Laguna, 
for the ceremony. The performers will be the societies' two chiefs 
and their two chief assistants, the town chief, kumpa, the war chief, 
and the chiefs of the Com groups, with the chiefs of the medicine 
societies in charge. The men at large may attend the ceremony; but 
women and children would not attend it, because, they say, "the stars 
are mean." . . .^' The ritual of bringing down the moon seems to be 
much the same as that of bringing down the sun. A "window" is 
open for her in the roof. Her prayer feathers, five feathers tied with 
cotton, are as "wings for her to fly." Attached to the feathers are 
the red beads such as women wear. On the sixth day before sunrise 
she comes down for her feathers, and stays until noon. 


This "rain fast" or ceremony is held in July, sometimes twice if 
there is a drought. The retreat is conducted for 12 days in the house 
of the town chief who has with him kumpa, the war chief, and the 
chiefs of both medicine societies. Set out on the altar are but three 
iema'paru, that of the town chief, and those of the two medicine 

« According to Lummis 1: 118, the two parties meet at night at the ash piles to sing 
w The reference is p'aide imato amhina, "Moon relation, we are going to do it." 
" A reference, I take it, to their warlike character. 
«* Leachi is the ceremonial term for rain, lurto, the vernacular. 


society chiefs. At the back of the altar stand Hghtning sticks 
(upinide) of "leather" (?). A stone club (k'oata) Hes on the altar. 
And a rainbow is represented. Otherwdse the altar with its kiti^ or 
terrace design in meal is hke the altars of the medicine societies. 

At this time the special paraphernaUa (see fig. 3) of the town 
chief is in use. He wears his ritual moccasins, called samkoap 
(?, koap, moccasins) made all of buckskin, no cowhide, and made by 
kumpa; also over his right shoidder his ritual bandoleer or perhaps 
bow, since it is called naw'iri, of cotton string and feathers and long 
buckskin pouch wTapped with cotton wool and feathers and contain- 
ing "everything houses." This object "came up with them." (See 
p. 368.) In the hair of the town chief are la washie', feathers painted 
the colors of the directions, plus red. These prayer hair feathers the 
town chief makes for himself. 

As outsiders do not attend the rain ceremony imtil the twelfth or 
last night, our informant could tell httle or nothing of the ritual. 
In it figure in some way what is called water grain (pako*), the round, 
shiny, whitish deposits left in an arroyo after flood. 

At noon of the twelfth day the chiefs of the medicine societies go 
out and are beheved to go and clean the springs,'^ going long distances, 
"by their power," and returning mthin the hour. In a drought there 
is also ritual alongside the river. 

This night, the twelfth or last, people may attend the ceremony. 
Women rarely come, however, as they are too much afraid of the 
lightning and thunder which appear. Pregnant women would never 
go. The medicine society chiefs are painted with the white zigzags 
of lightning. . . . (The rhombus for calling thunder and the lightning 
stick frame are not in use at Isleta as elsewhere, "because hghtning 
and thunder come themselves." Do you not hear thimder, and see 
lightning spurting around the room?) The town chief and the chief 
of the Town Fathers go out to the middle of the plaza where they 
sink down into the earth to ask Waeide for rain. And this night it 
will surely rain. In the morning the people will go out from their 
houses and sprinkle meal and give thanks for the rain. 

In a later reference to this ceremony our informant placed the date 
as from May 25 to June 5,'* appro.ximately, and referred to the ranch- 
ing communities as taking some initiative about holding the ceremony. 
The rooster race was also mentioned as engaged in at this time. 

A ceremony for the rain people (lechi t'ainin) was also referred to 
as occurring in April, either before or after the races. The war chief 
asks the town chief for the ceremony, and he, in turn, the medicine 
chiefs who observe a two days outside fast and a two days retreat, 
and who go to Foapienai (Banana Mountain) through their power. 

»' Compare Davis, 393. In this boiling up spring of Laguna there was a " devil." 
w Compare name for May. p. 288. 

332 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 


The supernatural, Ljwale, is called in from Zuni Mountain or Welima 
by chakabede at midnight of September 25-26. Ljwale may be 
heard hollering from the direction of WeUma, the west, west of the 
railway station whence chakabede leads him into town, sprinkling 
in front a line of meal. Ljwale dances in the plaza, first on the east 
side, then in circuit on the other sides. As it is night, you can not 
see how he is dressed or appointed; but he does not wear a mask. 
Chakabede talks to him; but he does not answer, merely hollers. 
Chakabede gives him the prayer sticks ^^ he has made for him, 
thereby paying him; he sprinkles him with meal, and then Ljwale 
"goes back home." " 

The ne.xt day chakabede bids the war captains call out for the 
men and boys to come in "four days" to his house to practice their 
songs, old songs and new. Chakabede has already asked the chief 
of the Black Eyes for the dance, chakabede's assistant asking the 
shure' chief. During this song practice of four days it is not neces- 
sary to stay continuously indoors; i. e., it is a time of dance practice 
rather than a retreat, although continence is required of the dancers.^* 
On the third day of the practice 8 or 10 boys are dispatched to gather 
the spruce (koawa') which is to be the dress of Ljwale. They also 
get two spruce trees, one for the Black Eyes to stand near in the dance, 
and one for the shure'. ^^ The leader is given two prayer sticks '^ 
by chakabede to put into the spring near where they get the spruce 
(fig. 20), at sunrise of the fourth day. The stick for the Black Eyes 
spruce is of red willow; that for the shure', yellow willow. Into this 

" Sounded also iis k(jpd"ir'or kgfoa. Kg refers to the notched stick or bone playing or scraping. The leg 
bone of the deer is notched; it is propped against a hollowed out gourd and scraped with a deer shoulder 
bone. The three men in buckskin mantles who play do not impersonate women as in the notched stick 
playing of other pueblos. 
*6 On White Kagle Mountain. I surmise. My note is not certain. 

*" Another informant said that before the advent of Mexicans in numbers, tjwale came into town, and 
not since. He came at the rise of the morning star and danced in the plaza in front of the church. He 

I hear the words. 
It is going to be cloudy, 
It is going to be cloudy, 
I hear the words. 
I hear the words, 
It is going to mist, etc. 
I hear the words. 
It is going to sprinkle, etc. 
.\fter singing, Ljwale ran away, and it would rain. 

■^s In another connection I was told that the pinitu dancers would not be released from the kiva " even 
if their father or mother died." Which suggests that the 4-day period of dance practice is also a period 
of strict retreat. 

'" .'ifter the dance, people like to get these trees to make into house ladders. They ask the moiety chiefs 
for the trees, with a cigarette. 
<" In another connection prayer feathers (nato'ye) only were referred to. 



spring he wall also sprinkle meal, to ask for the spruce. Not until 
after this is accomplished may the boys gather the spruce. 

On the afternoon of the fourth day the dance practicers go out by 
the road kwiawipse (see map) to meet the returning spruce gath- 
erers. The dancers sprinkle meal on the spruce and give thanks. 
The dancers belong to both moieties, half Black Eyes, led by the 
chakabede, half shure', led by his assistant, and they divide the 
spruce to carry to their respective kivas. In the kivas the moiety 
chiefs have been waiting in their seat by the fire. They stand to 
receive the spruce, and to place it in the middle of the floor and sprin- 
kle it with pollen. From his medicine bowl each chief takes a little 
water, drinks some and from his mouth sprinkles some on the spruce. 
To each dancer he also gives a drink, the recipient 
saying, as is usual on receiving a drink of medi- 
cine, aka'a. Before the recipient swallows the 
drink he spits some of it over his own person. The 
moiety chief addresses the dancers, urging them to 
dance well. Late that same night from each kiva 
the dancers come to dance in the plaza, with their 
rattles and shirtless, but without their spruce. As 
in the afternoon, chakabede leads the Black Eyes 
and chakabede's assistant, the shure'. After a 
single performance each dance set returns to its 
respective kiva. 

Then they discuss who are to take the parts of 
the k'apyo the following day.^' There will be six 
k'apyo from each kiva, who will be considered 
the dance managers. Also in each kiva is chosen a 
little boy of six or seven to dance out in front of the 
line — ai'yayao'de. He will be spotted with white and wear on each 
side of his head a small deer horn. In spite of his horns he represents 
wild cat,*^ who at the emergence was the leader, with his horns 
tearing up the earth and making a gap for the people to pass up 

The k'apyo of the Black Eyes will be striped black and white, the 
hair whitened, with large "earrings" of corn husk or rather hair done 
up in side whorls like the Hopi girl (see p. 347). Clout of black cloth, 
at the back, attached to a bandoleer, Uttle branches of Cottonwood. 
They carry willow sticks and wear anklets of spruce. (Fig. 21.) Of 
the k'apyo of the shure' one is painted yellow all over, another red 
all over, another white all over, and the others red or white. Across 
the face are stripes of contrasting color. The hair, painted the same 

Figure 20.— Prayer stick 
to deposit in spring, to 
ask for spruce 

^' But in another connection it was stated that six days of continence were required of the k'apyo. 
Inferably, the choice of the k'apyo preceded this night. 
8^ Tgpirmosan, "coming in without saying anything," cat. 
" In the emergence text and story the k'apyo (kape) make this gap or gate, see p. 360. 



[eTH. ANN. 47 

color as the body, is plastered down with the pigment and then brought 
up into a poke on top of the head and tied with yucca fiber .^* These 

carry long blades of yucca, as whips 
(see p. 287), and wear a bandoleer 
with Cottonwood twigs and coUar, 
armlets and anklets of spruce. 
(Fig. 22.) 

The ne.xt morning the k'apyo 
come out and two by two visit the 
houses of their aimts (ky'iunin), 
aimts ra blood, or if these are not 
many, women of their father's Corn 
group who have been appointed to 
act as "aunts" by the group chief, 
and instruct the women to prepare 
meal for them, their tu'u (nephews) 
and watermelons, chili, etc. The 
women also make bread in the shape 
of jack rabbits and turtles for their 

FiGi'RE 21.— K'apyo, Black Eyes. Carrying wil. nepheW cloWUS tO whom they will 
low sticks and smoking a corn husk cigarette ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^jj^j^^^ ^^^J pottery 

bowls. While the women are making ready, in the plaza on the 

ground the k'apyo draw a "house " into 

which the head k'apyo takes one of the 

others and seats him, asldng him if he wants 

to get married. "No." "Yes, you should 

get married. You are old enough." "All 

right. I will marry." "You want to get 

married, but you can not work. WTiom 

will you marry?" Then the leader in this 

play names the oldest woman in town. He 

gives his victim a room in the "house," and 

tells him what to do when he Uves there 

with his wife. All of this farce is repeated 

for each k'apyo. Then the "aunts" arrive 

on the scene, bringing the food. They carry 

it into the "house," where the k'apyo eat. 

Each set of k'apyo have their "house" and 

each set eat. Then they invite visitors from 

other pueblos to come and eat. . . . Now 

the dancers come out to dance on the four 

sides of the plaza. The Black Eyes come first and start on the east 

side. When they move on to the north side, the shure' come in to 

Figure 22.— K'apyo, shure'. 
Smoking a corn husk cigarette 

•< These hair pokes are thought of as horns, see pp. 362, 363, 364, n. 53. 




the east side. The Black Eyes dancers are led in by the chaka- 
bede; the shure', by his assistant. They dance aU day, makins; 
antisunwise circuits in the plaza. After the last performance they 
are sprinkled with meal by the chakabede and his assistant; and 
on returning to their respective kivas they are meal besprinkled by 
the moiety chief, and given medicine water to drink. 

The dancers wear a dance kilt with white cotton belt and spruce 
pendants; spruce collar and spruce in leg bands and in armlets of 
turquoise painted leather; skunk fur heel bands; spruce in left 
hand. In right hand the Black Eyes carry a black gourd rattle; the 
shiu-e', a red rattle. Under the right knee is a turtle rattle — a water 
turtle for the Black Eyes, a land turtle for the shure'. Of the head- 
dress the visor is of woven yucca; the 
tablita of the Black Eyes is dark blue 
and red with black eagle feathers; the 
tablita of the shure', blue and yellow with 
white eagle feathers. The hair is flowing. 
(Fig. 23.) 

Before the finish of the last dance the 
k'apyo withdraw to their respective kivas, 
carrying their food surplus. The moietj' 
chief gives them permission to go to the 
river to wash off their paint. After 
sprinlding meal into the water, they wash 
and dress. They return to the kiva to 
get permission to carry their food pile to 
their own houses. Thence the chakabede 
and his assistant summon them back to 
the kiva to send them forth to call to the 
people to prepare their lunch for a hunt 
the day following. The k'apyo return to 
the Idvas to stay there all night. They 
dress up and at sunrise they sally forth to dance on the roof tops 
on the four sides of the plaza. (In using the kiva ladder the k'apyo 
has to step on its terraced top, the cloud terrace design.) As soon 
as the people see them, they get ready to set out on the hunt.^^ 

The head k'apyo has gone to the hunt chief the night before to ask 
him to work. So at sunrise a little distance from town the hunt 
chief will be making a little fire of which the smoke is to blind the 
rabbits and keep them from ruiming far. The hunt chief has got his 
fire stick (w'ikon) or brand from the house of the town chief. " When 
we see the smoke we start." 

The people gather 5 or 6 miles to the west near Nampekoto.^" The 
k'apyo call out to them not to drive their wagons inside the hunt 

Figure 23.— Pinitu dancer 

w See Jemez. Parsons 16: 94, for the hunt as directed by the clown society. 
» See pp. 300, 301, 318, 430. 

336 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

circle (paH makore). The k'apyo also place the hunters and the 
women who are participating. Now the hunt chief calls out to every- 
body to be careful, not to shoot anybody in the circle. Again the 
hunt chief calls out; the hunters shout; the rabbits will start up from 
everywhere, running blindly. 

All the rabbits got in the first drive will belong to the town chief; in 
the second drive, to the hunt chief; in the third drive, to the chakabede, 
kumpa and the war chief. On the following drives the women run 
up, as usual the woman first to reach the trophy receiving it. 

The k'apyo are the first to return, in order to go to the river to 
wash and dress. After the third drive the hunt chief returns. The 
day following, the w omen who have received game pay their hunters 
with a basket of wafer bread or tortillas and a bowl of stew. The 
game taken by the k'apyo is given by them to their "aunts" in return 
for the jack rabbits in bread their aunts gave them. 

The notched bone dance is a harvest thanksgiving — "for the end 
of the crops, thanking for them." Also it is to bring frost, to harden 
the corn and grapes which are to be dried. Therefore all crops, such 
as melons, which would be hurt by frost, must be gathered before 
this dance. 


This ceremony of a single day and night is in charge of the town 
chief together with the medicine societies, each chief appointing 
three of his assistants to sing. The ceremony is performed every 
three or five years, at the end of October. It is performed in the 
Black Eyes roundhouse. 

At this time the ceremoniaUsts can turn people into any animals 
they please, if they think a person has bad thoughts. Or they could 
take from a man his moccasin and turn it into a piece of meat, giving 
everybody a taste. So people are afraid to go to this ceremony. 
Our infornuint was so vague about the ritual that he had evidently 
never seen it, although he insisted that Salt woman was actually 
brought in "wath their power," a large figure "looking like ice." No 
prayer feathers are used; they pay Salt old woman (Pahliu) with 
beads and turquoise. "They clean her veins." 

The hunt chief holds his ceremony late in October after the harvest. 
He asks the town chief for permission to hold it, and he asks for the 
cooperation of the war chief and the war captains. The hunt chief 
is in retreat for four days, performing ceremonial at noon of the 
fourth day. He blows smoke into his medicine bowl, and he smokes 

•'• Compare Lummis 2: 209—218. 


toward the mountains, to blind the deer. He whistles to draw in 
the deer,"^ and he actually does draw in a live deer, according to Juan 
Abeita, who gave the following account of this achievement which 
took place, not at the annual ceremony, but on an occasion about 
10 years ago when the medicine societies wanted some deer meat for 
a ceremony in February and there was none in the house of the town 
chief, although he is supposed to keep meat of all kinds. The hunt 
chief was appealed to. He summoned the war captains to his house, 
and among them was Juan Abeita,^* who reported the following as 
an eye witness. The hunt chief proceeded to make a circle of pollen, 
leaving a gap toward the east. (Fig. 24.) In his hand he held a 
goose feather which he would move in circuit as he talked. What he 
said we could not hear. He began to call out 
like a wolf or moimtain lion. He told one of 
us to open the door. He began to sing. In 
came a big deer with big horns. Humahude 
kept on singing. He said to close the door. 
The deer walked into the circle of pollen. 
Humahude closed the gap with pollen. The 
deersnorted, butstood quite still. Humahude 
took his k'oata (see p. 279) and tapped him ^ , . , , , , ^. , 

T^ . Figure 24.— .\ltar of hunt chief. 

gentlyontheforehead,butitsoundedoutloud. circle of meai (poUen): medi- 
The deer dropped down dead. "Now butcher "»" '""^'- ''^'*''' Lightaing. 

, . stone point 

it," humahude said to us. He cut out a piece 

for the medicine men. Of the rest half went to the cacique (town 

chief), half to any of the people who would come in for some. 

At the annual ceremony the deer that is drawn in "^ goes, all of it, 
to the town chief. 


A himter may get permission from the town chief to get power from 
the hunt chief. The hunt chief prepares a prayer feather, a cigarette 
of native tobacco, a husk of com meal, pollen, turquoise, and a red 
bead. The morning following, the hunter comes for these, which, on 
receiving, he moves in the directions as the hunt chief sings. The 
himter gives thanks. The himt chief leams when he is to start off on 
the hunt, for he will smoke at that time to blind the deer. 

As soon as the hunter sees a deer, wliich will act, indeed, as if blind, 
he will put down his offerings for Waeide and he will smoke his cigarette 
in the directions. 

The head of the dead deer he turns ™ toward the town and he 
sprinkles the deer with meal. He passes his hands along the deer 

" In folk tale he also whistles to call the rain. 
*8 He was wiiaweun, "the last helper," of the wilawe. 

09 One informant denies that deer are drawn in — "only rabbits, that I have seen myself." 
'0 At another time the same informant said that in whatever direction the deer was facing when shot, 
he would turn and fall in the direction of the town. 

338 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

three times and makes a throwing gesture in each direction. If he 
knows the song of the hunt chief he will sing it. He cuts off the tip 
of one of the deer's ears for the dead. Then he butchers the deer, 
throwing a piece for W^ide, and burying a small piece "so that the 
ground will eat it." He takes out the guts, placing them on a rock, 
giving them to the animals, "in his heart" calling the animals to 
come and eat.'' After doing this, if the hunter leaves something 
belonging to liini, like a coat or a handkercliief, on the deer, he can 
safely leave it overnight; the animals will not touch it; they will eat 
the guts only. 

The hunter drinks blood from near the deer's heart, three times, to 
make himself strong. To camp he takes the heart and Uver, which 
he always cooks and eats first. . . . 

On his return home the hunter lays the deer's head toward the sun, 
whether in the cast or the west. Anyone coming into the house will 
sprinkle pollen or meal on the deer and breathe in from his clasped 
hands. Similarly anyone who had been met on the way home would 
have passed his hands over the deer '^ and breathed in from his hands. 
The hunter gives a piece of venison to the town chief and another to 
the hunt chief. To all liis relatives he will give a little piece. "That 
means you will have luck and get more deer." 

A hunter's wife should "stay still" while he is away. If the deer 
run away, he knows that his wife has a lover. I could leam of no 
other taboos during the hunt on those at home. 

Except taboos in connection with a hunter of Laguna descent, I 
incline to think that Lucinda's account of Ids ways is Keresan. 
Before he went on a deer hunt, for one month he remained continent, 
using the cedar purge eveiy morning. He advised his wife, i. e., 
Lucinda, to clean house four days after he had departed, to plaster 
the walls, to keep herself very clean, not to scold the children, not 
to quarrel with the neighbors or gad about among them. When 
he returned he brought with liim grasses the deer liked to eat for her 
to ofi'er to the deer as it lay covered with a woman's manta with beads 
around its neck. All this in return for the buckskin she was to have. 
A sunple and convincing explanation, is it not, of the Laguna-Zuni 
practice of covering the deer with a woman's blanket? 

Again, according to Lucinda, there are taboos at Isleta on hunting 
bear or eagles " or killing snakes. In Lucinda's simple paraphrase, 
"We don't kill a snake or a bear or an eagle because it might be one 
of us Indians." (See her tale of the little girl who became an eagle 
(p. 407), and she once opined that the she bear "came from an Indian 

'1 In a tale (p. 384) the hunter leaves a hind leg for the animals. With meat he also feeds the ants. 
" See p. 282. 
" But see p. 211. 


woman.") '* "Bear is a person, men would not kill one," said another. 
This much a white might be told and coidd understand. But of the 
supernatural powers from the animal helpers, not a whisper! Neither 
the eagle dance nor the deer dance of the Pueblos to the north are 
given at Isleta. "We can't imagine having them!" exclaimed 
Lucinda, "since we have them in our ceremonies," she might have 


Were sickness general in town, epidemic, the war chief would caU a 
meeting of aU the chiefs and "ask their thoughts" (ask for their 
opinion), then he would ask for the power '^of the Town Fathers and 
the Lagima Fathers. These woidd go into their two respective houses 
to stay four days, taking an emetic each morning and fasting from 
food completely. On the fourth morning in the same house the two 
groups set their groimd altars, the Town Fathers setting theirs first. 
Each chief has chewed the root Hfiew'a, which gives power. Moved 
by this, with his power, the chief '^ calls in from all the directions the 
ke'chii (fetish animals). Over the bowl of water from the river the 
chief makes a cross with his eagle-wing feathers, stirring the water. 
Sounds of bear, mountain lion, coyote, snake, eagle, come from the 
bowl. When the iridescent feathers of the duck are put into the 
bowl, after the cross is made over the water, sounds of ducks playing 
and flapping their wings also come from the bowl. Meanwhile, the 
assistants are sittmg in line behind the altar, behind the Mothers 
(figs. 16, 17), shaking their gourd rattles and singing. For each ritual 
incident there is, as usual, a special song. Power has been given the 
assistants tlirough the line of meal sprinkled from the door by the 
chief to the altar. . . . With his stone point in his right hand, in his 
left his whistle, the chief now whistles into the bowl to call all the 
powerful animals — mountain Hon, bear, rattlesnake, eagle, badger. 

Now the chief will call lightning and thunder. He tells the people 
present to cover their heads lest they be frightened. Thunder is 
heard and flashes of lightning may be seen. . . . The chief now 
takes his seat in the middle of the line of assistants, and the war chief 
gives him a Ughted cigarette to smoke in all five directions and on 
the Une of the Mothers. . . . With his power the chief calls the 
moon and the morning star. . . . All the assistants circulate among 
those present and with his two eagle feathers each brushes out from 
everybody whatever noxious thing may be inside his body — stick, 
rag, stone. . . . The chief stands in front of the large altar blade 

■' There lay on the floor of my room a bearskin. "When I step on it," said Lucinda, "I ask the bear to 
excuse me. I keep asking it." Compare Luramis 2:61. 

"5 .\ny ceremony of the medicine societies might be so called or called lifietoynin (root-medicine men) 
from the root they use. See below. 

'* Nate or nashau. 

" From here on the reference is to one chief only. Is the ceremony really a joint one ? 

340 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO "[eth. ann. 47 

showing his crystal to the assistants who stand in a half circle facing 
him. As they look into the crystal they see through all the world, 
whence wind or rain will come, and on what day, what sickness may 
be imminent, how long the sickness will last and how to get rid of 
it. . . . Now the chief starts to call the witch who is the cause of 
the sickness and who is in hiding at the ends of the world. The chief 
calls him by singing his song. Every time he sings the witch's song 
the witch draws closer to town. Some of the assistants together 
with the war chief and kumpa go out to search for the witch while 
the chief sits near the Mothers, singing to help those who have gone 
on the witch quest. These spread out in a circle, as on any hunt, and 
close in on the witch who is so afraid of kumpa "he does not even 
move." The men seize him to take to their ceremonial house. 

Sometimes the witch is so strong they can not move him, and they 
tell the war chief to shoot him with his bow and arrow. He will 
shoot him through the body.'* His power thus broken, they carry 
him in. Everybody looks at him and spits at him. They place him 
near the meal basket of the altar. The chief tells those present what 
bad things the witch has been doing, sending sickness, starving the 
animals, etc. The chief will ask the witch if he is going to stop his 
bad ways. He will suy yes, he will, and that he will keep back the 
bad and suffer it himself. The chief takes the blade from the altar 
and sticks it into the body of the witch, killing him. Two assistants 
carry him out and burn him on a pile of wood, i. e., burn his body, 
his spirit (power, nate') leaves the village to die outside. Outside 
the ceremonial house he looks like a grown man, inside like a little 
boy, ''* with feathers in his hair, Comanche fashion. . . . The chief 
addresses those present, telling them not to worry or think about it 
any more. The sickness (naho're) is gone. If they go on thinking 
about it the sickness wUl Unger. The sooner they forget it, the 
sooner it ^v•ill go. . . . The assistants again brush the people, putting 
everything they take out of their bodies (naloa) in a large bowl by 
the door. The bowl is carried out by two assistants to the ash pile 
(nahtu), whei'e they sprinkle its contents with water taken in a shell 
from the medicine bowl and bury them in a hole. They ask Wseide 
(see p. 341) to take it all away. 


There is the usual Pueblo pantheon of sun, moon, and stars; light- 
ning, thunder, wind; of the Corn mothers (and the old women of 
natural supplies); of the animals, including the horned serpent and 
the ants and Spider grandmother or mother; of the kachinawho are 

'8 wiiawere auiuafierin 




war chief having 




an arrow 

"• Compare Lummis 2 : 79-80. 




called Hwa; of the dead, the saints and the Spanish god Dius. Dis- 
tinctively, there is Waeide, with the attributes of a high god ("he is the 
head of all") and, whatever his origin, to-day certainly not to be 
confounded with Dius. And yet, like Dius, he is never seen, and, as 
Dius created the pictures and images of the saints, so did Waeide 
create the Com mothers (iema'paru)^' who were brought up from 
underground and from whom the medicine men get their power. 
It was Waeide who sent the people themselves on their journey of 
emergence (see pp. 360, 362). The tales (p. 412) how W»ide and 
Dius tested their power show that they are thought of as quite distinct 
beings. To Dius, Waeide is younger brother (paiide) ; but Waeide's 
ceremonies (a general reference) are unknown to Dius. Food offer- 
ings are made to Waeide, habitually wnth offerings to the dead.^ 
Was Waeide *' derived from Dius so long ago that the borrowing has 
been forgotten, or has Waeide some Indian origin other than Pueblo, 
there being no corresponding high god among the other Pueblo 
peoples? Or is W^ide merely the singular form of wenin, as one in- 
formant insisted,'^ a term for the kachina. Weide, asserted this 
informant, referred to Montezuma.*^ 

Again distinctively, among the collective dead, are the stillborn 
(yoimay) to whom in the solstice ceremonies offerings are made. 
The Navaho dead, the scalps, are common to other Pueblos. 

The sun is referred to as kikaawei turide, our father sun; the moon, 
as kikewei p'aide, our mother** moon; the stars, as kimuwei paxo'lan, 
our sons (the) stars. Not only is meal sprinkled to the sun at sun- 
rise (see p. 276), but in the afternoon,** when the evening star comes 
out, silent prayer is addressed as follows to the sun, men at the time 
removing their hats: 






our father 


his ?going away 


^ leaving me 



taking away 


our mother 




old woman 







rise again 





7 get into (? i. e., reach) 


" Collectively the Corn mothers and Wapide are referred to as toakoa. 

^•^ See pp. 250, 276, 299, 308, 319. 

51 Lucinda corrected my pronunciation to Waiide, and then in alarm turned away from the subject. 
From another informant I got Wseide, a term meaning pure, clear, without sin. 

s^ See below. 

83 See p. 415. 

^' In the Isletan migration south the moon has changed sex. In one tale, however, the moon is called 
kikaawei paiide. our father Moon. (P. 399.) 

8i See p. 368. 

342 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

At another time this prayer was said to be addressed to the evening 
star (tarape paxolade, asking or prayer star). This star is identified 
with the morning star (pyyu paxolade, bright star) which is described 
in its course as "jumping three times." And of this star it was said 
that "When Jesus was born the morning star came out," '^ — a com- 
ment of interest in view of the identification elsewhere of the star 
and Jesus. *^ 

The sun, likewise, is thought of as having three stations — to the 
east, pathywetoe', or at turshanminai (sunrise), at pienai, middle or 
noontime place,** when he stands still and descends through the gate 
of the sky to visit his children, a visitation which finds constant ritual 
expression,*^ and at turkiminai, sunset, to the west, fierywetoe'. The 
two sons of the sun '" are red stars next the sun. For some of the 
constellations there are names, for Orion's belt, piun, fawns '■ (pi. 
17); for the Pleiades, makochuin, meaning tumbled, as a child may 
be called tumbled head; for two stars together called koun, bear 
(? little bears); for a circular group with a star in the center called 
nadorna, wheel; for the Dipper, tuun, from tuurde, meaning cradle. 
A comet is called pawilade awikye, star tail(?) news, and is a sign of 
war. Was not a comet to be seen before the war with Germany? 
From the fact that women and children do not attend ceremonial 
relating to the stars "because the stars are mean," I incline to think 
that the stars have been associated with war. . . . People will 
sprinkle meal to the stars at night. Of solar or lunar eclipse it is 
said merely that "they cover each other up," inmabotiban; the idea 
of Sim or moon dying was unfamiliar. From the above prayer to 
sun it is plain that he is thought of as a diurnal traveler. The solstice 
ceremonies and the springtime races are referred to as held "to help 
the sun to be strong on his journey (semiannual)" or "to help him 
run" — for this reason "they clothe him." 

Lightning (upinide) and thunder (huwanide, koanida) can be 
summoned by the medicine men and directed at will. Lightning has 
a punitive function.'^ There is a lightning stone fetish ; also a thunder 
stick (koanla). Also a "rain people" fetish. There are Water people 
associated with the river, distinctive spirits in the Pueblo pantheon 
at large. Rainbow (berkwi) is represented in the pantheon pictured 
on the walls of the chamber of the Laguna Fathers (pi. 17). Wind 
old man (waluH) or our father wind (kikaawei walason) is re- 
ferred to; he has his own ritual; besides the medicine men take out 

»' Compare Laguna, Parsons, 3: 256. 
•' As among the Tepecano. 
^* Bona, middle time, " when the sun stops." 
s» See pp. 2«3, 328 and compare Dumarest, 217. 
*f' Se« p. 402 where they are rainbow and sun halo. 

" Compare Tarahumare term. Deer. (Lumholtz, I, 436.) The Mexicans call this constellation estrella 
Maria. Throughout Spain it is called "las tres Marias." 
" See pp. 279, 388, 46S and compare Tewa, Parsons, 17: 54. 


to him the "bad things" they have exorcised to bear awa.y "where 
nobody lives"; also Beads old woman (kodihiui) who is to be identi- 
fied with the woman of hard substances known in the west; Chiy old 
woman (namburuHu) to whom the women sprinkle meal, going to the 
hill where she lives to ask for her clay ; mother Fire old woman (kefeliu) 
who is associated with the kiva fires as well as thought of at home; '^ 
and Salt old woman (pahHu) for whom a fuller ritual, a ceremony, is 
performed. The hunter's ritual indicates a deification of the earth.'* 

The animals are mountain lion (kymide), bear (koide), badger 
(karnade, Mex., tejano), eagle (shiwile), big snake (pirutade which is 
rattlesnake, sharara're). All these are referred to in English as 
powerful, as helpers. Lion is foremost, the "first helper." Lion and 
bear are strong and can help in any way. Their claws are worn in 
ceremonial. In one connection the hon or bear helper of the Laguna 
Father (birka'ade) was referred to as living on the summit of San 
Mateo (Mount Taylor). . . . As elsewhere bear is closely associated 
with curing. Badger, the great digger, helps the medicine men to 
dig out of the earth whatever they want. With "power from the 
eagle" the medicine men can fly. From the fields, snake cleans the 
town by his sucking or drawing power. . . . All these animals are 
represented in stone, and these stone fetishes are referred to col- 
lectively as ke'chu. For other spirits in stone in which the Isletans 
seem particularly rich, see pp. 278, 295. 

Then there are the horned serpents, ikanare, two of them, who live 
to the southeast in caves within a mile each of the other in places 
called Nalurluru (ravines close together) and Pakepasori (bank water 
washout), the general district being referred to as Totulia, village old 
(?) ruin. In a folk tale '* the habitat of ikaina is referred to as in the 
mountains, takoapien. Shu'fatu, eagle-down hill, is also mentioned 
as his habitat. 

Ikanare (ikaina) is a stout, short snake, about 2 feet long (fig. 14), 
that moves with a side to side waddling motion. He or they make 
loud hissing sounds within their caves which they do not leave. You 
can hear the sounds a long distance off'. Then you should sprinkle 
meal or pollen which they will suck or draw toward themselves. With 
any function of punishment or of flood making the horned serpent 
seems not to be associated as among the Tewa or in the west. But in 
the ceremony of bringing him in (see p. 302) he has a function of 
cleaning up or exorcising. In the aforesaid folk tale he is associated 
with the sun's kick stick, with Hghtning and with the sun. 

Corresponding to the shiwanna of the Keres are the Kwan who live 
on mountains. Specifically referred to are Liwale who fives on Zuiii 

" See p. 276 
•' See p. 338. 
" See p. 372. 

344 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [etb. ann. 47 

Mountain or Welima'^ (Welimai), situated, it is believed, in the west; 
and Hwa kiibede (chief) who Hves in a spring on Nahorai, a sacrosanct 
peak of the Manzanos, and who is the one to be asked for ritual spruce. 
The chiefs of the directions, I heard once referred to, and in a folk tale 
all five chiefs are specified and associated with the colors of the five 
directions — white, black, yellow, blue, all colors." It was said, too, 
that the wenin (kachina) were associated with "each corn," i. e., 
there were wenin for each direction. Wenin, chiefs of the directions, 
iiwan, are all, I take it, to be identified. 

Mentioned also as a hwa is the bugaboo, the mountain giant, 
found elsewhere. This Hwa tenen (tall), also referred to as chapiude, 
lives in caves in the mesa to the west. Over there may be seen lots 
of small bones, for the giant used to steal and eat children. He wore 
little bells and when people heard him coming they would hide the 
children away in big jars or even between the walls. If a child 
rebel against having his head cleaned or a Uttle girl against carrying 
the baby on her back, a mother will threaten to call for chapiude. 
Chapiude used to come at the same season that Liwade came. (See 
p. 332.) 

Then there are the Dark Hwa and A'iyayaode, the Uttle boy who 
looks like antelope but is reputed to be wild cat, but who is at any 
rate, I am guessing, a little war spirit,'* borrowed from the westward. 
But whether or not the whole Kwa cult is borrowed it were rash to 
say. At Taos there is much the same cult, the cult of the latsina, 
beneficent mountain and spring or lake spirits. The failure both at 
Taos and Isleta "' to welcome into this cult the concept of mask 
impersonation is a most interesting instance of resistance to accul- 
turation. The Isletan explanation is strictly according to pattern, 
that they did not have mask dances when they came up and so 
nowadays they are not allowed to have them. 

The patron spirits of the Laguna Fathers who are called ka'an 
paiimin, are not kachina, but they are anthropomorphic as they ap- 
pear depicted on the walls of the society's ceremonial room. 
(PI. 17.) These "fathers" are always mentioned in the society's 
ceremonial. They hve to the east. They control weather, being 
able to send rain or wind or a scorching sun.' The moieties have 

"6 Keresan, Wenima. One Isletan referred to the shiwanna or kachina as wenin, limiting the term Hwan 
to the dancers. From the wenin, the Hwan get their power, Wside, this informant stated, was merely 
the singular form of wenin. 

"' In the pariillel Ilopi and Tewa (north) tales these "chiefs" are the cloud youths. 

*•* From Lucinda with her Laguna traditions I heard of the Keresan war spirits, Masewi and Uyuye, 
but never a word about them from Juan Abeita, so that I may not include them in the Isletan pantheon. 

" Sandia is said to have a mask dance " stolen " from Laguna. It is performed every four years, in March. 
All but townspeople are excluded, even the Isletans married into town. Once the Isletan cacique went 
to Sandia to borrow a drum. This dance was on, outside, with wagon covers used as a screen and war 
captains on guard against intruders. The Isletan cacique was kept out and had to wait all day until the 
dance was over for his drum, 

■ Compare pp, 386-387. 


also patron spirits called ka'pe ^ kabede, from whom the society 
chiefs get their power, and who are represented by the k'apyo.^ 
These with their horns made the exit at the emergence. Therefore 
the k'apyo to-day wear horns. 


The Isletan ceremonial organization is in several respects charac- 
teristicallj'^ Pueblo; but it presents certain marked distinctions or 
anomalies, notably in its Corn group organization which is a cere- 
monial rather than a clanship organization, for it is not concerned 
with marriage as is the Pueblo clan and it is concerned with ritual 
and ceremonial to a degree comparable only with the Hopi system 
and yet so differently as not to be truly comparable with that exog- 
amous and ubiquitous clanship organization. (But whence did Isletans 
derive the principle of matrilineal descent for their Corn groups? At 
first, thought I, from the Keres. Then when I heard the tale of how 
the Eagle people got their name which is so startlingly in the Hopi 
pattern I began to think of the possibilities in that far-gone visit to 
the Hopi country, a visit lasting long enough for intermarriage and 
to introduce the principle of descent, but not long enough to estab- 
lish the principle of exogamy.* Speculation !) Again in the compre- 
hensiveness or inclusiveness of the Isletan moiety system there is 
considerable distinction from other Pueblo organization, excepting per- 
haps that of the Tewa where, too, everybody belongs in one moiety 
or the other. But the Isletan principle of moiety membership differs 
from the Tewan in that the latter is based on paternal descent and 
the former on parental option, with a prevaULng practice of alter- 
nating the moiety membership of offspring. The moiety principle 
finds expression among the Keresans in their double Idva system, 
but it is far less penetrating in the general ceremonial life than at 
Isleta. At Jemez there is a cross between the Keresan moiety 
system and the Tewan or Isletan. In the west the moiety is barely 

The association at Isleta between the moieties and war in so far 
as the scalps are kept in the moiety kivas is of particular interest. 
There are suggestions elsewhere that the moiety or clown groups have 
had sometime warrior functions. At Laguna the kurena cheani was 
painted like the war god and was associated with the war kachina, 
Chakwena, and with the war dance, as were the kashare who worked 
on the scalps.^ In Keresan and in Zuni myth the clowns are the 

' The word means name making, but in this connection the etymology is doubtful, opines informant. 
' See p. 3t50. 

< Even modern Isletan visitors to the western pueblos do not learn of the principle of exogamy among 
their Zurli or ITopi hosts. 
' Parsons. 8: 11.3, 123, 124. See, too, Parsons, 11: IS6-187. 

6066°— 32 23 

346 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

scouts or leaders during the emergence, as are the prototypes of the 
moiety chiefs of Isleta. 

In its Pueblo uniformities, the Isletan system resembles both 
Keresan and Tewan. In having only one town chief it is Keresan- 
like; in the comparative simplicity of its medicine society organiza- 
tion, which is differentiated from within rather than from without, 
it is Tewan or Jcmez like. There seems to be at Isleta a duplication 
of the office of war chief, given the wifawe or tuwilawe and kumpa 
or kumpa wilawe. Possibly the former functionary was borrowed 
from the Keres. Kumpa's ways have a flavor of Hopi. 

Comparisons wdth Sandia or Taos are unfortunately uncertain. 
There is virtually no record of Sandia except for the statement that 
it is without the usual Pueblo clanship system.* My Isleta informant 
opined that at Sandia they had the same Corn groups as at Isleta, 
likewise the same kind of a town chief, only they did not work for 
him. There are no scalps at Sandia, it was said, because Sandians 
themselves have been killed instead of taldng scalps.' This same 
informant visited Taos during our acquaintance but, observant 
though he desired to be, comparisons between Taos and Isleta were 
so difficult for him to make because of language and because of his 
proneness to see similarities only, that his remarks are not reliable. 
Still they are of interest as bearing upon Isletan practices. He in- 
sisted that the moiety system existed at Taos just as at Isleta. There 
were Black Eyes and those using red paint and corresponding to the 
shure'. The Taos boys who undergo a long period of initiation are 
being initiated into these moieties, an initiation which is not made 
at Isleta. Now, according to my own information about Taos, such 
an inclusive moiety system does not occur there. There is merely 
a Black Eyes society; and the boys are initiated into a number of 
societies or kivas. 

What society corresponds enough to the Isleta shure' to have led 
the Isletan to an identification I can but guess.* My Isletan observer 
also opined that the Isletan Corn group organization was to be found 
at Taos, which is, I beheve, a wholly erroneous observation. Ma- 
ternal descent is not distinguished at Taos, and Idva or kiva society, 
membership to which only males are eligible, is entirely optional with 
parents. Ciuiously enough, although my Isletan observer noted the 
fact of the exclusion of women, he persisted in identifying the Taos 
kiva or kiva society with the Isletan Corn group. He was at 
Taos when certain winter ceremonies were under way and he was 
comparing these, I think, with the winter solstice ceremonies of the 

» See p. 220, n. 79. 

' And my informant went on to say that no Isletan was ever killed by another tribesman. " That is 
why we have scalps.'* 

8 Another Isletan visitor to Taos thinks there are shure' at Taos because on San Geronimo Day three 
clowns are painted yellow and white (shure'). the other three being black and white (shifun). 



Islctan Corn groups and so identified the respective organizations. 
In certain details his Isleta-Taos comparisons appear more just: at 
Taos there are no corn fetishes, in Isleta terms, no keide or Mothers ; * 
no kachina at Taos, just as there is none at Isleta — i. e., no kacliina 
masks belong in the organization of either town. (Of the relation 
between the Isletan (Kwa) dancers and kachina proper this particular 
informant was ever unaware.) 

And yet the ritual accompanying the three hwa dances in the 
Isletan calendar unmistakably connects the dances with the general 
Pueblo kachina cult. I surmise that the supernatural Liwale, who is 
said to come from Zuni mountain, is a borrowed Kok'okshi,'" and that 
the Dark Hwa is the Chakwena kachina of the Keres and of the West. 
(It is tempting even to derive the term chakabede from chakwena.) 
The duplication of clown personages in the iiwa ceremonials — Grand- 
fathers (te'en) and the k'yapio (compare, for term, the chapio of the 
Tewa and, for role in emergence myth, the koyemshi of Zuni and 
Laguna) — this duplication points to complex borrowing. (My 
informant stated that at Taos there were k'yapio, chifonetti; but no 
Grandfathers, te'en). Again I surmise that some of the medicine 
society ritual is borrowed from the Keres, notably the corn fetishes 
or Mothers, and the bear impersonation. In ant curing ritual, which 
is known to be borrowed from the Keres, sucking out is practiced ; in 
Isletan ritual proper it is unfamiliar." 

Distinctive in Isleta ritual are the use of a certain medicine root 
to give power and for clairvoj'ance during ritual for detection,'' and 
of a bowl on the altar for the spittle of e.xorcism; the offering of pig- 
ments to the sun; and the degree in which crystal gazing is practiced; 
also the ritual complex of "drawing down" the cosnuc supernaturals 

• The story he was told at Taos was that the medicine chief who once had them was liilleii by two Co- 

'0 But Isletan tradition has it that the pinitu ceremonial came from Sandia over 50 years ago. " Perhaps 
they (Sandians) got it from Zufii," commented Lucinda. Another Isletan denied this Sandia pro\-enience. 
*' We have had it always." 

n So much for interpueblo borrowing, but the possibilities of Mexican borrow ing may not be overlooked, 
in connection with the kachina cult and the moiety clowns. Grandfathers and k'yapio. I have discussed 
this subject elsewhere (Parsons, 21), but I would like to point out here, or rather reemphasize, that in no 
pueblo can the Spanish elements in Pueblo life be as well studied as in Isleta. Isleta (and Sandia) were 
among the earliest of the pueblos to feel missionary influence which, e-xcept during the Hopi episode in their 
history, has been continuous in these southern pueblos. This church control might partly account for the 
resistance to the mask cult at Isleta, if my theor> is correct that that cult was largely post-Spanish, starting 
with Spanish clown masks such as are worn by the Grandfathers and then developing, in the western pueblos 
(particularly Zuni) into the efflorescent, anti-church mjisk system of to-day. I am wondering how much 
Spanish influence may be fotmd in Isletan ritual songs and prayers. As for relations with Mexican tribes, 
that subject, too, should be carefully studied, when we know more about the tribes of northern Mexico. 
Meanwhile, it is tempting to point out such resemblances among the Tarahumare as appear in their sun, 
moon, and star cult, their dancing and racing [iractices (kick-ball, races between married and unmarried, 
etc.), their rites of fasting, continence, and confession, of notched stick playing, of aspersing and exorcising 
with smoke and with ashes, their use of the antisunwise circuit and of the numerals three and five. 

•^ See p. 449. Is the use of this root Navaho' Similar detective methods at Zufii were accounted N'avaho. 
(Parsons. 1.) An Isletan woman, a kind of unlicensed doctor, says that she has this root medicme from the 
Navaho shaman to whom she is apprentice. She used it once and went into a trance. But it is too pow- 
erful. She has not qualified to use it yet. A root to give power, particularly clairToyaBce, is used by 
Tewa doctors. 

348 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

through the roof hole. The roof hole figures in western ceremonial, 
but, as far as I know, not nearly as prominently. With a crystal 
the Hopi refract the sun ray into the kiva. 

I have not listed as ritual patterns the practices of formal dismissal 
by the chief, of the messenger reporting in full the details of his trip, 
of giving thanks, of exhorting by the chief to moral behavior. How- 
ever, all of these features contribute to the character of ceremonial 
and nowhere except among Hopi ceremonials are they as marked as 
at Isleta. Possibly they occur elsewhere but have not been as fully 

Notable is the insistence at Isleta on the powers of the chiefs which 
are thought of as individualistic shamanistic powers as well as powers 
in virtue of society membership. There are similar references to 
individuaUstic powers at Taos, and I surmise we have here at both 
Taos and Isleta a Plains Indian feature. The importance of clair- 
voyance and prediction at Isleta may also be due, if not to Navaho, 
to Plains Indian culture. 

Distinctive in the pantheon, as already noted, are Wffiide, the high 
god, and as objects of a special cult among the dead, the stillborn. 
The Water people also are notable. Elsewhere prayer sticks are cast 
into the river of the pueblo or buried in its banks, but they are said 
to be sent to the dead or the kachina. At Isleta the river offering is 
specifically for the Water people. 


In the seventies Laguna was a town divided against itself bj^ the 
blade of Americanism — Protestant Americanism. The town hierarchy 
broke down, splitting into pro-American progressive and anti- 
American conservative factions — the first led by the shikani kurena 
society chief, whose sister had married one of the three Americans 
married into the town; the second, led by the town chief and Flint, 
Fire, and kashare society chiefs or members. ^^ The conservatives 

" The list which I got at Laguna in 1926 follows, as List I: 1. Eeishu" (called Juan Key at Isleta), Flint 
cheani; 2. Casiro (called Casil'do at Isleta), Flint cheani. Chaparral Oock clan; 3. Kaiye' kye (called Fran- 
cisco Correo (or Kaituri) at Isleta), P'ire cheani. Sun, clan; 4. Tsaiul;ye or Uakwi, Fire cheani. Sun clan 
(father of Pedro Martin, also Fire cheani); 6. Kaish'tome, kashare cheani, Parrot clan; 6. Tsishguna, 
kashare, Turkey clan (he stayed at Mesita and "gave it" to his son G'ea); 7. G'asiro, kashare. Bear clan 
(mother's brother to Pedro Martin). G'asiro went to Isleta hut, not liking it there, he returned to Mesita. 
When he went to Isleta they took his wife from him. He married in Isleta. When he returned to Mesita he 
did not get back his Lagima wife. He still comes to Laguna as a kashare to make cures. At Mesita he is 
kachina Father (Parsons 12: 208). Still other cheani leaving Laguna for Isleta were mentioned: 8. Tsiwaka 
of the Bear clan. Ant cheani; 9. Shkasgum or Luis of the Corn clan, shahaiye cheani; 10. Uumika or Josf of 
the Lizard clan, shumakoli cheani; 11. Kuwai'tyena of the Sim clan, kiu-ena cheani (and his wife Tsaiusi 
of the Eagle clan); 12. Kai'yuwe of the Corn clan and Com clan cheani (and his wife Ityle of the Sun clan), 
identified as Josf Antonio Correo at Isleta. List II: In 1927 at Lagima Dr. I,eslie A. White got another 
list of the emigrating cheani: I'unai or Casidro Castellano (see No. 2, above), chief of the Fire society; Kaie'- 
Domai or JosS, Fire cheani (married to daughter of I'unai); Wainyli or Jose Miguel Garcia, Fire cheani; 
Tsaienoro or JosS Losaro. Fire cheani (these four constituting the entire membership of the Fire society 
and taking with them the society altar) ; Shuwimi (Turquoise) or Santiago, kurena cheani; Audye' or Juan 
Eey Chirrino (see No. 1, above), shahaiye cheani. 

PARSONS] orai'bi, the lagttna colony 349 

decided upon migration. They moved first to Mesita, about 3 miles 
from Laguna, and thence, some of them, to Isleta, arriving some time, 
perhaps a year, before the railway came through, which was in the 
year 1880. This comparative dating of the inmiigration is from an 
aged Isletan, one of the three surviving scalp takers. Juanita Torres, 
one of the surviving immigrants, who looks about 60, said that when 
she and her family stopped at Mesita she got married there, before 
moving on to Isleta. 

According to Isleta tradition the immigrants were intending to go 
on even farther eastward to Sandia, but they were arrested by the 
Isletan liierarchy, invited to stay, and promised land. Had they not 
■with them their Mothers (iema'paru), who would "bring good luck" 
to Isleta? To-day, at old Laguna, there are sore eyes '* and lame- 
ness '^ among the people, because some of their Mothers were carried 
away and even those they still have they do not regard. 

Juanita Torres's estimate of the number of the immigrants was by 
family; there were seven male heads of family. This estimate coiTe- 
sponds with the recollection of the old scalp taker. Twelve men and 
women went first, others followed with the children, he said, to form 
a colony of between thirty and forty persons.'* From an Isletan 
woman married into the Laguna colonj^ and familiar with their history 
I got the following list of immigrants, together with their Keresan 
clan affiliations. 


1. Francisco Correo, Sun clan. 

2. Maria Correo or Tsi"tiwi, Sun clan. Wife of 1. 

3. Lorenzo Correo, Sun clan. Brother of 1. 

4. Maria Abeita or Shuitia (Keresan), Sun clan. Wife of 3. 

5. Josd Antonio Correo, Sun clan. Brother of 1, 3. 

6. Lucia Siu'tina, Lizard clan. Wife of 5. 

7. Casildo Velho or lunai, Lizard clan, widower at time of migration. 

8-9. Shauunai, daughter of 7, and Jos6 Antonio Gayama, sou of 7, who married 
daughter of 3 and 4. 

10. Matia Garcia, Lizard clan. 

11. Jose Rita, Lizard clan. 

12. Maria Rita, Lizard clan. Wife of 11. 

13. Juan Rey Churina " or Aute', Lizard clan. 

14. Lupi Churina, Sun clan. Wife of 13. 

15. Jos6 Mariano Churina or Yute', Lizard clan. Brother of 13. 

16. Benina Yuwai, Lizard clan. Wife of 15. 

17. Jose Miguel Churina, Lizard clan. Brother of 13, 15. 

» There is, in fact, much trachoma at Laguna. 

" As a basis for this report there is one hunchbacls at Laguna. 

'• Writing in 1S'.)1, Lummis states that a generation before, owing to a great drought, about 160 Keres from 
Acoma and Laguna settled in Isleta (Lummis 3: 206). An earlier immigration than the one we are dis- 
cussing'' But what became of the descendants of these Keres? 1 incline to thinlc that Lummis was merely 
misinformed about the migration of ISSO, 

'■ This is an Isletan patronymic as are others in this list. The Laguna people were without Spanish 
patronymics, so they borrowed from Isletans. Of Casildo and his children it was said that "they gave 
themselves to the Luceros and took their name." 

350 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. an.n. 47 

IS. Jesusita Miguel, Lizard clan. Wife of 17. 

19. Francisco Torre(s) or Hemish, Sun clan. 

20. Santiago Torre(s), Sun clan. Brother of 19. 

21. Paulina Torre(s), Eagle clan. Wife of 20. 

22. Jos6 Martin', Bear clan. 

23. Josefita Martin' or Tsiuyaitiwitsa or Kwaiye (Bear). Bear clan. Wife 

of 22. 

24. Santiago Chavez or Haiuna, Lizard clan. 
25-26. Juan Pedro, and his daughter, Maria Ts'uku'. 
27-28. Bitorio, aud his daughter, Maria Tsiwakora. 

The land given the immigrants was to the southwest, a district 
already settled by Isletans and called Orai'bi.'^ To-day 6 houses in 
this suburb of 43 houses belong to Laguna people (Bimin) '' or to 
Isletans married to persons of Laguna descent. The other houses 
are occupied by Isletans. In the Lagima houses Uve by rough esti- 
mate 62 persons, of whom 53 are of Laguna descent, including 3 of the 
4 surviving immigrants.^" The foiu-th immigrant ^' lives with her 
son in Isleta proper, where live also 9 persons of Laguna descent, 
making a total, together with a Laguna family of 5 across the river, 
of 69 persons from Lagima or of Laguna descent. I am not at all 
certain, however, that this census is complete. Of Laguna-Isleta 
intermarriages I have noted 17 among which 9 Laguna women mar- 
ried Isletan men and 8 Laguna men married Isletan women. The 
facts of residence show a Uke even distribution, the interman-ying 
Laguna men and women living in both Orai'bi and the to^\^l proper. 

What have been the effects of this contact of about half a century 
between two distinctive Pueblo groups, speaking different languages, 
and in their social organization possessed of different traits? It is 
said in general that Lagima persons are bilingual, but that Keresan 
has not been learned at all by the Isletans. In fact my cliief Isletan 
informant, although he is godfather to a Laguna child and has been 
Uving on and oft" at Orai'bi for a dozen years and is established there 
permanently during the last year, knows few, if any, Keresan words, 
either of the vernacular ''' or ceremonial.^ He said he had hstened 
in to his neighbors, too, still he could not learn their words. In the 
famiUes of mixed marriages somewhat other conditions might be 
found, of course. It would be particularly interesting to learn more 
positively whether or not any Keresan kinship terms have passed into 

18 For this name there is no translation. The name is the same, we may recall, as that of the Ilopi town 
on Third Mesa. There is no Isletan tradition about Hopi immigrants. Perhaps the name attached to 
the locality after the return of the Isletans early in the eighteenth century from the Hopi country. 

1" Laguna is called Berkwj, Rainbow. 

20 They are Jose Antoya Correo or Tiami (Keresan, Eagle) or Shyutera, of the Blue Corn people and of 
the shure' (Lists I 12; II, 5), Maria Correo (Keresan, Tsi'tiwi) of the Day people and of the shure' (List 
II, 2), Maria Chavez or Koyude of the Earth people and of the Black Eyes, Juana Torres or Kinai of the 
Earth people and of the Black Eyes. 

21 Maria Correo, whose son is the town chief of Orai'bi, where they also have a house. 

22 A Laguna neighbor, he observed, called his boys payatem' (Keresan for youth), 

2s Even such a much used term as kopishtaiya for the cosmic supematurals was unfamiliar, .\fter expla- 
nation he said he would translate it as ka*an, the Fathers. 


obai'bi, the laguna colony 351 

Isletan usage. My informants make use of four terms for senior 
collateral kinswomen, ky'uu, kerchu, aiya and ia. Possibly the last 
two teiTns may be derived from the Keresan terms for mother and 
aunt, naiya, yiya, yaya, iya.'" 

The Laguna women are or were skillful potters; the Isletan were not. 
Until they began to learn more of the craft from the Laguna immi- 
grants, Isletan women made only imdecorated ware (as at Taos), 
bowls for chili and for cooldng beans. The best known Isletan potter 
to-day is Maria Chiwiwi,^^ a woman of 50, who told me she would 
watch her Laguna neighbor, Benina Yuwai -* (List II, 16), who died 
in 1925, and so learned the craft. It was Benina who told her not 
to use a stick covered with wool as a paint brush, as she had been 
doing, but to make a brush from yucca fiber chewed fine. And it was 
Benina who taught her how to ask the clay mother for clay. With 
her "cousin," the wife of the present Laguna governor, Maria drives 
in a wagon to the river bank, she asldng the Mother on one trip, her 
cousin, on the next. 

Maria Chiwiwi makes pottery only for the American trade. 
Ware copied from Laguna is used also in the pueblo. I have been told 
that there are about 10 Isletan potters of Laguna ware, of whom 
Lupi Anselmo is the most skillful, and about 10 potters of the old 
Isletan ware. Curiously enough, it was not the potters of the old 
ware who took to making the new ware. In making the old ware 
you have only to "biuld" and polish, for the new ware you "build," 
smooth, polish, paint, and burn. Maria Chiwiwi, for one, had never 
made the old ware nor does she make it now. When she needs old 
ware pots to give away at the pinitu dance she buj's them. Maria 
Chi^vi^\^ took up pottery making about seven years ago after her 
husband's death, and in general the new art seems to have been 
learned by other Isletans only witliin a decade. They still buy their 
paints from the Lagima colonists. \Miite and red pigments come 
from places near old Laguna, and the black mineral pigment from the 
Rio Puerco. 

Pottery making aside, it is not in the economic hfe, which was prob- 
ably in general very little differentiated, nor in language, but in the 
social, including the ceremonial, organization that acculturation 
between the two groups has taken place. Here the original out- 
standing dift'erentiations were in the matters of clanship and of 
moiety. Among the Keres what moiety system there is is entirely 
ceremonial, associated with their two kiva system and more or less 
indirectly with their phallic clown societies, the kashare and kurena. 
Laguna, like Acoma, may have had even slighter moiety traits than 

" Parsons 12: 201, 202. On the other hand, ia is the Taos term for father's sister. 
" She was married to the son of Lorenzo Correo, the Laguna immigrant. So intolerant of Americanism 
was her husband that he would not allow a word of English in his house, nor a picture on his walls. 
" Juana Torres is also a good potter. 

352 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

the eastern pueblos. On the other hand, clanship at Lagriina was 
well developed, there were 14 or more matriUneal and exogamous 
clans, of which seven are said to have been represented among the 
inmiigrants^ — Lizard, Smi, Eagle, Corn, Chaparral Cock, Parrot, Bear. 

T\Tiat was the experience of the immigrants in connection with the 
Isletan moiety system? Their own moiety associations, slight as they 
were, they did not bring with them in any organized form — the km-ena 
society remained at Lagiina and the kashare at Mesita; and the 
colonistsbuiltnoldvasatOrai'bi. What happened? The inimigTants 
were taken into the Isletan kiva-moiety system, to which they had 
nothing to contribute, but which was familiar enough to make them 
feel at home, and to accept as a consequence, at least, of intermarriage 
with Isletans. 

Given intermarriage, what of adjustments in the matter of clanship? 
Three questions here — descent, fiading the Isletan equivalents in the 
Corn groups for the Laguna clans, clan exogamy. The reckoning of 
descent was simple enough, for the Corn gi'oups like Keresan clans 
are matrilineal ; as a result, we may infer, of ancient contacts with the 
Keres when the Isletans were themselves immigrant. Finding clan 
equivalents never presents difficulties to a Pueblo Indian. I have 
noted that frequently in several towns slight resemblances suffice to 
identify clans, so that the Laguna Lizard people were straightway 
identified with the Earth people,-^ and the Laguna Sun people with 
the Day people. Eagle and Com clans have their homonyms among 
the Corn group 5. The Laguna Chaparral Cock people might well 
have been identified \vith the Magpie people, but I have no evidence 
that they were. In fact, Casildo (Lists I, 1; II, 7), Chaparral Cock 
clansman, belonged inferably to the Earth people. Parrot people 
might also have been classified with Magpie people. The Bear people 
had a more difficult problem. They may have solved it in coimection 
with the third question, the really difficult one of exogamy. The 
Com groups, as we know, are not exogamous. Husband and wife 
frequently belong to the same group. In several instances where it 
was difficult to find the clan equivalent it was said that a Laguna 
person joined the Corn group of their spouse. Now if Jos6 Martin' 
(Lists I, 4; II, 22), Sun clansman, joined the Day people, liis wife 
(List II, 23), Bear clanswoman, probably joined the Day people 

How much the principle of exogamy has actually gone by the board 
in the Laguna colony would require a closer knowledge, family by 

■' In fact, both at old Lagimaand among thellopi, Earth or Sand is the "other name" of the Lizard dan. 

2S It was their son, Pedro Martin', who in 1919 gave me the list of Isletan clans (Parsons 4: 154), naming 
the Isletan Corn groups as well as the Laguna clans. Some confusion resulted, but Pedro may well have 
felt confused, if he was bom a Day (or Sun) person at Isleta and at old Laguna he found himself a Bear 
person. (See Parsons 12; 272-274.) About Pedro, who was called Meyushka (Keresan, Meyu, Lizard) 
at Orai'bi, a characteristically Pueblo pun is made. How is he? Some one may ask of a visitor to old 
Lagtma. "Uis tail is still long." 


family, than we have. In present-day theory the exogamous prin- 
ciple seems to, have disappeared. Even Lucinda with her intimate 
Orai'bi affiliations was quite unaware of it. It seemed as natural to 
her for Birnin couples to belong to the same Corn group as for 
Isletan. Nor did Lucinda see any difference, by the way, between 
Isletan and Laguna "peoples"; i. e., Corn group or clan, except in 
the matter of secretiveness. "When you go to old Laguna, first thing 
they ask you is what hano (people; i. e., clan) you belong to. If to 
theirs, they want to wash you (referring to the rite of head washing 
practiced on adoption or initiation). But we don't tell them." No 
better evidence than this of the ceremonial and hence secret nature 
of the Isletan Corn group compared with the nonceremonial and hence 
revealable nature of the Keresan clan. 

As for Juan Abeita, my chief informant, he knew no more of Keresan 
clanship principles than of the Keresan tongue, and the Birnin all 
belonged, he insisted, both to the Isletan moieties and to the Corn 
groups. In other words, he felt that the immigrants had been com- 
pletely assimilated into those major parts of the Isletan social 

On the secular government at Orai'bi Lucinda and Abeita were in 
disagreement. Abeita asserted that the secular offices of governor 
and teniente which the immigrants had at first maintained had of 
recent years lapsed; whereas Lucinda was positive that the offices 
were still filled and she named the officers of the year (1926) ; governor, 
Pedro Torre (s), son of Santiago Torres, the immigrant and sometime 
governor (List II, 20);'' teniente. Sen Chave(s), the son of Maria 
Ts'uku', daughter of Juan Pedro, the immigrant (List II, 25, 
26); Jos^ Chave(s), son of Jos6 Mariano Churina, the immigrant 
(List II, 1 5) ; and sheriff, Tomasi Chiwiwi, an Isletan married to the 
daughter of Jose and Jesusita Chm-ian, immigrants (List II, 17, 
18). I am for crediting Lucinda's account. Pablo Abeita is said 
to "hate the Laguna people," wanting "to cut their ways." He 
is opposed to their having their own officers. Consequently his 
adherent, Juan Abeita, in characteristic Pueblo fashion, denied their 

On the other hand, he, and not Lucinda, as ever secretive about 
ceremonial matters, was informing about the Ora'ibi war captains, 
town chief, kachina cult, and medicine men. There are three war 
captains and, in choosing them, as in Isleta, moiety representation 
is considered — one year, two Black Eyes and one shure', the next 
year, two shure' and one Black Eyes. These officers act in general 
with the six Isletan war captains. In turn, the colonists ask for the 
services of the Isletan Grandfathers (te'en),the moiety masked clowns, 
as watchmen for their kachina dances. 

" JosS Rita (List II, 11) was the first governor at Orai'bi. 


lETH. ANN. 47 

The kachina chief, "their father," is the town chief. Francisco 
Correo or Kaituri (Lists I, 3; II, 1), the immigrant, held the 
office until he died in 1918. Then his son, Jos^ Nacio'" Correo or 
Shiebato (in Isletan, white prayer feather) or Shaatse (Keresan) 
succeeded him. Shiebato was only 16 and unmarried. He did not 
marry until six years later. According to Juan Abeita, Shiebato has 
represented the colony in all its dealings with Isleta, a rather improb- 
able statement considering the youth of Shiebato. In connection 
with their kachina dances he no doubt does represent them. Per- 
mission to hold a mask dance he must obtain from the town chief of 
Isleta. The seasons for the mask dances are after the February field 
cleaning or exorcising ceremony by the Fathers, and the June solstice 
ceremonies of the Corn groups. 

Although the ritual accoxnpanying the three Hwa dances in the 
Isletan calendar unmistakably connects the dances- •with the wide- 
spread kachina cult, it is doubtful if the Isletans themselves relate 
their hwa dances to the masked dances of their Laguna neighbors 
which my Isletan informant had seen, but of which he had very vague 
ideas, not knowing even the names of them all. However, from rough 
sketches the masks appear to be the same as those of old Laguna. 
There are: 1. Chakwena; 2. In Isletan hwa funide or dark kachina, 
whose mask, however, is yellow on one side and blue on the other (pi. 
20, a) and whose call iso'ho! o'ho! "He is mean"; 3. Papire (Isletan, 
duck) katsina. These three masks come out each as a set or group. 
With the chakwena comes also a single mask who, except for mask, is 
like the aiyayaho in the Isletan liwa par. Then there is a mask I 
venture to identify from the sketch (pi. 20, b) as hea (hehea). With 
the parti-colored masks come out to play three gumeoishi. Unlike 
the old Laguna gumeoishi^' they wear no mask, but a black cloth is 
around the face, which is painted "green." They wear black blan- 
kets. One carries a crook cane with feathers attached to it. One 
has a small drum. They dance around. The maximum number of 
kachina dancers is 18, which corresponds to the number of Laguna 
males of dancing age. The dancers are led in by their town chief, 
without a mask. 

Not only do Isletans look on at these dances, but they are also the 
recipients of the kachina dolls made and distributed in connection with 
the cult.^^ The house of the Laguna Fathers is used for night dance 
practice and by day the street south of the town chief's house, which 
is closed to Mexicans and whites by the war captains, is the dance 

^ In 1920 I was told at old Laguna that Nashu (Nacio) of the Sun clan was the Father of the kachina at 
Isleta, having succeeded his own father in office. But now for contradictions. Nashu's father was said 
to be G'eonai, a Lizard clansman. (Parsons 12: 208.) 

31 Compare Parsons 8; Fig. lo. According to one informant, there used to be, 30 years or so ago, two or 
three mask-wearing gumeoishi at Orai'bi. They were called pibula, mud-heads. 

J^ Isleta townsmen are not allowed to make kachina dolls which they are told are made of lapako (stick, 
water, carry), light porous sticks carried down by the river. 

parsons] ORAI'BI, the LAGXJNA COLONY 355 

place. (PI. 19, b.) There is no dance place in Orai'bi, and, as 
stated, the Laguna colonists have no kiva. To the house of the 
Laguna Fathers during the night practice Isletan women will take 
their fruits, melons, peaches, grapes, etc., to be sprinkled with medicine 

Besides their mask dances the Laguna colonists present the Kings' 
Day dance, the Santo Rey dance, or, in hybrid Isletan-Spanish, 
nareipoa, of which the account has already been given in the calen- 
drical series of ceremonies; but which may now be reread the better 
to appreciate the remarkable assimilation shown in this performance 
between the host and the immigrant groups. Danced by moiety in 
old Laguna as it is in the other Keresan towns, this tablita or fiesta 
dance is now danced by the colonists according to their Isletan moiety 
classification. The dancers use the Isletan moiety Idvas and perform 
in Isleta ; but their ritual (such as prayer-feather making, I presume) 
and their ritualistic dance paraphernalia they keep to themselves. . . . 
Before the Laguna people had brought this "Santo Rey happiness" to 
Isleta, the Isletans went to Sandia on Kings' Day. 

To the medicine or curing organization of Isleta the Laguna immi- 
grants have contributed perhaps most distinctively. We recall that 
there are now in Isleta two curing groups, the Town Fathers (toeka'an) 
and the Laguna Fathers (birka'an), the chief of each referred to 
respectively as tutude (older sister) and bachude (younger sister). In 
the latter group there are now no persons of Laguna descent, neverthe- 
less the name points to a Laguna origin, as well as certain other facts. 
The predecessor of the present chief of the Laguna Fathers was named 
Usaa, which is a Laguna word for Sumise.^^ (Usaa died in 1924.) 
Usaa got his Laguna name when he took office because he was 
installed by the Laguna town chief Kaituri. There happened to be 
no trained successor to the office in the society. In the memory of 
my informant there were three Laguna medicine men in the society, 
Kaituri or Francisco Correo (Lists I, 3; II, 1), Juan Rey Churina or 
Sheride (Lists I, 1; II, 13), and CasUdo Velho (old man) or lunai 
(Lists I, 2; II, 7), aU deceased. Kaituri we have noted as the some- 
time town chief and "kachina father" of the Laguna colony. At old 
Laguna he was called Kaiye'kye and described as a Fire cheani. Juan 
Rey was a stick swallower and he maintained that Keresan ritual at 
Isleta, using the room of the Laguna Fathers for his ceremony which 
only the Laguna colonists attended and which was thought of as their 
peculiar medicine ceremony. At old Laguna, Juan Rey was called 
Reishu" and was described to me as a Flint cheani, to Doctor White 
as a shahaiye cheani. Juan Rey, who was headstrong even in old 
Laguna, used to fight with Pablo Abeita. Because of this hostility, 
in 1923 Rey decided to leave Isleta and go to Sandia to live. 

" Osach, Sun. 

356 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 

There was much perturbation in Isleta. Reyhad sent on to Sandia 
ahead of him the box containing his swallowing sticks, together with 
the canes of office of the governor and officers of the Laguna colony. 
A woman told somebody about Key's action, and somebody told the 
governor of Isleta who told the town chief of the Laguna colony. 
"They had a meeting about it. They would not let Rey go to 
Sandia irntU they got back his box. They sent some men for it. 
Then Rey went to Sandia. After a year he died.^* He did not last 
long because he broke his promise to do his ceremony at Isleta." . . . 
Juan Rey was the designer of the pantheon represented on the walls 
of the chamber of the Laguna Fathers, of Sun, Moon, Orion's belt, 
Rainbow, Lightning, Mountain Lion, Bear, Rattlesnake, Eagle, 
Badger (?), Corn of the directions, and the anthropomorphic figures 
called ka'an piaunin, who are the spirit patrons of the society. 
(PI. 17.) Juan Rey was also an Ant doctor and he had passed 
on his curing ritual to a younger member of the Laguna Fathers, an 
Isletan. Juan Rey's wife, who died about 1921, was the daughter of 
Jose, the shahaiye or shiwanna cheani of old Laguna. His daughter 
was also a shahaiye cheani and would go to old Laguna to help her 
father. And her father frequently visited her in Isleta. Jose, in the 
account he gave me in 1917 of the Laguna immigration, mentions 
Rey (Lei), although, characteristically, he did not refer to him as his 
son-in-law. I infer that Rey was a shahaiye cheani'^ (Ant and Giant 
subdivisions). The shahaiye were stick swallowers. Besides sha- 
haiye, said Jose, Fire (hakani) and Flint (hish) cheani had gone to 

Pedro Martin' (Felipe) of Isleta and Laguna, whose Laguna father 
was a Fire cheani in the Laguna Fathers and who was himself a some- 
time member of the Laguna Fathers as a Fire cheani, stated to me 
that there was in the Laguna colony a shguyu (giant) cheani." 
Probably this was Rey. Now at Laguna the Giant cheani had the 
right to make kachina masks. If Rey was the Giant cheani, inferably 
it was Rey who made the masks at the Laguna colony. At old 
Laguna Casildo was said to be the chief of the Fire society. At Isleta 
it was stated definitely that Casildo was possessed of fire ritual which 
he taught to a younger member of the society, Juan Chato, who now 
builds the fire ritualistically in any ceremonial room at the request 
of the town chief or war chief. Juan Chato can handle fire and stand 
on coals without being burned. All such fire maldng and testing is, 
we may infer, of Laguna introduction. 

'< His daughter returned to Isleta to claim his house and land, but the Isletan governor had already 
"handed* * it to an Isletan. 
36 An inftrence since confi:med by Doct..r White. (See p. 348, n. 13.) 
M Parsons 8: 109. 
»' Parsons 7: 59. 

parsons] ORAI'BI, the LAGUNA COLONY 357 

We may summarize the outcome of the Isleta-Laguna contact as 
fourfold : 

1. The language of the immigrants has been retained, but not 
communicated to the hosts. 

2. Refinements in the craft of pottery making have been passed 
on from immigrants to hosts. 

3. That part of the social organization which is aft'ected by inter- 
marriage and descent (moiety and clan) has been adopted by the 
immigrants from the hosts. 

4. The ceremonial organization of the immigrants has been retained 
and contributed or patched on to that of the hosts. 

Comparison of this recent Laguna immigration with that of the 
Tewa to the Hopi early in the eighteenth century is of interest. The 
contact between the Hopi and the Tewa immigrants to First Mesa 
produced results quite similar to that between the Laguna inimigrants 
and the Isletans — retention of their language by the immigrants, 
without communicating it to their hosts ;^* adoption by the immi- 
grants of the social organization as affected by intermarriage (adop- 
tion of a different clansliip systcjn, and in this case the breakdown 
of the moiety system of the immigrants); ceremonial contributions 
by the immigrants. 

'* The conditions in regard to pottery making were quite different tor the Tewa immigrants thao for 
the Laguna immigrants, as their Hopi hosts probably excelled them as potters. But it were of interest 
to know if the Tewa immigrants contributed any Rio Orandc methods or designs to the First Mesa craft. 


Folk tales (pa'ishie') ^^ are told only in w-inter, from October on, 
because they say snakes will bite you in punishment if you tell stories 
in summer. If you tell stories to strangers your life will be shortened. 

People will tell stories at night until cockcrow. Then if a long 
story is underway, some one may say, "This far we are going to see 
who remembers tomorrow night.' 

Yunyaa hinawinihi tomda gimminakin. 

This far stop we are going to-morrow in the night. 

Nato'ai (houses), which will be translated into English as "long 
ago," or natoyai, "in the house," is the introductory word or phrase 
for any tale. The listeners respond Ha! as they do also whenever the 
narrator pauses in his tale. Kaw'sp'kyem, you have a long tail now, 
or, the tail is on you, is the closing nominee, of which the conclusion 
is implicit: You have now to see if you can take it off, by telling a 
tale in your turn.^" 

Although the tales recorded are from but a few informants and are 
probably not an exhaustive list, the collection is unusually interesting 
as expressing both daily and ritual habits and points of view. It 
shows, too, a composite character, of varied provenience — Spanish, 
Keresan, and Tanoan. 


1. The Emergence 

The emergence myth proper or as a whole appeared to be imlcnown 
to Juan Abeita, who said it was knowTi only to the Fathers ; but he was 
able to give a tale fragment, also a prayer-text fragment, and to recite 
the names of certain stopping places and, of course, the names in 
Isletan of the towns where the peoples have since remained after 
coming out from the springs shipapy and kaihrebe'ai. As for Lucinda, 
she said it was a "wonderfid story, how they came up and traveled, 
but I am not allowed to tell it. If I did, I might be dead before I 
got home." 

" Pai, from the beginning, i. e., from when the people came up; shie', talk. Compare the Zuni expres- 
sion "From the beginning talk," for the emergence tale. See p. 220, where paye is given as a term for grand- 
father, connoting age. Compare Jemez, Parsons, 16; 136, for the term for folk tale meaning old person's 
talk. See also p. 209, n. 36 for pa'i in the term for the house of the medicine society, and p. 259, n. 69, 
where pSi is translated everlasting. Na'pobai' is another word for tale. 

<* The same nominee is in use at Taos. 


360 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

In the account of the solstice ceremonial where the emergence 
myth is recited there is a reference to the mountains *^ which figured 
at the emergence. 

Stopping places. — In the north they were at K'oaaikorikori (spruce ?). 
Traveling southward down the Rio Grande Valley they built small 
houses." All the Pueblo peoples came out together, but each people 
had their own ceremonies. At Kaipe'ai (the lake at Taos) ^ the 
peoples separated. The people who were to go to Shiaw'iba stopped 
at Pafu'tara, S^wiai, Paburei, Pahumpeai, Tobeai, To'wira, Paw'i'afea 
(pond red). When they reached Shiaw'iba, they began to work. 
Before this, during their early migrations, they did not have to work. 
They got food through the power of iema'paru. Water they could 
get from any rock. After the Mexicans came in, the religion began 
to break dowm, "to stop." 

The other peoples remained at: To'wieai, Taos; Shamnu, Picuris; 
Pawiai, San Juan; Piruhu, Santa Clara; San Ildefonso (Indian name 
forgotten); Pala, Cochiti; Towiai, San Domingo; Patox, San Felipe; 
Yiemai, Jemez; Tornaba, Zia; W'eroe, Sant Ana; KQkweai, Laguna;" 
Sarai, Zuni;^* Tolawe, Acoma; Bok'yage, Hopi.^^ 


Nato'ai, long ago, they were living under the earth at Wimdaa, 
and foUowdng the customs. Older sister (tutude, i. e., chief of Town 
Fathers) and younger sister (bachude,i. e., chief of Laguna Fathers) 
were together, but each had a separate ceremony. In some way 
W^ide had to send us up into this world. For four days they were 
getting ready. Shifun kabede (Black Eyes chief) and shure' kabede 
(shure', chief) had to come out first. They had those kyapio. They 
were the ones to dig up the earth with their horns. (That is why 
they use horns.) When they made a gate (an exit) up to the earth 
all had to come up with their own ceremonies. In some way they 
separated when they were going up: shifun kyapio came out from 
Shipapunai, and shure' kyapio came out from Kaihripe'ai.^^ 

The Mother (keide) thought that nobody would remember her after 
they had come up into this world. So she asked for somebody to 
remember her; she asked Waeide. So Waeide had shaxo kabede (witch 
chief) born with us, come up with us, through whom we would 
remember iema'paru (the Mother). Shaxo kabede would make us 
remember keide or iema'paru in this world. That is why there are 

" Compare Jemez, Parsons, 16: 137. 
" Compare Jemez, Parsons, 16: 138. 

" Towilpienau is the name of the mountain where lies this sacred lake. 
" .\lso called Berkwi, rainbow. 
" The people, Saran. 
" The people, the Muki, Buhkin. 

" For ceremonial division at time of the emergence see Jemez, Parsons, 16: 138; Tewa, Parsons, 17; 14-15; 
Cochiti, Dumarest, 192. 

parsons] folk tales 361 

wdtches, we believe ; from getting sick, people wdll remember iema'paru 
and Wffiide.^° 

They were alreadj^ up in this world when they fell sick and had 
to ask iema'paru for power to cure the sick. They were living on 
some mountain (name forgotten). They could not find the way to 
begin it (the curing ceremony). They had a meeting to find out 
how to ask for the power. There were kumpa and kabcw'iride, 
\nhiweri (the war chief), the White Corn Mother, and all the other 
Corn Mothers (chiefs of the Corn groups) 

They were thinldng it over, thinking it over. At last a boy came 
in. He had no father or mother or relations. The other boys did 
not Uke him. One of them who had been playing u-ith him, thinking 
he would harm him, went to the wilaweri and said that this boy 
could tell them what they needed. So wilaweri told the fathers there 
was a boy who could tell them what they needed. They told wilaweri 
to caU him in. So wilaweri called him in and gave him a seat and 
asked him if he knew how to ask iema'paru for her power. Iema'paru 
was helping him. "Yes," he said. "To make this power you need 
the head one of the world; you need t'aikabede (people chief, i. e., 
town chief)." They did not know who t'aikabede was. One man 
said that he, the boy, might hunself be the t'aikabede. He said, 
"For you to ask me properly and have me tell you, you must give 
me a smoke (paki'mu)." So kumpa rolled a cigarette and offered 
it to him. He did not take it. He said, "This is not the right one 
(land). You need lepab'paki'mu (lepa, native tobacco)." They had 
to ask Mm what lepab'paki'mu was. (This boy was born by the 
power of iema'paru.) He said to the people, "If you have faith that 
I am the one to get you out of this trouble, keep your mind on your 
ceremony, on one road. 1 will get you this lepab'paki'mu." " A 
young girl was sitting there. He went up to her and said to her not 
to mind what he did, and he kissed her. That was the first keide 
(Mother). That is the way the keide came out. Now he was holding 
a big piece of the lepab'paki'mu which he had got with his power 
when he Idssed that girl. He knew she was powerful like himself. 
He gave the lepab'paki'mu to kumpa, who rolled a cigarette and gave 
it to him, and he smoked. Before he finished smoldng, clouds were 
all around. Lightning and thunder began to come and rain fell. 
Then he had to say that he would be their headman (t'aikabede), 
and the girl would be their keide. That is how they learned to make 
their ceremony. 'V\Tien they were imder ground maybe they were 
asleep or did not pay attention. That is why they did not bring 
these ceremonies up with them. So they started their ceremonies as 
they do them now. 

» Compare Dumarest, 215-216. 
'1 See p. 257. 

6066°— 32 24 

362 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 47 


Natoi when our father (kimkaawei) Waeide decided we were going 
to come out from the bottom of the earth, all joined their thought 
into one thought. They thought it over how we should come out 
and they asked the t'aikabede what should be done. He called his 
pjjiwilawen and wilawen and talked it over. The "little captains" 
said it would be all right if they should put in some kyapiunin to 
have charge over the people, to guide them. The t'aikabede and 
p^iwilawe thought it was good. Then he separated the people into 
two parts, shifunin and shure'. The shifunin had to goahead. The 
shure' to come out second. So wilawere was told by t'aikabede to 
pick six men from each [moiety]. So he took six from the shifunin 
and six from the shure'. These clowns were fixed just as they were 
to be in the world. The hair of the shifunin was tied on each side, 
that of the shure', on top of the head. Long willows were given to 
the kyapiunin to punish people who did not obey. They told the 
shifunin to dig the hole up to go out. They tried to dig with their 
heads day after day, but they could not dig. They told their younger 
brothers to try to dig. When the first one tried, some dirt came 
down, a little bit; the second tried and made a larger hole, then the 
third and fourth and fifth and sixth tried. The sixth dug it almost 
out, but not quite. Then the head one tried again, and on his second 
try he made a door for the people to get out. Then he told the people 
it was ready. But first the kyapiunin had to go to a pole in the 
middle of the house, where there were turtles and clothing of all 
kinds. The shifunin were so anxious to start they took only the 
turtles. The shure' took the drum and buckskin and whatever was 
left. The shifunin got out first. The shure' stayed behind imtil all 
the people got out. Then they came out last. From there they 
came, from the north. One thing they did not have, an eagle feather. 
A woman on the way had a little baby who cried and cried. They 
forgot this woman and left her behind. "While the baby was crjdng 
and looking around, it saw an eagle flying around. The eagle flew 
lower and took out a feather, which fell on top of the breast of the 
crying baby. When they found out that the woman was missing, the 
kyapiunin had to go back to look for her. WTien they found her, 
she told them how they were left behind and how the eagle threw 
dowm its feather. So they named the baby shyutaiine (eagle person). 
Finally they caught up with the party ahead when they were close 
to Shiawiba. Right there the old people decided for the people to 
live there always and not to be moving to and fro like other people. 
That's all. 





watox' pandoatox' napiau nanai pawita k'o^shambana 

? down five ? levels down verily right there lake coming up 

kika'awei kikewei uwabana kikewei nashau ana'weiba yuea 

came up our mothers power 

kabere shure kabere an 

chief shure chief ? 

weiba kashanban kapiwide 

our fathers 


our chiefs 

our mot here 


Black Eyes 

wei piewe imim 

ers same think 

naweiba inature' 

their world 

shasha'dewa kyiu 

born into this world ? 

belonging to them ? 

iminibe papa'ai- 

? older broth- 

nasbau iinini 

their came up kapyo power 

fat'owiban wadin wainiaiba inhumi inkaa- 

made a gate their horns rub against, dig come or 

piewirepoteban wakauti^fieri kochoa karuau 

make you see 

giving breath from 
Corn Mother, i. 
e., make you 

brains in 
your heart 

organ near 








head man. i. e. 



tuefuni iniimbe' 

prayer stick 

kabe hambenii 

father same 

chumi heuwi 

from north 


name of village 




you hear 



to'ai pia'wide tuwilawedi p'seoaaihina kibaeo- 

next to him [?] cane war chief road bringing coming 

penawirw'ia shipapunaiti hekubti kaiHripeai 

along river valley (name of spring) one side of (name of spring) 

kikewei bee betolai'mabana shiw'ibtoa 

our mothers when she was living Isleta 

betokwolaibana hufibesei urenii 

stay all the time at that time clouds coming 
coming up 

konshii'o topQ benamakoakeinina.*^ 

thunder you hear 

2. The Disobedient Town Chief 





Natoyai (in the house). 

Response: Hq! 

First they decided they would put in a t'aikabede (town chief). 
Thejr wondered how could they put in the cliief. So they went to the 
tula (kiva) and they talked it over and talked it over. But they did 
not knoM- how because they had never seen a chief installed the way 
they wanted to do it. They were counting their days without food or 
water, four days. They could do nothing. There was a poor little 
boy, a crazy Mttle boy, tytuude, big head. They hated him. One 
decided, "We will call this tijtuude and see how he can advise us." 
When the little boy came in, they said to him, "We heard that you are 
the one who imderstands about installing a chief. Could you tell us 
about it?" The little boy said, "At the beginning, when we were 
coming, you know you had a chief already, but you left him beliind 
and did not bring him up with you to this world. You left him at 
Shipapuna." (When we came up, the world closed up again, and the 

" Collective term for lightning, thunder, falling rain, rainbow. 

364 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann. 17 

t'aikabede stayed inside, because he had two hearts.) "Everything 
is all closed up now. How can we get him? You are a crazy fellow, 
but I think you know how to get him." He said, "If you should give 
me a leaf of smoking tobacco, I will go get him with that leaf." At 
that tune they did not know about tobacco. So they asked him what 
tobacco was. He said, "Well, look in all directions, see if anybody is 
lucky enough to find that leaf." They all looked all around, begin- 
ning in the east, and then looldng north and west and south and up 
and down, but they did not see anything at all. As they hated this 
boy, they said, "You are talking of things of which we know nothing. 
You had better look around yourself and see where that leaf is." 
This little boy had plenty of power (naterde). He walked in all 
directions and did not find that leaf. Then when he came to the 
middle he looked up into the beams, and pointed to that leaf. "How 
are we to get it? " He told them to get a corn husk. They went and 
looked for the com husk and brought it. Then he made a cigarette. 
With that cigarette they went to Tsipapuna again. 

When they got there — he was using his power — the door was open. 
He saw t'aikabede, but he was all painted up like a shaxo (witch). 
Then the boy handed him a smoke, to think in a good way and come 
out and show how there should be a t'aikabede in this world. The 
t'aikabede received the cigarette and smoked in aU directions and told 
the boy he was coming out, but with two hearts because he was left 
there, without a smoke in the beginning. They both came out. The 
t'aikabede went ahead and the boy followed, directing him, until they 
came to Shiaw'ipap. WTien they got there the men were all waiting 
very patiently. It was 12 days since the little boy left them and 
returned in the night. . . . When he got in there, he took all the 
men and everybody in the world imder his arms to look after them 
and look after their life and their luck in the world. But he could not 
live there very long, so he thought he would choose a man to rule over 
them. So they chose one Mho was too young to be t'aikabede; still 
they chose him. Then they told all the people to get ready for a 
feast. They all got ready. They had another coimcU, and during 
those 12 days they chose a war captain and lieutenant and officers 
and a governor, and the officers were made by the old chief brought 
by the httle crazy boy. Then those war captains (pt^iwilawe) chose 
12 kapyunin, 6 shifunin and 6 shuren.^' . . . They had to go from 
house to house to gather the dancers, to finish their t'aikabede (after 
the 12 days). . . . They gave him a house to live in all his life. The 
t'aikabede brought by the little boy gave the new t'aikabede advice 
how to live in this world. He was told that from that day on he could 
not work. He could not chop wood, nor kill anything, not even an 

s^ With their hair pokes they dug up a passage into the world, that is why they call them shure', gopher. 
The shifunin went first, but, having side whorls of hair, they couJd not dig the way up. 


insect. They gave him a rule to sit inside of the house where they 
put hull to Hve until his death. 

Thereafter he was told how another t'aikabede should be made and 
next to him the war captains and the governor and all the helpers'* 
to bring food and clothing for the people. They kept on doing their 
duty, but this new t'aikabede was a young man. After the old 
t'aikabede died he could not keep his word, on account of being a 
young man. He saw the other men, dancing and hunting and plant- 
ing and going on free. He was sitting inside the house; only when 
the pqiwilawe came in and took him to the dance, did he go out. It 
became harder and harder for him. One day he made up his mind 
to see how it would feel to work. So he took a rope and an ax across 
the river to get some wood. Nothing happened to him. He came 
back home; nothing happened. So he thought there was no need of 
keeping the rule and he would go hunting. So he made his rabbit 
sticks and went out. Every time he felt like it he would go out. On 
the fifth time he went out he thought he would get wood again. 
While he was chopping liis wood he heard a voice asking him what he 
was doing, but he saw no shadow or anything. He Ustened and said, 
"AMio are you, talking to me?" The other person answered, "The 
one who put you in as ruler of your people." He sat down and won- 
dered who it was. As he could see nobody he thought it was coming 
true what the t'aikabede had said when he made him ruler. "V\Tiile 
he was sitting with his head down, again he heard the voice, "No 
need of your thinking, my son. I told you at the beginning not to 
work, not to kill anything, not to hurt anybody's heart or feelings. 
You are the greatest man of the people and they have to take care of 
you and give you what you need. You have done enough. You did 
not respect me. So now before you go from here I am going to give 
you a punishment. And tell your people on your return never to 
make a man under 65 years of age t'aikabede." Then he felt switches 
across his back. He saw nothing ; he only felt them. He was Mhipped 
to death. After they finished whipping him, he heard a voice, "Go 
hoiiie, my son. You will get there all right. Four days from to-day 
call your council and tell them what I am telling you to-day." So 
he got home as well as he could, without wood or ax or rope. He 
called the pt^iwilawe who ruled next to him and all the others to come 
to the meeting. After all came, he told them he broke the rule; he 
disobeyed. So the pqiwilawe were to make another t'aikabede, some 
old man. Young men have too many ideas, they \vill not mind like 
an old man. After he had told it all, he died. On that account the 
people never make a young man (town) chief. 

'* Reference to the Corn groups, presumably. 

366 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO [eth. ann.47 

3. How THE Town Chief Got His Mother 

Nato'ai, after they came up, the war chief was phinning to feed the 
people. He summoned the men, and they sang hunting songs. The 
next morning they went hunting — men, women, and children. After 
they had made their first surround, one girl lingered behind, and as 
she passed by the spring (so'awi) she heard a voice singing. She 
wondered who it was in the pool. "I wish I could see him and talk 
to him." A youth (owade) came out of the pool. He told her he 
did not five in tliis world but in Wimda. The war chief did not see 
the girl. ^Mien he found her he asked her why she had staid behind, 
and he whipped her and ordered her to overtake the others. After 
the third surround the war chief asked the girl again why she had 
staid behind. She told him about the boy. 

After the people had gone home the war chief called all the chiefs 
to go to the kiva and the war chief brought in the girl. After they all 
had come in they removed the ladder. They had to learn why the 
girl had staid behind in the hunt. They asked her about it. She 
said she had staid behind to talk to the yoimg man. Tutude and 
bachude talked together and went out to gather their things. The 
girl they kept there. She was crying. Tutude and bachude brought 
in their Mothers (keide) and laid down their altar and began to make 
their ceremony, placing the girl near the altar. They used their 
crystal (poshiko) and with power from iema'paru they said the girl 
was not expected to live in this world; she belonged in Wimda. The 
youth she had talked to was from Wimda. He was a powerful man. 
They were calling to her from Wimda to come to them. The town 
(kitude) had to prepare what she was to take to Wfeide; now they 
knew what had happened. The town chief preached to the people 
about what thej^ were to prepare for the girl, and how they had to 
take her where she belonged. 

They went out and took the girl with them and fed her, not letting 
her go home but keeping her in the town chief's house. The town 
chief, and the chiefs of the medicine societies and the war chief were 
the ones to clothe her, all in cotton clothes. That night all, including 
the chiefs of the Corn groups, went back to the kiva, where the war 
chief talked to them. They were to fast for four days. The first 
day they began to work at the clothes, at the manta and belt of cotton, 
and at the moccasins. The girl was there, crying all the time because 
they were going to send her away. They made wsemi '^ (large bunch 
of prayer feathers, feathers of all kinds tied together) and a cigarette 
(wdri) ; also lalashie' for her hair.^^ On each of the four days in the 
morning the war chief called out that everybody was to purge himself. 

" Web, pay. Term not applied to-day to prayer feathers. 
» Bunch of painted teeathers. 


People went to the chiefs of their Corn groups to ask for prayer 
feathers (shie') to give her to take down with her. On the fourth 
morning the war chief called out that everybody who wished might 
come to the ceremony in the kiva. They had to come barefoot. So 
they took their feathers into the chiefs of the medicine societies. 
After all the people came in they began their ceremony, with the girl 
in front of the altar. First thej^ cleaned up Avith their feathers. 
Then they told the people how the girl belonged in Wimda. Then they 
arrayed her, and gave her the prayer feathers. She had to say good- 
by to them all. The people were crying because she was going away. 
The town chief, kumpa, tutude, and the war chief had to take her, 
all of them ceremonially arrayed; first went tutude, then the town 
chief, the girl, kumpa, the war chief. So they went, about noon, to the 
spring. When tutude stepped on the log near the spring it began to 
sink. Nobody was allowed to come near the spring. So he had to 
use his "power" to go in close to the spring. 

At last they answered him. He told them he was bringing the girl 
to offer to them. Then a tree (pawita) rose up, and on the tip of it 
was sitting the young man. He shone so that he blinded them, all 
but tutude who was gazing with his power. Then they threw meal 
toward him and told him what had happened to the girl, and how 
they were ready now to offer her to him. The young man said all 
that was true. She had been born into this world to go back alive 
into the other world. After 12 days she would return to this world 
to live. She would belong to the town chief. She would be his keide 
(Mother). Then they placed a flat stone from the bank to the tip 
of the tree, and she walked on it to the young man, holdmg the 
prayer feathers. The men on the bank were crying. They returned 
to the kiva. After sprinkling meal in the directions and to the 
keide they told the people of everything that had happened. The 
people were crying. They said, "At the end of 12 days this girl will 
be back again." These 12 days all the ceremonialists had to fast, 
and all" those who were present might also fast if thej^ wished to help. 
At the close of the 12 days they made their ceremony again, before 
noon, and then they who had taken her went after her. At noon the 
same tree came up again, and both the young man and the girl were 
sitting on the tip. She was dressed even more handsomely than before 
and she was shining enough to blind them. In her arms she carried 
the keide. The yoimg man laid down the stone, and she stepped 
back to where the men were standing who gave thanks that she was 
back with power. They thanked the young man. He said good-by 
and went do'woi. They returned to the kiva. The girl was shining 
so the people could not look at her. They gave her a seat in the line 
of the Fathers. The chief took the keide from her and showed it to 
the people. They had a newborn keide to be used by the town chief. 



[ETH. ANN. 47 

Besides the keide she brought up with her the three things the town 
chief uses — the moccasins, all of buckskin, his hair feathers (tawashie'), 
and his buckskin pouch (naw'iri). 

4. The Sun's Kick Stick 

Natoai a young man used to belong to the sun. He called him his 
son (turide berhu, sun his son). Nashon'uchu ** would do his father's 
work when the sun rose. He had a Idck stick (w'iv) with zigzag marks 
of all colors on it.^^ (Fig. 25.) He used to live in a cave toward the 
sunset. He would come out in the morning and put his kick stick 
between his toes, and throw some pollen toward the sun as the sun 
was rising. With his toes he threw the Idck stick toward the sun. 
The kick stick flew to the east (pathuwetoe'). When the kick stick 
hit the ground at turshanminai (sunrise) lightning came out, and the 
sun knew his own son was working for him (tokumchewe). He said 
to himself, wsebaiye' (all right), wsebaiye'. The sun 
would rise, and Nashon'uchu would come singing from 
the west. TMien he got to the east it would be about 
noontime. When Nashon'uchu got to the east he 
found out that his father had been at his kick stick and 
was pleased that he (Nashon'uchu) had been working. 
He got his kick stick again, and he poured out some 
pollen again toward the sun, and again he threw his 
lack stick, and where it struck lightning came out. 
Then the sun came down, noontime (pienu). The sun 
came down and talked to Nashon'uchu. He embraced 
him (Mexican fasliion) and thanked him for the work he 
was doing for him. That's why people say the sun always stops a 
while at noontime and comes down and meets all his sons. Nash- 
on'uchu had some lawasliie'^" (prayer feathers) for thesim. (They 
are what we clothe the sun with.) Nashon'uchu sprinkled some pollen 
and got his kick stick, while the sun started to the west. Nashon'- 
uchu threw his kick stick to the west, and the kick stick and the sun 
met again, at turkiminai (sunset) . So there the sun and his son met 
again. Nashon'uchu gave thanks to his father for all the good works 
he did for all the world, and for long hfe. Then the sim set, and he, 
Nashon'uchu, staid in his cave house. 

Then the sun setting met leshunij'an (corn blue girl) and lejurij'an 
(com yellow girl). (They hved where the sun set.) They said to 
the sun that they had heard some singing that had made their hearts 
happy. It must be a nice yoimg boy who was singing. The girls 
said, "We wish that we might see each other in the other world." 

^8 The same tale hero name, I believe, as Nashorochi which was said to refer to the colors of abalone shell. 
i* Possibly the great pit shrine in tlie eastern corner of the Laguna reservation is referred to. Here were 
found prayer sticks with lightning design. (Parsons 4: 386.) 
CO Compare the noontime ritual of giving prayer feathers to the sun, pp. 292-293, 328. 

Figure 25.— Sun's 
kick stick 



The sun said to them, "Tqfiuru hupitanin, no, dear child, do not 
think such thoughts." So they went back to their place. But all 
night they were wishing to see the young man in the other world, 
and they hoped that the next morning Nashon'uchu would do again 
what he had done. In the morning Nashon'uchu did the same thing 
when the sun was rising. Because of the wishes and hopes of the 
girls the luck stick did not reach the east, but the noontime place 
(pienai). Blue Corn girl and Yellow Com girl opened the gate of 
the world, and the kick stick came down to the earth where the two 
girls were. Then Nashon'uchu, when he foimd that his Idck stick 
was down there, stopped at the gate and said, "E-e abu, oh my! 
Blue Corn girl and Yellow Corn girl." He found out at once their 
thoughts. Those girls wanted to marry Nashon'uchu. So he ?aid, 
"Nobody can marry me." *' Then the two girls laughed and said, 
" Ori orie', shame ! shame ! " and bowed their heads over their grinding 
stones. One was grinding corn and one was grinding wheat. Blue 
Corn girl was feeding the sun with com meal. Yellow Com girl was 
feeding the people of the world with wheat flour. They had their 
grandmother (chi'i) there. She was sitting hy the fire. Then the 
old woman spoke to them, "E-e abu maku (grandchild) ee abu maku ! 
huniwa eyepiaweky. Do not think such thoughts ! ^^ You are not 
supposed to marry Nashon'uchu." Nashon'uchu was standing at the 
gate, listening, and he asked the girls to give him the kick stick, that 
he was working for his father, the sim, and for all the world, so the 
people would have a good life and a long life. Now his father would 
be missing the kick stick and woidd be late. He asked the girls 
three times. They said they were not going to give him back the 
kick stick unless he promised to marry one of them. He answered 
that he could not marry. He said, "If you do not give my kick 
stick, I am going. I am late meeting my father." So he started 
to the sunset. When he got there he was late; his father was gone 
already. Then he turned back, sorry, worrjdng about his kick stick. 
He stopped again at the gate at sunrise. He spoke, "Akuwam' 
(greetings)." The old women answered, "Akuwam', grandchild." 
He asked again for his lack stick. After he had left the girls thej 
went up on top of the gate with the lack stick, and they were singing. 
Then they threw the corn meal to the north, koafinwetoe. They 
flew out, and they shook their wings. That made the wand blow on 
the world — that was what made the Ns-ind. They descended at the 
moimtain Narpyenai', on top of the mountain. On the other side of 
the mountain was a big mesa, Miripato', mesa sheer. They threw 

61 There is an Isletan tale, recalling a Zufii tale, in which the Corn girls compete for Nashorochi hy 
throwing their meal at an abalone shell in the wall to see if it will stick. 

6^ The difference in the phrase as used by the sun was explained on the ground that women say words 
a little differently from men. 

370 ISLETA, NEW MEXICO (eth. ann. 47 

their corn meal east, north, west, and south, and they sang the same 
song again: 

e — e hi ki 

e — e hi ki 



turning his mind to them. 

They were drawing Nashon'iichu with this song. They thought 
they were going to die on that mesa from which they were going to 
throw themselves down. Then they threw themselves down. 

Hiuko'abeu'de '^^ saw them coming and flew out from the rocks 
and caught the girls and carried them down gently to the ground. 
When they got down to the groimd the girls thanked the little bird. 
The bird told them to be good children and not think any bad thoughts 
(k'opieni pie'kuva). Then the girls flew forth, and way out where 
they were flying were some hills. On one they flew down where in 
a cave was li\ang Huushahore (old woman witch) alone. They 
reached the entrance of the cave. The old woman heard the song 
they were singing. She said, "E — e, grandchild. Blue Corn girl. 
Yellow Corn girl, come in! come in!" They went into her house. 
The old woman asked, ""V\Tiy are you around in this world? You 
are not supposed to go around in this world. You are from another 
world." She gave them seats. The girls were afraid that if 
Nashon'uchu came and found them there he would kill them for 
taking his kick stick. The old woman asked them what they were 
worrying about so much. The girls answered that they were worry- 
ing because they had stolen Nashon'uchu's kick stick, and he might 
come after them, and they were afraid he might kiU them. The old 
woman laughed and said, "E — e, grandchild, do not worry. That is 
nothing. I wdll help you. He won't do anything to you. If he 
comes here, you tell him you are going to pay him back for the kick 
stick." "But what are we to pay him with? We have nothing to 
pay with." The old woman said, "Don't you know how to work?" 
"No; we do not know how to work; we are not supposed to work." 
She said, "I will show you how to work so you can pay back 
Nashon'uchu for his kick stick. You, the elder one, Yellow Corn girl, 
I will show you how to make a basket (flat) for him; and you. Blue 
Corn girl, you the younger, I will show how to make a belt for him." 
The girls thanked the old woman and were pleased and began to 
work, one maldng the basket (le'cha) and the other the belt (nakoi). 

AVe turn back to Nashon'uchu. He was in the cave talking to 
the grandmother of the girls. She was worrjdng, not knowing where 
they were gone. Nashon'uchu said he was going to follow them. 

«• A yellow-green bird that lives in the rocks, jumping from rock to rock. 



So Nashon'uchu did as before, sprinkling the pollen toward the north, 
on their trail, and singing: 

e — re hi ki 

e — re hi ki 

Yellow Corn girl, Blue Corn girl 


they turn my mind to them. 

He flew out and dropped where the girls had dropped on Narpyenai'. 
He stopped there and said, like the girls he might be going to die 
there. He repeated his song. Then