“When the Caciques of the Americans
sit on our decapitated heads,
then they can dress our bodies in their clothes,
feed our bodies with their victuals;
then, too they can have our things to take with them
to the houses of their fathers.”
Truth does not happen, it just is.
You should water your children
like you water a tree.
A shady lane breeds mud.”
“Haliksai” was the usual beginning
when a Hopi told a story in his own language.
“Once upon a time” was his beginning
when he told it in English.”
His holiness Dalai Lama, Hopi Elders David Monongye and Thomas Banyacya
The above photo shows the Dalai Lama of Tibet greeting Hopi Spiritual Elders
David Monongye, Thomas Banyacya and Dan Evehema in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“In the December before the Winter Solstice of 1990, Hopi Grandfather Martin from Hotevilla, AZ observed a snake coming out of his hole and a Cactus flower blooming, both in the dead of winter. These were two very distinct signs that his elders had told him to look for, as a part of the ancient Hopi Prophecy of the SUN Clan. A time would come when the lost white (robed) brother or Pahana would come to break open the Hopi Tablets and reveal within their hidden sacred teachings. Grandfather Martin was the keeper of the ancient Fire or Sun Clan stone-clay tablets. He knew what he was witnessing, and so he followed the sacred instructions. He was to take the set of tablets he held to the oldest settlement in the West, Santa Fe, NM. Martin and five other Hopi Elders went to see the governor of Santa Fe, and they shared the prophecy and the tablets with him. His Holiness, The Dalai Lama happened to be visiting the Tibet Center of Santa Fe, and the Governor introduced the elders to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a private meeting,
where the tablets where shared with his holiness.
It was the first time in recent history that all these elders had come together.
Grandfather Martin acknowledged the Tibetan High Lama as the prophetic
older brother from the east, as indicated in the ancient stone tablets.”
Children And The Hummingbird
Clay Old Woman & Clay Old Man
Coming Of The Hopi From The Under-World
Coyote and the Stars
Daughter of Somebody-or-Other
Dr. Fewkes And Masauwu
Emergence to the Fifth World
First Journey Through Grand Canyon
Long ago, on the enormous far rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, lived the ancestors of the Snake Clan, who belonged to the Hopi Indian tribe.
Chief of the Hopis had a very wise son, who liked to sit and meditate on the edge of the canyon rim. He tried many times to imagine where the powerful river far below finally ended.
Experienced ancient men of their nation did not know the answer for Wise Son. Their council leaders had different ideas among themselves. One thought the river took a secret course through enormous underground passages. Another thought it entered the middle of the world and there it nurtured large and dangerous reptiles.
Impatient, Wise Son said to his father, the Chief, “Is it not time for me to seek my quest? I wish to go down the great river and find the place where it ends.”
Proud of his son’s desire for accomplishment, the Chief gladly granted him permission to follow his quest. Wise Son, overjoyed with his coming venture, planned specifically for every need. His family and tribal friends helped him to design and to build a waterproof boat that could be closed entirely, like a cocoon.
He constructed a long pushing-pole to help him navigate the waters. The Shaman tied prayer sticks at the top of the pole, with special blessings for a safe journey.
Finally, the day arrived for Wise Son to launch his special canoe. The Chief and his warriors arrived with supplies of food, good wishes, and more prayer sticks.
Week after week, Wise Son drifted with the river. He was happy. He learned to keep his boat in the main current, though it carried him through several turbulent side routes, including rapids and tunnel-like caves. He victoriously came though these experiences with joy in his heart.
On and on Wise Son travelled, winding his way out of steep canyons and through flat meadowlands. He caught fresh fish for his main food supply. One day, Wise Son noticed a change in the taste of the water. It was salty and he knew that he should not drink it. Then to his surprise, he suddenly floated into a great body of water that extended as far as he could see. He had discovered the place where the mighty river ended, in the ocean where the sun sleeps!
He saw an island and guided his boat to its shore. There was a house nearby. Upon investigation, he found only a very small entrance door. He knocked and asked, “Please, will you let me come in and see you?”
Spider Woman, who possessed supernatural power, lived there and answered, “Please make the hole large enough and enter.” This, Wise Son did and sat down inside. He presented to Spider Woman one of his prayer sticks and told her of his adventure to find the place where the river ended.
“When I return to my nation, I wish to take with me a gift that might be helpful to my people,” he said.
“There is a neighbouring house where there are many beautiful ornament-like beads and rocks. These might be gifts that you can take to your people,” she replied. “But I must caution you to be careful of the vicious animals on the path. I will give you some of my magic lotion to protect you.”
Together they started for the treasure house. To guide him, Spider Woman sat upon Wise Son’s ear, where she could whisper to him.
Immediately, Wise Son sprinkled some magic lotion on the marshy path. A colourful bridge appeared instantly, guiding them across the marsh to the treasure house.
First, they encountered an enormous lionlike animal showing its fangs. Wise Son tossed him a prayer stick and sprinkled magic lotion, which calmed the creature.
Second, they met a bear-like animal; third, a mad catlike creature; fourth, a ferocious wolf-like beast; fifth, a huge angry-looking snake with rattles on its tail. Wise Son quieted all of them with Spider Woman’s magic lotion.
The treasure house had steps leading to the roof, and from there steps took them down into a large room. Men squatted around the inside walls. The warriors wore handsome, bright-coloured beads hanging about their necks. They had painted their faces tribal fashion.
Wise Son squatted by the fire. All remained quiet for some time. The men gazed at Wise Son constantly. Finally, their Chief arose and lighted his pipe. After smoking four times, he passed the pipe to the stranger. Wise Son smoked the magic number of times that seemed to please the Chief and the others. They then greeted him in a friendly manner, as if he were one of their own.
In return for their warm welcome, Wise Son gave to each man a prayer stick tipped with special feathers made by ancient Hopi nationsmen.
“Now it is time to put on our snake costumes,” announced the Chief.
Wise Son observed that skins of enormous serpents were suspended from the ceiling, around all four walls. He was asked to face about, so that he would not see how the warriors got into their snakeskin costumes.
When Wise Son was asked to turn back, he saw snakes of many sizes and colours, hissing and writhing over the dirt floor. Spider Woman remained on Wise Son’s ear.
“Be strong,” she whispered to him. “The snakes will not hurt you, only frighten you. Do whatever I tell you.” The Chief of the Snake People had made his daughter become a yellow-snake-with- rattles. Wise Son did not know this, and he was asked to choose the Chief’s daughter. If he could choose correctly, the Snake People would show him their ceremonial dance. They also would give him many beads and gem-rocks to take to his nation.
Wise Son tried very hard to guess which snake was the Chief’s daughter. Spider Woman whispered in his ear, “Choose the yellow one with rattles.” Wise Son did, and yellow-snake-with-rattles suddenly became the loveliest and fairest of Indian maidens. He knew immediately that he could easily fall in love with her.
That evening the Chief and his warriors gave to Wise Son all the secrets of the Snake Ceremony. They taught him the words of praise and thanksgiving, which they sang for him. They showed him the ceremonial steps, which they danced for him. They showed him how they put on their snake costumes. Finally, they showed him their religious altar.
After Wise Son learned all that he should know, he and Spider Woman re-crossed the bridge and returned to her house. He presented her with another prayer stick, as he thanked her for her help. In return, she gave him a beautiful bead of turquoise from her north room. She gave him a white shell from her east room. From her south room, she gave him a red bead, and from her west room a larger turquoise. She then gave him a bag of special beads for his nation, but she warned him not to open it on the way home.
Next morning, Wise Son went back to the house of the Snake People to say farewell. Their Chief welcomed him and declared, “You have gained our friendship and my beautiful daughter. Take her for your wife. We wish you happiness and a pleasant journey back to your nation.”
The nation gave them many presents of good clothing and much food to send the happy couple on their way to Hopiland.
They took the overland route following the great river. Each day Wise Son found the treasure bag heavier and heavier. He and his wife could hardly carry it between them. One day out of extreme curiosity, they opened the bag and looked inside.
Regardless of Spider Woman’s caution, the two rolled out the beads and made strands for each to wear around their necks. By the following morning, all of the gift beads had vanished. Only remaining were the gems from the four rooms in Spider Woman’s house.
Many moons later, the young couple reached Hopiland on the far rim of the Grand Canyon. Wise Son was delighted to be home again after his great adventure. The entire Hopi nation rejoiced over his safe return and welcomed his new young wife to their nation.
Wise Son told where the great river ended. He told them about the Snake Clan, and that he and his wife brought them a special ceremony from the Snake People, living where the sun sleeps.
Wise Son and his wife taught the Hopis all the songs and dances of the Snake Ceremony. This was the beginning of the Snake Clan of the Hopi nation.
Today, visitors are welcomed by the Hopis when their Snake Clan performs at its annual Snake Ceremony. This is their traditional praise and thanksgiving offering for the blessings of rain to the Hopi nation.
Once upon a time, when our people first came up from the villages of the underworld, there was no sun. There was no moon. They saw only dreary darkness and felt the coldness. They looked hard for firewood, but in the darkness they found little.
One day as they stumbled around, they saw a light in the distance. The Chief sent a messenger to see what caused the light. As the messenger approached it, he saw a small field containing corn, beans, squash, watermelons, and other foods. All around the field a great fire was burning. Nearby stood a straight, handsome man wearing around his neck a turquoise necklace of four strands. Turquoise pendants hung from his ears.
“Who are you?” the owner of the field asked the messenger.
“My people and I have come from the cave world below,” the messenger replied. “And we suffer from the lack of light and the lack of food.”
“My name is Skeleton,” said the owner of the field. He showed the stranger the terrible mask he often wore and then gave him some food. “Now return to your people and guide them to my field.”
When all the people had arrived, Skeleton began to give them food from his field. They marvelled that, although the crops seemed so small, there was enough food for everyone. He gave them ears of corn for roasting; he gave them beans, squashes, and watermelons. The people built fires for themselves and were happy.
Later, Skeleton helped them prepare fields of their own and to make fires around them. There they planted corn and soon harvested a good crop.
“Now we should move on,” the people said. “We want to find the place where we will live always.”
Away from the fires it was still dark. The Great Chiefs, at a council with Skeleton, decided to make a moon like the one they had enjoyed in the underworld.
They took a piece of well-prepared buffalo hide and cut from it a great circle. They stretched the circle tightly over a wooden hoop and then painted it carefully with white paint. When it was entirely dry, they mixed some black paint and painted, all around its edge, completing the picture of the moon. When all of this was done, they attached a stick to the disk and placed it on a large square of white cloth. Thus they made a symbol of the moon.
Then the Great Chiefs selected one of the young men and bade him
to stand on top of the moon symbol. They took up the cloth by its corners and began to swing it back and forth, higher and higher. As they were swinging it, they sang a magic song. Finally, with a mighty heave, they threw the moon disk upward. It continued to fly swiftly, upward and eastward.
As the people watched, they suddenly saw light in the eastern sky. The light became brighter and brighter. Surely something was burning there, they thought. Then something bright with light rose in the east. That was the moon!
Although the moon made it possible for the people to move around with less stumbling, its light was so dim that frequently the workers in the fields would cut up their food plants instead of the weeds. It was so cold that fires had to be kept burning around the fields all the time.
Again the Great Chiefs held a council with Skeleton, and again they decided that something better must be done.
This time, instead of taking a piece of buffalo hide, they took a piece of warm cloth that they themselves had woven while they were still in the underworld. They fashioned this as they had fashioned the disk of buffalo hide, except that this time they painted the face of the circle with a copper-coloured paint.
They painted eyes and a mouth on the disk and decorated the forehead with colours that the Great Chiefs decided upon according to their desires. Around the circle, they then wove a ring of corn husks, arranged in a zig zag design. Around the circle of corn husks, they threaded a string of red hair from some animal. To the back of the disk, they fastened a small ring of corn husks. Through that ring they poked a circle of eagle feathers.
To the top of each eagle feather, the old Chief tied a few little red feathers taken from the top of the head of a small bird. On the forehead of the circle, he attached an abalone shell. Then the sun disk was completed.
Again the Great Chiefs chose a young man to stand on top of the disk, which they had placed on a large sheet. As they had done with the moon disk, they raised the cloth by holding its corners. Then they swung the sun disk back and forth, back and forth, again and again. With a mighty thrust, they threw the man and the disk far into the air. It travelled fast into the eastern sky and disappeared.
All the people watched it carefully. In a short time, they saw light in the east as if a great fire were burning. Soon the new sun rose and warmed the earth with its kindly rays.
Now with the moon to light the earth at night and the sun to light and warm it by day, all the people decided to pick up their provisions and go on. As they started, the White people took a trail that led them far to the south. The Hopis took one to the north, and the Pueblos took one midway between the two. Thus they wandered on to the places where they were to live.
The Hopis wandered a long time, building houses and planting crops until they reached the mesas where they now live. The ruins of the ancient villages are scattered to the very beginnings of the great river of the canyon–the Colorado.
When the world was new, the ancient people and the ancient creatures did not live on the top of the earth. They lived under it. All was darkness, all was blackness, above the earth as well as below it.
There were four worlds: this one on top of the earth, and below it three cave worlds, one below the other. None of the cave worlds was large enough for all the people and the creatures.
They increased so fast in the lowest cave world that they crowded it. They were poor and did not know where to turn in the blackness. When they moved, they jostled one another. The cave was filled with the filth of the people who lived in it. No one could turn to spit without spitting on another. No one could cast slime from his nose without its falling on someone else. The people filled the place with their complaints and with their expressions of disgust.
Some people said, “It is not good for us to live in this way.”
“How can it be made better?” one man asked.
“Let it be tried and seen!” answered another.
Two Brothers, one older and one younger, spoke to the priest- chiefs of the people in the cave world, “Yes, let it be tried and seen. Then it shall be well. By our wills it shall be well.”
The Two Brothers pierced the roofs of the caves and descended to the lowest world, where people lived. The Two Brothers sowed one plant after another, hoping that one of them would grow up to the opening through which they themselves had descended and yet would have the strength to bear the weight of men and creatures. These, the Two Brothers hoped, might climb up the plant into the second cave world. One of these plants was a cane.
At last, after many trials, the cane became so tall that it grew through the opening in the roof, and it was so strong that men could climb to its top. It was jointed so that it was like a ladder, easily ascended. Ever since then, the cane has grown in joints as we see it today along the Colorado River.
Up this cane many people and beings climbed to the second cave world. When a part of them had climbed out, they feared that that cave also would be too small. It was so dark that they could not see how large it was. So they shook the ladder and caused those who were coming up it to fall back. Then they pulled the ladder out. It is said that those who were left came out of the lowest cave later. They are our brothers west of us.
After a long time the second cave became filled with men and beings, as the first had been. Complaining and wrangling were heard as in the beginning. Again the cane was placed under the roof vent, and once more men and beings entered the upper cave world. Again, those who were slow to climb out were shaken back or left behind. Though larger, the third cave was as dark as the first and second. The Two Brothers found fire. Torches were set ablaze, and by their light men built their huts and kivas, or travelled from place to place.
While people and the beings lived in this third cave world, times of evil came to them. Women became so crazed that they neglected all things for the dance. They even forgot their babies. Wives became mixed with wives, so that husbands did not know their own from others. At that time there was no day, only night, black night. Throughout this night, women danced in the kivas (men’s “clubhouses”), ceasing only to sleep. So the fathers had to be the mothers of the little ones. When these little ones cried from hunger, the fathers carried them to the kivas, where the women were dancing. Hearing their cries, the mothers came and nursed them, and then went back to their dancing. Again the fathers took care of the children.
These troubles caused people to long for the light and to seek again an escape from darkness. They climbed to the fourth world, which was this world. But it too was in darkness, for the earth was closed in by the sky, just as the cave worlds had been closed in by their roofs. Men went from their lodges and worked by the light of torches and fires. They found the tracks of only one being, the single ruler of the unpeopled world, the tracks of Corpse Demon or Death. The people tried to follow these tracks, which led eastward. But the world was damp and dark, and people did not know what to do in the darkness. The waters seemed to surround them, and the tracks seemed to lead out into the waters.
With the people were five beings that had come forth with them from the cave worlds: Spider, Vulture, Swallow, Coyote, and Locust. The people and these beings consulted together, trying to think of some way of making light. Many, many attempts were made, but without success. Spider was asked to try first. She spun a mantle of pure white cotton. It gave some light but not enough. Spider therefore became our grandmother.
Then the people obtained and prepared a very white deerskin that had not been pierced in any spot. From this they made a shield case, which they painted with turquoise paint. It shed forth such brilliant light that it lighted the whole world. It made the light from the cotton mantle look faded. So the people sent the shield-light to the east, where it became the moon.
Down in the cave world Coyote had stolen a jar that was very heavy, so very heavy that he grew weary of carrying it. He decided to leave it behind, but he was curious to see what it contained. Now that light had taken the place of darkness, he opened the jar. From it many shining fragments and sparks flew out and upward, singeing his face as they passed him. That is why the coyote has a black face to this day. The shining fragments and sparks flew up to the sky and became stars.
By these lights the people found that the world was indeed very small and surrounded by waters, which made it damp. The people appealed to Vulture for help. He spread his wings and fanned the waters, which flowed away to the east and to the west until mountains began to appear.
Across the mountains the Two Brothers cut channels. Water rushed through the channels, and wore their courses deeper and deeper. Thus the great canyons and valleys of the world were formed. The waters have kept on flowing and flowing for ages. The world has grown drier, and continues to grow drier and drier.
Now that there was light, the people easily followed the tracks of Death eastward over the new land that was appearing. Hence Death is our greatest father and master. We followed his tracks when we left the cave worlds, and he was the only being that awaited us on the great world of waters where this world is now.
Although all the water had flowed away, the people found the earth soft and damp. That is why we can see today the tracks of men and of many strange creatures between the place toward the west and the place where we came from the cave world.
Since the days of the first people, the earth has been changed to stone, and all the tracks have been preserved as they were when they were first made.
When people had followed in the tracks of Corpse Demon but a short distance, they overtook him. Among them were two little girls. One was the beautiful daughter of a great priest. The other was the child of somebody-or-other She was not beautiful, and she was jealous of the little beauty. With the aid of Corpse Demon the jealous girl caused the death of the other child. This was the first death.
When people saw that the girl slept and could not be awakened, that she grew cold and that her heart had stopped beating, her father, the great priest, grew angry.
“Who has caused my daughter to die?” he cried loudly.
But the people only looked at each other.
“I will make a ball of sacred meal,” said the priest. “I will throw it into the air, and when it falls it will strike someone on the head. The one it will strike I shall know as the one whose magic and evil art have brought my tragedy upon me.”
The priest made a ball of sacred flour and pollen and threw it into the air. When it fell, it struck the head of the jealous little girl, the daughter of somebody-or-other. Then the priest exclaimed, “So you have caused this thing! You have caused the death of my daughter.”
He called a council of the people, and they tried the girl. They would have killed her if she had not cried for mercy and a little time. Then she begged the priest and his people to return to the hole they had all come out of and look down it.
“If you still wish to destroy me, after you have looked into the hole,” she said, “I will die willingly.”
So the people were persuaded to return to the hole leading from the cave world. When they looked down, they saw plains of beautiful flowers in a land of everlasting summer and fruitfulness. And they saw the beautiful little girl, the priest’s daughter, wandering among the flowers. She was so happy that she paid no attention to the people. She seemed to have no desire to return to this world.
“Look!” said the girl who had caused her death. “Thus it shall be with all the children of men.”
“When we die,” the people said to each other, “we will return to the world we have come from. There we shall be happy. Why should we fear to die? Why should we resent death?”
So they did not kill the little girl. Her children became the powerful wizards and witches of the world, who increased in numbers as people increased. Her children still live and still have wonderful and dreadful powers.
Then the people journeyed still farther eastward. As they went, they discovered Locust in their midst.
“Where did you come from?” they asked.
“I came out with you and the other beings,” he replied.
“Why did you come with us on our journey?” they asked.
“So that I might be useful,” replied Locust.
But the people, thinking that he could not be useful, said to him, “You must return to the place you came from.”
But Locust would not obey them. Then the people became so angry at him that they ran arrows through him, even through his heart. All the blood oozed out of his body and he died. After a long time he came to life again and ran about, looking as he had looked before, except that he was black.
The people said to one another, “Locust lives again, although we have pierced him through and through. Now he shall indeed be useful and shall journey with us. Who besides Locust has this wonderful power of renewing his life? He must possess the medicine for the renewal of the lives of others. He shall become the medicine of mortal wounds and of war.”
So today the locust is at first white, as was the first locust that came forth with the ancients. Like him, the locust dies, and after he has been dead a long time, he comes to life again– black. He is our father, too. Having his medicine, we are the greatest of men. The locust medicine still heals mortal wounds.
After the ancient people had journeyed a long distance, they became very hungry. In their hurry to get away from the lower cave world, they had forgotten to bring seed. After they had done much lamenting, the Spirit of Dew sent the Swallow back to bring the seed of corn and of other foods. When Swallow returned, the Spirit of Dew planted the seed in the ground and chanted prayers to it. Through the power of these prayers, the corn grew and ripened in a single day.
So for a long time, as the people continued their journey, they carried only enough seed for a day’s planting. They depended upon the Spirit of Dew to raise for them in a single day an abundance of corn and other foods. To the Corn Clan, he gave this seed, and for a long time they were able to raise enough corn for their needs in a very short time.
But the powers of the witches and wizards made the time for raising foods grow longer and longer. Now, sometimes, our corn does not have time to grow old and ripen in the ear, and our other foods do not ripen. If it had not been for the children of the little girl whom the ancient people let live, even now we would not need to watch our cornfields whole summers through, and we would not have to carry heavy packs of food on our journeys.
As the ancient people travelled on, the children of the little girl tried their powers and caused other troubles. These mischief-makers stirred up people who had come out of the cave worlds before our ancients had come. They made war upon our ancients. The wars made it necessary for the people to build houses whenever they stopped travelling. They built their houses on high mountains reached by only one trail, or in caves with but one path leading to them, or in the sides of deep canyons. Only in such places could they sleep in peace.
Only a small number of people were able to climb up from their secret hiding places and emerge into the Fourth World. Legends reveal the Grand Canyon is where these people emerged. From there they began their search for the homes the Two Brothers intended for them.
These few were the Hopi Indians that now live on the Three Mesas of northeastern Arizona.
The End of the Third World
Order of the Moquis
A long time ago, when the Hopi Tribe was emerging from the First World, their people started to hunt for the land of the rising sun. Moving in related groups, they thought it fun to play a name game.
When the first band came upon a dead bear, immediately they thought it a sign for them to become the Bear Clan. Another Hopi band came upon the same skeleton but saw little gopher holes surrounding the carcass. They agreed among themselves to become the Gopher Clan.
In the same way, other Hopis found a nest of spiders and they named themselves the Spider Clan. Far ahead the Bear Clan travelled with Chief Bahana leading. Always, the Bear Clan seemed to move faster in many ways.
Spider Clan trailed all the clans because they had so many children. One day they came upon a friendly spider sitting near her large web. The Spider Clan encircled her as she spoke to their Chief, “I am Spider Woman, possessed of Supernatural Power. Since you are named for my people, I will help you in any way I can.”
“Thank you, Spider Woman,” replied the Chief. “We are travelling to find the land of the rising sun. Other clans of our Hopi Tribe are much farther ahead of us. We wish we could travel faster, but we have much to pack on our backs as we have so many children.”
“Perhaps I can make something to ease your travel,” said Spider Woman.
“What do you have in mind?” asked the Chief.
“First, I need something of yourself,” said Spider Woman. “You must go into my secret room where you will find a large water jug. You must wash yourself all over and save the dust and skin that rolls off and fetch it to me.”
Because of many travel days, the Chief was so hot and dusty that he made a sizeable ball of dirt, which he gave to Spider Woman. With this she began her magic creation. She spread a white, fleecy cloth in front of her, placing the ball in the Centre. Then she rolled it up carefully into a white ball.
Spider Woman sang her ceremonial creation song four times, while the Spider Clan sat in a circle and waited expectantly. Now and then, she touched the fleecy ball with her magic web and looked to see if any signs of life were evident within the ball. Again, Spider Woman sang another magic song four times and behold!–the fleecy, white ball moved back and forth and rolled about. To everyone’s surprise, through the fleecy cover emerged a tiny gray animal stretching forth four tiny legs.
Spider Woman called it a burro. At the sight of it, the Spider Clan knew that it needed to grow much stronger before it could be of any help to them. Spider Woman kept the young animal warm and gave it some of her magic food. She spent much time massaging its tiny legs with her magic salve to make them grow faster.
After only four days, the burro was ready to travel with the Spider Clan. They packed the sides of the burrow with their excess supplies and started on their way to the land of the rising sun.
Later, Spider Woman decided to create a man who should know more about caring for the burro than the Hopis. This she did and sent the man to catch up with the Spider Clan, to teach them how better to care for the burro.
But that man was selfish. Instead of helping the people, he ran away one dark night, taking the burro with him. Even though saddened over the loss of their helpful burro, Spider Clan continued their trek to the land of the rising sun, shouldering their heavy packs as before.
Of course, the Bear Clan arrived at their destination first. They set about establishing their village. Gradually the other Hopi Clans joined them, making their villages nearby. There the Hopi Tribe grew and prospered.
But the Spider Clan, which arrived last in the land of the rising sun, became the largest and most prosperous of all the Hopi Clans, because they had so many children during the following years.
In the old days many Hopis lived at Oraibi, with birds and animals living as equals among them. At the northwest part of Bakvatovi pueblo lived a beautiful maiden who persistently refused all offers of marriage. The young men of Oraibi brought gifts to her, hoping to win her as a wife, but she returned their presents and sent them away.
Far away to the north a powerful chief heard of her beauty and made the long journey to Oraibi to win her consent to marry. He brought with him a bundle of presents, which he set down outside her house before entering to introduce himself. He found the girl grinding cornmeal.
Without stopping her work, she looked up at the handsome visitor, but said nothing.
“Why do you not talk to me?” he asked.
“Who are you, going around here?” she replied.
“I came to ask you to marry me,” he said. “I left my bundle of gifts outside. Go and look at them.”
The girl stopped her grinding, went outside, and found a large basket woven of bright yellow reeds. She brought it into the house, and opening it found two yellow bridal robes, a pair of yellow moccasins, and a wide yellow belt. After looking at the gifts for a moment, she put them back into the basket and handed it to the young chief “I do not want them,” she said. “I do not want you. You may go now.”
The young man bowed his head, picked up the basket, and left.
Now, over on another side of Oraibi lived a Rooster, a very proud Rooster, who could assume the appearance of a man whenever he chose to do so. That afternoon he heard about the visit of the chief from the north, and he thought it strange that this beautiful maiden had sent the powerful chief away. So curious was he that he made preparations to visit her that very evening. Changing himself into a handsome youth, the Rooster dressed in a red shirt figured with black lines. He also wore turquoise ear pendants, and on top of his head a bunch of red feathers. When he went up into the girl’s house he found her drying cornmeal in a pot over a fire, and he could tell at once that she was pleased by his appearance.
The Rooster acted like a perfect gentleman, seating himself by the side of the fireplace and complimenting her on the fine art objects she had assembled in the room. Pleased by his remarks, the girl began chatting merrily with him. When he arose and boldly asked her to marry him, the girl told him to return in four days and she would do so.
Being a very proud Rooster, he was not surprised that the girl had accepted him instead of sending him away as she had all her other suitors. “Very well,” he said, “I shall return in four days.”
Now, there was a Mockingbird who lived in a peach orchard somewhat south of that pueblo. On the third day after the Rooster visited the beautiful girl, the Mockingbird heard about it. This Mockingbird was a strong rival of the Rooster, and he was extremely provoked to learn that the girl had agreed to marry him. Like the Rooster, the Mockingbird possessed the power to change himself into a man. He did so immediately, dressed himself splendidly, and hurried over to visit the maiden. He had made himself so handsome, and his voice was so musical that the girl was quite bewitched by him. She went to tell her mother that she had changed her mind. She would marry the Mockingbird instead of the Rooster. “Very well,” her mother said, “if you think you can trust him.”
Meanwhile the Rooster, who had grown so enamoured of the girl that he spent most of his time watching her house in hopes of catching a glimpse of her, happened to see the Mockingbird go up to the pueblo Bakvatovi. After a while the Rooster’s curiosity turned to jealousy and he ran up to the door of the girl’s house and knocked. Without waiting to be admitted, he entered and found the Mockingbird sitting by the fireplace. “What are you doing here?” he shouted at the Mockingbird.
“I have come to marry this maiden,” the Mockingbird replied.
“Not so,” the Rooster said. “Tomorrow it is I who shall marry her. You are not worthy of her. I own all these people here in Oraibi. They are mine. When I crow in the morning they all get up.
“I am worth more than you,” retorted the Mockingbird. “When I twitter and sing in the morning I make the sun come up.”
“Very well,” the Rooster said. “Let us compete with each other and see who is worth the most. In three days we shall have a con- test and see who can make the sun rise. Until then no one shall marry the maiden.”
The Mockingbird agreed and they both left the girl’s house. When the Rooster returned home he sat down and thought of how he could beat the Mockingbird by making the sun rise. He knew there was no use asking for help from the god of the eagle clan, the Great Thunderbird, because he favoured Mockingbirds. Finally the Rooster decided to go to Moenkopi and ask the wisest of the Roosters and Hens who lived there to teach him how to make the sun rise.
It was a long distance to Moenkopi, and by the time the Rooster reached Bow Mound he was so weary that he feared he could go no farther. He sat down on a stone beside a paho shrine to rest, and when he did so an opening appeared in the shrine and he heard a voice say: “Come in.” He entered and was greeted by several beautiful girls, one of whom brought him a tray of shelled corn. He picked and ate it like Roosters eat, and when he was no longer hungry, the girl said: “You were tired from running so far. Now you have the strength to reach your destination.” The Rooster thanked the girls and went out. Feeling somewhat revived, he continued his journey, running very fast until he reached Moenkopi.
There he came to a steep bluff which he descended by a ladder to a large rock with an opening closed by a heavy door. The Rooster crowed repeatedly until the door was opened and a voice invited him to enter. Inside he found many Roosters and Hens of all ages. They seemed pleased that he had come to see them, offered him a place to sit, and brought him some shelled corn.
“What circumstance brings you to honour us with your presence?” the chief Rooster asked politely.
“At Oraibi a Mockingbird and I are contending over a maiden,” the Rooster replied. “We are contesting to see which of us has the most power. When I crow in the morning all the people get up, but when the Mockingbird sings the sun comes up. I want you to teach me how to make the sun rise and bring light to the world.”
“Very well,” the Rooster chief said. “We shall at least try. The Mockingbird is very powerful and he has the help of the Great Thunderbird, but we shall at least try.”
When evening came the Roosters and Hens gathered and sang into the night. After they finished singing four long songs the Roosters all crowed. Then they sang four more songs, and crowed again. After singing three more songs they crowed a third time. By now the yellow dawn was appearing, and after they sang two more songs, the sun rose above the rim of the earth.
“We have done what needed to be done,” the chief Rooster said. “Now you can go home and show the Mockingbird that you can make the sun come up.”
The Rooster started back to Oraibi, running very fast. Again, when he reached Bow Mound he fell exhausted by the paho shrine and went inside. “I am too worn out to run any farther,” he said to the girls. “I shall never get home in time.” They laughed at him and brought him some shelled corn. “Of course you will get home in time,” they assured him. “We shall dress you up and then you will get home in time.” While he was eating they stood behind him so he could not see them fastening dry corn husks to his tail feathers.
When he started running toward Oraibi, the corn husks rattled loudly. He was so frightened by the rattling that he ran very fast, never looking back, all the way to his house. When he went inside, he found the corn husks on his tail and removed them.
He rested all night and the next morning he felt very strong. Late in the day he walked through the pueblo to the peach orchard where the Mockingbird lived and told him to come over to his house that night for the contest. After the Rooster left, the Mockingbird went to see the Great Thunderbird and informed him that the time had come to prove his power over the sun.
That evening the Mockingbird came to the Rooster’s house to await the next dawn. All through the night the Rooster sang and crowed until the first yellow of daylight appeared. Then he finished the last two songs he had learned at Moenkopi and began crowing with all his might. About this time, however, the Great Thunderbird flew up and spread his large wings across the eastern sky, completely covering up the dawn. No matter how loud the Rooster crowed, the sun did not hear him and would not rise. The Mockingbird laughed at the Rooster. “You have failed,” he said. “Now it is my turn. Come to my house tonight and I will show you how it is done.”
That evening the Rooster went to the Mockingbird’s house. After darkness fell the Mockingbird sang four long songs and then whistled. He waited a while and sang three more songs and whistled, and the dawn began to appear. He then sang his last two songs, and very slowly the sun rose above the rim of the earth. “You see,” the Mockingbird cried triumphantly, “only I can make the sun come up.”
“Yes,” the Rooster admitted, “you have great powers. You know how to make the sun rise. You have won the Bakvatovi maiden for your wife.”
And so the Mockingbird married the beautiful girl. Later on, the Rooster also found himself a wife, one not nearly so beautiful. By and by children were born. Those of the Mockingbird talked and jabbered constantly like their father, but the children of the Rooster were kind and gentle and did not talk so much.
Long, long ago, the Hopis were greatly troubled by the wind. It blew and blew and blew and blew–all the time. The Hopis planted their crops, but before the seeds could begin to sprout, the wind blew the soil and seeds away. Unhappy and worried, all the people made prayer offerings of many kinds. But they accomplished nothing.
The old men held councils in their kivas. They smoked their pipes prayerfully and asked one another, “Why do the gods turn such strong winds upon us?” After a while, they decided to ask for help from the “Little Fellows” who were the two little War Gods, two of the five grandsons of Spider Woman.
“Why did you ask us to come?” was their first question.
“We need your help,” answered the old men. “Something must be done to the Wind.”
“We will see what we can do for you,” said the Little Fellows. “You stay here and make many more prayer offerings.”
The Hopis make many kinds of prayer offerings–as many as there are prayers, and there are prayers for every occasion in life and death. They are reverently fashioned of various types of feathers, carved and painted sticks, and hand-spun cotton yarn.
The Little Fellows went first to their wise old grandmother, Spider Woman. They asked her to make some sweet cornmeal mush for them to take along on a journey. Of course they knew who the Wind God was and knew that he lived over near Sunset Mountain in the big crack of the black rock.
When Spider Woman had the cornmeal mush ready, the Little Fellows came back to the kiva where the men were holding their council. The prayer offerings were ready and also the ball that the Little Fellows like to take with them wherever they went. They liked to play catch with it.
The men made bows and arrows for them to take on their journey which seemed much like going on a war party. The arrows were tipped with bluebird feathers, thought to be more powerful than any other kinds of feathers.
The two Little Fellows started toward the San Francisco Peaks. The old men went along until they reached the Little Colorado River, and there they sat down and smoked their pipes. The smoking of tobacco among the Hopis, as among many other tribes, is strictly ceremonial. The sacred smoke carried the prayers of the Hopis to their Gods.
Continuing their journey, the two Little Fellows played catch- ball from time to time. On the fourth day they reached the home of the Wind God who lived at the foot of Sunset Crater, in a big crack in the black rock. There he breathed through the crack, as he does to this day. The Little Fellows threw the prayer offerings into the crack and hastily put their old grandmother’s sticky cornmeal mush into and over the crack, and thus sealed the Wind God’s door. Phew–he became very angry, so angry that he blew and blew and blew, but could not get out. The Little Fellows laughed and laughed and then went home, feeling very proud of themselves and of what they had done.
But after a while, the people in the villages began to feel very hot. Every day the weather became hotter and hotter. People came out of their homes and stood on housetops to look toward the San Francisco Peaks, to see if any clouds were coming their way. But they did not see even a wisp of a cloud, and they seemed not to feel a breath of air. They thought they would suffocate.
“We must do something right away,” everyone said or thought. So the men made some more prayer offerings and called the two Little Fellows again. “Please go back to the House of the Wind God at once and tell him that there must be peace between us. Then give him these prayer offerings and let him out. This heat is much worse than the wind.”
The Little Fellows replied, “We will go and see what we can do with the Wind God to make life more comfortable for you.”
After four days, they arrived at the House of Yaponcha–the House of the Wind God. The Little Fellows decided that the wisest thing to do would be to let the Wind God have a small hole open–just enough to let him breathe through but not enough for him to come out of the crack in the black rock.
So they took a little of the cornmeal mush out of the crack. Immediately, a nice cool breeze came out and a small white cloud appeared. It floated over across the desert toward the Hopi villages.
When the Little Fellows reached home, everyone was pleased. The Hopis have been grateful to the Little Fellows ever since. The winds have been perfect–just strong enough to keep the people happy but not strong enough to blow everything away.
Every since then, every year in the windy month of March, the chiefs and the high priests of the three villages on the Second Mesa give prayer offerings to the Wind God, Yaponcha.
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The Hopi (meaning “peaceful”), descendants of the prehistoric ANASAZI people, are a Pueblo Indian tribe of the southwestern United States. Their population of 9,617 (1988 est.) is concentrated in villages on or below three adjoining mesas in northeastern Arizona. They speak a Shoshonean dialect of the Uto-Aztecan linguistic family.
Hapitu or Hopi meaning the “peaceful ones” were the only Shoshones to adopt a pueblo culture, located on the Three Mesas in Northeastern Arizona.
Their first European contact was with the Spanish explorer Coronado in 1540. In 1598, the Governor of New Mexico territory made them swear allegiance to the King of Spain. In 1529, a Franciscan Mission was established at several Hopi settlements, however they were destroyed in 1680 at the general Pueblo uprising. The present Hopi Reservation became a reality by presidential order on December 16, 1882.
Hopi culture is regarded as one of the best-preserved native American cultures in North America. Although visited (1540) by members of the Spanish explorer Coronado’s expedition, the Hopi remained relatively free from outside contact until 1629, when the Spanish began to build missions at ORAIBI and other pueblos. The Hopi destroyed these missions in the 1680 revolt led by POPE. To resist further intrusions, they relocated their villages in more remote areas that could be reached only by steep trails ascending through breaks in the cliffs. In the 1820s, however, the NAVAJO began to invade Hopi lands. These raids continued even after a Hopi reservation was established (1882). Land disputes between the two tribes have continued to the present day.
A sedentary farming people, the Hopi have endured numerous hardships resulting from drought, crop failure, epidemics, and the encroachment of alien peoples. An elaborate and all-pervasive religious system has been their answer to insecurity in a difficult environment, and throughout the year one ceremonial follows another in rapid succession. Among those intended to bring rain and fertility are the colorful snake dance and KACHINA pageants.
The performance of their spectacular Snake Dance attracts a huge public, and they remain one of the largest and best known of the North American nations.
Hopi Message to the United Nations
“Today almost all the prophecies have come to pass. Great roads like rivers pass across the landscape; man talks to man through the cobwebs of telephone lines; man travels along the roads in the sky in his airplanes; two great wars have been waged by those bearing swastika or rising Sun; man is with the Moon and the stars. Most men have strayed from the path shown us by the Great Spirit. For Massau’u alone is great enough to portray the way back to Him.”
Thomas Banyacya, for the Hopi Traditional Village Leaders:
The presentation by Mr Thomas Banyacya, the final speaker, was preceded by three shouts by Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Six Nations, and first speaker of the day. The shouts were a spiritual announcement to the Great Spirit of the people assembled and the intention to give a message of spiritual importance.
Thomas then sprinkled corn meal next to the podium of the General Assembly and made a brief remark in Hopi that translates as follows:
Hopi Spiritual leaders had an ancient prophecy that some day world leaders would gather in a Great House of Mica with rules and regulations to solve the world problems without war. I am amazed to see the prophecy has come true and you are here today! But only a handful of United Nations Delegates are present to hear the Motee Sinom (Hopi for First People) from around the world who spoke here today.
(In English:) My name is Banyacya of the Wolf, Fox and Coyote Clan and I am a member of the Hopi sovereign nation. Hopi in our language means a peaceful, kind, gentle, truthful people. The traditional Hopi follows the spiritual path that was given to us by Massau’u the Great Spirit. We made a sacred covenant to follow his life plan at all times, which includes the responsibility of taking care of this land and life for his divine purpose. We have never made treaties with any foreign nation, including the United States, but for many centuries we have honored this sacred agreement. Our goals are not to gain political control, monetary wealth nor military power, but rather to pray and to promote the welfare of all living beings and to preserve the world in a natural way. We still have our ancient sacred stone tablets and spiritual religious societies which are the foundations of the Hopi way of life. Our history says our white brother should have retained those same sacred objects and spiritual foundations.
In 1948, all traditional Hopi spiritual leaders met and spoke of things I felt strongly were of great importance to all people. They selected four interpreters to carry their message of which I am the only one still living today. At the time, I was given a sacred prayer feather by the spiritual leaders. I made a commitment to carry the Hopi message of peace and deliver warnings from prophesies known since the time the previous world was destroyed by flood and our ancestors came to this land.
My mission was to open the doors of this Great House of Mica to native peoples. The Elders said to knock four times and this commitment was fulfilled when I delivered a letter and the sacred prayer feather I had been given to John Washburn in the Secretary General’s office in October, 1991. I am bringing part of the Hopi message to you here today. We have only ten minutes to speak and time is late so I am making my statement short.
At the meeting in 1948, Hopi leaders 80, 90 and even 100 years old explained that the creator made the first world in perfect balance where humans spoke one language, but humans turned away from moral and spiritual principles. They misused their spiritual powers for selfish purposes. They did not follow nature’s rules. Eventually the world was destroyed by sinking of land and separation of land by what you would call major earthquakes. Many died and only a small handful survived.
Then this handful of peaceful people came into the second world. They repeated their mistakes and the world was destroyed by freezing which you call the great Ice Age.
The few survivors entered the third world. That world lasted a long time and as in previous worlds, the people spoke one language. The people invented many machines and conveniences of high technology, some of which have not yet been seen in this age. They even had spiritual powers that they used for good. They gradually turned away from natural laws and pursued only material things and finally only gambled while they ridiculed spiritual principles. No one stopped them from this course and the world was destroyed by the great flood that many nations still recall in their ancient history or in their religions.
The Elders said again only a small groups escaped and came to this fourth world where we now live. Our world is in terrible shape again even though the Great Spirit gave us different languages and sent us to four corners of the world and told us to take care of the Earth and all that is in it.
This Hopi ceremonial rattle represents Mother Earth. The line running around it is a time line and indicates that we are in the final days of the prophecy. What have you, as individuals, as nations and as the world body been doing to to take care of this Earth? In the Earth today, humans poison their own food, water and air with pollution. Many of us, including children, are left to starve. Many wars are still being fought. Greed and concern for material things is a common disease.
In this western hemisphere, our homeland, many original native people are landless, homeless, starving and have no medical help.
The Hopi knew humans would develop many powerful technologies that would be abused. In this century, we have seen the First World War and the Second World War in which the predicted gourd of ashes, which you call the atomic bomb, fell from the sky with great destruction. Many thousands of people were destroyed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
For many years there has been great fear and danger of World War Three. The Hopi believe the Persian Gulf War was the beginning of World War Three but it was stopped and the worst weapons of destruction were not used. This is now a time to weigh the choices for our future. We do have a choice. If you, the nations of this Earth, create another great war, the Hopi believe we humans will burn ourselves to death with ashes. That’s why the spiritual Elders stress strongly that the United Nations fully open the door for native spiritual leaders as soon as possible.
Nature itself does not speak with a voice that we can easily understand. Neither can the animals and birds we are threatening with extinction talk to us. Who in this world can speak for nature and the spiritual energy that creates and flows through all life? In every continent are human beings who are like you but who have not separated themselves from the land and from nature. It is through their voice that Nature can speak to us. You have heard those voices and many messages from the four corners of the world today. I have studied comparative religion and I think in your own nations and cultures you have knowledge of the consequences of living out of balance with nature and spirit. The native peoples of the world have seen and spoken to you about the destruction of their lives and homelands, the ruination of nature and the desecration of their sacred sites. It is time the United Nations used its rules to investigate these occurrences and stop them now.
The Four Corners area of the Hopi is bordered by four sacred mountains. The spiritual center within is a sacred site our prophecies say will have special purpose in the future for mankind to survive and now should be left in its natural state. All nations must protect this spiritual center.
The Hopi and all original native people hold the land in balance by prayer, fasting and performing ceremonies. Our spiritual Elders still hold the land in the Western Hemisphere in balance for all living beings, including humans. No one should be relocated from their sacred homelands in this Western Hemisphere or anywhere in the world. Acts of forced relocation, such as Public Law 93-531 in the United States, must be repealed.
The United Nations stands on our native homeland. The United Nations talks about human rights, equality and justice and yet the native people have never had a real opportunity to speak to this assembly since its establishment until today. It should be the mission of your nations and this assembly to use your power and rules to examine and work to cure the damage people have done to this Earth and to each other. Hopi Elders know that was your mission and they wait to see whether you will act on it now.
Nature, the First People and the spirit of our ancestors are giving you loud warnings. Today, December 10, 1992, you see increasing floods, more damaging hurricanes, hail storms, climate changes and earthquakes as our prophesies said would come. Even animals and birds are warning us with strange change in their behavior such as the beaching of whales. Why do animals act like they know about the earth’s problems and most humans act like they know nothing? If we humans do not wake up to the warnings, the great purification will come to destroy this world just as the previous worlds were destroyed.
This rock drawing shows part of the Hopi prophecy. There are two paths. The first with technology but separate from natural and spiritual law leads to these jagged lines representing chaos. The lower path is one that remains in harmony with natural law. Here we see a line that represents a choice like a bridge joining the paths. If we return to spiritual harmony and live from our hearts, we can experience a paradise in this world. If we continue only on this upper path, we will come to destruction.
(Thomas and Oren Lyons held up a picture of a large rock drawing in Hopiland)
Its up to all of us, as children of Mother Earth, to clean up this mess before it’s too late.
The Elders request that during this International Year for the Worlds Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations keep that door open for spiritual leaders from the four corners of the world to come to speak to you for more than a few minutes as soon as possible. The Elders also request that eight investigative teams visit the native areas of the world to observe and tell the truth about what is being done and stop these nations from moving in this self- destructive direction.
If any of you leaders want to learn more about the spiritual vision and power of the Elders, I invite you to come out to Hopiland and sit down with our real spiritual leaders in their sacred Kivas where they will reveal the ancient secrets of survival and balance.
I hope that all members of this assembly that know the spiritual way will not just talk about it, but in order to have real peace and harmony, will follow what it says across the United Nations wall: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more.” Lets, together, do that now!
The night before the presentations of the native people from around the world to the General Assembly, there was a total eclipse of the moon over New York City and the sky was clear. The evening after the presentation by Mr Banyacya and the other native spokespersons, heavy rain and strong wind began. The weathermen had been calling for a snowstorm but what came the following day were the worst floods in New York’s memory. Major highways were washed away by the sea and the United Nations itself experienced flooding of its lower subfloors, forcing a shutdown of its heating and air conditioning and all personnel were dismissed at three o’clock.
In the ground floor meeting room, where on December 11, native peoples were meeting representatives of various UN agencies, Thomas Banyacya spontaneously called on all the participants, including UN officials, to form a great circle. All the Elders were in the center and Thomas called in some non-native people as well. Each silently said a prayer. The forming of the circle of unity of all people from the four corners of the Earth was more than just a symbolic act. One participant said she had never felt herself to be in such a safe place. Later, several people present noted that no further storm damage occurred in Manhattan and that the storm itself abated that afternoon.
Ah–la, a winter solstice katsina, arrives to open the kivas for the other katsinas’ visitations. He blesses all the houses in the village and the seeds that each household will plant in the upcoming agricultural season.