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Title: The Winter Solstice Altars at Hano Pueblo

Author: Jesse Walter Fewkes

Release date: February 23, 2013 [eBook #42175]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Charlene Taylor and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)






(From the American Anthropologist (N.S.), Vol. 1, April, 1899)




[Pg 251]




The fetishes displayed in their kivas by different phratries during the Winter Solstice ceremony at the Hopi pueblo of Walpi, in northeastern Arizona, have been described in a previous article,[1] in which the altar made in the Moñkiva, or "chief" ceremonial chamber, by the Patki and related people has been given special attention. The author had hoped in 1898[2] to supplement this description by an exhaustive study of the Winter Solstice ceremonies of all the families of the East Mesa, but was prevented from so doing by the breaking out of an epidemic. This study was begun with fair results, and before withdrawing from the kivas he was able to make a few observations on certain altars at Hano which had escaped him in the preceding year.

Walpi, commonly called by the natives Hopiki, "Hopi pueblo," began its history as a settlement of Snake clans which had united with the Bear phratry. From time to time this settlement grew in size by the addition of the Ala, Pakab, Patki, and other phratries of lesser importance. Among important increments in modern times may be mentioned several clans of Tanoan ancestry, as the Asa, Honani, and the like. These have all been assimilated, having lost their identity as distinct peoples and become an integral part of the population of Walpi, or of its colony, Sitcomovi.[3] Among the most recent arrivals in Tusayan[Pg 252] was another group of Tanoan clans which will be considered in this article. The last mentioned are now domiciled in a pueblo of their own called Hano; they have not yet, as the others, lost their language nor been merged into the Hopi people, but still preserve intact many of their ancient customs.

The present relations of Hano to Walpi are in some respects not unlike those which have existed in the past between incoming clans and Walpi as each new colony entered the Tusayan territory. Thus, after the Patki people settled at the pueblo called Pakatcomo,[4] within sight of Old Walpi, they lived there for some time, observing their own rites and possibly speaking a different language much as the people of Hano do today. In the course of time, however, the population of the Patki pueblo was united with the preëpre Walpi families, Pakatcomo was abandoned, and its speech and ritual merged into those of Walpi. Could we have studied the Patki people when they lived at their former homes, Pakatcomo or Homolobi, we would be able to arrive at more exact ideas of their peculiar rites and altars than is now possible. Hano has never been absorbed by Walpi as the Patki pueblos were, and the altars herein described still preserve their true Tanoan characteristics. These altars are interesting because made in a Tanoan pueblo by Tewa clans which are intrusive in the Hopi country, and are especially instructive because it is held by their priests that like altars are or were made in midwinter rites by their kindred now dwelling along the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

The midwinter rite in which the altars are employed is called Tûñtai by the Tewa, who likewise designate it by the Hopi name Soyaluña. This latter term may be regarded as a general one applied to the assemblages of different families in all the kivas of the East Mesa at that time. The name of the Tewa rite is a[Pg 253] special one, and possibly the other families who assemble at this time once had or still retain their own names for their celebrations. The Tûñtai altars were brought by the ancestors of the present people of Hano from their old eastern home, and the rites about them are distinctly Tewan, although celebrated at the same time as the Winter Solstice ceremonies of the Hopi families.

Clan Composition of Hano

The pueblo called Hano is one of three villages on the East Mesa of Tusayan and contained, according to the writer's census of 1893, a population of 163 persons. It was settled between the years 1700 and 1710 by people from Tcewadi, a pueblo situated near Peña Blanca on the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Although only six persons of pure Tanoan ancestry are now living at Hano, the inhabitants still speak the Tewa dialect and claim as kindred the peoples of San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Pojoaque, Nambe, and Tesuque.[5] The best traditionists declare that their ancestors were invited to leave their old home, Tcewadi, by the Snake chief of Walpi, who was then pueblo chief of that village. They claim that they made their long journey to give aid against the Ute Indians who were raiding the Hopi, and that they responded after four consecutive invitations. The Walpi Snake chief sent them an embassy bearing prayer-sticks as offerings, and although they had refused three invitations they accepted the fourth.

According to traditions the following clans have lived in Hano, but it is not stated that all went to the East Mesa together from Tcewadi: Okuwuñ, Rain-cloud; Sa, Tobacco; Kolon, Corn; Tenyük, Pine; Katcina, Katcina; Nañ, Sand; Kopeeli, Pink Shell; Koyanwi, Turquoise; Kapolo, Crane; Tuñ, Sun; Ke,[Pg 254] Bear; Te, Cottonwood; Tayek (?); Pe, Firewood; and Tceta, Bivalve shell.

The early chiefs whose names have been obtained are Mapibi of the Nañ-towa, Potañ of the Ke-towa, and Talekweñ and Kepo of the Kolon-towa. The present village chief is Anote of the Sa-towa or Tobacco clan.[6]

Of the original clans which at some time have been with the Hano people, the following have now become extinct: Kopeeli, Koyanwi, Kapolo, Tuñ, Tayek, Pe,[7] and Tceta. The last member of the Tuñ or Sun people was old chief Kalacai who died about four years ago. It is quite probable that several of these extinct clans did not start from Tcewadi with the others. There were several waves of Tanoan emigrants from the Rio Grande region which went to Tusayan about the same time, among which may be mentioned the Asa, which took a more southerly route, via Zuñi. The route of the Asa people will be considered in another article, and the evidences that some of the Asa clans joined their kindred on their advent into Tusayan will be developed later. Probably certain members of the Katcina clan accompanied the Asa people as far as the Awatobi mesa and then affiliated with the early Hano clans.[8]

The census of Hano in December, 1898, was as follows:

[Pg 255]

Clans Males     Females      Total
Okuwuñ 12    8   20
Sa  8    5   13
Kolon 11   12   23
Tenyük 12   16   28
Ke  5   10   15
Katcina  8    9   17
Te  5    4   9
Nañ  4    7   11
      Total native to Hano domiciled at home 136

The above enumeration of Hano population does not include Walpi and Sitcomovi men married to Hano women (23), nor Tewa men living in the neighboring pueblos (15).[9] Adding these, the population is increased to 174, which may be called the actual enumeration at the close of 1898. Subsequent mortality due to smallpox and whooping-cough will reduce the number below 160.

In the following lists there are arranged, under their respective clans, the names of all the known inhabitants of Hano. There have been several deaths since the lists were made (December 1, 1898), and several births which also are not included. It will be noted that the majority have Tanoan names, but there are several with names of Hopi origin, for in these latter instances I was unable to obtain any other.[10]

Census of Hano by Clans

Okuwuñ-towa, or Rain-cloud clan.—Men and boys: Kalakwai, Kala, Tcüa, Wiwela, Kahe, Yane, Solo, Yunci, Pade, Klee, Kochayna, Këe (12). Women and girls: Sikyumka, Kwentce,[Pg 256] Talitsche, Yoyowaiolo, Pobitcanwû, Yoanuche, Asou, Tawamana (8). Total, 20.

Sa-towa, or Tobacco clan.—Men and boys: Anote, Asena, Tem[)e], Ipwantiwa, Howila, Nuci, Yauma, Satee (8). Women and girls: Okañ, Heli, Kotu, Kwañ, Mota (5). Total, 13.

Kolon-towa, or Corn clan.—Men and boys: Polakka, Patuñtupi, Akoñtcowu, Komaletiwa, Agaiyo, Tcid[)e], Oba, Toto, Peke, Kelo, Tasce (11). Women and girls: Kotcaka, Talikwia, Nampio, Kweñtcowû, Heele, Pelé, Kontce, Koompipi, Chaiwû, Kweckatcañwû, Awatcomwû, Antce (12). Total, 23.

Tenyük-towa, or Pine clan.—Men and boys: Tawa, Nato, Wako, Paoba, Topi, Yota, Pobinelli, Yeva, Tañe, Lelo, Sennele, Poctce (12). Women and girls: Toñlo, Hokona, Kode(?), Sakpede, Nebenne, Tabowüqti, Poh[ve], Saliko, Eye, Porkuñ, Pehta, Hekpobi, Setale, Naici, Katcine, Tcenlapobi (16). Total, 28.

Ke-towa, or Bear clan.—Men and boys: Mepi, Tae, Tcakwaina, Poliella, Tegi (5). Women and girls: Kauñ, Kalaie, Pene, Tcetcuñ, Kala, Katcinmana, Selapi, Tolo, Pokona, Kode (10). Total 15. Tcaper ("Tom Sawyer") may be enrolled in this or the preceding family. He is a Paiute, without kin in Hano, and was sold when a boy as a slave by his father. His sisters were sold to the Navaho at the same time. Tcaper became the property of an Oraibi, later of a Tewa man, now dead, and so far as can be learned is the only Paiute now living at Hano.

Katcina-towa.—Men and boys: Kwevehoya, Taci, Avaiyo, Poya, Oyi, Wehe, Sibentima, Tawahonima (8). Women and girls: Okotce, Kwenka, Awe, Peñaiyo, Peñ, Poñ, Tcao, Poschauwû, Sawiyû (9). Total, 17.

Te-towa, or Cottonwood clan. Men and boys: Sania, Kuyapi, Okuapin, Ponyin, Pebihoya (5). Women and girls: Yunne, Pobitche, Poitzuñ, Kalazañ (4). Total, 9.

Nañ-towa, or Sand clan.—Men and boys: Puñsauwi, Pocine, Talumtiwa, Cia (4). Women and girls: Pocilipobi, Talabensi, Humhebuima, Kae, Avatca, "Nancy," Simana (7). Total, 11.

[Pg 257]

The present families in Hano are so distributed that the oldest part of the pueblo is situated at the head of the trail east of the Moñkiva. This is still owned and inhabited by the Sa, Kolon, and Ke clans, all of which probably came from Tcewadi. The Katcina and related Tenyük, as well as the Okuwuñ and related Nañ clans, are said, by some traditions, to have joined the Tewa colonists after they reached the Hopi mesas, and the position of their houses in respect to the main house-cluster favors that theory. Other traditions say that the first pueblo chief of the Tewa was chief of the Nañ-towa. Too much faith should not be put in this statement, notwithstanding the chief of the Tewakiva belongs to the Nañ-towa. It seems more probable that the Ke or Bear clan was the leading one in early times, and that its chief was also kimoñwi or governor of the first settlement at the foot of the mesa.

Tewa Legends

According to one authority (Kalakwai) the route of migration of the Hano clans from their ancient home, Tcewadi, led them first to Jemesi (Jemez), where they rested a year. From Jemesi they went to Orpinpo or Pawikpa ("Duck water"). Thence they proceeded to Kepo, or Bear spring, the present Fort Wingate, and from this place they continued to the site of Fort Defiance, thence to Wukopakabi or Pueblo Ganado. Continuing their migration they entered Puñci, or Keam's canyon, and traversing its entire length, arrived at Isba, or Coyote spring, near the present trail of the East Mesa, where they built their pueblo. This settlement (Kohti) was along the foot-hills to the left of the spring, near a large yellow rock or cliff called Sikyaowatcomo ("Yellow-rock mound"). There they lived for some time, as the debris and ground-plan of their building attest. Their pueblo was a large one, and it was conveniently near a spring called Uñba, now filled up, and Isba, still used by the Hano people.

Shortly after their arrival Ute warriors made a new foray on[Pg 258] the Hopi pueblos, and swarmed into the valley north of Wala,[11] capturing many sheep which they drove to the hills north of the mesa.[12] The Tewa attacked them at that place, and the Ute warriors killed all the sheep which they had captured, making a protecting rampart of their carcasses. On this account the place is now called Sikwitukwi ("Meat pinnacle"). The Tewa killed all but two of their opponents who were taken captives and sent home with the message that the Bears had come, and if any of their tribe ever returned as hostiles they would all be killed. From that time Ute invasions ceased.

According to another good authority in Tewa lore, the Asa people left "Kaëkibi," near Abiquiu, in northern New Mexico, about the time the other Tewa left Tcewadi They traveled together rapidly for some time, but separated at Laguna, the Asa taking the southern route, via Zuñi. The Tewa clans arrived first (?) at Tusayan and waited for the Asa in the sand-hills near Isba. Both groups, according to this authority, took part in the Ute fight at Sikwitukwi, and when they returned the village chief of Walpi gave the Asa people for their habitation that portion of the mesa top northeast of the Tewakiva, while the present site of Hano was assigned to the Tewa clans. During a famine the Asa moved to Tübka (Canyon Tsegi, or "Chelly"), where they planted the peach trees that are still to be seen. The ruined walls east of Hano are a remnant of the pueblo abandoned by them. The Asa intermarried with the Navaho and lost their language. When they returned to the East Mesa the Hopi assigned to them for their houses that part of Walpi at the head of the stairway trail on condition that they would defend it.[13]

[Pg 259]

In view of the tenacity with which the women of Hano have clung to their language, even when married to Hopi men, it seems strange that the Asa lost their native dialect during the short time they lived in Tsegi canyon; but the Asa men may have married Navaho women, and the Tanoan tongues become lost in that way, the Asa women being in the minority. There is such uniformity in all the legends that the Asa were Tanoan people, that we can hardly doubt their truth, whatever explanation may be given of how the Asa lost their former idiom.

In 1782 Morfi described Hano,[14] under the name "Tanos," as a pueblo of one hundred and ten families, with a central plaza and streets. He noted the difference of idiom between it and Walpi. If Morfi's census be correct, the pueblo has diminished in population since his time. Since 1782 Hano has probably never been deserted, although its population has several times been considerably reduced by epidemics.

In return for their aid in driving the Ute warriors from the country, the Hopi chief gave the Tewa all the land in the two valleys on each side of the mesa, north and east of a line drawn at right angles to Wala, the Gap. This line of demarcation is recognized by the Tewa, although some of them claim that the Hopi have land-holdings in their territory. The line of division is carefully observed in the building of new houses in the foot-hills, for the Hopi families build west of the line, the Tewa people east of it.

Differences in Social Customs

A casual visitor to the East Mesa would not notice any difference between the people of Hano and those of Walpi, and in fact many Walpi men have married Tanoan women and live in their village. The difference of idiom, however, is immediately noticeable, and seems destined to persist. Almost every inhabitant of Hano speaks Hopi, but no Hopi speaks or understands Tewa.[Pg 260] While there are Tewa men from Hano in several of the Hopi villages, where they have families, no Tewa woman lives in Walpi. This is of course due to the fact that the matriarchal system exists, and that a girl on marrying lives with her mother or with her clan, while a newly married man goes to the home of his wife's clan to live.

There are differences in marriage and mortuary customs, in the way the women wear their hair,[15] and in other minor matters, but at present the great difference between the Hopi and the Tewa is in their religious ceremonials, which, next to language, are the most persistent features of their tribal life. Hano has a very limited ritual; it celebrates in August a peculiar rite known as Sumykoli, or the sun prayer-stick making, as well as the Tûñtai midwinter ceremony, the altars of which are described herein. There are also many Katcina dances which are not different from those performed at Walpi. One group of clown priests, called Paiakyamû, is characteristic of Hano. Compared with the elaborate ritual of the Hopi pueblo, that of Hano is poor; but Tewa men are members of most of the religious societies of Walpi, and some of the women take part in the basket dance (Lalakoñti) and Mamzrauti, in that village.

The following Tewa names for months are current at Hano:

January, Elo-p'o, "Wooden-cup moon"; refers to the cups, made of wood, used by the Tcukuwympkiyas in a ceremonial game.

February, Káuton-p'o, "Singing moon."

[Pg 261]

March, Yopobi-p'o, "Cactus-flower moon." The element pobi[16] which is so often used in proper names among the Tewa, means flower.

April, Púñka-p'o, "Windbreak moon."

May, Señko-p'o, "To-plant-secretly moon." This refers to the planting of sweet corn in nooks and crevices, where children may not see it, for the Nimán-katcina.

June-October, nameless moons, or the same names as the five winter moons.

November, Céñi-p'o,[17] "Horn moon," possibly referring to the Aaltû of the New-Fire ceremony.

December, Tûñtai-p'o, "Winter-solstice moon."

Contemporary Ceremonies

The Winter Solstice ceremony is celebrated in Walpi, Sitcomovi, and Hano, by clans, all the men gathering in the kivas of their respective pueblos. The Soyaluña is thus a synchronous gathering of all the families who bring their fetishes to the places where they assemble. The kivas or rooms in which they meet, and the clans which assemble therein, are as follows:


Moñkiva: Patki, Water-house; Tabo, rabbit; Kükütce, Lizard; Tuwa, Sand; Lenya, Flute; Piba, Tobacco; and Katcina.

Wikwaliobikiva: Asa.

Nacabkiva: Kokop, Firewood; Tcüa, Snake.

Alkiva: Ala, Horn.

Tcivatokiva: Pakab, Reed; Honau, Bear.


First Kiva: Patki, Water-house; Honani, Badger.

Second Kiva: Asa.

[Pg 262]


Moñkiva: Sa, Tobacco; Ke, Bear; Kolon, Corn, etc.

Tewakiva: Nañ, Sand; Okuwuñ, Rain-cloud, etc.

The altars or fetishes in the five Walpi kivas are as follows:

The altar described in a former publication[18] is the most elaborate of all the Winter Solstice fetishes at Walpi, and belongs to the Patki and related clans.

The Asa family in the Wikwaliobikiva had no altar, but the following fetishes: (1) An ancient mask resembling that of Natacka and called tcakwaina,[19] attached to which is a wooden crook and a rattle; (2) an ancient bandoleer (tozriki); and (3) several stone images of animals. The shield which the Asa carried before the Moñkiva altar had a star painted upon it.

The Kokop and Tcüa families, in the Nacabkiva, had no altar, but on the floor of the kiva there was a stone image which was said to have come from the ancient pueblo of Sikyatki, a former village of the Kokop people.

There was no altar in the Alkiva, but the Ala (Horn) clan which met there had a stone image of Püükoñhoya, and on the shield which they used in the Moñkiva there was a picture of Alosaka.

The Pakab[20] (Reed or Arrow) people had an altar in the Tcivatokiva where Pautiwa presided with the típoni or palladium of that family.

[Pg 263]

The writer was unable to examine the fetishes of the Honani and Asa clans, who met in the two Sitcomovi kivas. It was reported that they have no altars in the Soyaluña, but a study of their fetishes will shed important light on the nature of the rites introduced into Tusayan by these clans. Tcoshoniwa is chief in one of these kivas.[21]

Pocine, chief of the Tewakiva, belongs to the Nañ-towa, or Sand clan, and is the elder son of Pocilipobi. Puñsauwi, his uncle, is Pocilipobi's brother. As the kimoñwi or village chief of the Tewa colonists, when they came into Tusayan, belonged to the Sand clan, we may suppose this altar to be hereditary in this family.

Anote, the chief of the Moñkiva of Hano, is the oldest man of the Sa-towa or Tobacco clan. Satele, who assisted him in making the altar, is a member of the Ke or Bear clan. Patuñtupi, who was present when the altar was made at Hano, belongs to the Kolon or Corn clan.

The Winter Solstice Ceremony

The Tûñtai or Soyaluña ceremony of the East Mesa in 1898 extended from December 9th to the 19th inclusive, and the days were designated as follows:

9th, Tcotcoñyuñya (Tcotcoñya), Smoke assembly.
10th, Tceele tcalauûh, Announcement.
11th, Cüs-tala, First day.
12th, Lüc-tala, Second day.
13th, Paic-tala, Third day.
14th, Yuñya, Assemblage.
[Pg 264]15th, Sockahimû.
16th, Komoktotokya.
17th, Totokya, Totokpee.
18th, Pegumnove.
19th, Navotcine.

The active secret ceremonies began on the 14th and extended to the 19th. Yuñya was the day on which the Walpi chiefs entered their kivas, and Totokya that on which the most important secret rites were performed.

Tcotcoñyuñya, Smoke assembly. The time of the Soyaluña is fixed by Kwatcakwa, Sun-priest of the Patki clan, who determines the winter solstice by means of observations of sunset on the horizon, as elsewhere described. The Smoke assemblage at Walpi occurred after sunset on December 9th, in the house of Anwuci's wife, adjoining the Moñkiva, and was attended by Supela, Kwatcakwa, Sakwistiwa, Kwaa, and Anawita, all chiefs belonging to the Patki clan. The Smoke assemblage at Hano, preliminary to the Tûñtai, was also held after sunset on December 9th, and was attended by the following chiefs: Anote (Tem[)e]), Sa-towa; Satele, Ke-towa; Pocine (Koye), Nañ-towa; Patuñtupi, Kolon-towa.

There was no formal notification of Tûñtai from the housetops of Hano on the following morning, the Soyaluña announcement from Walpi serving all three pueblos on the East Mesa.

The formal announcement was made by Kopeli at daybreak of December 10th. Hoñyi, the regular tcakmoñwi, or town-crier, was snowbound at Keam's Canyon, and consequently was unable to perform this function.

The Smoke assemblage and its formal announcement at daybreak on the following morning have been observed in the Snake dance, and in the Flute, New-fire, and Soyaluña ceremonies; it probably occurs also in the Lalakoñti and Mamzrauti. It takes place several days before the Assembly day, when the chief enters the kiva and sets his natci or standard on the kiva hatch to announce that he has begun the ceremonies.


Drawn by Mary M. Leighter



[Pg 265]

Kivas at Hano

There are two kivas in Hano, one of which, called Tewakiva, is situated at the head of the trail to the pueblo. The other, called the Moñkiva, is built in the eastern part of the plaza, and, as its name implies, is the "chief" Hano kiva. Both these semi-subterranean rooms are rectangular[22] in shape, and in structural details resemble the kivas of Walpi. Each has a hatchway entrance in the middle of the roof, and is entered by means of a ladder which rests on the floor near a central fireplace. Neither of the Hano kivas has a window, but each has a raised platform for spectators east of the fireplace.[23]

Altar in the Moñkiva at Hano

Anote,[24] the chief of the Moñkiva, constructed his altar (plate XVIII) on the day above mentioned as Paic-tala. He anticipated the others in making it, and began operations, about 10 A.M., by carefully sweeping the floor. His fetishes and other altar paraphernalia were in a bag on the floor at the western end of his kiva, but there was no típoni, or chieftain's badge, even on the completed altar.

Shortly after Anote had finished sweeping the floor of the kiva, Satele entered, followed a few minutes later by Patuñtupi.[25] These three men, with Kalakwai, who was weaving a blanket, were the only persons in the kiva while the altar was being made. Immediately after the other chiefs came in, Anote began the making of prayer-sticks. Four of these were made, each of characteristic Tewa form.

Each of these prayer-sticks was double the length of the[Pg 266] middle finger, and was painted black with green pigment at the blunt end. On one of the two sticks which compose this prayer offering, there was cut a facet which was painted green with black dots representing eyes and mouth. The stick without the facet was called the male, and upon it a ferrule was incised.

The two sticks were bound together with two cotton strings in two places, but no packet of prayer-meal was appended as in Hopi prayer-sticks (pahos).[26] A string with a terminal feather was attached to that which bound the two sticks together. Anote likewise made many feathered strings called nakwakwocis, and Satele fashioned two prayer-sticks; all of these were laid in a basket-tray on the floor.

After these prayer offerings had been completed, Anote placed on the floor a blanketful of moist clay which he further moistened and kneaded, fashioning a part of it into a cylinder about a foot and a half long, and two inches in diameter. This object was made blunt at one end and pointed at the other. The image represents Avaiyo, the Tewa name of Palülükoñ, the Great Serpent. He added to the blunt end, or head, a small clay horn,[27] and inserted a minute feather in the tip of the tail. He fashioned into a ball the clay that remained after making the effigy of the serpent, patting it into a spherical compact mass about the size of a baseball. This, called the natci, later served as the pedestal to hold two eagle-wing feathers, and was placed at the kiva hatch each day to inform the uninitiated that ceremonies were in progress.

Having finished the effigy of the Great Serpent and formed the clay cylinder to his liking, Anote made on the western side of the floor of the kiva a ridge of sand, a few inches high and about[Pg 267] two feet long, parallel with the western wall. While making this ridge he sat between it and the kiva wall. Having patted this sand ridge to the proper height, he removed from their wrapping of coarse cloth, four sticks, each about two feet long. These sticks, dingy with age, were tied in pairs, and were called poñya-saka, "altar ladders." They were inserted in the ridge in pairs, one on each side, and between them was placed in the sand a row of eagle feathers. As these were being put in position by Satele, Anote sang in a low tone, the song continuing as the other parts of the altar were arranged.[28] Anote was frequently obliged to prompt his associate regarding the proper arrangement of the objects on the altar.

Satele next drew a line of prayer-meal before the ridge of sand, and from it, as a base line, made three deep semicircles representing rain-clouds. These were drawn as simple, elongated outlines, but immediately the chief sprinkled meal on the floor over the space enclosed by them. The curved edges of the three rain-cloud symbols were then rimmed with black sand or powdered coal. About twenty short, parallel lines, representing falling rain, were next drawn on the floor with cornmeal, and alternating with them the same number of black lines. Satele then placed upon the rain-cloud symbols, skeleton puma paws, two for each rain-cloud. At the apex of each symbolic cloud a stone fetish of a bear was deposited, and by the side of each an arrow-point or other stone object was laid.

The clay effigy of the Great Snake was next placed back of the rain-cloud symbols, with the head pointing southward. As this effigy lay on the floor, Anote made on it, with meal, representations of eyes and teeth, then drew two lines of meal about the neck for a necklace, and two other parallel lines about the tail. Black powder was then evenly sprinkled along the back of the effigy.

[Pg 268]

Both Anote and Satele procured a few ears of differently colored corn and shelled them upon the rain-cloud picture, sprinkling the grains evenly over the meal design, and adding a few to the back of the Great Snake. Squash and melon seeds were likewise distributed in the same way. The vase from which the stone effigies and other images were taken was then placed near the base of the middle rain-cloud picture, and a large quartz crystal was added on the left. A conch, which the author presented to the chief, was placed on the right of this vase. Anote then swept the floor north of the fireplace, and as he sang in a low tone Satele drew a straight line of meal from near the right pole of the ladder across the floor to the middle of the altar. He placed along this line, at intervals, four feathers, and near where it joined the altar he stretched a string, with an attached feather, called the pütabi.[29] He then sprinkled a line of pollen along this trail of meal.

Anote's medicine-bowl was set just in front of the middle rain-cloud figure; the clay pedestal with inserted upright feathers stood before the left, and a basket-tray with prayer-meal before the right rain-cloud figure.

Altar in the Tewakiva at Hano

The altar (plate XIX) in the Tewakiva was begun about 10 A.M. on the Assembly day, and was made by Pocine,[30] assisted by his uncle, Puñsauwi, both members of the Nañ-towa, or Sand clan.

The preparations began with the manufacture of a clay effigy of the Great Snake similar to but larger than that made by Anote in the Moñkiva. The clay was moistened and kneaded on the floor, and then rolled into a cylinder about three feet long, blunt at one end and pointed at the other.


Drawn by Mary M. Leighter



[Pg 269]

Four clay balls were made at the same time. One of these later served as the base of a standard (natci) which was subsequently placed each morning on the kiva hatch to warn the uninitiated not to enter. The other three were placed back of the altar and supported the sticks called the altar-ladders, which will be considered later.

Pocine outlined with meal on the floor a square figure which he divided into two rectangular parts by a line parallel with the northern side. He used meal of two colors—white for one rectangle, and light brown or pinkish for the other. Having made the outlines of the rectangle with great care, he carelessly sprinkled the enclosed spaces with the meal, hardly covering the sand base upon which the figures were drawn. He then added four triangular figures in meal on the south or front side of the rectangular symbols. These images represented rain-clouds, and were alternately white and brown.[31] To the tips of these triangular rain-cloud figures he appended zigzag continuations with lozenge-shaped tips representing the lightning of the four cardinal points. A stone spearpoint or arrowhead was laid on each lozenge-like tip of the zigzag lightning.[32]

The two men, Pocine and Puñsauwi, next raised the snake effigy and bore it to a position back of the rectangular meal figures on the floor. They deposited it in such a way that its head pointed southward. Having set the snake effigy in the position which it was to retain throughout the ceremony, Pocine sprinkled a black powder along the back of the image, while his uncle inserted several kernels of corn in the blunt end to represent[Pg 270] sent the teeth of an upper jaw. Two kernels of corn were then stuck into the head to indicate eyes, and an imitation necklace, also of grains of corn, was made around the neck of the idol. A double encircling row of corn grains was inserted in the tail or pointed end of the effigy, and Pocine added a small feather at the tip.

After the effigy had been put in position and adorned in the manner described, both Pocine and his uncle again shelled ears of corn on the rectangles of meal,[33] to which were added squash, melon, and other seeds. These were regularly distributed, some being dropped along the back of the image.

A row of eagle feathers was now inserted along the back of the effigy, instead of in a ridge of sand as in the Moñkiva altar. There were twelve of these feathers, and they were placed at equal intervals from the neck to the tail of the effigy. Puñsauwi then placed the three balls of clay, previously mentioned, back of the image, and in each of these balls he inserted two sticks, called pahos, similar to those used on the altar of the Moñkiva. These are ancient objects, being reputed to have descended from a remote past. One stick in each pair was called the male, the other the female, as is true of all double prayer-sticks used by the Hopi Indians. They are called poñya-saka, "altar-ladders," and imitations[34] of them in miniature are made and placed in shrines on the final day of the ceremony.

The insertion of the row of eagle-feathers along the back of the clay effigy of the serpent recalls an instructive reptilian figure on one of the bowls from Sikyatki.[35] In this ancient pictograph we find a row of triangles drawn along the medial line from the head to the tail of a lizard-like figure. The use of the triangle in ancient Pueblo pictography as a symbol of a wing-feather,[Pg 271] has been pointed out in an article on the feather as a decorative design in ancient Hopi pottery.[36] The medial line of triangles, representing feathers, on the Sikyatki food-bowl, is paralleled in the Hano kiva by eagle-wing feathers inserted along the middle of the image of a snake.

A small vase was next placed just in advance of the effigy of the Great Snake, and into this vase Pocine poured water from an earthenware canteen, making a pass as he did so to the four Pueblo cardinal points—north, west, south, and east—in sinistral ceremonial circuit.[37] A stone arrow-point was then laid on the lozenge-shaped extremity of each lightning figure.

Pocine now scraped into the vase some powder from a soft white stone, saying, as he did so, that the process was called sowiyauma, "rabbits emerge,"[38] and that he wished he had stones of other colors, corresponding to the cardinal points, for the same purpose. After this was finished he emptied on the floor, from a cloth bag, a miscellaneous collection of botryoidal stones (many of which were waterworn), a few fetishes, and other objects, one of the most conspicuous among the latter being a large green stone. All were at first distributed on the meal picture without any special order, but later were given a definite arrangement.

Pocine next went up the kiva ladder, and standing on the upper rung in the sunlight, sought, by means of an angular piece of glass, to reflect a ray of sunlight on the altar, but more especially into the vase of medicine. Four turkey-feathers were then inserted at equal intervals along the base of the serpent effigy, as shown in plate XIX.

[Pg 272]

After the stone objects had been arranged on the meal picture, a line of meal was drawn along the floor, from the right pole of the ladder to the altar. This line was drawn with great care, particular pains being taken to make it as straight as possible. There was no singing while this occurred, thus differing from the ceremony performed in the other Hano kiva. Four small feathers were placed at intervals along the line of meal. These, in sequence, beginning with the one nearest the ladder, were sikyatci, yellow-bird; kwahu, eagle or hawk; koyoña, turkey; and pociwû. Pocine sprinkled pollen along this line or meal trail.

There was then emptied from a canvas bag upon the rectangular meal figures a heterogeneous collection of objects, among which may be mentioned a bundle of gaming reeds, the humerus of a turkey, a whistle made of a turkey bone, and a zigzag wooden framework such as is used by the Hopi to represent lightning.[39]

Back of the altar, leaning against the wall of the kiva, was set upright a wooden slat, notched on both edges and called tawa-saka, "sun-ladder." Miniature imitations (plate XX) of this are made in this kiva on the last day of the Tûñtai and deposited in a shrine near Sikyaowatcomo, the site of the early settlement of the Tewa. The poñya-saka or tawa-saka mentioned has not before been seen in any Hopi ceremony, and it may be characteristic of Tewa altars. A notched prayer-stick, called the rain-cloud ladder, is placed in the same shrine at this time. This is characteristic of the Tewa of Tusayan, but is not found in the Hopi pahos, with which I am familiar.[40]


Drawn by J. L. Ridgway

(About one half size)


[Pg 273]

The reason these prayer-sticks are termed "ladders" is because they have the form of an ancient type of ladder made by notching a log of wood. They are symbols of the ladders by which the Sun is supposed to emerge from his house at sunrise. In the Hopi and Tewa conception the Sun is weary as he withdraws to the south in winter and these ladders are made to aid him in rising, and thus in returning to bless them. More light will doubtless be shed on the significance of the sun-ladder prayer-offerings when we know more of the ceremonies about the Tûñtai altars.

No típoni or badge of office was placed on this altar on the day it was made, and my abrupt departure from the East Mesa made it impossible for me to see the rites which are later performed about it.

It is evident, from the preceding description, that the priests of Hano have a knowledge of the Great Serpent cult corresponding to the worship of Palülükoñ. Among the Hopi the Patki people claim to have introduced this cult[41] in comparatively recent times. There is a Tewa clan called Okuwuñ (Cloud) which corresponds, so far as meaning goes, with the Patki clan of the Hopi. Whether this clan brought with it a knowledge of the Great Snake is not clear, as traditions are silent on that point.

There is a tradition in the Okuwuñ clan that their ancestors, like those of the Patki, came from the south, and that the Nañ-towa bears a like relationship to the Okuwuñ that the Hopi Tuwa clan does to the Patki.[42] If this tradition is well founded, a knowledge of the Great Snake fetish of the two Hano kivas may have been brought by the Okuwuñ and Nañ-towa into Tusayan from the same place as that of Palülükoñ.

[Pg 274]

The Kwakwantu society of the Patki clans among the Hopi are intimately connected with this Great Plumed or Horned Snake cult. In some parts of the New-fire ceremony, in which this society takes a prominent part, each member of the society carries in his hand a small wooden image of a horned snake. These images are called moñkohus, some of the typical forms of which are figured in an article on the Naacnaiya.[43] The head of the snake and its horn are well represented in several of these wooden effigies.


The special interest attached to the Winter Solstice altars at Hano is in the fact that they are made by Tewa priests whose ancestors came to Tusayan about the beginning of the eighteenth century. The makers claim that their forefathers brought a knowledge of them from Tcewadi, in the upper valley of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, and that their relatives in the Tewa pueblos in the east still use like altars in their celebration at the Tûñtai.

Nothing, so far as known, has yet been published on the Tûñtai altars of the eastern Tanoan people, but ethnographers may yet find in the kivas of those villages material which will render the above descriptions of comparative interest. The resemblance of the Tûñtai altars to that of the Patki and related families in the Walpi Moñkiva at the Winter Solstice, is a very distant one. Both have snake effigies, but there is practically little else in common between them, or with the altar erected at the same time by the Pakab people in the Tcivatokiva. The Tûñtai altars are characteristically Tewan, and, while homologous with each other, are different from any yet known from the Hopi pueblos.

[Pg 275]

The purport of the Tûñtai rites at Hano seems to be similar to that of the Hopi Soyaluña, namely, to draw back the sun in its southern declination, and to fertilize the corn and other seeds and increase all worldly possessions. As at Walpi, strings with attached feathers are made and given to men and women with wishes that the gods may bring them blessings. These strings are also attached to beams of houses, placed in springs of water, tied to the tails of horses, burros, sheep, dogs, chickens, and indeed every possession which the Indian has and wishes to increase. The presence of the idol of the snake means snake worship.

The survival of the Tanoan Tûñtai altars at Hano is typical of the way in which the Tusayan ritual has grown to its present complicated form. They are instances of an intrusive element which has not yet been amalgamated, as the knowledge of them is still limited to unassimilated people and clans.

Similar conditions have existed from time to time during the history of the Hopi, when new clans were added to those already existing. For many years incoming clans maintained a strict taboo, and each family held the secrets of its own religion; but as time went on and assimilation resulted by intermarriage, the religious society arose, composed of men and women of different clans. The family to which a majority of the membership belonged continued to hold the chieftaincy, and owned the altar and its paraphernalia, cherishing the legends of the society. But when men of other clans were admitted to membership, a mutual reaction of one society on another naturally resulted. This tended to modifications which have obscured the original character of distinctive family worship.

The problem of the Hopi ritual, by which is meant the sum of all great ceremonies in the Hopi calendar, deals largely with a composite system. It implies, as elsewhere pointed out, an investigation of the characteristic religious observances of several large families which formerly lived apart in different pueblos. It[Pg 276] necessitates a knowledge of the social composition of Walpi and of the history of the different phratries which make up the population of the village.

There is a corollary to the above conclusions. No pueblo in the southwest, outside of Tusayan, has the same ceremonial calendar as Walpi, because the population of none is made up of the same clans united in the same relative proportions. Hence the old remark that what is true of one pueblo is true of all, does not apply to their ritual. Some ceremonies at Jemez, Acoma, Sia, and Zuñi, for instance, are like some ceremonies at Walpi; but the old ceremonial calendar in any one of these pueblos was different from that of the other, because the component families were not the same. In the same way the ceremonies at Hano and Walpi have certain things in common, due no doubt to the assimilation in the latter of certain Tanoan clans, but their calendars are very different. The Tûñtai at Hano differs more widely from the Winter Solstice ceremony at Walpi, a gunshot away, than the Walpi observance differs from that at Oraibi, twenty miles distant. So we might also predict that if we knew the character of Winter Solstice altars in the Rio Grande Tewa villages, they would be found to resemble those of Hano more closely than the altars of Hano resemble those of Walpi.

The Knickerbocker Press, New York


[1] The Winter Solstice Ceremony at Walpi (American Anthropologist, vol. XI).

[2] These studies were made under the auspices of the Bureau of American Ethnology.

[3] Most of the people of Sitcomovi are of the Asa and Honani clans, of Tanoan ancestry, but they long ago lost the Tewa language and their Tanoan identity.

[4] The site of this last settlement of the Patki people, before they joined those of Walpi, is in the plain about four miles south of the East Mesa. The ruins of the pueblo are still visible, and the foundation walls can readily be traced.

[5] The Hano names of these pueblos are—San Juan, ——; Santa Clara, Kap'a; San Ildefonso, Pocuñwe; Pojoaque, P'okwode; Nambe, Nûme; Tesuque, Tetsogi. They also claim Taos (Tawile) and Picuris (Ohke), but say that another speech is mixed with theirs in these pueblos.

[6] The Tewa of Hano call the Hopi Koso, and the Hopi speak of the Hano people as the Towa or the Hanum-nyûmû. The word "Moki," so constantly used by white people to designate the Hopi, is never applied by the Hopi to themselves, and they strongly object to it. The dead are said to be moki, which enters into the formation of verbs, as tconmoki, to starve; tcinmoki, to be very lonesome, etc. The name Hano or Hanoki is, I believe, simply a combination of the words Hano and ki, "eastern pueblo." The element hano appears also in the designation for American, Pahano, "eastern water"; pahanoki, "American house." Both the Asa and the Tewa peoples are called Hanum clans.

[7] Remains of old reservoirs, elaborately walled, from which water was drawn by means of a gourd tied to a long pole, are still pointed out near Tukinovi and are said to have belonged to the Pe-towa. Old Tcasra claims that they were in use in his mother's grandmother's time.

[8] The troubles following the great rebellion of 1680 drove many Tewa from the Rio Grande valley to Tusayan.

[9] It is impossible to make this enumeration accurate, hence these numbers must be regarded as approximations.

[10] It is not unusual to find several names applied to the same person. Thus, Hani, the chief of the Piba clans at Walpi, is called Lesma in the Snake kiva. The Walpi call the author Nakwipi, but the Flute chief at Cipaulovi insists that his name is Yoyowaiamû, which appellation was given when the author was inducted into the Flute rites at that pueblo in 1891.

[11] The gap in the East Mesa just at the head of the trail before one enters Hano. The pueblo of Walpi derived its name from this gap.

[12] Their nomadic enemies raided so near the pueblo of the East Mesa that the priests were unable to visit their shrines without danger. The idol of Talatumsi, used in the New-fire ceremony, was removed from its shrine north of Wala on that account.

[13] Later, as the outcome of a petty quarrel near the middle of the eighteenth century, the Asa women moved to Sitcomovi which they founded. At present there is only one woman of this clan in Walpi, and no women of the Honani, both of which clans are strong in Sitcomovi.

[14] Ten Broeck in 1852 seems to have been the first writer to adopt the true name, Hano, of the Tewa pueblo on the East Mesa.

[15] One of the differences in custom between Hopi and Tewa women is the method of making their coiffures. Unmarried girls of Walpi and Hano dress their hair in the same manner, with whorls above the ears. Married women have different ways of wearing their hair in the two pueblos. During the wedding ceremonies at Hano the mother of the bride, in the presence of guests, combs her daughter's hair, or that part of it on the front of the scalp, over the face, so that it hangs down like a veil. She ties the hair on the back of the head in two coils, one of which hangs on either side, but the hair before the face she cuts on a level with the chin, beginning at the top of the ears. The hair which remains is too short to be done up in coils, and is simply brushed to one side or the other. Among Hopi married women all the hair is included in the two coils, and the "bang" is absent.

[16] The names of many Tewa women end in pobi, corresponding with the Hopi si, a contracted form of sihû, in women's names, as Hoñsi, Nasiumsi, etc.

[17] Among the Hopi the moon (Tewa p'o) is called müiyaûh; new moon, müiyakatci; first quarter, müiyachaunacapti; full moon, müiyanacapti. An eclipse of the moon is spoken of as müiyaûh moki, "dead moon." There was a total eclipse of the moon visible at Walpi near the end of December, 1898, when the full moon arose partially obscured. This, said Sikyatala, was bad for the Americans who dwell in the far east, but not for the Hopi. A "dead moon," when in the meridian of the Hopi pueblos, is considered kalolamai, "bad."

[18] The Winter Solstice Ceremony at Walpi, op. cit.

[19] The Asa people are also called the Tcakwaina clans. The ruins of their old village, near the western point of Awatobi mesa, are called Tcakwaina-ki. Its walls do not appear above the surface.

[20] The particular ceremony of the Pakab peoples is the Momtcita, a single day's rite which occurs just after the Soyaluña, under direction of Pautiwa. Connected with this ceremony are the performances of the "stick swallowers" or Nocoto priests who were thought to be extinct at Walpi, but Eewa is chief of the Nocotana priests, and the society includes Wikyatiwa, Talahoya, Sikyaventima, and others. They still practice stick-swallowing. Pautiwa is chief of the Kalektaka, a warrior priesthood. He belongs to the Eagle clan of the Pakab phratry, which may be related to the Awata or Bow clan of the former pueblo of Awatobi.

[21] Tcoshoniwa is generally called by a nickname, Tcino, "Bald-head," or "Curly-hair," a sobriquet to which he strongly objects. He is one of the oldest men of Sitcomovi, belongs to the Patki clan, and was formerly the kimoñwi or governor of Sitcomovi. Hani, of the Piba (Tobacco) clan, is political chief of Walpi; and Anote, also of the Piba clan, is chief of Hano. All the pueblos have kimoñwis or governors, and the office dates from early times; but these pueblo chiefs have no authority over pueblos other than their own.

[22] The orientation of the Hano kivas is not far from that of the other East Mesa kivas, or about north 44º west.

[23] The chief kiva had a small stove, an innovation which was greatly appreciated by the writer.

[24] So named by the Hopi; the Tewa call him Tem[)e], At Hano almost everyone has a Hopi and a Tewa name.

[25] Son of Kutcve and Kotcampa of the Kolon-towa, or Corn clan; commonly called "Esquash" by Americans.

[26] The corn-husk packet of meal seems to be wanting in Zuñian, Keresan, and Tanoan prayer-sticks, but it is almost universally present in those of the Hopi. The Tanoan prayer-stick is called o'dope.

[27] A cephalic horn is an essential organ of the Great Snake, and is always represented in pictography and on graven or other images of this being. Note the similarity of his Tewa name to the Spanish word abajo, "below."

[28] This is the first time songs have been noted while an altar was being put in place.

[29] This was a four-stranded string of cotton, as long as the outstretched arm, measured from over the heart to the tip of the longest finger. It is supposed to be a roadway of blessings, and the trail of meal is the pathway along which, in their belief, the benign influences of the altar pass from it to the kiva entrance and to the pueblo.

[30] Pocine is a youth not far from seventeen years of age. His marriage ceremony was studied by the writer a week before the Tûñtai.

[31] The triangle among the Hopi is almost as common a symbol of the rain-cloud as the semicircle. It is a very old symbol, and is frequently found with the same meaning in cliff-houses and in ancient pictography.

[32] It was found in studying the four lightning symbols on this Tewa altar that sex is associated with cardinal points as in the Walpi Antelope altar. The lightning of the north is male, that of the west female, the south male, and the east female. The same holds with many objects in Hopi altars; thus the stone objects, tcamahia, of the Antelope altar follow this rule. In the same way plants and herbs have sex (not in the Linnean meaning), and are likewise associated with the cardinal points.

[33] This sprinkling of corn seeds upon the meal picture of a Hopi altar is mentioned in an account of the Oraibi Flute ceremony. The evident purpose of this act is to vitalize the seeds by the accompanying rites about the altar.

[34] Called omowûh-saka, "rain-cloud ladders."

[35] Smithsonian Report, 1895, pl. lvii.

[36] The American Anthropologist, vol. XI, page 1.

[37] The Tewa, like the Hopi, recognize six ceremonial directions—north, west, south, east, above, and below. The sinistral circuit is one in which the center is on the left hand, while the dextral circuit has its center to the right. The older term, "sunwise," for the latter circuit, etymologically means one ceremonial circuit in the northern hemisphere and an opposite in the southern. On this and other accounts the author has ceased to use it in designating circuits.

[38] For the increase of rabbits.

[39] This zigzag framework had appended to one end a carved imitation of a snake's head, and as it represents the lightning this association was not incongruous. Similar frameworks are carried in the dance by a man impersonating Püükoñ, the War god, and at certain other times when lightning is symbolized.

[40] In asking why albino Hopi are found at the Middle Mesa and not on the East Mesa, it was unexpectedly learned that in some ceremonies a white prayer-stick is made at the former mesa, and that albinism was due to want of care by the father in making these offerings while his wife was pregnant. The author has never seen the white paho of the Middle Mesa, and does not know when it is made nor its shape and use.

[41] All Hopi priests are very solicitous that sketches of the Patki altar in the Soyaluña should not be shown to Tewa men or women, and the Tewa men begged me to keep silent regarding their altars while conversing with the Walpi chiefs. There is a very strict taboo between the two peoples at the time of the Winter Solstice ceremony, which is more rigid than at other times.

[42] The Tuwa (Sand) or Kükütce (Lizard) clan lived at Pakatcomo with the Patki people, according to their legends.

[43] Journal of American Folk-lore, 1892, pl. II, figs. 1-4. These moñkohus of the Kwakwantu society, representing horned snakes, should not be confounded with those carried by other societies, typical forms of which are shown in figures 5-8. In the article quoted it was not stated that the effigies with heads represent Palülükoñs. The effigy on the massive club borne by the chief of the Kwakwantu also represents the Great Snake.


Transcriber's Note:

Hyphenation for the most part has been standardised.

Reference to the scale on caption to Plate XX should be ignored.