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Native American Legends

The origin of some Oraibi Clans

A Hopi Legend

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

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

Pö'okong and his younger brother Balö'ongahoya went in search of another world, and when they returned, reported that there was an opening right above them. Pö'okong had reached it by means of a reed on which he had spit and thus made it strong. The chief said, as they were still dancing (the Butterfly dance) they would move in four days. After four days they were still dancing, and the chief said to some one that he would not tell his wife anything, but try to find another wife. So he left, being accompanied by Pö'okong and, Balö'ongahoya, the Pölis still dancing wildly.

They started and went out, Pö'okong first, then Balö'ongahoya, then the Bear clan chief, who was followed by the Spider clan chief. Then the Bear clan people, the Spider clan people, and after them many other people came out. When many were out the Bear chief closed the opening. When they were out the chief said, ''Well, what now?" They were in the dark yet, the entrance, however, being closed.

The chief sent the Eagle who flew around hunting an opening or light. He returned, and the chief asked: ''Taá um hin nawóti?" "Well, I found an opening and made it more light, but it is very hot high up yet. Send another one." So the chief sent the Buzzard (Wicóko).

The latter ascended higher but got burned (hence he has no feathers on his head and wings), but he made it lighter, When he returned that chief said: "Thank you. Well, now what? Now it is somewhat better. The sky has been opened somewhat more and it is much lighter." The question arose: Which way? The Bear clan spoke for the South, the Spider clan for the north, and the latter talking more and getting the greater crowd, the Spider clan went northward.

The Spider Clan

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

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

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

After the first night the chief said to his wife: "You bathe yourself." This she did (in warm water). Then she rubbed her body and collected the small scales which she had rubbed from her skin and handed them to her husband. He laid them on a blanket until there was a considerable quantity of them.

He then wrapped this in a reed receptacle, sang over it and waved it four times, whereupon the scales turned into burros and rushed out. "What is that?" the people asked. "Those are burros," the chief said. So they were glad that now they would not have to carry everything themselves any longer, and the chief said that now they would move on towards the rising sun.

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

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

The Bear Clan

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

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

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

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

Then Machíto and the two Katcinas went up the Oraíbi mesa where they remained. Later the Spider people arrived. Machíto asked about their wanderings and they told him. He wanted to know why the corn would not grow although they had the Flute cult. The Spider clan chief accused the "North Old Man." Machíto then said: "All right, you may live here, but as your cult does not seem to be effective, you watch the sun for me, and when he has arrived at his south limit, you tell me, and we shall have the Soyál ceremony. Also your pü'htavi does not seem to have been good, so I want you to make my kind of pü'htavi."

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

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

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

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

The Divided Spring (Bátki) clan came from where the sun rises.

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

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