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“At a signal, a rush was made, and the actors in this strange drama, men of the snake order, grabbed the snakes with quick and dextrous movements, some with two and three in each hand, holding them aloft, and in the 'twinkling of an eye' they disappeared from the mesa, going north, south, east, and west; once in the desert their strange companions were freed.
"From the time of departure with the snakes to the desert and return of the men the space seemed incredibly short. Some of the spectators attempted to follow them, but were obliged to desist owing to the precipitous descent and danger attending it. I followed out to the south end of the mesa, only to find that the snake men had already reached the desert; some of them were on their return. As they came up over the top and were entering the pueblo I took several kodak shots at them as they passed me. When they had all gotten back they quickly removed their dancing costumes and donned the modern trousers, waistcoats and hats. From fierce-looking savages they were transformed into meek and gentle-looking Moquis, and among them I recognized my old friend ‘Adam,' who had been interpreter at the school in Keams Canyon, whose kindly disposition is well known. A laughable scene followed the dance. As is their custom, all the snake order, who had fasted for four days, partaking of nothing but a liquid prepared for them by the snake priest, to whom and the snake priestess only the decoction is known, assembled at a point just beyond the snake keva, where each drank of a liquid
which produced violent vomiting. This final act closed the ceremonies.
“They handled the snakes with great care so as not to hurt them and religiously returned them to their natural haunts when the dance was over, refusing many offers of money for some of the specimens; offers which would have tempted some so-called civilized people.
During the entire time, from the moment when the snakes were taken out of the bosky until they were thrown into the mass or pile on the ground within the ring of meal made by the priest, all was intense action. The participants and the attendants never for one moment let the interest relax, but drove everything on with force. The celerity of the proceedings evidently kept the snakes muddled. The snakes were not, to my knowledge, doctored for the occasion.
“During the dance two of the snake order were struck by rattlesnakes, one in the nose, the other in the upper portion of the arm. They drew back for a moment, but continued the dance, and no ill effects were afterward noticed from the bites. The man struck in the nose had some difficulty in getting the snake off, and only did so with his attendant's assistance.
“The snake order is spreading among the Moquis. Their chief religious ceremonies have been confined to Walpi for untold time. Now branches of the order have been established at Oraibi, Shimopavi, and, I believe, in Shipaulavi. The ceremonies occur every two years. Next year it will take place at Oraibi, two years from now again at Walpi and Shimopavi. The
day for its celebration is selected by the chief priest, and the date of its occurrence is approximately established by watching the sun's declination toward the south. They note the shadows that fall in the crevice of a rock, and in the same way reckon the day for their Christmas dance, the occasion for a dance to their sun god, which is about December 22d.
“The Moquis have been told that the government intends to stop the snake dance, and they say that it will be a great wrong, since it is a part of their religion, and they feel that their rights will thus be taken from them by denying them the privilege of worshipping after the manner of their fathers, which is not denied the white people of the country. This snake dance is a religious ceremony and most solemnly conducted.
“The liquid which the members of the snake order drink during the four final days of the ceremony is an antidote to the poisonous effect of the rattlesnake bite, and I have been assured that it never fails. I saw a Moqui who had been bitten while in the fields who did not get the aid of the snake priest for an hour later, but who recovered, although his arm was greatly swollen before he received the antidote. He was unable to do much for several days.”
THE HOPI (OR MOQUI) (Continued).
OF BY CAPT. JOHN G. BOURKE-ORDER OF THE
SNAKES CONCLUSION OF THE DANCE. Captain J. G. Bourke's description of the snake dance, mentioned above, is not given in the Extra Census Bulletin on the Moquis by Mr. Donaldson, but is contained in Captain Bourke's work, “The Snake Dance of the Moquis," written by him in 1884, and follows:
“A whirring sound resembling that of rain, driven by summer gusts, issued from the arcade; with this came the clanking of rattles and gourds filled with corn. The dancers were moving down toward us.
“First came a barefooted old man, crowned with a garland of cottonwood leaves, holding in his hands in front of him a flat earthen bowl, from which he sprinkled water upon the ground, very much as a Catholic priest would asperse his congregation.
"The second old man carried a flat basket of fine cornmeal.
“The third held his left hand up to a necklace of bears' claws, while with his right he gently rattled an instrument shaped thus, T, painted white.
“The next five men were armed with the same odd-looking rattles, but as they marched close behind one another in single file they were not considered as holding the same rank or as discharging functions of an importance equal to those of the old men who advanced alone.
“Numbers 9 to 17 inclusive were little boys, from four to seven years old, marching in single file, each bearing one of the T-shaped rattles.
“An interval of five paces separated them from the grown men who had preceded them, and a like distance intervened between them and an old man who bore aloft in his left hand a bow (one of those so gayly ornamented with feathers and horsehair which had been noticed upon the upper end of the Estufa ladders).
"With his right hand this old man rapidly twirled a wooden sling, which emitted the shrill rumble of falling rain so plainly heard as the head of the procession was emerging from the arcade.
"This was the first division of the dance.
"The second and last was composed of fortyeight persons, two of them children, and all males; each bore wands of eagle feathers in both hands. The last man of this division bore a bow, the counterpart of that carried by the sling-twirler of the first division.
“All the dancers wore, tied to the right knee, rattles made of tortoise shells and sheep or goat toes, which clanked dismally whenever the leg or body moved. Small bunches of red feathers were attached to the crown of the head, their long black hair hung loose down their backs,