« PrejšnjaNaprej »
used with any regard to rule, but as each individual fancies.
"About the heads of some are coronets of five or six small squares of wood. These coronets sometimes resemble a Maltese cross, with a near approach to a Grecian border on them, the lines being in green. The bodies of the wooden gods are usually painted white, and frequently a bit of the down of a feather is glued to the points of the coronet, which may be a symbol, copied from the halos around the heads of the images of saints in Catholic churches. The Spanish Catholic influence is quite apparent in many of the Moqui images, and also in some of their customs, on their pottery, and in figures on their blankets.”
SCRIPTION OF BY PETER MORAN - PREPARA-
MIS SPECIAL AGENT SCOTT'S REPORT ON. The story of the Moquis would be incomplete without not only a reference to, but a full description of the Snake Dance, which is an attractive feature of this Indian tribe, many Arizonans making visits to Walpi every other year to witness it. This dance is held at Walpi in August of every other year, and is an invocation or plea for water and good crops. The details of the dance vary from year to year because everything connected with it is transmitted orally from tradition, and much depends upon the imagination and originality of the priests in charge. The old men of this tribe, as, in fact, of every other tribe of Indians, are the keepers of the mysteries and the directors of all ceremonies, so that while certain essentials are never departed from, such as fasting by the dancers, the race from the spring, the preparation of antidotes or decoction for snake bites, the dance itself is conducted according to the whims of the veteran leaders. The snake estufa at Walpi is hewn out of the solid sandstone of the mesa and covered with logs, brush, and dirt. There is a ladder in it, but there are no benches around it.
Like every other religious ceremony among the Indians of the southwest desert, it is performed for the purpose of influencing the gods to send the rains that the yield of corn and beans and melons in the little hand-tilled fields at the foot of the mesa may be sufficient for the sustenance of the people. Here, according to J. W. Schultz, in the Pacific Monthly for August, 1908, is the story of it which the priests of the Moquis relate, in hushed voices, to certain favored ones:
“Away back in the long ago—when the Moquis lived in cliff dwellings, a youth would sit day after day on the edge of the height, gazing down at the rushing river so far below. He was different from all the other young men of the tribe, he did not care for sports—he did not court the young girls; always, day after day, he sat gazing at the river, silent, solemn, a faraway look in his eyes. His parents became anxious about him, fearing that he was mentally unsound, and the youths and maidens jeered at him, joked about him, saying: 'He is an old man; old man without mind or strength.'
“After sitting on the edge of the cliff day after day for several summers and winters, he went to his home one evening and said to his mother: 'I must leave you for a while; I have been gazing at the river this long, long time and it is calling me; I must go down it and learn where it ends—if end it does; I must see that far land through which it flows.'
“His mother began to cry, and brokenly-between her sobs—begged him to think no more of such a journey. “No one has ever been away down in that beyond country,' she said; 'no one knows what it is like—what dreadful monsters may inhabit it. Do not go my son. You are my all; if I should lose you I would die.'
“Then his father came in and the mother ran over to him and told him of this wild plan of their son and begged him to forbid it. The son sat silent, making no further plea; the father sat with bowed head, considering what he had heard; finally he said:
“ 'It is for men to do things; to travel and learn what this great land is like. I think, mother, that he must go; something-something beyond our knowledge, is calling him. He may meet great dangers-he may never return-yet must he go.'
“In vain the mother cried and pleaded, the father had decided and the youth was to have his way. Therefore, she determined to do all in her power to make this venture into the unknown, easy for him. Calling to her assistance other women, with great labor they collected enough drift logs for a raft and bound them strongly together with rawhide thongs and worm-grass ropes. Then she provided food; ground corn, dried squash and other things; sacks of her store of food she placed on the raft.
“The time came for the youth to depart and his father had a last talk with him. “You may meet a strange people away down in that unknown country,' he said, “and if you do, a few presents to them will perhaps help you to be kindly treated. Here, my son, are four little packages of my choicest medicine, and here is a little bag of sacred meal. Keep the meal for offerings in case of danger; give the presents to those whom you may meet in your wanderings.'
“The youth descended the great cliff, all the people following to see him start on the fearsome journey. He sat down on the raft and kindly hands pushed it out into the current. His mother, sobbing bitterly, would have followed him had she not been held; his father turned away and covered his head with his robe so that no one could witness the tears streaming from his eyes. And thus, swiftly borne by the current, the youth on his raft was swept around the bend of the stream and had really begun his journey.
“On he went, and on, with a long stick fending the raft from projecting boulders and shallow places. Several days he travelled, camping by night on the shore, seeing no one-nothing but the different kinds of game and other animals—the deer, the bighorn, the coyotes, the cougars and badgers, which were then very plentiful in the land.
“One morning as he was drifting along close to the shore, he heard someone weirdly singing. Shoving the raft hard against the sand, he stepped ashore to see who and what kind of person the singer might be. Even as he sprang off to the ground an old, old woman appeared, calling and beckoning to him. Bent with age she was, and white-haired and furrow-faced. "Whence come you?' she asked.
" The river has called me,' he replied, 'I seek to know all about it-how far it goes—to what end—and of the country bordering it.'