- Art Gallery -




The Indians
The Painted Desert Region


George Wharton James

In and Around the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona.

The Indians of the Painted Desert Region.

The Missions and Mission Indians of California.

Indian Basketry.

In the Heart of the Painted Desert.

In the Heart of the Painted Desert.

The Indians
of the
Painted Desert Region

Hopis, Navahoes, Wallapais,


George Wharton James

Author of "In and Around the Grand Canyon," etc.

A Son of the Desert

With Numerous Illustrations from Photographs


Little, Brown, and Company


Copyright, 1903,

By Edith E. Farnsworth

All rights reserved

Published October, 1903



To my Wife


Introductory xiii
I. The Painted Desert Region 1
II. Desert Recollections 10
III. First Glimpses of the Hopi 29
IV. The Hopi Villages and their History 44
V. A Few Hopi Customs 66
VI. The Religious Life of the Hopi 82
VII. The Hopi Snake Dance 102
VIII. The Navaho and his History 124
IX. The Navaho at Home 138
X. The Navaho as a Blanket Weaver 160
XI. The Wallapais 172
XII. The Advent of the Wallapais 188
XIII. The People of the Blue Water and their Home 199
XIV. The Havasupais and their Legends 209
XV. The Social and Domestic Life of the Havasupais 220
XVI. The Havasupais' Religious Dances and Beliefs 248
Bibliography 265


In the Heart of the Painted Desert. Frontispiece
A Son of the Desert. Vignette on Title
In the Heart of the Petrified Forest. Facing page xvi
A Freak of Erosion in the Petrified Forest.  "     "     2
Journeying over the Painted Desert to the Hopi Snake Dance.  "     "     2
Ancient Pottery dug from Prehistoric Ruins on the Painted Desert.  "     "     8
The Painted Desert near the Little Colorado River.   "     "    16
Asleep, Early Morning, on the Painted Desert.   "     "    16
The Colorado River at Bass Ferry, the Vampire of the Painted Desert.   "     "    22
Hano, (Tewa) from the Head of the Trail.   "     "    34
Hopi Women building a House at Oraibi.   "     "    38
Mashonganavi from the Terrace below.   "     "    38
Mashongce, an Oraibi Maiden, drying Corn Meal.   "     "    42
The Trio of Metates, and Hopi Woman about to grind Corn.   "     "    42
An Oraibi Woman shelling Corn in a Basket of Yucca Fibre.   "     "    50
The "Burro" of Hopi Transportation.   "     "    50
An Aged Hopi at Oraibi.   "     "    54
A Hopi, weaving a Native Cotton Ceremonial Kilt.   "     "    54
An Oraibi Basket Weaver.   "     "    60
An Admiring Hopi Mother.   "     "    60
Shupela, Father of Kopeli, Late Snake Priest at Walpi.   "     "    68
A Hopi Girl, Oraibi.   "     "    68
Hopi Children, at Oraibi, waiting for a Scramble of Candy.   "     "    76
Group of Hopi Maidens at Shungopavi.   "     "    82
Hopi Woman weaving Basket, her Husband Knitting Stockings.   "     "    88
Hopi Woman preparing Corn Meal for making Doughnuts.   "     "    88
Hopi "Boomerangs".   "     "    96
Hopi Ceremonial Drums.   "     "    96
A Hopi Belle at Shungopavi.   "     "   100
Blind Hopi Boy, Knitting Stockings.   "     "   100
The Beginning of the Hopi Snake Dance, Oraibi, 1902.   "     "   102
The Chief Antelope Priest depositing Pahos at the Shrine of the Spider Woman.   "     "   106
Throwing the Snakes into the Circle of Sacred Meal.   "     "   106
Line-up of Snake and Antelope Priests, Antelope Dance, Oraibi, 1902.   "     "   110
The Snake Dance at Oraibi, 1902.   "     "   114
The Snakes in the Kiva at Mashonganavi, after the Ceremony of Washing.   "     "   118
After taking the Emetic. Hopi Snake Dance at Walpi.   "     "   122
Navaho Silver Necklace and Belt.   "     "   126
Hopi Prayer Sticks or Pahos.   "     "   126
An Aged Navaho, looking over the Painted Desert.   "     "   131
An Old Hopi at Oraibi.   "     "   131
Hopi Ceremonial Head-dresses.   "     "   134
Hopi Bahos and Dance Rattles.   "     "   134
Kapata, Antelope Priest, at Walpi.   "     "   140
A Mashonganavi Hopi, going to hoe his Corn.   "     "   140
The Antelope Priests leaving their Kiva for the Snake Dance.   "     "   146
The Widow, Daughters, and Grandchildren of the Navaho Chief, Manuelito.   "     "   146
Wife of Leve Leve, Wallapai Chief.   "     "   156
The March of the Antelope Priests, Oraibi, 1902.   "     "   156
An Aged Navaho and her Hogan.   "     "   170
Navaho Family and Hogan in the Painted Desert.   "     "   170
Navaho Woman on Horseback.   "     "   176
The Winner of the "Gallo" Race, at Tohatchi.   "     "   176
A Wallapai, making a Meal on the Fruit of the Tuna, or Prickly Pear.   "     "   188
Wallapai Maiden and Prayer Basket.   "     "   188
Susquatami, Wallapai War Chief.   "     "   196
Tuasula, Wallapai Chief.   "     "   196
Havasupai Fortress and Hue-gli-i-wa, or Rock Figures.   "     "   206
Chickapanagie's Wife, a Havasupai, parching Corn in a Basket.   "     "   210
A Wallapai Woman pounding Acorns.   "     "   210
Havasupai Mother and Child.   "     "   216
A Family Group of Havasupais.   "     "   216
Waluthanca's Daughter, with Esuwa, going for Water.   "     "   230
Lanoman's Wife, a Havasupai.   "     "   230
Rock Jones, Leading Medicine Man of Havasupais.   "     "   256
Sinyela, with Esuwa, going for Water.   "     "   256


Wild, weird, and mystic pictures are formed in the mind by the very name—the Painted Desert. The sound itself suggests a fabled rather than a real land. Surely it must be akin to Atlantis or the Island of Circe or the place where the Cyclops lived. Is it not a land of enchantment and dreams, not a place for living men and women, Indians though they be?

It is a land of enchantment, but also of stern reality, as those who have marched, unprepared, across its waterless wastes can testify. No fabled land ever surpassed it in its wondrousness, yet a railway runs directly over it, and it is not on some far-away continent, but is close at hand; a portion, indeed, of our own United States.

In our schoolboy days we used to read of the Great American Desert. The march of civilization has marched that "desert" out of existence. Is the Painted Desert a fiction of early geographers, like unto the Great American Desert, to be wiped from the map when we have more knowledge?

No! It is in actual existence as it was when first seen by the white men, about three hundred and fifty years ago, and as it doubtless will be for untold centuries yet to come.

Coronado and his band of daring conquistadors, preceded by Marcos de Niza and Stephen the Negro, reaching out with gold-lustful hands, came into the region from northern Mexico, conquered Cibola—Zuni—and from there sent out a small band to investigate the stories told by the Zunis of a people who lived about one hundred miles to the northwest, whom they called A-mo-ke-vi. The Navaho Indians said the home of the A-mo-ke-vi was a Ta-sa-ûn´—a country of isolated buttes—so the Spaniards called the people Moki (Moqui) and their land "the province of Tusayan," and by those names they have ever since been known.

Yet these names are not the ones by which they designate themselves and their land. They are the Hopituh, which Stephen says means "the wise people," and Fewkes, "the people of peace."

It was in marching to the land of the Hopituh that the Spaniards designated the region "el pintado desierto." And a painted desert it truly is. Elsewhere I have described some of its horrors,[1] for I have been familiar with them, more or less, for upwards of twenty years. I do not write of that of which I have merely heard, but "mine eyes have seen," again and again, that which I describe. I have been almost frozen in its piercing snow-storms; choked with sand in its whirling sand-storms; wet through ere I could dismount from my horse in its fierce rain-storms; terrified and temporarily blinded by the brilliancy of its lightning-storms; and almost sunstruck by the scorching power of the sun in its desolate confines. I have seen the sluggish waters of the Little Colorado River rise several feet in the night and place an impassable barrier temporarily before us. With my horses I have camped, again and again, waterless, on its arid and inhospitable rocks and sands, and prayed for morning, only to resume our exhausting journey in the fiercely beating rays of the burning sun; longing for some pool of water, no matter how dirty, how stagnant, that our parched tongues and throats might feel the delights of swallowing something fluid. And last year (1902), in a journey to the home of the Hopi, my friends and I saw a part of this desert covered with the waters of a fierce rain-storm as if it were an ocean, and the "dry wash" of the Oraibi the scene of a flood that, for hours, equalled the rapids of the Colorado River. We were almost engulfed in a quicksand, and a few days later covered with a sand-storm; all these experiences, and others, in the course of a few days.

Stand with me on the summit of one of the towering mountains that guard the region and you will see such a landscape of color as exists nowhere else in the world. It suggests the thought of God's original palette—where He experimented in color ere He decided how to paint the sunset, tint the sun-kissed hills at dawn, give red to the rose, green to the leaves, yellow to the sunflowers, and the varied colors of baby blue-eyes, violets, portulacas, poppies, and cacti; where He concluded to distribute color throughout His world instead of making it all sombre in grays or black.

Look! here is a vast flat of alkali, pure, dazzling white, shining like a vivid and horrible leprosy in the noon-day sun; close by is an area of volcanic action where a veritable "tintaro"—inkstand—has overflowed in devastating blackness over miles and miles. There are pits of six hundred feet depth full of black gunpowder-like substance, gardens of hellish cauliflowers and cabbages of forbidding black lava, and tunnels arched and square of pure blackness. Yonder is a mural face a half thousand feet high and two hundred or more miles long. It is nearly a hundred miles away, yet it reveals the rich glowing red of its walls, and between it and us are large "blotches" of pinks, grays, greens, reds, chocolates, carmines, crimsons, browns, yellows, olives, in every conceivable shade, and all blending in a strange and grotesque yet attractive manner, and fascinating while it awes. It is seldom one can see a rainbow lengthened out into flatness and then petrified; yet you can see it here. Few eyes have ever beheld a sunset painted on a desert's sands, yet all may see it here.

It is a desert, surely, yet throughout its entire width flows a monster river; a fiendish, evil-souled river; a thievish, murderous river; a giant vampire, sucking the life-blood from thousands of square miles of territory and making it all barren, desolate, desert. And this vampire river has vampire children which emulate their mother in their insatiable thirst. Remorselessly they suck up and carry away all the moisture that would make the land "blossom as the rose," and thus add misery to desolation, devastation to barrenness.

It is a desert, surely, yet planted in its dreary wastes are verdant-clad mountains, on whose summits winter's snows fall and accumulate, and in whose bosoms springs of life are harbored.

It is a desert, surely, yet it is fringed here and there with dense forests, and in the very heart of its direst desolation threads of silvery streams lined with greenish verdure seem to give the lie to the name.

It is desert, barren, inhospitable, dangerous, yet thousands of people make it their chosen home. Over its surface roam the Bedouins of the United States, fearless horsemen, daring travellers, who rival in picturesqueness, if not in evil, their compeers of the deserts by the Nile. Down in the deep canyon water-ways of the desert-streams dwell other peoples whose life is as strange, weird, wild, and fascinating as that of any people of earth.

In the Heart of the Petrified Forest

In the Heart of the Petrified Forest.

This is the region and these the people I would make the American reader more familiar with. Other books have been written on the Painted Desert. One was published a few years ago, written by a clever American novelist, and published by one of America's leading firms, and I read it with mingled feelings of delight and half anger. It was so beautifully and charmingly written that one familiar with the scenes depicted could not fail to enjoy it, although indignant—because of the errors that might have been avoided. It claims only to be fiction. Yet the youth of the land reading it necessarily gain distinct impressions of fact from its pages. These "facts" are, unfortunately, so far from true that they mislead the reader. It would have been a comparatively slight task for the author to have consulted government records and thus have made his references to geography and ethnology correct.

It is needless, I hope, for me to say I have honestly endeavored to avoid the method here criticised. The bibliography incorporated as part of this book will enable the diligent student to consult authorities about this fascinating region.

But now comes an important question. What are the boundaries of the Painted Desert? I am free to confess I do not know, nor do I think any one else does. The Spaniards never attempted to bound it, and no one since has ever had the temerity to do so. In Ives's map of the region he endeavored to explore, and of which he wrote so hopelessly, he places the Painted Desert in that ill-defined way that geographers used to follow in suggesting the location of the Great American Desert.

The conditions of color and barrenness that first suggested the name exist over a large area; you find them in the plateaus of southern Utah and the wild wastes of southern Nevada; they exist in much of New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. In Arizona if you sweep around north, west, south, and east, they are there. Northward—in the cliffs and ravines of the Grand Canyon country, in Blue Canyon, in the red mesas, the coal deposits, and in the lava flows around the San Francisco Mountains; westward—in the wild mountains and wilder deserts that lead to the crossings of the Colorado River, past the craters, lava flows, Calico Mountains, and Mohave Desert of the country adjoining the Santa Fé Route, and the Salton Sea, mud volcanoes, purple cliffs, and tawny sands of the Colorado Desert of the Sunset Route of the Southern Pacific; southward—in the Red Rock country, Sunset Pass, the meteorite beds of Canyon Diablo, the great cliffs of the Mogollon Plateau, the Tonto Basin, the Verdi Valley, and away down, over the Hassayampa, through the Salt River Valley, past the Superstition and other purple and variegated mountains, into the heart of northern Mexico itself; eastward—to the Petrified Forest, across into New Mexico to Mount San Mateo, by the cliffs, craters, lava flows, alkali flats, gorges and ravines of the Zuni Mountain country and as far as the Rio Grande at Albuquerque, where the basalt is scattered about in an irregular way, as if the molten stuff had been washed over the country from some titanic bucket, and left to lie in great inky blots over the bright-colored soils and clays.

To me, all this is Painted Desert region, for much of it is painted and much is desert. Indeed, if one Painted Desert were to be staked off in any one of the above named States, ten others, equally large, could be found in the remaining ones.

It is a wonderful region viewed from any standpoint. Scenic! It is unrivalled for uniqueness, contrasts, variety, grandeur, desolateness, and majesty. Geologic! The student may here find in a few months what a lifetime elsewhere cannot reveal. Artistic! The artist will find it his rapture and his despair. Archæologic! Ruins everywhere, cavate, cliff, and pueblo dwellings, waiting for investigation, and, doubtless, scores as yet undiscovered. Ethnologic! Hopi, Wallapai, Havasupai, Navaho, Apache, and the rest; with mythologies as fascinating and complex as those of old Greece; with histories that lose themselves in dim legend and tradition, and that tell of feuds and wars, massacres and conflicts, that extend over centuries.

In the first chapter I have briefly named some of the wonders and marvels of this fascinating land, and though in barest outline, "the half has not been told."

It will be noticed that I have not rigidly adhered to the subjects as indicated by the heads of the chapters. I have preferred a discursive rather than a rigid style, for I deem it will prove itself the more interesting to the generality of my readers, and I merely call attention to it so that my critics may know it is not done without intent.

Of the Indians of this region I have room to write of four tribes only, viz., the Hopi, the Navaho, the Wallapai, and the Havasupai. Of the former much has been written in late years, owing to the interest centred in their thrilling religious ceremony, the Snake Dance. Of the Navaho considerable is known, but of the Wallapai and Havasupai there is little known and less written. Indeed, of the Wallapai there is nothing in print except the brief and cursory remarks of travellers, and the reports of the teachers of the recently established schools to the Indian Department. No one is better aware than myself of the incomplete and fragmentary character of what I have written, but this book is issued, as others that have preceded it from my pen, in accord with my desire to place in compact form for the general reader reliable accounts of places and peoples in the United States hitherto known only to the explorer and scientist.

To all the writers of the United States Bureau of Ethnology and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as those of other departments of the Government who have written on the region, I gratefully acknowledge many indebtednesses, especially to Powell, Fewkes, Matthews, Stephen, Hodge, Hough, Hrdlicka, Cushing, and Shufeldt.

To those who know the persistency and conscientiousness of my labors in my chosen field, and the pains I take both by observation and from the works of authorities to gain accurate knowledge, and my over-willingness to acknowledge by pen and voice those to whom I am indebted, it will not be necessary to state that I have endeavored to make this book a standard. If I have failed to give credit where it was due, I do so now with an open heart.

For the kindly reception my work in the printed page and on the platform has received in the past I hereby express my grateful acknowledgments.

George Wharton James.

Author Amphitheatre,

    Bass Camp,

Grand Canyon, Arizona.


Painted Desert Region


Civilization and barbarism obtrude themselves delightfully at every turn in this Wonderland of the American Southwest, called the Painted Desert Region.

Ancient and modern history play you many a game of hide-and-seek as you endeavor to trace either one or the other in a study of its aboriginal people; you look upon a ceremony performed to-day and call it modern. In reality it is of the past, so old, so hoary with antiquity that even to the participants it has lost its origin and much of its meaning.

History—exciting, thrilling, tragic—has been made in the Painted Desert Region; was being made centuries before Leif Ericson landed on the shores of Vinland, or John and Sebastian Cabot sailed from Bristol. History that was ancient and hoar when the band of pilgrims from Leyden battled with the wild waves of the Atlantic's New England shore, and was lapsing into sleepiness before the guns of the minute-men were fired at Lexington or Allen had fallen at Bunker Hill.


In the Painted Desert Region we find peoples strange, peculiar, and interesting, whose mythology is more fascinating than that of ancient Greece, and, for aught we know to the contrary, may be equally ancient; whose ceremonies of to-day are more elaborate than those of a devout Catholic, more complex than those of a Hindoo pantheist, more weird than those of a howling dervish of Turkestan.

Peoples whose origin is as uncertain and mysterious as the ancients thought the source of the Nile; whose history is unknown except in the fantastic, though stirring and improbable stories told by the elders as they gather the young men around them at their mystic ceremonies, and in the traditional songs sung by their high priests during the performance of long and exhausting worship.

Peoples whose government is as simple, pure, and perfect as that of the patriarchs, and possibly as ancient, and yet more republican than the most modern government now in existence. Peoples whose women build and own the houses, and whose men weave the garments of the women, knit the stockings of their own wear, and are as expert with needle and thread as their ancestors were with bow and arrow, obsidian-tipped spear, or stone battle-axe.

Here live peoples of peace and peoples of war; wanderers and stay-at-homes; house-builders and those who scorn fixed dwelling-places; poets whose songs, like those of blind Homer and the early Troubadors, were never written, but enshrined only in the hearts of the race; artists whose paints are the brilliant sands of many-colored mountains, and whose brushes are their own deft fingers.

A Freak of Erosion in the Petrified Forest.

A Freak of Erosion in the Petrified Forest.

Journeying over the Painted Desert to the Hopi Snake Dance.

Journeying over the Painted Desert to the Hopi Snake Dance.


Its modern history begins about three hundred and fifty years ago when one portion of it was discovered by a negro slave, whose amorous propensities lured him to his death, and the other by a priest, of whom one writer says his reports were "so disgustful in lyes and wrapped up in fictions that the Light was little more than Darkness."

Of its ancient history who can more than guess? To most questions it remains as silent as the Sphinx. The riddle of the Sphinx, though, is being solved, and so by the careful and scientific work of the Bureau of Ethnology, the riddles of the prehistoric life of our Southwest, slowly but surely, are being resolved.

One of the countries comprised in the Painted Desert Region is the theme of an epic, Homerian in style if not in quality, full of wars and rumors of wars, storming of impregnable citadels, and the recitals of deeds as brave and heroic as those of the Greeks at Marathon or Thermopylæ; a poem recently discovered, after having remained buried in the tomb of oblivion for over two hundred years.

Here are peoples of stupendous religious beliefs. Peoples who can truthfully be designated as the most religious of the world; yet peoples as agnostic and sceptic, if not as learned, as Hume, Voltaire, Spencer, and Ingersoll. Peoples to whom a written letter is witchcraft and sorcery, and yet who can read the heavens, interpret the writings of the woods, deserts, and canyons with a certainty never failing and unerring. Peoples who twenty-five years ago stoned and hanged the witches and wizards they sincerely thought cursed them, and who, ten years ago hanged, and perhaps even to-day, though secretly, hang one another on a cross as an act of virtue and religious faith, after cruelly beating[4] themselves and one another with scourges of deadly cactus thorns.

Here are intelligent farmers, who, for centuries, have scientifically irrigated their lands, and yet who cut off the ears of their burros to keep them from stealing corn.

A land it is of witchcraft and sorcery, of horror and dread of ghosts and goblins, of daily propitiation of Fates and Powers and Princes of Darkness and Air at the very thought of whom withering curses and blasting injuries are sure to come.

Here dwell peoples who dance through fierce, flaming fires, lacerate themselves with cactus whips, run long wearisome races over the scorching sands of the desert, and handle deadly rattlesnakes with fearless freedom, as part of their religious worship.

Peoples who pray by machinery as the Burmese use their prayer wheels, and who "plant" supplications as a gardener "plants" trees and shrubs.

Peoples to whom a smoking cigarette is made the means of holy communion, the handling of poisonous reptiles a sacred and solemn act of devotion, and the playing with dolls the opportunity for giving religious instruction to their children.

Peoples who are pantheists, sun worshippers, and snake dancers, yet who have churches and convents built with incredible labor and as extensive as any modern cathedral.

Peoples whose conservatism in manners and religion surpass that of the veriest English tories; who, for hundreds of years, have steadily and successfully resisted all efforts to "convert" and change them, and who to-day are as firm in their ancient faiths as ever. Peoples whom Spanish conquistadors could not tame with[5] matchlock, pike, and machete, nor United States forces with Gatling gun, rifle, and bayonet.

Peoples to whom fraternal organizations and secret societies, for men and women alike, are as ancient as the mountains they inhabit, whose lodge rooms are more wonderful, and whose signs and passwords more complex than those of any organization of civilized lands and modern times.

Peoples industrious and peoples studiously lazy, honest and able in thievery, truthful and consummate liars, cleanly and picturesquely dirty, interesting and repulsively loathsome, charming and artistically hideous, religious and cursedly wicked, peaceful and unceasingly warlike, lovers of home and haters of fixed habitations.

Here are peoples who dwell upon almost inaccessible cliffs, peoples of the clouds, and, on the other hand, peoples who dwell in canyon depths, where stupendous walls, capable of enclosing Memphis, Thebes, Luxor, Karnak, and all the ruins of ancient Egypt, are the boundaries of their primitive residences.

The Painted Desert Region is a country where rattlesnakes are washed, prayed over, caressed, carried in the mouth, and placed before and on sacred altars in religious worship.

Where the worship of the goddess of reproduction with all its phallic symbolism is carried on in public processionals, dances, and ceremonials by men, women, maidens, and children without shameful self-consciousness, yet where dire penalties, even unto mutilation and death, are visited upon the unchaste.

Where polygamy has been as openly practised as in the days of Abraham, and possibly from as early a time, and where to-day it is as common to see a man who,[6] openly, has two or more wives, as in civilized lands it is common to see him with but one. And yet it is a land in which polygamy is expressly forbidden by United States law, and where numbers of arrests have been made for violation of that law.

Where religious rites are performed, so mystic and ancient that their meaning is unknown even to the most learned of those who partake in them.

Indeed, the Painted Desert Region, though a part of the United States of America, is a land of peoples strange, unique, complex, diverse, and singular as can be found in any similar area on the earth, and the physical contour of the country is as strange and diverse as are the peoples who inhabit it.

It is a land of gloriously impressive mountains, crowned with the snows of blessing and bathed in a wealth of glowing colors, changing hues, and tender tints that few other countries on earth can boast.

On its eastern outskirt is a portion of one of the largest cretaceous monoclines in the world, and near by is a natural inkstand, half a mile in circumference, from which, centuries ago, flowed fiery, inky lava which has now solidified in intensest blackness over hundreds of miles of surrounding country.

It is a land of mountain-high plateaus, edged with bluffs, cliffs, and escarpments that delight the distant beholder with their richness of coloring and wondrous variety of outline, and thrill with horror those who unexpectedly stand on their brinks.

It is a land of laziness and indifferent content, where everything is done "poco tiempo"—"in a little while"—and where "to-morrow" is early enough for all laborious tasks, and yet a land of such tireless energy,[7] never-ceasing work, and arduous labor as few countries else have ever known.

A land where people live in refinement, education, and all the luxuries of twentieth-century civilization side by side with peoples whose dress, modes of living, habits of eating and sleeping, styles of food and cookery are similar to those of the subjects of Boadicea and Caractacus.

In the Painted Desert Region the root of one dangerous-looking prickly cactus is used for soap, and the fruit of another for food.

Here horses dig for water, and mules are stimulated by whiskey to draw their weighty loads over torrid deserts and up mountain steeps.

It is a land of ruins, desolate and forlorn, buried and forgotten, with histories tragic, bloody, romantic; ruins where charred timbers, ghastly bones, and demolished walls speak of midnight attacks, treacherous surprises, and cruel slaughters; where whole cities have been exterminated and destroyed as if under the ancient commands to the Hebrews: "Destroy, slay, kill, and spare not."

A desert country, and yet, in spots, marvellously fertile. Barren, wild, desolate, forsaken it is, and yet, here and there, fertile valleys, wooded slopes, and garden patches may be found as rich as any on earth.

Where atmospheric colorings are so perfect and so divinely artistic in their applications that weary and desolate deserts are made dreams of glory and supremest beauty, and harsh rugged mountains are sublimated into transcendent pictures of tender tints and ever-changing but always harmonious combinations of color.


A land where rain may be seen falling in fifty showers all around, and yet not a drop fall, for a year or more, on the spot where the observer stands.

A land of sculptured images and fantastic carvings. Where water, wind, storm, sand, frost, heat, atmosphere, and other agencies, unguided and uncontrolled by man, have combined to make figures more striking, more real, more picturesque, more ugly, more beautiful, and more fantastic than those of the angels, devils, saints, and sinners that crown and adorn the ancient Pagan shrines of the Orient and the more modern Christian shrines of the Occident;—a veritable Toom-pin-nu-wear-tu-weep—Land of the Standing Rocks—more gigantic, wonderful, and attractive than can be found elsewhere in the world.

Where sand mountains, yielding alike to the fierce winds of winter and the gentle breezes of summer, slowly travel from place to place, irresistibly controlling fresh sites and burying all that obstructs their path.

A land where, in summer, railway trains are often stopped by drifting sands blown by scorching winds over almost trackless Saharas, and where, in winter, the same trains are stopped by drifting snows blown over the same Saharas now made Arctic in their frozen solitude.

A land where once were vast lakes in which disported ugly monsters, and on the surface of which swam mighty fish-birds who gazed with curious wonder upon the enormous reptiles, birds, and animals which came to lave themselves in the cooling waves or drink of their refreshing waters.

But now lakes, fishes, reptiles, and animals have entirely disappeared. Where placid lakes once were lashed into fury by angry winds are now only sand[9] wastes and water-worn rocks where the winds howl and shriek and rave, and mourn the loss of the waters with which they used to sport; and the only remnants of prehistoric fishes, reptiles, and animals are found in decaying bones or fossilized remains deep imbedded in the strata of the unnumbered ages.

Ancient Pottery dug from Prehistoric Ruins on the Painted Desert.

Ancient Pottery dug from Prehistoric Ruins on the Painted Desert.

A land where volcanic fires and fierce lava flows, accompanied by deadly fumes, noxious gases, and burning flames, have made lurid the midnight skies, and driven happy people from their peaceful homes.

A land through which a mighty river dashes madly and unrestrainedly to the sea, and yet where, a few miles away, a spring that flows a few buckets of water an hour is an inestimable treasure. Yes indeed, where, in sight of that giant river, thirsty men have gone raving mad for want of water, and have hurled themselves headlong down thousand-feet-high precipices in their uncontrolled desire to reach the precious and cooling stream.

A land of rich and florid coloring where the Master Artist has revelled in matchless combinations. It is a land of color,—sweet, gentle, tender colors that penetrate the soul as the words of a lover; fierce, glaring, bold colors that strike as with the clenched fist of a foe.

It is the stage upon which the bronze and white actors of three hundred and fifty years ago played their games of life with ambitions, high as they were selfish, determined as they were bold, and unscrupulous as they were successful.



Of the flora and fauna of the Painted Desert Region I have made no study. That they are fascinating the works of Hart Merriam, Coville, Lemmon, Hough, and others of later days, and of the specialists of the earlier government surveys, abundantly testify. There are cacti of varieties into the hundreds, sagebrush, black and white grama, bunch grass, salt grass, hackberry, buck-brush, pines, junipers, spruces, cottonwoods, and willows, besides a thousand flowering plants. There are lizards, swifts, rattlesnakes, scorpions, Gila monsters, vinegerones, prairie dogs, hedgehogs, turtles, squirrels, cottontail and jack-rabbits, antelope, deer, mountain sheep, wildcats, and some bear.

It is more of its physiographic conditions in a general way, however, that I would here write.

Most people's conception of a desert is a flat, level place of nothing but sand. It is sand instead of water; a desert instead of an ocean. Few deserts conform to this conception,—none, indeed, that I know of in the boundaries of the United States. This Painted Desert Region is wonderfully diversified. There is sand, of course, but much rock, many trees, more canyons, some mountains and lava flows, extinct volcanoes, forests, and pastures. The Grand Canyon runs across its northern borders, and it is the vampire river that flows in that never-to-be-described water-way that drains away the water which leaves this the desert region it is; for the[11] Colorado has many tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries,—the Little Colorado, Havasu (Cataract) Creek, Canyon Padre, Canyon Diablo, Walnut Creek, Oak Creek, Willow Creek, Diamond Creek, and a score or hundred others.

Its great mountains are the San Francisco range, on the shoulders of which Flagstaff is located, Mount San Mateo, seen from the Santa Fé train near Grants in New Mexico, and Williams Mountain, west of Flagstaff, at the foot of which the railway traveller will see the town of Williams.

Near Flagstaff are a number of extinct volcanoes and great masses of lava flow; from the train at Blue Water to the right a few miles one may see the crater Tintaro—the Inkstand. The Zuni Mountains have many craters, chief of which is the Agua Fria crater, and lava flows from the Zuni Mountains and Mount San Mateo meet in the valley, and one rides alongside them for miles coming west beyond Laguna.

South of Canyon Diablo is a wonderful meteoritic mountain, the explanation of whose existence the scientists have not yet determined. From Peach Springs a large meteoric rock was sent to the Smithsonian, and I have one dug out of a hole of its own making in the Zuni Mountains, both of which weigh upwards of a ton.

To the east of the Canyon Diablo Mountain is Sunset Pass, familiar to the readers of Gen. Charles King's thrilling Arizona stories, and beyond it to the south are Hell's Canyon,—which does not belie its name,—the Verdi Valley, and the interesting Red Rock Country, where numerous cliff and cavate dwellings have recently been discovered and explored by Dr. Fewkes.


Indeed, this whole region is one of cliff and cavate and other forsaken dwellings. Everywhere one meets with them. Desert mounds, on examination, prove to be sites of long-buried cities, and hundreds, nay thousands of exquisite vessels of clay, decorated in long-forgotten ways, have been dug up from them and sent to grace the shelves of museums and speak of a people long since crumbled to dust.

The miner has found it a profitable field for his operations, the Jerome and Congress, with the Old Vulture and similar mines, having made great fortunes for their owners. More than half our knowledge of the country came primarily from the daring and courageous prospectors who risked its dangers and deaths in their search for gold.

The roads in the Painted Desert are long and tedious, and the horses drag their weary way over the scorching sands, the wheels of the wagon sinking in, as does also the heart of the sensitive rider who sees the efforts the poor beasts are making to obey his will. Yet the animals seldom sweat. Such is the rapid radiation of moisture in this dry, high atmosphere that one never sees any of the sweat and lather so common to hard-driven horses in lower altitude.

The food question for horses is often serious if one goes far from the beaten path of traders or Indians. A desert is not a pasture, though its scant patches of grass often have to serve for one. The general custom, where possible, is to carry a small amount of grain, which is fed sparingly night and morning. The horses are hobbled and turned loose in as good pasture as can be found. Hence the first questions asked when determining a camping place are, "What kind of pasture and water does it possess?" There are times when one[13] dare not run the risk of turning the horses loose. Thirsty beyond endurance, they will often travel all night, even though closely hobbled, back to where the last water was secured. Then they must be tracked back, and no more exhausting and disheartening occupation do I know than this.

On one occasion we were compelled to camp where there was little pasturage. It rained, and there were two ladies in my party. The covered wagon was emptied and their blankets rolled down in it, so that they could be in shelter. Our driver was a German named Hank. Two of "his horses were mules," and these were tied one to each of the front wheels. The two real horses were tied to the rear wheels. During the night "Pete," one of the mules, got his fore legs over the pole of the wagon, and began to tug and pull so that the ladies were afraid the vehicle might be overturned. Calling to Hank, the poor fellow was compelled to get out of his blankets and in the rain go to Pete's rescue. To their intense amusement the ladies heard him remonstrating with the refractory mule, and almost exploded when he wound up his remonstrances, hitherto couched in quiet and dignified language, "Pete, you are von little tefel."

Some people do not like to hobble a horse, and so they picket him. There are different ways of "picketing" a horse. He may be tied by the halter to a bush, tree, wagon, or stake driven into the ground. But these methods are fraught with danger. I once had a valuable horse at a time when Dr. Joseph LeConte, the beloved professor of geology of the University of California, was spending a month with me in the mountains. We had six horses, and all were "picketed" from the halter, or[14] a rope around the neck. Three times a day we changed them to fresh pasturage. At one of the changing times we found the beautiful black stretched out cold and stiff. In scratching his head the hoof of his hind foot had caught in the rope, and in seeking to free himself he had pulled the rope tighter and tighter until he had strangled himself. The gentle-hearted professor sat down and wept at the tragic end of the noble horse "Duke" he had already learned to love.

To prevent this danger I have often picketed a horse's hind foot to a log heavy enough to drag, so that the hungry animal could move a little in search of food, but not run or get far away. There have been two or three times, however, in my experience, where I could find neither tree, bush, nor stake. Not a rock or log could be found for miles to which the saddle horse I rode could be picketed. What then could I do? Sit up all night to care for my horse? Ride all night? Or do as I heard of one or two men having done, viz., picket the horse to my own foot? I once heard of a man who was dragged to his death that way. His cayuse was startled during the night and started to run. As the rope tightened and he dragged the unhappy wretch attached to him, his fear increased his speed, and not until he was exhausted and breathless did he stop in his wild, mad race. He was found with the corpse, bruised and mangled beyond all recognition, still dragging at the end of the rope.

I had no desire to run such risk. So I did the impossible,—picketed my horse to a hole in the ground.

"Nonsense! Picket a horse to a hole in the ground? It can't be done!"


Indeed! But I did it. Watch me. Cut into the ground (especially if it is a little grassy) and make a hole a little larger than to allow your full fist to enter. As you dig deeper widen the hole below so that it is a kind of a chimney towards the top. Dig fully a foot or a foot and a half down. Then take the rope, which is already fastened at the other end to your horse, wrap the end around a piece of grass, or paper, or a small stone, or anything; put the knot into the hole, and "tamp" in the earth as vigorously as you can. Your horse is then fast, unless he grows desperately afraid and pulls with more than ordinary vigor.

The scarcity of water makes journeying on the Painted Desert a grave and serious problem. The springs are few and far between, and only in the rainy season can one rely upon stony or clay pockets that fill up with the precious fluid. In going from Canyon Diablo to Oraibi there are four places where water may be obtained. First in a small canyon a few miles west of Volz's Crossing of the Little Colorado; then at the Lakes,—small ponds of dirty, stagnant water, where a trading-post is located and where the journey is generally broken for a night. Next day, twenty-two miles must be driven to Little Burro Spring before water is again found, and a few miles further on, on the opposite side of the valley, is Big Burro Spring. Then no more water is found until Oraibi is reached. There are two springs on the western side of the Oraibi mesa, and three miles on the eastern side in the Oraibi Wash is a good well, some sixty feet deep, of cold and good but not over-clear water. There are small pools near Mashonganavi, Shipauluvi, and Shungopavi, but the water is poor at best and very limited in quantity to those who are used to the illimitable flow of ordinary Eastern cities. The[16] whole water supply at Mashonganavi, which is by far the best watered town of the middle mesa, would not more than suffice for the needs of a New York or Boston family of six or eight persons, and consternation would sit upon the face of the mistress of either household if such water were to flow through the faucets of her home.

At Walpi there are three pool springs on the west side, but all flow slowly. One is good (for the desert), another is fair, and the third is horrible. Yet this last is almost equal to the supply on the eastern side, where there are three pool springs, only two of which can be used for domestic purposes.

Storms fearful and terrible often sweep across this desert region. I have "enjoyed" several notable experiences in them, storms of sand, of rain, of wind, of lightning, and of thunder, sometimes one kind alone, other times of a combination of kinds. At one time we were camped in the Oraibi Wash not far from the home of the Mennonite missionary, my friend Rev. H. R. Voth. There were seven of us in my party,—five men, two women. Our general custom on making a camp was first of all to choose the best place for the beds of the ladies, and then the men arranged their blankets in picturesque irregularity around them at some distance away, thus forming a complete guard, not because of any necessity, but to make the ladies feel less timid. As my daughter was one of the ladies, I invariably rolled out my blankets near enough to be called readily should there be any occasion during the night.

We had not been in our blankets long, that night, before a fearful thunder and rain-storm burst upon us.[17] We had all gone to bed tired after our long and weary day watching the Hopi ceremonies, and the camp equipage was not prepared for a storm. It was pitch dark except for the sharp flashes of lightning which occasionally cut the blackness into jagged sections, and the deluge of rain waited for no squeamishness on my part. Hastily jumping up, I ran to and fro in my bare feet and night garments, caught up a big wagon sheet, and endeavored to spread it over the exposed beds of the ladies. The wind was determined I should not succeed, but I am English and obstinate. So I seized camera cases, valises, boxes of canned food, and anything heavy, and placed them upon the edges of the flapping canvas. Running back and forth to the wagon, the lightning every now and again revealed a drenched, fantastic figure, and I could hear suppressed laughter and giggles from under the blankets whence should have issued songs of thankfulness to me. But "it was ever thus!" I succeeded finally in pinning down the canvas, and had just rolled my wet and shivering form in my own drenched blankets, when Mr. Voth, with a lantern in his hand, came and simply demanded that the ladies come over to warmth and shelter in his hospitable house. Hastily wrapping themselves up, they started, blown about by the wind and flaunted by the tempest. The sand made it harder still to walk, and out of breath and wildly dishevelled, they struggled up the bank of the Wash and were soon comfortably ensconsed indoors. Then, strange irony of events, the storm immediately ceased, the heavens cleared, the stars shone bright, the cool night air became delicious to the nostrils and tired bodies, and we who remained outside had a sleep as ineffably sweet as that of healthful babes, while the[18] ladies sweltered and rolled and tossed with discomfort in the moist heat that had accumulated in the closed rooms.

The Painted Desert near the Little Colorado River.

The Painted Desert near the Little Colorado River.

Asleep, Early Morning, on the Painted Desert.

Asleep, Early Morning, on the Painted Desert.

A few years later I was again at Oraibi, and strangely near the same camping place. This time my companions were W. W. Bass, whose early adventures have been recounted in my "In and Around the Grand Canyon," a photographer, and a British friend of his who had stopped off in California on his way home from Japan. Mr. Britisher had contributed a small share towards the expenses of the expedition, but with insular ignorance he had presumed that his small mite would pay the expenses of the whole outfit for a long period. It must be confessed that we had had a most arduous trip. The Painted Desert had shown its ugly side from the very moment we left the railway. Four miles out we had been stopped by the most terrific and vivid lightning-storm it has ever been my good fortune to witness and to be scared half out of my wits with. At Rock Tanks we had another storm. We had been jolted and shaken on our way out to Hopi Point of the Grand Canyon, and had come so near to perishing for want of water that we fell on our knees and greedily drank the vilest liquid from an alkali pool, a standing place of horses, on our way to the Little Colorado. At the old Tanner Crossing of that stream we had had another rain and lightning-storm near unto the first in fury, and in which our British friend had been caught in his blankets and nearly frightened to death. In the Moenkopi Wash he was offended because I left the wagon to ride to the home and accept the hospitality of the Mormon bishop, which he interpreted again with insular ignorance to mean a palace, a place of luxury, exquisite[19] restfulness, good foods, and delicious iced wines, while he was left to beans, bacon, flapjacks, and dried fruit, and a roll of blankets on the rough and uneven ground. (It didn't make any difference that I explained to him next day that I had slept on a grass plot with one quilt and no pillow, cold, shivering, and longing for my good substantial roll of Navaho blankets, left for him to use if he so desired, and that our "banquet" had been coarse bread and a bowl of milk.) Then we had had another storm at Toh-gas-je, which I had partially avoided by riding on ahead in the light wagon of the Indian agent who piloted us, while he—Mr. Britisher—was in the heavier ambulance. The next night we camped, attempting to sleep on the stony slopes of the hillside at Blue Canyon in wretchedness and misery, because it was too late when we arrived to dare to drive down into the canyon. The next day we drove over the Sahara of America, a sandy desert which even to the Hopis is the most a-tu-u-u (hot) of all earthly places. That noon we camped in the dry wash of Tnebitoh, where we had to dig for water, waiting for it slowly to seep into the hole we had dug. It was a sandy, alkaline decoction, but we were glad and thankful for it, and the way the poor horses stood and longingly looked on as we waited for the inflow was pitiable. At night we camped some twelve or fifteen miles farther on, without water, hobbling the horses and turning them loose. I had engaged an Indian to go with us from Blue Canyon as helper and guide, so I sent him, in the morning, to bring in the horses. Two or three hours later he returned, with but one of the animals, and said he had tried to track the others, but could not do so. Imagine what our predicament would have been, in the heart of[20] the desert, without horses and water, and many miles away from any settlement. There was but one thing to be done, and Mr. Bass at once did it. Putting a bridle on the one horse, he rode off barebacked after the runaways. Knowing the character of his mules, he aimed directly for the Tnebitoh. When he arrived at the spot where we had watered the day before, he found that, with unerring instinct, the horses had returned to this spot and had dug new watering places for themselves. Then, scenting the cool grass of the San Francisco Mountains, they had aimed directly west, and, hobbled though they were, the tracks showed they were travelling at a lively rate of speed. Knowing the urgency and desperateness of our case, Bass followed as fast as he could make his almost exhausted animal go, and after an hour's hard riding saw, in the far-away distance, the three perverse creatures "hitting" the trailless desert as hard as they could. Jersey, a knowing mule, was in the lead. He soon saw Bass, and, seeming to communicate with the others, they turned and saw him also. Jack (the other mule) and the horse at once showed a disposition to stop, but Jersey with bite and whinney tried to drive them on. Finding his efforts useless, he stopped with the others, and, when Bass rode up, allowed himself to be "necked" (tied neck to neck) with the other two. Horses and man were as near "played out" as we cared to see them when, later in the day, they returned to camp.

It does not do to go out upon the Painted Desert without some practical person who is capable of meeting all serious emergencies that are likely to arise.

The next day we drove on to Oraibi, in the scorching sun, over the sandy hillocks, where no road would[21] last an hour in a wind-storm unless it were thoroughly blanketed and pegged down. We were all hot, weary, and ill-tempered. Thinking to help out, I volunteered to walk up the steep western trail to the mesa top and secure some corn at Oraibi for our horses, so that they could be fed at once on reaching our stopping place on the east side. When we started I had suggested the hope that we might be able to stop in the schoolhouse below the Oraibi mesa, as I had several times done in times before; but when the wagon arrived there, and I came down from the mesa, it was found to be already occupied by persons to whom it had been promised by the Indian agent. Camping, then, was the only thing left open to us, until I could see the Hopis and rent one of their houses. Down we drove to the camp, where alone a sufficiency of water was to be found. This explains our close proximity to the camp of the earlier year. We were just preparing our meal when a fierce sand-storm blew up. Cooking was out of the question; the fire blew every which way, and the sand filled meat, beans, corn, tomatoes with too much grit for comfort. This was the last straw that broke the back of Mr. Britisher's complacency. He had bemoaned again and again the leaving of his comfortable home to come into this "God-forsaken region," in a quest of what our crazy westernism called pleasure, and now his fury burst upon me in a manner that dwarfed the passion of the heavens and the earth. While there was a refinement in his vituperation, there was an edge upon it as keen as fury, passion, and culture could give it. I was scorched by his scarifying lightnings, struck again and again by his vindictive thunderbolts, tossed hither and thither by his stormy winds, and lifted heavenwards and then[22] dashed downwards by the tornadoes and whirlwinds of his passion. It was dazzling, bewildering, intensely interesting, and then fiercely irritating. I stood it all until he denounced my selfishness. There's no doubt I am selfish, but there is a limit to a fellow's endurance when another fellow claims the discovery and rubs it in upon you until he abrades the skin. So I raised my hand and also my voice: "Stop, that's enough. Dare to repeat that and I'll tie you on a horse and send you back to the railway in charge of an Indian so quickly that you'll wonder how you got there. Selfish, am I? I permitted you to come on this trip as a favor to my photographer. The paltry sum you paid me has not found one-fourth share of the corn for one horse, let alone your own food, the hire of the horses, wagon, and driver. To oblige you I have allowed you the whole way to ride inside my conveyance that you might talk together, while I have sat out in the hot sun. If any help has been needed by Mr. Bass in driving, I have willingly given it instead of calling upon you. I have done all the unpacking and the packing of the wagon at each camp, morning, noon, and night. I have done all the cooking and much of the dish-washing, and yet you have the impudence and mendacity to say I have been selfish. Very well! I'll take myself at your estimate. In future I'll take my seat inside the ambulance; you shall do your share of helping the driver. You shall do your share of the packing; and if you eat another mouthful, so long as you remain in my camp, you shall cook it yourself. I have spoken! And when I thus speak I speak as the laws of the Medes and Persians, which alter not, nor change!"

The Colorado River at Bass Ferry, the Vampire of the Painted Desert.

The Colorado River at Bass Ferry, the Vampire of the Painted Desert.


"Well, —— says you are selfish!" burst out the somewhat cowed man.

"Then I put him on the same plane as I put you; and if ever either of you dares to make that charge again, I will—"

Well, never mind what I, in my, what I still believe to be, just anger threatened. I turned away, went and secured an Indian's house, and that night we removed there.

But I wish I had the space to recount how those two unfortunates and misfortunates cooked their own meals and mine and Bass's. It is a subject fit for a Dickens or a Kipling. No minor pen can do justice to it. How they came and asked with quiet humility, "What are we going to have for supper?" and how I replied, "Raw potatoes, so far as I am concerned!" Neither knew whether a frying-pan was for skimming cream from a can of condensed milk or for making charlotte russes. Neither could boil water without scorching it. But surreptitiously (with my secret connivance) Bass gave the tyros gentle hints and finally "licked them" into fourth-rate cooks, so that I reaped the reward of their labors in selfishly and shamelessly taking some of the concoctions they had slaved over.

I know this plain, unvarnished tale reveals me a "bad man from Bodie," but I started out to give a truthful account of the Painted Desert and its storms, and this "tempest in a frying-pan" in camp cannot well be ignored by a veracious chronicler.

Last year, fate designed that we camp at exactly the same spot. The two wagons came to rest at about the same place where the ambulance stood, and exactly the same wind and sand-storm blew up before we had been there half an hour. I had with me a long,[24] eight-feet-high strip of canvas belonging to a very large circular tent. To ward off the force of some part of the storm we stretched this canvas from the trunk of one cottonwood tree to another, and moved our camp to the sheltered side. That was an insult to the powers of the storm. The wind fairly howled with rage, and pulled and tugged and flapped that canvas in a perfect fury of anger. Then as we huddled in its shelter, a sudden jerk came, and up it was ripped, from top to bottom, in a moment, and the loose ends went wildly flying and flapping every way. In the blowing sand I fled with the ladies to Mr. Voth's ever-hospitable house, but it was as hot as—well! no matter—in there. Outside, the cottonwoods were bowed over in the fury of the wind, and the sand went flying by in sheets. It was easy then to understand the remark of one experienced in the ways of the Painted Desert Region: "If you ever buy any real estate here, contract to have it anchored, or you'll wake up some morning and find it all blown into the next county." The flying sand literally obliterated every object more than a few feet away.

Now in this last case I had the pleasure—as peculiar a pleasure as it is to watch the coming of a hurricane at sea—to see the oncoming of this storm. We were enjoying perfect calm. Suddenly over the Oraibi mesa there came a great brown mass that stretched entirely across the country. It was the tawny sand risen in power and majesty to drive us from its lair. It was so grand, so sublime, so alive, that just as I instinctively rush to my camera at sight of an interesting face, I dashed towards it to secure a photograph of this new, gigantic, living manifestation. But in its fierce fury[25] it swept upon us with such rapidity that I was too late. We were covered with it, buried in it. As darkness leaps upon one and absorbs him, so did this storm absorb us. In an hour or so its greatest fury subsided; then we thought we would build our camp-fire and proceed to our regular cooking. How the wind veered and changed, and changed again as soon as the fire began to ascend. That is a point to watch in building a camp-fire. Be sure and locate it so that its smoke won't blow upon you when you sit down to eat. In this case, however, it would not have mattered. In my notebook I read: "We have changed the camp-fire three times, and no matter where we put it, the smoke swoops down upon us. Even now while I write I am half blinded by the smoke, which ten minutes ago was being blown in the opposite direction." So that if these few pages have an unpleasant odor of camp-fire smoke about them, the reader must charge it to the wilful ways of the wind on the Painted Desert.

Elsewhere I have spoken of the mystery brooding over the peoples of this land. It is also existent in the very colors of it, whether noted in early morning, in the glare of the pitiless Arizona noon, or at sunset; in the storm, with the air full of sand, or in the calm and quiet of a cloudless sky; when the sky is cerulean or black with lowering clouds; ever, always, the color is weird, strange, mysterious. One night at Walpi several of us sat and watched the colorings in the west. No unacquainted soul would have believed such could exist. To describe it is as impossible as to analyze the feelings of love. It was raining everywhere in the west; and "everywhere" means so much where one's horizon is not limited. The eye there roams over what[26] seem to be boundless distances. In all this space rain was falling. The sun had but half an hour more to live, and it flooded the sky with an orange crimson. The rain came down in hairy streaks brilliantly illuminated. The sun could be discerned only as a dimly veiled face, with the light shed below it—none above—in graceful curves. Then the orange and crimson changed to purple, deepening and deepening into blackness until day was done.

Sometimes the lighting up of the desert in the early morning gives it the effect of a sea-green ocean, and then the illusion is indescribably wonderful. At such times, if there are clouds in the sky, the reflections of color are as delicate and beautiful as the tintings of the sea-shells.

One night standing on the mesa at Mashonganavi looking east and south, the vast ocean-like expanse of tawny sand and desert was converted by the hues of dying day into a gorgeous and resplendent sea of exquisite and delicate color. On the further side were the Mogollon Buttes,—the Giant's Chair, Pyramid Butte, and others,—with long walls, which, in the early morning black and forbidding, were now illumined and etherealized by the magic wand of sunset.

If, however, one would know another of the marvellous charms of this Painted Desert Region let him see it in the early summer, after the first rains. This may be the latter part of June or in July and August. Then what a change! One seeing it for the first time would naturally exclaim in protest: "Desert? Why, this is a garden!"

A thin and sparse covering of grass, but enough to the casual observer to relieve the whole land from[27] the charge of barrenness; the black and white grama grasses, with their delicate shades of green; and a host of wild flowers of most exquisite colors in glorious combinations. Here masses of flaming marigolds and sunflowers; yonder patches of the white and purple tinted flowers of the jimson-weed, while its rich green leaves form a complete covering for the tawny sand or rocky desolation beneath. Here are larkspurs, baby blue-eyes, Indian's paint brush, daisies, lilies, and a thousand and one others, the purples, blues, reds, pinks, whites, and browns giving one a chromatic feast, none the less delightful because it is totally unexpected.

Then who can tell of the glory of the hundreds of cacti in bloom, great prickly monsters, barrel shaped, cylindrical, lobe formed, and yet all picked out in the rarest, most dainty flowers the eye of man ever gazed upon? Look yonder at the "hosh-kon," one of the yucca family, a sacred plant to the Navahoes. Its dagger-like green leaves are crowned and glorified with the central stalk, around which cluster a thousand waxen white bells, and this one is only a beginning to the marvellous display of them we shall see as we ride along. The greasewood veils its normal ugliness in revivified leaves and a delicate flossy yellow bloom that makes it charming to the eye. Even the sagebrush attains to some charm of greenness, and where the juniper and cedar and pine lurk in the shades of some of the rocky slopes, the deepest green adds its never-ending comfort and delight to the scene.

Yet you look in vain for the rivers, the creeks, the babbling brooks, the bubbling fountains, the ponds, that charm your eye in Eastern landscapes. Oh, for the Adirondacks,—the lakes and streams which abound on[28] every hand. If only these could be transplanted into this desert to give their peculiar delights without any of their drawbacks, then the Painted Desert Region would be the ideal land.

It would never do to bring the Adirondack flies and gnats and mosquitoes; its hot, sultry nights and muggy, sweltering days. No! These we can do without. We would have its advantages, but with none of its disadvantages.

How futile such wishes; how childish such longings! Each place is itself; and, for myself, I love the Painted Desert even in its waterlessness, its barrenness, and its desolation. Think of its stimulating altitude, its colors, its clear, cloudless sky, its glorious, divine stars, its delicious evening coolness, its never-disturbed solitudes, its speaking silences, its romances, its mysteries, its tragedies, its histories. These are some of the things that make the Painted Desert what it is—a region of unqualified fascination and allurement.



Three great fingers of rock from a gigantic and misshapen hand, roughly speaking, pointing southward, the hand a great plateau, the fingers mesas of solid rock thrust into the heart of a sandy valley,—this is the home of the Hopi, commonly and wrongly termed the Moki. The fingers are from seven to ten miles apart, and a visitor can go from one finger-nail to another either by descending and ascending the steep trails zigzagged on the fingers' sides, or he can circle around on the back of the hand and thus in a round-about manner reach any one of the three fingers. These mesa fingers are generally spoken of as the first or east mesa, the second or middle mesa, and the third or west mesa. They gain their order from the fact that in the early days of American occupancy Mr. T. V. Keam established a trading-post in the canyon that bears his name, and this canyon being to the east of the eastern mesa, this mesa was reached first in order, the western mesa naturally being third.

On the east mesa are three villages. The most important of all Hopi towns is Walpi, which occupies the "nail" of this first "finger." It is not so large as Oraibi, but it has always held a commanding influence, which it still retains. Half a mile back of Walpi is Sichumavi, and still further back Hano, or, as it is commonly and incorrectly called, Tewa.


About seven miles—as the crow flies—to the west is the second or middle mesa, and here are Mashonganavi, Shipauluvi, and on an offshoot from this second mesa, separated from it by a deep, sand-filled ravine, is Shungopavi.

Ten miles farther to the west is Oraibi, which marks the farthest western boundary of pueblo civilization.

Oh! the pathos, the woe, the untold but clearly written misery of the centuries in these cliff-built houses of the mesas, these residences that are fortresses, these steep trail-approached and precipice-protected homes. In a desert land, surrounded by relentless, wary, and vigilant foes, ever fighting a hard battle with the adverse conditions of their environment, short of water, of firewood, and with food grown in the desert-rescued lands below where at any moment the ruthless marauder might appear, there is no wonder that almost every elderly face is seamed and scarred; furrowed deeply with the accumulated centuries of never-ceasing care. Mystery here seems at first to reign supreme. It stands and faces one as a Presence. It hovers and broods, and you feel it even in your sleep. The air is full of it. The very clouds here are mysterious. Who are these people? From whence came they? What is their destiny? What fearful battles, race hatreds, devastating wars, led them to make their homes on these inaccessible cliffs? How did they ever conceive such a mass of elaborate ceremonial as now controls them? Solitary and alone they appear, a vast question mark, viewed from every standpoint. Whichever way one looks at them a great query stares him in the face. They are the chief mystery of our country, an anachronism, an anomaly in our twentieth-century civilization.


When we see the ruins of Egypt, India, Assyria, we look upon something that is past. Those peoples were: they pertain to the ages that are gone. Their mysteries are of lives lived in the dim ages of antiquity. But here are antique lives being lived in our own day; pieces of century-old civilizations transplanted, in time and place, and brought into our time and place; the past existent in the present; the lapse of centuries forgotten, and the days of thousands of years ago bodily transferred into our commercial, super-cultured, hyper-refined age.

The approach to the first mesa from Keam's Canyon is through a sandy country, which, in places, is dry, desolate, and bare. But here and there are patches of ground upon which weeds grow to a great height, plainly indicating that with cultivation and irrigation good crops could be raised. As we leave the mouth of the canyon the singular character of this plateau province is revealed. To the south the sandy desert, in lonesome desolation, stretches away as far as the eye can reach, its wearisome monotony relieved only by the close-by corn-fields of the Hopis and the peculiar buttes of the Mogollons. With the sun blazing down upon it, its forbidding barrenness is appalling. Neither tree, shrub, blade of grass, animal, or human habitation is to be seen. The sand reflects the sun's rays in a yellow glare which is irritating beyond measure, and which seems as if it would produce insanity by its unchangeableness.

To the right of us are the extremities of the sandstone plateaus, of which the Hopi mesas are the thrust out fingers. Here and there are breaks in the plateau which seem like openings into rocky canyons. Before us, ten or more miles away, is the long wall of the first[32] mesa, its falling precipices red and glaring in the sun. Immense rocks of irregular shape lie about on its summit as if tumbled to and fro in some long-ago-forgotten frolic of prehistoric giants. Right before us, and at about the mid distances of the "finger" from the main plateau, the mesa wall is broken down in the form of a U-shaped notch or gap,—from which Walpi, "the place of the gap," obtains its name; and it is on the extremity of the mesa, beyond this notch, that the houses of the Hopi towns can now clearly be discerned. Just beyond the notch a little heap of houses, apparently of the same color as the mesa itself, appears. Then a little vacant space and another small heap, followed by another vacancy with a larger heap at the extreme end of the mesa. These heaps, beginning at the notch, are respectively Tewa, Sichumavi, and Walpi.

Dotting the slopes of the talus at the foot of the mesa precipices are corn-fields, peach orchards, and corrals for burros, sheep, and goats.

As we approach nearer we see that the first mesa is rapidly losing its distinctively Indian character. The policy of the United States Government, in its treatment of these Indians, is to induce them, so far as possible, to leave their mesa homes and reside in the valley nearer to their corn-fields. As their enemies are no longer allowed to molest them, their community life on these mesa heights is no longer necessary, and the time lost and the energy wasted in climbing up and down the steep trails could far better be employed in working in the fields, caring for their orchards, or attending to their stock. But while all this sounds well in theory, and on paper appears perfectly reasonable, it fails to take into consideration the influence of[33] heredity and the personal passions, desires, and feelings of volitional beings. As a result, the government plan is not altogether a success. The Indian agents, however, have induced certain of the Hopis, by building houses for them, to consent to a partial abandonment of their mesa homes. Accordingly, as one draws nearer, he sees the stone houses with their red-painted corrugated-iron roofs, the schoolhouse, the blacksmith's shop, and the houses of the teachers, all of which speak significantly of the change that is slowly hovering over the Indian's dream of solitude and desolation.

But after our camp is made and the horses sent out in the care of willing Indians to the Hopi pastures, we find that the trails to the mesa summit are the same; the glaring yellow sand is the same; the red and gray rocks are the same; the fleecy and dark clouds that occasionally appear at this the rainy time are the same; the glaring, pitiless sun with its infernal scorching is the same; and we respire and perspire and pant and struggle in our climb to the summit in the same old arduous fashion. Above, in Hano, Sichumavi, and Walpi, the pot-bellied, naked children, the lithe and active young men, the not unattractive, shapely, and kindly-faced young women, with their peculiar symbolic style of hair-dressing, the blear-eyed old men and women, the patient and stolid burros, the dim-eyed and pathetic captive eagles, the quaint terraced-houses with their peculiar ladders, grotesque chimneys, passageways, and funny little steps, are practically the same as they have been for centuries.

There are two trails from the valley to the summit of the first mesa on the east side, one at the point, and three on the west side. We ascend by the northeastern[34] trail, which, on reaching the "Notch" or "Gap," winds close by an enclosure in which is found a large fossil, bearing a rude resemblance to a stone snake. All around this fossil, within the stone enclosure, are to be found "bahos," or prayer sticks, which have been brought by the devout as their offerings to the Snake Divinities. From time immemorial this shrine has been in existence, and no Hopi ever passes it without some offering to "Those Above," either in the form of a baho, a sprinkling of the sacred meal, the ceremonial smoking to the six cardinal points, or a few words of silent but none the less devout and earnest prayer.

At the head of this trail is Hano, and from this pueblo we can gain a general idea of Hopi architecture, for, with differences in minor details, the general styles are practically the same. Where they gained their architectural knowledge it is hard to tell, and who they are is yet an unsolved problem. It is pretty generally conceded, however, that all the pueblo peoples of Arizona and New Mexico—of whom the Hopis are the most western—are the descendants of the race, or races, who dotted these territories and southern Colorado with ruins, and who are commonly known as the Cliff and Cave Dwellers. But this is thrusting the difficulty only a few generations, or scores of generations, further back. For we are at once compelled to the agnostic answer, "I don't know!" when asked who are the Cliff Dwellers. Who they are and whence they came are still problems upon which such patient investigators as J. Walter Fewkes is working. He has clearly confirmed the decision of Bancroft and others which affirmed the identity of the Cliff and Cave Dwellers[35] with the Hopis and other pueblo-inhabiting Indians of the Southwest.

Hano, (Tewa) from the Head of the Trail.

Hano, (Tewa) from the Head of the Trail.

Although of different linguistic stocks and religion, the homes of the pueblo Indians are very similar. Almost without exception the pueblos built on mesa summits are of sandstone or other rock, plastered with adobe mud brought up from the water-courses of the valley. Those pueblos that are located in the valley, on the other hand, are generally built of adobe.

No one can doubt that the Indians chose these elevated mesa sites for purposes of protection. With but one or two almost inaccessible trails reaching the heights, and these easily defendable, their homes were their fortresses. Their fields, gardens, and hunting-grounds were in the valleys or far-away mountains, whither they could go in times of peace; but, when attacked by foes, they fled up the trails, established elaborate methods of defence, and remained in their fortress-homes until the danger was past.

The very construction of the houses reveals this. In none of the older houses is there any doorway into the lowest story. A solid wall faces the visitor, with perhaps a small window-hole. A rude ladder outside and a similar one inside afford the only means of entrance. One climbs up the ladder outside, drops through a hole in the roof, and descends the ladder inside. When attacked, the outer ladder could be drawn up, and thus, if we remember the crude weapons of the aborigines when discovered by the white man, it is evident that the inhabitants would remain in comparative security.


Of late years doors and windows have been introduced into many of the ancient houses.

It is a picturesque sight that the visitor to the Hopi towns enjoys as he reaches the head of the trail at Hano. The houses are built in terraces, two or three stories high, the second story being a step back from the first, so that a portion of the roof of the first story can be used as the courtyard or children's playground of the people who inhabit the second story. The third story recedes still farther, so that its people have a front yard on the roof of the second story. At Zuni and Taos these terraces continue for six and seven stories, but with the Hopis never exceed three. The first climb is generally made on a ladder, which rests in the street below. The ladder-poles, however, are much longer than is necessary, and they reach up indefinitely towards the sky. Sometimes a ladder is used to go from the second to the third story, but more often a quaint little stairway is built on the connecting walls. Equally quaint are the ollas used as chimneys. These have their bottoms knocked out, and are piled one above another, two, three, four, and sometimes five or six high. Some of the "terraces" are partially enclosed, and here one may see a weaver's loom, a flat stone for cooking piki (wafer bread), or a beehive-like oven used for general cooking purposes. Here and there cord-wood is piled up for future use, and now and again a captive eagle, fastened with a rawhide tether to the bars of a rude cage, may be seen. The "king of birds" is highly prized for his down and feathers, which are used for the making of prayer plumes (bahos).

There does not seem to have been much planning in the original construction of the Hopi pueblos. There was little or no provision made for the future. The[37] first houses were built as needed, and then as occasion demanded other rooms were added.

It will doubtless be surprising to some readers to learn that the Hopi houses are owned and built (in the main) by the women, and that the men weave the women's garments and knit their own stockings. Here, too, the women enjoy other "rights" that their white sisters have long fought for. The home life of the Hopis is based upon the rights of women. They own the houses; the wife receives her newly married husband into her home; the children belong to her clan, and have her clan name, and not that of the father; the corn, melons, squash, and other vegetables belong to her when once deposited in her house by the husband. She, indeed, is the queen of her own home, hence the pueblo Indian woman occupies a social relationship different from that of most aborigines, in that she is on quite equal terms with her husband.

In the actual building of the houses, however, the husband is required to perform his share, and that is the most arduous part of the labor. He goes with his burros to the wooded mesas or cottonwood-lined streams and brings the roof-timbers, ladder-poles, and door-posts. He also brings the heavier rocks needed in the building. Then the women aid him in placing the heavier objects, after which he leaves them to their own devices.

Being an intensely religious people, the shamans or priests are always called upon when a new house is to be constructed. Bahos—prayer plumes or sticks—are placed in certain places, sacred meal is lavishly sprinkled, and singing and prayer offered, all as propitiation to those gods whose especial business it is to care for the[38] houses.

It is exceedingly interesting to see the women at work. Without plumb-line, straight line, or trowel they proceed. Some women are hod-carriers, bringing the pieces of sand or limestone rock to the "bricklayers" in baskets, buckets, or dish pans. Others mix the adobe to the proper consistency and see that the workers are kept supplied with it. And what a laughing, chattering, jabbering group it is! Every tongue seems to be going, and no one listening. Once at Oraibi I saw twenty-three women engaged in the building of a house, and I then got a new "side light" on the story of the Tower of Babel; The builders of that historic structure were women, and the confusion of tongues was the natural result of their feminine determination to all speak at once and never listen to any one else.

I photographed the builders at Oraibi, and the next day contributed a new dress to each of the twenty-three workers. Here are some of their names: Wa-ya-wei-i-ni-ma, Mo-o-ho, Ha-hei-i, So-li, Ni-vai-un-si, Si-ka-ho-in-ni-ma, Na-i-so-wa, Ma-san-i-yam-ka, Ko-hoi-ko-cha, Tang-a-ka-win-ka, Hun-o-wi-ti, Ko-mai-a-ni-ma, Ke-li-an-i-ma.

The finishing of the house is as interesting as the actual building. With a small heap of adobe mud the woman, using her hand as a trowel, fills in the chinks, smooths and plasters the walls inside and out. Splashed from head to foot with mud, she is an object to behold, and, as is often the case, if her children are there to "help" her, no mud-larks on the North River, the Missouri, or the Thames ever looked more happy in their complete abandonment to dirt than they. Then when the whitewashing is done with gypsum, or the[39] coloring of the walls with a brown wash, what fun the children have. No pinto pony was ever more speckled and variegated than they as they splash their tiny hands into the coloring matter and dash it upon the walls.

Hopi Women building a House at Oraibi.

Hopi Women building a House at Oraibi.

Mashonganavi from the Terrace Below.

Mashonganavi from the Terrace Below.

Inside the houses the walls also are whitewashed or colored, and generally there is some attempt made to decorate them by painting rude though symbolic designs half-way between the floor and ceiling. The floor is of earth, well packed down with water generally mixed with plaster, and the ceiling is of the sustaining poles and cross-beams, over which willows and earth have been placed. Invariably one can find feathered bahos, or prayer plumes, in the beams above, and no house could expect to be prospered where these offerings to "Those Above" were neglected.

The chief family room serves as kitchen, dining-room, corn-grinding-room, bedroom, parlor, and reception-room. In one corner a quaint, hooded fireplace is built, and here the housewife cooks her piki and other corn foods, boils or bakes her squash, roasts, broils, or boils the little meat she is able to secure, and sits during the winter nights while "the elders" tell stories of the wondrous past, when all the animals talked like human beings and the mysterious people—the gods—from the upper world came down to earth and associated with mankind.

The corn-grinding trough is never absent. Sometimes it is on a little raised platform, and is large or small as the size of the family demands. The trough is composed either of wooden or stone slabs, cemented into the floor and securely fastened at the corners with rawhide thongs. This trough is then divided into two,[40] three, four, or more compartments (according to its size), and in each compartment a sloping slab of basic rock is placed. Kneeling behind this, the woman who is the grinder of the meal (the true lady, laf-dig, even though a Hopi) seizes in both hands a narrower flat piece of the same kind of rock, and this, with the motion of a woman over a washboard, she moves up and down, throwing a handful of corn every few strokes on the upper side of her grinder. This is arduous work, and yet I have known the women and maidens to keep steadily at it during the entire day.

When the meal is ground, a small fire is made of corn cobs, over which an earthern olla is placed. When this is sufficiently heated the meal is stirred about in it by means of a round wicker basket, to keep it from burning. This process partially cooks the meal, so that it is more easily prepared into food when needed.

In one corner of the house several large ollas will be found full of water. Living as they do on these mesa heights, where there are no springs, water is scarce and precious. Every drop, except the little that is caught in rain-time or melted from the snows, has to be carried up on the backs of the women from the valley below. In the heat of summer, this is no light task. With the fierce Arizona sun beating down upon them, the feet slipping in the hot sand or wearily pressing up on the burning rocks, the olla, filled with water, wrapped in a blanket and suspended from the forehead on the back, becomes heavier and heavier at each step. Those of us who have, perforce, carried cameras and heavy plates to the mesa tops know what strength and endurance this work requires.

For dippers home-made pottery and gourd shells are commonly used. Now and again one will find the horn[41] of a mountain sheep, which has been heated, opened out into a large spoon-like dipper; or a gnarled or knotty piece of wood, hacked out with flint knife into a pretty good resemblance to a dipper.

Near the water ollas one can generally see a shelf upon which the household utensils are placed. Here, too, when corn is being ground, a half-dozen plaques of meal will stand. This shelf serves as pantry and meat safe (when there is meat), and the hungry visitor will seldom look there in vain for a basket-platter or two piled high with piki, the fine wafer bread for which the Hopis are noted. Piki is colored in a variety of ways. Dr. Hough says the ashes of Atriplex canescens James are used to give the gray color, and that Amaranthus sp. is cultivated in terrace gardens around the springs for use in dyeing it red; a special red dye from another species is used for coloring the piki used in the Katchina dances; and the ashes of Parryella filifolia are used for coloring. Saffron (Carthamus tinctorius) is used to give the yellow color.

It is fascinating in the extreme to see a woman make piki. Dry corn-meal is mixed with coloring matter and water, and thus converted into a soft batter. A large, flat stone is so placed on stones that a fire can be kept continually burning underneath it. As soon as the slab is as hot as an iron must be to iron starched clothes it is greased with mutton tallow. Then with fingers dipped in the batter the woman dexterously and rapidly sweeps them over the surface of the hot stone. Almost as quickly as the batter touches, it is cooked; so to cover the whole stone and yet make even and smooth piki requires skill. It looks so easy that I have known many a white woman (and man) tempted into trying to make[42] it. Once while attending the Snake Dance ceremonials at Mashonganavi, a young lady member of my party was sure she could perform the operation successfully. My Hopi friend, Kuchyeampsi, gladly gave place to the white lady, and laughingly looked at me as the latter dipped her fingers into the batter, swept them over the stone, gave a suppressed exclamation of pain, tried again, and then hastily rose with three fingers well blistered. My cook, who was a white man, was sure he could accomplish the operation, so he was allowed to try. Once was enough. He was a religious man, and bravely kept silence, which was a good thing for us.

When the piki is sufficiently cooked, it is folded up into neat little shapes something like the shredded wheat biscuits. One thing I have often noticed is that a quick and skilful piki maker will keep a sheet flat, without folding, so that she may place it over the next sheet when it is about cooked. This seems to make it easier to remove the newly cooked sheet from the cooking slab.

If you are ever invited into a Hopi house you may rest assured you will not be there long before a piled-up basket of piki will be brought to you, for the Hopis are wonderfully hospitable and enjoy giving to all who become their guests.

Another object seldom absent is the "pole of the soft stuff." This is a pole suspended from the roof beams upon which all the blankets, skins, bedding, and wearing apparel are placed. Once upon a time these were very few and very crude. The skins of animals tanned with the hair on, blankets made of rabbit skins, and cotton garments made from home grown, spun, and woven cotton, comprised their "soft stuff." But when[43] the Spaniards brought sheep into the province of Tusayan, and the Hopis saw the wonderful improvement a wool staple was over a cotton one, blankets and dresses of wool were slowly added to the household treasures, until now the "garments of the old," except antelope, deer, fox, and coyote skins, are seldom seen.

Mashongce, an Oraibi Maiden, drying Corn Meal.

Mashongce, an Oraibi Maiden, drying Corn Meal.

The Trio of Metates, and Hopi Woman about to grind Corn.

The Trio of Metates, and Hopi Woman about to grind Corn.

It is a remarkable fact that the Hopis wore garments made from cotton which they grew themselves, prior to the time of the Spanish invasion. They also knew how to color the cotton from unfading mineral and vegetable dyes, and in the graves of ancient cliff and cave dwellings, well-woven cotton garments often have been taken.

Sometimes to-day one may see an old man or woman weaving a blanket from the tanned skins of rabbits. Such a garment is far warmer and more comfortable than one would imagine. The dressed pelts are twisted around a home-woven string made of shredded yucca fibre, wild flax, or cotton, and thus a long rope is formed many yards in length. This rope is then woven in parallel strings with cross strands of the same kind of fibre, and a robe made some five or six feet square.

The windows of the ancient Hopi houses were either small open holes or sheets of gypsum. Of late years modern doors and windows have been introduced, yet there are still many of the old ones in existence.

Having thus taken a general and cursory survey of Hano, let us, in turn, visit the six other villages on the mesa heights ere we look further into the social and ceremonial life of this interesting people.



The province of Tusayan is dotted over in every direction with ruins, all of which were once inhabited by the Hopi people. Indeed, even in the "pueblo" stage of their existence they seem to have retained much of the restlessness and desire for change which marked them when "nomads."

Traditionary lore among modern Hopis asserts that the well-known ruin of Casa Grande was once the home of their ancestors, and Dr. Fewkes has conclusively shown a line of ruins extending from the Gila and Salt River valleys to the present Hopi villages. So there is no doubt but that some, at least, of the Hopis came to their modern homes from the South. It is, therefore, quite possible that such ruins as Montezuma's Castle were once Hopi homes. Every indication seems to point to the fact that all these ancient ruins—some of which are caveate, others cliff, and still others independent pueblos, built in the open, away from all cliffs—were occupied by a people in dread of attack from enemies. Every home has its lookout. Every field could be watched. Nearly all the cliff and cave dwellings were naturally fortresses, and the open pueblos were so constructed as to render them castles of defence to their inhabitants on occasion.

In these facts alone we can see an interesting, though to those primarily concerned a tragic state of affairs; a home-loving people, sedentary and agricultural, willing[45] and anxious to live at peace, surrounded and perpetually harassed by wild and fierce nomads, whose delight was war, their occupation pillage, and their chief gratifications murder and rapine. The cliff- or cave-dwelling husband left his home in the morning to plant his corn or irrigate his field, uncertain whether the night would see him safe again with his loved ones, a captive in the hands of merciless torturers, or lying dead and mutilated upon the fields he had planted.

No wonder they are the Hopituh—the people of peace. Who would not long for peace after many generations of such environment? Poor wretches! Every field had its memories of slaughter, every canyon had echoed the fierce yells of attacking foes, the shrieks of the dying, or the exultant shouts of the victors, and every dwelling-place had heard the sad wailing of widows and orphans.

The union of these people, under such conditions, in towns became a necessity—self-preservation demanded cohesion. That isolation and separation were not unnatural or repulsive to them is shown by the readiness with which in later times they branched out and established new towns. These separations often led to bitter and deadly quarrels among themselves, and elsewhere[2] I have related the traditional story of the destruction of a Hopi city, Awatobi, by the inhabitants of rival cities, who in their determination to be "Hopituh"—people of peace—were willing to fight and exterminate their neighbors and thus compel peace.

Of the present seven mesa cities, towns, or villages of the Hopis, it is probable that Oraibi only occupies the same site that it had when first seen by white men in[46] 1540.

It will readily be recalled that when Coronado reached Cibola (Zuni) and conquered it he was sadly disappointed at not finding the piles of gold, silver, and precious stones he and his conquistadors had hoped for. The glittering stories of the gold-strewn "Seven Cities of Cibola" were sadly proven to be mythical. But hope revived when the wounded general was told of seven other cities, about a hundred miles to the northwest. These might be the wealthy cities they sought. Unable to go himself, he sent his ensign Tobar, with a handful of soldiers and a priest, and it fell to the lot of these to be the first white men to gaze upon the wonders of the Hopi villages.

Instead of finding them as we now see them, however, it is pretty certain that the first village reached was that of Awatobi, a town now in ruins and whose history is only a memory. Standing on the mesa at Walpi and looking a little to the right of the entrance to Keam's Canyon, the location of this "dead city" may be seen.

Walpi occupied a terrace below where it now is, and Sichumavi and Hano were not founded. At the middle mesa Mashonganavi and Shungopavi occupied the foothills or lower terraces, and Shipauluvi was not in existence.

What an interesting conflict that was, in 1540, between the few civilized and well-armed soldiers of Coronado and the warrior priests of Awatobi. Tobar and his men stealthily approached the foot of the mesa under the cover of darkness, but were discovered in the early morning ere they had made an attack. Led by the warrior priests, the fighting men of the village descended the trail, where the priests signified to the[47] strangers that they were unwelcome. They forbade their ascending the trail, and with elaborate ceremony sprinkled a line of sacred meal across it, over which no one must pass. To cross that sacred and mystic line was to declare one's self an enemy and to invite the swift punishment of gods and men. But Tobar and his warriors knew nothing of the vengeance of Hopi gods and cared little for the anger of Hopi men, so they made a fierce and sharp onslaught. When we remember that this was the first experience of the Hopis with men on horseback, protected with coats of mail and metal helmets, who fought not only with sharpened swords, but also slew men at a distance with sticks that belched forth fire and smoke, to the accompaniment of loud thunder, it can well be understood that they speedily fell back and soon returned with tokens of submission. Thus was Awatobi taken. After this Walpi, Mashonganavi, Shungopavi, and Oraibi were more or less subjugated.

In 1680, as is well known, Popeh, a resident of one of the eastern pueblos near the Rio Grande, conceived a plan to rid the whole country of the hated white men, and especially of the "long robes"—the priests—who had forbidden the ancient ceremonies and dances, and forcibly baptized their children into a new faith, which to their superstitious minds was a catastrophe worse than death. The Hopis joined in the plan, though Awatobi went into it with reluctance, owing to the kindly ministrations of the humane Padre Porras.

The plot was betrayed, but not early enough to enable the Spaniards to protect themselves, and on the day of Santa Ana, the 10th of August, 1680, the whole white race was fallen upon and mercilessly slain or driven out.


For the next nearly twenty years the more timid of the people lived in dread of Spanish retaliation. Then it was that Hano was founded. Anticipating the arrival of a large force, a number of Tanoan and Tewan people fled from the Rio Grande to Tusayan. Some of the former went to Oraibi, and the latter asked permission to settle at the head of the Walpi trail near to "the Gap."

Possibly about this same time, too, the villages located on the lower terraces or foothills moved to the higher sites, as they were thus afforded better protection.

Sichumavi—"the mound of flowers"—was founded about the year 1750 by Walpians of the Badger Clan, who for some reason or other grew discontented and wished a town of their own. Here they were joined by Tanoans of the Asa Clan from the Rio Grande, who for a time had lived in the seclusion of the Tsegi, as the Navahoes term the Canyon de Chelly in New Mexico.

Exactly when Shipauluvi was founded is not known, though its name—"the place of peaches"—clearly denotes that it must have been after the Spanish invasion, for it was the conquerors who brought with them peaches. Nor were peaches the only good things the Hopis and other American aborigines owed to the hated foreigners. They introduced horses, cows, sheep (which latter have afforded them a large measure of sustenance and given to them and the Navahoes the material with which to make their useful rugs and blankets), and goats, besides a number of vegetables.

Here, then, about the middle of the eighteenth century the Hopi mesa towns were settled as we now find them, and doubtless with populations as near as can be to their present numbers.


Hano we have already visited. Let us now, hastily but carefully, glance at each of the other villages as they appear at the present time.

Passing on to Sichumavi from Hano we find it similar in all its main features to Hano, except that none of its houses are as high. In the centre of the town is a large plaza where, in wet weather, a large body of rain-water collects. This is used for "laundry" purposes, as drink for the burros and goats, and a bathing pond for all the children of the pueblo. It is one of the funniest sights imaginable to see the youngsters playing and frolicking in the water by the hour,—I should have said liquid mud, for the filth that accumulates in this plaza reservoir is simply indescribable. Children of both sexes, their brown, swarthy bodies utterly indifferent to the piercing darts of the sun, lie down in this liquid filth, roll over, splash one another, run to and fro, and enjoy themselves hugely, even in the presence of the white visitor, until a glimpse of the dreaded camera sends them off splashing, yelling, gesticulating, and some of them crying, to the nearest shelter.

That supereminence of Hopi character is conservatism is shown as one walks from Sichumavi to Walpi. Here is a literal exemplification demonstrating how the present generations "tread in the footsteps" of their forefathers. The trail over which the bare and moccasined feet of these people have passed and repassed for years is worn down deep into the solid sandstone. The springy and yielding foot, unprotected except by its own epidermis or the dressed skin of the goat, sheep, or deer, has cut its way into the unyielding rock, thus symbolizing the power of an unyielding purpose and demonstrating the force of an unchangeable[50] conservatism.

Between these two pueblos the mesa becomes so narrow that we walk on a mere strip of rock, deep precipices on either side. To the left are Keam's Canyon and the road over which we came; to the right are the gardens, corn-fields, and peach orchards, leading the eye across to the second mesa, on the heights of which are Mashonganavi and Shipauluvi.

These gardens and corn-fields are the most potent argument possible against the statements of ignorant and prejudiced white men who claim that the Indians—Hopis as well as others—are lazy and shiftless.

If a band of white men were placed in such a situation as the Hopis, and compelled to wrest a living from the sandy, barren, sun-scorched soil, there are few who would have faith and courage enough to attempt the evidently hopeless task. But with a patience and steadiness that make the work sublime, these heroic bronze men have sought out and found the spots of sandy soil under which the water from the heights percolates. They have marked the places where the summer's freshets flow, and thus, relying upon sub-irrigation and the casual and uncertain rainfalls of summer, have planted their corn, beans, squash, melons, and chili, carefully hoeing them when necessary, and each season reap a harvest that would not disgrace modern scientific methods.

All throughout these corn-fields temporary brush sun-shelters are seen, under which the young boys and girls sit, scaring away the birds and watching lest any stray burro should enter and destroy that which has grown as the result of so much labor.

An Oraibi Woman shelling Corn in a Basket of Yucca Fibre.

An Oraibi Woman shelling Corn in a Basket of Yucca Fibre.

The "Burro" of Hopi Transportation.

The "Burro" of Hopi Transportation.


Here, too, in the harvesting time one may witness busy and interesting scenes. Whole families move down into temporary brush homes, and women and children aid the men in gathering the crops. Tethered and hobbled burros stand patiently awaiting their share of the common labor.

Yonder is a group of men busy digging a deep pit. Watch them as it nears completion. It is made with a narrow neck and "bellies" out to considerable width below. Indeed, it is shaped not unlike an immense vase with a large, almost spherical body and narrow neck. In depth it is perhaps six, eight, ten, or a dozen feet. On one side a narrow stairway is cut into the earth leading down to its base, and at the foot of this stairway a small hole is cut through into the chamber. Our curiosity is aroused. What is this subterranean place for? As we watch, the workers bring loads of greasewood and other inflammable material, kindle a fire in the chamber, and fill it up with the wood. Now we see the use of the small hole at the foot of the stairway. It acts as a draught hole, and soon a raging furnace fire is in the vault before us. When a sufficient heat has been obtained, the bottom hole is closed, and then scores of loads of corn on the cob are dropped into the heated chamber. When full, every avenue that could allow air to enter is sealed, and there the corn remains over night or as long as is required to cook it,—self-steam it. It is then removed, packed in sacks or blankets on the backs of the patient burros, and removed to the corn-rooms of the houses on the mesa above.

Other fresh corn is carried up and spread out on the house-tops to dry.

All this is stored away in the corn-rooms, into which strangers sometimes are invited, but oftener kept away[52] from. It is stacked up in piles like cord-wood, and happy is that household whose corn-stack is large at the beginning of a hard winter.

Walpi—the place of the gap—though not a large town, is better known to whites than any of the other Hopi towns. Here it was that the earliest visitors came and saw the thrilling Snake Dance. Its southeastern trail, with the wonderful detached rock leaning over on one side and the cliff on the other, between which the steep and rude stairway is constructed, has been so often pictured, as well as the so-called "Sacred Rock" of the Walpi dance plaza, that they are now as familiar as photographs of Trinity Church, New York, or St. Paul's, London. As one stands on the top of one of the houses he sees how closely Walpi has been built. It covers the whole of the south end of the mesa, up to the very edges of the precipice walls in three of its four directions, and, as already shown, the fourth is the narrow neck of rock connecting Walpi with Sichumavi and Hano. The dance plaza is to the east, a long, narrow place, at the south end of which is the "Sacred Rock." It is approached from south and north by the regular "street" or trail, and one may leave it to the west through an archway, over which is built one of the houses.

Several ruins on the east mesa are pointed out as "Old" Walpi, and the name of one of these—Nusaki—(also known as Kisakobi) is a clear indication that at one time the Spaniards had a mission church there. A Walpian, Pauwatiwa, shows, with pride, an old carved beam in his house which all Hopis say came from the mission when it was destroyed. On the terraces just below the mesa-top—perhaps a hundred or[53] two hundred feet down—are a number of tiny corrals, to and from which, morning and evening, the boys, young men, and sometimes the women and girls may be seen driving their herds of sheep and goats, and in which the burros are kept when not in use. These picturesque corrals from below look almost like swallows' nests stuck on the face of the cliffs.

As we wander about in the narrow and quaint streets of Walpi we cannot fail to observe the ladder-poles which are thrust through hatchways, down which we peer into the darkness below with little satisfaction. These lead to the kivas, or sacred ceremonial chambers, where all the secret rites of the different clans are held. Here we shall be privileged to enter if no ceremony is going on. The kivas are generally hewn out of the solid rock, or partially so, and are from twelve to eighteen feet square. When not otherwise occupied it is no uncommon sight to see in a kiva a Hopi weaver squatted before his rude loom, making a dress for his wife or daughter, or weaving a ceremonial sash or kilt for his own use in one of the many dances.

In every Hopi town one cannot fail to be struck with the nudity of the children of all ages, from the merest babies up to eight and even ten years. With what Victor Hugo calls "the chaste indecency of childhood" these fat, bronze Cupids and embryo Venuses romp and play, as unconscious of their nakedness as Adam and Eve before their fall.

From Walpi we descend to the corn-fields, and, after a slow and tedious drag across the sandy plain to the west, find ourselves at Mashonganavi, or at least at the foot of the trail which leads to the heights above. Here, as at the other mesas, there are two or three trails, all[54] steep, all nerve-wrenching, all picturesque. Arrived at the village, we find Mashonganavi an interesting place, for it is so compactly built that one often hunts in vain (for a while, at least) to find the hidden dance plaza, around which the whole town seems to be built. Some of the houses are three stories high, and there are quaint, narrow alley-ways, queer dark tunnels, and underground kivas as at Walpi. The Antelope and Snake kivas are situated on the southeastern side of the village, on the very edge of the mesa, and with the tawny stretch of the Painted Desert leading the eye to the deep purple of the Giant's Chair and others of the Mogollon buttes, which Ives conceived as great ships in the desert, suddenly and forever arrested and petrified.

About one hundred and fifty feet below the village is a terrace which almost surrounds the Mashonganavi mesa, as a rocky ruff around its neck. This terrace is so connected with the main plateau that one can drive upon it with a wagon and thus encamp close to the village. Here in 1901 the two wagon loads of sightseers and tourists which I had guided to the mysteries and delights of Tusayan, over the sandy and scorched horrors of a portion of the Painted Desert, encamped, during the last days of the Snake Dance ceremonies.

From here a trail—at its head an actual rock stairway—leads down to a spring in the valley, where the government school is situated, and from whence all our cooking and drinking water had to be brought. Each morning and evening droves of sheep and goats passed our camp, coming up from below and going down to the scant pasturage of the valley. Scarcely an hour passed when some Indian—oftener half a dozen—came to our camp, and failed to pass. Especially at meal times,[55] when the biscuits were in the oven, the stew on the fire, the beans in the pot, and the dried fruit in the stew-kettle, did they seem to enjoy visiting us. And they liked to come close, too; far too close for our comfort, as their persons are not always of the most cleanly character, and their habits of the most decorous and refined. Hence rules had to be laid down which it was my province to see observed, one of which was that visiting Indians must keep to a distance, especially at meal times. Another was that if our blankets were allowed to remain unrolled (in order to get the direct benefit of the sun's rays) they were not so left for our Indian friends to lounge upon.

An Aged Hopi at Oraibi.

An Aged Hopi at Oraibi.

A Hopi, weaving a Native Cotton Ceremonial Kilt.

A Hopi, weaving a Native Cotton Ceremonial Kilt.

We were generally a hungry lot as we sat or squatted around our canvas tablecloth, our table the rocky ground, and there was scant ceremony when ceremony stood in the way of appeasing our appetites. But we were not wasteful. If there were any "scraps" or any small remains on a plate or dish they were "saved for the Indians." So that at length it became a catch-word with us. If there was anything, anywhere, at any time, that we did not like, some one of the party was sure to suggest that it be "saved for the Indians." And that has often since suggested to me our national policy in treating the Amerind. There is too much national "Save that for the Indians." Land that is no good to a white man—save it for the Indians. Beef cattle that white men don't buy—save them for the Indians. Spoiled flour—save it for the Indians. Seeds that won't grow—ship 'em to the Indians.

And that reminds me of a now not undistinguished artist who once accompanied a small party of mine some years ago to the Snake Dance at Oraibi. I came[56] down to camp one day and found him cooking several slices of our finest ham, dishing up our choicest and scarcest vegetables, crackers, and delicacies, with a large pot of our most expensive coffee simmering and steaming by the camp-fire; and when I asked, "For whom?" was coolly told it was for three lazy, fat, lubberly, dirty Oraibis, who sat in delightful anticipation around the pump close by.

My objection to this use of our provisions was expressed in forceful and vigorous Anglo-Saxon, and when I was told it was "none of my business," I emphasized my objection with a distinct refusal to allow my provisions to be thus used. Then for half an hour immediately afterwards, and for days subsequently, at intervals, I was regaled with vocal chastisement worthy to be ranked with Demosthenes' "Philippics." "The Indian was a man and a brother. We were Christians, indeed, and of a truth when we would see our poor red brother starve to death before our sight," etc., ad libitum.

Now between my artist friend's course and the one first named the happy mean lies. I do not believe we should give to the Indian only the scraps that fall from our national table; neither, on the other hand, do I believe we are called upon to give him the very best of our foods and provide special coffee at seventy-five cents a pound.

And this sermon has occupied our time, by the way, as we have walked up the trail, by the Mashonganavi kivas to a spot from which we gain a good view of the village and of Shipauluvi on its higher and detached pinnacle a mile farther back. Again descending the trail to the terrace below, we walk half a mile and then[57] begin the ascent of a steep stone stairway, carefully constructed, that leads us directly to Shipauluvi. This is a small town, occupying almost the whole of the dizzy site, with its few houses built around its rectangular plaza.

Here I was once present at a witchcraft trial. It was a complicated affair, in which the dead and living, Navahoes and Hopis, were intertwined. A Hopi woman accused a Navaho of having bewitched her husband, thus causing his death, and of stealing from him a blanket and some sheep. The evidence showed that the Navaho had met the Hopi, and that soon afterwards he was taken sick and died, whereupon the sheep and blanket were found in the possession of the Navaho. There was little doubt of its being a case of theft, and the Navaho was ordered to return sheep and blanket, but he was exonerated from the charge of witchcraft.

Living in Shipauluvi is one of those singular anomalies so often found in the pueblos, an albino woman. There are a dozen or so living in the other villages. With Hopi face, but white hair and skin, pink eyes, and general bleached-out appearance, they never fail to excite the greatest surprise in the mind of the stranger, and to those who see them often there is still a lingering wonder as to the cause of so singular a variation of physical appearance. At Mashonganavi there are two men albinos, one of them one of the Snake priests. It is claimed by the Indians that these albinos are of as pure Hopi blood as those who are normal in color, and the fact is incontrovertible that they are born of pure-blooded parents on both sides.

Returning now to the terrace below, common to both Mashonganavi and Shipauluvi, the trail is descended to[58] Shungopavi. A deep canyon separates the mesa upon which this village is built from the one upon which the two former are located. Near the foot of the trail the government has established a schoolhouse, and close by are the springs and pools of water. It is a sandy ride or walk, and on a hot day—"a-tu-u-u"—wearisome and exhausting. For half a dollar or so one may hire a burro and his owner as guide, and it is much easier to go burro-back over the yielding sand than to walk. There are straggling peach trees on the way, and a trail, rocky and steep, to ascend ere we see Shungopavi.

The wagons may be driven to the village (as mine were), but it is a long way around. The road to Oraibi across the mesa is taken, and when about half-way across a crude road is followed which runs out upon the "finger tip" where Shungopavi stands. Here the governor in 1901 was Lo-ma-win-i, and he and I became very good friends. Knowing my interest in the Snake Dance, he sent for the chief priests of the Snake and Antelope Clans (Kai-wan-i-wi-ya-ŭ-má and Lo-ma-ho-in-i-wa), and from them I received a cordial invitation to be present and participate in the secret ceremonials of the kiva at their next celebration. I have been privileged to be present, but was never invited before.

The governor is an expert silversmith, the necklace he wears being a specimen of his own art. It is wonderful how, with their crude materials and tools, such excellent work can be produced. Mexican dollars are melted in a tiny home-made crucible, rude moulds are carved out of sand—or other stone into which the melted metal is poured, and then hand manipulation, hammering, and brazing complete the work. Their[59] silver articles of adornment are finger rings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Oraibi is the most western and conservative of the Hopi villages. It is by far the largest, having perhaps a third of the whole population. It is divided into two factions, the so-called hostiles and friendlies, the former being the conservative element, determined not to forsake "the ways of the old," the ways of their ancestors; and the latter being generally willing to obey orders ostensibly issued by "Wasintonia"—as they call the mysterious Indian Department. These divisions are a source of great sorrow to the former leaders of the village. In the introduction to "The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony" by Professor George A. Dorsey, of the Field Columbian Museum, and Rev. H. R. Voth, his assistant, and formerly a Mennonite missionary at Oraibi, this dissension is spoken of as follows: "During the year 1891 representatives of the Indian Department made strenuous efforts to secure pupils for the government school located at Keam's Canyon, about forty miles from Oraibi. This effort on the part of the government was bitterly resented by a certain faction of the people of Oraibi, who seceded from Lolúlomai, the village chief, and soon after began to recognize Lomahungyoma as leader. The feeling on the part of this faction against the party under Lolúlomai was further intensified by the friendly attitude the Liberals took toward other undertakings of the government, such as allotment of land in severalty, the building of dwelling-houses at the foot of the mesa, the gratuitous distribution of American clothing, agricultural implements, etc. The division thus created manifested itself not only in the everyday life of the people, but also in their religious[60] ceremonies. Inasmuch as the altars and their accessories are the chief elements in these ceremonies, they soon became the special object of controversy, each party contending for their possession; and so it came about that the altars remained to that faction to which the chief priests and those who had them in charge belonged, the members of the opposing faction, as a rule, withdrawing from further participation in the celebration of the ceremony."

The dance plaza is on the western side of the village, and there the dances and other outdoor ceremonies take place.

One of my earliest visits to Oraibi was made in the congenial company of Major Constant Williams, who was then the United States Indian Agent, at Fort Defiance, for the Navahoes and Hopis. We had driven across the Navaho Reservation from Fort Defiance to Keam's Canyon, and then visited the mesas in succession. We drove to the summit of the Oraibi mesa in his buckboard, a new conveyance which he had had made to order at Durango, Colo. The road was the same one up which the soldiers had helped the horses drag the Gatling gun at the time of the arrest of the so-called "hostiles," who were sent to Alcatraz for their refusal to forsake their Oraibi ways and follow the "Washington way." It was a steep, ugly road, rough, rocky, and dangerous. The Major's horses, however, were strong, intelligent, and willing, so we made the ascent with comparative ease. The return, however, was different. There were so many things of interest at Oraibi that I found it hard to tear myself away, and the "shades of night were falling fast"—far too fast for the Major's peace of mind—ere I returned to the[61] buckboard. By the time we had traversed the summit of the mesa to the head of the "trail" part of the descent, it was dark enough to make the cold tremors perambulate up and down one's spine. But I had every confidence in the Major's driving, his horses, and his knowledge of that fearfully precipitous and dangerous road. Slowly we descended, the brake scraping and often entirely holding the wheels. We could see and feel the dark abysses, first on one side and then on the other, or feel the overshadowing of the mighty rock walls which towered above us. I was congratulating myself that we had passed all the dangerous places, and in a few moments should be on the drifted sand, which, though steep, was perfectly safe, when we came to the last "drop off." This can best be imagined by calling it what it was, a steep, rocky stairway, of two or three steps, with a precipice on one side, and a towering wall on the other. Hugging the wall, the upper step extended like a shelf for eight or ten feet, and the nigh horse, disliking to make the abrupt descent of the step, clung close to the wall and walked along the shelf. The off horse dropped down. The result can be imagined. One horse's feet were up at about the level of the other's back. The wheels followed their respective horses. The nigh wheels stayed on the shelf, the off wheels came down the step. The Major and I decided, very suddenly, to leave the buckboard. We were rudely toppled out, down the precipice on the left,—I at the bottom of the heap. Down came camera cases, tripods, boxes of plates, and all the packages of odds and ends I had bought from the Indians, bouncing about our ears. Like a flash the two horses took fright and started off, dragging that overturned buckboard after them.[62] They did not swirl around to the left down the sandy road, but to the right upon a terrace of the rocky mesa, and we saw the sparks fly as the ironwork of the wagon struck and restruck the rocks. The noise and roar and clatter were terrific. Great rocks were started to rolling, and the echoes were enough to awaken the dead. Suddenly there was a louder crash than ever, and then all was silent. We felt our hearts thumping against our ribs, and the only sounds we could hear were their fierce beatings and our own hard breathing. Fortunately, we had landed on a narrow shelf some seven feet down, covered deep with sand, so neither of us was seriously hurt except in our feelings; but imagine the dismay that swept aside all thoughts of thankfulness for our narrow escape when that crash and dread silence came. No doubt horses and buckboard were precipitated over one of the cliffs and had all gone to "eternal smash." My conscience made me feel especially culpable, for had I not detained the Major we should have left the mesa long before it was so dark. I had caused the disaster! It was nothing that I had been "spilt out," that doubtless my cameras were smashed, and the plates I had exposed with so much care and in spite of the opposition of the Hopis were in tiny pieces—for I had clearly heard that peculiar "smash" that spoke of broken glass as I myself landed on the top of my head. Think of that span of fine horses, and the Major's new buckboard! The thought about completed the work of mental and physical paralysis the shock of falling had begun. I was suddenly awakened, not by the Major's voice, for neither of us had yet spoken a word,—and indeed, I didn't know but that he was dead,—but by the scratching[63] of a match. Then he was alive! That was cause for thankfulness. Setting fire to a dried cactus, the Major, after thoroughly picking himself up and shaking himself together, proceeded to gather up the photographic débris. Silently I aided him. Still silently we piled it all together, as much under the shelter of the rocks as possible, and then, still without a word, we climbed back upon the road and started to walk to the house of Mr. Voth, the missionary, where we were stopping. For half a mile or more we trudged on wearily through the deep and yielding sand. Still never a word. We both breathed heavily, for the sand was dreadfully soft. I was wondering what I could say. My conscience so overpowered me that I dared not speak. I was humbling myself, inwardly, into the very dust for having been the unconscious and innocent, yet nevertheless actual cause of this disaster. I simply couldn't break the silence. To offer to pay for the horses and buckboard was easy (though that would be a serious matter to my slender purse) compared with appeasing the sturdy Major for the shock to his mental and physical system. Then, too, how he must feel! At the very thought the cold sweat started on my brow and I could feel it trickling down my chest and back.

An Oraibi Basket Weaver.

An Oraibi Basket Weaver.

An Admiring Hopi Mother.

Suddenly the Major stopped, and in the darkness I could dimly see him take out his large white handkerchief, mop his brow and head, and then, with explosive force, but in a voice charged with deepest and sincerest feeling he broke the painful silence: "Thank God, the sun isn't shining."

Brave-hearted, generous Major Williams! Not a word of reproach, no suggestion of blame. What a relief to my burdened soul. I was almost hysterical in[64] my ready response. Yes, we could be thankful that our lives and limbs were spared. We were both unhurt. New horses and buckboard could be purchased, but life and health preserved called for thankfulness to the Divine Protector.

Thus we congratulated ourselves as we slowly plodded along through the sand. Arrived at Mr. Voth's, we soon retired,—he in the bedroom prepared for him by kindly Mrs. Voth, I in my blankets outside. The calm face of the sky soon soothed my disquieted feelings and nerves, and in a short time I fell asleep. Not a thought disturbed me until just as the faintest peepings of dawn began to show on the eastern ridges, when, awakening, I heard a noise as of a horse shaking his harness close by. Like a flash I jumped up, and, in my night-robe though I was, rushed to the entrance to the corral. There, unharmed and uninjured, with harness upon them complete, the lines dangling down behind, the neck yoke holding them together, as if they were just brought from the stable ready to be hitched to the wagon, were the two horses which I had vividly pictured to myself as dashed to pieces upon the cruel rocks at the foot of one of the mesa precipices.

I could scarcely refrain from shouting my joy. Hastily I dressed, and while dressing thought: "The horses are here; I'll go and hunt for the wagon." So noiselessly I hitched them to Mr. Voth's buckboard and drove off. When I came to the scene of the disaster, I found I could drive upon the rocky terrace. There was no difficulty in following the course of the runaways. Here was part of the seat, farther on some of the ironwork, and still farther the dashboard. At last I reached the overturned and dismantled vehicle. It was[65] in a sorry state. Two of the wheels were completely dished, the seat and dashboard were "scraped" off, one whiffletree was broken, and the whole thing looked as if it had been rudely treated in a tornado. I turned it over, tied the wheels so that they would hold, and then, fastening it behind Mr. Voth's buckboard, slowly drove back to the house.

When the Major awoke he was as much surprised and pleased as I was to find the horses safe and sound and the buckboard in a repairable condition. With a little manɶuvring we got the vehicle as far as Keam's Canyon, where old Jack Tobin, the blacksmith, fixed it up so that it could be driven back to Fort Defiance, and thither, with care and caution, the Major drove me. A few weeks later, under the healing powers of the agency blacksmith, the buckboard renewed its youth,—new wheels, new seat, new dashboard, and an all covering new coat of paint wiped out the memories of our trip down from the Oraibi mesa, except those we carried in the depths of our own consciousness.



To know any people thoroughly requires many years of studied observation. The work of such men as A. M. Stephen, Dr. Fewkes, Rev. H. R. Voth, and Dr. George A. Dorsey reveals the vast field the Hopis offer to students. To the published results of these indefatigable workers the student is referred for fuller knowledge. There are certain things of interest, however, that the casual observer cannot fail to note.

The costume of the men is undoubtedly a modification of the dress of the white man. Trousers are worn, generally of white muslin, and from the knee down on the outer side they are split open at the seam. Soleless stockings, home-spun, dyed and knit, are worn, fastened with garters, similar in style and design, though smaller, to the sashes worn by the women. The feet are covered with rawhide moccasins. The shirt is generally of colored calico, though on special occasions the "dudes" of the people appear in black or violet velvet shirts or tunics, which certainly give them a handsome appearance. The never-failing banda, wound around the forehead, completes the costume, though accessories in the shape of silver and wampum necklaces, finger rings, etc., are often worn.

The costume of the women is both picturesque and adapted to their life and customs. It is neat, appropriate, and modest. The effort our government feels called upon to make to lead them to change it for calico[67] "wrappers," in accordance with a principle adopted which regards as "bad" and "a hindrance to civilization" anything native, is to my mind vicious and senseless. The Indians are not to be civilized by making them wear white people's costumes, nor by any such nonsense. There are those who condemn their basket weaving, because, forsooth, it is not a Christian art. True civilizing processes come from within, and desire for change must precede the outward manifestation if permanent results are desired.

To return to the costume. It consists mainly of a home-woven robe, dyed in indigo. When made, it looks more like an Indian blanket than a dress, but when the woman throws it over her right shoulder, sews the two sides together, leaving an opening for the right arm, and then wraps one of the highly colored and finely woven sashes around her waist, the beholder sees a dress at once healthful and picturesque. As a rule, it comes down a little below the knee, and the left shoulder is uncovered. Of late years many of the women and girls have learned to wear a calico slip under the picturesque native dress, so that both arms and shoulders are covered.

Most of the time the legs and feet are naked, but when a woman wishes to be fully attired, she wraps buckskins, cut obliquely in half, around her legs, adroitly fastening the wrappings just above the knee with thongs cut from buckskin, and then encases her feet in shapely moccasins. There is no compression of her solid feet, no distortion with senseless high heels. She is too self-poised, mentally, to care anything about Parisian fashions. Health, neatness, comfort, are the desiderata sought and obtained in her dress. The question is sometimes asked,[68] however, if the heavy leg swathings of buckskin are not a mere fashion of Hopi dress. Undoubtedly there is a following of custom here as well as elsewhere, and, as I have before remarked, one of the keys to the Hopi character is his conservatism. But the buckskin leggings have a decided reason for their existence. In a desert country where cacti, cholla, many varieties of prickly shrubs, sharp rocks, and dangerous reptiles abound, it is necessary that the women whose work calls them into these dangers should so dress as to be prepared to overcome them. Many a man wearing the ordinary trousers of civilization and finding himself off the beaten paths of these desert regions has longed for just such protection as the Hopi women give themselves. The cow-boys who ride pell-mell through the brush wear leather trousers, and their stirrups are covered with tough and thick leather to protect their shoes from being pierced by the searching needles of the cactus, cholla, and buck-brush.

The adornments that a Hopi maiden of fashion affects are silver rings and bracelets made by native silversmiths, and necklaces of coral, glass, amber, or more generally of the shell wampum found all over the continent. The finer necklets of wampum are highly prized, and when very old and ornamented with pieces of turquoise, can not be purchased for large sums. Occasionally ear pendants are worn. These are made of wood, half an inch broad and an inch long, inlaid on one side with pieces of bright shell, turquoise, etc.

When a girl reaches the marriageable age, she is required by the customs of her people to fix up her hair in two large whorls, one on each side of her head. This gives her a most striking appearance. The whorl represents the squash blossom, which is the Hopi emblem[69] of purity and maidenhood. Girls mature very early, the young maidens herewith represented being not more than from twelve to fifteen years of age.

Shupela, Father of Kopeli, Late Snake Priest at Walpi.

Shupela, Father of Kopeli, Late Snake Priest at Walpi.

A Hopi Girl, Oraibi.

When a woman marries she must no longer wear the nash-mi (whorls). A new symbolism must be introduced. The hair is done up in two pendant rolls, in imitation of the ripened fruit of the long squash, which is the Hopi emblem of fruitfulness.

In my book on "Indian Basketry" I have described in detail the basketry of the Hopis. There are two distinct varieties made at the four villages of the middle and western mesas. Those made on the middle mesa are of yucca fibre (mo-hu) coiled around a core of grass or broom-corn (sű-ű). Those of Oraibi are of willow and approximate as nearly to the crude willow work of civilization as any basketry made by the aborigines. In both cases the splints are dyed, commonly nowadays with the startling aniline dyes, and with marvellous fertility of invention the weavers make a thousand and one geometrical designs, in imitation of natural objects, katchinas, etc. These are mainly plaques, but the yucca fibre weavers make a treasure or trinket basket, somewhat barrel-shaped, oftentimes with a lid, that is both pretty and useful. The name for all the yucca variety is pű-ű-ta. The Oraibi willow plaques are called yung-ya-pa, while a bowl-shaped basket is sa-kah-ta, and the bowls made of coiled willow splints bought from the Havasupai are sű-kű-wű-ta.

The Hopi weavers when at work invariably keep a blanket full of moist sand near them in which the splints are buried. This keeps them flexible, and the moist sand is better than water.


A reddish-brown native dye is made from Ohaishi (Thelesperma gracile), with which the splints are colored.

Unfortunately, the introduction of aniline dyes has almost killed the industry of making native dyes, but there are some few conservatives—God bless them!—who adhere to the ancient colors and methods of preparing them.

It cannot be said that the Hopis are devoid of musical taste, for in the early morning especially, as the youths and men take their ponies or flocks of goats and sheep out to pasture, they sing with sweet and far-reaching voices many picturesque melodies.

Of the weird singing at their religious ceremonials I have spoken in the chapter devoted to that purpose.

To most civilized ears Hopi instrumental music, however, is as much a racket and din as is Chinese music. The lelentu, or flute, however, produces weird, soft, melancholy music. Their rattles are of three kinds, the gourd rattle (ai-i-ya), the rattle used by the Antelope priests, and the leg rattle of turtle shell and sheep's trotters (yȕng-ush-o-na). The drum and hand tombe are crude affairs, the former made by hollowing out a tree trunk and stretching over each end wet rawhide, the lashings also being of strips of wet rawhide (with the hair on), which, when dry, tightens so as to give the required resonance. The hand tombe is as near like a home-made tambourine as can be. It has no jingles, however. Another instrument is the strangest conception imaginable. It consists of a large gourd shell, from the top of which a square hole has been cut. Across this is placed a notched stick, one end of which is held in the performer's left hand. In the other hand is a sheep's thigh-bone, which is worked back and forth over the notched stick, and the resultant noise is the[71] desired music. This instrument is the zhe-gun´-pi.

They do not seem to have many games, so many of their religious ceremonials affording them the diversion other peoples seek in athletic sports. Their racing is purely religious, as I have elsewhere shown, and they get much fun out of some of their semi-religious exercises.

A game that they are very fond of, and that requires considerable skill to play, is wē-la. The game consists in several players, each armed with a feathered dart, or ma-te´-va, rushing after a small hoop made of corn husks or broom-corn well bound together—the wē-la, and throwing their darts so that they stick into it The hoop is about a foot in diameter and two inches thick, the ma-te´-va nearly a foot long. Each player's dart has a different color of feathers, so that each can tell when he scores. To see a dozen swarthy and almost nude youths darting along in the dance plaza, or streets, or down in the valley on the sand, laughing, shouting, gesticulating, every now and then stopping for a moment, jabbering over the score, then eagerly following the motion of the thrower of the wē-la so as to be ready to strike the ma-te´-va into it, and then, suddenly letting them fly, is a picturesque and lively sight.

The Hopi is quite a traveller. Though fond of home, I have met members of the tribe in varied quarters of the Painted Desert Region. They get a birch bark from the Verdi Valley with which they make the dye for their moccasins. A yellowish brown color, called pavissa, is obtained from a point near the junction of the Little Colorado and Marble Canyon. Here they obtain salt, and at the bottom of the salt springs, where[72] the waters bubble up in pools, this pavissa settles. Bahos, or prayer sticks, are always deposited at the time of obtaining this ochre, as it is to be used in the painting of the face of the bahos used in most sacred ceremonies. The so-called Moki trail is evidence of the long association between the Hopis and the Havasupais in Havasu (Cataract) Canyon, and I have often met them there trading blankets, horses, etc., for buckskin and the finely woven wicker bowl-baskets—kű-űs—of the Havasupais, which are much prized by the Hopis.

Occasionally he reaches as far northeast as Lee's Ferry and even crosses into southern Utah, and at Zuni to the southeast he is ever a welcome visitor. The Apaches in the White Mountains tell that on occasions the Hopis will visit them, and when visiting the Yumas in 1902 they informed me that long ago the Snake Dancing Mokis were their friends, and sometimes came to see them.

Dr. Walter Hough has written a most interesting paper on "Environmental Interrelations in Arizona," in which are many items about the Hopis. He says they brought from their priscan home corn, beans, melons, squash, cotton, and some garden plants, and that they have since acquired peaches, apricots, and wheat, and among other plants which they infrequently cultivate may be named onions, chili, sunflowers, sorghum, tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, pumpkins, garlic, coxcomb, coriander, saffron, tobacco, and nectarines. They are great beggars for seeds and will try any kind that may be given to them.

Owing to their dependence upon wild grasses for food when their corn crops used to fail,—that is, in the days before a paternal government helped them out[73] at such times,—every Hopi child was a trained botanist from his earliest years; not trained from our standpoint, but from theirs. We should say much of his knowledge was unscientific, and it goes far beyond the use of grasses and plants as food. Dr. Hough in his paper gives a number of examples of the uses to which the various seeds, etc., are put. The botanist as well as the ethnologist will find this a most comprehensive and useful list. For food forty-seven seeds, berries, stems, leaves, or roots are eaten. The seeds of a species of sporobolus are ground with corn to make a kind of cake, which the Hopis greatly enjoy. The leaves of a number are cooked and eaten as greens.

A large amount of folk-lore connected with plants has been collected by Drs. Fewkes and Hough. From the latter's extensive list I quote. For headache the leaves of the Astragalus mollissimus are bruised and rubbed on the temples; tea is made from the root of the Gaura parviflora for snake bite; women boil the Townsendia arizonica into a tea and drink it to induce pregnancy; a plant called by the Hopi wűtakpala is rubbed on the breast or legs for pain; Verbesina enceloides is used on boils or for skin diseases; Croton texlusis is taken as an emetic; Allionia linearis is boiled to make an infusion for wounds; the mistletoe that grows on the juniper (Phoradendron juniperinum) makes a beverage which both Hopi and Navaho say is like coffee, and a species that grows on the cottonwood, called lo mapi, is used as medicine; the leaves of Gilia longiflora are boiled and drank for stomach ache; the leaves of the Gilia multiflora (which is collected forty miles south of Walpi at an elevation of six thousand feet), when bruised and rubbed on ant bites is said to be a specific;[74] Oreocarya suffruticosa is pounded up and used for pains in the body; Carduus rothrockii is boiled and drank as tea for colds which give rise to a prickling sensation in the throat; the leaves of Coleosanthus wrightii are bruised and rubbed on the temples for headache, as also is the Artemisia canadensis; and so on throughout a list as long again as this.

In connection with this list Dr. Hough calls attention to the workings of the Hopi mind in a manner which justifies an extensive quotation:—

"The word 'medicine' as applied by the Hopi and other tribes is very comprehensive, including charms to influence gods, men, and animals, or to cure a stomach ache. As stated, from experiments with the plants some have been discovered which are uniform in action and which would have place in a standard pharmacopœia. Thus there are heating plasters, powders for dressing wounds, emetics, diuretics, purges, sudorific infusions, etc. Other plants are of doubtful value, and in their use other animistic ideas may enter, though some of them, such as those infused for colds, headache, rheumatism, fever, etc., may have therapeutic properties. The obligation of the civilized to the uncivilized for healing plants is very great. Another class is clearly out of the domain of empirical medicine. Tea made from the thistle is a remedy for prickling pains in the larynx, milkweed will induce a flow of milk, and there are other examples of inferential medicine. Perhaps another class is shown by the employment of the plant named for the bat, in order to induce sleep in the daytime.

"It may be interesting to look into the workings of the Indian mind as shown by his explanation of the uses of certain of these plants.

"A beautiful scarlet gilia (Gilia aggregata Spreng) grows on the talus of the giant mesa on which ancient Awatobi stood. This is the only locality where the plant has been collected in[75] this region, but it grows in profusion on the White Mountains, one hundred and twenty-five miles southeast.

"The herdsman of our party was asked the name and use of the plant. He replied: 'It is the pala katchi, or red male flower, and it is very good for catching antelope. Before going out to kill antelope, hunters rub up the flowers and leaves of the plant and mix them with the meal which they offer during their prayer to the gods of the chase.'

"'Why is that?' was asked.

"'Because,' he replied, 'the antelope is very fond of this plant and eats it greedily when he can find it.' (Animistic idea.)

"Another creeping plant (Solanum triflorum Nutt.), which bears numerous green fruit about the size of a cherry, filled with small seeds, is called cavayo ngahu, or watermelon medicine. The plant may be likened to a miniature watermelon vine. It was explained that if one took the fruit and planted it in the same hill with the watermelon seeds, would there be many watermelons,—that is, the watermelon would be influenced to become as prolific as the small plant.

"Every one is familiar with the clematis bearing fluffy bunches of seeds having long, hair-like appendages. An Indian lecturing on a collected specimen of the clematis said: 'This is very good to make the hair grow. You make a tea of it and rub it on the head, and pretty quick your hair will hang down to your hips,' indicating by a gesture the extraordinary length. For the same reason the fallugia is a good hair tonic."

The Hopi uses a weapon for catching rabbits which, for want of a better name, white men call a boomerang. It possesses none of the strange properties of the Australian weapon, yet in the hands of a skilled Hopi it is wonderfully effective. I have seen fifty Oraibis on horseback, and numbers of men and boys on foot, each armed with one of these weapons, on their rabbit drive. They[76] determine on a certain area and then beat it thoroughly for rabbits, and woe be to the unhappy cottontail or even lightning-legged jack-rabbit if a Hopi throws his boomerang. Like the wind it speeds true to its aim and seldom fails to kill or seriously wound.

Though most of the men have guns and many of the youths revolvers, the bow and arrow as a weapon is not entirely discarded. All the young boys, even little tots that can scarcely walk, use the bow and arrow with dexterity. A small hard melon or pumpkin is thrown into the air and a child will sometimes put two or even three arrows into it before it reaches the ground. Old men who are too poor to own modern weapons are often seen sitting like the proverbial and oft-pictured fox, stealthily watching for a ground squirrel, prairie-dog, or rat to come out of his hole, when the speedy and certain arrow is let fly to his undoing.

Except for a little wild meat of this kind, secured seldom, or a sheep, which is too valuable for its wool to kill on any except very special and rare occasions, the Hopis are practically vegetarians. They are not above taking what the gods send them, however, in the shape of a dead horse. A few years ago Mr. D. M. Riordan, formerly of Flagstaff, conducted a party of friends over a large section of the region presented in these pages, and when near Oraibi a beautiful mare of one of the teams suddenly bloated and speedily died. In less than an hour after they were told they might take the flesh; the Hopis had skinned it, cut up the carcass, and removed every shred of it. I afterwards saw the flesh cut into strips, hung outside the houses of the fortunate possessors to dry, and I doubt not that horse meat made many a happy meal for them during the months that[77] followed.

Hopi Children, at Oraibi, Waiting for a Scramble of Candy.

Hopi Children, at Oraibi, Waiting for a Scramble of Candy.

When a Hopi feels rich he may buy a sheep or a goat from a Navaho, or even kill a burro in order to vary his dietary.

Corn is his staple food. It is cooked in a variety of ways, but the three principal methods are piki, pikami, and pū-vū-lū. Piki is a thin, wafer-like bread, cooked as I have before described.

On one occasion, at Oraibi, an old friend, Na-wi-so-ma, was making piki for the Snake Dancers. When I took my friends to see her, they all ate of the bread and asked her all manner of questions about it.

Na-wi-so-ma was very kind and obliging. One of my party wished to make moving photographs of the operation of making piki, so she cheerfully moved her tōō-ma (cooking stone) outside. She insisted upon placing it, however, so that her back was to the blazing sun, which rendered it impossible to make the photographs. It was in vain that I explained to her why she must face the sun, and, at last, in desperation, I seized the heavy tōō-ma and carried it where I desired it to be. In my haste in putting it down—rather, dropping it—it snapped in two, and I had to repair the damage to her stone and feelings with a piece of silver ere we could proceed.

Pikami is made as follows: A certain amount of corn-meal is mixed with a small amount of sugar, and coloring matter made from squash flowers. This mixture is then placed in an earthenware vessel, or olla, and a cover tightly sealed on the vessel with mud. It is now ready to go into the oven. The pikami oven is generally out of doors. Sometimes it is a mere hole in the ground, without a covering, but the better style is where[78] the hole is located in the angle of two walls and partially covered. A broken olla is made to serve as a chimney. To prepare the oven, sticks of wood are placed inside it and set on fire. When these are reduced to flaming coals and the oven is red hot, the coals are withdrawn, and the olla containing the corn-meal mixture is lowered into the hole. This is then covered with a stone slab, sealed with mud, and allowed to remain closed for several hours. When the oven is unsealed and the olla withdrawn, the corn-meal is thoroughly cooked—now pikami—and the dish is both nutritious and delicious.

Pū-vū-lū is a corn-meal preparation that corresponds somewhat to the New England doughnut. On one occasion, just before the Snake Dance at Mashonganavi, I found Ma-sa-wi-ni-ma, Kuchyeampsi's mother, busy preparing the dish. When I induced her to come into the sunshine to be photographed, stirring the meal, just eight other kodak and camera fiends insisted upon "shooting" her at the same time. She was very complacent about it, especially when I collected ten cents a head for her, and handed her ninety cents for her five minutes' pose.

Her method was as follows: Into a cha-ka-ta (bowl) she placed corn-meal and a little coloring matter. Then adding sugar and water, she stirred it with a stick, as shown in the photograph. It was made to a thick dough. In the meantime a pan of water, into which mutton fat had been placed, was on the fire, and when it was hot enough small balls of the corn-meal dough were dropped into the water and fat and allowed to remain until cooked. The result is a not unpleasant food, of which the Hopis are very fond.


One of the common dishes, when a sheep has been killed, is the neű-euck´-que-vi, a stew composed of corn, mutton, and chili.

So far the Hopis have not been a success as traders. It is a slow and long journey from aboriginal life to civilization. One of the young men who had been to school, a bright youth of some twenty-three years,—Kuy-an-im´-ti-wa,—was fired with a desire to trade with his people on his own account. Permission was given him by the agent to start a store. A small building was speedily erected at the foot of the Mashonganavi mesa and a stock of goods purchased. For a while things went well. Then Kuyanimtiwa had to go away on business, and an elderly uncle (I think it was) took charge of the store in his absence. When the embryo trader returned he found his shelves nearly empty, and a lot of trash accumulated under his counter, which the old man had taken "in trade." The credits of many Hopis had been extended and enlarged without proper consulting of Bradstreet's or Dun's, and blank ruin stared poor Kuyanimtiwa in the face. I purchased about eighty dollars' worth of baskets and "truck" from him, for which, however, I was compelled to give him my check. For long weeks, indeed months, the check did not come in, until I feared the poor fellow had lost it. When I inquired I found it was in the hands of the agent, being held as security until some disposal was made of a suit between the old man and Kuyanimtiwa. It ultimately reached the bank, so I assume the trouble was ended, but it will be some time, if what he said has lasting force, before the young Hopi will open store again with an untrained assistant.

In an earlier chapter I have shown that the women build and own the houses. In return the men knit the[80] stockings and weave the women's dresses and sashes. With looms very similar to those described in the chapter on "Navaho Blanketry," they make the dresses we have seen the women wearing. In the days before the Spaniards introduced sheep the Hopis grew cotton quite extensively, dyed it with the simple but beautiful and permanent dyes, and wove it into garments. The blue of the dresses was originally obtained—and is yet by some—from the seeds of the sunflower.

In several cases I have found blind men engaged in knitting stockings. With needles of wood, long and slender, their fingers busily moved as those of the old housewives used to do in my boyhood's days. One was an old man, Tu-ki-i´-ma. He was "si-bo´-si" (blind), and expressed his thankfulness for the occupation. Another poor old man, stone blind, was winding yarn into a ball. He was squatted upon the ground, with the yarn around his feet and knees. It was a pathetic sight to see the old and forlorn creature anxious to make himself useful, even though blind and aged.

There are a score of other interesting matters I should enjoy referring to did space permit, but these must be left for some future time.

That they are picturesque and interesting, and in some of their ceremonies fascinating, there is no question. They are religious (in their way), domestic, honest, faithful, industrious, and chaste. But there is no denying that many of them are dirty,—really, indescribably filthy. One of my old drivers, Franklin French, used to say with a turn up of his nose: "I'd rather associate with a good skunk who was up in the skunk business than get to leeward of a Moki town." Their sanitary accommodations are nil, and their habits accord with their[81] accommodations. Were it not for the fierce rays of the sun and the strong winds that purify their elevated mesa-tops, the accumulated evils would soon render habitation impossible. Water being so scarce, they are not habitually cleanly in person, as are some of the other peoples. Hence the contempt with which many of the Navahoes regard them.

Of course there are exceptions, where both houses and individuals are as neat and clean as can be. Among Hopis as well as among whites, it is not possible to generalize too widely.



The Hopi is essentially religious. As a ritualist he has no superior on the face of the earth. From the ceremonial standpoint the Hopi people are the most religious nation known. From four to sixteen days of every month are employed by one society or another in the performance of secret religious rites, or in public ceremonies, which, for want of a better name, the whites call dances. So complex, indeed, is the Hopi's religious life that we have no complete calendar as yet of all the ceremonies that he feels called upon to observe. Every act of his life from the cradle to the grave has a religious side. Fear and the need for propitiation are the motive powers of his religious life, and these, combined with his stanch conservatism, render him a wonderfully fertile subject for study as to the workings of the child mind of the human race.

With such a complex and vast religious system this chapter can attempt no more than merely to outline or suggest the thoughts upon which his religion is based, and then, in brief, describe two or three of the most important of his religious ceremonials.

I can do better than attempt a difficult matter, and one that requires years of study, viz., to account for the religious concepts of the Indian. I can urge the reader to obtain Major J. W. Powell's "Lessons of Folk-lore," which appeared in the American Anthropologist[83] for January-March, 1900. In it he has written a most fascinating account of the thought movements of the Amerind; and Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, in his "Interpretation of Katchina Worship," has given a clearer idea of Hopi religious belief than has ever before been penned.

Group of Hopi Maidens at Shungopavi.

Group of Hopi Maidens at Shungopavi.

The Hopis themselves are not aware of the why and wherefore of all they do. For centuries they have followed "the ways of the old," until they are ultra conservatives, especially in matters pertaining to religion.

I have already referred to and described the kivas or underground ceremonial chambers, where many of their rites are performed.

Six objects closely connected with their worship should be thoroughly understood, as such knowledge will simplify a thousand and one things that will otherwise appear mysterious to one who visits the Hopis for the first time. These objects are the baho (prayer stick or plume), the puhtabi (road marker), the tiponi, the natchi, the shrine, and the katchina.

The baho is inseparably connected with all religious ceremonies and prayers. Without it prayers would be inefficacious. Generally, before every ceremony is performed, a certain time is given to the making of bahos. One form of baho is made of two sticks, painted green with black points, one male and the other female, tied together with a string made of native cotton, and cut to a prescribed length. A small corn husk, shaped like a funnel and holding a little prayer meal and honey, is attached to the sticks at their place of union. Tied to this husk is a short, four-stranded cotton string, on the end of which are two small feathers. A turkey wing-feather and a sprig of two certain herbs are tied so[84] as to protrude above the butt ends of the sticks, and the baho is complete.

Other bahos are made of flat pieces of board, anywhere from a foot to three feet in length, and two inches or more wide, to which feathers and herbs are attached. On the face of these figures of katchinas, animals, reptiles, and natural objects, such as rain-clouds, descending rain, corn, etc., are painted, every object having a distinct and symbolic meaning. In other cases the bahos are carved into the zigzag shape of the lightning. The Soyal bahos are many and various. Some are long, thin sticks, with cotton strings and feathers attached near the ends; others are thicker, with many feathers tied to the centre; some are bent or crook-shaped, while still others are long willow switches to which eagle, hawk, turkey, flicker, and other feathers are tied. They are made with great care and solemnity and prayed over and "consecrated" before being used. They are "prayer bearers," the feathers symbolizing the birds who used to fly to and from the World of the Powers with their messages to mankind and the answers thereto.

The puhtabi (or road marker) is a long piece of native cotton string, to which a feather or feathers are attached, and it is placed on the trails to mark the beginning of the road (hence its name) to the shrines which are to be visited during the ceremonies.

The tiponi is to the Hopi what the cross is to the devout Catholic. No altar is complete without it. Altars are often set up with a substitute for a tiponi, but all recognize its insufficiency. Tiponis vary, that of the Antelope Society being a bunch of long feathers (see the photograph in the chapter on the "Snake[85] Dance"), while that of the Soyal ceremony is of a quartz crystal inserted into a cylindrical-shaped vessel of cottonwood root.

In the Lelentu and Lalakonti ceremonies part of the rites consist in an unwrapping of the tiponis. In both of them either kernels of corn or other seeds formed essential parts. Dr. Fewkes says: "From chiefs of other societies it has been learned that their tiponis likewise contained corn, either in grains or on the ear. Although from this information one is not justified in concluding that all tiponis contain corn, it is probably true with one or two exceptions. The tiponi is called the "mother," and an ear of corn given to a novice has the same name. There is nothing more precious to an agricultural people than seed, and we may well imagine that during the early Hopi migrations the danger of losing it may have led to every precaution for its safety. Thus it may have happened that it was wrapped in the tiponi and given to the chief to guard with all care as a most precious heritage. In this manner it became a mere symbol, and as such it persists to-day."

Whenever ceremonies are about to take place in the kivas the chief priest puts in place on the ladder-poles or near the hatchway of each participating kiva a sign of the fact, called the natchi. This I have later described on the Snake and Antelope kivas. At the Soyal ceremony on the Kwan (Agave) kiva, the natchi consisted of a bent stick, to which were fastened six feathers, representing the Hopi six world-quarters. For the north, a yellow feather of the flycatcher or warbler; for the west, a blue feather of the bluebird; for the south, a red feather of the parrot; for the east, a black-and-white feather of the magpie; for the northeast[86] (above), a black feather of the hepatic tanager; and for the southwest (below), a feather from an unknown source and called toposhkwa, representing different colors.

The natchis of two of the kivas in the New Fire ceremony held in Walpi in 1898 were sticks, about a foot long, to the ends of which bundles of hawk feathers were attached. At another kiva it was an agave stalk, at one end of which were attached several crane feathers and a circlet of corn husks. A natchi used later by another society consisted of a cap-shaped object of basketry, to which were attached two small whitened gourds in imitation of horns.

That the natchi is more than a sign of warning to outsiders to keep away from the secret rites of the kiva is evidenced by the variety of materials used; and, indeed, the things themselves are now known to be symbols, to some of which Mr. Voth has learned the key. For instance, on the natchi of the Snake and Antelope Societies, the skins of the piwani—which is supposed to be the weasel—are attached. The Hopis say of the animal to whom the skin belongs that when chased into a hole, he works his way through the ground so quickly that he escapes and "gets out" at some other place. Now see the ceremonial significance of the use of this weasel's skin on the Snake natchi. They are supposed to affect the clouds and compel them to "come out," so that rain will come quickly.

Near all the villages, or on the terraces below, a number of shrines may be found where certain of the "Powers" are worshipped. In the account of the Snake Dance I speak of the shrine of the Spider Woman, and show the photograph made when I followed Tubangointiwa (the Antelope chief), and watched him deposit[87] bahos and offer prayers to her. The number of shrines is large. I have seen many, but there is not space here to describe them. It is an interesting occupation, during the ceremonies, to follow the priests, after they have deposited the puhtabi and begun to sprinkle the sacred meal, to the shrines. If the observer can then have explained to him the deity to whom the shrine is dedicated, and his or her place in the Hopi pantheon, his knowledge of Hopi worship will be considerably increased.

Of katchinas much might be written. They are ancient ancestral representatives of certain Hopi clans who, as spirits of the dead, are endowed with powers to aid the living members of the clan in material ways. The clans, therefore, pray to them that these material blessings may be given. "It is an almost universal idea of primitive man," says Fewkes, "that prayers should be addressed to personations of the beings worshipped. In the carrying out of this conception men personate the katchinas, wearing masks and dressing in the costumes characteristic of these beings. These personations represent to the Hopi mind their idea of the appearance of these katchinas or clan ancients. The spirit beings represented in these personations appear at certain times in the pueblo, dancing before spectators, receiving prayer for needed blessings, as rain and good crops."

The katchinas are supposed to come to the earth from the underworld in February and remain until July, when they say farewell. Hence there are two specific times which dramatically celebrate the arrival and departure of the katchinas. The former of these times is called by the Hopi Powamû, and the latter Niman.[88] At these festivals, or merry dances, certain members of the participating clans wear masks representing the katchinas, hence katchina masks are often to be found in Hopi houses when one is privileged to see the treasures stored away. In order to instruct the children in the many katchinas of the Hopi pantheon, tihûs, or dolls, are made in imitation of the ancestral supernal beings, and these quaint and curious toys are eagerly sought after by those interested in Indian life and thought. Dr. Fewkes has in his private collection over two hundred and fifty different katchina tihûs, and in the Field Columbian Museum there is an even larger collection.

Of the altars, screens, fetishes, cloud-blowers, ceremonial pipes, bull-roarers, etc., I have not space here to write. Suffice it to say they have a large place in the Hopi's ritual and all should be carefully studied.

When I first began to visit the Hopis my camps were generally at the foot of the trail, as near to water as possible. Every morning at a very early hour I was awakened by a loud ringing of cowbells, and at first I thought it must be that the Hopis had a herd of cows and they were driving them out to pasture. They were evidently going at a good speed, for the bells clanged and clattered and jangled as if being fiercely shaken. But when I looked for the cows they were never to be seen. Then, too, as on succeeding mornings I listened I found the animals must be driven very hastily, for the sound moved with great rapidity towards, past, away from me.

One morning I determined to get up and watch as soon as I heard the noise approaching. It was just as the earliest premonitions of dawn were being given[89] that I was awakened, and, hurriedly jumping up, stood on my blankets and watched. Soon one, two, four, and more figures darted by in the dim light, each carrying a jangling cowbell, and to my amazement I found they were not cows, but Hopi young men, naked except for a strap or girdle around the loins, from which hung the bell, resting upon the haunch. They were out for their morning run, and it was not merely a physical exercise, but had a distinct religious meaning to them. As I have elsewhere written:—

"The Hopi has lived for many centuries among the harsh conditions of the desert land. Everything is wrested from nature. Nothing is given freely, as in such a land as southern California for instance. Water is scarce and has to be caught in the valley and carried with heavy labor to the mesa summit. The soil is sandy and not very productive unless every particle of seed corn is watered by irrigation. Firewood is far away and must be cut and brought to their mesa homes with labor. Wild grass seeds must be sought where grass abounds, perhaps scores of miles away, and carried home. Pinion nuts can only be gathered in the pinion forests afar off, and to gain mescal the pits must be dug and the fibres cooked deep down in the mysterious recesses of the Grand Canyon. The deer and antelope are swift, and can only be caught for food by those who are stout of limb, powerful of lung, and crafty of mind. Hence in the very necessities of their lives they have found the use for physical development. And this imperative physical need soon graduated into a spiritual one. And the steps or processes of reasoning by which the chief motive is transferred from the physical to the spiritual are readily traceable. Of course,[90] they are a 'chosen people.' 'Those Above' have given especial favors to them. They must be a credit to those Powers who have thus favored them. This implies a steady cultivation of their muscular powers. Not to be strong is to be a bad Hopi, and to be a bad Hopi is to court the disfavor of the gods. Hence the shamans or priests urge the religious necessity of being swift and strong."

Hopi Woman weaving Basket, her Husband knitting Stockings.

Hopi Woman weaving Basket, her Husband knitting Stockings.

Hopi Woman preparing Corn Meal for making Doughnuts.

Hopi Woman preparing Corn Meal for making Doughnuts.

Nor is this all. In days gone by they were surrounded by predatory foes. Physical endurance was an essential condition of national preservation. Without it they would long ago have been starved or hunted out of existence. The gods called upon them to preserve their national life, to live by cultivation of endurance, hence the imposition of physical tasks as a religious exercise.

And these morning runs of the young men were of ten, twenty, and even more miles, taken without any other food than a few grains of parched corn.

It is no uncommon thing for an Oraibi or Mashonganavi to run from his home to Moenkopi, a distance of forty miles, over the hot blazing sands of a real American Sahara, there hoe his corn-field, and return to his home, within twenty-four hours. The accompanying photograph of an old man who had made this eighty-mile run was made the morning after his return, and he showed not the slightest trace of fatigue.

For a dollar I have several times engaged a young man to take a message from Oraibi to Keam's Canyon, a distance of seventy-two miles, and he has run on foot the whole distance, delivered his message, and brought me an answer within thirty-six hours.


One Oraibi, Ku-wa-wen-ti-wa, ran from Oraibi to Moenkopi, thence to Walpi, and back to Oraibi, a distance of over ninety miles, in one day.

When I was a lad I got the impression somehow that Indians made fire by rubbing two sticks together. Once or twice I tried it. I got two sticks, perfectly dry, and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed. But the more I rubbed, the cooler the sticks seemed to get. I got hot, but that had no effect on the sticks.

Later in life, when I began to make my journeys of exploration in the wilds of Nevada, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, and I sometimes needed a fire, and didn't have a single match left, I tried it again; this time not as an experiment, but as a serious proposition. My rubbing of the two sticks, however, never availed me a particle. I might as well have saved my strength for sawing wood. Yet the Indians do get fire by the rubbing of two sticks together, and the occasion of their doing it is one of the greatest and most wonderful of the religious ceremonies of the Hopis. Dr. Fewkes has written for the scientific world a full account of it, and from that account I condense the following.

Few white men have ever seen the ceremony, and did they do so and tell the whole of what they saw they would not be believed.

Four societies of priests conduct the elaborate rite at Walpi. It is not held at Sichumavi or Hano, but is conducted at Oraibi and the three villages of the middle mesa. "The public dances are conducted mainly by two of the societies, whose actions are of a phallic nature. These two act as chorus in the kiva when the fire is made, but the sacred flame is kindled by the latter two societies.... For several days before the ceremony began, large quantities of wood were piled near the kiva[92] hatches, and after the rites began, this fuel was carried down into the rooms and continually fed to the flames of the new fire by an old man, who never left his task. The flames of the new fire were regarded with reverence; no one was allowed to light a cigarette from it or otherwise profane it."

On the first day the chiefs assembled for their ceremonial smoke, and the next day at early dawn one of them went to the narrow portion of the mesa between Walpi and Sichumavi and laid on the trail one of the puhtabi, or long strings, elsewhere described, sprinkling a little meal and casting a pinch toward the place of sunrise. At the same time he said a prayer: "Our Sun, send us rain." Just as the sun appeared he "cried" the announcement, of which Dr. Fewkes gives the free translation:—

"All people awake, open your eyes, arise! Become Talahoya (Child of Light), vigorous, active, sprightly. Hasten, Clouds, from the four world quarters. Come, Snow, in plenty, that water may be abundant when summer comes. Come, Ice, and cover the fields, that after planting they may yield abundantly. Let all hearts be glad. The Wűwūtchimtû will assemble in four days. They will encircle the villages, dancing and singing their lays. Let the women be ready to pour water upon them, That moisture may come in abundance and all shall rejoice."

Four days later, with elaborate preparation and carefully observed ritual the new fire was made. About a hundred participants were present. When all were ready the fire-board was held in position by two kneeling men, while two others manipulated the fire drill. The singing chief then gave the signal and[93] two societies started a song, each with different words and yet in unison, accompanied by clanging of bells and rattling of tortoise shells and deer hoofs. The holes of the fire-board and stones were sprinkled with corn pollen. The spindle or fire drill was held vertically between the palms, and in rotating it the top was pressed downward. Smoke was produced in twenty seconds and a spark of fire in about a minute. The spark smudged cedar-bark, which was put in place to catch it, and then the driller blew it into a flame. This flame was then carried to a pile of greasewood placed in the fireplace, and as the wood blazed to the ceiling the song ceased. Prayer was then offered by one of the chief priests of one of the societies and ceremonial offerings sprinkled into the fire. This priest was followed by one from each of the other societies and by individual worshippers.

They then, in procession, paid a ceremonial visit to the shrine of the Goddess of Germs, which is among the rocks at the southwestern point of the mesa. It is made of flat stones set on edge, opened above and on one side, and consists of a fetish of petrified wood.

Then followed a complex series of ceremonies that merely to outline would require several pages. Some of them are public dances, others dramatic representations in a crude fashion of what the legends of the Hopis say are certain events which transpired in the underworld, and a most important one is the disposal of the sacred embers of the new fire.

There are few ceremonies in the world that equal in solemnity and interest, and that are more charming, than those performed by the parents and other relatives when a Hopi baby comes into the world. There are religion,[94] affection, sentiment, and poetry embraced in what we—the superior people—would undoubtedly term the superstitious rites of these simple-hearted people. One reason for the fervor of this rite is the genuine welcome every Hopi mother and father accord to their baby when it is born. It is "good form" among them to be proud of the birth of their children. No married woman is happy unless she has a "quiver full" of children, and one of her constant prayers before her marriage is that she may be thus blessed.

So when the child comes there is great rejoicing. It is immediately rubbed all over with ashes to keep the hair from growing on the body; or that, at least, is the reason the Hopi mother gives for allowing her little one to be scrubbed all over with the ashes.

Then it is wrapped up in a cotton blanket of the mother's own weaving, for Hopi women, and men also, are great experts in growing, spinning, and weaving cotton. Now it is ready for the cradle. This is either a piece of board or a flat piece of woven wicker-work about two and a half feet long and a foot wide. There is also fixed at the upper end two or three twigs arranged in a kind of bow, so that a piece of cloth thrown over them forms an awning to protect the face of the child from the sun. When this bow is not in use it can be slipped over to the back of the cradle. Strapped in this queer cradle, the baby is either stretched out upon the ground to go to sleep, covered over with a blanket, or reared up against the wall. But if your eyes were keen you would see by its side a beautiful white ear of corn. And if you saw it and knew the Hopi mother's ways and her thoughts, you would find that the reason for putting the corn there was this: she believes[95] that the corn represents one of her most powerful gods on the earth, and that if this god is made to feel kindly towards the new-born child he will send it good health and strength and skill in hunting and everything else that she desires for her loved baby. So, you see, it is mother love, combined with a singular superstition, that makes the Hopi mother place the ear of corn by the side of her sleeping child.

When the baby is twenty days old it is—shall I say?—baptized. You can hardly call it this, but, anyhow, it answers the same thing as baptism does with us. About sunset the child's godmother arrives. She is generally the grandmother or aunt on the father's side. Just as the first streaks of light begin to come in the early morning the ceremony begins. After washing the mother's head and legs and feet, the baby's turn comes. The house is full of relatives and friends to watch and bring good fortune to the little one. A bowl of suds is made by beating the soapweed until the water is covered with beautiful lather. Then the godmother takes an ear of corn, dips it into the suds, and touches the baby's head with it. This she does four times. Then she washes the baby's head very carefully and thoroughly in the suds. But the washing would be of no good unless all the baby's female relatives on the father's side were to dip their ears of corn into the suds and touch its head with them four times, just as the godmother did. Now the baby is washed all over, and then—strange to say—the godmother fills her mouth full of warm water, and, balancing the baby on one hand, she squirts the water from her mouth all over the little one. To dry it, she holds it before the fire, and when it is quite dry she rubs it with white corn-meal, wraps it in a[96] blanket, and passes it over to the mother, who is seated near to the fire. Just before her are two baskets full of corn-meal, one coarsely and one finely ground. Taking an old blanket, the godmother spreads it over the mother's lap, the baby is placed on it, then she takes a little of the fine meal and rubs it on the face, arms, and neck of the mother, and also upon the face of the child. Then with the ear of corn in her hand, and slowly and regularly moving it up and down, she prays first over the mother, then over the baby. I have heard several of these prayers. Here is one of them: "Ho-ko-na (butterfly), I ask for you that you live to be old, that you may never be sick, that you may have good corn and all good things. And now I name you Ho-ko-na" (or whatever the name is to be).

Then every woman and girl of the father's relatives does just the same and prays the same kind of prayer; but singular to us is the fact that each one gives the child any name she prefers. As each one finishes her prayer, she gives her ear of corn and some sacred meal she has brought with her to the mother, who invariably responds with the Hopi "Thank you!"—"Es-kwa-li."

Nobody knows at the time which name the baby will have, as he or she grows up. That is left to chance to determine—generally the preference of the mother.

Now the baby is put in its cradle, with some of the ears of corn presented to the mother placed under the lacing on the breast of the little one, and it is ready to be dedicated to the sun. After sweeping the floor, the godmother sprinkles a line of meal about two inches wide from the cradle to the door, and the mother does the same thing.

Hopi "Boomerangs,"

Hopi "Boomerangs."

In the collection of George Wharton James.

Hopi Ceremonial Drums.

Hopi Ceremonial Drums.

In the collection of George Wharton James.


Out of doors the father is anxiously watching for the first direct light of the sun, and the moment it appears above the horizon he gives the signal. Immediately the godmother picks up the cradle, so that the baby's head is towards the door, and near to the floor, carries it over the line of sacred meal, the mother following. Each has a handful of meal. At the door they stand side by side. The godmother removes the blanket from the baby's face, holds the sacred meal to her mouth, says a short prayer, and then sprinkles the meal towards the sun, and then the mother does the same; and, after ceremonially feeding the baby, all joining in the feast, the ceremony is at an end.

Another most beautiful ceremony of the Hopis is that which alternates with the Snake Dance, viz., the Lelentu, or Flute Dance. I have had the pleasure of witnessing it several times, and last year (1901) was one of five white persons present. To me this meant walking a weary thirteen miles over the hot sands of the Painted Desert, carrying a camera weighing about fifty pounds on my back. But the beauty and charm of the ceremony and the satisfaction of obtaining the photographs of it more than repaid me for the hot and exhausting walk.

After the secret kiva ceremonies (rites in the underground chambers of the fraternity of the Flute) the first public rites of the day took place at a spring near the home of Lolúlomai, the chief of the Oraibi pueblo, and about five miles west of the town. Here is one of the pitiful springs upon which the people depend for their meagre supply of water. Just before noon men, women, and girls might have been seen wending their way from the village on the mesa height, down the steep trails, over the sandy way trodden for centuries by their forefathers,[98] towards the location of the spring.

Every face was as serious and wore as grave and earnest an expression as that of a novice about to be confirmed in her holiest vows. Arrived at the spring, an eminence just above it to the southwest was the chosen site for the preliminaries. Here an hour or more was spent in prayers, sprinkling of meal before and upon the altar, and the painting of the symbols of the clan upon the participants.

Other priests during the whole time were on their knees or in other postures of reverence, praying, singing, or chanting, and sprinkling the sacred meal on or before the altar. A large number of bahos, or prayer sticks and plumes, were used.

At this time the chief priest left the hillside and solemnly marched down to the spring. It is circular in shape, and with a rude wall built around it. At the opening in the circle three small gourd vessels were placed, two of which held sacred water from some far-away spring, and the other was full of honey. A singular thing occurred about the filling of this honey jar. A nest of bees had located in the wall of the spring, and the chief priest, taking it for granted that this was a good sign, had the nest dug out and the honey extracted from the comb, for his sacred purposes. After he had prayed for a while the priests and women from above marched down, all except the flute players. As they stood around the spring they sang and prayed, while the chief priest stepped into the water, bowing his face down over it, and waving his tiponi in and through it. Soon it was a filthy, muddy mess, instead of a water spring, and when it seemed mixed up enough he began to dip his face deep into it, while the men and women[99] around continued their singing and worship.

Then he came forth, and now began a most beautiful processional march around the spring, in time to the weird playing of the priests above. After three times circling around, the group stood, facing the west, and at certain signals sprinkled large handfuls of sacred meal in the direction of the water. This was followed by a most profuse scattering of bahos in the same manner. Literally hundreds of them were thus thrown, and I gathered (after the celebrants were gone) scores of them for my collection. The bahos used on this occasion were mere downy feathers to which cotton strings were attached. The effect as the meal and the feathers were thrown was remarkably beautiful, and the scene was most impressive; none the less so for its strangeness and peculiarity.

These concluded the ceremonies at this spring. In the meantime the chief priest had gone to his house over the hill, and from there had started out a group of young men who were to race to the spring near the mesa—four miles away. It was a scorching hot day—as I had found out in my own walk—and yet these young men bounded over the sandy trail like hunted deer. It was a glorious sight to witness them. Ten or a dozen athletic youths, clad scantily, their bronzed figures in perfect proportion, revealing their strength and power, their long black hair waving out behind them, darting off like strings from a bow across the desert.

Slowly we followed them, and when we arrived at the other spring found they had long ago passed it, and the victor had received his reward.


Similar ceremonies were gone through at the near-by spring as at the one farther away, and when they were completed the whole party formed in procession, and as solemnly as if it were a funeral march proceeded up the steep trail to the village and there repeated some of the ceremonies already described.

The purport of all this it is comparatively easy to understand. The Snake Dance is a prayer for rain, which, according to the Hopi's ideas, is stored in vast reservoirs in the heavens. He also believes that there are vast water supplies under the earth, and so, every other year, he petitions the powers that govern and control these subterranean reservoirs to loosen the waters and let them flow forth into the springs.

In one of the dances of the Navaho they symbolize the water from above and the water from below by linking the first fingers together. This gives us the Greek fret, and when this symbol is copied in their basketry, we see this classic design, purely the result of imitation, and having as clear a meaning to the Indian mind as the cross has to the Christian.

Reluctantly I am compelled to omit a brief account of the Basket Dance, which, however, I have partially described in my book on "Indian Basketry."

The Hopis have very clear and distinct conceptions of a spirit life beyond the grave. It is not the "happy hunting-ground," though, to which the general ideas of the whites consign them. Theirs is a world of spirits, with some advantages over the world of human beings, but where life is very similar to what it was on earth. There is neither punishment awarded for wrong done on earth, nor reward for good living. It is simply a continuation of previous existences. When a child is born the spirit is supposed to come from the underworld[101] through an opening in the earth's crust called Shi-pá-pu, and when the grown man dies his spirit returns thither. His body is buried in a cleft of the rocks on the mesa side, a mile or so away from the village. The body is wrapped up and placed in the rocky grave, and then covered with loose rocks. Food and drink are placed on the grave, so that when the spirit ascends from the body and begins its long journey to Shi-pá-pu and thence to the underworld, it may have food wherewith to gain strength. The curious visitor will also notice the baho which is thrust between the rocks until it touches the body. Another baho touching this upright one is placed on the grave pointing toward the southwest. These bahos are especially prepared by the shaman, or "medicine man," and are for the purpose of guiding the spirit as it leaves the body. If no baho were there, the spirit might grope in darkness, trying to force its way down; but, being directed by the prayers of the shaman, the disembodied spirit immediately realizes the guiding power of the baho, and, following it, reaches the companion baho pointing to the southwest, the direction it must travel to reach the entrance to the underworld. This entrance to the underworld was long thought to be in the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff. But Dr. Fewkes explains this to be an error. The Shi-pá-pu is, to the Hopi, the "sun-house or place of sunset at the winter solstice. As seen from Walpi, the entrance to the sun-house is indicated by a notch on the horizon situated between the San Francisco range and the Eldon mesa," hence the conception that the entrance to the underworld was in that exact location.

A Hopi Belle at Shungopavi.

A Hopi Belle at Shungopavi.

Blind Hopi Boy, knitting Stockings.

Blind Hopi Boy, knitting Stockings.



While perhaps no more important than others of the many ceremonies of the Hopis, the Snake Dance is by far the widest known and most exciting and thrilling to the spectator. There have been many accounts of it written, yet no less an authority than Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution asserts that the major portion of them are not worth the paper they are written on. Inaccurate in outline, faulty in detail, they utterly fail, in the most part, to grasp the deep importance of the ceremony to the religious Hopis. It is commonly described as a wild, chaotic, yelling, shouting, pagan dance, instead of the solemn dignified rite it is. From various articles of my own written at different times I mainly extract the following account and explanations.

This dance alternates in each village with the Lelentu, or Flute ceremony, so that, if the visitor goes on successive years to the same village, he will see one year the Snake Dance and on the following year the Lelentu. But if he alternates his visits to the different villages he may see the Snake Dance every year, and, as the ceremonies are not all held simultaneously, he may witness the open-air portion of the ceremony, which is the Snake Dance proper, three times on the even years and twice on the odd years. For instance, in the year 1905 it will occur at Walpi and Mashonganavi; and in 1906 at Oraibi,[103] Shipauluvi, and Shungopavi.

The Beginning of the Hopi Snake Dance, Oraibi, 1902.

The Beginning of the Hopi Snake Dance, Oraibi, 1902.

The Hopis are keen observers of all celestial and terrestrial phenomena, and, as soon as the month of August draws near, the Snake and Antelope fraternities meet in joint session to determine, by the meteorological signs with which they are familiar, the date upon which the ceremonies shall begin.

This decided, the public crier is called upon to make the announcement to the whole people. Standing on the house-top, in a peculiarly monotonous and yet jerky shout he announces the time when the elders have decided the rites shall commence. Sometimes, as at Walpi, this announcement is made sixteen days before the active ceremonies begin, the latter, in all the villages, lasting nine days and terminating in the popularly known open-air dance, after which four days of feasting and frolic are indulged in, thus making, in all, twenty days devoted to the observance.

For all practical purposes, however, nine days cover all the ceremonies connected with it.

At Walpi, on the first of the nine days, the first ceremony consists of the "setting up" of the Antelope altar. This is an interesting spectacle to witness, as at Walpi the altar is more elaborate and complex than in any other village. It consists, for the greater part, of a mosaic made of different colored sands, in the use of which some of the Hopis are very dexterous. These sands are sprinkled on the floor. First a border is made of several parallel rows or lines of different colors. Within this border clouds are represented, below which four zigzag lines are made. These lines figure the lightning, which is the symbol of the Antelope fraternity. Two of these zigzags are male, and two female, for all things, even[104] inanimate, have sex among this strange people. In the place of honor, on the edge of the altar, is placed the "tiponi," or palladium of the fraternity. This consists of a bunch of feathers, fastened at the bottom with cotton strings to a round piece of cottonwood. Corn stalks, placed in earthenware jars, are also to be seen, and then the whole of the remaining three sides of the altar are surrounded by crooks, to which feathers are attached, and bahos, or prayer sticks. It was with trepidation I dared to take my camera into the mystic depths of the Antelope kiva. I had guessed at focus for the altar, and when I placed the camera against the wall, pointed toward the sacred place, the Antelope priests bid me remove it immediately. I begged to have it remain so long as I stayed, but was compelled to promise I would not place my head under the black cloth and look at the altar. This I readily promised, but at the first opportunity when no one was between the lens and the altar, I quietly removed the cap from the lens, marched away and sat down with one of the priests, while the dim light performed its wonderful work on the sensitive plate. A fine photograph was the result.

The ceremonies of the Antelope kiva for the succeeding days consist of the making of bahos, or prayer sticks, ceremonial smoking, praying, and singing. But the profound ritualistic importance attached to every act can scarcely be estimated by those who have not personally seen the ceremonies. The prayer sticks are prayed over and consecrated at every step in their manufacture, and the altar is prayed over and blessed each day. Every object used is consecrated with elaborate ritual, and the great smoke is made by each[105] one solemnly participating in the smoking of ómowûh (the sacred pipe). The smoke from this pipe soon fills the chamber with its pleasant fragrance (the tobacco used being a weed native to the Hopi region), and it is supposed to ascend to the heavens and thus provoke the descent of the rain.

The songs are sung to the accompaniment of rattling by the priests, and each day the whole of the sixteen songs are rendered.

During the singing of one day one of the priests strikes the floor with a blunt instrument, and Wiki, the chief priest, explained this as the sending of a mystic message to a member of the Snake-Antelope fraternity at far-away Acoma, telling him that the ceremonies were now in progress and asking him to come. Strange to say, eight days later, certain Acomas did come, thus giving color to the assertion of the Hopi fraternities that the Snake Dance once used to be performed on the glorious penyol height of Acoma, as was briefly stated by Espejo.

It is in the Snake kiva that the snake charm liquid is made. In the centre of a special altar a basket made by a Havasupai Indian is placed. In this are dropped some shells, charms, and a few pieces of crushed nuts and sticks. Then one of the priests, with considerable ritual, pours into the basket from north, west, south, east, up and down (the six cardinal points of the Hopi), liquid from a gourd vessel. By this time all the priests are squatted around the basket, chewing something that one of the older priests had given them. This chewed substance is then placed in the liquid of the basket. Water from gourds on the roof is also put in.


Then all is ready for the preparation of the charm. Each priest holds in his hand the snake whip (a stick to which eagle feathers are attached), while the ceremonial pipe-lighter, after lighting the sacred pipe, hands it to the chief priest, addressing him in terms of relationship. Smoking it in silence, the chief puffs the smoke into the liquid and hands it to his neighbor, who does the like and passes it on. All thus participate in solemn silence.

Then the chief priest picks up his rattle and begins a prayer which is as fervent as one could desire. Shaking the rattle, all the priests commence to sing a weird song in rapid time, while one of them holds upright in the middle of the basket a black stick, on the top of which is tied a feather. Moving their snake whips to and fro, they sing four songs, when one of the chiefs picks up all the objects on the altar and places them in the basket.

In a moment the kiva rings with the fierce yells of the Hopi war-cry, while the priest vigorously stirs the mixture in the basket. And the rapid song is sung while the priest stirs and kneads the contents of the basket with his hands. Sacred meal is cast into the mixture, while the song sinks to low tones, and gradually dies away altogether, though the quiet shaking of the rattles and gentle tremor of the snake whips continue for a short time.

Then there is a most painful silence. The hush is intense, the stillness perfect. It is broken by the prayer of the chief priest, who sprinkles more sacred meal into the mixture. Others do the same. The liquid is again stirred, and then sprinkled to all the cardinal points, and the same is done in the air outside, above the kiva.

Then the stirring priest takes some white earth, and mixing it with the charm liquid, makes white paint which he rubs upon the breast, back, cheeks, forearms,[107] and legs of the chief priest. All the other priests are then likewise painted.

The Chief Antelope Priest depositing Pahos at the Shrine of the Spider Woman.

The Chief Antelope Priest depositing Pahos at the Shrine of
the Spider Woman.

Throwing the Snakes into the Circle of Sacred Meal.

Throwing the Snakes into the Circle of Sacred Meal.

Now there is nothing whatever in this liquid that can either charm a snake or preserve an Indian from the deadly nature of its bite. Even the Hopis know that all its virtue is communicated in the ceremonies I have so imperfectly and inadequately described. I make this explanation lest my reader assume that there is some subtle poison used in this mixture, which, if given to the snakes, stupefies them and renders them unable to do injury.

The singing of the sixteen songs referred to is a most solemn affair. Snake and Antelope priests meet in the kiva of the latter. The chief priests take their places at the head of the altar, and the others line up on either side, the Snake priests to the left, the Antelope to the right. Kneeling on one knee, the two rows of men, with naked bodies, solemn faces, bowed heads, no voice speaking above a whisper, demand respect for their earnestness and evident sincerity. To one unacquainted with their language and the meaning of the songs, the weird spectacle of all these nude priests, kneeling and solemnly chanting in a sonorous humming manner, their voices occasionally rising in a grand crescendo, speedily to diminish in a thrilling pianissimo, produces a seriousness wonderfully akin to the spirit of worship.

According to the legendary lore of the Snake clan the Zunis, Hopis, Paiutis, Havasupais, and white men all made their ascent from the lower world to the earth's surface through a portion of Pis-is-bai-ya (the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River) near where the Little Colorado empties into the main river. As the various families emerged, some went north and some south.[108] Those that went north were driven back by fierce cold which they encountered, and built houses for themselves at a place called To-ko-ná-bi. But, unfortunately, this was a desert place where but little rain fell, and their corn could not grow. In their pathetic language the Hopis say, "The clouds were small and the corn weak." The chief of the village had two sons and two daughters. The oldest of these sons, Tiyo, resolved to commit himself to the waters of the Colorado River, for they, he was convinced, would convey him to the underworld, where he could learn from the gods how always to be assured of their favor.

(This idea of the Colorado River flowing to the underworld is interesting as illustrative of Hopi reasoning. They said, and still say, this water flows from the upperworld in the far-away mountains, it flows on and on and never returns, therefore it must go to the inner recesses of the underworld.)

Tiyo made for himself a kind of coffin boat from the hewed-out trunk of a cottonwood tree. Into this he sealed himself and was committed to the care of the raging river. His rude boat dashed down the rapids, over the falls, into the secret bowels of the earth (for the Indians still believe the river disappears under the mountainous rocks), and finally came to a stop. Tiyo looked out of his peepholes and saw the Spider Woman, who invited him to leave his boat and enter her house. The Spider Woman is a personage of great power in Hopi mythology. She it is who weaves the clouds in the heavens, and makes the rain possible. Tiyo accepted the invitation, entered her house, and received from her a powder which gave him the power to become invisible at will. Following the instructions of the Spider Woman,[109] he descended the hatch-like entrance to Shi-pá-pu, and soon came to the chamber of the Snake-Antelope people. Here the chief received him with great cordiality, and said:—

"I cause the rain clouds to come and go, And I make the ripening winds to blow; I direct the going and coming of all the mountain animals. Before you return to the earth you will desire of me many things, Freely ask of me and you shall abundantly receive."

For a while he wandered about in the underworld, learning this and that, here and yonder, and at last returned to the Snake-Antelope and Snake kivas. Here he learned all the necessary ceremonies for making the rain clouds come and go, the ripening winds to blow, and to order the coming and going of the animals. With words of affection the chief bestowed upon him various things from both the kivas, such as material of which the snake kilt was to be made, with instructions as to its weaving and decoration, sands to make the altars, etc. Then he brought to Tiyo two maidens, both of whom knew the snake-bite charm liquid, and instructed him that one was to be his wife and the other the wife of his brother, to whom he must convey her in safety. Then, finally, he gave to him the "tiponi," the sacred standard, and told him, "This is your mother. She must ever be protected and revered. In all your prayers and worship let her be at the head of your altar or your words will not reach Those Above."

Tiyo now started on his return journey. When he reached the home of the Spider Woman, she bade him and the maidens rest while she wove a pannier-like basket, deep and narrow, with room to hold all three of them. When the basket was finished she saw them[110] comfortably seated, told them not to leave the basket, and immediately disappeared through the hatch into the lower world. Tiyo and the maidens waited, until slowly a filament gently descended from the clouds, attached itself to the basket, and then carefully and safely drew Tiyo and the maidens to the upperworld. Tiyo gave the younger maiden to his brother, and then announced that in sixteen days he would celebrate the marriage feast. Then he and his betrothed retired to the Snake-Antelope kiva, while his brother and the other maiden retired to the Snake kiva. On the fifth day after the announcement the Snake people from the underworld came to the upperworld, went to the kivas, and ate corn pollen for food. Then they left the kivas and disappeared. But Tiyo and the maidens knew that they had only changed their appearance, for they were in the valley in the form of snakes and other reptiles. So he commanded his people to go into the valleys and capture them, bring them to the kivas and wash them and then dance with them. Four days were spent in catching them from the four world quarters; then, with solemn ceremony, they were washed, and, while the prayers were offered, the snakes listened to them, so that when, at the close of the dance, where they danced with their human brothers, they were taken back to the valley and released, they were able to return to the underworld and carry to the gods there the petitions that their human brothers had uttered upon the earth.

This, in the main, is the snake legend. The catching of the snakes foreshadowed in the snake legend is faithfully carried out each year by the Snake men. After earnest prayer, each man is provided with a hoe, a snake whip, consisting of feathers tied to two sticks, a sack of[111] sacred meal (corn-meal especially prayed and smoked over by the chief priest), and a small buckskin bag, and on the fourth day after the setting up of the Antelope altar they go out to the north for the purpose of catching the snakes. Familiarity from childhood with the haunts of the snakes, which are never molested, enables them to go almost directly to places where they may be found. As soon as a reptile is seen, prayers are offered, sacred meal sprinkled upon him, the snake whip gently stroked upon him, and then he is seized and placed in the bag. In the evening the priests return and deposit their snakes in a large earthenware olla provided for the occasion. I should have noted that before they go out their altar is erected. This varies in the different villages, the most complete and perfect altar being at Walpi. At Oraibi the altar consists of the two wooden images—the little war gods—named Pű-ű-kon-hoy-a and Pal-un-hoy-a; and in 1898 I succeeded, with considerable difficulty, in getting into the Snake kiva and making a fairly good photograph of these gods.

Line-up of Snake and Antelope Priests, Antelope Dance, Oraibi, 1902.

Line-up of Snake and Antelope Priests, Antelope Dance, Oraibi, 1902.

The catching of the snakes occupies four days, one day for each of the four world quarters.

At near sunset of the eighth day a public dance of the Antelope priests takes place in the plaza, similar in many respects to the Snake Dance, except that corn stalks are carried by the priests instead of snakes.

On the morning of the ninth day the race of the young men occurs. This is an exciting scene. Long before sunrise the Hopis, and as many visitors as have climbed the mesa heights, huddle together or sleepily sit watching a point far off in the desert. It is from that region—one of the springs—the racers are to come. Soon they are seen in the far-away distance as[112] tiny specks, moving over the tawny sand, and scarcely distinguishable. One morning I stayed below at the spring on the western side of the mesa to watch them. The whole line of the mesa-top ruled an irregular but clearly defined line against the morning sky. The air was clear and pure, sweet and cool. From the Gap to the end of the mesa upon which Walpi stands crowds of spectators were silhouetted against the sky. The background, seen from my low angle of vision, was a pure blue; above, the sky was mottled with white clouds. On every projecting point which afforded a view the spectators stood, tiny figures taken from a child's Noah's Ark, chunky bodies, with a crowning ball of wood for head. But even at that distance and against the coming sunlight the brilliant colors of the dresses of the Indians, men and women, were revealed. Every note in the gorgeous gamut of color was played in fantastic and unrestrained melody. At Walpi the spectators crowded the house-tops, which there overlook the very edge of the mesa. The point was crowded. The morning light was just touching the cliffs of the west when the sound of the coming bells was heard. Jingle, jingle, jingle, they came, growing in sound at every step. There was movement among the spectators, each one craning his neck to see the strenuous efforts of the runners. Jingle, jingle, jingle, louder and louder, showing that the strides of these runners are great; they are making rapid bites at the distance that intervenes between them and the goal. Now they can be individually discerned. Their reddish-brown bodies, long black hair streaming behind, sunflowers crowning some, heaving chests, tremendous strides, swinging gait, make a fascinating picture. Now they crowd each other on the[113] sandy trail. A spurt is being made, and one of the rear men passes to the front and becomes the leader. From the mesa heights the shouts and cheers denote that his success has been observed. Others crowd along. The spectators become excited and cheer on their favorites. Now the foot of the steep portion of the trail is reached. Surely this precipitous ascent will abate their ardor and slacken their speed. The steps are high, and it is a rise of several hundred feet to the mesa-top. The very difficulties seem to spur them on to greater effort. With bounds like those of deer or chamois, up they fly, two steps at a time. The pace and ascent are killing, but they are trained to it, having spent their lives running over these hot sands and climbing these trails. To them a "rush" up the mesa heights is a part of their religious training. The priests are now ready to receive them at the head of the trail. The first to arrive is the winner, and he is sprinkled with the sacred meal and water, and then he hurries on to the Antelope kiva, where the chief priest gives him bahos, sacred meal, and an amulet of great power. The other racers in the meantime have reached the summit, and I could see their running figures on the narrow neck of rock which connects Sichumavi with Walpi. They are going to deposit prayer offerings at an appointed shrine. On their arrival the race is done.

On the arrival of the racers at the head of the trail at Mashonganavi, in 1901, I secured a photograph showing one of the priests shooting out a singular appliance which represents the lightning.

But on the lower platform of the mesa another exciting scene is transpiring. A group of young maidens, with their mothers and sisters, await the coming of[114] young men and boys, each of whom carries a corn stalk, a melon, or a sunflower. As soon as the youths arrive the maidens dart after them, and for a few minutes a good-natured but exciting and excitable scuffle goes on, in which the girls endeavor to seize from the boys the stalks, etc., they carry.

On the noon of the ninth day the ceremony of washing the snakes takes place in the Snake kiva.

It must not be forgotten that only the members of the fraternity engaged in the ceremonies are permitted to enter the kivas when the rites are being performed. Indeed, no other Hopi can be prevailed upon to approach anywhere near these kivas whilst the symbol which denotes that the ceremonies are being conducted is displayed.

Indeed, he believes that his profaning foot will immediately produce the most awful effects upon his body. At one kiva he will swell up and "burst"; at another, a great horn will grow out from his forehead and he will die in horrible agonies. The first time I was permitted to see this ceremony at Walpi was while Kopeli was alive. Kopeli was a Hopi of great power and ability in a variety of ways, who had a broad way of looking at things, and was very friendly with the white men who came in the proper spirit to study the life of his people. I had been allowed to see all the earlier of the secret kiva ceremonies, but when the day arrived on which the snakes were to be washed in the kiva, Kopeli was especially concerned on my behalf. He said: "So far 'Those Above' have not found any fault, and you have not been harmed in the kiva; but to-day we wash the snakes. You will surely be in danger if you gaze upon the 'elder brothers.'" Placing my[115] arm around his lithe body, I gave Kopeli an unexpected dig in the stomach. Then I said, quite solemnly: "Kopeli, your stomach is a Hopi one; you swell up and bust easy. But feel of me"—and, taking his thumb, I gave myself a "dig" with it upon a solid pocketbook which I carried in my vest pocket. "Do you feel that?" I asked. "Yes," he replied. "And you sabe white man's steam-engine, Kopeli, down on the railroad?" "Yes! I sabe." "Well," said I, "that steam-engine is made of boiler-iron, and I am all same boiler-iron inside. I no bust!"

The Snake Dance at Oraibi, 1902.

The Snake Dance at Oraibi, 1902.

With a merry twinkle in his eye, that showed he appreciated the joke, he said, "Mabbe so! You no bust; you stay!" And I stayed.

This washing ceremony is a purely ceremonial observance. The priests have ceremonially washed themselves, but their snake brothers are unable to do this, hence they must have it done for them.

In the underground kiva, hewn out of the solid rock—a place some sixteen feet square—squat or sit the thirty-four or five priests. I was allowed to take my place right among them and to join in the singing. When all was ready the chief priest reverently uttered prayer, followed by another priest, who, after prayer, started the singing. Three or four of the older priests were seated around a large bowl full of water brought from some sacred spring many, many miles away. This water was blessed by smoking and breathing upon it and presenting it successively to the powers of the six world points, north, west, south, east, up and down.

At a given signal two men thrust their hands into the snake-containing ollas, and drew therefrom one or two writhing, wriggling reptiles. These they handed[116] to the priests of the sacred water. All this time the singing, accompanied by the shaking of the rattles, continued. As the snakes were dipped again and again into the water, the force of the singing increased until it was a tornado of sound. Suddenly the priests who were washing the snakes withdrew them from the water and threw them over the heads of the sitting priests upon the sand of the sacred altar at the other end of the room. Simultaneously with the throwing half of the singing priests ceased their song and burst out into a blood-curdling yell, "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" which is the Hopi war-cry.

Then, in a moment, all was quiet, more snakes were brought and washed, the singing and rattling beginning at a pianissimo and gradually increasing to a quadruple forte, when again the snakes were thrown upon the altar, with the shrieking voices yelling "Ow! Ow!" in a piercing falsetto, as before. The effect was simply horrifying. The dimly lighted kiva, the solemn, monotonous hum of the priests, the splashing of the wriggling reptiles in the water, the serious and earnest countenances of the participants, the throwing of the snakes, and the wild shrieks fairly raised one's hair, made the heart stand still, stopped the action of the brain, sent cold chills down one's spinal column, and made goose-flesh of the whole of the surface of one's body.

And this continued until fifty, one hundred, and even as many as one hundred and fifty snakes were thus washed and thrown upon the altar. It was the duty of two men to keep the snakes upon the altar, but on a small area less than four feet square it can well be imagined the task was no easy or enviable one. Indeed, many of the snakes escaped and crawled over our feet[117] and legs.

As soon as all the snakes were washed, all the priests retired except those whose duty it was to guard the snakes. Then it was that I dared to risk taking off the cap from my lens, pointing it at the almost quiescent mass of snakes, and trust to good luck for the result. On another page is the fruition of my faith, in the first photograph ever made of the snakes of a Hopi kiva after the ceremony of washing.

And now the sunset hour draws near. This is to witness the close of the nine days' ceremony. It is to be public, for the Snake Dance itself is looked upon by all the people. Long before the hour the house-tops are lined with Hopis, Navahoes, Paiutis, cow-boys, miners, Mormons, preachers, scientists, and military men from Fort Wingate and other Western posts. Here is a distinguished German savant, and there a representative of the leading scientific society of France. Yonder is Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes, the eminent specialist of the United States Bureau of Ethnology and the foremost authority of the world on the Snake Dance, while elbowing him and pumping him on every occasion is the inquisitive representative of one of America's leading journals.

See yonder group of interesting maidens. Some of them are "copper Cleopatras" indeed, and would be accounted good-looking anywhere. Here is a group of laughing, frolicking youngsters of both sexes, half of them stark naked, and, except for the dirt which freely allies itself to them, perfect little "fried cupids," as they have not inaptly been described. Now, working his way through the crowd comes a United States Congressman, and yonder is the president of a railroad.


Suddenly a murmur of approval goes up on every hand. The chief priest of the Antelopes has come out of the kiva, and he is immediately followed by all the others; and, as soon as the line is formed, with reverent mien and stately step, they march to the dance plaza. Here has been erected a cottonwood bower called the "kisi," in the base of which ollas have been placed containing the snakes. In front of this kisi is a hole covered by a plank. This hole represents the entrance to the underworld, and now the chief priest advances toward it, sprinkles a pinch of sacred meal over it, then vigorously stamps upon it, and marches on. The whole line do likewise. Four times the priests circle before the kisi, moving always from right to left, and stamping upon the meal-sprinkled board as they come to it. This is to awaken the attention of the gods of the underworld to the fact that the dance is about to begin.

Now the Antelope priests line up either alongside or in front of the kisi—there being slight and unimportant variations in this and other regards at the different villages—all the while keeping up a solemn and monotonous humming song or prayer, while they await the coming of the Snake priests.

At length, with stately stride and rapid movement, the Snake men come, led by their chief. They go through the same ceremonies of sprinkling, stamping, and circling that the Antelope priests did, and then line up, facing the kisi.

The two lines now for several minutes sing, rattle, sway their bodies to and fro and back and forth in a most impressive and interesting manner, until, at a given signal, the Snake priests break up their line and divide into groups of three. The first group advances to the[119] kisi. The first man of the group kneels down and receives from the warrior priest, who has entered the kisi, a writhing, wriggling, and, perhaps, dangerous reptile. Without a moment's hesitation the priest breathes upon it, puts it between his teeth, rises, and upon his companion's placing one arm around his shoulders, the two begin to amble and prance along, followed by the third member of their group, around the prescribed circuit. With a peculiar swaying of body, a rapid and jerky lifting high of one leg, then quickly dropping it and raising the other, the "carrier" and his "hugger" proceed about three-fourths of the circuit, when the carrier drops the snake from his mouth, and passes on to take his place to again visit the kisi, obtain another snake, and repeat the performance. But now comes in the duty of the "gatherer," the third man of the group. As soon as the snake falls to the ground, it naturally desires to escape. With a pinch of sacred meal in his fingers and his snake whip in his hand, the gatherer rapidly advances, scatters the meal over the snake, stoops, and like a flash has him in his hands. Sometimes, however, a vicious rattlesnake, resenting the rough treatment, coils ready to strike. Now watch the dexterous handling by a Hopi of a venomous creature aroused to anger. With a "dab" of meal, the snake whip is brought into play, and the tickling feathers gently touch the angry reptile. As soon as he feels them, he uncoils and seeks to escape. Now is the time! Quicker than the eye can follow, the expert "gatherer" seizes the escaping creature, and that excitement is ended, only to allow the visitor to witness a similar scene going on elsewhere with other participants. In the meantime all the snake carriers have[120] received their snakes and are perambulating around as did the first one, so that, until all the snakes are brought into use, it is an endless chain, composed of "carrier," snake, "hugger," and "gatherer." Now and again a snake glides away toward the group of spectators, and there is a frantic dash to get away. But the gatherers never fail to stop and capture their particular reptile. As the dance continues, the gatherers have more than their hands full, so, to ease themselves, they hand over their excited and wriggling victims to the Antelope priests, who, during the whole of this part of the ceremony, remain in line, solemnly chanting.

The Snakes in the Kiva at Mashonganavi, after the Ceremony of Washing.

The Snakes in the Kiva at Mashonganavi, after the Ceremony of Washing.

At last all the snakes have been brought from the kisi. The chief priest steps forth, describes a circle of sacred meal upon the ground, and, at a given signal, all the priests, Snake and Antelope alike, rush up to it, and throw the snakes they have in hands or mouths into the circle, at the same time spitting upon them. The whole of the Hopi spectators, also, no matter where they may be, reverently spit toward this circle where now one may see through the surrounding group of priests the writhing, wriggling, hissing, rattling mass of revolting reptiles. Never before on earth, except here, was such a hideous sight witnessed. But one's horror is kept in abeyance for a while as is heard the prayer of the chief priest and we see him sprinkle the mass with sacred meal, while the asperger does the same thing from the sacred water bowl.

Then another signal is given! Curious spectator, carried away by your interest, beware! Look out! In a moment, the Snake priests dart down, "grab" at the pile of intertwined snakes, get all they can in each[121] hand, and then, regardless of your dread, thrust the snakes into the faces of all who stand in their way, and like pursued deer dart down the steep and precipitous trails into the appointed places of the valley beneath. Here let us watch them from the edge of the mesa. Reverently depositing them, they kneel and pray over them and then return to the mesa as hastily as they descended, divesting themselves of their dance paraphernalia as they return.

Now occurs one of the strangest portions of the whole ceremony. The Antelope priests have already returned, with due decorum, to their kiva. One by one the Snake men arrive at theirs, sweating and breathless from their run up the steep trails. When all have returned, they step to the top of their kiva, or, as at Walpi, to the western edge of the mesa, and there drink a large quantity of an emetic that has been especially prepared for the purpose. Then, O ye gods! gaze on if ye dare! The whole of them may be seen bending over, solemnly and in most dignified manner, puking forth the horrible decoction they have just poured down. This is a ceremony of internal purification corresponding to the ceremonial washing of themselves and the snakes before described. This astounding spectacle ends as the priests disappear into their kiva, where they restore their stomachs to a more normal condition by feasting on the piki, pikami, and other delicacies the women now bring to them in great quantities. Then for two days frolic and feasting are indulged in, and the Snake Dance in that village at least is now over, to be repeated two years hence.

What is the significance, the real meaning of the Snake Dance? It is not, as is generally supposed, an act of[122] snake worship. Here I can do no more than give the barest suggestion as to what modern science has concluded. It is mainly a prayer for rain in which acts of sun worship are introduced. The propitiation of the Spider Woman at her shrine by the offerings of prayers and bahos by the chief Antelope priest demonstrates a desire for rain. She is asked to weave the clouds, for without them no rain can descend. The lightning symbol of the Antelope priests; the shaking of their rattles, which sounds like the falling rain; the use of the whizzer to produce the sounds of the coming storm,—these and other similar things show the intimate association of the dance with rain and its making.

Allied to rain are the fructifying processes of the earth; and as corn is their chief article of food, and its germination, growth, and maturity depend upon the rainfall, the use of corn-meal and prayers for the growth of corn have come to have an important place in the ceremony.

The use of the snakes is for a double purpose. In celebrating this ceremony it is the desire of the Snake clan to reproduce the original conditions of its performance as near as possible, in order to gain all the efficacy they desire for their petitions. In the original performance the prayers of the Snake Mother were the potent ones. Hence the snakes must now be introduced to make potent prayers.

The other idea is that the snakes act as intermediaries to convey to the Snake Mother in the underworld the prayers for rain and corn growth that her children on the earth have uttered.

In considering the ceremony of the public dance certain questions naturally arise. Are the Hopis ever bitten by the venomous snakes, and, if so, what are the[123] consequences? And what is the secret of their power in handling these dangerous reptiles with such startling freedom?

After taking the Emetic. Hopi Snake Dance at Walpi.

After taking the Emetic. Hopi Snake Dance at Walpi.

There are times when the priests are bitten, but, as was suggested in the snake legend, they have a snake venom charm liquid. This is prepared by the chief woman of the Snake clan, and she and the Snake priest alone are supposed to know the secret of its composition. It may be that ere long this secret will be given to the world by a gentleman who is largely in the confidence of the Hopis, but, as yet, it is practically unknown. That it is an antidote there can be no question. I have seen men seriously bitten by rattlesnakes, and in each case, after the use of the antidote, the wounded priests suffered but slightly.

As to the "why" of the handling of the snakes. The "fact" it is easy to state; but when one enters the realm of theory to explain the "why" of the fact, he places himself as a target for others to shoot at. My theory, however, is that a fear within yourself arouses a corresponding fear within the reptile. As soon as he feels fear he prepares to use the weapons of offence and defence with which nature has provided him.

If, on the other hand, you feel no fear, and, in touching the creature, do not hurt him so as to arouse his fear, he may be handled with impunity.

Be this as it may, the fact remains—for I have examined the snakes before, during, and after the ceremony—that dangerous and untampered with rattlesnakes are used by the Hopis in this, their prayer to "Those Above" for rain.



Misunderstood, maligned, abused, despised, the Navaho has never stood high in the estimation of those whites who did not know him. Yet he is industrious, moral, honest, trustworthy, fairly truthful, religious, and good to his wife and children. Not a weak list of virtues, even though one has to detract from it by accusing him of ingratitude. There are noble exceptions, of course, to this charge, but from what I know and have seen, I am inclined to believe that many, if not most, Navahoes have no sense of moral responsibility for favors and benefits received.

Though, perhaps, not as interesting to study as the Hopis, there is still a wonderful field open for the student who is willing to go and live with the Navaho, learn his language, gain his confidence, participate in all his ceremonies, and enter into his social and domestic life.

No one has done this as much as Dr. Washington Matthews, whose "Navaho Legends" is a revelation to those people who have hitherto held the general ideas (propagated, too, by a scientific observer) so prevalent about this long-suffering people.

That the Navaho was reserved with the white man in the early days of American occupancy there can be no doubt, and the difficulty experienced in penetrating that reserve is well exemplified by reference to the letter of Dr. Joseph Letherman, who lived for three years among[125] the tribe at Fort Defiance. Aided by Major Kendrick, who had long commanded at this post, he wrote a letter which appears in the Smithsonian Report for 1855. In this he says, among many good things: "Nothing can be learned of the origin of these people from themselves. At one time they say they came out of the ground; and at another, that they know nothing whatever of their origin; the latter, no doubt, being the truth." Again: "Of their religion little or nothing is known, as, indeed, all inquiries tend to show that they have none; and even have not, we are informed, any word to express the idea of a Supreme Being. We have not been able to learn that any observances of a religious character exist among them; and the general impression of those who have the means of knowing them is, that, in this respect, they are steeped in the deepest degradation." Once more: "They have frequent gatherings for dancing." And a little further on: "Their singing is but a succession of grunts, and is anything but agreeable."

One has but to read what Dr. Matthews has written and gathered from the Navahoes to see how misleading and erroneous the conclusions of Dr. Letherman were. To quote: "He [Dr. Matthews] had not been many weeks in New Mexico when he discovered that the dances to which the doctor refers were religious ceremonials, and later he found that these ceremonials might vie in allegory, symbolism, and intricacy of ritual with the ceremonies of any people, ancient or modern. He found, ere long, that these heathens, pronounced godless and legendless, possessed lengthy myths and traditions—so numerous that one can never hope to collect them all, a pantheon as well stocked with gods and heroes as that of the ancient Greeks,[126] and prayers which, for length and vain repetition, might put a Pharisee to blush."

Wonderful songs also were found, full of poetic imagery, and suitable for every conceivable occasion, songs that have been handed down for generations. Of the sacred songs Dr. Matthews makes the astounding statement that, "sometimes, pertaining to a single rite, there are two hundred songs or more which may not be sung at other rites." Further: "The songs must be known to the priest of the rite and his assistants in a most exact manner, for an error made in singing a song may be fatal to the efficacy of a ceremony. In no case is an important mistake tolerated, and in some cases the error of a single syllable works an irreparable injury."

Popular conceptions of the Navaho are very crude and inaccurate. They are largely the result of two "floods of information" which deluged the country at two epochs in their history, and neither of them had much truth in the flood. The first of these epochs was at the discovery of the important cliff dwellings located on their reservation,—those of the Tsegi Canyon (the so-called Canyon de Chelly), Monument Canyon, Chaco Canyon, etc. Writers who visited the region wrote the most wild and outrageously conceived nonsense about this people and the dwellings they were supposed to look upon with superstitious veneration. Then later, a lot of unscrupulous whites, fired with similar zeal to that which led the old conquistadors across the deserts of northern Mexico and through the inhospitable wilds of Arizona and New Mexico,—the zeal for gold or silver,—which was doubtless fed by the fact that the Navahoes did possess thousands of[127] dollars' worth of silver ornaments, started out to prospect the interior recesses of the Navaho reservation. Knowing by painful experience what this meant,—for their "white brothers" had stolen their springs and arable land from them on the Moenkopi, on the Little Colorado, at Willow Spring, and a score of other places,—the warlike and courageous Navahoes resented the presence of these men. They begged them to retire, and when the white men refused, fought and whipped them. This naturally excited the cupidity of the silver hunters more than ever. "Why should the blanked Indians fight if not to protect their silver mines?"—this was the kind of question asked, and the natural and legitimate resentment of the Navahoes was described all over the country as "another Indian uprising," and led to the second "flood of knowledge," which the newspapers always have forthcoming when public interest and curiosity are aroused.

Navaho Silver Necklace and Belt.

Navaho Silver Necklace and Belt.

In the collection of George Wharton James.

Hopi Prayer Sticks or Pahos.

Hopi Prayer Sticks or Pahos.

In the collection of George Wharton James.

Hence the truth often comes as a wet blanket to the preconceived notions of those who have drank deep from these earlier streams of information!

Science and legend both agree in giving to the Navaho a mixed origin. His is not a pure-blooded race. Their myths or legends refer to many assimilations of other people, strangers from the North, South, East, West, and everywhere, all of whom were welcomed and made an integral part of the nation. Hence there is no such thing as a distinctly Navaho type, or, as Hrdlicka puts it, "they show considerable difference in color and measurement, and cannot be considered a radically homogeneous people, but their mixture is not recent." This latter statement is doubtless true, as they would probably become more clannish as their[128] nation grew in numbers and power.

Dr. Matthews gives the stories of the origin of several of the gentes. One story which he does not relate was told to me at Tohatchi, and serves to illustrate how a migration from the Northwest is transformed into a supernatural occurrence. Though told to me of the Navahoes as a whole, there can be no doubt that it applies only to a single gens. The story was in regard to Winged Rock, commonly called by the whites "Ship Rock," and about which I had been seeking information.

This rock is situated in the Navaho reservation, about one hundred miles northwest of Tohatchi, and some fifteen or twenty miles from Carrizo Mountain. It is difficult of access, and my informant assured me that even though an army of white men should reach its base they could never scale its steep sides and reach its top. All the Navaho tribe reverence it sincerely and all watch and guard it jealously. He would indeed be a brave white man who would dare the anger of these warlike and brave natives if they forbade his approach and would attempt to scale this sacred Winged Rock.

This was the legend: "Many, many years ago, when this country was young and the sun cast only small shadows, my people came across the narrow sea far away near the setting sun in the north and landed on the shores of this country. The people where they landed were exceedingly angry at them, and whenever they could they fell upon them and slew them. My people did not want to go to war, but this inhospitable reception made them angry, so they put themselves in war array and fell upon their foes. But there were few only of my people, and their enemies were so many[129] that it was not long before they were in sad straits. Indeed, they would soon have been entirely destroyed had not help come. In their distress they called on Those Above, and soon a messenger from the sky came to my people and said: 'See you yonder stone mountain? Flee to it. It will be your salvation. Climb up its steep, strong, rugged sides and it will carry you toward the land of the South sea, nearer to the rising sun, and there your home shall be.'

"My people were only too glad to obey the message. They hastened towards the mountain. Some who were weak were enabled to fly towards it like birds, and they clung to its steep sides and clambered to its top.

"Then when they were all safe on its huge bulk, the monster rock was taken by Those Above, and it arose and floated across the rivers and plains and mountains and lakes and canyons. Several days and nights it floated, and my people gazed with wonder upon the strange and wonderful countries through which they travelled. Sometimes they thought they would like to stay in this place or in that, but the wisdom of Those Above said No! and the rock floated on. Oh! it was a glorious sail. Never before or since has any people been so blessed and favored by the People of the Shadows Above.

"Finally the Winged Rock crossed the great deep canyon of the Colorado River, and my people were afraid of its vast depths. Then the rock gently settled down to the earth, where it is now found, and our home was reached. It did not seem to be a very beautiful land, but it was given to us by Those Above, and my people soon became content. We were shown the springs and the watercourses, and we found the mountains[130] covered with trees, and the rivers and creeks. So that when any one speaks of our leaving our country we are afraid and we cry: 'No, why should we leave this land given to us, and which we love? Yonder is the rock on which we came, and never until that rock floats away with us shall we leave the land that we love so well!'

"As soon as we were settled here, Those Above gave us some great shamans, and one of them told us that we must always do right, for the sun, when it rises, would watch our every action all throughout the day, and when he went away at night it was to tell Those Above all our evil actions, for which we should be punished."

While the Apaches and Navahoes are of the same stock, there have always been marked differences between them so long as they have been under the observation of the white men. When the Spaniards entered the country, the Navahoes were more distinctly an agricultural people than the Apaches. They had large patches of land under cultivation, kept their crops and lived in houses underground. Cultivated lands necessitated settled residences, and after the Spaniards introduced sheep, it was not long before the Navahoes were extensive sheep raisers. It would not be any wiser or more profitable to enter into an inquiry as to the methods by which these flocks were acquired than it would be to ascertain the history of many of the landed possessions of European nobilities. With the Navaho, possession was the only law he cared anything for. "To have and to hold" was his motto; and once "having," he held pretty securely. Hence the sheep possessions of the neighboring pueblo Indians were held by exceedingly[131] precarious tenure.

An Aged Navaho, looking over the Painted Desert.

An Aged Navaho, looking over the Painted Desert.

An Old Hopi at Oraibi.

An Old Hopi at Oraibi.

And here we have, I believe, one of the additional sources of enmity between the Navaho and the Spaniard. As their wards, the Spanish were in duty bound to care for and protect the Pueblos. Thus Navaho and Spaniard were ever at war, and when the Mexican came in the Spaniard's stead the battle still continued on the same lines and with the same ferocity.

It was on the 22d of January in 1849 that Lieut. J. H. Simpson, afterwards General, started on that interesting trip of his through the Navaho country, which has forever connected his name with these nomads. He was not in command of the expedition, its head being Col. John M. Washington, who was military and civil governor of New Mexico at the time. The object of the expedition was to coerce the Navahoes into a compliance with a treaty which they had made with the United States, two years previously, and to extend the provisions of the treaty.

When they reached the Chaco Canyon trouble ripened between the soldiers and the Navahoes, and the latter were fired upon, with the result that seven were killed, including Narbona, their great warrior and chief.

This was but one of many such attacks upon the whites. Then as now, only far more so, the Navahoes resented the intrusion of white people in their territory; and having gained fire-arms, they used them to deadly purpose upon those who slighted their will.

There is no doubt that the Navahoes were a source of great terror to the Mexicans who first settled in and near their territory. Even after the United States became their guardians at the acquisition of New Mexico in 1847, they were very hostile, murders, robberies, and[132] depredations of every kind being quite common. In 1855, Dr. Letherman reported that "the nation, as a nation, is fully imbued with the idea that it is all powerful, which, no doubt, has arisen from the fact of its having been for years a terror and a dread to the inhabitants of New Mexico." But that these depredations were not perpetrated upon the whites alone is evident from the fact that one of the richest men of the Navahoes himself applied to Major Kendrick, then the commanding officer of Fort Defiance, N. Mex., to protect his cattle, as he could not otherwise prevent his own people from stealing them.

The insolence from years of this kind of free life needed forceful check, but it was not until 1862 that the unbearable conduct of the Navahoes brought upon themselves this long-needed chastisement.

According to governmental reports, the Indians of New Mexico (among whom were the Navahoes and Mescalero Apaches) caused losses between 1860 and 1863 to the people of that territory of "not less than 500,000 sheep, and 5,000 horses, mules, and cattle. Over 200 lives have been also sacrificed of citizens, soldiers, and shepherds." It was also stated in 1863 "that the military establishment of this territory [New Mexico, which then included Arizona], since its acquisition, has cost not less than $3,000,000 annually, independent of land-warrant bounties." And while this was for a conquered country, the whole expenditure was for the chastisement of hostile Indians, every tribe of which in turn came in for its share of the fighting.

It was openly advocated about this time that the policy of extermination was the only one that could be followed, and this must be brought about either by[133] actual warfare, or by driving the hostiles into the mountains and there starving them to death.

Brig.-Gen. J. H. Carleton, who was in control of the department of New Mexico, determined upon a thorough and complete change in our treatment of this haughty and proud people. They had made six treaties at different times with officers of our Government and had violated them before they could be ratified at Washington. He strongly counselled drastic measures in a letter which is historically of sufficient interest to justify a large quotation from it:—

"At the Bosque Redondo there is arable land enough for all the Indians of this family [the Navahoes and Apaches have descended from the same stock and speak the same language], and I would respectfully recommend that now the war be vigorously prosecuted against the Navahoes; that the only peace that can ever be made with them must rest on the basis that they move on to these lands, and, like the Pueblos, become an agricultural people, and cease to be nomads. This should be a sine qua non; as soon as the snows of winter admonish them of the sufferings to which their families will be exposed, I have great hopes of getting most of the tribe. The knowledge of the perfidy of these Navahoes, gained after two centuries of experience, is such as to lead us to put no faith in their promises. They have no government to make treaties; they are a patriarchal people. One set of families may make promises, but the other set will not heed them. They understand the direct application of force as a law; if its application be removed, that moment they become lawless. This has been tried over and over again, and at great expense. The purpose now is, never to relax the application of force with a people that can no more be trusted than the wolves that run through the mountains. To collect them together, little by little, on to a reservation, away from the haunts and hills and[134] hiding-places of their country; there be kind to them; there teach their children how to read and write; teach them the arts of peace, teach them the truths of Christianity. Soon they will acquire new habits, new ideas, and new modes of life; and the old Indians will die off, and carry with them all latent longings for murdering and robbing. The young ones will take their places without these longings, and thus, little by little, they will become a happy and contented people; and Navaho wars will be remembered only as something that belong entirely to the past. Even until they can raise enough to be self-sustaining, you can feed them cheaper than fight them....

"I know these ideas are practical and humane—are just to the suffering people, as well as to the aggressive, perfidious, butchering Navahoes. If I can have one more full regiment of cavalry, and authority to raise one independent company in each county of the Territory, they can soon be carried to a final result."

In 1863 General Carleton's suggestions in the main were approved by the Indian Department and he proceeded to carry out his plan.

Col. Kit Carson, the noted scout, with an adequate force was sent out to humble and punish the Navahoes. It was wise that such a just, humane, and wise Indian fighter was sent to do this work. His knowledge of their characters stood him in good purpose, and in a very short time over seven thousand prisoners were taken. Later this number was increased, until they amounted to about ten or eleven thousand.

At the same time the Apaches were being cornered, and a number of them were removed to Fort Stanton, on the Peeos River, far enough down into the open country to prevent easy escape to the mountains. Part of this settlement was the Bosque Redondo, and General Carleton's plan contemplated the settlement of both[135] Apaches and Navahoes here.

Hopi Ceremonial Head-dresses.

Hopi Ceremonial Head-dresses.

In the collection of George Wharton James.

Hopi Bahos and Dance Rattles.

Hopi Bahos and Dance Rattles.

In the collection of George Wharton James.

Compelled by a superior force, the now humbled Navahoes were herded together like sheep and in 1863 were removed to the chosen place. It was soon found, however, that this was an inhospitable region, altogether unfitted to be the home of so large a population. The water was alkaline, and the soil not of a nature suitable to the raising of corn. There was practically no fuel, and the Navahoes had to dig up mesquite roots and carry them on their backs twelve miles for this purpose. In two or three years more than one-fourth of their number died and the remainder grew more and more dissatisfied with the location.

In 1867, however, Manuelito and Barboncita, two of the war chiefs, came into the reservation, both of them having surrendered to the commandant at Fort Wingate. The former had refused to come into the reservation in 1863, and the latter ran away from it, with his band of warriors, in 1864. These two bands added 780 more of men, women, and children to the population, which, in June, 1867, was reported to be 7,300.

This whole Bosque Redondo was a disgraceful business, on a line with so much of the wretched and abominable treatment the Indians have received at our hands. Think of placing ten thousand Indians upon a reservation where there was no water but black, brackish stuff not fit for cattle, no fuel, and no soil for cultivation of the chief article of their diet. Deprived of food, water, and fuel, what would white men be? No wonder the Navahoes rebelled and were kept in order only by brute force.

At length those in authority saw the iniquity of the proceeding and the order was given to return them to their reservation. This was done, but with a loss by[136] death, mainly through preventable causes, of over three thousand souls.

Since this time they have been industrious and progressive. The Bosque lesson, though severe, was needed, and it proved salutary. One can travel with perfect safety unarmed across the Navaho reservation, as I have done several times; and a lady friend, unarmed, and unaccompanied by any other escort than a Navaho, has travelled hundreds of miles in perfect safety among the Navahoes in all parts of their reservation.[3]

In September, 1870, a number of dissatisfied Utes visited the Navahoes at the so-called "Navaho Church," which can be seen on the right on the line of the Santa Fé Railway, going to California. All the principal chiefs of the tribe were present and the causes of dissatisfaction against the whites were fully discussed. The powwow was an important one, and lasted several days, but the chief purpose of the Utes—to incite the Navahoes to warfare against the whites—was not successful. The crafty Utes, with stirring eloquence, said they had heard the white men saying they were going to take possession of the whole country, and that when they did they would kill off all the chief men of the Navahoes. "See how they have stolen in upon your territory and taken the springs and land that you have had all the time up till now! They have taken the water and land at Wingate and at Defiance, and soon they will take all you have, and you and your children[137] will perish because you have no water, no grass for your horses and sheep, and no corn for food. Join in with us and drive these hated people away. Get all the guns and ammunition you can, and prepare many new bows and arrows. Let us sing the war songs together, and go on the war-path and hunt down and kill the whites as the Pueblos hunt down and kill rabbits. Then we will be friends. You will have your country to yourselves, and Those Above will make of you a great nation. We shall have our country and we shall become great. Now we are dwindling down; we are melting away as the snows on the hillside. United against the whites we shall both become stronger, and grow like the well-watered corn."

The Navahoes refused to give answer until they had consulted among themselves, and then one of their chiefs reported their decision as follows: "We have heard what our Ute brothers have said. If our white brothers want to kill us they can do so. They have had plenty of chances and we are yet alive. All of our people who have been slain have been those who have gone on the war-path against them in the past. We do not wish to die, so we will not go on the war-path. We will stay at home. We have food. The whites treat us well. If our Ute brothers must fight we will not interfere, but we ourselves do not wish to fight."

The result was that the Ute bands returned to their homes without any specific act of warfare at that time.



The Navaho reservation, embracing nearly four million acres, or eleven thousand square miles, was established by treaty with the Navahoes of June 1, 1868, and has been modified or enlarged by subsequent executive orders of October 29, 1878, January 6, 1880, May 17, 1884, April 24, 1886, November 19, 1892, and January 6, 1900. The major portion is in Arizona, but about six hundred and fifty square miles are in New Mexico. Its average elevation is about six thousand feet, though near the Colorado River it is often but four thousand. The highest peak is about in the centre of the present reservation, in the Tunicha Mountains, and is upwards of nine thousand five hundred feet high.

The Tunicha range is covered with glorious and majestic pines, and all along its flanks are wide plateaus through which gloomy and massive canyons convey the storm waters from the heights above into the plains below. Its close proximity to the Grand Canyon suggests what its general appearance might be. Drained deep down by the canyons and gorges tributary to this great vampire canyon, it is seamed and scarred by the dashing down of many waters. Its rocks are cut up into a thousand fantastic forms and shapes, which look over sterile valleys full of sand. These valleys are numberless, and one of them, the I-chi-ni-li,—commonly called the Chin-lee,—stretches from the south to beyond[139] the San Juan River on the north, to the west of the Tunicha range.

The ancient boundaries of the land, long prior to the advent of the Spaniard, were four majestic mountains, which now approximately determine the reserve. On the east is Pelado Peak; on the south, Mt. San Mateo (commonly called Mt. Taylor); on the west, the San Francisco range; and on the north, the San Juan Mountains. Each of these is over eleven thousand feet in height. Hence it will be seen that there is a vast range of altitude, yet it is questionable whether anywhere else in the world so large a population inhabits so barren and inhospitable a country. On the lower levels it is mainly desert, with scant pasture here and there; on the higher mesas or plateaus there are many junipers, pinions, and red cedars.

It is a difficult matter to determine the population of the Navahoes. While they were in captivity the official count was seven thousand three hundred, but desertions were frequent, and at one time about seven hundred of the renegades came in and surrendered, and it is well known that many never were captured or surrendered.

In 1869 the government distributed thirty thousand sheep and two thousand goats to them, and a count was ordered. This was a most favorable time to make it, as besides the sheep and goats, two years' annuities were given out, and rations distributed every four days. The total summed up some nine thousand.

In 1890 the official census reported 17,204, but Cosmos Mendeleff, writing in 1895-96, says the tribe numbers only "over 12,000 souls." It scarcely seems possible, if the count in 1869 was anything near accurate[140] that the population could have increased to 17,204 in 1890. Still it must be remembered that, though not prolific, the Navaho is a good breeder. He is healthy, vigorous, robust, and strong, and his wife (or wives, for he is a polygamist) equally so. Living an out-door life, inured to hardships, generally possessed of plenty to eat, of coarse, rough, hearty, but nutritious food, engaged in occupations and indulging in sports that cultivate their athletic powers, free from the consumptive and scrofulous tendencies of most reservation Indians, they are well fitted to be the progenitors of healthy children.

Though polygamists, they are moral and chaste. In their legends they have always regarded marital unfaithfulness as a prolific source of sorrow and punishment. In their Origin Legend this sin led to their banishment from the first world, and again from the second, and also from the third, the wronged chief execrating them as follows: "For such crimes I suppose you were chased from the world below; you shall drink no more of our water, you shall breathe no more of our air. Begone!"

In this legend Washington Matthews tells of Góntso, or Big Knee, a chief who had twelve wives, four from each of three different gens or families. Though he was a bountiful provider, his wives were unfaithful to him. He complained to the chiefs of their families and to their relations and begged them to remonstrate with the wicked women, but remonstrances and rebukes seemed to be in vain. At last they said to Big Knee, "Do with them as you will, we shall not interfere." The next time he detected the unfaithfulness of his wives he mutilated one, another he cut the ears from, a third cut off her breasts, and all these three died. A fourth[141] he cut off her nose, and she lived. He thereupon determined that henceforth he would cut off the nose of any unfaithful wife, for that would be a visible mark of her shame and yet would not kill her. She would be compelled to live, and all men and women would know of her wickedness. But even this horrible punishment did not have the deterrent effect he expected. It was not long before another and then another was detected and punished, until, before long, his whole family of wives was noseless. Instead of rebuking themselves and their sins as the cause of their mutilation these women would gather together to rail against their husband, and their relations, whom they claimed should have protected them. Big Knee was compelled to sleep alone in a well-protected hut, and the women grew more determined than ever to work him an injury.

Kapata, Antelope Priest, at Walpi. A Mashonganavi Hopi, going to hoe his Corn.

Kapata, Antelope Priest, at Walpi.

A Mashonganavi Hopi, going to hoe his Corn.

About this time the people got up a big ceremony for the benefit of Big Knee. It lasted nine days, and on the night of the last day the mutilated women, who had kept themselves secluded in a hut, came forth, and with knives in their hands, proceeded to sing and dance as was expected of them. Around the fire they circled, singing "Peshla ashila"—"It was the knife that did it to me"—and peering among the spectators for their husband. He was safe, however, for he was hidden in the circle of branches that made the dance corral. As they concluded the dance they ran from the corral, cursing all who were present with fearful maledictions: "May the waters drown ye! May the winters freeze ye! May the fires burn ye! May the lightnings strike ye!" and other equally malicious curses. Then they departed and went into the far north, where they now dwell, and, according to the Navahoes, whenever these noseless[142] women turn their faces to the south we have cold winds and storms and lightning.

From this legend it is observed that the husband's power over the wife was somewhat limited. Góntso dare not punish his wives without the consent of their relations. This freedom of the woman is observed to this day, she regarding herself in most things as the equal, and sometimes the superior, of her husband.

From all I can learn, marital unchastity is uncommon, though where the tribe is in close contact with the towns along the railway there are generally to be found men who will sell their wives and daughters, and mothers who will sell their girls to debased white men. Among the respectable members of the tribe, if a man discovers that his wife, or one of them, is unfaithful, he may take it upon himself to chastise her, but such is the independent position of the woman that he must be very wise and judicious or she will speedily leave him.

Divorce is not common, but is allowable for cause, the parties chiefly concerned generally settling all the details. Occasionally, however, a transaction occurs that in civilized society would occasion quite a buzz of busy tongues. One such happened but a few years ago. Mr. George H. Pepper of the American Museum of Natural History tells the story. The facts were within his own knowledge. One of the husbands had a wife who positively refused to wash and brush his hair. He would coax and persuade, urge and command, threaten and bluster, but all to no effect. The dusky creature was neither to be led nor driven. If he wanted his hair washed and combed he must do it himself.

While the disappointed husband was cogitating over his miserable marital experiences, a friend from a distance,[143] with his wife, came to visit him. As the men got to talking and finally exchanging confidences about their wives, the one told the other of the unwifely conduct of his spouse. The visitor condoled with his host and told what a good wife he had, how very obedient she was, and the like, until he had quite exalted her, and the host determined to take a better look than he had hitherto given at such a paragon of a wife. Whether this was a scheme of the visitor or not it was scarcely possible to tell, but, anyhow, it worked out as well as if it had been carefully planned; for as the host studied the visitor's wife he fell head over ears in love with her, and, strange to say, a corresponding affinity was discovered to exist between the two others. Accordingly, a day or two later the visitor suggested to the host that as he (the host) wanted a wife to wash and comb his hair, while he (the visitor) was content with a wife that would do neither, what was to hinder their "swapping" their life partners and thus making a satisfactory end to his domestic difficulties? With joy the disappointed husband accepted the offer,—a little "boot" was required to make the exchange satisfactorily, and then the result was communicated to the women. Neither of them was consulted in the slightest, but without any hesitancy they fell in with the agreement. The visitor rode off satisfied, accompanied by his new wife, while the wife who came as a visitor inaugurated her new relationship by shyly coming into her new husband's hogan with an olla of water, the necessary soap-root, and the whisk with which to wash and comb her liege's hair. And now, for three years, the two couples are known to have lived together in "amity and concord."


A few years ago it would perhaps have been safe to designate the Navahoes as the most wealthy Indians of the United States. Many of them were worth hundreds of dollars. They understood and practised the art of irrigation; they grew large crops of corn, squash, melons, beans, chili, and onions. Some had large and thriving bands of horses, which they traded with the Havasupais, Wallapais, Hopis, Paiutis, and other neighboring people. I have often met a band of six or eight Navaho traders with horses and blankets in the canyon of the Havasu, and they took away the well-dressed buckskins in exchange, for which these canyon people are noted. From the Paiutis, they obtained baskets and their tusjehs, or wicker-work, pinion gum-covered water-bottles.

As for sheep and goats, there are few places in the United States where so many were to be found as on the Navaho reservation. Every family had its flock, as every woman was a blanket weaver; and one of the prettiest sights in the whole Painted Desert Region was to come upon a flock of these gentle, domestic creatures quietly pasturing, led or driven by the owner herself, or one of her children.

But the last few years have made a great difference in their prosperity. Rains have been rare, water scarce, and pasture scant, and as a result their flocks are reduced to woeful proportions. Their nomadic habits render the improvement of their locations impossible, and their superstition in regard to the burning of a hogan in which any one has died compels frequent migrations.

There is no doubt but that for the past three hundred years of historic time the Navahoes have been thieves, robbers, and murderers. The Hopis contend that all the[145] sheep they had before the general distribution, earlier referred to, were stolen from them. This is probably true, but it is equally probable that had the Navahoes not stolen them the Utes would; and while this seems poor comfort, after facts showed that it was an exceedingly good thing that Navahoes rather than Utes became their possessors. For, once in their possession, the Navahoes became careful breeders (for aborigines) of sheep, and when marauding bands of Utes came into the country the warlike Navahoes drove them away, thus defending the sheep so that the Hopis could obtain the nucleus of a new flock later on.

In the next chapter I present, a fairly full and accurate account of the art of blanket-weaving, for which the Navahoes are now so noted.

As a rule the physical development of the Navahoes is sturdy and robust, as will be seen from the accompanying photographs. They average well, and with slight range on either side from a fair and normal development. There are few excessively strong, and equally few very weak people among them. The same may be said of their fatness and leanness, both extremes being rare.

The men, as is common with all Indians, pluck out the hair on both lips and chin, though, occasionally, one will find a man who has allowed his moustache to grow. The hair on the head is seldom cut, and with both sexes is allowed to grow long. The men tie it in a knot behind, and wrap a high-colored "banda" around the forehead, thus confining the hair and adding considerably to their own picturesqueness.

Being a prosperous people, they are generally contented looking, and wear that air of complacent self-satisfaction that is a sure sign of prosperity. It seems[146] clearly to say: "We are a good people, a specially favored because specially deserving people, hence look upon us and understand our prosperity." There are no beggars among the better class of the Navahoes, and men as well as women are hard workers. As a nation they are decidedly producers. Mr. Cotton has large gangs of them working at grading, etc., on the Santa Fé Railway, and they can be found helping white men in as many and as various occupations as the Chinese in California. The industry of the women is proverbial, for seldom will one be found idle, her greatest seeming pleasure being to have her hands constantly occupied. What with carding the wool, washing, dyeing, and spinning it, preparing the dyes (after collecting them) for coloring it, and then weaving the blankets for which they are famous, going out into the mountains to collect the wild seeds and roots of which they are fond, caring for the corn, tending the sheep and goats, preparing the daily food, and many other duties that they impose upon themselves, none can say they are not models of industry. Men, women, and children alike are fearless riders. The wealth of many a man is determined by his possessions of horses and sheep, and from earliest years the boys are required to attend to the bands of horses. In their semi-nomad life the women ride about with the men, and thus become skilled riders. They sit astride, mounting and dismounting as easily as the men, and riding wherever occasion demands.

The saddles are made by the men, and are a modification of the big-horned Mexican variety. The tree is cut out with infinite patience and care, and is then covered with rawhide or bought leather, and adorned[147] with rows of brass-headed nails. The girth, or cinch, is home woven, of wool, cotton, or horsehair, the former being preferred.

The Antelope Priests leaving their Kiva for the Snake Dance.

The Antelope Priests leaving their Kiva for the Snake Dance.

The Widow, Daughters, and Grandchildren of the Navaho Chief, Manuelito.

The Widow, Daughters, and Grandchildren of the Navaho Chief, Manuelito.

That the Navahoes are or were expert engineers, and could construct difficult trails, is evidenced by their trails into Chaca Canyon from the mesa above. Simpson thus describes what he saw in 1849: "A mile further, observing several Navahoes high above us, on the brink of the north wall, shouting and gesticulating as if they were very glad to see us, what was our astonishment when they commenced tripping down the almost sheer wall before them, as nimbly and dexterously as minuet dancers! Indeed, the force of gravity, and their descent upon a steep inclined plane, made such a kind of performance absolutely necessary to insure their equilibrium."

They are a remarkably intelligent people, and their faces are, as a rule, pliant and expressive. There is none of the proverbial stolidness to be found among any except very few of the older men of the Navahoes. If you are unwelcome you will know it,—surly looks and words will ask your mission and bid you begone. On the other hand, if you are welcome, glad smiles will light up the faces of your friends, and you will hear sweet words uttered by melodious and tuneful voices. It is seldom that your courteous advances will be repelled, though they are very ready to resent unwelcome intrusions. I have often sat for hours in the hogans of entire strangers, and the conversation of men and women was general and punctuated with laughter and smiles, showing that they know how to make and appreciate jokes.


The Navahoes play a game common in the Southwest, which they call nanzosh. It is a simple game, yet they seem to get endless fun and amusement from it, often gambling large sums upon their favorite players, for, while it looks and is simple, it is not easy to play so as to win. It requires great skill and accurate throwing. The implements are two long poles and a small hoop. The poles are generally of alder and in two pieces, a fathom long, and a long, many-tailed string called the turkey-claw is fastened to the end of each. Two players only are needed. One throws the hoop. Both follow, and when they think the hoop is about to fall, they throw their respective poles so that the hoop, in its fall, will rest upon those portions of their poles that give the highest counts.

Catlin describes a similar game played by the Mandans, though their pole is a single piece of wood, as is that of the Mohaves and Yumas, both of whom have the same game.

The taboo is in existence in all its force among the Navahoes. The most singular of these is that which forbids a man ever to look upon the face of his mother-in-law. Among civilized people it is a standard subject for rude jesting, this relationship of the mother-in-law, but with the Navahoes, the white man's jest is a subject of great earnestness. Each believes that serious consequences will follow if they see each other; hence, as it is the custom for a man to live with his wife's people, constant dodging is required, and the cries of warning, given by one or another of the family to son or mother-in-law, are often heard. I was once photographing the family of Manuelito, the last great war-chief of the Navahoes. The widow of the chief, her two daughters, their husbands and children, made up the group.[149] But there was no getting of them together. I would photograph the mother with her daughters and grandchildren, but as soon as I called for the daughters' husbands, the mother "slid" out of sight, and when I wished for her return, the men disappeared.

Then, too, a Navaho will never touch fish, much less eat it. According to one of the shamans, the reason for this is, that some of their ancestors were once turned into fish in the San Juan River, and, were they to eat fish, they might thus become cannibals, and eat descendants of their own ancestors. As neither Matthews nor Stephen refers to this cause of the taboo, I merely give it for what it may be worth. The former tells of a white woman, who, in a spirit of mischief, threw a pan of water in which fish had been soaked over a young Navaho. He changed his clothes and bathed himself carefully, in order that no taint of the tabooed fish might remain upon him. I have had a great deal of fun by innocently offering candy in the form of fish to Navahoes. As they are fond of candy, it was a strong proof of the power of the taboo that they invariably refused to touch it.

Superstition naturally forms a large part of the Navaho's thought. He believes in charms, amulets, fetishes, witchcraft, taboos, magic, and all the wondrous things he can conceive. His name for a personal fetish is Bizha, "his treasure, something he especially values; hence his charm, his amulet, his personal fetish, his magic weapon, something that one carries to mysteriously protect himself."

The talisman or amulet for the gambler is a piece of fine turquoise, because Noholipi, a gambling god, who appears in their Origin Legend, was made successful[150] always with a large piece of this precious stone.

There are quite a number of medicine-men, or shamans, among the Navahoes, some good, others bad. It has been my privilege to know several who are men of dignity and character.

Dr. Matthews, in writing of them, thus strongly expresses himself: "There are, among the Navahoes, charlatans and cheats who treat disease; men who pretend to suck disease out of the patient, and then draw from their own mouths pebbles, pieces of charcoal, or bodies of insects, claiming that these are the disease which they have extracted. But the priests of the great rites are not to be classed with such. All of these with whom the writer is acquainted are above such trickery. They perform their ceremonies in the firm conviction that they are invoking divine aid, and their calling lends dignity to their character." Of Hatali Natloi, the smiling chanter, he says: "He would be considered a man of high character in any community. He is dignified, courteous, kind, honest, truthful, and self-respecting."

This is the universal testimony of all who know this class of men with reasonable intimacy. Though the white man may believe the performances of a shaman ridiculous or superstitious, that need not interfere with his respect and esteem.

To understand this subject aright, one must clearly apprehend the Indian meaning of the terms "medicine," and "medicine-men." Oftentimes the latter are called priests, sometimes thaumaturgists, oftener shamans, and, of course, by all unknowing white men are unhesitatingly denounced as frauds and humbugs. Now to the Indian all things that work injury to him are[151] bad medicine. If you write his name (or any scrawl he cannot understand) on a piece of paper and look at it solemnly and then at him, at the same time shaking your head, you can persuade him into the belief that it is "bad medicine." Owen Wister recently wrote in one of the popular magazines an interesting story, the whole plot of which was based upon his knowledge of this fact.

With the Navaho it is "bad medicine" to touch an achindee hogan (or house). When a person dies within a house, the rafters are tumbled over the body, and the whole set on fire. After that it would be exceeding "bad medicine" for a Navaho to go near the spot, or touch a piece of wood belonging to that hogan; for the spirit (the achindee) is supposed to remain in the locality, and he resents any undue intrusion into his domain. Before I was aware of the custom and feeling, I camped near an abandoned and partially burned hogan. When I sent my Navaho man to it for wood for a fire, he went half a mile away into the mountain and stayed there. I was unable to understand his feeling, but later I learned that except under the pangs of direst hunger, he would never have touched a morsel of food prepared over a fire in which wood from the achindee hogan had been used.

Medicine-men are often used as instruments for the working of private revenge. Cowards are to be found among Indians as among white men. Among white men these despicable wretches attack their foes through the columns of newspapers or in the pages of magazines, while among the former they call in the services of a medicine-man. This hired charlatan then either directly or by proxy works upon the fears of the man he is hired[152] to injure. Sometimes he actually poisons or otherwise harms him under pretence of protecting him. But the Indian is dreadfully superstitious, and to work upon his mind is easy, and he soon imagines himself to be sick.

For the cure of disease the better class of Navaho shamans have a system of chanting, praying, dancing, bathing, sweating, etc., that Dr. Matthews has fully described in the United States Bureau of Ethnology reports. The complexity of these ceremonies cannot be comprehended or conceived by those whose knowledge of the Indian is superficial and casual.

If, however, a shaman makes himself unpopular, or fails to cure in several successive cases, or earns the enmity of a treacherous shaman foe, he is liable to be accused of witchcraft, and if a sufficient number of the people can be made to believe the charge he is speedily done away with. One of the shamans made famous by Dr. Matthews was recently killed on account of his harsh and tyrannical manner. He was accused of witchcraft and shot. Hence it will be seen that the Navaho is not yet perfect—any more than his white brother. No, indeed!

There are other points in which he is similar to his brother of the white skin. Some years ago I journeyed in a wagon with an old Arizona pioneer, Franklin French, from Winslow, on the line of the Santa Fé, through the Hopi country, the Mormon town of Tuba City, past the Navaho settlements of Willow Springs, Echo Reef, etc., to Lee's Ferry of the Colorado River.

Beyond Willow Springs we camped one night, and I went to a Navaho hogan to purchase corn and vegetables for ourselves, and feed for the horses. Everything was six prices too high, but the Navahoes knew I was in[153] need of their articles and raised the prices accordingly. It is not only the white man that understands the principle of "cornering the market." We compromised, however, and, after a hearty supper and a chat around the camp-fire, I rolled myself up in my blankets ready to sleep until called for breakfast in the morning.

But what a babel of confusing and distressing sounds it was that awakened me! Surely we must be beset by a band of marauding Navahoes, bent on murdering us! No; it was only a wordy fight between my driver and three Navaho women, who had come to demand compensation for depredations committed in their corn-field by our horses. Hobbled, and turned loose, they had discovered somehow, during the night, that on Echo Reef were corn and other good fodder to be had in the place of the scant feed offered below; so, following their noses, they had wandered into corn-fields and melon-patches to their own delectation, but the manifest injury of the crops. What was to be done about it? French was advising that the Navahoes imitate the example of the Hopis and cut off a portion of the ear of each offending animal, but the women angrily laughed him to scorn and vociferously demanded cinquo pesos for the damage. These were not forthcoming, but I urged the squaws on, telling them to insist that the hoary-headed old miser pay them their just demands, and informing them, in purest English, of the opinions French had expressed regarding them, as a people, the night before. The aborigines didn't quite know what to make out of my fluent verbosity, and French at last impatiently turned to me and told me there'd be a "pretty general monkey and parrot time started here pretty quick, if I didn't let up, and that'll be follered by a pretty tall foot-race[154] between us two, in which you'll be 'way off in the lead." So we compromised with our dusky visitors by inviting them to eat up the remnants of our breakfast, and then carry away a little coffee and sugar. The only thing I am now afraid of is that, at the next visit I make them, they will privately and stealthily, under the cover of night, lead our steeds into the forbidden fields, and encourage them in their thefts, in order that they may enjoy another "compromise."

Primitive peoples at an early date felt the desire for personal adornment. With the Navaho this found expression in painting the body with various colored ochres or clays, in fashioning garments out of the skins of animals, in wearing head-dresses and other fantastic ornaments made from feathers, and in necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and wristlets made of small flint arrowpoints, or of the dried seeds of juniper, pinion, and other plants, or of bones. Later they secured beads of shell, turquoise, and coral by barter.

But nearly all this primitive decoration received a rude shock of displacement when the Mexican colonist came upon the scene, with his iron, copper, and silver adornments glittering in the sunlight. From coveting, the Navaho took to possessing by fair means or foul. He would barter his skins or other native possessions for the precious metals, using brass and copper for the making of ornaments, and iron for tipping his arrows. Silver, however, has never lost its charm for him. The Mexican vaquero, trapped out in the glittering metal, has ever been his ideal of personal adornment, and he retains it to this day. Silver is the only coin they care to accept, though the better educated now know the[155] superior value of gold.

There are some clever, skilful silversmiths among them—peshlikais, as they call themselves. In crucibles of their own manufacture they melt the precious metal, using a crude and primitive blast furnace, with charcoal as fuel, and the molten silver is then poured into moulds which they have shaped out of sandstone or other rock. They understand the art of uniting two pieces of metal together, for many of their ornaments are hollow and globular, originally made in two parts and then joined. Scarcely a man or woman of any standing in the tribe does not possess a home-manufactured necklace of silver beads or articles of some design,—a finger ring or two, one or more bracelets, and sometimes a pair of ear pendants. Above all they covet the belt with large silver disks. Each of these disks is made of two or more silver dollars, melted and run into a flat mould. This thick sheet is then hammered out to the required size and shape, which is either oval or circular, and chased with small tools. The border is generally filleted and the edges scalloped. When finished each disk has a value of twice its original cost in coin silver. Sometimes a belt will contain eight or nine disks and a buckle, which cannot be bought for less than thirty-six to forty dollars. This, too, is actual cost price. If the Navaho doesn't care to part with it, an extra five or ten dollars, or even more, is required to induce him to let it go.

In addition to these objects of personal adornment, many of the more wealthy have silver bridles. The bridle itself is made of leather or woven horsehair, and then the silver strips and bars, artistically chased and decorated, are placed and fastened on the headstall.[156] Silver buttons of pretty and tasty design are commonly used on gaiters and moccasins. These are made from beaten coins, twenty-five and fifty-cent pieces, and the obverse side is often found in its original state as stamped in the United States or Mexican mint.

The bracelets are of various designs, sometimes simple round circlets; other times the silver is triangular, but the most common shape is a flat band, on the outer side of which chasings and gravings are made. These bracelets are made so that they can be slipped sideways over the wrist. These and all the other articles mentioned are worn equally by women and men.

The finger rings are often adorned with a rude setting of turquoise or garnet. The former is found in various parts of New Mexico, and on their reservation they dig garnets, spinel rubies, jacinths, peridots, opals, smoky topaz, and crystal spar in large quantities. From the Petrified Forest they obtain jasper, carnelian, chalcedony, agate, and amethyst. All these objects are rudely polished and shaped, and used on rings, ear pendants, or necklaces.

It has been stated that the Navaho is exceedingly superstitious about making or allowing to be made any representation of a snake, and that on one occasion a silversmith who offended by beginning to make a bracelet of rattlesnake design was cruelly beaten, his workshop demolished, and the hated emblem destroyed. This may be true, but I have ridden all over the Navaho reservation wearing both a rattlesnake ring and bracelet, and have had several made for me, on different parts of the reservation, by different peshlikais. I am now wearing a ring of rattlesnake design made by a Navah silversmith and given to me with this thought as[157] explained to me by the donor: "The snake watches and guards for us our springs and water-courses. Water is the most precious thing we possess in the desert. I make for you this ring in the form of a snake, that the power that guards our most precious thing may always guard you."

Wife of Leve Leve, Wallapai Chief.

Wife of Leve Leve, Wallapai Chief.

The March of the Antelope Priests, Oraibi, 1902.

The March of the Antelope Priests, Oraibi, 1902.

I wore this ring when unfortunately I was bitten by a rattlesnake at Phœnix, in February, 1902; but as I speedily recovered, I am satisfied that my Navaho friend will insist that it was the ring and its virtues that kept me from sudden death, and that hastened my complete recovery.[4]

A most interesting settlement of Navahoes is that of To-hatch-i, or Little Water, some forty miles northwest of Gallup, New Mexico. Here I was invited by Mrs. E. H. De Vore, the teacher of the government school. The drive is over an interesting country, part of which is covered by junipers and cedars, and where the road winds around strangely and fantastically sculptured rocks as it reaches the great Navaho plateau.

The major portion of the Navahoes were kind and hospitable and greeted me cordially. The day after my arrival I was talking with Hosteen Da-ä-zhy about the other Indian tribes I had visited, when suddenly the thought came to me which I immediately expressed: "When I go to my friends the Hopis and Acomas and Zunis they always know I am weary and tired with my[158] long journey across the sandy desert, and they have their women prepare a bowl of "tal-a-wush" and cool and refresh me by shampooing my head." Talawush is the Navaho for the root of the amole (soap-root), which, macerated and then beaten up and down in a bowl of water, produces a delicious lather, which, for a shampoo, has no equal.

In a moment, as though grieved by his thoughtlessness and want of hospitality, Da-ä-zhy called to his oldest daughter, and bade her prepare some talawush to give me a shampoo. The woman muttered some protest,—"it was enough to wash her own husband's head without having to wash mine,"—but her father sternly rebuked her for her want of courtesy to the stranger. In a short time the preparations were all made. I sent to Mrs. De Vore and borrowed a couple of towels, and then in the shade outside knelt down with my head over a large bowl full of the refreshing suds. Very gently at first, and afterwards more vigorously, the good woman lathered my head—and oh, how cooling and soothing it was!—while her sister and the interpreter stood by and laughed. Then Hosteen himself came and laughed at the droll remarks of his daughter. This general laughter called others, and by and by Mrs. De Vore and her sister could not resist the temptation to come and see what all the fun was about. Just as they sat down, close by, my gentle manipulator was saying: "Navaho men have hair only on the top of their heads, but you have hair also on the bottom [my beard]. Shall I also put talawush on the bottom hair as well as the top?" Laughingly I bade her put it everywhere she liked, and just as my mouth was at its widest she brought up a handful of suds and filled it full. Of[159] course I half choked, and this only made the laugh greater than ever, for, with the greatest coolness and sly nonchalance she exclaimed: "It is a good thing that you got a mouthful. White men need to have their mouths washed out pretty often!"

And what a delightful sensation the whole operation gave one! It was refreshing beyond description, and, for days after, my hair was as silky and soft as that of a child.



When the Spaniard came into Arizona and New Mexico three hundred and fifty years ago, he found the art of weaving in a well-advanced stage among the domestic and sedentary Pueblo Indians, and the wild and nomad Navahoes. The cotton of these blankets was grown by these Arizona Indians from time immemorial, and they also used the tough fibres of the yucca, and agave leaves, and the hairs of various wild animals, either separately or with cotton. Their processes of weaving were exactly the same then as they are to-day, there being but slight differences between the methods followed before the advent of the whites and after. Hence, in a study of Indian blanketry, as it is made even to-day, we are approximating nearly to the pure aboriginal methods of pre-Columbian times.

Archæologists and ethnologists generally presume that the art of weaving on the loom was learned by the Navahoes from their Pueblo neighbors. All the facts in the case seem to bear out this supposition. Yet, as is well known, the Navahoes are a part of the great Athabascan family, which has scattered, by separate migrations, from Alaska into California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Many of the Alaskans are good weavers, and according to Navaho traditions, their ancestors,[161] when they came into the country, wore blankets that were made of cedar bark and of yucca fibre. Even in the Alaska (Thlinket) blankets, made to-day of the wool of the white mountain-goat, cedar bark is twisted in with the wool of the warp. Why, then, should not the Navaho woman have brought the art of weaving, possibly in a very primitive condition, from her original Alaskan home? That her art, however, has been improved by contact with the pueblo Hopi, and other Indians, there can be no question, and, if she had a crude loom, it was speedily replaced by the one so long used by the Pueblo. Where the Pueblo weaver gained her loom we do not know, whether from the tribes of the South, or by her own invention. But in all practical ways the primitive loom was as complete and perfect at the Spanish conquest as it is to-day.

Any loom, to be complete, must possess certain qualifications. As Professor Mason has well said: "In any style of mechanical weaving, however simple or complex, even in darning, the following operations are performed: First, raising and lowering alternately different sets of warp filaments to form the 'sheds'; second, throwing the shuttle, or performing some operation that amounts to the same thing; third, after inserting the weft thread, driving it home, and adjusting it by means of the batten,—be it the needle, the finger, the shuttle, or a separate device."

The frame is made of four cottonwood or cedar poles cut from the trees that line the nearest stream or grow in the mountain forests. Two of these are forked for uprights, and the cross beams are lashed to them above and below. Sometimes the lower beam is dispensed with, and wooden pegs driven into the earth are used[162] instead. The frame ready, the warp is arranged on beams, which are lashed to the top and bottom of the frame by means of a rawhide or horsehair riata (our Western word "lariat" is merely a corruption of la riata). Thus the warp is made tight and is ready for the nimble fingers of the weaver. Her shuttles are pieces of smooth, round stick upon the ends of which she has wound her yarn, or even the small balls of yarn are made to serve this purpose. By her side is a rude wooden comb with which she strikes a few stitches into place, but when she wishes to wedge the yarn of a complete row—from side to side—of weaving, she uses for the purpose a flat, broad stick, one edge of which is sharpened almost to knife-like keenness. This is the "batten." With the design in her brain her busy and skilful fingers produce the pattern as she desires it, there being no sketch from which she may copy. In weaving a blanket of intricate pattern and many colors the weaver finds it easier to open the few warp threads needed with her fingers and then thrust between them the small balls of yarn, rather than bother with a shuttle, no matter how simple.

But before blankets can be made the wool must be cut from the backs of the sheep, cleaned, carded, spun, and dyed. It is one of the interesting sights of the Southwest region to see a flock of sheep and goats running together, watched over, perhaps, by a lad of ten or a dozen years, or by a woman who is ultimately to weave the fleeces they carry into substantial blankets. After the fleece has been removed from the sheep the Navaho woman proceeds to wash it. Then it is combed with hand cards—small flat implements in which wire teeth are placed—purchased from the traders. (These[163] and the shears are the only modern implements used.) The dyeing is sometimes done before spinning, generally, however, after. The spindle used is of the simplest character—merely a slender stick thrust through a circular disk of wood. In spite of the fact that the Navahoes have seen the spinning-wheel in use by the Mexicans and the Mormons, who, at Tuba City, live practically as their neighbors, they have never cared either to make or steal them. Their conservatism preserves the ancient, slow and laborious method. Holding the spindle in the right hand, the point of the short end below the balancing disk resting on the ground, and the long end on her knee, the spinner attaches the end of her staple close to the disk, and then gives the spindle a rapid twirl. As it revolves she holds the yarn out so that it twists. As it tightens sufficiently she allows it to wrap on to the spindle, and repeats the operation until the spindle is full. The spinning is done loosely or tightly according to the fineness of weave required in the blanket. There are practically four grades of blankets made from native wool, and it must be prepared suitably for each grade. The coarsest is, of course, the easiest spun. This is to make the common blankets. These seldom have any other color than the native gray, white, brown, and black, though occasionally streaks of red or some other color will be introduced. The yarn for these is coarse and fuzzy, and nearly a quarter of an inch in diameter. The next grade is the extra common. The yarn for this must be a little finer, say twenty-five per cent. finer, and is generally in a variety of colors. The third grade is the half fancy, and this is closer woven yarn, and the colors are a prominent feature of the completed blankets.[164] These half-fancy blankets are those generally offered for sale as the "genuine" Navaho material, etc., and, were the dyes used of native origin, this designation would be correct. Unfortunately, in by far the greater number of them, aniline dyes are used, and this, by the wise purchaser, is regarded as a misfortune. The next grade is the native wool fancy. These are comparatively rare blankets, as the yarn must be woven very tightly, and the weaving also done with great care. The highest grade that one will ordinary come in contact with is the Germantown. This style of blanket is made entirely of purchased Germantown yarn, which has almost superseded the native wool fancy, as, to the ordinary purchaser, a Germantown yarn blanket looks so much better than one made from its Navaho counterpart. The yarn is of brighter colors—necessarily so, owing to the wonderful chromatic gamut offered by the aniline dyes; it is spun more evenly (not necessarily more strongly, and, indeed, as a matter of fact, is far less strong), and (to the Indian) is much less trouble to procure. Then, too, when woven, owing to its good looks, it sells for more than the native wool fancy, upon which so much more work has had to be put. Hence Madam Navaho, being no fool, prefers to make what the people ask for, and "Germantowns" are turned out ad libitum.

But, to the knowing, there is still a higher grade of blanket. This is not, as one expert (sic) would have it, an attempted copying of ancient blankets, but a continuation of an art which he declares to be lost. There are several old weavers who preserve in themselves all the old and good of the best days of blanket weaving. They use native dyes, native wool,—with bayeta when[165] they can get it,—and they spin their wool to a tension that makes it as durable as fine steel. They weave with care, and after the old fashions, following the ancient shapes and designs, and produce blankets that are as good as any that were ever made in the palmiest days of the art. Such blankets take long in weaving, and are both rare and expensive. I have just had one of these fine blankets made (January, 1903), and in every sense of the word it is equal to any old blanket I ever saw.

The common blankets and the extra common are sold by the pound, the price, of course, varying, and of late years steadily increasing. Half-fancy blankets are generally sold by the piece, and vary in price according to the harmony of the colors, the fineness of the weave, and the striking characteristics of the design. This is also true of native wool fancy, the price being determined by the Indian according to her notions of the length of the purchaser's purse. On the other hand, Germantown yarn having a fixed purchasable price, the blankets made from it are to be bought by the pound.

These remarks, necessarily, refer to the original purchases from the Indian. There are no general rules of purchase price followed by traders, dealers, or retail salesmen.

In the original colors, as I have already shown, there are white, brown, gray, and black, the last rather a grayish-black, or, better still, as Matthews describes it, rusty. He also says: "They still employ to a great extent their native dyes of yellow, reddish, and black. There is good evidence that they formerly had a blue dye; but indigo, originally introduced, I think, by the Mexicans, has susperseded this. If they, in former[166] days, had a native blue and a native yellow, they must also, of course, have had a green, and they now make green of their native yellow and indigo, the latter being the only imported dye-stuff I have ever seen in use among them.... The brilliant red figures in their finer blankets were, a few years ago, made entirely of bayeta, and this material is still (1881) largely used. Bayeta is a bright scarlet cloth with a long nap, much finer in appearance than the scarlet strouding which forms such an important article in the Indian trade of the North."

This bayeta or baize was unravelled, and the Indian often retwisted the warp to make it firmer than originally, and then rewove it into his incomparable blankets.

From information mainly gained by Mr. G. H. Pepper, of the American Museum of Natural History, during his three years' sojourn with the Navahoes as head of the Hyde Exploring Expedition, I present the following accounts of their native dyes. From the earliest days the Navahoes have been expert dyers, their colors being black, brick-red, russet, blue, yellow, and a greenish-yellow akin to the shade known as old gold. To make the black dye three ingredients are used; viz., yellow ochre, pinion gum, and the leaves and twigs of the aromatic sumac (Rhus aromatica). The ochre is pulverized and roasted until it becomes a light brown, when it is removed from the fire and mixed with an equal amount of pinion gum. This mixture is then placed on the fire, and as the roasting continues it first becomes mushy, then drier and darker, until nothing but a fine black powder is left. In the meantime the sumac leaves and twigs are being boiled, five or six hours being required to fully extract the juices. When[167] both are somewhat cooled they are mixed, and almost immediately a rich bluish-black fluid is formed.

For yellow dye the tops of a flowering weed (Bigelovia graveolens) are boiled for several hours until the liquid assumes a deep yellow color. As soon as the dyer deems the extraction of the color juices nearly complete, she takes some native alum (almogen) and heats it over the fire, and, when it becomes pasty, gradually adds it to the boiling decoction, which slowly becomes of the required yellow color.

The brick-red dye is extracted from the bark and roots of the sumac, and ground black alder bark, with the ashes of the juniper as a mordant. She now immerses the wool and allows it to remain in the dye from half an hour to an hour.

Whence come the designs incorporated by these simple weavers into their blankets, sashes, and dresses? In this, as in basketry and pottery, the answer is found in nature. Indeed, many of their textile designs suggest a derivation from basketry ornamentation (which originally came from nature), "as the angular, curveless figures of interlaying plaits predominate, and the principal subjects are the same—conventional devices representing clouds, stars, lightning, the rainbow, and emblems of the deities. But these simple forms are produced in endless combination and often in brilliant, kaleidoscopic grouping, presenting broad effects of scarlet and black, of green, yellow, and blue upon scarlet, and wide ranges of color skilfully blended upon a ground of white. The centre of the fabric is frequently occupied with tessellated or lozenge patterns of multi-colored sides, or divided into panels of contrasting colors in which different designs appear; some[168] display symmetric zigzags, converging and spreading throughout their length; in others, bands of high color are defined by zones of neutral tints, or parted by thin, bright lines into a checkered mosaic, and in many only the most subdued shades appear. Fine effects are obtained by using a soft, gray wool in its natural state, to form the body of the fabric in solid color, upon which figures in orange and scarlet are introduced; also in those woven in narrow stripes of black and deep blue, having the borders relieved in bright tinted meanders along the sides and ends, or with a central colored figure in the dark body, with the design repeated in a diagonal panel at each corner.

"The greatest charm, however, of these primitive fabrics, is the unrestrained freedom shown by the weaver in her treatment of primitive conventions. To the checkered emblem of the rainbow she adds sweeping rays of color, typifying sunbeams; below the many-angled cloud group, she inserts random pencil lines of rain; or she softens the rigid meander, signifying lightning, with graceful interlacing, and shaded tints. Not confining herself alone to these traditional devices, she invents her own methods to introduce curious, realistic figures of common objects,—her grass brush, wooden weaving fork, a stalk of corn, a bow, an arrow, or a plume of feathers from a dancer's mask. Thus, although the same characteristic styles of weaving and decoration are general, yet none of the larger designs are ever reproduced with mechanical exactness; each fabric carries some distinct variation, some suggestion of the occasion of its making, woven into form as the fancy arose."


I have thus quoted from an unpublished manuscript of one of the greatest Navaho authorities of the United States—Mr. A. M. Stephen—in order to confirm my own oft-repeated and sometimes challenged statements that the Navaho weaver finds in nature her designs, and that in most of her better blankets there is woven "some suggestion of the occasion of its making."

This imitative faculty is, par excellence, the controlling force in aboriginal decoration so far as I know the Amerind of the Southwest.

With many of the younger women, submission to the imitative faculty in weaving is becoming an injury instead of a blessing. Instead of looking to nature for their models, or finding pleasure in the religious symbolism of the older weavers, they have sunk into a lazy, apathetic disregard, and they slavishly and carelessly imitate the work of their elders. This is growingly true, I am sorry to say, with both basket makers and blanket weavers. On my recent trips I have come in contact with many fair specimens, both in basketry and blanketry, and when I have asked for an explanation of the design the reply has been: "Me no sabe! I make 'em all same old basket, or all same old Navaho blanket." Here is perversion of the true imitative faculty which sought its pure and original inspiration from nature.

It will not be out of place here to correct a few general misapprehensions in regard to the older and more valuable Navaho blankets. These erroneous ideas are partly the result of the misstatements of an individual who sought thereby to enhance the value of his own collection.

It is true that good bayeta blankets are comparatively rare, but they are far more common than he would have his readers believe. The word "bayeta" is nothing but[170] the simple Spanish for the English baize, and is spelled bayeta, and not "balleta" or "vayeta." It is a bright red baize with a long nap, made especially in England for Spanish trade (not Turkish, as this "expert" claims), and by the Spanish and Mexicans sold to the Indians. Up to as late as 1893 bayeta blankets were being made plentifully. Since then comparatively few have been made. The bayeta was a regular article of commerce, and could be purchased at any good wholesale house in New York. It was generally sold by the rod, and not by the pound. The duty now is so high that its importation is practically prohibited, it being, I believe, about sixty per cent. And yet I am personally acquainted with several weavers who will imitate perfectly, in bayeta, any blanket ever woven, and that the native dyes for other colors will be used. We are told that an Indian woman will not take the time to weave blankets such as were made in the olden time. I have several that took nine, twelve, and thirteen months to make, and if the pay is good enough any weaver will work on a blanket a year, or even two years, if necessary. The length of time makes no difference, as several traders in Indian blankets can vouch. Indeed, it would be quite possible to obtain the perfect reproduction of any blanket in existence, which would be satisfactory to any board of genuine experts, the only differences between the new and the ancient blankets being those inseparable from newness and age.

While bayeta blankets are not common by any means, they aggregate many scores in the mass, and are to be found in many collections, both East and West. It is a difficult matter to even suggest in a photograph or an engraving any idea of the beauty and charm of one of[171] these old Navaho blankets.

An aged Navaho and her Hogan.

An Aged Navaho and her Hogan.

Navaho Family and Hogan in the Painted Desert.

Navaho Family and Hogan in the Painted Desert.

It will be observed that I have written as if the major portion of the weaving of Navaho blankets was done by the women. Dr. Matthews, however, writing in or before 1881, says that "there are ... a few men who practise the textile art, and among them are to be found the best artisans of the tribe." Of these men but one or two are now alive, if any, and I have seen one only who still does the weaving.

In late years a few Navaho weavers have invented a method of weaving a blanket both sides of which are different. The Salish stock of Indians make baskets the designs of which on the inside are different from those on the outside, but this is done by a simple process of imbrication, easy to understand, which affords no key to a solution of the double-faced Navaho blanket. I have purchased two or three such blankets, but as yet have not found a weaver who would show me the process of weaving. Dr. Matthews thinks this new invention cannot date farther back than 1893, as prior to that time Mr. Thomas V. Keam, the oldest trader with the Navahoes, had never seen one. Yet one collector declares he had one as far back as fifteen years ago.

In addition to the products of the vertical loom the Navaho and also the Pueblo women weave a variety of smaller articles of wear, all of which are remarkable for their strength and durability as well as for their striking designs.



It is hard to conceive of a people, numbering nearly a thousand souls, lodged within the borders of the United States, of whom nothing has been written. The only references to the Wallapais are to be found in the casual remarks of travellers or soldiers, and later, the agent's reports to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Perhaps the earliest reference to them is in Padre Garcés' Diary, where, in describing the Mohaves, he says the Wallapais (spelling the name Jaguallapais) are their enemies on the east. Then, on leaving the Mohaves and journeying east, he himself reaches the tribe in the neighborhood of where the town of Kingman now stands. Six miles northwest of Kingman are located Beale's Springs, which pour forth the best supply of water in the whole region; hence it was natural that the Wallapais should have established their homes near it. In the Wallapai Origin Legend the story of their dispersion to this region is told. The Wallapai Mountains are close by, a few miles to the southeast, and from the pines of these mountains they get their name; "Wal-la," tall pine; "pai," people,—the people of the tall pine.[6]

Garcés says the people received him hospitably and "conducted themselves with me as comported with the affection that I had shown toward them." Their dress[173] was antelope skins and "some shirts of Moki," doubtless the cotton woven shirts of these primitive weavers.

Lieutenant Ives, in his interesting report of his early explorations in this region, describes the Wallapais in Peach Springs and Diamond Canyons, another of their favored locations, and Captain Bourke in his "On the Border with Crook" makes passing mention of them.

On January 4, 1883, President Arthur decreed the following as their reservation:—

"It is hereby ordered that the following-described tract of country situated in the Territory of Arizona be, and the same is hereby, set aside and reserved for the use and occupancy of the Hualapai Indians, namely: Beginning at a point on the Colorado River five miles eastward of Tinnakah Spring; thence south twenty miles to crest of high mesa; thence south forty degrees east twenty-five miles to a point of Music Mountains; thence east fifteen miles; thence north fifty degrees east thirty-five miles; thence north thirty miles to the Colorado River; thence along said river to the place of beginning; the southern boundary being at least two miles south of Peach Spring, and the eastern boundary at least two miles east of Pine Spring. All bearings and distances being approximate.

"Chester A. Arthur."

Owing to the abundant supply of water at Beale's Springs the settlement there naturally became a stopping-place for all travel across that portion of Arizona. It was the favorite camping-place of the wagons travelling between Fort Mohave and Fort Whipple, near Phɶnix. Johnson's and Gentile Springs also being in line, and the pass just below Kingman leading into the Sacramento Valley being the most natural outlet for a railway, the building of the Atlantic and Pacific, by which name the section of the great Santa Fé transcontinental[174] system which extends from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Barstow, California, was originally known—found the Wallapais and at once put them in contact with the outside world and our civilization. Unfortunately the actual builders of a railway and their followers do not always represent the best elements of our civilization, and the meeting in this case was decidedly against the best interests of the Wallapais. Close proximity, also, to a border mining town, such as Kingman, has not tended to the elevation of the morals or ideals of the Wallapais, and in a short time many of those who resided near the railways became known for their degradation. The men yielded to the white men's vices and soon inducted their women into the same courses, so that for a long period of years the name Wallapai seemed to be almost synonymous with drunkenness, gambling, wild orgies, and the utmost degradation. In those days it was no uncommon sight to see as many as twenty men, women, and children lying around drunk in either Kingman or Hackberry, and I have personal knowledge of several cases where fathers took their daughters and sold them to white men, into a bondage infinitely worse and more degrading than slavery.

Of late years this condition has been largely improved. When the government schools were established and a field matron sent to work with the Wallapais, new elements of our civilization were introduced to these unfortunates, and nobly they have responded. With few exceptions they are now industrious, sober, honest, and reliable.

The Wallapais are of Yuman stock. In appearance they more nearly resemble the Mohaves found at Parker, on the reservation, than any other of the peoples in the[175] immediate region. They have the same stout, sturdy, fleshy build, heavy faces, and general habits, though in many respects they are a different people. They regard the Havasupais as their cousins, and the speech of the two peoples is very similar. Indeed any person who can speak the one can easily be understood by one who speaks the other.

According to their traditions, it was one of the mythical heroes of the Wallapais—Pach-i-tha-a-wi—who made the Grand Canyon. There had been a big flood and the earth was covered with water. No one could stir but Pach-i-tha-a-wi, and he went forth carrying a big knife he had prepared of flint, and a large, heavy wooden club. He struck the knife deep into the water-covered ground and then smote it deeper and deeper with his club. He moved it back and forth as he struck it further into the earth, until the canyon was formed through which all the water rushed out into the Sea of the Sunset. Then, as the sun shone, the ground became hard and solid as we find it to-day.

In physical appearance the Wallapais are a far coarser and heavier type than the Navahoes. They are medium in height, small-boned, and fat. Their features are heavy and coarse. The nose is flat between the eyes and broad at the base, and the nostrils large, denoting good lung power and capacity. The septum is very large and heavy. The cheek-bones generally are high and prominent, and the chin well rounded, rather than square, like that of most of the Navahoes. Their shoulders are broad, with head set close in. Seldom is a long-necked man or woman seen. The upper lips are full and the under ones thick, with a slight droop at the corners. The eyes are large and limpid, brown or black, and[176] capable of great seriousness or merry sparklings. The foreheads are narrow, rounding off on each side. The heads are round without any great fulness of the back regions. Most of them have good teeth, white and strong, though the use of white men's coffee, baking powder, and other demoralizing foods and drinks, have begun to work appreciable injury to them.

The women generally wear their hair banged over the forehead, so that the eyebrows are almost covered, and the rest of the hair is cut off level with the shoulders, so that a well-combed head of hair falls heavily around the whole head, covering the major part of the cheeks and sides of the chin. I once made an interesting discovery in regard to this almost complete covering up of the face with the hair. I wished to make a photograph of a woman I had long known and been friendly with. As her eyes and face were scarcely distinguishable, I took the liberty of putting back the hair from her cheeks. She arose in anger, and for three years refused to speak or meet me. I had given to her the most serious insult a man could offer to a Wallapai woman. The hair is coarse, thick, and black, though after a shampoo with amole root it is silky and glossy. The men tie the "banda" around the forehead and seldom wear a hat except when in the towns of the white men.

As a rule both men and women have sweet and soft voices, though a few are harsh and forbidding.

The tattoo is common. The work is done with pins, and charcoal is rubbed in as the punctures are made. This gives a bluish-black appearance which is permanent. They also paint their faces in red, yellow, and black. The chief purpose of both tattooing and painting is to enhance their beauty, though there are times[177] when the tattooing has a distinct significance.

Navaho Woman on Horseback.

Navaho Woman on Horseback.

The Winner of the "Gallo" Race at Tohatchi.

The Winner of the "Gallo" Race at Tohatchi.

In school the boys and girls are slow but sure in their learning. They read, write, spell, and figure with accuracy and speed, and compare favorably with white children in the rapidity of their progress. Most of the schoolgirls are heavily built and coarse,—indeed, all but two children, the daughters of Bi-cha (commonly called Beecher), who are slim and slight.

In another chapter I have explained the charge that Wallapai parents were unkind, even cruel to their children. That charge can no longer be maintained. They are kindness itself, as a rule, and from babyhood up the children receive all the care of which the parents deem them needful. Some of their babes are as chubby and pretty and sweet-tempered as any I have ever seen, and much fun have I had in photographing those who were especially attractive to me. One mother enjoyed my appreciation of her offspring and was most good-natured in yielding to my desire to often photograph her. The little one would coo and laugh and kick her little feet and legs in merriment, or go to sleep in my or her mother's arms, or even when standing up in her wicker cradle. When I hung her up upon the wall she soberly looked at me, but made no demonstration of fear. Her mother, however, looked to see what I was doing. I bade her gaze upon her child, and the merry laugh she gave would have been an astonishment to those who regard the Indian as dull, stolid, expressionless.

Indeed one of the most laughing merry sprites it has ever been my good fortune to know is a Wallapai maiden of some eighteen years. Seldom is she seen any other way than smiling or cheerily laughing. She[178] is a perfect witch for mischief and practical jokes, and is never so happy as when she can perpetrate one upon a white man whom she can trust. In that word "trust" lies the whole key to the demeanor of an Indian, either man, woman, or child, towards a white person. If you are trusted the whole inner life is left open as a clear page; if not, the book is closed, locked, sealed, and the key thrown away.

I had long wished to photograph the Wallapais, but they had always objected. When I arrived at Kingman I sent Pu-chil-ow-a, the interpreter and policeman, to call a powwow. I sent an express invitation to the chiefs, Serum, Leve-leve, Sus-quat-i-mi, and Qua-su-la. Serum was away at Mineral Park with a band of Wallapais whose services he farms out to the mine owners, Leve-leve was sick and not expected to live, but Sus-quat-i-mi and Quasula would come.

We were permitted to use the schoolhouse, and just about sunset I was busily engaged when there came a loud rap at the door. I hastened to open it, and there stood a dignified, well-built, slightly bearded, neatly dressed man, who smiled and bowed with dignity and courtesy. He wore a cap, and at first sight looked more like a retired sea-captain than anything, so I responded to his bow with the question as to what did I owe the honor of his visit.

"Why, you sent for me!" he replied.

"I sent for you? When?"

Then he heartily laughed and exclaimed: "You no sapogi me? I'm Sus-quat-i-mi, Wallapai Charley."

To say I was surprised was to put it mildly.

Later on Quasula, Big Water (Ha-jiv-a-ha), Eagle Feather (Sa-ka-lo-ka), Acorn Flour (Ā-tī-na), Coyote[179] Eating Fish-gut (Ka-ha-cha-va), and other leading men came, and we had quite an interesting meeting. I stated to them my object in coming: "There are many of your white brothers who live between the Great Waters of the Sunrise and Sunset who wish to know more of their red-faced brothers of the Painted Desert. I have come for years among you to find out and to tell them. When I speak of Quasula they ask me to tell what he looks like, and I tell them as well as I can, but if I could show them a sun-picture they would know so much better than my words make clear. So I wish you no longer to be as children and babes. I have made the sun-pictures of Navahoes, Hopis, Havasupais, Apaches, Pimas, Acomas, Paiutis, and others; why should I not make yours?"

When they presented their superstitions, I reasoned against them, and finally Quasula settled the whole matter in my favor by rising and saying with great dignity: "We have heard our brother with the white face and black beard. He speaks in one way,—not in two ways at once. His words breathe truth. We need not fear the sun-picture. I will go to him to-morrow and he shall make as many sun-pictures of me and my family as he desires. I want him to be able to tell to our white brothers who live by the Sunrise Sea all he has learned of us. We are a poor, ignorant people, we are few and do not know much. The white men are many and they know as much as they are many. Let them send more people to teach us and our children and we will gladly welcome them. Some of our people have been bad. Bad white men have made them worse. We want the bad men to be kept away, but we will welcome good white men, and our children shall learn[180] from them and be wise."

Then Sus-quat-i-mi arose, and in heavy and somewhat pompous speech said: "Many years ago our white brother made my sun-picture at Peach Springs. He has eaten tunas, mescal, pinion nuts, and corn at my hawa. We have slept side by side under the same stars, and the same wind has played with his beard and my hair. I know him. He knows me. His words are straight. When he made my sun-picture he said it would do me no harm, and here I am, after several snows, and I am as well as ever. He shall make more sun-pictures of me to-morrow, and I will sing for him and dance the war-dance of my people."

Big Water and the others followed and my aim was accomplished. Next morning we set forth,—Puchilowa, my friend and photographer, Mr. C. C. Pierce, of Los Angeles, and myself,—laden down with four cameras and an abundance of plates and films. We succeeded in getting many photographs, some of which are here reproduced. But at one camp, an old woman, the grandmother, doubtless, of two children left in her care, refused to be pictured. She covered herself up and bade the children hide their faces, but their curiosity overcame their fears and they were "caught."

Poor old Leve-leve and his wife were found, both of them nearly blind, in their miserable hawa, a mile or so from Kingman. I had some useful medicament for their eyes, and although it hurt dreadfully, they both patiently bore the pain while I gave their eyes treatment. By the side of the old man was his gourd rattle, which the shaman had left to help him drive away sickness, and for hours the old man sat quietly singing and rattling, endeavoring to get rid of the evil powers that[181] were cursing him. While I made a picture of him in the dark hut, his wife went into an inner room and soon returned clad in an elaborately fringed apron of buckskin. This was her ceremonial costume, made by Leve-leve for her as the mother of the tribe, when she led the annual dance of thanksgiving for the corn and melon harvest.

Sus-quat-i-mi was as good as his word, and I not only secured some excellent photographs of him, but he sang for me into the graphophone some of his ceremonial songs.

The Wallapais' war-song is a stirring and exciting one, and it conveys us back to the days when their primitive weapons were in use. After an incitation to anger against the foe it bids the warriors "get rocks and tie them up in buckskins; make of them fierce and deadly battle-hammers, with which smite and kill your foes. Take the horns of the buck and sharpen them, and with them seek the hearts of your enemies with blows skilful and strong."

Puchilowa sang for me the Wallapai song on the death of their chiefs. It is a weird, mournful melody, which, however, I have not yet had time and opportunity to transcribe from the graphophone. It says: "Our chief, our father, our friend, is dead. His voice is silent, his tread is silent. Come together, ye his friends, and cry about with sorrow. Burn up his body that his spirit may go to the world of spirits. Burn up his house that his spirit may not long to stay around. Burn up all his possessions that they may be with him in the spirit world. Then let no one to whom he belonged stay near the place where he died. Move away, that his spirit may feel nothing to keep him to the earth."


Hence it will be seen that the Wallapai is naturally a believer in cremation. Indeed he still practises the burning of his dead, except where white influences are brought to bear. These influences are not altogether a perfect good. There is no harm in burning the dead, but, unfortunately, the general Indian belief is that the goods of the deceased, his horses, his guns, his clothes,—indeed, all his personal possessions, and the gifts of his friends,—should also be burned to accompany him to the spirit world. If this destruction of valuable property could be arrested without interfering with the corporeal cremation, it would be a good thing.

The thanksgiving song for harvest, though purely Indian, is a much more cheerful melody. Puchilowa gave me the words, as well as sang the song in the graphophone, but he was unable to tell what the words meant. "The old Indians gave me this song long time ago. I sing it all 'a time at harvest. I no sapogi (understand) what it means."

"Ho si a ya ma, In ya a sonk a kīt a, In ya va va vam Ho si a ya ma In ya ha sak a kīt a,"

etc., ad infinitum.

There are three native policemen, engaged by the Indian department, among the Wallapais,—Puchilowa, (Jim Fielding), at Truxton; Su-jin´-i-mi (Indian Jack), at Kingman; and Wa-wa-ti´-chi-mi, at Chloride. Each receives ten dollars per month for his services. It was the former who acted as interpreter during my last visit.

I had just finished making the photographs of Quasula and one or two others, when an old woman and her husband came in from the desert. As he sat waiting[183] for me to photograph him, he took some prickly pears from his bundle and began to eat them. I had often seen tourists from the East fill their fingers with the almost invisible and countless spines of the prickly pear, so I asked At-e-e how he gathered them. Picking up a stick, he sharpened one end, thrust it into his fruit, and, as if it were still on the tree, chopped it off with his knife. Now, still holding it on the stick, he peeled it and then handed it to me to eat. It is a slightly sweet and acid fruit, dainty enough in flavor, but so crowded with annoying small seeds as not to pay for the trouble of separating them.

Elsewhere I have described the method of making fire with the drill. While talking with Atee, to whom I had given some tobacco which he twisted into a cigarette, he suddenly asked me for a match. I said I would give him a boxful if he would make a fire without a match. In a minute he set to work. He borrowed the walking cane of Puchilowa, which had just the right kind of end to it, and then, getting a piece of softer, half-rotten but very dry wood, he bored a small hole in it. Now, taking the stick, he placed the end of it into the hole, and then, rubbing the stick between his hands, he made it revolve so rapidly that in a minute or less a slight smoke could be seen in the hole where the end of the stick was revolving. Stopping for just a moment, he got some dry punk and put it into the hole and around the end of the stick and began to twirl it again, at the same time gently blowing on the punk. In less time than it takes me to write it he had got a spark. This he blew gently until it became two, or three and more, and then with a few pieces of shredded cedar bark he picked up the[184] sparks, blew them more and more until the bark was ignited, and in five minutes he had a good camp-fire.

Mescal is one of the chief native foods of both Wallapais and Havasupais. They call it vi-yal. It is made in winter, when the plant is fullest of moisture. It is a species of cactus that is treated as follows: A sharp stick is thrust into the plant to see if it is soft and moist enough. Then the outer leaves are cut off until the white, pulpy, and fibrous masses inside are exposed. This is the part used. It is cooked in large pits, ten or more feet in diameter. A hole is dug in the ground, or better still, in a mass of rocky débris. Plenty of wood is laid in the hole, and this covered over with small pieces of rock upon which the material to be cooked is placed four or five feet high. This, in turn, is also covered with small stones, grass, and dirt to keep in the heat. The wood is then fired and allowed to burn for two or more days. Then the dirt and grass are taken off, and if the mass has cooked brown it is removed, piled upon flat rocks, and then pounded by the women into big flat sheets, three or four feet wide and twice as long. Exposure in the sun rapidly dries it, when it is folded up into two or three feet lengths, taken home, and stored for winter use.

Sometimes the mescal is pounded and eaten raw, and again it is pounded, soaked in plenty of water, partially fermented, and the liquor used as a drink.

The fruit of the tuna (a-te-e) is sometimes pounded and rolled into a large mass, dried, and put away for future use. Thus prepared it will keep for a long time, very often being brought out a year after, when the new crop is nearly ripe.


Other natural vegetable foods of the Wallapais are a black grass seed (a-gua-va), white grass seed (i-eh-la), the acorn and the pinion nut (o-co-o).

The shamans and others sometimes take the jimson-weed (smal-a-ga-to´-a), pound it up, soak it, and drink the decoction. It is a frightful drink, producing results worse than whiskey. For a time the debauchee sees visions and dreams dreams, then he becomes crazy and frantic, and then, exhausted, tosses in a quieter delirium until restored to his senses, to be nervously racked for days afterwards. The Havasupais are so bitter against its use that their children are brought up to regard it as one of the most dangerous and evil of plants.

Until Miss Calfee, of the Indian Association, was sent to work among the Wallapais, they had so entirely neglected the art of basket weaving as to let it almost entirely die out amongst them. By her endeavors, however, it has been resuscitated, and now there are quite a number of fairly good Wallapai baskets made. The inordinate love of bright colors manifested by the average white tourist—note I say tourist, and not Indian—is so completely perverting the taste of the Wallapais as to render it almost impossible to buy a basket which contains only the primitive colors. These are mainly the white of the willow and the black of the martynia. A straw-color, a yellow, and a red are also native with them, the dyes being vegetable and mineral secured from plants, roots, and rocks close at hand. Some of the younger girls have set themselves to learn the art, and one of them is already most successful. She is a bright and cheerful maiden, and the basket she holds in her lap is of her own manufacture. The design is worked out in martynia. It represents the plateaus and valleys of her home, and the inverted pyramid is[186] the tornado or cyclone. It is her prayer to Those Above to keep the cyclone in the centre of the plateaus so that no injury may be done to her parents' corn-fields, melon-patches, and peach-trees which are in the canyon depths.

The Wallapais have had the same trouble about the white man seizing the best land on their reservation that most other tribes have been subject to. When the reserve was set apart by executive order a man named Spencer was living on land included therein, and he claimed two of the finest of the springs, one, that of Mattaweditita, being their most sacred of places. He was soon murdered, whether by Indians or whites I am unable to say, and no one occupied these springs until a man named W. F. Grounds, regardless of the executive order, took possession of, and claimed, Mattaweditita to the exclusion of the Wallapais. This he sold to a man named J. W. Munn. Later he and Munn had quarrels about it and both claimed it. Then the Indian Agent interfered, and, finding that the Indians had always claimed it as their own, that it was on their reserve, and that they actually wished to continue to cultivate it, he ordered both men to leave. Grounds had about seventy-five head of cattle and Munn had a garden. The latter vacated quietly, but Grounds brought back his cattle after they were removed. In the meantime the Indians had planted their gardens, and when the cattle came in their crops were speedily demolished. Again the cattle were removed and again brought back. About this time some one generously gave to the Indians, or left where they could be picked up, some melons or cucumbers or both, of which fourteen of the Wallapais living in Mattaweditita Canyon partook. Of the fourteen, thirteen sickened and died. Of course there was[187] no way of fastening this dastardly and cowardly crime upon any one, but whites as well as Indians are pretty generally agreed as to who was its perpetrator.

The few remaining Indians were now given wire to fence in the canyon, but the old animals of Grounds' herds pushed the wires down in their eagerness to get to and eat the Indians' wheat. The trails were now fenced, and this proved an effectual bar. Later this exemplary white man turned a band of saddle horses into an Indian's garden on the reservation for pasturage. This brought upon him an order of exclusion from the reservation and a command to entirely remove his stock within a year. Whether this has been done or not I am unable to say, although the Department at Washington confirmed the order and required that it be done.

During all this squabbling it can well be imagined how the crops of the Indian suffers; but what must be his conception of white men, their government, and their justice?



In the days of the long ago, when the world was young, there emerged from Shi-pá-pu two gods, who had come from the underworld, named To-cho-pa and Ho-ko-ma-ta. When these brothers first stood upon the surface of the earth, they found it impossible to move around, as the sky was pressed down close to the ground. They decided that, as they wished to remain upon the earth, they must push the sky up into place. Accordingly, they pushed it up as high as they could with their hands, and then got long sticks and raised it still higher, after which they cut down trees and pushed it up higher still, and then, climbing the mountains, they forced it up to its present position, where it is out of reach of all human kind, and incapable of doing them any injury.

While they were busy with their labors, another mythical hero appeared on the scene, on the north side of the Grand Canyon, not far from the canyon that is now known as Eldorado Canyon. Those were the "days of the old," when the animals had speech even as men, and in many things were wiser than men. The Coyote travelled much and knew many things, and he became the companion of this early-day man, and taught him of his wisdom. This gave the early man his name, Ka-that-a-ka-na-ve, which means "Told or Taught by the Coyote."

A Wallapai, making a Meal on the Fruit of the Tuna, or Prickly Pear.

A Wallapai, making a Meal on the Fruit of the Tuna, or Prickly Pear.

Wallapai Maiden and Prayer Basket.

Wallapai Maiden and Prayer Basket.


For long they lived together, until the man began to grow lonesome. He no longer listened to the speech of the Coyote, and that made the animal sad. He wondered what could be done to bring comfort to his human friend, and at length suggested that he consult Those Above. Kathat-a-kanave was lonesome because there were none others of his kind to talk to. He longed for human beings, so, accepting the advice of the Coyote, he retired to where he could speak freely to Those Above of his longings and desires. He was listened to with attention, and there told that nothing was easier than that other men, with women, should be sent upon the earth. "Build a stone hawa—stone house—not far from Eldorado Canyon, and then go down to where the waters flow and cut from the banks a number of canes or sticks. Cut many, and of six kinds. Long thick sticks and long thin sticks; medium-sized thick sticks and medium-sized thin sticks; short thick sticks and short thin sticks. Lay these out carefully and evenly in the stone hawa, and when the darkest hour of the night comes, the Powers of the Above will change them into human beings. But, beware, lest any sound is made. No voice must speak, or the power will cease to work."

Gladly Kathat-a-kanave returned to the stone house, and with a hearty good-will he cut many canes or sticks. He carried them to the house, and laid them out as he had been directed, all the time accompanied by the Coyote, who rejoiced to see his friend so cheerful and happy. Kathat-a-kanave told Coyote what was to occur, and Coyote rejoiced in the wonderful event that was about to take place. When all was ready Kathat-a-kanave was so wearied with his arduous labors that he retired to lie down and sleep, and bade Coyote watch[190] and be especially mindful that no sound of any kind whatever issued from his lips. Coyote solemnly pledged himself to observe the commands,—he would not cease from watching, and not a sound should be uttered. Feeling secure in these promises, Kathat-a-kanave stretched out and was soon sound asleep. Carefully Coyote watched. Darker grew the night. No sound except the far-away twho! twho! of the owl disturbed the perfect stillness. Suddenly the sticks began to move. In the pitch blackness of the house interior, Coyote could not see the actual change, the sudden appearing of feet and legs and hands and arms and head, and the uprising of the sticks into perfect men and women, but in a few moments he had to stand aside, as a torrent of men, women, and children poured out of the doorway. Without a word, but thrilled even to the tip of his tail with delight, he examined men, women, youths, maidens, boys, girls, and found them all beautifully formed and physically perfect. Still they came through the door. Several times he found himself about to shout for joy, but managed to restrain his feelings. More came, and as they looked around them on the wonderful world to which they had come from nothingness, and expressed their astonishment (for they were able to speak from the first moment), Coyote became wild with joy and could resist the inward pressure no longer. He began to talk to the new people, and to laugh and dance and shout and bark and yelp, in the sheer exuberance of his delight. How happy he was!

Then there came an ominous stillness. The movements from inside the house ceased; no more humans appeared at the doorway. Almost frozen with terror,[191] Coyote realized what he had done. The charm had ceased. Those Above were angry at his disobedience to their commands.

When Kathat-a-kanave awoke he was delighted to see the noble human beings Those Above had sent to him, but when he entered the hawa his delight was changed to anger. There were hundreds more sticks to which no life had been given. Infuriated, he turned upon Coyote and reproached him with bitter words for failing to observe his injunction, and then, with fierce anger, he kicked him and bade him begone! His tail between his legs, his head bowed, and with slinking demeanor, Coyote disappeared, and that is the reason all coyotes are now so cowardly, and never appear in the presence of mankind without skulking and fear.

As soon as they had become a little used to being on the earth, Kathat-a-kanave called his people together and informed them that he must lead them to their future home. They came down Eldorado Canyon, and then crossed Hackataia (the Grand Canyon) and reached a small but picturesque canyon on the Wallapai reservation, called Mat-ta-wed-it-i-ta. This is their "Garden of Eden." Here a spring of water supplies nearly a hundred miners' inches of water, and there are about a hundred acres of good farming land, lying in such a position that it can well be irrigated from this spring. On the other side of the canyon is a cave about a hundred feet wide at its mouth, and perched fully half a thousand feet above the valley.

Now Kathat-a-kanave disappears in some variants of the story, and Hokomata and Tochopa take his place at Mattaweditita. The latter is ever the hero. He gave the people seeds of corn, pumpkins, melons, beans, etc.,[192] and showed them how to plant and irrigate them. In the meantime they had been taught how to live on grass seeds, the fruit of the tuna (prickly pear), and mescal, and how to slay the deer, antelope, turkey, jack-rabbit, cottontail, and squirrel.

When the crops came Tochopa counselled them not to eat any of the product except such as could be eaten without destroying the seeds,—the melons and pumpkins,—so that when planting time came they had an abundance. When the next harvest was ripe the crops were large, and after picking out the best for seeds, some were stored away in the cave as a reserve and the remainder eaten. As the years went on they increased in numbers and strength. Tochopa was ever their good friend and guide. He taught them how to dance and smoke and rattle when they became sick; he gave them toholwa—the sweat-house—to cure them of all evil; he taught the women how to make pottery, baskets, and blankets woven from the dressed skins of rabbits. The men he taught how to dress buckskin, and hunt and trap all kinds of animals good for food. Thus they came almost to worship him and be ever singing his praises. This made Hokomata angry. He went away and sulked for days at a time. In his solitude he evidently thought out a plan for wreaking his jealous fury upon Tochopa and those who were so fond of him. There was one family, the head of which was inclined to be quarrelsome, and Hokomata went and made special friends with him. He taught the children how to make pellets of clay, and put them on the end of sticks and then shoot them. Soon he showed them how to make a dart, then a bow and arrow, and later how to take the horn of a deer, put it in the fire until[193] it was softened so that it could be moulded to a sharp point. This made a dangerous dagger. Finally he wrapped buckskin around a heavy stone, and put a handle to it, thus making a war-club; took a rock and made a battle-hammer of it; and still another, the edge of which he sharpened so that a battle-axe was provided. In the meantime he had been stealthily instilling into the hearts of his friends the feelings of hatred and jealousy that possessed him. He taught the children to shoot the mud pellets at the children of other families. He supplied the youths with slings, and bows and arrows, and soon stones and arrows were shot at unoffending workers. Protestations and quarrels ensued, the fathers and mothers of the hurt children being angry. Hokomata urged his friends to defend their children, and they took their clubs, battle-hammers and axes, and fell upon those who complained. Thus discord and hatred reigned, and soon the two sides were involved in petty war. Tochopa saw Hokomata's movements with horror and dread. He could not understand why he should do these terrible things. Yet when the people came to him with their complaints he felt he must sympathize with them. The trouble grew the greater the population became, until at last it was unbearable. Then Tochopa determined on stern measures. Stealthily he laid his plan before the heads of the families. Each was to leave the canyon, under the pretext of going hunting, gathering pinion nuts, grass seeds, or mescal, and go in different directions. Then at a certain time they were all to gather at a given spot, and there provide themselves with weapons. Everything was done as he had planned, the quarrellers—the Wha-jes—remaining behind with Hokomata.[194] Then, one night, the whole band, well armed, returned stealthily to the canyon and fell upon the quarrellers. Many were slain outright, and all the remainder driven from the home they had cursed. Not one was allowed to remain. Thus the Wha-jes became a separate people. White men to-day call them Apaches, but they are really the Wha-jes, the descendants of the quarrelsome people the Wallapais drove out of Mattaweditita Canyon.

Hokomata was furious. He was conquered, but led his people to settle not far away, and many times they returned to the canyon and endeavored to kill all they could. Thus warfare became common. The spear was invented,—a long stick with a sharpened point of flint. Sometimes the Wha-jes would come in large numbers, when many of the men were away hunting. Then all the attacked would flee to the cave before mentioned—which they still call Kathat-a-kanave's Nyu-wa (Cave House)—where they built an outer wall of fortification, and farther back still another. Several times the outer wall was stormed and taken, but never could the Wha-jes penetrate to the inner part of the cave, so to this day it is termed Wa-ha-vo,—the place that is impregnable.

After many generations had passed, Hokomata saw it was no use keeping his people near the canyon; they could never capture it, and they had lost all desire to become again part of the original people, so he led them away to the southeast, beyond the San Francisco Mountains, down into what is now southern Arizona and New Mexico. Here they settled down somewhat and became the Apache race, though they are still Wha-jes—quarrellers.


Left to themselves, the families in Mattaweditita increased rapidly, until soon there were too many to live in comfort. So Tochopa took most of them to Milkweed Canyon, and then he divided the separate families and allotted to each his own territory. To the Mohaves he gave the western region by the great river; the Paiutis he sent to the water springs and pockets of southern Nevada and Utah; the Navahoes went east and found the great desert region, where game was plentiful; and the Hopis, who were always afraid and timid, built houses like Kathat-a-kanave's fortress on the summit of high mountains or mesas. The Havasupais started to go with the Hopis, and they camped together one night in the depths of the canyon where the blue water flows to Hackataia—the Colorado. The following morning when they started to resume their journey a child began to cry. This was an omen that bade them remain, so that family stayed and became known as the Haha-vasu-pai, the people of the Blue Water. Most of the remaining families went into the Mountains of the Tall Pine, south of Kingman, and thus became known as the pai (people) of the walla (tall pines). Here they found plenty of food of all kinds and abundance of game. As they increased in numbers they spread out, some going to Milkweed, others to Diamond and Peach Springs Canyons, and wherever they could find food and water.

Thus was the human race begun and the Wallapais established in their home.

When I asked where the white race came from, old Leve-leve scratched his head for a moment and then declared that they were made from the left-over sticks in Kathat-a-kanave's house.


But the Apaches, under Hokomata, would not leave the various peoples at peace. They warred upon them all the time. And that is why the Wallapai parents of a later day became accused of cruelty to their children. Scattered about, a few here and a few there, they were fit subjects for Apache attacks. A code of smoke signals, for warning, was adopted, but it was not always possible to prevent surprises. Sometimes the father of a family would go hunting and it would not be possible for the mother and children to go along. If she were attacked under such conditions, what could she do? If she tried to escape, hampered with her little ones, they would all be caught and she would have to submit to her captors and stand by and see them ruthlessly murdered. So she preferred to kill them herself, which she often did by strangling or suffocation. Then she might hope to reach the mountains and hide until the cover of night gave her an opportunity to escape. This explanation has actually been given to me as a statement of fact by some of the older women of the tribe.

Sometimes when the Apaches would attempt a raid they would be checkmated, the tables turned, and they themselves captured. Then there were great rejoicings. A feast was invariably held, at which the scalps were exposed on a pole around which the dances were conducted in the light of immense fires.

Of late years both Apaches and Wallapais have been taught to bury their enmity. Acting upon the suggestion of former agent Ewing, the Wallapai chiefs sent a messenger of peace and invitation to the Apache chiefs, asking them to come and visit the Wallapais during watermelon and green corn time, and be friends as the Great Father at Washington desires. Yet the Apaches,[197] though the invitation has been several times repeated, have never come. They remember "the days of the years gone by,"—the days of murder, rapine, scalpings, and stealings of women. And they are afraid that poison, treachery, sudden death, torture perhaps, lurk behind the seeming friendliness. Revenge is sweet to an Indian, and the Apache cannot conceive that so great a conversion has taken place in the Wallapai heart as to lead him to forego his just revenge.

Susquatami, Wallapai War Chief.

Susquatami, Wallapai War Chief.

Tuasula, Wallapai Chief.

Tuasula, Wallapai Chief.

When first known to the white man they were found inhabiting the region they now occupy, including the Wallapai (sometimes spelled Hualapai), Yavapai, and Sacramento Valleys. Their chief mountain ranges were the Cerbab, Wallapai, Aquarius, and northern portion of Chemehuevi ranges. They roamed as far south as Bill Williams' Fork of the Colorado, and its branch, the Santa Maria. They then numbered about the same as they do now, between six and seven hundred.

In Coues' translation of Garcès' Diary Prof. F. W. Hodge gives other forms of spelling the name of the Wallapais, as follows: "Hah-wál-coes, Haulapais, Ha-wol-la Pai, Ho-allo-pi, Hualpais, Hualapais, Hualipais, Hualopais, Hualpáitch, Hualpas, Hualpias, Huallapais, Hulapais, Hwalapai, Jagullapai (after Garcés), Jaguyapay, Jaqualapai, Jaguallapai, Tiquillapai, Wallapais, Wil-ha-py-ah."

These and the various names given to the Wallapais show the difficulties explorers encounter in endeavoring correctly to spell the names they hear. It should never be forgotten that the Amerinds of the Southwest speak with quite as great a latitude in pronunciation as is found in the wonderfully varied dialects of the English[198] language. To make all these different pronunciations conform to a standard American method is one part of the grand work of the Geographical Board, a much abused but highly necessary public body.



Of no people of the Southwest, perhaps, has so much utter nonsense been written as of this interesting People of the Blue Water, the pai (people) of the vasu (blue) haha (water)—the Havasupais. As far as we know, Padre Garcés was the first white man to visit them in their Cataract Canyon home, and he speaks of his visit in his interesting Diary translated and annotated by the lamented Elliott Coues shortly before his death.

Captain Sitgreaves, Lieutenant Ives, Captain Palfrey, Major J. W. Powell, Lieut. F. H. Cushing, and others in turn visited them, but very little was either known or written about them when, over a dozen years ago, I was conducted to their marvellously picturesque home by Mr. W. W. Bass, the well-known guide of the Grand Canyon.

The journey on that occasion was a remarkable one for me, as, though I was fairly well versed in the trails of the Grand Canyon (having then descended four of them), I had never seen such a trail as was the Topocobya Trail down which we descended late in the evening. Leaving our wagon, after sixteen miles' drive through the Kohonino Forest from Bass Camp, we packed food, blankets, and cameras on horses and burros, and, after two miles of travel in what in Western parlance is called a "draw," the real head of the trail was reached. We[200] walked in the closing dusk of day to the edge of the precipice and looked off to where our guide told us we must shortly be travelling. Far below, almost a thousand feet, without the sign of a trail, it seemed as if he must be hoaxing us. Soon, however, as we followed him, we found ourselves on a rocky shelf, and then began the most stupendous series of zigzags I had ever been on. Back and forth we wended, our trail a mere scratch on the rocky slope, here descending rugged steps, where a misstep meant sure and awful death. Higher and higher the walls rose around us; darker and darker grew the night; more weird and awesome the wind and weather carved figures sculptured on the sides and summits of the walls, and still down we went. At last we reached a vast cavernous-like place where Topocobya Spring is located. A small flow of water comes from the solid rock, and there we watered our horses and filled up our canteens prior to advancing on our seemingly never-ending descent. At last we reached the level, and there, lighting a fire, made camp and rested before penetrating farther into the deep and mystic recesses of the Havasupais. Early in the morning we began the farther descent. Mile after mile we traversed, first riding on the dry bed of the winter stream, then entering the narrower walls formed by the erosion of centuries through first one stratum of rock, then another. Now we were riding on a narrow shelf, on one side of which was a high wall, and on the other a deep, narrow ravine, in the bottom of which the erosive forces have cut a number of holes,—small troughs or bath tubs in the sandstone, where during the rainy season pools of delicious water may be found. In a short time we were riding up or down literal stairways cut in the[201] rock, or rounding "Cape Horns," where we held our breath at the dreadful consequences that would ensue were horse or man to slip. Entering Rattlesnake Canyon our whole course was on a shelving slope of rock, over which even experienced horses tread gingerly. At last we came to the bed of the main canyon, and then for five or six miles we journeyed on, in the sand or the gravelly wash, for the stream that flows through this narrow canyon in storm times has no other law than its own wilful force. To-day we ride in one place, to-morrow's storm changes everything. After numberless twinings and twistings, all of which, however, gave a persistent northwesterly direction to our travelling, we came in sight of a score or so of large and fine cottonwood trees, whose height far surpassed the smaller mesquite, cottonwood, and other trees that line much of the canyon's bed. These large trees told us our journey was practically at an end, for here begins the outpouring of the numberless springs that make the stream we can already hear rushing in its pebbly bed lower down. Without any premonition they spring out in large and small volume at the foot of some of these trees, and the Havasu—the Blue Water—is made. Every few yards adds to the water's volume, for more springs empty their flow into it. The first and only real buildings are the schoolhouse and the homes of the farmer and teachers, and then, at once, begin the small farms of the Havasupais.

Stand on the slope here, where a mass of talus rises from the trail side, so that we can survey the whole of the picturesque scene. Note its setting! Towering walls of regularly laminated red sandstone, though the layers are of differing thicknesses, wind in and out, as[202] if following the meandering course of the stream, and over this the perfect blue of the Arizona sky. These make the most marvellously picturesque dwelling-place of America. Even Acoma's mesa heights and Walpi's precipice-surrounded walls are not more picturesque, and when you add the charm of the verdure nourished by the sweet waters of the Havasu, the picture is complete in its unique attractiveness.

Not even in the Green Emerald Isle, or the county of Devonshire, or the vineyards of France, is richer verdure to be found than fills up the open space between these great walls. Willows reveal the winding path of the Havasu, and everywhere else are the fields of the Indians. Patches of corn, watermelons, squash, canteloupes, beans, sunflowers, chili, onions, and alfalfa, with here and there peach, mesquite, and cottonwood trees, abound. As a rule these patches are protected and set off one from another by hedges of wattled willows or fences of rudely placed cottonwood poles. Through the fields trails meander in every direction, and they are also "cut up" by irrigating ditches. Some of the better irrigated fields are divided into small sections—like the squares of a checker-board—in order that the water may be more systematically distributed.

The peaceful hawas of the Havasupais nestle here and there among these verdant growths. Themselves covered with willows, it is often hard to distinguish them from the trees, were it not that at our approach small groups of men, women, and children, some clad in flaming red, others in all the colors of the rainbow, and some in even less than Mark Twain's descriptive smile, stand forth and reveal the dwelling-places. Now and again the curling line of bluish smoke of the camp-fire reveals[203] the hawa, and we gladly avail ourselves of one or the other of these marks of identification to make ourselves more familiar with the real home of the Havasupais. After investigation we find there are several distinct types of houses, all simple and primitive, and yet each different from the other.

Chickapanagie's summer home is a type of the simplest character. Two upright poles with forks at the top, standing about six feet high, are placed in line with each other fifteen feet apart. A cross-beam is placed on these uprights. Then a row of poles, about eight to nine feet in length, is sloped against the cross-beam. These are covered with willows, and there is the completed hawa.

What queer dwelling-places men have, and ever have had, and possibly ever will have. At the Paris Exposition of 1889 one whole street was devoted to a history of inhabited dwellings. At one end were the earliest "homes" of the paleolithic age, caves and huts, followed by the Lake Dwellings and the wickiups, tepees, or tents of the present-day Indian, the latter being the same primitive structures the aborigines have ever used. The other end of the street was devoted to the domestic architecture of our own day, and there, in a few hours, one could study almost every known form of home structure. But who could ever reproduce some of the homes these Havasupais live in? Wicker huts in the open, and caves in the faces of solid sandstone walls two thousand feet and more in height, these in turn surmounted by domes and obelisks and towers and cupolas that no modern architect dare attempt to rival.

These massive walls absorb the heat of the sun in summer time and thus keep the canyon intensely hot[204] both night and day. The large flow of water and the dense growth of willows and other verdure keep the soil constantly moist, so there is a humidity in the atmosphere which, in hot weather, makes it very oppressive.

This moisture renders the canyon cold in winter, although the thermometer never ranges very low. Snow falls but seldom, and then disappears almost as soon as it lights. In 1898 there was snow that stayed on the ground for several hours, but this was one of the severest winters they have had for many years.

A hundred yards or so below where the springs commence to flow Wallapai Canyon enters from the left. It is similar in appearance to, though narrower than, Havasu (Cataract) Canyon, the walls being of red sandstone, the strata of which are as regular as if laid by masons. A few hundred yards beyond the junction of the two canyons a remarkable piece of Indian engineering is in evidence, showing how the Indians ascend from a lower to an upper platform. There is a drop here in the stratum of some twenty-five or thirty feet, and to overcome this obstacle the Havasupais built a cage with logs which they filled with stones, and then from this stretched rude logs up and across, to which other logs were fastened, thus making a fairly substantial bridge from the lower to the upper stratum over which their horses as well as themselves could safely pass. The trail from this point ascends through tortuous canyons a distance of seven miles to the territory occupied by the Wallapais.

Just below the entrance to Wallapai Canyon a vast mass of talus has fallen, and two hundred yards farther down, the Cataract Canyon trail goes over a portion of[205] this talus to avoid the creek, which has here crossed from the other side of the canyon and has become a rapidly flowing stream some two feet or more in depth. Attached to this talus is a large mass of solid concrete made of pebbles, rocks, and sand that have been washed down in the creek and made cohesive by the lime from the water. Here the canyon narrows again and the stupendous walls seem very near to the willow-fringed stream and the small fields. A few hundred feet farther it opens out again, and as one rides on the trail he gets exquisite views of the gray stone walls superposed on the red sandstones to the northwest. These gray and creamy sandstones, with their numerous and delicate tints and shades, afford most delightful contrasts to the glaring and monotonous red of the walls beneath. From this point we gain our first view of the so-called Havasupai stone gods, named by them "Hue-gli-i-wa," the story of which is told elsewhere.

These rocky pillars with their supporting walls seem as if they were once a part of a great wall that entirely spanned the canyon, the towers being sentinel outlooks to guard from attack both above and below. The portion of the wall to the right, as one descends the canyon, has been washed away, but the tower-crowned mass to the left still preserves a broad sweep into the very heart of the canyon as if it would bar all further progress. Following the sweep of this curve and passing the wall immediately underneath the outermost of the two towers, we view from the trail which ascends a mass of talus at this point another widened-out part of the canyon, which seems entirely covered with willows, here and there overshadowed by a few straggling cottonwoods. This is where the ceremonial dances of the Havasupais[206] take place.

On the summit of the wall on the other side of the canyon from the Hue-gli-i-wa are two stone objects, one named Hue-a-pa-a, and the one farther down the canyon, Hue-pu-keh-i. These are great objects of reverence, for they represent the ancestors of the Havasupai race. Hue-a-pa-a—the man—has a child upon his back and two more by his side, and he is calling to his wife—Hue-pu-keh-i—to hurry along, as the baby is hungry and needs his dinner. The full breasts of the stone woman show that she is a nursing mother.

Slightly below these stone figures, and on the right-hand side of the canyon, is the old fort, where in the days of fighting the Havasupais were wont to retire when attacked. The fort is impregnable on three sides, being precipitous, and on the fourth is accessible only up a narrow trail, which is guarded by piles of rocks which are ready to be tumbled, even by a woman, upon the heads of foes who attempt to ascend. The fortifications and stones for defence still remain, but it is many years since they were used for their original purposes.

One's mind becomes very active as he looks upon this tribe of Indians and thinks of their traditions, history, and life. So far, their almost entirely isolated condition has been their preservation, although, sad to say, much of their earlier contact with our civilization was not of the best character.

Even in this land of our boasted Christianity it is true that the strong prey upon the weak. The domination of physical force is giving way to the domination of mental force, but which is the greater evil? Why should the man born with a mental advantage over his[207] fellows exercise that advantage any more than the man born with a physical advantage? We have not quite ceased to worship the Sullivans, the Corbetts, and the Fitzsimmonses, and, where we have, we have transferred our worship to the intellectually strong, many of whom are no more worthy our homage than the prize fighters. So now it is the intellectually strong who prey upon the intellectually weak, and, as in the physical conflict, it is inevitable that the weak "go to the wall." In simple cunning the Havasupai Indian may be our superior, but in deep craft he is "out of the field." His bow and arrow tipped with obsidian or flint pitted against our repeating rifle; his rolling of heavy rocks opposed to our Gatling guns; his mule and burro against our iron horse; and his pine torch against our electric light,—all demonstrate him to be in his intellectual minority, or at an intellectual disadvantage. He makes a fine figure in our romances, but I sadly fear that the knell of his doom has sounded, and that a few generations hence he will be no more.

Havasupai Fortress and Hue-gli-i-wa, or Rock Figures.

Havasupai Fortress and Hue-gli-i-wa, or Rock Figures.

Wallapai and Havasu Canyons, far more than the Grand Canyon, meet the popular idea as to what a canyon is. Their walls are narrow and precipitous, and one staying in their depths must be content with a late sunrise and an early sunset. Just above the rude bridge before described are several natural reservoirs of water. Here the canyon is not more than from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty feet wide. This close proximity of the walls, which fairly overshadow one, compels one to feel his insignificance far more than when he stands in the wider and more comprehensive vastness of the Grand Canyon.


From leading Havasupais I learn that many years ago the various tribes of this region were at war one with another, until finally a treaty of peace was entered into and boundaries defined. The Paiutis were to remain in Nevada and Utah and not cross the Colorado River, the Wallapais had their region to the west of Havasu Canyon, the Mohaves, Hopis, Pimas, Apaches, Navahoes, Chimehuevis, and the rest their prescribed limits, over which they were not to go without permission from the chiefs into whose territory they wished to pass. And, generally speaking, this treaty has been observed.

Of the exquisitely beautiful waterfalls that give the commonly accepted name to Havasu Canyon, viz., Cataract Canyon, I have not space here to treat. I have already somewhat fully described them in my book on the Grand Canyon.



In almost every case one finds a variety of differing legends related by the Indians of any tribe upon the same subject. As the Wallapais and Havasupais are cousins, one would naturally expect their legends to have some things in common. How much this is so will be seen by a comparison of the following story with that of the Wallapai Origin Legend.

"The two gods of the universe," said O-dig-i-ni-ni´-a, the relator of the mythic law of the Havasupais, "are Tochopa and Hokomata. Tochopa he heap good. Hokomata heap han-a-to-op´-o-gi—heap bad all same white man's devil. Him Hokomata make big row with Tochopa, and he say he drown the world.

"Tochopa was full of sadness at the news. He had one daughter whom he devotedly loved, and from her he had hoped would descend the whole human race for whom the world had been made. If Hokomata persisted in his wicked determination she must be saved at all hazard. So, working day and night, he speedily prepared the trunk of a pinion tree by hollowing it out from one end. In this hollow tree he placed food and other necessaries, and also made a lookout window. Then he brought his daughter, and telling her she must go into this tree and there be sealed up, he took a sad farewell of her, closed up the end of the tree,[210] and then sat down to await the destruction of the world. It was not long before the floods began to descend. Not rain, but cataracts, rivers, deluges came, making more noise than a thousand Hack-a-tai-as (Colorado River) and covering all the earth with water. The pinion log floated, and in safety lay Pu-keh-eh, while the waters surged higher and higher and covered the tops of Hue-han-a-patch-a (the San Franciscos), Hue-ga-wōōl-a (Williams Mountain), and all the other mountains of the world.

"But the waters of heaven could not always be pouring down, and soon after they ceased, the flood upon the earth found a way to rush into the sea. And as it dashed down it cut through the rocks of the plateaus and made the deep Chic-a-mi-mi (canyon) of the Colorado River (Hack-a-tai-a). Soon all the water was gone.

"Then Pu-keh-eh found her log no longer floating, and she peeped out of the window Tochopa had placed in her boat, and, though it was misty and almost dark, she could see in the dim distance the great mountains of the San Francisco range. And near by was the canyon of the Little Colorado, and to the north was Hack-a-tai-a, and to the west was the canyon of the Havasu.

"The flood had lasted so long that she had grown to be a woman, and, seeing the water gone, she came out and began to make pottery and baskets as her father long ago had taught her. But she was a woman. And what is a woman without a child in her arms or nursing at her breasts? How she longed to be a mother! But where was a father for her child? Alas! there was no man in the whole universe!

Chickapanagie's Wife, a Havasupai, parching Corn in Basket.

Chickapanagie's Wife, a Havasupai, parching Corn in Basket.

A Wallapai Woman pounding Acorns.

A Wallapai Woman pounding Acorns.


"Day after day longings for maternity filled her heart, until, one morning,—glorious happy morning for Pu-keh-eh and the Havasu race,—the darkness began to disappear, and in the far-away east soft and new brightness appeared. It was the triumphant Sun coming to conquer the long night and bring light into the world. Nearer and nearer he came, and at last, as he peeped over the far-away mesa summits, Pu-keh-eh arose and thanked Tochopa, for here, at last, was a father for her child. She conceived, and in the fulness of time bore a son, whom she delighted in and called In-ya´-a—the son of the Sun.

"But as the days rolled on she again felt the longings for maternity. By this time she had wandered far to the west and had entered the beautiful canyon of the Havasu, where deep down between the rocks were several grand and glorious waterfalls, and one of these, Wa-ha-hath-peek-ha-ha, she determined should be the father of her second child.

"When it was born it was a girl, and to this day all the girls of the Havasupai are 'daughters of the water.'

"As these two children grew up they married, and thus became the progenitors of the human race. First the Havasupais were born, then the Apaches, then the Wallapais, then the Hopis, then the Paiutis, then the Navahoes.

"And Tochopa told them all where they should live. The Havasupais and the Apaches were to dwell in Havasu Canyon, the former on one side of the Havasu (blue water), and the latter on the other side, and occupy the territory as far east as the Little Colorado and south to the San Francisco Mountains. The Wallapais were to roam in the country west of Havasu Canyon, and the Hopis and Navahoes east of the Little Colorado, and[212] the Paiutis north of the big Colorado.

"And there in Havasu Canyon, above their dancing-place, he carved on the summit of the walls figures of Pu-keh-eh and A-pa-a to remind them from whom they were descended. Here for a long time Havasupais and Apaches lived together in peace, but one day an Apache man saw a most beautiful Havasu woman, and he fell in love with her, and he went to his home and prayed and longed and ate his heart out for this woman who was the wife of another. He called upon Hokomata, the bad god, to help him, and Hokomata, always glad to foment trouble, told him to pay no attention to the restrictions placed upon him by Tochopa, but to cross the Havasu, kill the woman's husband, and steal her for his own wife.

"The Apache heeded this evil counsel and did so.

"When the Havasupais discovered the wrong that had been done them, and the great disgrace this Apache had brought upon the tribe, they counselled together, and determined to drive out the Apaches from their canyon home. No longer should they be brothers. They bade the Apaches be gone, and when they refused, fell upon them and drove them out. Up the rocks near Hue-gli-i-wa the Apaches climbed, and to this day the marks of their footsteps may be seen. They were driven far away to the south and commanded never to come north of the San Francisco Mountains. Hence, though originally they were brothers, there has ever since been war between the people of the Havasu and the Apaches.

"Then, to remind them of the sure punishment that comes to evil-doers, Tochopa carved the great stone figures of the Apache man and the Havasupai squaw[213] so that they could be seen from above and below, and there to this day the Hue-gli-i-wa remain, as a warning against unlawful love and its dire consequences."

Here is another story told by a shaman of the Havasupais of the origin of the race. It is interesting and instructive to note the points of similarity and difference.

"In the days of long ago a man and a woman (Hokomata and Pukeheh Panowa) lived here on the earth. By and by a son was born to them, whom they named Tochopa. As he grew up to manhood Pukeheh Panowa fell in love with him and wished to marry him, but he instinctively shrank from such incestuous intercourse. The woman grew angry as he repelled her, and she made a number of frogs which brought large volumes of water. Soon all the country began to be flooded with water, and Hokomata found out what was the matter. He then took Tochopa and a girl and placed them in the trunk of a pinion tree, sealed it up, and sent them afloat on the waters. He stored the tree with corn, peaches, pumpkins, and other food, so they would not be hungry, and for many long days the tree floated hither and thither on the face of the waters. Soon the waters began to subside, and the tree grounded near to where the Little Colorado now is. When Tochopa found the tree was no longer floating he knocked on the side, and Hokomata heard him and came and let him out. As he stepped on the ground he saw Huehanapatcha (the San Francisco Mountains), Huegadawiza (Red Butte), Huegawōōla (Williams Mountain), and he said: 'I know these mountains. This is not far from my country.' And the water ran down the Hack-a-tha-eh-la (the salty stream, or the Little Colorado) and made Hack-a-tai-a (the Grand Canyon of the Colorado). Here he[214] and his wife lived until she gave birth to the son and daughter as before related."

The way the Wallapai became a separate people is thus related by the Havasupais:

"A long time ago the animals were all the same as Indians, and the Indians as the animals. The Coyote he lived here in Havasu Canyon. One time he go away for a long time and he catch 'em a good squaw, and by and bye he have a little boy.

"The little boy grew up to be a man, and he went up on top (out of the canyon, upon the higher plateaus), and there he found two squaw. It heap cold on top, and he get two squaw to keep him warm when he go to sleep. Then he came back to Havasu, and when his papa (the Coyote) saw his two squaws he said: 'I take this one. One squaw enough for you.' But the boy was angry and said one squaw was not enough. 'When I lie down to sleep I heap cold. Squaw she heap warm. Two squaw keep me warm.' The Coyote told his son not to talk; he must be content with one squaw and go to sleep. And the squaw was proud that the Coyote had made her his wife, and she began to taunt the boy, and when he replied she asked the Coyote to tell his boy not to talk. And the Coyote was mad and spoke angrily to his boy.

"When he awoke in the morning his son was gone. And ten sleeps passed by and still he did not come back, so the Coyote tracked him up Wallapai Canyon, and went a long, long way. He reached the hilltop and still he did not find his son. At last, a long, long way off he saw him, and he changed him into a mountain sheep. Then a lot more mountain sheep came and ran with the Coyote's son, and the[215] Coyote could not tell which of the band was his boy. He looked and looked, but it was all in vain. He tried to change his boy back again, so that he would no longer be a mountain sheep, but, as he could not tell which was his boy, his efforts were in vain, and he had to go back to Havasu alone.

"For a long time the boy remained as a mountain sheep, until the horns had grown large upon his head. Then he changed himself back to a man, and he found his squaw there, waiting for him, and that is why, to this day, the Wallapai is to the Havasupai the A-mu-u or mountain sheep."

The origin of the Hopis is thus related by the Havasupais:

"Long time ago two men were born near Mooney Falls. They were twins, yet one was big man, and the other a little big. They came up into this part of the canyon (where the Havasupais now live). It was no good in those days. There was no water and it was 'heap hot.' The little big man he say: 'I no like 'em stay here. Let us go hunt 'em good place to live where we catch plenty water, plenty corn.' So they left the canyon and climbed out where the Hopi trail now is. Here they stayed in the forest some time, hunting and making buckskin. After they had got a large bundle of buckskins dressed, they put them on their backs and began to walk on to seek the country of lots of water, where plenty of corn would grow. But it was hot weather and the load was heavy, and they soon grew so very tired that the smaller brother began to cry. As they walked on he cried more and more, until when they came to the hilltop looking down to[216] the Little Colorado River, he said: 'I cannot go any farther. I am going to lie down here and go to sleep.' So they both went to sleep, and when they woke up the big brother said: 'Where you go? You no walk long way. You heap tired.'

"And the little brother answered: 'I no like go farther. I go back Havasu. I catch 'em water there.'

"'All right!' replied the big brother, 'I no like Havasu. I go hunt water and plant corn and watermelons and sunflowers. You go back to Havasu.'

"And he gave him a little bit of corn, and that explains why the Havasupais can grow only a small amount of corn in their canyon, though it is exceedingly sweet and delicious.

"But the big brother went on and found the places now occupied by the Hopi, and he settled there. And as he had taken lots of corn with him and he planted it, that explains" (to the Havasupai mind) "why the Hopi has so much corn.

"And the smaller brother found water when he got back to Havasu, and he planted his corn, and cared for it, and went and hunted and caught the deer and made buckskin. Then he found a squaw who made baskets, and helped him make mescal, and they stopped there all the time.

"The Hopi brother learned to make blankets, but no buckskin, so when he wants buckskin he has to come to his smaller brother in Havasu Canyon."

In the early days the Havasupais were undoubtedly cliff-dwellers, for in a score or more places in their canyons are houses in the cliffs—some of them inaccessible—which their traditions say were once occupied by[217] certain families, the names of which are still remembered. All throughout the Grand Canyon region, too, from the Little Colorado River to Havasu Canyon, their cliff-dwellings, and smaller cliff "corn-houses" and mescal pits, are to be found. Indeed, the Havasupais built all the trails that are now being claimed as the work of white men into the heart of the Grand Canyon. The Tanner-French trail, the Red Canyon trail, the old Hance trail, the Grand View, Bright Angel, and Mystic Spring trails, are all old Indian trails. Not only are the cliff-dwellings and mescal pits proof of this, but the Havasupais can tell the families to whom they originally belonged and to whom the rights in them have descended. These rights they rigidly adhere to. It is the white man who knows no law as far as the Indian is concerned, and little by little the aborigine has lost springs, water-pockets, and trails, and is regarded and treated as an unwelcome visitor.

Havasupai Mother and Child.

Havasupai Mother and Child.

A Family Group of Havasupais.

A Family Group of Havasupais.

By this it must not be inferred that the Indians built the trails as white men build. In the main their trails were rude paths such as the mountain sheep might make, but in every case they had one of these rude pathways down into the canyon somewhere near to where the modern trails are now located. At the Bright Angel this path was changed when white engineers took hold of it, and at Mystic Spring Mr. Bass had built an entirely new trail, down a different slope, long before he discovered the Indian trail. Both unite near two great natural rock-cisterns, and then deviate below, the Indian trail zigzagging to the left, while Mr. Bass engineered a new trail of easy grade on the talus to the right.

Some of the Havasupais are returning to the cliff-dwelling style of homes. My friend Wa-lu-tha-ma is[218] forsaking his wood and brush "hawas," and constructing a house under the cliffs, where, as he quaintly puts it, he can "keep dry when much rain comes."

It seems to me a reasonable supposition that it was from the frequency of the occurrence of these corn-houses in the walls of Havasu (Cataract) Canyon, with the occasional appearance of a few of the larger houses used as dwellings by the Havasupais, that the absurd and romantic yarns had their origin that fifteen, or less, years ago, were current in Arizona and elsewhere about this interesting people. The cowboys, miners, prospectors, and others, who accidentally stumbled upon the upper entrance to the Havasu Canyon, and wandered down its meandering course for ten or forty miles, even to the village of the simple Havasupais, returned to civilization and propagated and circulated stories that out-Munchausened Munchausen. They said these people were cliff-dwellers, living at the present day in the walls of the canyon; they were of powerful physical presence, and possessed great endurance. Their fields and gardens were wonderful, and their peach orchards surpassed those of most civilized cultivation, and they held in slavery a lesser people, dwarfs or pigmies, doubtless, who were cliff-dwellers like themselves, and whom they compelled by great cruelty to perform the most arduous labors.

Others, having heard these stories, but whose spirit of adventure took them no farther than the "rim" of the canyon, claimed to have looked into the village and side canyons, and there seen the truth of these stories demonstrated. They had seen the pigmies and the gigantic Havasupais, had heard the harsh yells of the latter at the former, and had seen the frantic endeavors[219] of the little people to obey the stern behests of their masters.

All these yarns are explained by the fact that the distance of view dimmed the vision; the pigmies were boys driving the burros or horses, yelling and shouting as Havasupai boys delight to do, the voices magnified fifty-fold by the echoing walls of the canyon, while the parents moved around attending to their own business, or looked on and occasionally helped by a shout of encouragement or suggestion.



From the cradle to the grave the life of a Havasupai is practically an out-of-door life. Their hawas—even the best of them—are partially exposed and open, and in the summer hawas there is no pretence at what among civilized peoples is essential privacy.

The games of the Havasupai children seem very few. I have seen only three. Of the first importance is shinny, or, as they call it, tha-se-vi'-ga. The goals are go-ji-ga', the ball, ta-ma-na'-da, and the playing stick ta-so-vig'-a. The boys enter into this with the zest one would expect of such a time-honored game, yet, such is their general indifference to prolonged effort, they do not play it very often.

An easier game, but generally left to the girls, is, hui-ta-qui'-chi-ka to-ho'-bi-ga, which I have fully described in my book on the Grand Canyon.

The third game is stolen bodily from the Navahoes, except the name, which with the Havasupais is Tōd-wi-ga. It is the Nan-zosh, and is elsewhere fully described in these pages.

Such a paucity of games is indicative of low mental power, lack of imagination and invention, and results in, or perhaps from a slow, heavy mental temperament. There is no comparison between the children[221] of the same ages of the Havasupais and the Navahoes or Hopis. And yet, when they enter school, some of the Havasupais learn with a rapidity equal to that of these other children.

It seems strange to find a people whose children have no equivalent for dolls; nothing specifically to care for. They are capricious in their treatment of their domestic animals, cats and dogs, sometimes petting them to excess, and then lifting the yelping or squalling creatures by the legs, twisting these members over their backs, or otherwise torturing them.

The boys and the girls, as well as the men and women, are expert horse riders. Every family has its horses, and the children ride from their earliest years. Even as I write I catch glimpses now and then of a red-shawled girl on horseback and hear the hard strike of the horse's hoofs as he dashes along at break-neck speed along the trail near the hawa of my host. All ride astride, and are as fearless in ascending and descending the steep trails that give access and egress to their canyon home as the wildest and most expert of the Rough Riders.

One of their great sports and gala times is when visiting Indians—Navahoes, Hopis, or Wallapais—come with fleet horses and races are arranged for. While they have no "Derby Day," they have days on which half the personal property of the village is pledged on the success of certain horses. They are inveterate gamblers; and blankets, buckskins, saddles, bridles, Navaho jewelry, horses, burros, and everything "gambleable" are risked on the outcome. And what an exciting scene an Indian horserace is, and how picturesque! There is not so much difference after all in human nature,[222] when one penetrates below the surface. The reserved Englishman, the excitable Italian, the vivacious Frenchman, and the so-called stupid and stolid native aboriginal American exhibit exactly the same traits of character under the excitement of a horserace. But in Havasu Canyon the conditions are quite different from Ascot, Doncaster, or Newmarket. Here are bucks dressed in the breech-clout and excitement, and women gesticulating and waving their si-dram´-as (our large flaming red or other "loud" colored bandannas, fastened over the shoulders and across the breast). Some suppress their excitement, others jabber like monkeys, and as the horses come to the starting-point there is just as much talking and din as after the start is made. One distinct feature is that many horses are raced without riders. They seem to understand, and when the signal to "let go" is given they dart off at full speed, just as if riders were on their backs urging them forward. Compared with our finely bred, beautifully chiselled horses, such as one sees, or used to see, in Lucky Baldwin's or the late Senator Stanford's stables, what ragged, scrawny, wretched creatures these are; and yet when they run how they surprise you, how those ugly limbs seem to limber up, and those sleepy eyes gain fire!

Gambling at these races is carried to an extraordinary extent. Men, women, and children alike gamble all they possess, or even hope to possess. This gambling spirit has grown wonderfully in the past few years, for, during the Kohot Navaho's lifetime he constantly used his powerful influence to discourage it.

Gambling, unfortunately, is not confined merely to horse-racing. All the afternoon, as I have sat at my[223] work, a group of eight women, some young, some middle-aged, and one old, have gambled without cessation for five solid hours. Two young mothers had their babies—surely not more than two to three months old—and the youngest of the women was one of these mothers, and she could not have been more than eighteen years of age. Girls gamble at Hui-ta-qui-chi-ka for safety-pins, and boys for knives and the like, so that now it is a vice which has affected every individual of the tribe.

The Havasupai children are expert ball tossers. With three or four small melons they rival the conjurers and jugglers of our vaudeville shows in feats of dexterity, keeping three or more balls in the air at the same time.

Boys and girls alike run around in the fiercest rain, their feet and legs wet and the few clothes they have on absolutely soaked. The idea of changing them has never seemed to enter their primitive minds, and without care, without a fire, unless he chooses to build one, the youngster gets along as best he may. It is a case of the weaker going to the wall, for here only the strong can survive.

There is very little attempt on the part of their parents to control them. They are generally allowed to do as they choose. I have often seen a little girl take a cigarette from between her father's lips, give it a few puffs, and return it, he all the while either indifferent to or unconscious of the act.

The close proximity of Havasu Creek and its large ponds or reservoirs, made by the irrigation dams, naturally suggests that they are swimmers. Observation confirms this. From earliest childhood they are expert[224] swimmers, boys and girls alike learning the art often before they can walk. I have seen mere babies placed in the creek and ditches by their parents and older brothers, and one can scarcely say they are taught to paddle, for it seems to come instinctively. There is not a child in the village who cannot swim and dive expertly, and there is no greater fun than to expend a dozen nickels by throwing them into one of the reservoirs and having the children dive for them. Sometimes they can be induced to bring the coins up in their teeth, even picking them in that manner from the sandy bed of the reservoir. They are as expert swimmers as the children of the South Seas. No Kanaka going out to meet an incoming steamer could ride the billows more daringly than the boys and girls of the Havasu swim in the rapid currents of their little stream. I have been with them to-day for a couple of hours. The boys dived into deep water and rose and fell like loons. I amused myself by throwing a stone into ten or more feet of water, and four or five of the boys would dive for it and get it almost as quickly as I could throw it. It was no sooner in than it was out again. One of the little girls, a sister of one of the boys, stood watching the sport. She became so interested that, suddenly, without removing her calico dress, she jumped into the deep place and enjoyed the fun with the rest.

Then, a Havasupai man, riding a burro, brought the animal down into the stream where it was shallow and had a gravelly bed. For an hour he and the boys amused themselves by swimming back and forth through the deep pool, and every now and again one or another would jump on the creature's back and, hanging on, overbalance him, or make him turn a somersault. The[225] burro bore it all good-naturedly and seemed to object very little to the fun: the only time he showed decided inappreciation was when the Indians got him down into deep water and forced his head under for too long a time.

A little later on a horse was brought, who entered into the sport as if he were used to it. He swam back and forth and took to the water as willingly as a child takes candy. The boys hung on to his mane, got on his back, his neck, or hung on to his tail, and, to all seeming, it was all the same to him.

Though they are so fond of the water, the Havasupais cannot be called in some respects a cleanly people. Far from it. Though they take the sweat bath almost as a religious rite[7] and their skin is thus kept clean, there is another kind of cleanliness in which they are very remiss. It would be unreasonable to expect that people living in the exposed wicker huts of the Havasupais could approach anywhere near the ordinary white man's standard of cleanliness. But certainly they might have a higher standard than they do. Lice swarm in the heads of the children and most of the women. On the other hand, all the younger men are particular to be cleanly in this regard, and dress their hair with skill and neatness. Bed-bugs abound in Havasu Canyon as in no other place on earth. They swarm everywhere, and are absolutely found in clusters in the sand, under the old bark of decayed trees, and in every conceivable and inconceivable lodging-place. The warm sand and the seductive moisture that obtains during the major part of the year must be especially conducive to their breeding, for they are ubiquitous. Yet, strange to say,[226] I have never known of an instance where a bed-bug has been brought out of the canyon by a visitor. Though I have been with the Havasupais scores of times I never detected one of these vermin either in my clothing or bedding. The breed seems to be peculiar to the warm, moist air of the canyon and to be unable to live away from it, for which we give hearty thanks.

Now and again scorpions may be found, and, after a rain, I have seen a score of hundred-legged worms (perfectly harmless) rolled up on the trail between the village and Bridal Veil Falls.

Rattlesnakes are not common anywhere in those portions of the canyon much visited by the Havasupais, but now and then one may be found on the trails or basking in the sun on the rocks near by. Elsewhere in this canyon and its many greater or lesser tributaries they are common, and the Indians can find any quantity if they are sent for them. In all my years of wandering to and fro, though, I have not seen a half-dozen rattlesnakes in Havasu Canyon.

Other pests are mosquitoes, gnats, and a small black fly which, in certain seasons, persistently lodges in the eye, causing considerable annoyance, and sometimes distress and pain. There are not many mosquitoes, though at times they are troublesome enough to satisfy one for their scarcity.

Many of the women are expert basket makers, and in my book on Indian Basketry I have fully explained their methods of work and the charming nature of their designs. The Havasu Canyon is a basket maker's paradise, for the stream is lined for miles with willows suitable for this work.


The process of making strands or splints of the willows is a very simple and primitive one. Here as I sit writing (Sept. 14, 1901), Chickapanagie's squaw has a lot of willow shoots before her. Taking hold of one end of the splint in her teeth, she pulls away the cuticle with her fingers. These alone are her tools, and it is astonishing the rapidity and regularity with which the process is accomplished.

As soon as a girl can frame her fingers to the work of basket making she is required to begin. It is very interesting to watch the small children in their endeavors to make the rougher baskets, and then, as they grow in skill, try the finer work. Pul-a-gas´-a-a is not more than eight years of age, and yet a basket—kű-ű—she brought to me was one of her own make, and it now occupies a place in my collection. The work is irregular and crude, but shows skill, and if the child has patience to stick to it, in time she will become one of the most accomplished basket makers of the tribe.

As soon as possible after attaining puberty the Havasupai girls marry, generally between the ages of thirteen and fourteen. The parents themselves urge these early marriages. Whether they fear the loss of virtue in their daughters from evil white men, or the degenerate young men of their own tribe, I do not know, but several parents have told me that the sooner their girls marry, after they are marriageable, the better pleased they are.

Marriage is generally arranged by purchase. When a young man sets his affections upon any particular girl, he contrives to show his preference for her, and, as soon as he finds that his attentions are agreeable, he visits his fair one's father or nearest male relative, and without parley begins to bargain for her as he would[228] for a horse or any other commodity. The standard price for a wife is ten to twenty dollars, and where a trade cannot be made with a pony or blanket, the money itself is offered. The bargaining completed, there are no further preliminaries or ceremony, except that, three weeks or so before the wedding, the bridegroom takes up his residence in the hawa of the bride's parents. He is treated as one of the family, and at night rolls himself up in his blanket and sleeps alongside his prospective kinsfolk on the floor of the domicile. At the end of three weeks, if the contracting young folks are satisfied that their dispositions are harmonious, and if the marriage settlement is satisfactory, the wedding takes place. The groom takes his bride, the old folk take the medium of purchase, and the company laughs and banters the young husband and wife. The man takes the woman to his hawa, and the announcement of their marriage is made by the fact that they are living together and have assumed marital relationship.

Sometimes an obdurate father or mother will refuse to sell a daughter, and thus expresses disapprobation of the suggested match. Occasionally, as among more civilized people, the young couple mournfully, but dutifully, acquiesce in the decision of the older people, but, more often—even, also, as white young people do—they rebel, and take the decision into their own hands by eloping and living together. This ends the matter. The ethics of the tribe are such that cohabitation once entered upon, the parents have no authority to declare the marriage void. And, as a further penalty for his obdurate obstinacy, the father loses the ten dollars or its equivalent he might have had by being kind and[229] complaisant to the desires of the young couple.

The Havasupais are polygamists, and believe in having as many wives as they can buy and support. At the time of his death Kohot Navaho had three wives living with him, and I personally know of two others that he had discarded on account of old age. When Hotouta, his oldest son, was living, his mother was a thrust-out member of Navaho's household. She was almost blind and decrepit, and Navaho with a wave of his hand and ten words had dismissed her from his bed and board. Hotouta had a tender heart and used to speak very bitterly about the injustice of this custom which allowed an old and helpless wife thus mercilessly to be discarded.

Shortly before Navaho's death his oldest wife evidently "ruled the roost," and it certainly must have been by other means than her physical beauty. And yet she was vain of her good looks, for, when I made her husband's photograph, she became my strong ally in persuading him to sit before the camera, on condition that I would make a "sun-picture" of her own beautiful physiognomy and enchanting tout ensemble. When I made the photograph, she secured her petticoats between her legs in such a manner as to make them appear like rude trousers, and when I commented upon the unfeminine appearance and asked her to spread out her skirts in orthodox style, she boxed my ears with a manner at once decisive, haughty, and jocular, and bade me proceed as she was or not at all. The second wife was a meek kind of a creature, who seemed to be entirely under the dominion of wife number one; but the youngest wife, a buxom woman of twenty-three or four summers, evidently knew how to hold her own,[230] for she once or twice refused to obey wife number one, though she readily obeyed the same request when given by Navaho personally. This woman is now married to my old host, Waluthama.

Marriage with a white man is unknown among the Havasupais, and unlawful cohabitation with one is punishable by death.

The question of marrying is becoming a more serious one with the Havasupais each year. While occasionally a man will marry a Wallapai squaw, there is a strong sentiment against marriage outside of the tribe. Yet the number of the tribe is so small, and intermarriage has so long been carried on between them, that it is no uncommon thing for a young man or woman to be debarred from choice in marriage. At the present time Gōō-fwho's son can marry but one girl in the whole tribe without violating their own laws of consanguinity, about which no people are more particular.

The present Head Chief—Kohot—of the tribe is Man-a-ka-cha, a heavily built man, who is popular with the younger element. But he suffers much in comparison with the former Kohot, Navaho, who died in 1898.

Kohot Navaho's was a strong face, marked and furrowed with bearing the cares of his little nation. A firm chin, powerful nose, gentle mouth, courageous forehead, eyes which were once fiery as well as piercing, but of late years had little of their primitive fire,—these gave a key to his character, in which firmness, courage, bravery, and gentle tenderness were commingled. His whole demeanor was of dignity and pride. No European sovereign in the days of despotic power could[231] have worn the "air" of a monarch more regally than Navaho. But it was real with him. His kingship was within himself as well as in the affection of his people.

Waluthanca's Daughter, with Esuwa, going for Water.

Waluthanca's Daughter, with Esuwa, going for Water.

Lanoman's Wife. A Havasupai.

Lanoman's Wife. A Havasupai.

As might be expected with their powerful physical development, the men are great wrestlers, and often may be seen indulging in friendly, but none the less hard and exhausting bouts, where Havasupai methods of cross-buttocking and other "throws" are tested to the utmost. One of the former teachers was an expert wrestler,—learned doubtless among the Sioux, with whom he used to live as a United States teacher,—and one secret of the influence he had over the Havasupais was his ability to "down" them in a wrestling match. Time and again he had given their best men great "falls," and the more he threw, the more they respected and obeyed him.

As runners and trailers they almost equal the Mohaves, Apaches, and Hopis, though, on the desert, their endurance is not so great as that of these two desert tribes. As canyon climbers, however, they surpass either of them. The climbing muscles, by life-long and constant practice, are remarkably developed, and they run up and down the long, wearisome, steep trails of canyons in a manner to excite the envy of a college athlete, and the astonishment of one who has, but a short time before, laboriously and tediously essayed a brief trip in which ascending or descending a steep trail was an essential feature.

As riders they are skilful and full of endurance, but they are neither as graceful nor as daring as the Navahoes.

Men and women both dress the buckskins for which the Havasupai is so famous. Amole root is macerated and beaten up and down in a bowl of water until a[232] good lather and suds are produced. Then the operator takes a mouthful of the liquid and squirts it over the skin, which he manipulates and softens, rubs, scrubs, and pulls with his fingers and feet, moistening it again and again as occasion requires. Wild catskins are treated in the same way.

From this excellent buckskin the men make moccasins for themselves and their women. The first time I saw Kohot Navaho he was sitting naked, upon a blanket outside his hawa, his three wives near by, they cutting and preparing peaches for drying, he busily engaged making a pair of moccasins. The sole is of two or three thicknesses of heavy rawhide, to which the uppers of buckskin are deftly sewn, with strings of catgut or deer intestines, the holes being made by a bone awl.

Every summer trading-parties of both Hopis and Navahoes come down to the village, bringing blankets, ponies, pottery, and the like, for exchange. In 1898 there were three separate bands of Navahoes and two of Hopis. Trading is a serious process. Laws of barter or sale are first made, before the traders open their packs, and all the people are expected to abide by these loosely promulgated laws without question. Then the hawa of the Havasupai host is turned into a store. Poles are suspended in every possible direction on which to show off the blankets to best advantage. A crowd of chattering men and women stand outside, or, now and again, come inside, during the whole day, and at night-time the men who have done business come in, squat on the ground, and spend the hours in smoking, tale-telling, and gossip.

There is difficulty in the Havasupai mind at trading for more than one thing at a time. If you wish to buy[233] six articles from the same Indian, you cannot pay a lump sum for the six. Each one must be traded and paid for separately.

In most things there is no fixed standard of price. Fictitious values are placed upon articles of no value whatever, but to which the Indian mind has attached singular virtue and importance. On the other hand baskets, which require days to manufacture, taking no account of the time and arduous labor expended in gathering the materials, dyes, etc., for that purpose, are sold at varying prices, but nearly always far too low to begin to compensate them for the efforts expended.

Yet they are keen traders in their way. "What can I get out of him?" is the normal attitude of mind, and the price is made to correspond to what the seller imagines is the ability of your pocket.

In dealing with them, I adopted the plan years ago, as a fixed rule, from which I seldom deviate, to state a figure I will give for things offered to me, and that sum, no more, no less, is what I will pay. They soon learn this, and, though at times it seems to be a disadvantage, it gains the confidence of the Indian and he will the more readily trade with me.

I once excited the hearty laughter and some scorn of the Havasupais by buying a lot of old baskets, blankets, etc., that they had long deemed of no value. I was seeking their older styles of work and urged them to bring me "any old trash" they had discarded. The usual crowd assembled around my camp, and, as each specimen of dilapidation was half-shamefacedly revealed a shout of laughter arose, directed partially at the would-be seller for her temerity in supposing that such rubbish could ever find a purchaser, and partially at myself for[234] being so foolish as to want to carry it away. But I obtained some fine specimens, though much worn, of the workmanship I desired, so could afford to be very complaisant at the derision I aroused.

The Havasupai is one of the most jolly, frolicsome, and light-hearted of mortals. With his stomach full he has no cares, and he goes into fun with a zest and energy that are pleasing. He is fond beyond measure of practical jokes,—when he is not the victim,—and cares very little who suffers so long as he can obtain fun. Consequently if one meets with a misfortune, especially a laughable one, he need expect little, if any, sympathy in Havasu Canyon.

They are a singular mixture of frankness and cunning, of honor and deception, of truth and frankness, of reliability and untrustworthiness. They will as deliberately and coolly lie to a white man about anything and everything—if it suits their purpose—as they will tell the truth. Ask a man his name—an insult, by the way—and he will lie to you, even though you are a good friend; as, for instance, when, after being the guest of "Supai Charley" for several days, I quietly and without seeming intent asked him his name, which I knew to be Wa-lu-tha-ma, that I might send him some gifts I had promised. For a few moments he hesitated, and then said "Qu-ar-ri"—a Wallapai name that has no relation to the Havasus whatever. Sinyela was full of deception, and yet, when a friend told him he might catch one of his horses and ride it so far, and we reached that point and I suggested to him that he take the pony forward and leave it at the designated spot on his return, he would not listen to it for a moment.


They are petty thieves, but years of experience have taught me that they could not be persuaded to engage in larceny on a grander scale. One of my first experiences in this line was to have some little thing taken from my camp many years ago (I forget now what it was). Immediately I sent for Hotouta, and told him the article must be returned. In a few hours the boy thief (now a hang-dog looking buck) came and brought back the article.

On my last visit, coffee and candy were taken from my sacks at Wa-lu-tha-ma´s hawa, and three necklaces which I had taken as presents for some of the children. I spoke angrily to my host of his negligence to protect my goods when they were in his care, and, as for the necklaces, said if they were not returned by morning I should complain to the agent, and have the thief discovered and punished. Long before sunrise in the morning the necklaces were returned.

There is a good deal of craft about some of them. For a long time Captain Jim and a few others had wished to have a road or trail made around Hue-gli-i-wa that would make it less dangerous, and add much to the comfort of the people, who lived both above and below this spot, when they wished to visit each other. For years nothing was done. But when, this year, he took the matter up again, he did it in a round-about way that won success. He urged that an invitation be sent to the leading horsemen of the Wallapais to bring their best horses and come and run races with them. The Wallapais accepted the invitation. Now was Captain Jim's opportunity for the display of his finesse. He casually suggested to some of the most ardent racers that the way to beat the Wallapais was to make a race-track just the same as the white men did, and, when it was[236] completed, train their horses to run on it until they were so familiar with it that, when the Wallapais came, they would be able to take all the advantages this additional knowledge would give. The suggestion worked like a charm. It was Tom Sawyer's woodpile over again. The young men waited on the Kohot, Manakacha, and asked permission to cut a road a mile long through the middle portion of the canyon. The only place where this could be done was just where Captain Jim desired the road. He was appointed to see that the work was properly done, and the first few days of my visit were enlivened by the echoing roars of the powder explosions that were set off. When I went down to the lower part of the village it was over the new and completed road, a full mile in length, and well cut out and graded. Such a consummation was devoutly to be wished, and while races are not an unmixed good, one could tolerate them the easier for the Havasupais if they would always be the means of accomplishing such desirable ends.

The Havasupais are far from being dull and stupid, as casual observers suppose. They can see the point of things as quickly as some of their white neighbors. For instance; I have elsewhere, in my Grand Canyon book, told how Silver, Hotouta's fine horse, was given to Mr. Bass. This horse has always been an object of envy to some of the young men of the tribe. Mr. Bass also bought from Sinyela a red mule of some of my exciting experiences. Having once had possession of this mule was in itself an overpowering temptation to those Indians, who, in the days of Sinyela's ownership, had been permitted to ride it. Consequently Mr. Bass was often annoyed by finding, on his return from an[237] absence of a few days, that Silver and the mule, one or both, had been taken from the pasture and ridden by the Indians. When he completed his trail across the river and finally established the ferry that bears his name—the only ferry, by the way, across the Grand Canyon, and the only one on the Colorado River between Lee's Ferry and the one below the mouth of the canyons—he decided to swim Silver and the mule across the river and keep them for use on the north side. When this was done Chickapanagie was present. With a twinkle in his eye he said: "Bass heap sopogie (understand). Havasupai no ride 'em Silvern, and Red Mule no more."

There is wide diversity in the attitude different members of the tribe hold towards the whites. Some are friendly, others openly hostile and ugly, while others merely receive strangers on sufferance as a necessary evil, useful for the purchase of baskets and such other things as they may have to dispose of.

Manakacha was elected to his kohot-ship because the majority of the men were in favor of keeping out the whites from Havasu Canyon, and he was ever averse to the white man.

Those, however, who are friendly, are good and true friends, as those who knew Hotouta, Spotty, and others who are gone can testify.

Spotty was a genial, kindly soul, with whom I had various dealings. He was intelligent and reliable in his intercourse with me, though a medicine-man and ready to dispense charms, incantations, and native medicines on the slightest pecuniary provocation. On one of my early trips to Havasu I negligently overlooked taking a sufficient supply of extra films. What an idea![238] To start on such a trip and forget one's camera rolls. There were about thirty exposures left on my film and I was sure I should need two hundred and fifty. Indeed, long before I had reached the Havasupai village all the roll was exhausted, and no more pictures could be taken.

I was disgusted with my own want of forethought, and generally disgruntled, when lo! on sight of Spotty the idea occurred as if by inspiration: "Why not send Spotty for it?" No sooner suggested mentally than I broached the subject. The round trip was a good fifty-five to sixty miles, and much of the road up Havasu Canyon, and I must have the roll within twenty-four hours. Spotty's eye was on the main chance, and he at once expressed his willingness to go provided there was "enough in it." "How much you give me?" he inquired. I considered for a while, and then with a Pecksniffian air of benignant charity offered him "two dollar!" "Al lite, I go! Maybe so I go quick you catch 'em two dollars and a half?" he asked. I studied over it awhile before committing myself, and then queried "When you start, Spotty?" Looking up towards hue-a-pa-a (the man image) on the upper rim of the near canyon wall, he pointed. "I go when you see 'em ha-ma-si-gu-va´-te (the evening star)."

"When you come back?"

"I come back next day all same time you see 'em ha-la'-ha (the moon). Maybe so I come back sooner you see 'em, you give me two dollar half?"

A twenty-four hours' ride on horseback—nearly sixty miles—through a solitary country where his only company would be coyotes, mountain lions, and other wild animals, and a large portion of it ridden in the[239] dark night, for two dollars, with a bonus of fifty cents if the trip was made within twenty-four hours—it was not extravagant pay, so I cheerfully acceded to his request for the bonus. But now came the difficulty of fully explaining to Spotty what I wanted, and where he could find it. The tent at Bass Camp was divided into five compartments,—two small rooms with canvas walls on either side of a long room which ran through the centre of the tent, its entire width. Making a plan of the tent on the ground, so, and giving him the compass points, I showed that my "all same white man's basket made of leather," viz., my valise, was in the northeast corner of the southwest room. The film was in the valise, but I also needed my ruby lamp, so I deemed it best for him to bring valise and lamp, which latter was separate. Off he went cheerfully and merrily, and two hours before the moon rose he was back at the camp with valise and lamp safe and secure. He received his bonus and we were both happy.

Map of the tent at Bass Camp made to show Spotty where he would find the Valise.

Like all other Indians, they used to have an abnormal dread of the camera.

One of my Havasupai friends, U-math-ka, thus stated his reasons for refusing to be photographed. With graphic gesture of horror and dread he said: "If you make my picture I die pretty soon. I look at the Sun. He get heap hot. I no breathe. I lie down. I die!" When I assured him no possible injury could result, he[240] yielded to my urgent entreaties so far as to consent to allow me to make his sun-picture, on the sole condition, however, that I did not ask him to look at the camera, or to cease talking (he was relating some Havasupai myths at the time). His condition was what I desired, for it enabled me to secure the accompanying natural and life-like photograph.

In speech the Havasupai tongue is not very musical or agreeable. The voices of men and women are soft and sweet, as a rule, and either when singing their rude aboriginal songs or those that they have been taught at school, they show a natural appreciation of tone that is not usual or common. In a sentence the last syllable of the last word is often a third higher than the rest of the word. This gives a singularly emphatic effect.

The voices of the men are not unpleasant, though generally they are thrown too high—head tones—to be agreeable; and as conversation increases they often allow their voices to rise to an almost querulous note. There is a good deal of the chant about it of a half-musical nature.

The women's voices are usually sweet and musical, but the language itself does not lend itself to the display of vocal sweetness. It is not a "liquid" language. It is full of crooks and twists, gutturals and harsh labials, and seems to be ground out in angles with a machine-like regularity. In some cases, the women, having imitated the querulous tone of some of the men, have developed a harshness that is disagreeable. The rapidity with which they learn new words is remarkable. Lanoman, one of the present policemen, asked me the English of a number of words, and all during the day I[241] heard him repeating them over to himself, and seldom would he need correction.

The dress commonly worn by the women consists of a short skirt and waist, made of colored calico, and a si-dram'-a, which may be described as a rude shawl, two corners of which are tied obliquely across the chest. When at work this is often slung over one side of the body so that one arm is free. Among the Havasupais the si-dram-a that is most desired and sought after is one made of four large bandana handkerchiefs, with red as the choice of colors.

The men, when I first visited them, seldom wore anything more than the breech-clout except in cold weather, but as school influences began to permeate the village, blue overalls and the cast-off trousers and other clothing of the white man were donned, until now it is a rare sight to see a man clothed in any other than the ordinary fashion, though the influence of the outside Indians is seen in the Spanish "cut" of all home-made garments. Moccasins are the common foot-gear, though occasionally a man or woman may be found wearing "civilized" shoes.

Fish, pork, chicken, all kinds of birds and eggs, are tabooed as food by the Havasupais, but they eat rats, deer, antelope, rabbit, prairie dog, and mountain sheep. They are especially fond of beef, and horse and mule meat, no matter how the animals come to their death, are esteemed luxuries. They will even eat lizards and lice.

The prickly pear and the fruit of the amole, or hosh-kon, are much favored when ripe. The latter is roasted in the coals until the outside is completely blackened. A hole is made in this carbonized surface to let out the[242] steam, and, when cold, the fruit is eaten as a great delicacy. I have often eaten and enjoyed it, though it has a sickish-sweet vegetable taste that at first is somewhat unpleasant. The pinion nut, sunflower and squash seeds are also regarded as delicacies. Practice has made the Havasupais dexterous in eating these husk-covered seeds. The novice finds it a wearisome task to hull them, but the expert throws a handful of seeds into his mouth, cracks the shells, and by skilful manipulation eats the nuts on one side of his mouth and expels the shells on the other. When I can do this I shall make a meal on pinion nuts, as they are of exquisitely sweet and delicious flavor.

Sunflower seeds, squash seeds, and a variety of wild grass seeds and corn are parched by the women by placing them in saucer-shaped baskets—or kű-űs´—with hot ashes, and then tossing them up and down and to and fro until sufficiently cooked. The seeds are then scooped out with the fingers, and ground on a slab of basaltic rock, by rubbing one stone over the other. On the occasion of one of my visits, when I was the guest of Chickapanagie, I made the accompanying photograph of his wife as she thus parched corn in a basket. It was the placing of a covering of clay inside the kű-ű, to prevent its burning, that led Frank Cushing to the belief that here was the explanation of the origin of pottery.[8]

Green squash is cooked after being hacked into pieces in an apparently reckless but most effective manner. With the squash in one hand, the woman takes a large butcher knife in the other and strikes indifferently at[243] the squash, turning it around and at different angles the while. In a few moments chips, as it were, begin to fall into the cooking pot, and after the exterior is cut and hacked in every direction the cook begins to slice it into the pot. When well cooked, it is eaten without any other improvement than a little salt.

Corn and beans are plentiful with them, and both are as delicious and tender as any I have ever tasted elsewhere.

Mescal is one of their chief foods. It is made by them exactly as the Wallapais make it. That fibrous portion of the plant that cannot be treated in this manner is boiled, and the drink therefrom, when fresh, is a sickish-sweet liquid, that, however, might soon become agreeable. This liquid is of a dark brown color, and when boiled for a long time becomes a species of thin molasses.

The Havasupais know no process of fermentation so far as I have been able to learn, and the elders of the people long objected to the coming of the white man because one of the bad things he brought to the Indian was whiskey and other intoxicants.

Quail and ducks abound in various parts of the Havasu Canyon region. Even to this day many of the latter are shot, for sale to the white man, with the arrow instead of the gun. The Havasupais claim that the arrow is far less liable to scare away the flock than is the loud report of a gun, so they keep up their practice with the antiquated bow and arrow, and some of them show wonderful skill in their use. I have often placed a ten-cent piece in a notched stick and enjoyed watching the young men as they fired their arrows at it at a distance of fifty paces. Their skill was such that on one occasion[244] I lost a dollar thus within half an hour.

At one time in February I found the canyon alive with quail, the whirring of whose wings met us on every hand as we rode along from hawa to hawa.

I am told there is no fish in Havasu Creek above Mooney Falls, but from the base of this fall on to the river both large and small fish are abundant. I rather doubt this, as on the occasion of my attempt to reach Beaver Falls down the course of the creek from Mooney Falls I saw no fish, nor signs of any.

One of the Havasupais tells me that mountain sheep may be seen on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon in small bands. When the snow is deep upon the Buckskin Mountains and the Kaibab Plateau they descend to the more temperate regions of the canyon where grass may be found in plenty, and then the Paiuti and Paieed Indians kill them, drying the flesh for later use. This they do regardless of a territorial law, which forbids even an Indian killing mountain sheep at any time. The Indian regards his as a prior right, existing long before there was any territorial legislature, and he acts accordingly.

Mountain lions, wildcats, lynxes, coyotes, badgers, deer, and antelope, with an occasional mountain sheep and bear, are the larger quarry of the Havasupai hunters. The deer and antelope they find in the open grassy glades of the forests on the canyon rim and reaching towards the desert. The other game is generally found in the recesses of the canyons or on the slopes of the far-away mountains of Hue-han-a-patch-a (the San Franciscos), Hue-ga-wool-a (Williams Mountain), or Hue-ga-da-wi-za (Red Butte).


Some of the skins are dressed with the hair on and are used for clothing, as sleeping mats, or are sold to the travellers at the trains or traded at the stores on the railway. But many of the better skins are carefully tanned and dressed and converted into buckskins, as before stated.

This, indeed, is one of their staple articles of trade, good buckskins fetching as high as five dollars and even ten dollars cash. I have several times seen a blanket for which I had offered eight dollars or ten dollars readily exchanged for a simple buckskin, and it is not an unusual occurrence to note a trade where a fair Navaho pony is given for a large and well-dressed skin.

The outside Indians that the Havasupais are familiar with are the friendly Wallapais, whom they call their cousins, the Hopis and the Navahoes. They have often had wars with the hated Mohaves, Apaches, and Paiutis. The Chemhuevis, Pimas, and Maricopas are their distant, little known, but accepted friends. Far-away Zuni is Si-u, and still farther Acoma is Ac-o-ca-va, and though intercourse with the people of these villages is rare, it has always been friendly.

For the grazing and watering of their horses and other stock each head of a family has a certain region allotted to him, over the boundaries of which he may not allow his stock to wander, except when removing them or by special permission. Manakacha, the head Kohot, takes the range formerly owned or controlled by Captain Navaho, the late Kohot, viz., the region of Black Tanks. Rock Jones (the chief medicine-man) has Topocobya Canyon and the plateau above as far as the other side of the Grand Canyon towards the Mystic Spring Trail, where begins the territory of Vesna, Captain Burro, and Chickapanagie. This includes the south banks of the[246] Grand Canyon towards the Little Colorado River and including the Mystic Spring, the Bright Angel, the Grand View, Hance's old and the Red Canyon Trails, in the neighborhood of which, for centuries, the Havasupais have been descending. Indeed, it was the Havasupais who made the "Indian Gardens" that are so charming a feature of the Bright Angel Trail. Sinyela has the upper part of Havasu Canyon reaching to Bass's camp at the Caves, named by the Havasupais Wai-a-mel. Uta and Waluthama have the lower portion of Havasu Canyon, around to the head of Beaver Canyon and all the territory on the south side as far as Hack-a-tai-a—the Colorado River.

Thus there are no disputes arising over the wrongful pasturage of stock, as each Indian regards himself as bound by the strictest ties of honor not to deviate from these established and long-observed boundaries.

As I have before stated, the Havasupais at one time owned the whole of the Kohonino Forest region and also the trails into Hack-a-tai-a (the Grand Canyon). From time immemorial they have hunted from Havasu (Cataract) Canyon to the Little Colorado, and, of course, have had access to the water pockets, or rock tanks, in which rain water accumulates all along this dry and springless region. In talking with one of the Indians recently he asked me if the Great Father at Washington could do nothing for him and his people so that they might still continue to use the water pockets of their ancestral hunting-ground. He said, "You sabe Ha-ha-poo-ha (Rain Tank) and Ha-wai-i-tha-qual-ga (Rowe's Well) and Ha-ga-tha-wa-di-a (the water hole near Hance's Camp) and Ha-ha-i-ga-sa-jul-ga (Red Horse Tank), Havasupai use these water holes when[247] him go hunt deer and antelope. Now white man him come and say, 'D— you, you get away. I've got no water for any blanked Indian.' We no catch 'em water, we no go hunt, and we no go hunt we no catch 'em deer and antelope and jack rabbit, and by-em-by our squaws and boys and gels go heap hungry. Maybe so you see 'em Great Father at Washington and you tell him, and ask him what Havasupai do."



The Havasupais do not occupy a high place in the scale of religious life. They are very different from the Hopis and Navahoes. They have few ceremonies, few prayers, and few ideas connected with the world of spirits. If evil comes upon them they seek to propitiate the power that caused it. They dance and pray. But there is no system, no recurrence of elaborate ceremonials year after year. Indeed, the only regular dance that I have personally seen is that of the annual harvest, and that is occasionally omitted. The Sick Dance, as its name implies, is for the purpose of healing the sick.

On the second night of my first visit to the Havasupais my companions and I were invited by Hotouta to accompany him to one of these harvest thanksgiving dances. It was a wild and fantastic scene. Gathered together in a circular enclosure, the fence made of willow poles bound together with withes of the same tree, were between one hundred and two hundred Indians of both sexes in any and all manner of dress and undress. Three or four bonfires added to the weirdness by throwing peculiar lights and shadows upon the countenances of those present. At times there was a silence which became almost solemn in its intensity, and then talking and chattering broke out again, as if the sound[249] of their own voices helped, in some measure, to relieve the painfulness of the solemnity of this not-very-welcome religious ceremonial. I was actually gazing upon the preparations in progress for the sacred peach dance. One by one the notables of the tribe were pointed out to me. There stood Kohot Navaho in proud solitariness, eyeing the preparations with a moodiness which became his serious and taciturn nature. Not a thing of importance passed his eye. His keen powers of observation took in the frivolity of certain young Havasupai belles as well as the actions of the Chemehuevi Indian who was to be director of the music of this religious festival. By his side stood his second son, who, in gentle and mellifluous speech was talking to those with whom he came in contact. Hotouta, the second chief, was by my side, acting as guide, chaperon, and instructor in the mysteries. Here was his daughter, a fine buxom lass of sixteen summers, with merry, laughing eyes, saucy lips, thick black hair, cut with the usual deep fringe on her forehead, and a voice that would have been the fortune of an American girl who desired a place on the operatic stage. Yonder stood Ha-a-pat-cha, a fine athletic fellow with muscles of steel and a chest like that of an ox, whose only costume was the gee-string. He marched to and fro as if consciously proud of his fine figure, came up at a call from Hotouta and seemed to be highly pleased with his introduction to us, although there was an air of condescension in his handshake which suggested that I was the honored person. Perhaps I was! Quien sabe?

Near by stood Mr. Bass and a special commissioner sent by the United States Indian Department to report on the condition of the Havasupais, and seek to gain[250] their consent to send their children to the Indian school at Fort Mohave.

I was too tired that night to stay long. So after an hour's watching I returned to Hotouta's hawa, stretched myself out on the sand—outside—in my blankets, and was soothed to sleep by the monotonous chant of the dancers.

Next day, in a burst of frolicsomeness I exclaimed to my friend, who was commonly called Tom by the whites:

"Hotouta, why you no let me dance, all same Havasupai?"

It never entered my comprehension that Tom would regard the remark with serious attention, hence my astonishment can better be imagined than described when thoughtfully he turned to me and said:

"Maybe so! Me no know! Maybe so Havasupai no like 'em you dance. Maybe so they all same like 'em! I see pretty soon."

"Pretty soon" he came back with a cheery "All right! Navaho say you dance. Havasupai like 'em you!"

Here was a fine predicament! I had never danced a step in my life. In the few ball-rooms I had visited I had been a "wall flower." But in this case I had provoked the invitation myself, so, after a brief mental struggle, as gracefully as possible I accepted the consequences of my own rash speech.

When the hour arrived I placed myself under the hands of Hotouta, Yunosi his squaw, and their daughter, in order that I might be properly and appropriately apparelled for the occasion. The first salutation somewhat daunted me. Tom said, "You catch 'em white shirt!" The only white shirt I had was a night[251] robe which had done service to such an extent that I had placed it in my saddlebags when we left civilized regions for the purpose of wrapping up specimens of rock to take home. Its "whiteness" may have been somewhat of a memory. But I brought it forth, and waited anxiously for Hotouta's approval. He was delighted, and I felt reassured.

When it was donned, and a pair of blue overalls, I was ready to receive the painted lines of sub-chieftainship on my face, and the eagle plume in my hair.

Then, in solemn dignity, we started down, Indian file, for the dance ground. At least Hotouta and I were dignified, while behind us Mr. Bass and the special Indian Commissioner were making frantic endeavors to hold in their laughter at the rude and brutal (!) jokes they were making at my expense. We had not proceeded far before Hotouta stopped me and with solemn face said: "You dance, you no laugh. Havasupai no like 'em you laugh!" I promised to be "as sober as a judge," and not laugh, and again we proceeded, to be stopped once more by Hotouta, who explained with perfect seriousness: "Maybe so you dance heap harnegi. Havasu squaw, she like 'em you. You catch 'em one squaw. Then you dance more and maybe so you catch 'em two squaw. She come, all same" (and here Hotouta illustrated how the squaw might come and separate me from my male companion to right or left, and take my hand in the fashion afterwards described). "She take your hand, all same. You no nip. She no like 'em you nip." I promised not to "nip," and with satisfaction Hotouta now led the way to the dance ground.


After a formal introduction to all the chiefs and their approval given to my being accepted as Hotouta's brother and a fellow chief with him in the tribe of the Havasupais, the dance began. This is how it was conducted.

The "evangelist" sang over a strain of a new song. A dozen or so of the leaders took it up, and as soon as they were fairly familiar with it, the others joined in. Then the women took a hand, literally as well as figuratively, for they came in and separated the men, interlocking the fingers, midway between the first and second knuckle joints, standing shoulder to shoulder, and enlarging the group until a complete circle was formed. Then, with a side shuffling motion, moving one foot to the left and following it rapidly but rhythmically with the other, the while lustily and seriously singing the song they had just learned, the dance continued,—a dull, monotonous, sleep-producing ceremony, until the onlooker was awakened by manifestations he little expected to see at an Indian thanksgiving dance. Very often it occurs that women of the tribe are affected with a somewhat similar excitement to that which seizes the negro when he has "the power." With a shriek, the woman hysterically leaps within the circle made by the dancers, and howls and shouts and dances and jumps, and then, perhaps, throws herself in a heavy stupor upon the ground. Some will run to the centre post, and, hanging on with one or both hands, will swing rapidly around until they fall exhausted to the ground. When the male members tire of seeing these excitable females upon the ground, they unostentatiously step up to the prostrate figures, seize their long thick hair, swing it over the shoulder, and thus proceed to drag the now exhausted women to the fires, where[253] friends of their own sex attend them until they "come to."

And what did all this ceremony mean?—for to the Havasupais it was a ceremony, performed with as much dignity as we perform our religious services in church or cathedral. While I was dancing Hotouta was giving an explanation to Mr. Bass. Each year this dance is performed as an act of highest devotion to gain the approbation of "Those Above." The Peach Dance is the "harvest thanksgiving" dance—when thanks are made for the gifts of the past and prayers are offered for the needs of the future.

The leader of the singing was a Chemehuevi Indian,—a tribe located west of the Wallapais and living mainly on the California side of the Colorado River.

He was a regular "evangelist" amongst the Indians,—a native Moody, and gifted enough, musically, to perform the part of Sankey or Excell. His harangue on this occasion was an unusually fervent oration, especially cutting to Hotouta, for he was one of the chief objects of the "evangelist's" vituperation and abuse. In fact had Hotouta been a white man he would have gone away saying the preacher was "horribly personal and disgracefully abusive" to the leading members of his congregation. He explained that the reason the tribe had lost so many of its members last year by the dread "grippe" was because of their levity. They had laughed too much, gone hunting and visiting white men's camps when they ought to have been dancing. They were allowing the white man to laugh them out of the traditions of their forefathers. Then he especially denounced all friendliness to the whites, and singled out Hotouta, Chickapanagie, Spotted Tail, and one or two[254] others who had been the leaders in thus countenancing the whites, and administered to them severe rebukes. After this, referring to the offer of the whites to give them farming implements, food, etc., if they would send their children to the Indians' school at Mohave, he urged his hearers to listen to no such proposals. He said in effect: "Don't send your children to the school of the white man. If you do they will grow up with the heart of the white man, and the place of the Havasupai will know them no more. Your tribe will be broken up, and then the white man will come and take possession of your canyon home where the stream ever flows and sings to the waving of willows by their side. He will rob you of your corn-fields and of your peach orchards. No longer will the place where the bodies of your ancestors were burned be sacred to you; your hunting-grounds are now all occupied by him, the deer and the antelope have nearly disappeared before his rifle, and he is hungry to possess the few things you still have left. This offer is a secret plot against you. He thinks if he cannot drive you out he will seduce you out, and this school is the offer he makes to you, so that he can get your children into his hands. There he will teach them to make fun of you; to despise your method of living; your houses, your food, your dress, your customs, your dances will all be ridiculed by him, and so you will lose the favor of 'Those Above,' and you yourselves will soon die and your name and tribe be forgotten." In other words, he endeavored to make it perfectly clear to the assembled Havasupais that the school proposition was a white man's scheme—a dodge—to get their children away so that eventually they—the whites—might claim the Havasu Canyon for[255] themselves.

Thus he exhorted time after time, and, after each sermon, sang out, line for line, a new song that he desired them to learn. At first he alone sang, then Navaho and a few of the older ones took up the strain, and soon all joined in. Then the dance began, and continued with unabated zeal and fervor until the "missioner" gave the signal for rest. Then, after another harangue, another song was learned, another dance performed, and so on, ad libitum.

The state of mental exaltation or frenzy, not unlike those peculiar manifestations of the negroes at revival meetings, the Shakers, "having the power" etc., is not uncommon among the Havasupais. At the Thapala Dance I have seen three women almost simultaneously suddenly dart from different parts of the dance circle, and hysterically shrieking, yelling, and singing, foaming at the mouth, tearing their hair, falling down with violence, and with appalling disregard to the injury to their own bodies dash against each other, or on the great central tree trunk, which stands like a flagpole in the centre of their dance corral, yield to this uncontrollable frenzy, and remain under its influence for an hour or more. During the whole time of their ecstasy, the dance continued uninterruptedly, except when one of the frenzied women dashed towards the dancers as if to escape the circle. Then the man nearest by rudely took her by the arms, body, or shoulders and thrust her, shrieking, back into the centre of the circle.

Yunosi gained her present name because of her occult powers and frenzied visions. After Hotouta's death she would occasionally wake up and cry out that she saw the spirit of her husband, "Tom, heap big Supai chief."[256] And, strange to say, in these exalted moments she invariably spoke in the crude English her husband had taught her and of which she was very proud. Pointing into vacant space, with glaring eyes and excited voice, she would declare that she saw "Big chief Tom. He come back to see me. O Tom! Tom! I see you." Then turning to her friends and others around, she would shriekingly ask, "You no see? You no see?" And thus she gained her name, Yunosi.

Thinking that perhaps the Havasupais used some herb, drug, or intoxicant, similar to opium, hasheesh, or the stramonium (jimson-weed) which the Navahoes use to produce similar frenzies and visions, I took some of this, which they call smal-a-ga-to-a, and asked several if they ever used it. In every case the answer was a sharp "No! Han-a-to-op-o-gi," and one Havasu informed me it was "very bad. All same white man's whiskey." Indeed, such has been the excellent teaching they have received from their ancients, and the tenacity with which they, as a people, have adhered to it, it may be safely affirmed that the Havasupais use no noxious drug, or fermented or intoxicating liquor, and that they do not know any processes by which they can be made.

The ways of the Havasupai medicine-men are similar to those of fakirs in all lands and ages. I have seen Rock Jones, after examining a patient, jump up and excitedly exclaim: "I can see into your head and all through your brains; down your throat and into your stomach, through your kidneys, bladder, and intestines, and you are sick, very sick, very heap sick. But I am a good medicine-man. I can cure you sure, I can cure you quick. But you must promise to give me five[257] dollars. Don't forget I must have five dollars."

Rock Jones, Leading Medicine Man of Havasupais.

Rock Jones, Leading Medicine Man of Havasupais.

Sinyela, with Esuwa, going for Water.

Sinyela, with Esuwa, going for Water.

In one case with which I was familiar, the medicine-man declared that the heart of one sick man had gone away to the topmost peak of one of the canyon walls. It would cost several dollars to charm it back, but he could do it. Yielding to the pleadings of the man without the heart, he began to exercise his charms and incantations, and the next day he came in and declared he had seen it return during the early morning hours, and his patient would recover. His prognostication was correct; the man was soon well and strong, and paid his six-dollar fee for having his heart returned to him, with due gratitude and thankfulness.

Another man who had been on the trail of some runaway horses had become overheated and was attacked severely with cholera morbus. He was brought into the village nearly dead, his pains increased by a terrible soreness in his back, caused by severe vomitings. The medicine-man gave him a large dose of red pepper, and, after sucking the flesh of his stomach, bowels, and back, rubbed the body of the sick man with red pepper, and then began his incantations. Soon he declared that a Wallapai doctor who hated the Havasupais had left a long white rope on the trail over which the sick man passed, and that it was this charmed rope which had entered his body and caused the sickness. On the promise of a fee of several dollars, he expressed confidence that the rope could be successfully taken from the invalid, and that its removal would be followed by immediate recovery. After a little time had elapsed, the crafty charlatan produced a long white rope, which he said his skill had extracted. Needless to add, the patient recovered, and to this day extols[258] the wonderful skill and power of his physician.

Of late years a large number of Havasupais have been carried off with a bilious fever, with marked malarial symptoms. The usual indifference in the earlier stages of the disease gives way later on to frantic sweatings and appeals to the medicine-man, who comes and sings and seeks by his incantations to remove the evil something within the patient that causes the disease. If the sick person is daring enough to apply to the agency teacher for medicine, he knows that he no longer need expect any help from the medicine-man, whose curses will follow him to the world of doom. As in the world of civilization there is jealousy, sharp and keen, between the schools of medicine, so do the Havasupai medicine-men resent any innovations upon their time-honored customs.

Here, as elsewhere, one man's skill and reputation is oftentimes maintained by pulling down that of another. Dr. Tommy used to be a fairly successful medicine-man, but once, during a fearful epidemic of grippe, several children died under his ministrations. It was soon noticed that those parents whose children had been treated by another medicine-man were active in spreading the report that "they believed Dr. Tommy had killed the children by giving them coyote medicine." And this "tommy-rot" killed him as a medicine-man, for, though he was never brought to any trial on account of this charge, he was shunned and ostracized, and in very rare cases is ever called upon to exercise his medical powers.

There are now three medicine-men in the tribe, the chief of whom is Rock Jones, whose Havasupai names are suggestive. They are: Pa-a-hu-ya´ and In-ya-ja-al´-o,[259] the former signifying "black," the other "the rising sun." At-nahl, whose name means a "sack," is the second in importance, and the youngest is Ma-tō-mā´, commonly known as Bob. I have just asked Lanoman which is the best medicine-man of the three, and his reply when I asked "Who makes the sick people well the quickest?" was: "All same. All no good. All make people dead pretty quick!"

Death is supposed to be, in every case, the departure of the spirit from the body, and when the sick person is approaching death the friends and relatives, led by the medicine-man, will often sit around the invalid and sing their petitions to the departing spirit in the hope that it may be led to repent and return to the body. If the patient recovers, the medicine-man takes the credit (and what pay he can get) for the return of the spirit, and goes about in high feather, recounting to all he meets the new instance of his wonderful and occult power.

One of the greatest insults that can be offered to the friends of a dead Havasupai is to refer to him. The reason given to me for this is that whenever a thought is sent after a dead person it either prevents his spirit continuing the journey to Shi-pa-pu, or leads him to desire to return to earth, neither of which are good for a Havasupai.

One of the school teachers informed me that she once, in reconvening the school after a holiday, read out the name of a child that had recently died. The moment the name was pronounced several of both boys and girls burst out, some into a wild wailing and others into fierce and angry denunciations of the wicked white woman who had thus arrested the spirit of the deceased on its[260] journey to the underworld.

The last night of our first visit the Havasupais had a Sick Dance. When one of their number is very sick or about to die, the medicine-man summons the principal men and women of the camp to dance around him, in the hope of driving away the disease. It so happened that during our visit one of the young bucks was very sick, and a dance was ordered for Saturday evening. It was quite a distance away from our camp, and Vesna, whose guest we were that night, informed us that we would not be welcomed. The welcome would have been overlooked but for our need of rest, and as it was a mile or two away, it was decided not to attend, although we could hear the incantations at intervals during the night. The dance, however, was similar to such dances elsewhere. The sick man was placed in the open air and a circle formed around him, while a slow and solemn dance was engaged in by those in the circle, and all participated in the chanting of an incantation. This was kept up during the entire night, the voices of the singers at times pitched to a very high key. As soon as one in the circle grew tired, he dropped out and another took his place, but the dance and chant never ceased. If a sick man survives the noise and din and wakefulness of this until morning, it is probable that his vitality will carry him through, and he will recover.

If death is thought to be certainly near, the best clothes of the wardrobe are brought out and placed upon the dying person. A woman's best dress is not too good for her to die in, and a man's finest garments, even to the broadcloth cast-off "Prince Albert" received through the kindness of some white friend in the East, is deemed the only appropriate gear in which[261] to meet the dread summons to Shi-pa-pu. When life is extinct the dressed-up body is wrapped in the best blanket the hawa affords, and is then ready for the period of wailing and mourning. Relatives and friends of the deceased come and sit in the hawa, and as the spirit moves them they raise their voices in lamentation, or, singing the bravery, the daring, the good deeds of the deceased, ask for him a safe journey to the dread secret places of the underworld. Nothing can be more doleful than to hear these sad lamentations in the dead of the night. All is still, except the never-silent stream which steadily keeps up its murmur as it flows over the stones. Otherwise the very Angel of Silence seems to be brooding over the scene, for the babble of the creek merely accentuates the nearly perfect stillness. Suddenly a loud, long, minor wail rises from the hawa in the midst of the willows, and one feels that he can see the sound ascend to the heights of these enclosing walls, striking here and there, and then rebounding to opposing walls, until the canyon is full of voices, wailing one against the other and making a spirit chorus of infinite sadness and distress. The imagination unconsciously suggests that these echoing wails are the sympathizing spirit voices of men and women—former inhabitants of this canyon of the willows—who have come to weep with those who weep for their dead loved ones.

There is no fixed period for this wailing, but as soon as it is satisfactorily concluded the body is tenderly thrown across the best horse owned by the deceased, if a man,—or ridden by her, if a woman,—and, accompanied by other animals conveying some of his or her most desirable treasures, is taken to the burial or burning ground. Prior to the advent of the white man the[262] Havasupais practised cremation, and between Bridal Veil and Mooney Falls, and also on the rim of the Grand Canyon, at a place since named Crematory Point, the remains of scores of burned bodies of men and women and also of horses were recently to be seen. For it was deemed of the greatest importance to give the spirit of the deceased the spirit of his dead horse, upon which he might ride to the dark abode of the underworld. Before it was burned, the horse must be strangled, and this was done by tightly tying a strip of wet buckskin around his neck, and, as it dried, it rapidly contracted and thus strangled the doomed animal. Then both human being and animal were burned.

But even this was not considered a sufficient offering to the powers of the dead. Returning to the village, a peach tree in the orchard of the dead man was cut down that it might also be "dead" and thus accompany its owner to the spirit world and give him its refreshing fruit there. On the death of a chieftain or great warrior, several peach trees—thapala—are cut down.

Of late years, however, these customs of cremation, strangling of horses, burning of treasures, and cutting down of peach trees have not been as universal as formerly. Hotouta, the oldest son of Kohot Navaho, the last of the old chiefs, had great influence with his people, and Mr. Bass succeeded in convincing him of the extravagant folly of thus wasting on the dead, to whom the sacrifices were of no benefit, that which could be of so much use to the living. Consequently his influence materially helped to change the custom from cremation to ground interment. Later, after Hotouta's death, when several families had gone back to the old habit of cremation, others exercised their influence[263] with the Havasupais to lead them to abandon the old custom. These endeavors were all effective to a large extent, and, when Captain Navaho, the last great Kohot the Havasupais will ever have, died in 1898, he was buried instead of being cremated. Late in 1897, however, the son of Sinyela died, and though in many things Sinyela is one of the most progressive of the Havasupais, he and his brother took the boy's body across a horse, tied an axe to the corpse, and started up the canyon towards Topocobya. When they returned the axe had been used, the horse was strangled, and burned bones of human and equine bodies in a side gorge attest the hold the old superstitions and customs still have upon the Havasupai mind.

And again in the summer of 1899—May or June—when the daughter of the present Kohot and wife of Lanoman (another son of Sinyela) died, Lanoman felt that nothing short of the old and time-honored method of cremation would be suitable for the daughter of the new chief and the wife of so smart and bright an Indian as himself. For Lanoman knew more English, perhaps, than any other Havasupai, and was afflicted with the not uncommon complaint of great self-esteem and conceit. Accordingly, the body was clothed in the finest blankets of the wardrobe, and many precious things were taken with it to the Havasu Canyon below Mooney Falls. Tenderly the body was lowered down the already nearly useless ladder, and after suitable wailing, the funeral pyre was built, the body placed thereupon, more wood heaped around and over the body, and then the whole fired. When the body was destroyed, the mourners returned, kicking down the upper portion of the ladder as they did so,[264] that no other Havasupai should be burned there, and also that no white foot should again desecrate the sacred precincts of the lower Havasu Canyon. Then, that the favorite horse of the woman thus honored after her death should follow her to the underworld, it was taken to the edge of the plateau above, from which the descent to Bridal Veil and the upper portion of Mooney Falls is made, the wet strip of buckskin tied around its neck, and, as the cord dried and tightened, and the poor animal began to reel and totter in its death struggles, it was given a push, tumbled over the edge, and—instead of descending to the lower canyon at the foot of the Falls where the burned body was—fell on the shelves of limestone accretions which terrace the canyon at the side of the Falls, bounded from one terrace to another, and then, to the infinite disgust of the mourners, lodged there. And there it still remains—or what is left of it, for, as I passed by in July, 1899, though I could not see the animal, the frightful odor of the carrion ascended to the very heavens.



On the Navahoes consult the full list prepared by Professor Frederick Webb Hodge in Washington Matthews' "Navaho Legends," published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., for the American Folk-Lore Society.

Coues, Elliott.

On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer. The Diary and Itinerary of Francisco Garcès in his Travels through Sonora, Arizona, and California. 2 vols. Francis P. Harper, New York, 1900.

Dorsey, George A., and Voth, H. R.

The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony. (Field Columbian Museum, publication 55, Anthropological Series, Vol. III, No. 1. 59 pages and many plates.)

Fewkes, Jesse Walter.

Preliminary Account of an Expedition to the Pueblo Ruins near Winslow, Arizona, in 1896. (In Smithsonian Report for 1896. Pages 517 to 539.)

Preliminary Account of Archæological Field Work in Arizona in 1897. (In Smithsonian Report for 1897. Pages 601 to 603.)

Two Ruins Recently Discovered in the Red Rock Country, Arizona. (In American Anthropologist, August, 1896. Pages 263 to 283.)

Pueblo Ruins near Flagstaff, Arizona. (In American Anthropologist, N. S., Vol. II, 1900. Pages 422 to 450.)

A Suggestion as to the Meaning of the Moki Snake Dance. (In Journal of American Folk-Lore, date unknown. Pages 129 to 138.)

The Owakulti Altar at Sichomovi Pueblo. (In American Anthropologist, N. S., Vol. III, 1901. Pages 211 to 226.)

An Interpretation of Katchina Worship. (In the Journal of American Folk-Lore, April-June, 1901. Pages 81 to 94.)


The Pueblo Settlements near El Paso, Texas. (In American Anthropologist, N. S., Vol. IV, No. 1, 1902. Pages 57 to 95.)

The New Fire Ceremony at Walpi. (In American Anthropologist, N. S., Vol. II, No. 1, 1900. Pages 80 to 138.)

Property Rights in Eagles among the Hopi. (In American Anthropologist, N. S., Vol. II, 1900. Pages 690 to 707.)

Tusayan Flute and Snake Ceremonies. (In Nineteenth Annual Report Bureau of American Ethnology, 1901. Pages 957 to 1011.)

Archæological Expedition to Arizona in 1895. (In Seventeenth Annual Report Bureau of American Ethnology, 1898. Pages 520 to 744.)

Snake Ceremonials at Walpi. (Vol. XIV. of Journal of American Ethnology and Archæology. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1894. In this volume is a carefully prepared bibliography on the Snake Dance (see pages 124 to 126) which is too lengthy to be reproduced here and to which the student is referred.)

Garcés, Francisco.

Diary and Itinerary, translated by Elliott Coues. (See Coues.)

Hough, Walter.

Environmental Interrelations in Arizona. (In American Anthropologist for May, 1898. Pages 133 to 155.)

James, George Wharton.

In and Around the Grand Canyon. Little, Brown, & Co., Boston, Mass., 1900.

Indian Basketry. Henry Malkan, New York, 1901.

The Havasupai Indians and their Cataract Canyon Home. (In Good Health, Battle Creek, Mich., August, 1899. Pages 446 to 456.)

The Industries of the Navahoes and Mokis. (In Good Health, June, 1899. Pages 315 to 322.)

The Pueblo Indians and their Prayer Spring. (In Good Health, July, 1899. Pages 379 to 384.)

The Snake Dance of the Mokis. (Two articles in Scientific American, New York, June 24, 1899, and September 9, 1899.)

Scenes of Spanish Occupancy in our Southwest. (In American Monthly Review of Reviews, July, 1899. Pages 51 to 59.)

Discovery of Cliff Dwellings in the Southwest. (In Scientific American, New York, January 20, 1900.)


What I Saw at the Snake Dance. (In Wide World Magazine, London, January, 1900. Pages 264 to 274.)

Harvest Festivals of Some of our Southwestern Aborigines. (In Good Health, October, 1899. Pages 583 to 589.)

Moki Fashions and Customs. (In Good Health, November, 1899. Pages 641 to 647).

Types of Female Beauty among the Indians of the Southwest. (In Overland Monthly, San Francisco, Cal., March, 1900. Pages 195 to 209).

Some Indian Women. (In New York Tribune Supplement, April 8, 1900.)

The Fire Dance of the Navahoes. (In Wide World Magazine, London, September, 1900. Pages 516 to 523.)

The Hopi Basket Dance. (In New York Tribune Supplement.)

Indian Madonnas. (In New York Tribune Supplement, December 23, 1900.)

Indian Pottery. (In House Beautiful, Chicago, April, 1901. Pages 235 to 243.)

Down the Topocobya Trail. (In Wide World Magazine, London, April, 1901. Pages 75 to 80.)

Indian Basketry. (In Outing, New York, May, 1901. Pages 177 to 186.)

The Storming of Awatobi. (In the Chautauquan, Cleveland, O., August, 1901. Pages 497 to 501.)

The Art of Indian Basketry. (In the Southern Workman, Hampton, Va., August, 1901. Pages 439 to 448.)

Indian Basketry in House Decoration. (In the Chautauquan, Cleveland, O., September, 1901. Pages 619 to 624.)

Moki and Navaho Indian Sports. (In Outing, New York, October, 1901. Pages 10 to 15.)

Indian Pottery. (In Outing, New York, November, 1901. Pages 154 to 161.)

The Hopi Indians of Arizona. (In Southern Workman, Hampton, Va., December, 1901. Pages 677 to 683.)

The Collecting of Indian Baskets. (In the Literary Collector, New York, January, 1902. Pages 103 to 109.)

Some Indian Dishes. (In American Kitchen Magazine, Boston, Mass., January, 1902. Pages 129 to 133 and frontispiece.)

The Indians and their Baskets. (In Four Track News, New York, February, 1902. Pages 77 to 79.)


Indian Blanketry. (In Outing, New York, March, 1902. Pages 684 to 693.)

Lummis, Charles F.

Across the Continent. (Scribner's.)

A New Mexico David, and Other Stories. (Scribner's.)

The Land of Poco Tiempo.

The Man that Married the Moon.

All the volumes of "Land of Sunshine," now "Out West," of which he is Editor, published in Los Angeles, Cal.

Matthews, Washington.

Navaho Legends. (The American Folk-Lore Society. In this volume Professor F. W. Hodge has a full bibliography on the Navahoes.)

Mindeleff, Cosmos.

Navaho Houses. (In Seventeenth Annual Report Bureau of American Ethnology, 1898. Pages 475 to 517.)

Pepper, George H.

The Navaho Indians. An Ethnological Study. (In Southern Workman, Hampton, Va., November, 1900. 7 pages.)

The Making of a Navaho Blanket. (In Everybody's Magazine, New York, January, 1902. Pages 33 to 43.)

Powell, J. W.

The Lessons of Folk-Lore. (In American Anthropologist, N. S., Vol. II, No. 1, 1900. Pages 1 to 36.)

Voth, H. R., and Dorsey, George A.

The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony. (See Dorsey.)


In and Around the Grand Canyon
of the Colorado River in Arizona


Illustrated with twenty-three full-page plates and seventy-seven pictures
in the text · 8vo · Cloth · Price, $2.50



The volume, crowded with pictures of the marvels and beauties of the Canyon, is of absorbing interest. Dramatic narratives of hairbreadth escapes and thrilling adventures, stories of Indians, their legends and customs, and Mr. James's own perilous experiences, give a wonderful personal interest in these pages of graphic description of the most stupendous natural wonder on the American Continent.—Philadelphia Public Ledger.

A veritable storehouse of wonders.—Boston Advertiser.

There is a ring of actuality about this book.—Outing, New York.

The Grand Canyon has never before received such an exposition either with pen or camera.—Literary World.

He has told his story in so fascinating a manner that one feels almost within sight and sound of the great canyon.—San Francisco Bulletin.

The most thorough description of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and its surroundings to be found anywhere.—Chicago Tribune.

He has not been content to describe the wonders in his own words, but from historical records, from the notes of explorers and discoverers, and from the accounts of Indian natives, white hunters, miners, and guides, he has quoted freely wherever he could find matter of interest and value.—Argonaut, San Francisco.

An illustrated work of which too much can scarcely be said in praise. The Grand Canyon is one of the world's wonders, and this volume is the most thorough and satisfying presentation of its many rugged attractions thus far offered.—San Francisco Chronicle.

There is probably no man in the country who is better qualified for the writing of such a book than Professor James.... Too much cannot be said in praise of his work.—Arizona Daily Journal-Miner, Prescott, Arizona.

Will be the standard with reference to the main features—historic, scenic, and scientific—of the Great Canyon of the Colorado.... Legend and tradition are drawn upon for the dramatic effect and local color, so that in many respects the book possesses a charm peculiarly its own.... One of the typical books of the great West.—Brooklyn Standard Union.


I. The Colorado River and its Canyons.
II. Explorations from the Time of the Spaniards (1540) to Major J. W. Powell (1869).
III. Explorations by Major J. W. Powell (1869-72).
IV. Later Explorations.
V. Flagstaff, the San Francisco Mountains, the Cliff and Cave Dwellings, and the Dead Volcanoes.
VI. From the Santa Fé Railway to the Canyon by Stage.
VII. To the Canyon by Railway, and a Few Practical Suggestions to the Tourist.
VIII. First Impressions.
IX. What does one See?
X. On the Rim.
XI. The Grand View Trail.
XII. The Bright Angel Trail.
XIII. Two Days' Hunt for a Boat in a Side Gorge near the Bright Angel Trail.
XIV. The Mystic Spring Trail.
XV. Three Days of Exploring in Trail Canyon with the Wrong Companion.
XVI. Mr. W. W. Bass and his Canyon Experiences.
XVII. The Shinumo and its Ancient Inhabitants.
XVIII. Peace Springs Trail.
XIX. Lee's Ferry and the Journey Thither.
XX. John D. Lee and the Mountain Meadow Massacre.
XXI. Up and down Glen and Marble Canyons.
XXII. The Old Hopi Trail.
XXIII. The Tanner-French Trail.
XXIV. The Red Canyon and Old Trails.
XXV. Grand Canyon Forest Reserve.
XXVI. The Topocobya Trail and Havasu (Cataract) Canyon.
XXVII. The Havasupai Indians and their Canyon Home.
XXVIII. Havasu (Cataract) Canyon and its Waterfalls and Limestone Caves.
XXIX. An Adventure in Beaver Canyon.
XXX. The Geology of the Grand Canyon.
XXXI. Botany of the Grand Canyon.
XXXII. Religious and other Impressions in the Grand Canyon.
XXXIII. Photographing the Grand Canyon.
Bibliography of the Grand Canyon Region.

LITTLE, BROWN, & CO., Publishers



[1] "In and Around the Grand Canyon."

[2] "The Storming of Awatobi," The Chautauquan, August, 1901.

[3] Since writing the above, however, a sad event has transpired which leads me to modify my statement. A young lady missionary, riding alone, was criminally assaulted by a Navaho, and almost brought to death's door. When I heard of it Navahoes were hunting for the culprit. It is to be hoped he will be found and severely punished.

[4] Since writing this I visited the Hopi Snake Dance at Oraibi, in September, 1902. One of the Navahoes I met there informed me that he had come as the messenger of my peshlikai friend at Tohatchi, and he asked, "When klish (the rattlesnake) bit you did you wear the klish ring?" I answered, "Yes." "Then," said he, "that was the reason you recovered. Had you not worn it you would speedily have died." Of course I believed him.

[5] This chapter is composed mainly from an article of mine entitled "Indian Blanketry," which appeared in Outing of March, 1902.

[6] There are several other fair springs in the vicinity, chiefly Johnson's to the north of Kingman, and Gentile Springs, below the pass through which the Santa Fé railway enters Sacramento Valley.

[7] See "In and Around the Grand Canyon."

[8] See chapter "Basketry the Mother of Pottery," in "Indian Basketry," by George Wharton James.








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