The stories related in this little book represent the origin, myths and history of a group of Hopi clans. They carry us from the very beginning of things down to modern times. One might say that they are the “Old Testament” of these people. They tell of their origin, their sacred beliefs, their wanderings and their trials. The first story is one recounted only by the Priests of the “One Horned Fraternity” in the village of Shung-opovi. Edmund Nequatewa, a Shung-opovi man who recorded this story, is of the Sun Forehead Clan and is a member of the One Horned Fraternity. Clan stories are not supposed to be told by the members of unrelated clans but members of the powerful One Horned Fraternity may tell all the clan stories belonging to the clans of their village. Each society has its own group of stories and sacred songs which it may give, but no other society is supposed to know these or to relate them.
The clans concerned in this particular story are the following: the Bear Clan, Hona-wungwa; the Strap Clan, Bia-quois-wungwa; the Blue Bird Clan, Chosh-wungwa; the Spider Clan, Koking-wungwa; the Gopher Clan (extinct), Mui-wungwa; and the “Greasy Eye Cavities of the Skull Clan,” Wikurs-wungwa (now extinct). Other clan stories are included in this book.
The Crow, Ungwish-wungwa, or Kachina Clan story is closely connected with the first story, the “Truth of a Hopi,” and their later history forms a part of our tale. These people came to the Hopi towns after the arrival of the Strap Clan and the Parrot Clan, Gash-wungwa (Zuni Clan from Awatovi).
The Legend of Palotquopi is the story of the Cloud or Water Clan group; these were the last to arrive. Several of these clans are mentioned in our main story. The Cloud, Omow-wungwa, or Water Clan (nicknamed Flood Clan) was originally the Corn Clan, Ka-eu-wungwa. After the disaster at Palotquopi this clan split and three others were formed, the Snow Clan, Nuva-wungwa, the Wilted Corn Clan, Pikas-wungwa, and the Rabbit Bush Clan, Sivaf-wungwa (now extinct). With these clans came the Eagle Clan, Qua-wungwa, the Tobacco Clan, Bif-wungwa, the Rabbit Clan, Taf-wungwa, the Sand Clan, Teu-wungwa, the Bamboo or Reed Clan, Wuko-bacab-wungwa, the Sun Forehead Clan, Kala-wungwa, originally the Eagle Clan, and the Sun Clan, Tawa-wungwa. When this group arrived, the
Crow Clan was already settled at Mishongnovi by the Corn Rock.
The clans mentioned above, with which the three stories deal, represent all the clans in the village of Shung-opovi, with the exception of the following group: Badger Clan, Honan-wungwa, Butterfly Clan, Poval-wungwa, Tansy Mustard Clan, As-wungwa, and the Parrot Clan, Gash-wungwa, said to be a Zuni Clan. These clans came from Awatovi, after the destruction of that village.
As the North American Indian never developed a written language, all traditions are passed down by “word of mouth.” Boys were initiated into the sacred societies when they reached early maturity, and were then taught the traditions and history of their people. Since the intrusion of the White Man and the development of his school system, there has been a consequent breaking down of the ancient customs. Although the young men are still initiated into the societies, it is usually at a much later period and often even after marriage. The old men complain of the careless inattention of the younger generation and are fearful that their history and traditions may fall into confusion and be forever lost to the coming generations. And so, today we find many of the more thoughtful men anxious to have these precious records permanently recorded in writing.
In the following pages the author’s style remains practically unchanged, only slight alterations having been made here and there by the editor for the sake of clarifying the meaning. Historic events have been checked by the editor and many explanatory foot-notes added.
The author and the editor are greatly indebted to Dr. Harold S. Colton, Miss Katharine Bartlett, Mr. Lyndon Hargrave, and various Hopi informants for their kind cooperation and assistance in compiling this little book.
MARY-RUSSELL F. COLTON, Editor.
September 1, 1936