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Traditions Of Wanderings






Source: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest

Hopi (Arizona)

After the Hopi had been taught to build stone houses, they took
separate ways. My people were the Snake people. They lived in snake
skins, each family occupying a separate snake skin bag. All were hung on
the end of a rainbow which swung around until the end touched Navajo
Mountain. Then the bags dropped from it. Wherever a bag dropped, there
was their house. After they arranged their bags they came out from them
as men and women, and they then built a stone house which had five
sides. Then a brilliant star arose in the southeast. It would shine for
a while and disappear.

The old men said, "'Beneath that star there must be people." They
decided to travel to it. They cut a staff and set it in the ground and
watched until the star reached its top. Then they started and travelled
as long as the star shone. When it disappeared they halted. But the star
did not shine every night. Sometimes many years passed before it
appeared again. When this occurred, the people built houses during their
halt. They built round houses and square houses, and all the ruins
between here and Navajo Mountain mark the places where our people lived.
They waited until the star came to the top of the staff again, but when
they moved on, many people remained in those houses.

When our people reached Waipho (a spring a few miles from Walpi) the
star vanished. It has never been seen since. They built a house there,
but Masauwu, the God of the Face of the Earth, came and compelled the
people to move about halfway between the East Mesa and the Middle Mesa
and there they stayed many plantings. One time when the old men were
assembled, the god came among them, looking like a horrible skeleton and
rattling his bones. But he could not frighten them. So he said, "I have
lost my wager. All that I have is yours. Ask for anything you want and I
will give it to you."

At that time, our people's house was beside the water course. The god
said, "Why do you sit there in the mud? Go up yonder where it is dry."

So they went across to the west side of the mesa near the point and
built a house and lived there.

Again when the old men assembled two demons came among them, but the old
men took the great Baho and chased them away.

Other Hopi (Hopituh) came into this country from time to time and old
people said, "Build here," or "Build there," and portioned the land
among the newcomers.





Next: The Migration Of The Water People

Previous: The Origins Of The Totems And Of Names



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