George A Dorsey.

The Oraibi Soyal ceremony online

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Field Columbian Museum
Publication 55.

/ c

Anthropological Series.

Vol. Ill, No. I.



George A. Dorsey,
Curator, Department of Anthropology,

Assistant, Department of Anthropology.


Chicago, U. S. A.
March, 1901.



George A. Dorsey and H. R. Voth.





In the rear is seen the large Soyal altar, under which is piled the corn
gathered by the four messengers. On top of the corn is a piece of wood, three
inches thick and about twenty-four inches long, on which are placed two of the
artificial blossoms, while the other two are fastened to the reredos of the altar.
Leaning against the corn are four mo7ikohos, by the side of which are two tipo-
nis. In front of the altar is a sandfield on which are placed the following objects
in the order named : A crystal tiponi (a quartz crystal inserted into a cylindrical-
shaped vessel of Cottonwood root), a 7/ionzenkur7i, & pikavikt (a cake three inches
in diameter and about one-half inch thick, made of white cornmeal and having
two black lines drawn over it crosswise), a green baho, a pikaviki, a long, single,
green baho with an eagle breath feather and a stem of grass kivahkivi (Sporobolus
cryptandrus strictus Scribu) tied to it, a pikaviki, a small crook with the same
eagle feather tied to its lower and a \ongpuhtavi\.o its upper end, ?l pikaviki. and a
crook as before. The bahos and crooks are standing in clay pedestals. The
dark spots on the sandfield mark the places where Loh'ilomai "buried" the
smoke. At the end of the sandfield near the altar should be four semicircular,
black cloud symbols, with black lines running up the sandridge denoting rain.
The drawing does not show these symbols. On each side of the altar are stand-
ing in clay pedestals two sticks, to which are tied alternately two bunches of
ktiiia (Artemisia frigida) and 7naovi (Guctteriza euthamiae), and to the top of
each two turkey wing feathers. The reredos measures 7o>^ inches by ■}>% inches
by about i inch, the head piece 54 inches by 3 inches by about \% inches, the six
cross slabs 45 inches by 2 inches by one-half inch. Between the fireplace and altar
on the floor are the four trays with cornmeal, etc., and the hihikivispi. On the kiva
walls are fastened the long Soyal bahos made on the seventh day. On the left
side of the altar in the corner is seen the chief priest, Shokhunyoma, on the
banquette to the right TaMhoyoma, assistant hawk and bow priest. The drawing
is reproduced from a photograph, made in 1899. In former years, when all the
kivas and inhabitants participated, the pile of corn ears on the altar was con-
siderably larger than the one shown on the plate.



Preface - - - - - - - - - - 7

Alphabetic notation - - - - 7

Introduction -. - . - - 9

Soyal kiva - . - - - n

Co-operating kivas - - - - - - - - 11

Participants - - - - 12

Time and duration of ceremony - - - 14

Preliminary ceremony - - - - 15

Soyal ceremony proper - - - - 16

I day - - - - - 16

II day - - - - 18

III day - - - - - 18

IV day .. - - - 18

IV day, night ceremonies - - - 26

V day - - - - - - - - - 28

V day, night ceremonies - - - 29
VI day - - - - - - - - - 36

VII day - - - - - 36

VIII day • - - ■ - - - - - 38

VIII day, night ceremonies - - - 48

IX day - - - - - - - - - 51

The four days after the ceremony - - - - - 58



I Interior of Ponovi kiva, showing Soyal altar, sand field, etc.

(Frontispiece) . - ..-

II a, Shokhunyoma, Chief Soyal priest; b, Talaskwaptiwa, Star

priest - - - -

III Various pipes, cloud blower, cigarette and fuse

IV Chief Priest consecrating bahos - - -
V Soyal Katcina - - -

VI Exterior of Ponovi kiva with Soyal natsis in place
\'\1 Basket trays used in Soyal ceremony
\'III Soyal sun bahos - - - -

IX Shokhunyoma and Yeshiwa consecrating large bahos
X Priests around the medicine tray in the war ceremony
XI Monkohos of the watchers at the Ponovi kiva
XII a. Woman carr>-ing piki bread: b. Man handing piki bread into
the kiva - - - -

XIII Set of ceremonial food containers - - . .

XIV Bow priest as he appears in the night ceremonies

XV Bent or crook bahos - - - -

X\"I Soyal bahos - ....

XVII Soyal bahos .-.. -
XVIII Small Soyal altar - - - -

XIX a. Spinning cotton in kiva; b. Messengers gathering corn; c,
Shield, etc., used by the warrior; d. Woman handing corn
to messenger - - - - -

XX Messengers. carr>ing com to the kiva

XXI a. Priests singing around small altar; b, Soyalmana on kiva
banquette - - - -

XXII Four messengers on way to spring with ofiFerings, etc.

XXIII Mastop Katcinas at Ponovi kiva - - -

XXIV Mastop mask, front view - - - - -
XXV Mastop mask, rear view - - - - -

XXVI Oooqoqlom mask, front view - . - -

XXVII Katcinmana mask - ....

XXVIII Screen used in night ceremony, representing Muyinwa
XXIX Soyal altars, screen. Star priest and Pookon
XXX Field of Soyal bahos - - . . -

XXXI 05oq6ql6m Katcinas dancing on the plaza
XXXII Qooqoqlom Katcinas dancing on the plaza

XXXIII a, Oooqoqlom Katcinas arriving at the village; b, Oooqoqlom

Katcina "opening" the kiva - - -

XXXIV Tihus (dolls) of Katcinas - - -
XXXV Soyal priests going to the house of Soyalmana

XXXVI Soyal priests throwing presents to the spectators
XXXVII a. Spectators on the terraces; b. Women attempting to wrest a
watermelon from a Soyal priest . - . .















The ceremonv about to be described was witnessed by the junior
author in whole or part during the years 1893, '94, "95, '96, '97, '99
and 1900, and by the senior author during the years 1-^97 and 1899.
The description is based chiefly on the observance of the ceremony of
1897. The observance of 1899 was made possible through the gen-
erosity of Mr. Stanley McCormick. who has abundantly proved his
interest in the Hopi on behalf of the Field Columbian Museum.


In transcribing Indian words the English pronunciation of letters
has been followed as far as possible.

a, e, i, o, u have their continental sounds.

c between s and sh.

k very soft, nearly like ky.

n as ng in long.

n as ny in canyon.

q like a deep guttural k.

a as in care.

o as in German ol.

u as in German fiir.

ii as in fur.

6 as in for.


Soyalunwu, a winter solstice ceremony, is observed in the six Hopi
villages of Oraibi, Shumopovi, Shipaulovi, Mishongnovi, Walpi and
Hano. Observations have been published on the observance of the
Walpi and Hano performances by Dr. J. Walter Fewkes.* As may
be noted, there is a wide range of variation between the presentations
of the ceremony at the East and at the West mesas.

The Oraibi Soyal celebration is in charge of the Shoshyaltu (the
Soyal fraternity), the largest religious organization in that and prob-
ably in any other Hopi village. f In the presentation of 1899 and
1900, however, not all the members of this order participated in the
performance, for reasons which it is necessary should be described at
some length. During the year 1891 representatives of the Indian
Department made strenuous efforts to secure pupils for the govern-
ment school located at Ream's Canon, 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 Loliilomai,
the village chief, and soon after began to recognize Lomahunyoma as
leader. The basis of Lomahunyoma's claim to the chieftainship, while
somewhat obscure, seems to be the fact that he is the lineal descend-
ant of Kohkajiwuhti (Spider Woman), the legendary patron of the
Kohkatrnainu (Spider-clan), said to be one of the oldest in Oraibi.

The feeling on the part of this faction against the party under
Lolulomai was further intensified by the friendly attitude the Liberals
took toward other undertakings of the government, such as allot-
ment of land in severalty, the building of dwelling houses at the foot
of the mesa, the gratuitous distribution of American clothing, agri-
cultural implements, etc. The division thus created manifested itself
not only in the every-day life of the people, but also in their religious
ceremonies. Inasmuch as the altars and their accessories are the chief
elements in these ceremonies, they soon became the special object of

♦The Winter Solstice Ceremony at Walpi, American Anthropologist, September, 1898 ; The
Winter Solstice Altars at Hano Pueblo, American Anthropologist, April, i8gg.

t Every Hopi man or boy is at one time or other initiated into one of the following four fra-
ternities : Agave (Kwati). Horn (A/tl), Singers {Tataokani) or IVowochimtu {fne.2ii\mg ohscMvt);
by this membership he becomes a member of the Soyal fraternity. He can belong to any two of
the above namedfour fraternities, but his initiation into one of them is an absolute condition for his
membership in the Soyal Society. To other societies, such as the Snake, Flute, Marau, etc., even
to more than one he may belong, whether he is a member of one of those four fraternities or not.

lo Introductory.

controversy, each party contending for their possession; and so it
came about that the altars remained in that faction to which the chief
priests and those who had them in charge belonged, the members of
the opposing factions, as a rule, withdrawing from further participa-
tion in the celebration of the ceremony. So, as a matter of fact, we
find to-day that the religious organizations are divided into two oppos-
ing factions, the performance of any given ceremony being con-
ducted, with but few exceptions, by the members of either one or the
other party. The gap has even widened to such an extent that in
certain instances the withdrawing members have held independent
performances, even without or with an improvised altar; and in the
fall of I goo the seceding members of the Wowochimtu'^ fraternity, and
in January, 1901, the Blue Flute Society, refused to participate in the
ceremonies at all, an occurrence hitherto entirely unknown among
the Oraibis. The regular extended Wowochim celebration, one of
the most important of the Hopi ceremonial calendar, during which
the initiations into the Wowochim, Kwan, Tao and AM fraternities
take place, has not been held for many years, owing to this conten-
tion between the two factions.

* While some obscurity exists as to the meaning of the term Wo-wochimtii, all information
thus far obtainable points to the probability that by it is designated the fraternity of gtoism men.
When the boys have been initiated into this fraternity they are no longer ''boys," but ''young-
men." The similarity of the name to such terms as Woyd/i/a/n, to grow up, and especially
Wowoyom (old men), also seems to justify this explanation. During the great Wo-wochim cere-
mony the initiations into the Agave. Horn and Singers' Societies also take place, the significance
for all being the same: initiation from boyhood into manhood, and while the Wo-wochimti'i is a
distinct fraternity, of which the Horn, Agave and Singer men are not members, the latter some-
times call the initiations into their respective orders in a general way initiations into the
Wowochimtu, and sometimes call their "fathers"' (sponsors) who put them into their orders
" Wo'K'Ochim naata" ( Woivochim father).



Previous to the year 1900 the Soyal ceremony had been per-
formed in the Sakawdlanvi (Blue Flute) kiva, which up to that time
was universally recognized as the Monwi (Chief) kiva, inasmuch as
the village chief Lolulomai was identified with that kiva. But the
majority of the members of that kiva became Conservatives, and Lolu-
lomai with his followers withdrew to the Po/wvi (Circle) kiva, which
has ever since been denominated by Liberals as the Motnvi kiva, and
there the Soyal ceremony has since been held. The Conservative
members of the Soyal fraternity have generally participated in the
celebration only in an indirect way, to be described later on. In
1897 they even had an independent performance of their own in the
Sakwdlanvi kiva with an improvised altar, to which the Liberal fac-
tion took very serious objection, and even asked in a most urgent
manner for the intervention of the missionary and of the government
agent; the ground for intervention being their claim that that fac-
tion had no one entitled to act as chief priest, and hence the perform-
ance would be sacrilegious.


Inasmuch as the members of certain kivas co-operate to a certain
extent in the celebration of the Soyal ceremony, their names are here
given. The part played by them in the ceremony will be described
in its proper place. These kivas are as follows :

KivAS (1897).* Kivas (1899).!

Wikolopi (Fold or Wrinkle). Wikolopi (Fold or Wrinkle).

Hdrio [Hdno, a Tanoan pueblo). Tdo (Singer).

Tdo (Singer). Kwan (Agave).

Haiviovi (Descending). Hawiovi (Descending).

Katcina (Katcina). Hdno {Hdno, a Tanoan pueblo).

Kwan (Agave). Ndshabe (Central).

ChTia (Snake).

Sakwdlanvi (Blue Flute).

Ndshabe (Central).

Ishawu (Coyote).

* In 1893 all these kivas participated except the Katcina and Isha-wu.
t In 1900 these six and the Ishkiva participated.


12 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. III.

It will be noticed, that, although ten kivas co-operated in 1897, by
1899 the number had fallen to four, to such an extent had the quarrel
between the Liberal and Conservative factions grown within two


While Loliilomai plays — as will be seen later — a very important
part in conducting the Soyal ceremony, he is not the chief priest ; this
office being vested in his elder brother, Shokhunyoma (see PI. II, A).
These two brothers are assisted by several other men who are also
called Mommvitu (chiefs), but who in this ceremony perform the office
of assistant leaders. In 1893 the following acted as leaders of the

1 Shokhunyoma, Chief priest, Honau (Bear) clan.

2 Lolulomai, Hawk and Bow priest, Honau (Bear) clan.

3 Y^shiwa, Chief Assistant, Pihkash (Young Corn Ear)* clan.

4 Koyonainiwa, War priest, Honani (Badger) clan.

5 Talaskwaptiwa, Star priest, Tawa (Sun) clan.

6 Tanakyeshtiwa, Screen priest, Ishawu (Coyote) clan.

7 Talahoyoma, Honau (Bear) clan.

8 Tob^hoyoma, Cloud Blower, Honau (Bear) clan.

In 1899 the leaders were as follows:

1 Shokhunyoma, Chief priest, Honau (Bear) clan.

2 Lolulomai, Hawk and Bow priest, Honau (Bear) clan.

3 Ydshiwa, Chief Assistant, Pihkash (Young Corn Ear) clan.

4 Koyonainiwa, War priest, Honani (Badger) clan.

5 Talaskwaptiwa, Star priest and Sun priest, Tawa (Sun)


6 Tanakyeshtiwa, Screen priest, Ishawu (Coyote) clan.

7 Talahoyoma, Assistant to Lolulomai, Honau (Bear) clan,

8 Tob^hoyoma, Cloud Blower, Honau (Bear) clan.

9 Sikamoniwa, Karro (Parrot) clan.

10 Talassyamtiwa, Pipmonwi (Tobacco Chief), Tavo (Rabbit)

and Piva (Tobacco) clan.

1 1 Lomankwa, Village Crier, Pakab (Reed) clan.

• The Hopi have many names for corn at various stages of its growth and the term ^iAia
is not to be confounded with the term shammi; the first being applied to the ear of corn in its
very early stage of development, the latter to the ear when fully developed.

Pl. II. SoYAL Priests.

a, Shokhunyoma, Chief Soyal Priest.

I). Taliskwaptiwa (who acted as Star priest), in ttie act of depositing a
prayer offering of cornnieal and nakwakwosis outside of the village.



SoYAL Priests,

Mar. 1901. The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony — Dorsey. 13

The following are the names and clan relationships of the other
participants in the 1899 celebration :

12 Honmonivva, Ishawu (Coyote) clan.

13 Qoyayeptiwa, Tawa (Sun) clan.

14 Naioshi, Pihkash (Young Corn Ear) clan.

15 Nakwayeshtiwa, Tavo (Rabbit) clan.

16 Tawakwaptiwa, Honaii (Bear) clan.

17 Talassmoniwa, Tavo (Rabbit) clan.

18 Qotchyamtiwa, Ishatvu (Coyote) clan.

19 Siyamtiwa, Pihkash (Young Corn Ear) clan.

20 Lomabuyaoma, Massauwu (Skeleton) and Kokob (Burrowing

Owl) clan.

21 Kiwanbenyoma, Massauwu (Skeleton) and Kokob (Burrowing

Owl) clan.

22 Tanakveima, Tavo (Rabbit) clan.

23 Puhumsha, Kukuts (Lizard) clan.

24 Siletstiwa, Honau (Bear) clan.

25 Poliyeshtiwa, Pakab (Reed) clan.

26 Tobeyeshtiwa, Ishawu (Coyote) clan.

27 Natwantiwa, Ishawu (Coyote) clan.

28 Qoyanowa, Towa (Sand) clan.

In addition to the above the following three women participated:

29 Punnanomsi, Soyal Mana, Honau (Bear) clan.

30 Nacinonsi, Soyal Mana, Karro (Parrot) clan.

31 Honanmana, Honau (Bear) clan.

The following notes on the blood relationship of the participants
of the Soya! fraternity celebration are here given, as possibly throwing
light on certain obscure points in regard to the origin, etc., of Soyal-
anivu. What these relationships signify — if anything — is not at pres-
ent known.

Shokhunyoma and Loliilomai are brothers of Punnanomsi and
Honanmana is their cousin. Kiwanbenyoma is the son of Lolulomai
and his daughter is the wife of Tobeyeshtiwa. Lomabuyaoma is the son
of Lolulomai, while the latter's wife's sister is married to Koyonainiwa,
whose daughter is married to Poliyeshtiwa. Talahoyoma is the nephew
of Honanmana. Punnanomsi is the wife of Talaskwaptiwa, whose
brother is Qoyayeptiwa, and his son is Qotchyamtiwa. A sister of
the two brothers and the two sisters first named is represented by two
sons, Tobehoyoma and Tawakwaptiwa ; the latter is the husband of
Nacinonsi, who is the daughter of Lomankwa. Tanakveima is the

14 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. III.

half-brother of Loh'ilomai, and is also the father of Puhumsha.
Naioshi is the father of Nakwayeshtiwa ; Tanakyeshtiwa is the father
of Siyamtiwa, while his daughter is married to Talassmoniwa.


In 1893 the celebration of Soyalainou extended from December
nth to 19th inclusive; in 1897 from December 15th to 23d inclusive;
in 1899 from December 8th to i6th ; in 1900, December i6th to 24th.
Thus it will be seen that the ceremony is of nine days duration, but
what determines the initial day has not been ascertained; except that
it seems to be the sixteenth day after the appearing of the Soyalkatcina,
who comes on the day following the Wowochim ceremony and erects
at the Ponovi kiva the Soyal natsi, which remains there four days, when
it is taken into the kiva. The Soyal ceremony, as is generally the
case with all Hopi nine-day ceremonies, is preceded by a brief meet-
ing called BahiUaiou, which in other ceremonies takes place eight
days before the beginning of the ceremony proper, but in this case on
the day before. On the morning following this preliminary, the time of
the principal ceremony is announced by the crier, the announcement
being called chaalmau or tinapmni. On the occasions of Baholawu a
few of the more responsible leaders, the number varying from year to
year, including the village crier, assemble either in some house or
in the kiva where the ceremony is to be held, make a few bahos and
nakwaktuosis, indulge in ceremonial smoking and decide upon the
time of the public announcement of the ceremony. One of the bahos
and a few of the nakwakivosis here made are delivered over to the vil-
lage crier, with the instructions that he make the announcement on
the following morning. The other prayer offerings are deposited at
various shrines and other places. The crier deposits his bahos in a
shrine which stands upon the roof of a certain house in Oraibi, from
which he then announces in a loud voice the time of the beginning of
the approaching ceremony. From this house all announcements of
a religious nature are made. The nine days of the ceremony have
the following names:*

I St Day, Yiinila (going in).

2nd " Shiishtala (first day).

3rd " Losktala (second day).

* Sometimes, though seldom, the last three days are called as follows: the 7th day, Losh-
tala (second day); the 8th, Bayish-tala (third day); the gth, Nalosh-tala (fourth day.)



Pipes, Etc.

Pl. III. Pipes, Etc.

1. (5w<?7iyA7^/ (cloud blower).

2. Kopichoki (cedar bark fuse), used in certain ceremonies for lighting a
reed cigarette.

3. Chonotki (reed cigarette), used in the Powamu ceremonies for blowing
smoke on certain Katcinas. It is lit with the cedar bark fuse.

4. Sakwachono (green pipe), made of greenish stone, used in ceremonies

5 to 9. \'arious types of Hopi pipes, used in ceremonies and for social

Mar. igoi. The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony — Dorsey. 15

4th Day, Bayishtala (third day).

5th " A-aloshtala (fourth day).

6th " Shushkdhhnuu (once not anything).

7th " Piktotokya {piki vci2.V\x\^.

8th " Totokya (food providing).

9th " Tikive (dancing day).

Following the nine-day ceremonies three days are devoted to
rabbit hunting; on the fourth day a procession, with accompanying
ceremonies, is made to the house of the Soyalmana.


This ceremony was observed in 1900 only. It took place in the
Ponovi kiva on December 15th, the day before the beginning of the
Soxal ceremony proper. The time is unusual, as generally
takes place eight days before the ceremony which it introduces.

In the morning Shokhunyoma, the chief Soyal priest, had made
sixteen nakwakwosis and four Jiikvspiata or piihtavis^ of which he had
deposited four naktvakwosis and one piihtavi at each of the following
places: AcJianiali, a shrine north of the village; Nuvatikiovi, a place
west of the village, called after and representing the San Francisco
mountains ; Ki7i'aic'ai//iavi, a place south of the village, and Kishiwuu, a.
place east of the village, bearing the name of and representing the old
home of several of the Hopi clans, which was located about 60 miles
northeast of Oraibi. For the Ckaakmonwi (Crier Chief) he made four
fiaktvakwosis of an unidentified bird called shiwuniti, the feathers look-
ing somewhat like those of a small sparrow hawk {kele); and it was the
first time that feathers of the sJiiwuruti had ever been seen used for
making naktvaktuosis. These nakivakwosis he had placed in a small
tray with some corumeal for use in the evening.

About an hour after sundown the following men assembled in
the Ponovi kiva : Shokunyoma, Sikamoniwa, Talassyamtiwa, Loman-
kwa, Siyamtiwa, Talaskwaptiwa and Koyonainiwa. It was stated
that Siyamtiwa, a young man, represented his uncle Yeshiwa, who
was to play such an important part in the following 6'<?>'a/ ceremony,
but who had not yet arrived from Moenkope, a Hopi village about fift}^
miles from Oraibi.

When all were present they arranged themselves in a semi-circle
around the fireplace, Shokhunyoma having before himself on the floor
the tray with the meal and iiakwak^aosis. All were nude except Koy-
onainiwa and Talaskwaptiwa.. Shokhunyoma filled a pipe (See PL III)

i6 Field Columbian Museum-j-Anthropology, Vol. III.

with native tobacco from which one after the other smoked, the pipe
making the round in a sinistral circuit and being handed back by the
last one in the line to Shokhunyoma, who smoked a few more puffs,
then cleaned the pipe and replaced it on the floor (See PI. IV). He
then picked up the tray, held it with both hands and uttered a prayer
over it, after which he took a pinch of meal from the tray, held it to
his lips and waving it from the six ceremonial directions placed it on
the center of the tray. He then handed the tray to the next man.
he to the next, and so on, each one going through exactly the same
performance as Shokhunyoma. When all were done it was handed
back to Shokhunyoma who placed it on the floor before him ; again he
filled the pipe, and all smoked and exchanged terms of relationship in
the same manner as they had done before. The tray was finally
handed to Lomankwa, the Chief -Crier of the Liberal faction, who on

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