Alice C. (Alice Cunningham) Fletcher.

The Hako : a Pawnee ceremony online

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mind and is being reflected upon. See line 2.

i'hare re. Translated above. The doubling of the last syllable
is to meet the requirements of the rhythm of the music.

40 THE HAKO, A PAWNEE OEKEMONY [eth. ann. 22

74 H'areri, 'hare! I'hare re! H'areri. All the words are trans-

lated above. See lines 72 and 73.

75 Hure-e ! An abbreviation of the word haui'ae, coming from above.

The vowel changes and prolongation are for greater ease in
singing and also for euphony.
76, 77 See lines 74, 75.

Explanation by the Ku'rahus

The color green represents Toharu (Vegetation), the covering of
H'Urarii, Mother Earth. As we sing, we ask that life be breathed
into the symbol, that it may have power as we use these sacred arti-
cles. " H'areri " is a prayer that living power may be where we place
this symbol of the covering of Mother Earth. We remember as we
sing that the power of Mother Earth to bring forth comes from above,

The Ku'rahus paints the groove red in the same way, for the same
reason as on the other ash stick, and when he has finished he hands
the green stem back to the man on his right, toward the south, who
holds it.

The Ku'rahus rubs upon his hands the sacred ointment which has
been made by mixing red clay with fat from a deer or buffalo that
has been consecrated to Tira'wa. He is now ready to tie the symbolic
articles upon the two painted stems.

He splits long feathers, taken from the wings of an eagle, and glues
them to each stem as feathers are glued upon the shaft of an arrow.
He uses for this purpose pitch from the pine tree. These wing feath-
ers are to remind us that the eagle flies near to Tira'wa.

About one end of the stem (the mouthpiece) he fastens soft blue
feathers, in color like the sky where the powers dwell. He ties a
woodpecker's head on the stem near the mouthpiece and turns the
upper mandible back upon the red crest. The mandible covers the red
crest and keeps it from rising. This shows that the bird may not be
angry. The inner side of the mandible, which is exposed by being
turned back upon the crest, is painted blue, to show that Tirawa is
looking down upon the open bill as the spirit of the bird travels along
the red groove to reach the people.

About the middle of the stem the Ku'rahus binds feathers from the
owl. The other end of the stem he thrusts through the breast, neck,
and mandibles of the duck, the breast reaching to the owl feathers.
The end of the stem protrudes a very little through the bill of the
duck, so that the bowl of a pipe could be fitted to it. The duck's
head, therefore, is always downward, looking toward the earth and
the water.

All the birds on the stems are leaders: the eagle is chief of the day;
the owl is chief of the night; the woodpecker is chief of the trees;
the duck is chief of the water.





















The Ku'rahus takes ten feathers from the tail of the brown eagle
and prepares them so that they can be tied upon one of the stems. A
buckskin thong is run through a hole punctured near the end of
the quills and another is threaded through the quills, about the middle
of their length, so that upon these two thongs the feathers can be
spread like a fan. To the end of the thongs are fastened little balls
of white down, taken from inside the thigh of the white male eagle.
These balls of down represent tlie reproductiAe power. When the
fan-like appendage is completed it is tied to the side of the blue-
painted stem, so that it can swing when the stem is waved, to simulate
the movements of an eagle.

When the Ku'rahUs takes from tlie man on his. left, toward the
north, the blue-painted stem and attaches to it tlie fan-like pendant
made of the feathers of the brown eagle, we give thanks in our hearts
as the following song is sung.


JVorcls (Hid ^fiixii-
JI. M. ^ = 126.
. = Pulsation of the voice. Transcribed by Edwin S. Tracy.

Ha-a-a-a-al Ka - was we-rit-ta we - re rit- ta we -re; Ka was we- rit-
Drum. 5 f f r

^.^^P^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^-? - ^^^^

i I ^ I

ta we- re rit- ta we -re; Ka - was we -rit - ta we - re rit - ta we

LJ L-f LJ —T LJ L-: U

Ts Ha-ii-a-a-a!

T!l Kawas weritta were ritta were:

S(i Kawas weritta were- ritta were:

SI Kawas weritta were ritta were.


78 Ila-a-a-a-a! An introductory exclamation to tlie song.
711 KawMs weritta were ritta were.

Kawas, the name given to the lirown eagle in this ceremony. The
common name for this bird is letahkots katit: letahkots,
eagle; katit, dark or brown.

wciitta, now hung.

were, at this or that particular time.

ritta, an abbreviated form of weritta, now hung.

were, at this time.
811, SI See line T'.i.

42 THE HAKO, A PAWNEE CEKEMONY [eth. ann. 22

Explanation by the Ku'rahus

In this ceremony the brown eagle is called Kawas. This eagle has
been made holy by being' sacrificed to Tira'wa. Its feathers are tied
upon the stem that has been painted blue to represent the sky.

This stem was the first one painted and decorated, because it is
female and the leader. It represents the night, the moon, the north,
and stands for kindness and helpfulness. It will take care of the
people. It is the mother.

Throughout the ceremony the Ku'rahus carries this feathered stem.

After the Kawas stem is prepared the Ku'rahus hands it back to
the man on his left, toward the north, to hold while he prepares a
pendant of seven tail feathers from the white eagle. Then he takes
from the man on his right, toward the south, the stem which had been
painted green and ties on it this white-eagle pendajit.

No song is sung while this is being done; The white eagle is not
holy; it has not been sacrificed to Tira'wa. It has less power than
Kawas; it is inclined to war, to hurt some one. It can not lead; it
must follow. So the green stem is painted last, and all the decora-
tions are put upon it after the other stem is completed.

This feathered green stem represents the male, the day, the sun,
and the south. During the ceremony it is carried by the assistant
of the Ku'rahus, whose place is on the right of the Ku'rahus, toward
the south.

When we move about the lodge waving the two feathered stems to
the rhythm of the song we are singing, Kawas, the brown eagle, is
carried next the people, and the white-eagle stem on the farther side,
away from the people, where it can do good by defending them and
keeping away all harm. If it were carried next the Children it would
bring them war and trouble. It is the brown eagle that is always
kept near the people and is waved over their heads to bring them the
gifts of plenty and of peace.

The red and white streamers tied upon the two stems represent the
sun and the moon.

While the Ku'rahus still has the sacred ointment upon his hands
he anoints a crotched stick and two straight sticks, all three of which
have been carefully scraped and smoothed. These sticks were cut
from a plum tree, because this tree is prolific in bearing fruit.

Part III. Painting the Ear of Corn and PBEPARiNGt the Other Sacred


Explanation by the Ku'rahus

The Ku'rahus now mixes in a round wooden bowl blue clay with
water taken from a running stream and paints with it an ear of white
corn, in the way our fathers were taught to do. During this act the
following song is sung.





Words and Music

M. M. ^S = 138.

• = Palsation of the voice.

Transcribed by Edwin S. Tracy.

ri - ki re; We - ri lira ri - ki; H'A

k m m m it m f » jf b

ti - ra, we - ri hra ri - ki.

L_' ; 1 i




H'Atira, weri hra liki:
H'Atira, weri hra riki;
H'Atira, weri hra riki;
H'Atira, hra riki tp:
Weri hra riki;
H'Atira. weri hra riki.



H'Atira, weri ruata;


H'Atira, weri ruata;


H'Atira, weri ruata;


H'Atira, mata re;


Weri ruata;


H'Atira, weri ruata.





H"Atira, weri tuktika:


H'Atira, weri txikuka;


H'Atira, weri tukuka;


H'Atira, tukuka re;


Weri tiikuka;


H'Atira, weri tukuka.


108 Ha-a-a-a-a:

104 H'Atira, weri taiwa:

105 H'Atira. weri taiwa:

106 H'Atira, weri taiwa:

107 H'Atira, taiwa re:

108 Weri taiwa:

109 H'Atira. weri tiawa.

110 Ha-a-a-a-a:

111 H'Atira, weri tawawe:

112 H'Atira. weri tawawe:

113 H'Atira, weri tawawe;

114 H'Atira, tawawe re;

115 Weri tawawe;

116 H'Atira. weri tawawe.


117 Ha-a-a-a-a:

118 H'Atira, weri tawitshpa:

119 H'Atira, weri tawitshpa:

120 H'Atira, weri tawitshpa;

121 H'Atira, tawitshpa re:

122 Weri tawitshpa:

123 H'Atira. weri tawitshpa.

44 THE HAKO, A PAWNEE CEREMONY [eth. ann. 22

Translation of First Stanza

82 Ha-a-a-a-a! Introduction. An exclamation.

83 H'Atira, weri lira riki.

h', an aspiration, a breathing forth, as the giving of life.

atira, mother.

weri, I am. The singular pronoun refers to the party which

is taking the initiative in this ceremony and not merely to

the Ku'rahus.
hra, an abbreviated form of the word rararit, to hold,
riki, standing. This word not only refers to the position of

the person who holds the ear of corn and to the position of

the corn itself, but it indicates the present time, noAv.
84, 85 See line 83.

86 H'Atira, hra riki re.

h'Atira, hra riki. See line 83.

re, a sign of the plural. This plural sign indicates the imper-
sonation of the ear of corn; h'Atira and Ku'rahus are
standing as two persons.

87 Weri hra riki. See line 83.

88 See line 83.

Explanation by the Ku'rahus

The ear of corn represents the supernatural power that dwells in
H'Uraru, the earth which brings forth the food that sustains life;
so we speak of the ear of corn as h'Atira, mother breathing forth life.

The power in the earth which enables it to bring forth comes from
above; for that reason we paint the ear of corn with blue. Blue is
the color of the sky, the dwelling place of Tira'wahut.

The running water with which the blue clay is mixed is put into a
round, wooden bowl, not in a shell, as when we painted the stems.
The bowl is of wood, taken from the trees, a part of the living cover-
ing of Mother Earth, representing the power of Toharu (see explana-
tion of line 24).

The bowl is round, like the dome shape of the sky, and holds the
blue paint, which also represents the sky. The bowl is a vessel from
which we eat when we- have the sacred feast of the corn. Tira'wa
taught us how to get the corn.

As we sing the flrst stanza the Ku'rahus stands in front of the bowl
containing the blue paint and holds in his hand, by the butt, h'Atira,
the ear of corn.

Translation of Second Stanza

89 Ha-a-a-a-a! An introdiictory exclamation.

90 H'Atira, weri ruata.

h'Atira, Averi. See line 83.

ruata, flying. Ruata indicates that the ear of corn is moving
through the air, not touching the ground; the fact that the
ear is in the hand of the Ku'rahus is ignored. Throughout
this ceremony the ear of corn is a person.





91, 92 See line 90.

93 H'Atira ruata re. All the words have been translated. See lines

83, 86, and 90.

94 Weri ruata. See lines 83 and 90.

95 See line 90.

Explanation by the Ku'rahus

As Ave sing this stanza the Ku'rahus, holding the ear of corn in
his hand by the butt, moves it slowly toward the bowl oontaining the
blue paint.

The bowl and the blue paint represent the blue sky, where the i)Owers
above dwell, so we sing that the mother is flying (ruata) toward the
heavens to reach these powers.

The spirit of the corn and the spirit of the Ku'rahus arc now Hying
togethei- (see line 86 for translation of the plural sign, re, and Its

Trdnslalion of Third Stanza

96 See line 82.

97 H'Atira, weri tukuka.

h'jVtii'a, weri. See line 83.
tukuka, now touches, or touching.
98, 99 See line 97.

100 H'Atira, tukuka re. Sec lint's s:j, so, and 97.

101 Weri tukuka. Sec lines 83 and ii7.

102 Se(? line 07.

ExplaiKitiiiii hij til/' Kii ruhiis

As this stanza is sung the Ku'i'ahus dips his finger in tlic blue paint
and touches (tukuka) the ear of corn with it.

This act means tliat Mother Corn in her flight toward the sky now
touches the place where the slcy begins.

Translation of Fourth Stanza

103 Sei^ line 82.

104 H'Atira, weri taiwa.

h'Atira, weri. Sec line 83.
taiwa, to rub downward or mark.
105, 106 See line 104.

107 nWtira taiwa re. Sec lines S3, 86, and 104.

108 Weri tiiiwa. See lines 83 and 104.

109 See line 104.

Explanation lnj the Ku'rahus

Ah we sing this stanza the Ku'rahus marks with his finger four
equidistant lines of blue paint on the ear of corn. He begins at the
tip of the car and rubs his finger down (taiwa) about halfway to the
butt on the four sides of the ear.


The four blue lines represent tlie four paths at the f our direcdons
(cardinal points), near which the winds stand as guards. Down these
paths the powers descend to bring help to man. , .cio-ht

The blue paint came down one of these paths, but I was not taught

which one.

Translation of Fifth Stanza

110 Ha-a-a-a-a! An introductory exclamation.

111 H'Atira, weri tawawe.

h'Atira, weri. See line 83.
tawawe, to spread.
112, 113 See line 111.

114 H'Atira tawawe re. See lines 83, 86, and 111.

115 Weri tawawe. See lines 83 and 111.

116 See line 111.

Explanation by the Ku'rahus

As we sing this stanza the Ku'rahus spreads (tawawe) with his
finger the blue paint over the tip of the ear of corn, to represent the.
blue dome of the sky, where the powers dwell, above whom is the
mighty Tira'wa atius, the father of all.

This act signifies that Mother Corn has reached the abode of
Tira'wahut, where she will receive authority to lead in this ceremony.

Translation of Sixth Stanza

117 Ha-a-a-a-a! An introductory exclamation.

118 H'Atira, weri tawitshpa.

h'Atira, weri. See line 83.

tawitshpa, the attainment of an object; the completion of an
undertaking; the end reached.
119, 120 See line 118.

121 H'Atira tawitshpa re. See lines 83, 86, and 118.

122 Weri tawitshpa. See lines 83 and 118.

123 See line 118.

Explanation by the Ku'rahus

Mother Corn having reached the blue dome where dwells the great
circle of powers, Tira'wahut, and having gained what she went for,
tawitshpa, authority to lead in the ceremony, she descends to earth
by the four paths.

The blue jjaint having now been put on the ear of corn, this part
of the ceremony is completed.

In all that is to follow h'Atira, Mother Corn breathing forth life, is
to lead. She came forth from Mother Earth, who knows all places
and all that happens among men, so she knows all places and all
men, and can direct us where to go when we carry the sacred articles
which give plenty and peace.






When we liave finished singing this song the Ku'rahns takes one of
the plum-tree sticks, which has been anointed with red clay mixed
with fat, and ties on it with a thread of sinew a downy eagle feather.
This stick is bound to the ear of corn so as to project a hand's breadth
above the tip end, letting the downy feather wave above Mother Corn.
This feather represents Tira'wa. It is always moving as if breathing.

The Ku'rahus then binds the other plum-tree stick to the corn so
that it extends below the butt. When the corn is placed in ceremo-
nial position this end of the stick is thrust in the ground so that the
ear will stand upright without touching the earth. Both sticks are
bound to tiie ear of corn by a braided band of hair taken from the
head of a buflfalo. The braided band signifies the gift of animal food
and the provision of skin clothing. (The Skidi band of the Pawnees
tie a bit of buffalo wool, such as is shed by the animal in the spring,
together with a braid of sweet grass, to the ear of corn.)

The two gourd rattles, which represent the squash given us by
Tira'wa, and also the breasts of the mother, are each painted with a
blue circle about the middle, with four equidistant lines from the
circle to the bottom of the gourd. The circle represents the wall or
boundary of the dome of the sky; the four lines are for the four
paths at the four directions down which the powers descend. No
song is sung while this painting is being done.

All the sacred articles are laid at. rest on a wildcat skin when they
are not being used ceremonially, and it is a cover for them in which
they are all wrapped together at the close of the ceremony. The skin
is never tanned, and the ears of the animal, the skin of the head,
the feet, and the claws must all be intact.

Tira'wa made the wildcat to live in the forest. He has mucli skill
and ingenuity. The wildcat shows us that we must think, we must
use tact, and be shrewd when we set out to do anything. If we
wish to approach a person we should not do it bluntly; we should not
rush at him; that might offend him so that he would not receive us
or the gifts we desired to offer him. The wildcat does not make
enemies by rash action. He is observant, quiet, and tactful, and he
always gains his end.

In this cei-emony we are to carry the sacred articles to one not of
our kindred in order to bind him to us bj' a sacred and sti-ong tie ; we
are to ask for him many good gifts, long life, health, and children,
and we should receive gifts from him in return. If we would succeed
we must learn of the wildcat, and be wise as he is wise.

The wildcat is one of the sacred animals. A man who killed a
wildcat could sacrifice it to Tira'wahut. The man who brought such
an offering had the right to ask the priest to teach him some of the
mysteries that belong to the sacred shrine.

Many years ago two men took the Ilako to the Omaha tribe. On
the journey one of them killed a wildcat. I said to the man: " I am

48 THE HAKO, A PAWNEE CEREMONY [eth. ank. 23

glad Mother Corn is here leading us, and the wildcat goes with the
Hako." But the man who killed it said: "No, this skin will not go
with the Hako ! I am going to take it to the priest for sacriiice that
I may learn some of the mysteries." But he did wrong and suffered
for it, because that wildcat belonged with the Hako, for it was killed
while we were being led by Mother Corn.

The sacred articles having been completed are now laid at cere-
monial rest. The wildcat skin is spread upon the earth in the h.oly
place, which is in the west part of the lodge opposite the entrance, a
little way back from the fireplace. The head of the skin is placed
toward tlie east; the crotched plum-tree stick is thrust into the ground
close to .the head; the two feathered stems are laid in the crotch, the
brown-eagle stem first, then the white-eagle stem on the top or outside.
The eagle builds its nest in the crotch of a tree, so these eagle-feathered
stems are laid in the crotch of the plum-tree stick. The ends which
are thrust through the duck's head rest upon the wildcat, and under
the wing-like pendants the gourd rattles are placed. Directly in
front of the crotched stick stands Mother Corn.

Part IV. Offering of Smoke
Explanation by the Ku'rahus

The time has now come for the offering of smoke to Tira'wa.

The priest of the Rain shrine must be present with the pipe belong-
ing to that shrine and he must conduct the ceremony. After he has
filled the i^ipe with native tobacco the Ku'rahus tells the people that
the time has come to offer smoke to Tira'wa, the father and the giver
of all things. He selects from the company a man to act as pipe
bearer during the ceremony of offering smoke. The pipe bearer must
be one who has made sacrifices at the sacred tents where the shrines
are kept and has been annointed, and who in consequence has been
prospered in his undertakings. The prayers of such a man are
thought to be more acceptable to the powers than those of a man who
has never made sacrifices.

In old times men did not smoke for pleasure as they do now, but
only in religious ceremonies. The white people have taught the
Pawnees to profane the use of tobacco.

Each of the sacred shrines of the tribe has a pipe, and its priest
knows the proper order in which the pipe should be offered to Tira'-
wahut. I am not a priest, so I do not know the order in which the
Rain pipe is offered, nor can I tell you the ceremony; the knowledge
of that belongs to its priest and not to me.

Up to this point (the conclusion of the ceremony of smoking) all
the people present have been obliged to remain quiet in their places;
now they are at liberty to move about or to leave the lodge.











Second Ritual. Prefiguring the Journey to the Son
Explanation by the Ku'rahus

Honor is conferred upon a man who leads a Hako party to a dis-
tant tribe and there makes a Son, while to the Son help is given from
all the powers represented by the sacred objects. Between the Father

• 1

Fio. 172. Diagram of the Father's lodge during the second ritnal.

1, the entrance to the lodge; 2, the fireplace; 3, inner posts supporting the dome-shaped roof;
4, the Ku'rahus; 5, his assistant; 6, the Father (a chief); 7, the server; 8, the wildcat skin, on
which are the feathered stems and rattles; 9, the eagle wings; 10, the ear of corn; 11, members
of the Hako party.

and the Son and their immediate families a relationship similar to
that which exists between kindred is established through this cere-
nionj'. It is a sacred relationship, for it is made by the supernatural
powers that are with the Hako.

22 ETH— PT 2—04 4

50 THE HAKO, A PAWNEE CEREMONY [bth. ann. 22

Because of the sacred and binding character of this relationship,
and the gifts brought by it to the Son, namely, long life and many
children to make his family strong, the selection of a man to be made
a Son is regarded as a serious and important act, one in which the
chiefs and the leading men of the Father's tribe must have a voice.

The Son should be a chief or a man who has the respect of the lead-
ing men of his tribe, and whom the Father's tribe would be glad to
have bound to them bj^ the tie of Son.

While the Father has been gathering the materials necessary for
this ceremony, which may have taken him a year or more, he has had
some particular person in his mind whom he desired to make a Son.
When everything is ready he mentions this particular person to the
chiefs and leading men, and when we are gathered together to sing
this song we think of this chosen man and we ask the assistance of
Mother Coi-n, and if he is the right person she will lead us to him.

The selection of the Son takes place soon after the preparation of
the sacred objects, frequently on the night of the same day. It must
always be in the night time, because the spirits can travel best at night.
The spirit of the corn and the spirits of the people present in the
lodge at this time are to decide who shall be the Son, and Mother
Corn is to lead us to him. The same persons are present at this
ceremony that were present at the preparation of the Hako.

In tlie west of the lodge, facing the east, sit the Ku'rahus, his assist-
ant, and the Father. Before them are the sacred objects arranged as
at ceremonial rest. A little way in front of the crotched stick stands
the ear of corn which has been painted in the sacred manner (see
figure 172). It is held in position by one of the sticks to which it is
tied being thrust into the ground. This ear of corn is the mother,
and upon her everyone present must fix his mind.

The singing of the following stanzas occupies most of the night;
they do not follow each other quickly, for we must pause after each

Words and Music
M. M. ;n = 132.

^ Pulsation of the voice. Transcribed by Edwin S. Tracy.

H'A-ti-ra ha-ri, h'A- ti - ra ha-ri! He! Chix-u t'i



•vhi-ti-ka ha-ril H' .i-ti- ra ha-ri! H' A-ti- ra ha-ri, h'A^^ti- ri Hal

Online LibraryAlice C. (Alice Cunningham) FletcherThe Hako : a Pawnee ceremony → online text (page 4 of 28)