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Citizens of the United States—Religion— Lack of Religion—No Sacred Fires—Moqui Gods.

Mr. Donaldson, in the same publication quoted in the preceding chapter, also gives the following:

“The Moqui Pueblos of Arizona and Pueblos of New Mexico are citizens of the United States by virtue of the laws of the Mexican republic.

“So good an authority as Governor L. Bradford Prince, of New Mexico, ex-Chief Justice of the Territory, in his History of New Mexico, page 327, says:

“‘By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo all inhabitants of New Mexico, except those who chose formally to retain the character of Mexican citizens, became citizens of the United States, with the same rights and privileges as all other citizens.’

“The Moqui Pueblos were then inhabitants of New Mexico as well as the Pueblos. Neither formally, after the treaty, announced their intention to remain citizens of Mexico, but, on the contrary, have aided the United States with soldiers in war and by remaining good citizens in peace. The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in its inhibition of citizenship to Indians not taxed, does not apply to the Moqui Pueblo or Pueblo Indians (not taxed), because the same could not set aside

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the contracts as to their citizenship made between the United States and the republic of Mexico by the eighth and ninth articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Neither the Moqui Pueblos nor the Pueblos have exercised the right of suffrage to any extent since they became citizens of the United States. This fact should have no weight against their right of citizenship, especially in the case of the Pueblos of New Mexico. Suffrage is not a natural right; it is a privilege, and is conferred by the state. The citizen need not vote; there is no law to force him to vote; neither does he lose any rights or remedies for wrong by not voting. He can vote or not, as he likes. Thousands of American citizens do not vote, but they are citizens nevertheless.”


“Of the religion and ceremonies of the Moquis in 1890, Mr. A. M. Stevens writes:

“‘Their thronged mythology has given rise to a very complex system of worship, which rests upon this theory: in early days certain superhuman beings, called Cachinas, appeared at certain seasons, bringing blessings or reproofs from the gods, and as indicated by their name, they listened to the people's prayers and carried back their desires to the gods. A long while ago they revealed certain mystic rites to a few good men of every clan, by means of which, mortals could communicate directly with the gods, after which their visits ceased, and this, the Moquis say, was the origin of their numerous religious or Katcheena societies. To a limited

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extent certain women were also similarly endowed; hence, the membership of some of these societies consists entirely of men, others of women only, and in many both sexes bear a part. The public ceremonies of these societies are participated in by all members, fancifully dressed in cotton tunics, kilts, and girdles, and wearing large masks decorated with the emblems pertaining to the Katcheena whose feast they celebrate. Emerging from the kiva, the maskers form in procession and march to the village court, where they stand in line, rattle in hand, and as they stamp their feet with measured cadence they sing their traditional hymns of petition. The surrounding house terraces are crowded with spectators, and some of these celebrations partake much of the nature of dramas. Feats of war are mimicked or the actions of wild animals and hunters, and many mythic incidents are commemorated, while interludes afford an opportunity for a few grotesquely arrayed buffoons to crack coarse jests for the amusement of the rude audience. Every moon witnesses some celebration.’

“Mr. J. H. Beadle, after visiting the Moquis in 1872 (in ‘The Undeveloped West; pp. 582–583), wrote of their religion as follows:

“‘All my endeavors failed to discover the slightest trace of any religion. The simplest form in which I could put questions on that point seemed to completely bewilder them. The Spanish word Dios they had never heard, and the American word God, only as an oath, and did not know what it implied. To my question, “Who made all these mountains?”

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Papa only smiled, then stared, and finally replied, “Nada; siempre son aqui (nothing; they are always here).” Fearing from this that my limited command of Spanish had caused him to misunderstand me, I entered into a very minute explanation, in the simplest possible words, of our belief, and had him repeat till I was sure he fully understood it, but apparently it roused no answering conceptions in his mind. Part of the talk struck me as so curious, that I at once copied it:

“‘Myself: ‘The Melicans and Mexicans have one they call God or Dios. We think He made us; made this mesa; made these mountains; made all men and all things. We talk to and ask good things of this God.’

“‘Papa: ‘Yes; I much hear Melican man say, “G—d d—n” (repeating an oath too blasphemous to be written).

“‘Myself: ‘No, no; that is bad. He was a bad Melican man who said that. We think this God all good. Have the Moquis a God like that?’

“‘Papa: ‘Nothing (nada). The grandfathers said nothing of Dios, what you say Got—God’ (making several attempts at the word).

“‘Myself: ‘But say to me, who made this mesa; these mountains; all that you see there.’

“‘Papa: ‘Nothing; it is here.’

“‘Myself: ‘Was it always here?’

“‘Papa, (with a short laugh): ‘Yes; certainly, always here. What would make it be away from here?’

“‘Myself: ‘But where do the dead Moquis go; where is the child I saw put in the sand yesterday; where does it go?’

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“‘Papa: ‘Not at all; nowhere; you saw it put in the sand; how can it go anywhere?’

“‘Myself: ‘Did you ever hear of Montezuma?

“‘Papa: ‘No; Monte—Montzoo—(attempting the word). Melican man?’

“‘Myself: ‘No;one of your people we think. What are these dances for, that you have sometimes?’

“‘Papa:‘The grandfathers always had them.’

“As an evidence of how difficult it is to obtain a satisfactory answer from a Moqui as to his religion, Dr. Oscar Loew, chemist to the Wheeler surveying expedition in 1874, who was with the Moquis for a time, writes:

“‘With regard to the religion of the Moquis, diligent investigation failed to develop anything definite. To the inquiry whether they worshipped Montezuma, the reply was, in broken Spanish, ‘No sabe, (I don't know).’ By Mesayamtibe (a Moqui man) we were informed that he believed the ‘sun to be the true God,’ but that the so-called ‘happy hunting ground’ was, in his opinion, but a creation of the imagination. * * * The Moquis sometimes hold religious meetings in caves in the vicinity of their settlements.’

“Major J. W. Powell wrote in 1875 of the religion of the Moquis as follows:

“‘The people seem to worship a great number of gods, many of which are personified objects, powers, and phenomena of nature. They worship a god of the north, a god of the south, a god of the east, and a god of the west; a god of thunder, and a god of rain; the sun, the moon,

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and the stars; and, in addition, each town has its patron deity. There seems also to be ingrafted on their religion a branch of ancestral worship. Their notion of the form and construction of the world is architectural, that is, composed of many stories. We live in the second.’

“Special Agent Julian Scott, after two trips to the Moqui villages, wrote on May 20, 1891:

“‘There is no use talking about their religious beliefs, of which little is known. Dr. (Washington) Matthews is probably the best informed man respecting their mythology.’

“Mr. J. Walter Fewkes (1891) writes:

“‘The Hopi (Moquis) recognize that they have copied much from the Zunis in their religious ceremonials. Many of their Kat-tci-na dances are said to be Zuni Kat-tci-nas. It is perfectly natural that they should copy their neighbors, especially if they believe the ceremonials more effective, and, also, the Hopi observances have evidence of being copied from many sources.

“‘It is a most baffling task to obtain from the Indians the proper names of their ceremonies. It is probable that for each celebration they have several names, which are mostly descriptive of some portions of a dramatic episode or some particular phase with more or less mystic elements.’

“Mr. A. F. Bandelier says the Moquis are Pueblo Indians to all intents and purposes, their language excepted. This probably includes

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their religion, Pueblo referring to the Pueblos of New Mexico.

“It would seem from the authorities that the Moqui religion consists of ‘mythology’ and a number of ceremonies of a devotional character; in fact, a highly developed materialism with ceremonial aids.

“It will be recalled in this connection that there is no Christian church in any of the seven Moqui pueblos, and but little evidence of the remains of even a memory of the Catholic faith, whose clergymen were once with them, save, perhaps, in the rough shrines and altars now seen.


“With a view to placing the life and actual condition of this curious people (the Moquis) on record in the Eleventh Census, the special agents who visited the Moquis were instructed to observe closely as to their alleged mysteries. It is stated by several modern writers that the Moquis kept alive the sacred fires. Mr. Scott wrote in 1890, both as to this and the venerable pipes as follows:

“‘I have heard of the sacred fires that are ever kept burning in the kevas (or kivas) of the Moqui Pueblos, and naturally looked for them. But alas! like many other things I read about and was told of, they proved a myth. During ceremonies they always keep a little fire going, which may be properly called their altar. These fires are prepared by the priests who preside

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over the ceremonies, and who sit directly in front of them and go through their invocations addressed to the smoke, which, rising upward and through the hatch, disperses itself in the air and carries their entreaties to the deities; besides, the priests are usually naked and the fire protects them. They smoke tobacco during the ceremonies, which seems to form a part of the rites, and which is never omitted. It is the cigarette as a rule, and is there omnipresent. While they use to some extent the different kinds of modern pipes, I have never seen one about in the kevas; the cigarette is universally used. Now and then an ancient pipe is seen, but all my efforts failed to get one. Pipes are only used in their ceremonies, and the Moquis attach superior attributes to them, believing that they are charmed by the spirits of the dead who, in life, smoked them. The story of the sacred fire seems to have no truth in it. There has been a misunderstanding. It is true that in some of the kevas or estufas of the seven pueblos there are always ceremonies going on, conducted by the priests. These ceremonies are also the schools of instruction for their young men when admitted into the different orders. It is in the estufa that the traditions and folklore of their race are told over and over again. They are the natural resorts of the old men who are unfit for labor, and it is from them that the Moqui youth obtain the traditional part of their education and all data as to the history of their people. This history is all oral, as they have no written language. The fire that is kindled in the keva is upon the flat stone floors and about in the

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center. About it are a few blocks of stone, which are used by the priests for seats. These stones are utilized, for practical use, as seats by being covered with blankets, rolled up, to make cushions of. The priests are perfectly naked while going through their religious performances, excepting, of course, the gee string (always worn around the waist of the male), which is not used at all as a covering, but as a suspensory.’

“Mr. J. Walter Fewkes (1891) says that ‘in none of the kibvas (kivas, or estufas) in the Moqui pueblos, is there a fire burning all the time.’


“The number and variety of idols or images belonging to the Moquis is startling. In every household can be seen from one to a dozen wooden or clay idols or gods of the oddest and quaintest shapes, roughly made, and while resembling one another, they are different from any other Indian images. They are of all sizes, from two inches to over four feet high, painted in various colors; sometimes they are invested with beautiful ceremonial robes, woven expressly for them. These gods are not, properly speaking, gods at all, but represent different Cachinas (or Katcheenas), who are but semi-gods and intermediaries between the Moquis and their principal deity. The Cachinas are said to have once existed: ‘It was in the long morning twilight of the earth's age’; however this may be, they certainly have an existence now in the grotesque figures found suspended to

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the beams that support the roofs of Moqui dwellings or tucked away in little niches or standing up in rows on stone shelves. They are male and female, some vigorously pronounced; the females have extraordinary headdresses only, but the males are most modestly decorated. The male is called O-mow and the female A-to-se-ka; but they, are still Cachinas. These gods are used during the ceremonies in the estufas; all possess great antiquity, and when not in use are hidden away by their custodians where they cannot be found except by those who have them in charge. There were two found by a gentleman in a cave under the mesa on which stand the ruins of Awatubi. The male was four feet one inch and the female three feet nine inches in height. He carried them to his house, some twelve miles distant, but they were soon missed by the Indians who venerated them, and a delegation was sent to the gentleman to tell him of the loss of the gods and implore his help in their recovery. They spoke so earnestly, and believed so firmly that ill fortune would follow them if these Cachinas were not found, that he finally said that he had brought them from Awatubi, not realizing that they were so much esteemed; he then led them to a room where they had been placed. The gentleman said the Moquis were beside themselves with joy at the restoration of their gods. This happened some years ago, and since that time no white man has seen them.

“Of this circumstance Mr. J. Walter Fewkes writes in 1891; ‘The worship of the horned A-lo-sa-ka is more strictly characteristic of the pueblo of Mi-con-in-o-vi (Mishongnavi), where this fraternity

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is probably more numerous than at Walpi. The images of A-lo-sa-ka were once in the possession of Mr. Keam (T. V.) for a few days, but at the earnest solicitation of almost the whole population of Mi-con-in-o-vi they were returned to the priests. At that time they were carried from Keams Canyon back to the pueblo with great ceremony, when a pathway of sacred meal was made for many miles along the trail over which they were borne.’ Some Moqui idols or gods are not, perhaps, so sacred as those above referred to. Dr. Oscar Loew, chemist of the Wheeler expedition in 1874, refers to some gods which were for sale, and his experience is that of visitors to the Moquis to-day. The Moquis like money, silver especially. If the wooden gods or figures which Dr. Loew saw in the house of a chief were designed as objects of worship, no profound veneration was manifested for them, since they were readily parted with for a trifling quantity of tobacco.

“The gods made from trunks or limbs of small trees, which by chance have grown to resemble in part a man, are regarded with great favor, especially for gods for the estufa, it being believed that the spirit of a Cachina is in such wood. The material employed in making the Cachinas is usually cottonwood. Such as have ceremonial vestments on are of wood, the clothes being of white cotton cloth, richly embroidered in colors; the cloth used is from the Moqui looms and is of a peculiar fabric; the clothes, including headdress, are also made of feathers. The colors employed in making these gods are not

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used with any regard to rule, but as each individual fancies.

“About the heads of some are coronets of five or six small squares of wood. These coronets sometimes resemble a Maltese cross, with a near approach to a Grecian border on them, the lines being in green. The bodies of the wooden gods are usually painted white, and frequently a bit of the down of a feather is glued to the points of the coronet, which may be a symbol, copied from the halos around the heads of the images of saints in Catholic churches. The Spanish Catholic influence is quite apparent in many of the Moqui images, and also in some of their customs, on their pottery, and in figures on their blankets.”

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