Hopi%20Salt%20Expedition

Hopi%20Salt%20Expedition - A H OPI SALT E XPEDITIONl B y...

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A HOPI SALT EXPEDITIONl By MISCHA TITIEV T HE following account describes an actual journey for salt that was • made in 1912 in prescribed, orthodox fashion. Only three men partici- pated but the account is complete because they represented the three ranks customarily found on such journeys; one ma.n acting as chief (mongwi) of the party, another being an experienced but "common" member, and the third a novice making his first trip. The chief was Talasvuyauoma of the Coyote clan, village War Chief (kaletaka) at Oraibi; the Hcommon" man was Duvenimptiwa of the Sand clan; and the novice was Don Talayesva, his twenty-two year old son, a member of the Sun clan and narrator of the events here recorded. All three men were Wuwutcim initiates, a requirement that all salt-gatherers must meet. 2 The main reason for a ceremonial qualification is that the deposit visited by Oraibi men is located in the vicinity of the home of the dead (Maski) near the Grand Canyon, and therefore lies in dangerous territory. There is a good dea.l of reason to believe that one of the principal aims of the Wuwutcim is to fit men for their proper places in the after-life. Hence. only those who have passed through the Wuwutcim rites are eligible to visit the home of the dead. The patron deities in charge of salt are the Little War Twins, Pukong- hoya and Palungahoya. They are said to have established an the shrines that lie along the route to the Salt Canyon and to have inaugurated the proceedings to be performed at each sacred spot. Men who expect to go for salt in any year are required to make special prayer-feathers during the pre- ceding Soyal and to deposit them at the shrine of the Twins east of the village. Participants must also observe a tabu on sexual relationships for four days before starting on a salt journey. In former times, when the danger of encountering enemies made it necessary for large parties to make the trip, it is likely that each household or clan sent at least one representative annually, but my informant could give me no specific information on this point. Usually, these expeditions were made in the fall, soon after the harvest was gathered. 1 The material on which this attide is based was used by the author as part or his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. The data were obtained on a field trip made in 193.3-34, financed and sponsored by the Division of Anthropology at Harvard University .. J The Wuwutdm is the Hopi tribal initiation ceremony through which all young men must pass. It is performed jointly by lour societies known as Kwan, Al, Tao, and Wuwuteim. See E. C. Parsons, The Hopi WliwOchim Cdetntmy in /U2O (American Anthropologist, Vol. 2.5, pp. 156-R7, 1923) for a description and bibliography. 244
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245 TlTIEV) HOPI SALT EXPEDITION THE NARRATIVE In 1912 the salt journey began with Don and his father driving four burros from Oraibi to the home of Talasvuyauoma in Moenkopi. Before leaving the house Don's father made a cornmeal path towards the west where the Salt Canyon is located, and on it he placed a prayer-feather with its breath line pointing in the same direction.
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