One of the products of the more widely extended environment that the Hopi gather
at regular intervals is salt. Formerly this was obtained from deposits in Marble Canyon
close to Grand Canyon: Prayer sticks were deposited at the shrines of the Salt Woman an
the Twin War Gods near the Canyon and the men either suspended themselves with rop _,
from the rim of the Canyon and broke off stalactites of salt from the sides of the clit[
or else clambered down to the floor of the
by means of ropes, trees and a step ladder
and obtained salt from the Canyon bottom. This salt was brown in color, a soft rock salt"
easily ground down but when added to food it turned the latter a yellowish color.
Canyon deposits later became too difficult of access and salt today is obtained
exclusively from the salt lake forty'two miles south of Zuni/)though Mishongnovi m
on occasion used to obtain some salt from deposits on the wash southeast of the mesa.
Any responsible man in the community may arrange for an expedition to obtain sa
and he then becomes the mo'lJwi or chief of the party. He talks to the chiefs at the wint
solstice prayer stick making, notifies them of his intention to lead an expedition, and h
prayer sticks made to ensure a successful trip. Before the
dance and usually so
ten days before the departure, the crier chief announces the expedition, telling the men
get ready their moccasins, saddles, ropes, sacks, burros and other equipment, the women
for the men to take with them. After
and four days ahead of the
crier chief again calls out a general warning for all concerned to hurry on their .
preparations. A man goes to his so' "0 or his l.<'Ja "a, and tells her he is going
to bring bac:-
salt for her; she, in return, gives him sufficient food for the trip, wafer bread and other co
foods. For these four days the men "don't have
to go with the women," continence be'
necessary to secure success. Men from other villages may join the party. The first night's
camp is always at the butte l$:avu'lJapi, close to Awatovi mesa. Here all meet together
and sleep overnight, waiting for the laggards to come up and "asking each other for whom
they are going for salt, and what food they were given." The war chief (l$:a'
'l$: 'Dal$:a) and
his assistant (holJivi'ai'yaD) must always be members of a salt party. Today men from the
clan that formerly filled the office of war chief with one of its members act as substitutes
for the war chief and his assistant.
As soon as the morning star rises, the men eat, smoke for rain and are quickly on the.
move. The leader of the party deposits prayer sticks at each spring that is passed on the
outward journey with prayers that there will still be ample water flowing on the return
journey. The party stops at sunset each day, eats, smokes and prays for a successful journey.