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Following the 4-day Christmas feast everyone gathers at Acoma, so on December 28 new officers are "elected." The Antelope Clan 2 has the authority to name the men. The Antelope clan selects about 2 months in advance. They select at least two men from each kiva so as to distribute the power evenly. They are careful to appoint so as not to be hard on any family. It puts a burden on the whole family when a man is appointed officer. They are careful to pick out a man who believes and follows the old traditions.

On the evening of the 26th, the officers who are going to resign call the chaianyi into Mauharo [the head kiva]; also two head men 3 of each kiva. The retiring Country Chief gets up and tells the chaianyi and representatives, "I have been given names of the men who are to take our places by Antelope clan nawai." 4 (The Antelope Man gives him this information and calls the meeting a day or two before.) He tells the council that he will name them and that this will be their chance to say whether they want each of these appointees. "If there are any objections, now is the time to present them." When the men are named, sometimes they all agree and sometimes some disagree and speak. The appointee most disagreed about is the one for Country Chief. This appointee must be physically strong, he must be conservative and not talk too much, he must be a good believer, and take the religion seriously. He should be a man who knows the tradition and its prayers. He must be a good runner, not lazy; he must be brave and a good leader. He must remain in Acoma and must remain rigidly continent. Each day he must visit all the kivas with his two lieutenants to see that all is in order. No one desires this Office. The other offices are more quickly decided upon.

The Country Chiefs: The first is called Tsatia hochani. The second is Shpati mut, "Mocking Bird. Youth"; being a brave man, he represents Masewi. He does the talking to the medicine men or to the heads of the kivas. He is the messenger, hence "mocking bird." The third chief is Shuti mut, "Wren Youth"; he represents Oyoyewi, the Younger of the War Twins. His duties are the same as those of Mocking Bird Youth.

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Then there are two cooks (kupewi'tit, Sp. cocineros) who are under Country Chief. It is their duty to cook for the Country Chiefs, and to make corn meal for them. They represent the two helpers given to the first Country Chief by Iatiku. In the beginning there were only the [first] Country Chief and his two helper-cooks. But after Masewi and Oyoyewi left the Acoma people, two more Country Chiefs were appointed to take their place: Mocking Bird Youth and Wren Youth. The three Country Chiefs and their two cooks all live together. 5 They must observe continence.

From the meeting, Country Chief goes to Antelope Man and reports. If there has been any objection to an appointee, Country Chief explains why. In this event the council will name another man, but they must get Antelope Man to agree to the new selection. He can insist upon his candidate, if he wishes; usually he does not insist. Care is taken to make the appointment from a clan other than that of the retiring officer.

Country Chief says to the kiva heads, "Tell your children to wait till tomorrow. When you have eaten breakfast, come into the kiva and wait there."

If a man cannot be at the meeting, he must get consent to stay away, from the "father" or a chaianyi. Four chaianyi are appointed, two from the Fire altar and two from the Flint altar, to give out sticks of office to the appointees. The officers are always up early, they cry out and tell the women to get up early and cook breakfast, so the men can get to the meeting on time.

All the men are supposed to go, each to his own kiva. The four chaianyi go to Mauharo kiva. Then Country Chief goes to the different kivas and asks the head man of each if all members are present. When Country Chief has made his rounds, the chaianyi are first to leave the kiva. They go to the public meeting house. 6 They used to meet in the Mauharo (informant remembers it), but the chaianyi did not like any quarreling to take place in a sacred place, so they built the special meeting house.

Country Chief sends out his officers (the retiring officers) to get the different groups. The different groups are placed in different parts of the meeting house. Besides the retiring officers and the two officers of each kiva, no one knows who the new officers will be. After all are in, Country Chief asks the leaders if all of their members are present. They will report absentees and give the reason for absence. Country Chief acts as chairman and calls the meeting to order. He tells the people, "Now I am going to tell you that new Country Chiefs are to be appointed today and I will give them my staff." The

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officers still have their staffs with them, When they go to the meeting house, they take off their costumes[?] and, kneeling in front of the chaianyi, each hands him the staff with a prayer, "I give you back all your sacred clothes, all your rules, all your power, but I keep all the luck 7 that is in it [? the staff]. This will be mine." At this time they step out of office. Country Chief is free from responsibility, but he continues to preside.

First the five officers in the Country Chief's group are named. Next the tapu’pu (governor). He looks out for the people's outside affairs: public works, things not sacred or religious. Relations with other peoples are attended to by him. 8 He has authority to call meetings; in such matters he does not have to consult the Country Chief. In a matter such as furnishing men for the late [European] war, Country Chief would ask the governor to help him; but the reverse does not hold, as Country Chief cannot leave the pueblo.

The Governor has two assistants: Haukaupshi (one sitting next to him); and Chuitseesh (the last one). These two titles are preceded by tapupu: tapupu haukaupshi, tapupu chuitseesh. These assistants can take his place if he is sick. He consults with them, and they help out generally.

Next they appointed three pishka'ri (Spanish fiscales, no Indian name). Their duties are connected with the church. They have the key to the church, and sweep the church; they meet the priest and bring him in, help him, and call the people to church. When the pishkari wants work done on the church, he would be helped by the Governor. He also acts as helper and messenger to the Governor. The head pishkari has two assistants: Haukaupshi pishkari, Chuitseesh pishkari. These are all who are named at this time.

Country Chief will say, "If no one objects, you are to regard these men as your officers. They are the choice of the Antelope clan."

The people as a rule do not object. If one stood up saying, "I do not want this man," Country Chief would say, "All right, I appoint you!"

The people will say, "Thank you for the officers." The new men are given their staffs. The new Country Chief comes down and brings then, into the Middle. The chaianyi are all sitting on the south side. They say now which staff is to be given to each of the new officers. The man appointed to receive the staff kneels before the chaianyi, who holds up the staff and prays. This is a long prayer reciting how Iatiku gave power to these authorities. At a certain point in the prayer, the staff is handed over. The man meanwhile is praying also. He prays to Iatiku saying, "I am just a common man with no strength or authority. I have been appointed to this

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office and you will help me carry it out." The chaianyi blows on the staff four times, then passes it to the officer. The retiring Country Chief holds the hands of the new officer, raises him thus and seats him on the right side of the chaianyi. While the staff is being received the retiring officer rolls a cigarette which he gives to his successor. The retiring officers wait each for his successor and does likewise.

Frequently the newly appointed Country Chief will offer objections, but he is forced to take the position anyway. Frequently after 3 or 4 years one who was a capable Country Chief can be re-appointed.

After all the staffs are given out, the retiring Country Chief rises and makes a speech, telling the people that they must regard the now man as their officer. "I have finished my term." Sometimes he will relate what hard times he has had in calling out the people and advises them that they should have more respect for their officers and respond more promptly to their calls.

The new Country Chief then gets up and asks the people to regard him with respect as their new officer. All of the rest of the now officers get up in turn and make speeches to the same effect, naming the office they are taking over. Finally the new Governor gets up. He asks the people to appoint a man to be the "water boss." He usually names him ceremonially tsits tika kuwai'a nikouya (the one who orders the water). In common usage he is called mayordomo. There are four mayordomos. Formerly there were but two, but since ditches have been put in at McCarty's 9 they have needed four, one for each ditch.

After these men have been appointed, the new Country Chief prays, then gets up and adjourns the meeting. As the people pass out they say goodbye to [? shake hands with] the new officers.

The Governor has ten "principales" 10 as advisors. These men are named by the Antelope Man and hold office for life. They are distributed evenly among the kivas.

The next day the new Country Chief and his officers will meet and select a place for their headquarters. It may be the home of any one of the officers, usually a place with plenty of space and reasonable privacy. This is the way it is done now. Formerly it was always a house on the North side of the plaza (kakati). The relatives of the new officers replaster, whitewash, and shelve the room selected and, if it has no fireplace, they build one. After the room is finished and all is ready, the new officers go to the old Country Chief's quarters and receive from him the broken prayer stick and other paraphernalia which they transfer to their new room. The new officers then set a date and on it they go out and tell the people that the new officers

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want them to go out to get twigs for making prayer sticks; they tell them that their Country Chief is ready to work and that he wishes the people to help. The two cooks have to get any old corn left in the old country Chief's house and bring it to the new house. Their relatives build a corn grinding place for them. Their duty is to make sacred corn meal, and ka'nashaia, 11 a compound food ground up with matsit [matsinyi] or wafer bread and meat. Corn meal and kanashaia are to be used by Country Chief when he goes out to pray. The cooks have also to keep the place neat and well swept and always to have water in the room. They must do these things themselves as the room is regarded as sacred and even the members of the household are not allowed in it. One of these two cooks must always be in the room. Their duty also is to take the quivers in which Country Chief and officers carry their staffs, and put them on the officers' backs when they leave and take them off when they return. At night they spread the officers' pallets, which are made of only one pelt, so they will not sleep too soundly or in luxury. They must live in the old way, using earthen pots, logs for seats (passed on down, they have been worn down very low). Every time the officers go out they wear their bandoleer with bag of fawn skin into which the cooks have put the prayer meal and mixed food. It is the duty of the cooks to gather corn pollen in season, so as to have plenty for the office. They also collect pollen from cattails. This is put in pots and saved to last through winter. Corn pollen represents domestic plants; cattail pollen represents wild plants, and cattail is a water plant. This is all of the duty of the cooks.

Country Chief wishes help of people. Country Chief and his officers must dress in the old way, in buckskin clothes. They are not allowed to wear hats or any civilized clothes. When going out into the mountains to get branches for prayer sticks, they paint their faces like the Twins. When they get to the foot of the mountain, they say a prayer and scatter corn meal to make a trail into the mountain. Then they go on to the mountain singing a song, and when the bush or tree is found from which they are going to cut their prayer sticks, they again say a prayer to ask permission from the mountain, and ask the mountain not to blame them for doing harm. They tell the mountain that they came for the branches which will benefit the people. They ask yellow flint, blue flint, red flint, and white flint to cut the branches for them. Then they make a mark on the tree with a flint, after this they can cut it with whatever they wish. It is the rule for them to get as much as they can carry; it is to last them the whole year. The branches are tied with buckskin. All the way back to the village they sing their songs. At the foot of Acoma, they say a prayer and make a trail to take the branches into the village to be used for

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the benefit of the people, and then they go on into the village. The only ones who go after these branches are the two officers next to the head Country Chief. As soon as these two reach their house, the cooks help them down with their bundles. The head Country Chief makes the trail into the house with corn meal.

The next day the medicine man and two headmen of each kiva and the Antelope Man wait in their offices for the Country Chiefs to bring them the branches which they are to use for prayer sticks. When the Country Chief comes to the kiva he will call to be allowed to give the sticks to them, and he will name the place where he got them. The officers will say "yes" and take the bundle from the Country Chief who asks that these branches he used by them to help Country Chief.

The same day the Country Chiefs will sit in their house and make prayer sticks; the following day they will go out to pray for the first time. They will go out toward the north. These prayer sticks are all for different rulers, one for the North Mountain ruler 12 (pl. 17), four for the katsina at Wenimats (pl. 9, fig. 1), and three for the Clouds [these are the racing sticks (prayer sticks) and hoop and balls]. These different prayer sticks are placed in three different baskets along with corn meal, pollen, shells, turquoise, and cigarettes rolled with corn husks and wild tobacco. After dark, the three Country Chiefs paint themselves and as they paint they sing a song. The head chief and the one next to him paint up like the elder Twin and the third chief paints up like the younger Twin. This finished, the cooks help them with their corn meal container and quiver; they carry each a basket of prayer sticks on his back. At the doorway they stand and sing a song. After this they leave for the north to pray to North Mountain; they travel until midnight. 13

They usually look for a spring. The first chief carries the prayer sticks belonging to the North Mountain ruler. The second chief carries the prayer sticks belonging to the katsina; the third chief, the ones belonging to the Clouds. When they get to the spring 14 each one unties his own bundle and prays to the one for whom the prayer sticks are intended. In these long prayers they name every blessing they can think of. A hole is dug in the spring and the prayer sticks are buried in the water and covered up with a stone slab. The first Country Chief brings along a canteen and gets water from the spring. They believe that when they get water from this real home of the water it will have magical power and be suitable for the medicine men to mix medicine. They also put a little of this water in every cistern on top of Acoma, so the water will last longer and so these places may attract the clouds or rain.

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When they return to the village, before they get up on top, the two [assistant] chiefs separate and go back to their headquarters; the first Country Chief goes to the chief kiva, Mauharo kai. This night the chaianyi sleep in this kiva and they expect to be awakened by Country Chief. As soon as he gets to the opening in the roof, he asks to be allowed to enter. They say, "Come in!" He greets them saying, "Koatsi, mothers, and your officers, all is well, you are the leader." He has some turkey feathers tied up (wapani) 15 with which he prays to the north. He says a prayer. All the chaianyi listen and encourage him as he prays. As soon as he finishes his prayer he asks to be allowed to leave. They say, "All right, go from us in happiness and be brave." Going up and down the streets, he cries out to awaken the people. He goes to the east end where he starts praying to the Sun. Everyone gets up and with corn meal helps him to pray. He goes praying through the village. Then he returns to his house.

The cooks are waiting for him when he comes in. They greet him saying, "Have you come back, my son?" He breathes into the house four times, saying, "I have brought beads, harvest, game, long life, rain." The cooks are thankful and help him off with his quiver. They tell him to rest, saying, "You have done your work." He takes a short nap before sunrise. This is the first day. This day they rest. The next day they must again make prayer sticks. They make different sticks for the West. (It is not necessary to repeat the details of going to the spring.) On the return, the second Country Chief goes to Mauharo kai and then wakens the people. The next day they rest again and on the next day they repeat it all in connection with the South rulers. On their return the third Country Chief wakens the people. They rest again and the next day at night they go to the East, and the first Country Chief again wakens the people.

From this day they rest 8 days and then start taking turns, only one going out at a time now. They do not take the canteen, but only pray. Their prayers are for all the people. It is not only for the people of Acoma but for "everyone under the sun," haopate itini kaishpish (everybody on top where light is).

The duties of the people to the Country Chief: When called to do so they must bring wood; the women must make pikali--when the young women are asked they do this. The men must plant corn for Country Chief 16 and care for the crops. When there is no harvest, Country Chief can ask people to supply corn from their bins. From

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his supply he furnishes food to people who have no crops. The people also harvest Country Chief's crops. Country Chief may ask all the people to go out and hunt for him, when he is out of meat.

After the first Country Chief has completed his first prayer circuit, he reports to Antelope Man. Antelope Man says, "All right, son, I guess it's time for you to be initiated." 17 Antelope Man sets a date 4 days ahead. He tells Country Chief to make prayer sticks for Kapina chaianyi. All three Country Chiefs make these prayer sticks, leaving it to Kapina chaianyi to set up the altar. Kapina chaianyi says, "It is going to be for the good of my Country Chief and for the good of my people." There is just one Kapina chaianyi at Acoma so he usually asks the Flint chaianyi to help him. Kapina chaianyi sets the date 4 days ahead. During these 4 days he prepares his altar, setting it up.


FIGURE 7.--Diagram of prayer stick of Country Chief.
Click to enlarge

FIGURE 7.--Diagram of prayer stick of Country Chief.


On the morning of the fourth day usually all is ready. The Flint chaianyi do not bring their altar, but bring some of their paraphernalia, arrowheads, bear claws, etc. The sand painting used at this time is the one used when they cross the four mountains 18 (ashtiawakats). This painting is called "destroy tracks." Masewi and Oyoyewi went through this ceremony to get rid of their "haunt." The chaianyi go through this whenever they finish a curing ceremony. This means also that there is confession [? exorcism], wrong doings being forgotten on crossing the four mountains.

Country Chief makes this prayer stick (fig. 7) representing eagle, turkey and two kinds of hawk: People who bring prayer sticks use only two feathers of any of the above birds.

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people understand that this altar is set up so you can obtain power to attract and kill game, to run well and be brave, and to be able to forget ills. These prayer sticks are to be taken to the altar to pray with. To attend any chaianyi work, it is necessary to dress in the old way in breech cloth and blanket, carrying prayer stick in hand. Hair is cut in the four-cornered way (fig. 8) because Iatiku so instructed, as four corners represent any four time period necessary to fulfil or complete. The parting which separates bang from long hair represents the Milky Way, because the Milky Way holds you up. Hats cannot be worn in kiva as the Milky Way must be exposed and not hidden. Shoes are not worn in kiva. One may not pray in shoes; shoe tracks represent "mule tracks." That is what the katsina say.


FIGURE 8.--Ritual hair cut.
Click to enlarge

FIGURE 8.--Ritual hair cut.


When all is ready, Country Chief goes into the street and cries out that all is ready and the people may go to the kiva. It is not compulsory. Nowadays not many people attend. Forty years ago it drew a full house. 19 The people do not go right in but wait on the roof until time to enter. Country Chief goes in first and has his prayer stick put into the fetishes; the three Country Chiefs do this. Hunters take their bow or gun to get power. As soon as one enters, he goes up to the altar and goes to the tiamuni 20 tsamaiya, either the male or female. The chaianyi stand on each side of them, singing. When you finish the prayer, you give the feathers from the prayer stick to the chaianyi who forces them into the tsamai. 21 When you finish your prayer, you step back and sit. The chaianyi leads you all over the sand painting by his feathers. This goes on until everyone has crossed the four mountains. Some of the chaianyi are singing all the time.

Now comes the time to be clothed with whatever blessing you wish. The sand painting is swept up with feathers, then the yucca frame and the Yucca leaves that were spit in two, are taken out at once and carried to the south end of the mesa, where they are thrown into a large crevice.

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[paragraph continues] At this time one Kapina and one Flint chaianyi go into Mauharo kai where they dress up like katsina, but without masks. When the song has been sung and it is time, one of the chaianyi goes after them. They come out of the kiva giving the katsina yell and the war cry of the Twins. They rush into the kiva where the people are. One of the Kapina chaianyi holds the basket and the Kapina chaianyi do a fast shuffling dance over the tsiwaimitiima, making a lot of noise. When they finish this foot shuffling, the Kapina stand one on each end and one holding the basket in the center. The first Country Chief is asked to step out. Then all four start to dance, keeping time with the song. After the first song, they shuffle their feet again. Then the Kapina woman holds up the basket, giving it to the Country Chief, and steps back. Then the Kapina standing on his right strikes him with a yucca switch four times in front on shins, thighs, stomach, chest; the Kapina on the other side strikes him similarly four times from the back.

Everyone else present then goes through the same rite. This completes the most important part. Another song and the people are given back their bows and hunting sticks, which had been placed on one side of the altar by the medicine men when they came in. Then they go home. While going out each person is given a drink of the medicine mixed by the chaianyi. All leave except the three Country Chiefs. The chaianyi ask them if they are manly enough to drink the tsi'chuni medicine they have prepared. It is made out of the dung of snakes. If the Country Chief drinks this, it will give him the power to foresee things. He is asked if he will drink this. Some do and some do not. 22 Four days after drinking it he must stay in kiva. The chaianyi rather hope none will drink it, as they too must stay in these 4 days. No one may touch or help the one drinking the medicine, not even touch his blanket. Anyone touching him will fall and be badly injured. He does not fast during this time. He can speak to anyone and leave the kiva for necessities. During these 4 days the chaianyi give Country Chief advice and relate the traditions. They instruct him in relays, first one chaianyi, then another. This finishes the Country Chief's initiation.


99:1 Cf. White, 1932, pp. 60-61.

99:2 According to White, 1932, pp. 42, 60, it is the cacique, the head of the Antelope Clan, who appoints the officers.

99:3 Cf. White, 1942.

99:4 Antelope nawai (head man) is the cacique. It is curious that he is always referred to by this informant as Antelope Man; he is usually designated "cacique," at least in talking to white people.

100:5 Cf. White, 1932, p. 45. According to White: First war chief is Cutimĭti; second, Cpatimĭti; third, Maiyatcotimĭti; then there are three cook-helpers, and ten "little chiefs" as assistants.

100:6 See Plan (fig. 1). (See White, 1942.)

101:7 Keres use "luck" equivalent to "blessing."

101:8 Cf. White, 1932, pp. 52-55.

102:9 A colony of Acoma, to the northwest, located on the Santa Fé railroad and the main automobile highway between Albuquerque and Gallup.

102:10 Cf. White, 1932, p. 52.

103:11 Of. White, 1932, p. 45.

104:12 Informant's note: The Mountain prayer sticks are the largest made, over a foot long. The twigs and leaves are the clothes of the prayer sticks. [In other prayer sticks, feathers somewhat similarly placed are called the clothes.]

104:13 Cf. White, 1932, pp. 46-51.

104:14 Gotsicpawatsa, "Pretty Spring."

105:15 See White, 1932 p. 129.

105:16 The communal farming is usually said by Keres to be done for the cacique (White, 1932, p. 42; Boas, 1928, pt. 1, p. 288; White, 1932 a, p. 14; 1935, p. 35; Dumarest, 1919, p. 197; Goldfrank, 1927, pp. 40, 93-94). But White (1942) also reports that a communal farm at Acoma is worked for the War (or Country) Chief--at least he has charge of it. This is probably not an instance of two different customs but different ways of reporting the same custom: the fields are worked, probably for the cacique, but are tended under the direction of the War Chief.--L. A. W.

106:17 See White, 1932, pp. 48-50; 1942.

106:18 See p. 67.

107:19 The informant was once in American vaudeville.

107:20 See p. 37. Kapina chaianyi represents Tiamuni, Iatiku's "husband."

107:21 Into the other feathers bundled around the fetish.

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