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p. 203




The story of a primordial world is full of European elements.

Before the people of this present dispensation came from the place of emergence the people of the previous dispensation prepared for a great flood. They manned a boat and stuffed it with corn. All those who were overtaken by the flood were drowned or were turned into rocks. When the flood had subsided, the white pigeon and the crow were sent out of the boat to look for land, but the crow ate the eyes of the dead and in punishment his feathers became black. Therefore crows are black. These people of the former world who were saved in the boat are called "last year's crop people" and are identified as Orientals, who are rarely seen along the Rio Grande (p. 2).


The story of the two sisters Uretsete and Naotsete is the sacred origin story of Cochiti, but for it we have to depend upon the version recorded by Dumarest before 1900. There is to-day a strong feeling against telling it to the whites, and only the culminating incident was told me.

Uretsete was the mother of the Indians, Naotsete, the elder sister, of the whites. They both wanted to go to the south to people the country, and Naotsete challenged her younger sister to a contest of powers to determine which should have the privilege. She was to tell the direction in which the tracks of a bird led along a meal road she had made. Uretsete guessed correctly and called Turkey Man who had made the tracks. He therefore belonged to her. In return she challenged Naotsete In the same fashion, but caused the chaparral cock to leave his tracks In the meal road. These do not indicate direction, and the elder sister failed in her guess. Neither could she name the bird that had left the tracks, so that chaparral cock also went to Uretsete and belonged to her. In return Naotsete challenged her to name the rattlesnake who had similarly left tracks on the meal road; she did so and won rattlesnake to belong to her. Again Uretsete challenged her sister to guess Crow; she failed and Crow also belonged to Uretsete.

The two sisters therefore challenged each other to fight. They were to undergo a test before the entire people and success would belong to the one on whom the rays of the sun rested first. Naotsete was the taller and was confident of victory. The sisters fasted for four days while their people made arrows for the warfare to follow. The sisters stood for the test on a little hill and the war captains watched closely. But Spider Man sent Magpie who covered a part of the sun with his wings so that the rays fell on Uretsete.[paragraph continues]

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As soon as she had won she seized her sister and the war captains helped to bind her. Her sister tore open her chest and removed her heart. When it was split open a squirrel came from the north side and a white dove from the south. Uretsete then withdrew to Shipap, counselling her people against disputes. (Dumarest, 212-215.)

Only the challenge of the sun's rays is told in the versions given in 1926 (p. 1). Both versions agree closely, and add one detail recorded also for the Sia 1 (p. 34), and indicated also in Dumarest (p. 214, n. 2), which depends upon an association between the woodrat and the Navahos.

The Navahos are said at Cochiti to have taboos that center upon the woodrat, and in these three tales Naotsete saves herself by running off into the rocks as a woodrat; that is why Navahos still save themselves among the rocks.

All the Cochiti versions agree therefore with the Sia story 1 in making Uretsete the local divinity and Naotsete the mother of the Navahos (of the whites also, Dumarest). One version names Uretsete's shrine at Yoashke near Cochiti.

The Cochiti and Sia versions are set over against the Laguna versions (for discussion see Boas, 228-238) where I'tc‘ts‘ity‘i is the father of the whites and Nau'ts‘ity‘i the mother of the Indians.


The place of emergence in Cochiti is called Shipap and it is the home of the dead and the supernaturals.

There are four "rooms" each guarded by Mountain Lion, over which Masewa keeps watch. When people come who have a right to the help of the Cochiti supernaturals, he quiets Mountain Lion. In the first room the sk’akuts katcinas are parching corn. They jump when a kernel pops (the description of the other three rooms was obviously omitted). In the fourth room is Heluta, father of the katcinas (p. 10).

In Shipap also Heluta imprisons the deer until they are let out over the world for the use of man (p. 11).

Our mother forbade the witches to accompany her children, but her plans miscarried. The witches came up into this world (p. 4).

The emergence was led by Masewa and his younger brother, followed by Iareku, the corn mother, and all her people. They came through the gateway of the rainbow and before they came out they had each received from Masewa instructions as to where they were to settle in this world (pp. 7, 13, 249).

Each Indian carried an ear of corn and they stopped to grind when they came to flat slabs of stone outcropping from the soil (p. 13).


(3 versions, a Dumarest, p. 227; b Benedict, informant 1, p. 4; c Benedict, informant 1, p. 4)

Our mother gave the bag of stars, to carry up from the under world, to Kotcimanyako, b; to Coyote, c; to Scarabeus, who has two eyes which shine like

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stars. At the advice of spider she had made the stars of cornmeal dough and left them in the ashes without cooking so that they would shine, a. Our mother forbade the carrier of the bag to open it but he disobeyed. The stars flew into the sky in disorder and only a few of the constellations were given names. (Therefore Coyote was punished with great difficulty in providing himself with food, c; and Scarabeus was punished with blindness and given only two horns with which to feel his way, a.)


As they left Shipap a child sickened, and since this was the first sickness they sent the chief of the Giant curing society back to our mother in Shipap for help. She told him that if she helped her people in this the world would be overcrowded with the living and It was better for them to the and return to Shipap and live with her (p. 5).

At this time all people were brothers, corn ripened In one day and everyone was happy (p. 5).

The people separated, half settling at White House and half at the Village of Two Lions (pp. 5, 13).


The dead returned to Shipap and occasionally come back to this world for various reasons and report what they have seen. One such story is recorded of a man who was cruel to animals. He died and was escorted by the spirit messengers to Shipap. He saw that the roads approaching it were beautifully cared for, the work of many people. In Shipap the chief priests received him with grief because of his cruelty to animals, and he knelt and asked forgiveness. He was sent back to his body before it was prepared for burial, and summoned the war chiefs and priests and told them what he had seen. Ultimately he became cacique (p. 128).

Another tale recounts the summoning of the flint priest to the other world before he was installed as cacique. Supernatural messengers took him out of his body and returned him to it just as it had been made ready for burial. Meanwhile, In the other world, he had been shown the punishments that awaited the wicked and the happiness that would come to the good and how to care for his people as cacique (p. 130).

Still another story of this sort tells of a mother who grieved for her dead daughter, refusing to wash herself or cut her hair. Her daughter was sent with the two supernatural messengers to appear to her mother, dishevelled and dirty on account of her mother's mourning. The mother washed herself and was then taken by the messengers to the other world where she was shown her daughter who was again happy and clean. She was returned to her body just as they were burying it (p. 131).

Another account is told as a personal experience. It is full of Christian elements. A hell is pictured for the wicked, and war captains police them lest they escape (p. 255).


The rebellion against the Mother which takes various forms in the eastern pueblos (Boas, 27; 67) is not so strongly emphasized in these Cochiti tales.

After Uretsete withdrew into Shipap, the people continued their travels. But they quarrelled, and in consequence, they were decimated by illness. They sent Coyote to Our Mother, but she reproached the people and asked them to

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select two men to send to her. When they came she gave them each a corn fetish (iareko) which Spider helped her prepare with parrot feathers and eagle down. These two became medicine men. (Dumarest, 215.)

The estrangement from Our Mother is referred to also In connection with the plenty which Hummingbird enjoyed In Shipap, while all the rest were starving as a result of a punishment of her people for their disbelief. She withheld the storm clouds for four years (p. 5). The story is more fully recorded from Laguna. (Boas, p. 10-12.)


(2 versions: a, Benedict, informant 1, p. 6; b, informant 2, p. 7)

After Cochiti was settled Salt Woman came to the pueblo with her grandson, Salt Man. She was scabby and old and dirty and people turned her away unfed. She told the people, "These scabs are not sores," i. e. were salt. (She left the pueblo and came to a place where children were playing, swinging on a tree. She had a magic crystal, and she turned them all into chaparral jays. They went to Santo Domingo and were received and she gave them her flesh to eat a. She stayed only a little while at Santo Domingo for people fouled her place b.) They settled permanently to the southeast, at Salt Lake, and decreed the people must go quietly and naked to get salt. That is why it is necessary to go so far for salt.

(A similar idea is embodied in a. tale of European derivation, The Contest of Good-tasting Fat. All the animals contested over the good taste of their fat. Salt Mother decided the contest, proving that it was all one what fat was eaten so long as she had not flavored the dish (p. 7).


The carnivorous animals went into retreat In preparation for the blessing of the kind of livelihood they should have In this world. Coyote was thirsty the third day, put sacred meal in the water and drank. He told Wildcat and she did the same. Therefore good hunting was given the other animals, but poor to Wildcat and Coyote (p. 8).


(3 versions: a Boas, p. 251; b Benedict, p. 61; c Benedict, p. 11)

Ganadyani (Heluta, b) planted dewclaws which sprouted into full grown deer, b, c; he planted all kinds of game, a. He had (a baby son Payatamu, a; a son-in-law Corncob Boy, b) and when he took him to his field he knocked off the antlers of the deer just appearing from the ground, a, b. When the game was full grown (he shut the deer up In Shipap, and then let them out to fill the world, c; he Instituted the rites to be performed over game that has been killed, and dispersed the animals over the world, a). Corncob Boy in return for Deerplanter's field of game, planted corn and taught Deerplanter's people its use, b.



The most prominent figure in the katcina tales, as he is also in any katcina dance, is Heluta. He is called the father of the katcinas

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and precedes their entry at a dance, announcing them and talking with the people by signs. One of the tales of Heluta merges in that of Ganadjani, the name changing midway of the tale. Ganadjani is father of the koshare (Goldfrank, 53, n. 1) and father of the Shurdzi (Goldfrank, 62) and his shrine is the Shurdzi shrine. My notes specify his relation to the Shurdzi but not to the koshare. In the tales he is the planter of the deer, in whose garden the deer originate.

Heluta and Nyenyega, father of the Shurdzi, both wanted to marry Yellow Woman, and the koshare set the test: to bring to Yellow Woman a deer without a wound. Nyenyega succeeded and married Yellow Woman (p. 9).

Heluta lives in Shipap (p. 10). He is the father of Corncob Boy (p. 62). He is the planter of the deer (pp. 11, 61, 251).

Heluta is summoned to compete in a contest of food supplies. He arrives with only one little cob with a few scattered kernels on it. They mock him and he promises that In four years they shall rank his living above theirs. He withholds the rain. In the distress of famine they send Fly to Shipap as a messenger, but Heluta tears out its tongue and on its return it can only buzz. They sent Hummingbird who acknowledges to Heluta the submission of his people and Heluta promises help if they offer him a deer from the north side of the mountain upon which the sun has never shone. They find such a deer and the drought ends (p. 9).

Again in a tale of Corncob Boy, here Heluta's son, he punishes his people for sex license by withholding rain. Only Corncob Boy is given corn and an inexhaustible bowl of water, and is told to be generous to the people in their need. When they are in great distress they ask Corncob Boy to Intercede with his father and he sends Coyote as messenger. Heluta relents and gives them the ceremony of the Giant Society and it Is followed by rain (p. 62).

In another tale of Corncob Boy, Heluta, is his father-in-law. Corncob Boy leaves his pueblo and his two wives, because his people have mocked him, and withholds the rain. Only to his wives he leaves Inexhaustible water and corn and tells them to be generous. In the northwest he meets two girls, Heluta's daughters, who marry him. His father shows him his fields but he sees nothing. When he brushes aside sand he knocks off the tender antlers of Heluta's growing deer. In return he plants corn and teaches Heluta not to knock off its tender shoots. He teaches Heluta's people the use of corn as food (p. 61).

Heluta's (Ganadjani's) seeds are dewclaws. When he plants these the antlers appear first, then full-sized deer. He takes them to Shipap and shuts them up there. To fill the earth with deer he opens the gates and lets them out upon the mountain. Therefore there are deer In the world (p. 11).

In the text version (p. 251) a combination of the two stories, pp. 11 and 61, is told of Ganadyani and his son Payatamu (youth). See notes, "Origin of Deer," p. 206.


The widely distributed pueblo story of the imprisonment of the katcinas is fragmentary in our version.

A squirrel ran in among the katcinas at a basket dance, and frightened them so that they ran away and could not be found. The people appealed to Heluta and he commanded the koshare to find them. Masewa repeated his

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command as deputy. The koshare broke open the earth at their feet and a spruce tree grew out of it. Up this the lost katcinas climbed. They were very weak from imprisonment. When the people saw them they were very happy again (p. 11).

Another story of the loss and recovery of the koshare is told of the time when the people were living at White House and at the Village of the Two Lions.

The kurena had a dance and after it went back to their house In the east. But the koshare went off to (the then uninhabited) Cochiti, the middle of the world. After this the katcina dances at White House were failures because no koshare came with them, and at last Iareku, the Corn Mother, told them to go to Cochiti, to the center of the world, where they would find the lost clowns. Masewa led them to Cochiti and after all the people had enjoyed the dance, the colors of the directions were assigned to the koshare in the house of the Flint Society (p. 14).


Yellow Woman's son is a little child when the katcinas return from imprisonment, but when they have retired for four dances he is full grown and takes his position as dance leader in the middle of the line of dancers (mayurli katsena).

Clay Old Man and Clay Old Woman, katcinas, instituted pottery. Old Man danced for her while she worked and when the pot was almost done he knocked it over with his foot and broke it. She snatched up his stick (a part of his regular katcina costume) and chased him (a pantomime which is acted out in their katcina appearances). Afterwards Old Man gave a bit of her clay to all the women in the village and enjoined pottery making (p. 12).

Bloody Handprint Katcina is much feared. The first time he came with the katcinas to dance, he insisted on challenging a boy to race. When the boy outdistanced him he threw his long obsidian knife at him and killed him. He lives at the shrine at Koash'ke (p. 13).

Gawi'ma celebrated by dance and song Arrow Boy's discovery of his wife in sky land, and was paid by him with two turkeys (p. 48).

Corn Soot Woman, Wesa, is a patron of the women's Corn Grinding society. Her name and that of Ioashka figure in their songs. Corn Soot Woman blessed the grinders with the promise of fat corn when her flesh (corn soot) was included with the corn for grinding (pp. 14, 15).



The women's corn grinding society ground ceremonially that there might be plenty of corn flour. Four women remained in the society room that they might begin grinding before sunrise. They laid aside the sooted ears to discard, but Corn Soot Woman appeared and protested, promising that their corn should be fat if soot was included. Therefore they grind the sooted ears with the rest end use her name in their songs (p. 14).


In the old days the Koshare were dancing on the roof tops. They threw a little baby from one roof top to another and it fell and was killed. The [paragraph continues]

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Koshare jumped down after the baby and were killed also. For this reason they left Frijoles and went to the mesa of the Stone Lions (p. 15). In those days when they danced the footprints of the people and their turkeys remained as landmarks (p. 15).


There are supernatural dangers associated with the dances.

At a certain deer dance the deer dancers were permanently metamorphosed into deer and ran into the mountains. They tried to recover them through the curing society ceremonies but they could not (p. 17).


The scene of a Snake Society story is laid in Sia, there being no snake society in Cochiti at present.

A four days' fast of the Snake Society members enabled them to catch snakes for their dance. They put these in great ollas in the ceremonial room. They had to drink water flavored with ground cactus flowers. On the fourth night there was a general curing ceremony in their ceremonial room, and four members of the society danced with the snakes before the ground altar. The feast was brought in, and afterwards the members slept in the ceremonial room. They had intercourse with each other, and for their sins they were turned into stone. They can still be seen in Sia (p. 15).


When Pecos was deserted those who were left behind committed suicide by ceremonially becoming snakes. The others, who had gone down to Santo Domingo, summoned the Puyatc Society, and tried ceremonially to restore their relatives, but without success. Therefore the remnants of the people of Pecos who live in Santo Domingo now have the Puyatc Society (p. 16).


The Giant Society in. Cochiti is the curing society for all those who are not specifically members of some other curing society. As they say, the Giant Society is for all the uninitiated. It functions for them also at birth, death, etc. For this reason the Giant Society is mentioned as the proper curing society as a matter of course in many tales.

The Giant Society was instituted by Heluta after the great drought to show his forgiveness of his people and to bring back the rains. The Giant Society by its power created a giant magically to overcome the child-eating giant of the witches (p. 17). The Giant Society acts as the curing society (pp. 76, 109).


204:1 The Sia, by Matilda Coxe Stevenson. Eleventh Ann. Rept. Bur. Ethn., p. 33.

Next: II. Hero Tales