Sacred Texts  Native American  Southwest  Index  Previous  Next 


Masewi and Oyoyewi were active as usual, traveling in different countries, from which they brought back many scalps of people they killed. The rulers in the four directions did not like the Twins, so they held a meeting and decided that the Twins were doing too much wrong, that they were afraid of nothing nor anybody. They decided the Twins should be punished. 83 So they called Pishuni hachtsa [old man] (the evil spirit) to help them. When he came they asked him if he would help them punish the Twins, and told him the wrongs they had been doing. So he said, "Yes, I'll be glad to help. Leave it all to me. I will find a way to punish them."

Pishuni watched the village at Haako for someone to die. The Twins had known a girl at the village who was a very good character. Pishuni worked on this girl, causing her to die. So at the time of her death he went into her house and painted himself with some of this girl's blood, assuming the likeness of the girl. He met the Twins and spoke to them. The girl was very attractive and the Twins liked her and invited her to their home. She told the Twins she loved them and Would like to live with them in their home. So they told their mother that this girl wanted to live with them, and the mother was pleased. They let the girl stay and at night she crept in between the Twins as they slept, but they did not know it. (Before they went to sleep she had crawled in with them, but they turned over and slept.)

While Masewi and Oyoyewi slept the girl turned into a corpse of horrible appearance. She fondled one of them and he awoke to see her as an emaciated, naked bag. He then got up, crying to his brother,

p. 84

[paragraph continues] "Look, someone has lain down with us." But before the other spoke the girl Pishuna, spoke, saying, "It is I, you are my husband, don't you remember you invited me to live here?" and tried to pull them back. The Twins were frightened and ran out of the house followed by Pishuna. The spirit was called Ko’oko, a haunt. Thus, if a man murders another, he is always haunted by Kooko at night. 84

She followed the Twins all night. They would go a distance and try to rest, but she would catch up and speak to them. She kept haunting them in this manner for many days and nights. They thought of running to North Mountain to try to get help. They went into the home of the ruler of the North, Shakak, telling him that they were being followed by this woman and that they came to ask help. Shakak said, "Yes, I will help you." So they rested a while, but it was not long before Pishuna was near by yelling for the Twins: "Are my husbands there?" Shakak had known that the evil spirit was to punish the Twins, so he answered, "Yes, they are here, come down and get them!" Pishuna came down and started again to speak to the Twins. She asked why they were running away, coaxing them to come to her.

The Twins ran out and Pishuna followed close at their heels. They tried to rest, but Pishuna was always waking them up. They ran until they went to Wenimats for help. They went into the kiva of Tsitsanits and asked for help. He also knew that they were being punished, but he consented to lot them rest. When Pishuna came, though, he let her in to them. Tsitsanits made the excuse of saying they had better leave because she was so ugly looking. He could give them a place to sleep but nothing else. So they left and Pishuna after them.

Next they ran to West Mountain, for help. They had not eaten since they left home. They were hungry and tired. They asked Morityem for help, and he consented to help them. He asked them what was wrong with the bows and arrows they had used so successfully for killing people. They said they could not use them any more as they were too frightened to shoot straight. So Morityem said he would help, that it could not be anybody very fierce to scare these Twins. He also knew that the Twins must be punished, so he let Pishuna in when she called. He let her in, telling her, "Take your husbands out, you are so ugly I can't do anything with you."

So the Twins ran, heading for Gaukapuchume, the gambler of South Mountain. They were exhausted by now and Pishuna was just about to get them, as they were about to give up. They rushed into the house of Gaukapuchume and frightened him. They told

p. 85

him not to fear, that they were being chased and they had come to him for help. Gaukapuchume was flattered that two such brave men should come to him for help, so he said, "Yes, I'll help you. What's wrong that you are not manly any more?" He told them to take a rest. He took his ball (the baby head) and his stick and when Pishuna yelled asking for the Twins, he replied, "Yes, they are here, come on in!" He had his ball and stick ready. He hit the ball toward Pishuna. The ball struck her on the chest. It splashed blood and Pishuna was frightened and turned and fled. The ball cried at the same time. Gaukapuchume followed with his stick, striking the ball toward Pishuna. He was a good runner and chased the evil spirit, hitting the ball four times, and following after each stroke. On the fourth hit, the ball chased the evil spirit into pishuni ha’ach, home of the evil spirit. He turned back, letting the ball chase Pishuna.

He returned to the Twins, who were almost dead with exhaustion. He made fun of them, saying, "It is not true after all that you are brave. I have won from you the title of bravery. I am going to tell you why you have been punished. You have been killing people all over the country and have left their bodies scattered all over. That is the reason this Kooko was chasing you. From now on do not kill just for the purpose of sport and just because you think you are brave. Human beings are sacred (precious). They are not like animals. Unless you know how many scalps you have taken, I am going to send you back to your people. When you get there you are to take your scalps and wash them. You are also to dance for the public. But from the day you wash the scalps, you are to fast 30 days (and observe continence). After the thirtieth day you are to come out and dance." They were to call the Koshari (impersonators) to be the leaders in this dance. 85 He taught them how to dance and how to carry the scalps. They were to have cedar branches, one scalp to hang from each twig. They were to get a long pole to the top of which they would tie the scalps. They were to place this pole in the plaza 4 days before they danced. On the fourth day they were to come out and dance all day, and at sundown after finishing the dance they were to take down the pole. Then for 30 days more they were to remain continent. He told them, "If you do not keep this fast the Kooko will come to haunt you again." He told them that the scalps should not be thrown away. After the dance they were to belong to the tribe. After these instructions were given them, they left and returned to the village.

When they returned to the village, the people noticed that they seemed very sad and run down physically. As soon as Country Chief heard about them, he came to see them. He asked them why they

p. 86

were in that condition. They answered, "Yes, I guess we do look that way. We will not tell you just now, but will tell you tonight. Go and call the people to meeting. Have all of the chaianyi and officers present." So Country Chief went up the streets crying out and telling the people. lit the evening at the appointed time they met in kiva. Country Chief went after the Twins. When they came to the meeting they were not smiling and looking happy and alert and lively as usual. They seemed to have lost their aggressiveness. There were whispers going around, "Why do they look like this? Someone must have beaten them."

Country Chief gave the Twins cigarettes to smoke. (The Indians always use this tobacco when they are going to ask an important question or a favor from anyone). The Country Chief offered it to them telling them to rest and smoke, then to tell why they had wished the meeting called. After they had smoked, Masewi, the elder, rose and spoke, "Yes, it is true, I know you are talking to us. It is true that we have made a mistake. You have always known us to be superior. We have never told you, but we have killed many people in our travels and their bodies are scattered all around. For this reason punishment was brought upon us by the Skau'pistaia. 86 For this reason they brought alive Kooko for us. They almost got the best of us with the Kooko. But Gaukapuchume helped us conquer it. We were saved in the South Mountain. For 8 days and 8 nights we were without sleep, food, or water. We were chased to South Mountain. But we were saved and we have brought back instructions from Gaukapuchume which are to be followed always from now on. He told us that we two were to dance with the scalps of the people we have killed. But first we are to set a date from which we are to purify ourselves and confess with prayers to Iatiku, whose people we have destroyed. But we will tell you and you will see how we go through this ceremony and you will watch and listen and learn every step of it. We will ask Country Chief to ask the Koshari to be with us in this ceremony, which they will rule. This is the reason we wished this meeting called. I hope we have not caused you too much bother. You will hear of the date that we will set at another time." The meeting adjourned and the people started talking, saying it was true the Twins had been too impetuous and forward.

The Twins returned to their home and told their mother she was to be womanly and was to help them with what they had to go through, and they said a prayer to her. They told her she was to take part in the dance with them. They knew she had the hardest part to do, for she had to dance all day long. They set the next day to start their

p. 87

fast. Though they were still sick and tired, they went out and got twigs to make their prayer sticks. For 4 days they worked making them and putting them in baskets until four baskets were filled. They made a new costume for themselves. They strung bear claws for a necklace and they made clothing of skins of game animals with a shoulder girdle [bandoleer] of the skin of beasts of prey. To this a pouch was attached. In it was gravel obtained from ant hills. The flint arrowheads which they had pulled through the skin when they had been chased by Lightning at Tule Lake were sewed to the outside. Tassels hanging from the pouch were each of different kinds of skins. All parts of it were taken from enemies they had killed.

After the twelfth day, they called Country Chief to tell him to tell his people they should make songs to be used in dramatizing the bringing of scalps into the pueblo. (They were to act as though they had killed an enemy and were bringing in the scalp.) 87 Country Chief did as he was asked to do. The men gathered and made songs. They had a song they were to use when the scalps were to be brought in and to sing to them all night till sunrise.

On the eighth day at midnight, Masewi and Oyoyewi took the scalps and went out into the country. They went quite a distance from the village. They stopped at an ant hill and broke it up, putting the scalps on it. They made a miniature house (hogan) over the scalps. They asked the ants to "whip" the scalps and to "kill" and "eat" them. The ants did so. The Twins gave their war cry while jumping back and forth over the pile. They had brought with them one of the baskets of prayer sticks and with them they prayed to the north. They buried the prayer sticks, leaving the scalps. The next night they went to the west with another basket of prayer sticks; then they returned and rested. The next night they wept to the South and did likewise and on the fourth night to the east and did the same.

The fourth time they did not return but went on to where they had left the scalps. They had told Country Chief they would announce their coming by giving their war cry. So they cried out when they came near the village, and the people heard them. Country Chief heard them also, so he likewise cried out for all the able-bodied men to come out into the plaza. Giving the war cry, Masewi and Oyoyewi approached as the people gathered in the plaza. Country Chief was coaxing the people to hurry; they were frightened. The Twins finally came into the crowd and they told the people, "The Moishumoi 88 (enemies) are coming after us; we have killed some of them."

p. 88

[paragraph continues] They told all the able-bodied men to get their weapons and bring a little lunch. Most of the men rushed back to their houses to get weapons and food. This was the first time they were going on the war path and the women were encouraging the men. Every man was out, none stayed behind. Masewi and Oyoyewi led the attack.

When they arrived at the place where the scalps were, the Twins said, "Here is the place," and they started to shoot arrows and throw their clubs at the scalps. After everyone had done this, the Twills gave orders to stop and they told the people that they were now going to "take a scalp." They told the people to watch closely to see how it was done. They would rush up to the hogan, acting as though they were fighting and cutting the scalp from an enemy. They would take one scalp after another and throw it over their shoulder. After they had gathered them all up, they told the people to get shoots of young cedar and cut down a 12-foot pole. The cedar shoots were tied to the top of the pole and from each twig a scalp was tied. After this was done they told the people, "We are going to take the scalps back to the village and we are going to sing the first song." As they came toward the village they sang (there are about 20 songs used), Masewi carried the pole, no one else could touch it. If anyone touched it, he would be haunted by Kooko.

When they were near the village, all the women gathered around them. The pole was planted in the middle of the plaza. Then Masewi said, "Four days from now my brother and I will dance. But I ask all of you people to help with our dance. For 4 days you will practice this dance. Our mother is going to do the ashia (the name of her part in the dance)." He told the people, "This is the way you are to pay tribute to your warriors if they conquer some other people." 89

That same night Country Chief had asked that the Koshari come out of the kiva. They were to go from house to house and gel, the people to go to the kiva to practice. Masewi told the people they were to regard the Koshari as rulers during these 4 days; they were to rank above Country Chief, Antelope Man, and all the chaianyi. He said that the people were not to have cigarettes unless they asked the Koshari to make them for them. (We make this rule very strict. If anyone smokes a cigarette he makes himself during these 4 days, he would be haunted by the scalps, or would be the first to be killed or injured in battle.)

Every evening at sundown during these 4 days Koshari would gather the people and bring them to the kiva where Masewi and Oyoyewi were. They helped with the songs and encouraged the people to be brave and patient. During these 4 days the Twins were

p. 89

fixing up the costumes they were to wear in the dance. It was the first time the people would see them in the costume their father had given them, and how they were painted.

The night before the dance they took their mother into the kiva to practice her dance. They made different headdresses for her to wear. That night the Koshari told the people they were all to be in the kiva before sunrise. Just about daybreak the Koshari came out of the kiva and got on the housetop and sang a song. All were in their Koshari costume. Early in the morning they went from house to house telling people to come to kiva. The Twins had asked two chaianyi to help dress them in kiva. They were supposed to be resting and not to help themselves, but they instructed the chaianyi how to paint them and in what they wanted to wear.

As soon as the sun came up, the Koshari said the dance was to start. All the people came out and took position on the plaza.

The mother 90 of the twins goes in dancing among the men as they come into the plaza. When the song is over the men stop, and the mother dances alone back of the pole, Masewi and a chaianyi sitting between her and the pole. She dances just one song by the pole, then they all go back to kiva, where they rehearse more songs. In the first dance Masewi, the elder twin, comes out; in the second dance Oyoyewi, the Younger twin, comes out.

The Twins had asked some women to prepare food at their home for all the people. They always had plenty of meat, being great hunters. This was the first time the people were to hold a feast all together. At noon the Koshari told the people that the women were to bring food and gather at the kiva. They had a big feast, some ate outside and others in kiva. The Koshari told the people after they had eaten they were to continue the dance in the afternoon until sundown.

When the dance was over, the Twins said a prayer for the people and thanked them for taking part in the ceremony. The people then left and rested. The Twins took down the pole and told the people that the scalps belonged to the tribe, and anyone wishing to be brave might come and ask the scalps for power. 91 They told the people that they were to go through this ceremony any time that an enemy was killed. This dance is also to pay respect to the enemy who has been killed, so he will not haunt the killer.

So they took the scalps off the pole and took them back to their home. At their home they built an addition especially for the scalps to live in. For 30 days more they were to purge themselves and remain continent. After these 30 days they would be free of Kooko and would not be haunted. This is the end of the ceremony. (One who kills an

p. 90

enemy is known as Opi or Masewi, he always represents Masewi. The last of these, an old man, about 25 years ago, had the scalps buried, there would be no one to feed them and care for them when he died, and he feared sickness or pests might come to the village as a result.) 92

From this day on, the Twins were much more careful of what they did and were not so impetuous and purposeless in their activities. Every time a man killed an enemy, they held this ceremony and they got their instructions from the Twins how to go about it. The Twins said that they were not very happy any more and that they were no longer fit to be with the people and that they were going to disappear. They said that they were going to take their mother and the three would go on top of the east point of the rock 93(at Acoma). They said they selected this place because they knew that Iatiku meant for the people to live on top of the rock, as it would be more wonderful and mysterious. 94 "So we are going ahead in order to disappear there." Shortly after this Masewi, Oyoyewi, and their mother were missed by the people.


83:83 Cf. Acoma, White, 1942; Santo Domingo, White, 1935, pp. 187-191; Zuñi, Parsons, 1923 b, 155-159.

84:84 An Acoma man was sent to the penitentiary at Santa Fé to serve a long term for murder. When he returned to Acoma he said that what he suffered most while in prison was being pursued his sleep by ko’ok.--L. A. W.

85:85 White, 1932, pp. 97-101; Boas, 1928, pt. 1, pp. 2891-90. See White, 1942.

86:86 The informant said that this term includes the rulers of the directions, the katsina and others. White was told that ckau'pictaiya is a term embracing the spirits of the four directions, Sun, Moon, Wind, and Earth, but that it does not include the katsina, Lightning, or Iatiku. He was unable to ascertain the basis of this distinction.

87:87 Informant's note: At Acoma one could become an Opi [a member of the Warriors' society] only by killing a human enemy, but in other places one could become Opi through killing an eagle or a bear. Cf. White, 1932, p. 96 At Santa Ana one could become an Opi through killing a bear, puma, and perhaps wildcat and eagle (White, ms.).

87:88 Mo'acomi does not mean enemies literally, but "nomadic Indian tribes adjacent to the pueblos:" Navaho, Apache, Ute, Comanche. Actually, of course, they were enemies of the pueblos. Cf. Gunn, 1917, p. 86. "The Queres call the Navajos 'Moa-shrum.' The name means, 'those who came out of the hills or rough country.'"

88:89 This sentence seems highly paraphrased or highly acculturated for: This is the way you are to dance when you take a scalp (or have killed an enemy). See below.

89:90 According to Boas, 1928, pt. 1, pp. 16, 207, 286, 289, the woman who dances with Masewi in the scalp dance is ko’oko, and is the sister of the War Twins, not their mother.

89:91 Cf. White, 1935, p. 60, ftn. 56.

Next: Wanderings, Part XVIII