Truth of a Hopi by Edmund Nequatewa
HOW THE HOPI SELECTED SHUNG-OPOVI FOR THEIR HOME
The Hopis had forgotten about the other tribes by this time and did not know where they were. They were hoping to see the Eastern Star so that they could settle down and not travel any more. Well, finally the Bear Clan did see the Eastern Star and they were ready to settle down, but they didn't know just where would be a good place for them. They thought that they would do better cultivating by depending on rain, so they went out onto the Painted Desert to Shung-opovi (the place by the spring where the tall weeds grow). Being out here in such a desolate place they thought that they would be safe from other people, who would not think that they had anything worth taking.
By that time the other Hopis were down around the vicinity of Sunset Crater, Canyon Diablo and the Little Colorado River.
After a good many years these other Hopis heard of the Bear Clan being out at Shung-opovi, so the Strap Clan who were settled along Canyon Diablo, thought they would go out and join the Bear Clan. So they started out. When they did start out they stopped along the ridge below Ma-teuvi, which is now called Big Burro Spring. From there they sent off a messenger to Shung-opovi to tell the Chief that his brothers, the Strap Clan, would like to join him. 16
When the messenger came to the Chief of Shung-opovi and told him what the Strap Clan leader wished to do, he could not very well answer his message just then. So he sent word back that he would like to have the Strap Clan chief come himself. When the Strap Clan leader heard this word he went up to Shung-opovi with his bag of tobacco and his pipe.
Of course, in those days, they had guards that were always on the lookout for someone coming, for fear it might. be an enemy. Well, this man was seen coming and the Chief was notified. He knew who it was, the man being alone, so he went out to meet him and he met him at the place called Teuviovi (point that runs out south of Shung-opovi Day School). When they met there, they greeted one another by smoking their pipes. After they had smoked
their pipes, the Strap Clan leader told the chief of the Bear Clan how he had followed his trail and that he had taken his clan name from the same dead bear that he had. So for that reason, he considered himself as his brother and he would like to join his establishment, because he thought being of the same clanship the Bear Clan was not any greater than the Strap Clan was. So the Bear Clan told him he could go back and bring his people.
Well, the Strap Clan leader went back and told his people this good news and asked the people to get ready, as they would start for Shung-opovi in four days. On the fourth day they started out and when they got to Shung-opovi they were very well received.
When the Strap Clan entered the village they thought they would have the same rights as the Bear Clan but the Bear Clan did not like the way the Strap Clan felt about their rights and the way they were acting, so finally they had to have a council and talk this over. They decided the Bear Clan would give the Strap Clan a chance to become a royal clan and to rule the village. Of course, after this the Strap Clan was always looking forward to this agreement. Now later, the other clans began to drift in. When they came up to the town they would send word up to the chief and the chief would usually send for the leader to come to see him, because it was not his business to go down and meet the people. They had to come up before the chief. He would always ask the leader about his religious rites or ceremonies--of how he had been serving his people in the way of prosperity, if his ceremonies have any effect on the gods and if his ceremonies would bring rain. And of course this chief would have to tell what he did to bring rain or how he did it. Then, if the chief thought he was rather bragging about himself, or exaggerating his ceremonies, he would tell him to stay away, because if he could take care of his people that way, he could get along all right by himself. The chief knew that no human would have such power and that he had to ask the gods or make prayers for rain to make his crops grow.
Many a time some clan leader had to go up to the chief four times before he was permitted to enter with his people. Every time when a band or clan was received, the chief would allot them so much land. The last few clans to arrive were just the common class of people. They didn't have a high priest, or ceremonies of any kind, and they were the ones that had a hard time getting into the village. They were not alloted any land. 17 They wished to have land also, so they asked the chief. The chief asked
them what they could do--or what right they had to be given that land. They said that they were willing to have the land on the edges and they would guard his people and keep away the enemies, so since they told him all this, they were given all the outside land which was not allotted to any other clan.
After this was all settled, another clan came along and they were also a common class, and the chief asked them if they had any ceremonies of any kind by which they lived, or by which they prayed to the gods to bring them rain. They said no, they didn't have any and they told him they didn't have any time for ceremonies, they were nothing but warriors and had to fight their way up there, for the country was full of other tribes that were enemies of these people. So the chief said that if they were warriors and had to fight their way up there, they would be his braves. This was the Sun Forehead Clan. Then the chief went to the Parrot Clan (Gash-wunga) and asked them if they would give up some of their land to the Sun Forehead Clan, that they too might take their place in guarding the chief's rights and those of his people. The Parrot Clan was very glad to do this, so from then on the Sun Forehead Clan had to be out first if enemies made an attack.
Then, later on, another clan came along, the Sun Clan. They too were without a religion and ceremonies. This Sun Clan was given the same treatment as the clan before them and the Sun Forehead Clan gave up part of their land that the Sun Clan might guard the rights of the people, so to this day, their lands are still on the edge of the Hopi lands.
Next: Chapter VI. How the Crow Clan Arrived and Settled at Mishongnovi