Truth of a Hopi by Edmund Nequatewa
THE RETURN OF THE BAHANA, THE WHITE MAN
All this time the Hopi seemed to know that the real Bahana was coming, but they were warned to be careful and patient, for fear it might not be the true Bahana who would come after the Spaniard or Castilian. So if he ever did come they must be sure to ask him about his books, which they thought would contain his secrets, and it was said that the book of truth would not be on top, but at the very bottom, after all the other books. If he asked the Hopi for the privilege of teaching them his language and taught them how to write, they must be sure to ask that they would like to be taught in the book of truth, because if he was a true Bahana he would quickly consent to teach them of this book. For their belief is, that if he is not the one they are looking for he will refuse to teach them his religion. Now if they learned his religion they would compare it with their religion and ceremonies, and if these were alike they would know that the Bahana had been with them in the beginning.
Most everybody was anxious to see the Bahana come, for they were so afraid that he might not come during their lifetime and they would not be able to enjoy all the benefits that he was to bring back with him-for the Bahana was supposed to bring great knowledge with him. These people were telling their children that the Bahana was wise and with his inventions had reached the rising sun and was coming back to them again, for they had seen the big eastern star and that was a sign and they were waiting for him. Every grandfather and grandmother was telling their children that they were growing so old that they would not see the Bahana. They would tell their grandchildren to go out in the mornings before sunrise with sacred corn-meal to ask the sun to hurry the Bahana along so that he would come soon.
Well, I guess many years had passed, probably a century. You know, some were rather superstitious and they would say that when the Bahana came he would know who was practicing witchcraft and that he would know them by sight. They said that he was to come and make peace and do away with all evil so that there would be no more trouble. And so, for this reason, the people who had so much trouble were the most anxious to see him come.
Well, finally they heard that the Bahana was at Tsehotso (Navajo for Fort Defiance) 30 which means "range of sharp-pointed rocks." He was calling for the Hopi chiefs to come to that place to meet him. Now at that time all the tribes were on hostile terms with one another and it was dangerous. The Hopi wanted to go and see what this Bahana looked like. The chiefs from all the villages went there and they told him if he was the true Bahana they would shake hands and lay down their weapons, for they had a "theory" that when the Bahana came there would be peace forever. 31 Well, at this place they were given cloth of different kinds, flour and sugar and a few tools like axes and knives. That was the first time that they had ever tasted sugar. When they brought these things back home this caused much excitement in all the towns. Of course, they would have to go back and take more men with them but they were always afraid of attacks from the Navajos and the Paiutes. So the Hopis, knowing that the white man was at Fort Defiance and that he had promised to let his soldiers protect the friendly people, knew also that if they were attacked by the Navajos and fighting with them, the soldiers would come. So every time the Navajos made an attack the Hopis would have to fight and if they made a retreat they would follow them up. The Hopis got so that they were good fighters themselves. The Navajos were not much of fighters, for they made up war parties and went places looking for trouble. Well, when they were doing this they thought it was great fun. The Hopi said that if they sighted some hogans they would hide out in the day time and move up at night. These Hopis would have signals like the call of an owl (there are two different kinds of owls--hoot owl and small owl that makes a whistling noise) or a crow. During the night they would circle around the hogans and would signal back and forth imitating the owls or crows to see if the Navajos were all awake. They would surround the place and wait until sunrise before making an attack.
Some old men who used to tell about this said it was great fun and like chasing cottontails on a rocky hill. They (Navajos) would be so scared they couldn't run and all they had to do was to hit them on the head with a club. These old men said that when they had grown old, they knew what a great wrong they had done.
Next: Chapter XI. How The Hopi Marked the Boundary Line Between Their Country and That of the Navajo