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Hopi homeland, each brought their own ceremonies and Katsinam. Change has been continual;

some Katsinam are very ancient, singing songs in an unknown language, while others that are

known from early times no longer appear, and new ones have been added over the years. Some

have been adopted from other Pueblo Tribes, notably the Zuni. Some Katsinam appear only in

certain villages, and there are variants in each village. Katsinam may be named for the entity

whose spirit they represent, for the call they utter, or for some distinctive behavioral trait.

Additionally, many Katsinam not only have Hopi names but also names in the Tewa language

spoken by the residents of the village of Hano who immigrated to the Hopi mesas from the Rio

Grande region many years ago. Finally, as Hopi is not a written language, the spelling of native

names of Katsinam given by various authors may vary so greatly that it is often difficult to

recognize names for the same Katsina.

Dr. Layne spent many years reading, researching, and learning about Hopi Katsinam while

building his collection. He wrote a comprehensive alphabetical listing (in Hopi) of all of the

Hopi Katsinam names he could find in the literature available to him. This listing is annotated to

indicate which are contained in his collection, with the corresponding catalog numbers.

Flat type Katsinam or “spirit beings” known as cradle or infant dolls are the first presented to

children to help them learn about Katsinam and their role in Hopi life. Although simplified, the

heads of cradle dolls have all of the essential features of Katsina being represented. The bodies

typically are painted in a standardized pattern – white with a blue or blue-green right shoulder

and left arm, a yellow left shoulder and right arm, and vertical red stripes on the lower part of the

body. The colors represent the cardinal directions; yellow for North, white for East, red for

South, and blue for West. The vertical red lines, possibly symbolizing rain, are also said to stand

for long life. The black lines on the chest and wrists denote the necklace and yarn bracelets worn

by many Katsinam. The Katsina mother (

Hahay’i wuuti),

is usually the first doll presented to


Cradle dolls are presented to captive eagles raised in the villages and ritually sacrificed following

the Niman ceremony in July. This ceremony marks the return of the Katsinam to their home in

the San Francisco Peaks until the following December when they reappear in the villages during

the Soyal ceremony. Cradle dolls given to eagles are called


and the practice has its

basis in a migration story in which some lost children were cared for by, and transformed into


The Katsina culture originated among the Ancestral Puebloan people, ancestors of the Hopi and

Pueblo Indians. Archaeological evidence in the form of Katsinam-like images is found in kiva

murals, rock art, pottery and date the emergence of the Katsinam to the early 1300’s. Factors

leading to the development of the belief system include increasing aggregation of prehistoric

populations into permanent communal living situations and the associated need for sustained

food production. Then, as at present, the Katsina cult and associated beliefs foster the

cooperation and integration of efforts by the members of the community for the benefit of all.