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Title: Hopi Storytelling

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A brief description of Hopi storytelling practices.

In Hopi, a good storyteller is described as a tuwut’smoki. This word means something like “story bag”—someone who collects and remembers stories from a long and rich oral tradition. Hopi storytellers often begin their stories by saying ...

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Title: Holding Up the Cliff

Source(s): Hopi Voices: Recollections, Traditions, and Narratives of the Hopi Indians

Author(s): Abbott Sekaquaptewa (Author); Harold Courlander (Editor)

How Grasshopper outwits the hungry Coyote.

Coyote was living out there south of Oraibi, and one day he was going around looking for something to eat when he saw a grasshopper clinging to the base of a cliff. Coyote thought the grasshopper looked very peculiar, with its legs against the cliff ...

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Title: Coyote and the Stars

Source(s): Hopi Voices: Recollections, Traditions, and Narratives of the Hopi Indians

Author(s): Uwaikwiota (Author); Harold Courlander (Editor)

The animals were [in this world] first. They were fixing up this earth the way they wanted it. So they put the trees here, they put the mountains here, and the forests here, and so on. They had fixed the stars the way they wanted them to be [but they...

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Title: Calling the Sun to Rise

Source(s): Hopi Voices: Recollections, Traditions, and Narratives of the Hopi Indians

Author(s): Louis Numkena, Sr. (Author); Harold Courlander (Editor)

The people were living over there at Old Oraibi, a long time ago, before there was any New Oraibi. North of Oraibi a couple of miles are some ruins, and Coyote was living there when this story happened. He was out hunting very early one morning befor...

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Title: Maasaw niqw Orayvit Naatsawinaya (How Maasaw and the People of Oraibi Got Scared to Death Once)

Source(s): Hopitutuwutsi Hopi Tales: A Bilingual Collection of Hopi Indian Stories

Author(s): Herschel Talashoma (Author); Ekkehart Malotki (Author)

Aliksa’i. People were living in Oraibi. Not far from the village, at Mastupatsa, was Maasaw’s home, where he lived with his grandmother. Every night when the villagers went to bed, he inspected the area around Oraibi. In this way he guarded the O...

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Title: Palöngawhoya Soy Niina (How Palöngawhoya Killed His Grandmother)

Source(s): Hopitutuwutsi Hopi Tales: A Bilingual Collection of Hopi Indian Stories

Author(s): Herschel Talashoma (Author); Ekkehart Malotki (Author)

Aliksa’i. They were living at Pöqangwwawarpi. The Pöqangwhoya twins had their house there. The brothers were little boys. Pöqangwhoya was the older’s name; the younger was called Palöngawhoya. They had only their grandmother to live with, and a...

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Title: Saquavicha, The Fox-Girl

Source(s): The Indian Leader, March 3, 1911, Native American Women’s Writing c. 1800-1924, an Anthology

Author(s): Clara Talavenska Keshoitewa, Hopi (Author); Karen L. Kilcup (Editor)

Two girls, in love with the same boy, change each other into animals. Spider woman helps sort things out.

Once upon a time there lived at Oraibi, two young girls who were in love with a handsome boy that lived near them. The girl Saquavicha, who lived to the east of his home, married him, and when Palavicha heard of it she was jealous. While Saquavich...

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Title: Turtle’s Crying Song

Source(s): Hopi Voices: Recollections, Traditions, and Narratives of the Hopi Indians

Author(s): Uwaikwiota, Moencopi, August 1968 (Author); Harold Courlander (Editor)

Aliksai! The coyote was hunting around to see what she could kill for her little ones. And she heard somebody singing someplace. So she tried to look for him, and she found a little turtle. She came up to the little turtle and said, “You’re si...

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Title: A Voice

Source(s): My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Adults

Author(s): Pat Mora (Author)

A poem describing the narrator’s mother’s struggle to learn English.

Even the lights on the stage unrelenting as the desert sun couldn’t hide the other students, their eyes also unrelenting, students who spoke English every night as they ate their meat, potatoes, gravy. Not you. In your house that smelled lik...

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Title: Alabados

Source(s): Brothers of Light: The Penitentes of the Southwest

Author(s): Alice Corbin Henderson (Author)

A description of traditional Spanish alabados, or hymns, that the Penitentes sang during their rituals.

Parts of the Penitente ritual have an ancestry of great age. This is particularly true of the alabados, or hymns, patiently written down in small copybooks or transmitted by memory. In verse forms these alabados have the earmarks of Fifteenth- or Six...

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