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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: Acoma

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An introduction to the history and culture of the people of Acoma.

Tribal elders say that Acoma (sometimes spelled Akome, Acuo, Acuco, Ako and A’ku-me) means “a place that always was.” Archaeologists have found artifacts at digs on Acoma Mesa that speak of prehistoric times. Like its near neighbors Hopi and Zu...

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Title: On Story

Source(s): Writing the Southwest

Author(s): Simon Ortiz (Author); David King Dunaway (Editor); Sara L. Spurgeon (Editor)

A noted Acoma author on the importance of storytelling and poetry to life.

Everything is a story, in the sense that the tradition out of which poetry and song comes is like the story of the life of a people. That is, the culture survives because of the story of its birth, and goes on into its development and to the end of a...

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Title: Uncle Tells a Story

Source(s): Writing the Southwest

Author(s): Simon Ortiz (Author); David King Dunaway (Editor); Sara L. Spurgeon (Editor)

Uncle Page talks about the last time he went hunting.

“Uncle, tell us a story,” people would say, “Tell us about the time you went to the mountains to hunt.” And the old man, Page, would say, “Well, I don’t really want to; I don’t have any stories.” “Please, Uncle,” they would ...

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Title: Traditional Apache Life

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An overview of some important events and themes in the lives of Apaches.

The Athapaskan peoples migrated south from Alaska and Canada and eventually split into seven distinct groups. By 1500, they occupied a vast expanse of territory in the American Southwest. The extreme environments they inhabited—mountains, deserts, ...

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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: How the Hopis Got Fire

Source(s): Hopi Animal Stories

Author(s): Ekkehart Malotki (Author); Michael Lomatuway'ma, Lorena Lomatuway'ma, and Sidney Namingha (narrators) (Performer)

Aliksa’i. Long ago when the Hopis first arrived in this area, it used to get very cold at night and they were freezing and miserable. In the mornings, as they looked east, they would see smoke rising in the air. There had to be fire somewhere, so t...

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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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