In the Plaza with My Ancestors

Hopi kachina

“When I am too old and feeble to follow my sheep or cultivate my corn,

I plan to sit in the house, carve Kachina dolls, and tell my nephews and nieces

 the story of my life…  Then I want to be buried in the Hopi way. Perhaps my boy

 will dress me in the costume of a Special Officer, place a few beads around my neck,

 put a paho and some sacred corn meal in my hand, and fasten inlaid turquoise to my ears.

 If he wishes to put me in a coffin, he may do even that, but he must leave the lid unlocked,

place food near by, and set up a grave ladder so that I can climb out. I shall hasten

 to my dear ones, but I will return with good rains and dance as a Kachina in the plaza

 with my ancestors.”

Don Talayesva -19th century Hopi Sun Clan chief

illustration: Hopi kachina art

previously published: April 12, 2012

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