The Indians of the Painted Desert Region: Hopis, Navahoes, Wallapais, Havasupais

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The Indians
The Painted Desert Region


George Wharton James

In and Around the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona.

The Indians of the Painted Desert Region.

The Missions and Mission Indians of California.

Indian Basketry.

In the Heart of the Painted Desert.

In the Heart of the Painted Desert.

The Indians
of the
Painted Desert Region

Hopis, Navahoes, Wallapais,


George Wharton James

Author of “In and Around the Grand Canyon,” etc.

A Son of the Desert

With Numerous Illustrations from Photographs


Little, Brown, and Company


Copyright, 1903,

By Edith E. Farnsworth

All rights reserved

Published October, 1903



To my Wife


I.The Painted Desert Region1
II.Desert Recollections10
III.First Glimpses of the Hopi29
IV.The Hopi Villages and their History44
V.A Few Hopi Customs66
VI.The Religious Life of the Hopi82
VII.The Hopi Snake Dance102
VIII.The Navaho and his History124
IX.The Navaho at Home138
X.The Navaho as a Blanket Weaver160
XI.The Wallapais172
XII.The Advent of the Wallapais188
XIII.The People of the Blue Water and their Home199
XIV.The Havasupais and their Legends209
XV.The Social and Domestic Life of the Havasupais220
XVI.The Havasupais’ Religious Dances and Beliefs248


In the Heart of the Painted Desert.Frontispiece
A Son of the Desert.Vignette on Title
In the Heart of the Petrified Forest.Facing page xvi
A Freak of Erosion in the Petrified Forest. ”     ”     2
Journeying over the Painted Desert to the Hopi Snake Dance. ”     ”     2
Ancient Pottery dug from Prehistoric Ruins on the Painted Desert. ”     ”     8
The Painted Desert near the Little Colorado River.  ”     ”    16
Asleep, Early Morning, on the Painted Desert.  ”     ”    16
The Colorado River at Bass Ferry, the Vampire of the Painted Desert.  ”     ”    22
Hano, (Tewa) from the Head of the Trail.  ”     ”    34
Hopi Women building a House at Oraibi.  ”     ”    38
Mashonganavi from the Terrace below.  ”     ”    38
Mashongce, an Oraibi Maiden, drying Corn Meal.  ”     ”    42
The Trio of Metates, and Hopi Woman about to grind Corn.  ”     ”    42
An Oraibi Woman shelling Corn in a Basket of Yucca Fibre.  ”     ”    50
The “Burro” of Hopi Transportation.  ”     ”    50
An Aged Hopi at Oraibi.  ”     ”    54
A Hopi, weaving a Native Cotton Ceremonial Kilt.  ”     ”    54
An Oraibi Basket Weaver.  ”     ”    60
An Admiring Hopi Mother.  ”     ”    60
Shupela, Father of Kopeli, Late Snake Priest at Walpi.  ”     ”    68
A Hopi Girl, Oraibi.  ”     ”    68
Hopi Children, at Oraibi, waiting for a Scramble of Candy.  ”     ”    76
Group of Hopi Maidens at Shungopavi.  ”     ”    82
Hopi Woman weaving Basket, her Husband Knitting Stockings.  ”     ”    88
Hopi Woman preparing Corn Meal for making Doughnuts.  ”     ”    88
Hopi “Boomerangs”.  ”     ”    96
Hopi Ceremonial Drums.  ”     ”    96
A Hopi Belle at Shungopavi.  ”     ”   100
Blind Hopi Boy, Knitting Stockings.  ”     ”   100
The Beginning of the Hopi Snake Dance, Oraibi, 1902.  ”     ”   102
The Chief Antelope Priest depositing Pahos at the Shrine of the Spider Woman.  ”     ”   106
Throwing the Snakes into the Circle of Sacred Meal.  ”     ”   106
Line-up of Snake and Antelope Priests, Antelope Dance, Oraibi, 1902.  ”     ”   110
The Snake Dance at Oraibi, 1902.  ”     ”   114
The Snakes in the Kiva at Mashonganavi, after the Ceremony of Washing.  ”     ”   118
After taking the Emetic. Hopi Snake Dance at Walpi.  ”     ”   122
Navaho Silver Necklace and Belt.  ”     ”   126
Hopi Prayer Sticks or Pahos.  ”     ”   126
An Aged Navaho, looking over the Painted Desert.  ”     ”   131
An Old Hopi at Oraibi.  ”     ”   131
Hopi Ceremonial Head-dresses.  ”     ”   134
Hopi Bahos and Dance Rattles.  ”     ”   134
Kapata, Antelope Priest, at Walpi.  ”     ”   140
A Mashonganavi Hopi, going to hoe his Corn.  ”     ”   140
The Antelope Priests leaving their Kiva for the Snake Dance.  ”     ”   146
The Widow, Daughters, and Grandchildren of the Navaho Chief, Manuelito.  ”     ”   146
Wife of Leve Leve, Wallapai Chief.  ”     ”   156
The March of the Antelope Priests, Oraibi, 1902.  ”     ”   156
An Aged Navaho and her Hogan.  ”     ”   170
Navaho Family and Hogan in the Painted Desert.  ”     ”   170
Navaho Woman on Horseback.  ”     ”   176
The Winner of the “Gallo” Race, at Tohatchi.  ”     ”   176
A Wallapai, making a Meal on the Fruit of the Tuna, or Prickly Pear.  ”     ”   188
Wallapai Maiden and Prayer Basket.  ”     ”   188
Susquatami, Wallapai War Chief.  ”     ”   196
Tuasula, Wallapai Chief.  ”     ”   196
Havasupai Fortress and Hue-gli-i-wa, or Rock Figures.  ”     ”   206
Chickapanagie’s Wife, a Havasupai, parching Corn in a Basket.  ”     ”   210
A Wallapai Woman pounding Acorns.  ”     ”   210
Havasupai Mother and Child.  ”     ”   216
A Family Group of Havasupais.  ”     ”   216
Waluthanca’s Daughter, with Esuwa, going for Water.  ”     ”   230
Lanoman’s Wife, a Havasupai.  ”     ”   230
Rock Jones, Leading Medicine Man of Havasupais.  ”     ”   256
Sinyela, with Esuwa, going for Water.  ”     ”   256


Wild, weird, and mystic pictures are formed in the mind by the very name—the Painted Desert. The sound itself suggests a fabled rather than a real land. Surely it must be akin to Atlantis or the Island of Circe or the place where the Cyclops lived. Is it not a land of enchantment and dreams, not a place for living men and women, Indians though they be?

It is a land of enchantment, but also of stern reality, as those who have marched, unprepared, across its waterless wastes can testify. No fabled land ever surpassed it in its wondrousness, yet a railway runs directly over it, and it is not on some far-away continent, but is close at hand; a portion, indeed, of our own United States.

In our schoolboy days we used to read of the Great American Desert. The march of civilization has marched that “desert” out of existence. Is the Painted Desert a fiction of early geographers, like unto the Great American Desert, to be wiped from the map when we have more knowledge?

No! It is in actual existence as it was when first seen by the white men, about three hundred and fifty years ago, and as it doubtless will be for untold centuries yet to come.

Coronado and his band of daring conquistadors, preceded by Marcos de Niza and Stephen the Negro, reaching out with gold-lustful hands, came into the region from northern Mexico, conquered Cibola—Zuni—and from there sent out a small band to investigate the stories told by the Zunis of a people who lived about one hundred miles to the northwest, whom they called A-mo-ke-vi. The Navaho Indians said the home of the A-mo-ke-vi was a Ta-sa-ûn´—a country of isolated buttes—so the Spaniards called the people Moki (Moqui) and their land “the province of Tusayan,” and by those names they have ever since been known.

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