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your camp is at the base of the cliff and you will again be aroused by the patter of you are, perhaps, dozing off after being many feet of the women as they travel to wakened by the calling of the crier and the the springs. Generation after generation song of the farmer on his way to the field, of bare feet has toiled up and down these same trails until the path is deep-worn in not penetrate very far into the Zuni body. the rock.
From that day to this many of the children By ten o'clock the farmers whose fields are baptized into the church, but this does lie not too far out in the desert return to not lessen one of the thousands of prayer the village and have their first meal of the plumes planted to the gods of their fathers. day, rest, and again return to the fields. After generations of labor and martyrdom Many of the men have their farms a great by the patient Friars the church was abandistance away, and will remain out all day, doned and has long since fallen into decay. or perhaps for several days. With the All that is left of it is the plot of the dead. closing of the day the women again go to Here for generation after generation they the springs for water. The farmers return have buried their dead, clinging to the safrom the desert, and the youth or aged cred spot as only an Indian can. Neither shepherd, whose flock drifted tide-like priest nor chief can drive them from it. across the sand-dunes in the early day, Acoma, the dauntless, was first noted by will be seen drifting back to the corrals Fray Marcos de Niza in 1539, but was first half-way up the cliffs. The evening life is visited by Coronado's men a year later. one full of village cheer. It is the hour Then for forty-three years the Acomas when all are gathered about the home. were undisturbed by the Castilians. The With the setting of the sun the crier again second visit was by Antonio de Espejo in calls out in wise council to his people the 1583. After this Juan de Oñate visited news of the day and the plans for the the Pueblos in 1598, and later this same morrow. Men and women go from house- year Juan de Zaldivar visited them with a top to housetop; wrinkled old priests of small troop. The Acomas showed resentthe order have a quiet smoke with their ment of this encroachment by killing onebrother priests; young men, with youth's half the number. This was followed, some blood pulsing in their veins, join the fam- months later, by a second force of the Spanily group, hoping to catch a glimpse from iards, who stormed and subdued the village, the dark-eyed maiden, whose quaint hair- killing a large portion of the tribe. Theirs dressing symbolizes the sacred squash-blos- was a stubborn resistance against the ensom of the desert. Low songs in the croachment of the white man. In them we caressing tone of the Hopi float out on the see emphasized the character of all the still evening air. The very atmosphere Pueblo people. Superficially smiling and seems to breathe of contentment, and one hospitable, and, as long as all goes to their has but to close his eyes to the few things liking, most kindly. Anger them, and they of modern life which have crept in to feel are fiends. A purring cat with an everthat this is as it has been for untold genera- ready claw. tions.
To fortify this cunning the Acomas have Five days' march to the east of the Hopi far more bravery than the other people of Villages is Zuni, all that is left of the seven the Pueblos. They claim never to have cities of Cibola, the goal of Coronado's been conquered. Spanish history, howgreat march into the desert, the scene of ever, does not bear them out in this. It is much of Cushing's life-work; a group of one of the three most picturesque of the proud villages dwindled to a single one Pueblos: Walpi, in Arizona; Acoma and having a life most complete in mythology. Taos, in New Mexico. It is a life so rich, in fact, that Mrs. Steven- In days of old, to get from the valley to son found it a task of many years to record the mesa and reach the street of Acoma, it in its entirety, and her magnificent work we had only the choice of winding, precipis a splendid illustration of the religion and itous trails cut in the walls of the rock. philosophy of the Indian. Many of the Of late years there is a new trail for the use Zuni ceremonies are like those of the Hopi. of man and beast, more winding and Each has, without doubt, borrowed from picturesque, entering the village through a the other many features of ritualistic work. fortress-like natural gateway. The Zuni is delightfully conservative. They The water-supply of the village is, in accepted the teachings of the church at the most part, from small reservoirs in the point of Coronado's guns. As it was ac- rock filled from the rainfall, and as a cepted then, so it is now; evidently it did reserve supply there are two large, deep
reservoirs, one fed by a tiny spring. The horses belonging to the family are turned women, with beautifully decorated earthen into the enclosure and driven around in a jars poised gracefully on their heads, com- circle until the grain is threshed from the ing and going from the wells, make a pict- straw. Then with forks they separate the ure long living in the mind.
straw and chaff from the grain, sift it in a The Acoma fields are far away at Acom- large box-sieve with a perforated bottom ita. There, during the summer, they dwell made of rawhide, and then, for the final in tiny box-like adobe houses and till their cleaning, take it to the small streams or small but well-kept farms, journeying back canals and wash it. In this washing the to their cliff-perched home for all cere- grain is taken in large coarse baskets, carmonial occasions. They are, as a people, ried down to the water and stirred about in and have been for generations, devout fol- the basket, the chaff and lighter matter lowers of the Catholic Church. This fact floating away with the current. The clean has not, however, in any way seriously grain is then spread out on cloths to affected their primitive religion or crowded dry. This drying must be finished the out one of their pagan ceremonies. They day of washing, and to hurry it the grain are a positive argument that a people can is taken in baskets, held high in the air and be loyal followers of two religious creeds at let sift slowly to the ground. This is reone and the same time.
peated time after time until it is thorIn the valley of the Rio Grande we find oughly dried. For daily use, such as is many small villages. The buildings are wanted they grind on the hand mealingusually one story in height, and, from their stone or metate. location in the valley, lack the picturesque Here, too, among these villages we see features of Walpi and Acoma. Here, dif- the church religion blended with the primifering from Hopiland, and like Zuni and tive one. Generation after generation of Acoma, farming is by irrigation. Com- patient padres have worked and laid down pared to the Hopi, it is princely. Com- their lives, many in their own red blood at pared to the white man's farming, theirs the hands of those whose souls they thought is petty. Prehistoric irrigation by the to save. The Indian cannot yet see how dwellers in this region was probably of the or why his soul should be lost. To-day, simplest order-small ditches drawn from when we talk to an old man of the village the stream, the water dipped in earthen jars of religion he will tell us, with certainty, and carried out to the crops. This form of that he believes in the true God of the irrigation necessarily meant that very lim- priests. “Yes, I know you believe in the ited areas could be cultivated. Slight evi- true God, but the story of that God is all dence is seen which would lead us to believe written in the big Book. I want to talk that Indians of prehistoric time used other with you of your own God, Poseyamo, who system than this in irrigating their fields. lived once on earth and who went long ago In the valley of the Gila, even where the to the South.” His face lights as if he, ditches were miles in length and carried a himself, was already entering the eternal considerable volume of water, it is probable paradise of his fathers. “Do you know that the actual application of water was Poseyamo? Tell me about him, and tell made by carrying it in jars rather than by me, will he soon come back to care for his flooding. To look at the cultivated portion children? The signal fire burns at the of the Rio Grande valley from a slight old shrine on the one night of each seven. elevation, it is a field of grain and other It has burned thus many lifetimes to show crops divided into squares of slightly dif- him that we are faithful and that we wait. ferent shades of green, reminding one of Tell him to come soon or I will not be here a patchwork - quilt carried wholly in one to see him.” And so it is; that which their color. Their principal crop is wheat. forefathers accepted for policy's sake they This they care for in the simplest way: have grown, in a measure, to take for grantwhen ripe, they harvest it with a hand ed, but cling to the old with but slightly sickle, and the gleaned crop is gathered shaken faith. They plant their crops as at the threshing ground, which is simply a of old, by the star which governs each plot smoothed and enclosed with a rough special growth. The Navajo plants his fence. At the time of threshing, the corn by the Pleiads, but the Pueblo farmer