Meet Fordacho, 2000 Ford E-150 Conversion Van. My home away from home. My own personal guest house. Here, you see him parked in the driveway at my daughter Rosa's in Kachina Village, Flagstaff, Arizona, where I stayed for a couple of nights and a fun visit.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Do you remember my last post? The one in which I said I woke up in Holbrook? Well, that was when I decided to get off the Interstate and head North to Hopi. And am I glad I made that decision.
I got word of a Kachina Dance in Moenkopi, over by Tuba City. I had seen one dance there a few years ago, in the lower plaza. That one was a fairly limited dance, so I wasn't expecting too much.
When I got there, around one o'clock, I saw a group of clowns entering the upper plaza and a large crowd with cars and pickups parked everywhere. I quickly squeezed Fordacho into a parking spot, and made my way around to the other end of the plaza where I found a bit of shade that left me peeking around the corner of a house the roof of which was covered with spectators.
Just then the Kachinas began filing in from the far end of the plaza. Along with a drummer, a priest, several clowns, covered in yellow clay and unmasked, something I had never before seen, and a couple of Mudheads, some sixty Long Hair Kachinas of all ages and sizes appeared, filling the plaza. They brought with them boxes of gifts to throw into the crowd. There were apples and oranges and peaches, candies and popcorn balls, bananas and carrots and loaves of bread. There were also small Kachina Dolls and beautifully painted gourd rattles for the children; these were not thrown, but handled gently.
I caught four apples, two oranges, two bags of dinner rolls and a bag of Cheez -Whiz! I was handed a very welcome slice of watermelon.
Soon, small groups and individual Mixed Kachinas came from behind me and joined in with the Long Hairs.
Then, between “sets”, more Mixed Kachinas, at times as many as sixty five Kachinas of all sorts, Ogres, Whippers, a Great Horned Owl, Mong, or Chief, Mudheads, Piptukas, Kachinas representing other tribes, Navajo, Comanche, Apache, Supai and others. Chaveyo and Planet, Soyoko and Soyok Mana, Kokopeli, Wuwuchim and Wildcat were there. Left Handed Kachina, Ewiro, the Warrior, and Hu were there, too.
There were skits, one involving two very large “Sumo wrestlers” and their attendants, judges, and supporters, and another a very raucous and suggestive take on the recent Trans Gender headlines.
I managed to move into a better shaded vantage point on the other side, after the first dance, with a view of the entire length of the plaza as well as the comings and goings of the Mixed Kachina groups, where I stayed unti the end.
The day was very hot, with almost no breeze. I mostly stood and occasionally, briefly sat until seven or seven thirty. It was exhausting for me. I can't imagine how the dancers could keep going all that time, and probably all morning, as well. They had no shade and many had their heads enclosed in heavy leather masks; some were wearing black, woolen mantas, others fox or bobcat skins around their necks and shoulders. Yet on they danced, seemingly tirelessly.
Grrr, my battery is getting low, gotta go
To be continued…