The Religious Life of the Zuñi Child eBook

Matilda Coxe Stevenson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 36 pages of information about The Religious Life of the Zuñi Child.

When a youth is selected to personate the K[=o]k-k[=o] he is instructed in regard to the decorating of the mask he is to wear.  When this is done he goes at night to the proper kiva and seated between two instructors he learns the song and prayers.  In committing songs and prayers to memory the novice holds a tiny crystal between his thumb and forefinger for a while, then he puts it into his mouth, and at the conclusion of the instruction he swallows it.  This insures the remembrance of the prayers and songs, and he awakes the following morning with them indelibly impressed upon his mind.  The pupil is then struck across each arm and across each ankle with the yucca blades.

There are very few women belonging to the order of the K[=o]k-k[=o].  I think there are now only five in Zuni.  When a woman of the order becomes advanced in age she endeavors to find some maiden who will take upon herself the vows at her death.  Selecting some young woman, she appeals to her to be received into the order of the K[=o]k-k[=o].  The maiden replies, “I know nothing concerning the mysteries of the order.  You must talk to my father.”  After the father is spoken to, he in turn spends the night in explaining the duties of the position to his daughter and that the gods would be displeased if she should marry after joining the K[=o]k-k[=o].  Assuming the K[=o]k-k[=o] vows is entirely optional with the girl.  It is never her duty, but a special privilege which is rarely accepted.  If she accepts she passes through both ceremonials described.  She chooses her godfather, who gives her for the first ceremony a woman’s blanket and for the second a woman’s dress, a white blanket, a quantity of blue yarn, a woman’s belt, a buckskin, a sacred blanket, and the mask she is to wear.  But even here in Zuni, where the people are so controlled by the priests and have such a superstitious dread of disobeying the commands of the K[=o]k-k[=o], women have been guilty of desecrating their sacred office and marrying.  At present there is a woman of the order of the K[=o]k-k[=o] married to a Navajo.  She is of course forever afterwards debarred from joining in the ceremonials, but she is permitted to live among her people with no other punishment than their indignation.


Gilbert, G.K., visit of, to Zuni 540
Kaek-l[=o] of Zuni mythology 544, 547
Kiva, the Zuni religious house 544, 547, 549, 552
K[=o]k-k[=o], the Zuni order of the 540-548
  admission of women into the 540-555
  involuntary initiation into the 547-553
  voluntary initiation into the 553-555
Moseley, H.N., visit of, to Zuni 540
Mythology, brief account of Zuni 539-545
Pueblo of Zuni, location of 539
Religious life of the Zuni child, by Mrs. Tilly E. Stevenson l-liii,
Stevenson, Mrs. Tilly E., on the religious life of the Zuni child
  l-liii, 533-555
Turner, H.L., visit of, to Zuni 542
Tylor, E.B., visit of, to Zuni 540
Yucca blades in Zuni ceremonial 550, 551, 553, 555
Zuni, religious life of children among the, by Mrs. Tilly E. Stevenson
  l-liii, 533-555

Project Gutenberg
The Religious Life of the Zuñi Child from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook