Hopi Tales of Destruction

By Ekkehart Malotki; Lorena Lomatuway'Ma et al. | Go to book overview

THREE

Pivanhonkyapi: Destruction by Fire

INTRODUCTION

The remains of the extinct Third Mesa village of Pivanhonkyapi lie some three and three-quarters miles northwest of Old Oraibi. Its location on a shelf some two hundred feet below the rim of a mesa that projects from Hotevilla is almost equidistant between the ruin of Huk'ovi to its east and Apoonivi, the highest point on the Hopi reservation, to its southwest.

The untranslatable name of the site, for which not even a folk-etymological interpretation exists among the Hopis, may, in its initial morpheme, relate to pivani (weasel). However, there is no linguistic evidence for this semantic linkage. Like its neighbor Huk'ovi to the east, Pivanhonkyapi has never been excavated. On the basis of potsherd types, among them Jeddito Black-on-orange and Jeddito Black-on-white “that do not seem to have been in use after 1300 A.D., ” Harold S. Colton and Edmund Nequatewa speculate that the site was “occupied in the twelve hundreds” and abandoned before 1300 due to the great drought at the end of the 13th century (1932:54).

Ethnographically, Pivanhonkyapi has become famous for the Saqtikive (Ladder dance), which was once staged there according to Hopi legend. 1 The ceremony involved an acrobatic dance act of kachina impersonators on top of implanted pine trees. Several of the deep holes into which the poles were inserted are still visible at the cliff edge.

The mytho-historical chain of events leading up to the annihilation of the village is quite simple. Bored with the monotony of their everyday activities, the residents of Pivanhonkyapi introduce the new board game of totolospi. 2 The game catches on quickly. Before long, it becomes such a craze that the entire community is affected. Individual as well as communal responsibilities are neglected. Bent exclusively on fun and good times, people embrace what is commonly termed kwangwa'ewqatsi (lifestyle of pleasure). With gambling by both sexes soon leading to promiscuous sex,

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Hopi Tales of Destruction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Hopi Tales of Destruction *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • One - Hisatsongoopavi: Devastation by Earthquake *
  • Two - The Downfall of Qa'ötaqtipu *
  • Three - Pivanhonkyapi: Destruction by Fire *
  • Four - The Demise of Sikyatki *
  • Five - The Abandonment of Huk'Ovi *
  • Six - The End of Hovi'Itstuyqa *
  • Seven - The Annihilation of Awat'Ovi *
  • Glossary *
  • Bibliography *
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