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Popkot or Animal Kachinas

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Popkot Animal Kachinas

Popkot or Animal Kachinas have special medicinal powers and are considered advisors and doctors. Animal kachinas can take on the appearance of men by removing their skins to sit alongside men in the kivas and join in serious conversations.

It is believed that animal kachinas help the Hopi overcome ogres and monsters, plus assist in curing disease with their medicinal knowledge of roots and herbs.

Some animal kachinas are warriors who advise men how to become more animal-like to avoid dangers. Kachina types may cross match into one or more group since many kachinas are multi-faceted with numerous responsbilities and roles.

Print and trace the designs onto multi-color fun craft foam sheets to create pliable and colorful soft face masks. Use left over trimmings of foam pieces to cut and paste intricate designs and shapes onto the mask.

For best results print on heavy duty vellum paper or card stock. All paper mask designs are printable on regular or heavy duty 8 1/2" x 11" paper. Print landscape mode for larger masks, portrait setting for smaller masks.

Popkot or Animal Kachina Mask Arts and Craft Activity

Wakas Cow Kachina

The Wakas cow kachina is a tribute to the sacrifices animals make to sustain Hopi life. This kachina appears in the kiva night dances and Plaza Katsina day dances.

The Wakas'katsina is a male figure which prays for plentiful populations of cattle and other animals to be born to provide food and clothing for the Hopi people.

Villagers accept feathers and juniper fronds from the cow kachina to place in their cattle corrals and homes in the hopes of increasing the size of their herds.

Mosairu Buffalo First Mesa Style

The Buffalo carries the sun on its back to represent the sun at the summer dances. The Buffalo Maiden or Mosairu Mana appears with Mosairu (Buffalo Kachina) to pray for more Buffaloes and rain.

One of the oldest types is the buffalo kachina. Mosairu Mana, the Buffalo Maiden Kachina, has a green case mask with horns on the sides. She accompanies the Buffalo Kachina at the beginning of the Kachina season.

Her function is to pray for good health, good crops, and a good harvest. She appears in the night dances, Plaza Dance and with the Mixed Dancers along with Buffalo Kachina, and other game animal kachinas to dance and pray for more buffalo and other game animals to be born for hunting to provide food and clothing for the Hopis.

Hon Bear

The Hon Bear kachina is considered to be a legendary warrior with great strength, courage and wisdom who knows all the medicinal roots and herbs and can cure the sick. Of all the animal kachinas, only the Badger Kachina has more healing powers. This spirit always has bear footprints painted on both cheeks and can be represented with several different colors including Sakwa Honau (Blue Bear), Köcha Honau or Qotsa'honaw (White Bear), yellow and black.

Hon appears during the Soyal Dance on the First Mesa. His role in ceremonies is to dance as a watchman for the Chakwaina Soyal Dance and as a side singer and dancer for the Palölökong Mixed Dance.

Chof Antelope

The Antelope or pronghorn Kachina is very similar in appearance to the Sowi-ing (deer) Kachina. The Chõf antelope Kachina dancer prays for more Antelope to be born into the herds to be hunted which provides food and clothing for the Hopis. The Kweo (wolf) and Pong, (Mountain Sheep) kachinas often appear with the Chõf to dance for rain and bountiful future harvests.

The Sowing and Chof kachinas are very similar in design but you can generally tell the difference between a deer kachina and an antelope kachina by their horns.

Sow ing Deer

Sowíng Deer Kachina is believed to have control over rain. He also says prayers for the increase of deer populations and other animals for hunting to provide food and clothing for the Hopi people.

Belongs to the Popkot or Animal Kachinas group which are believed to have special medicinal powers and are considered advisors and doctors. Animal kachinas can take on the appearance of men by removing their skins to sit alongside men in the kivas and join in serious conversations.

It is thought that animal kachinas help the Hopi overcome ogres and monsters, plus assist in curing disease with their medicinal knowledge of roots and herbs.

Kona Chipmonk

Kona Chipmunks are impersonated by the fastest racers and generally win the races.

Runner kachinas carry yucca whips and challenge men and boys to foot races. If the people win they receive Piki bread or gifts and prizes, but if they lose they are struck with the yucca whips.

Tokotsi or Tokoch Wildcat or Bobcat

The Tokotsi or Tokoch Katsinum or Wildcat or Bobcat Kachina is a multi-faceted kachina. This fearsome Wildcat spirit is definitely an animal kachina but also belongs to the Ichivota, or Angry Kachinas which is also referred to as Guard and Watching Kachinas.

Popkot or Animal Kachinas have special medicinal powers and are considered advisors and doctors. Animal kachinas can take on the appearance of men by removing their skins to sit alongside men in the kivas and join in serious conversations.

It is believed that animal kachinas help the Hopi overcome ogres and monsters, plus assist in curing disease with their medicinal knowledge of roots and herbs.

Guard kachinas function as warriors, protectors and overseers. They act as sergeants-at-arms or policemen by enforcing ceremonial rules and preventing unwelcome spectators or prevent other kachinas powers from interrupting the ritual proceedings.

Toho Mountain Lion, Cat Spirit

The Mountain Lion or Toho Kachina is a side dancer who appears at Pachavu, the periodic tribal initiation ceremony. Toho patrols the procession and carries a talavaiyi whip, a cane with eagle feathers and red horsehair fringe, to maintain order.

He is the most powerful hunter, predator and, guardian of the northern direction. The color for north is yellow. He usually accompanies deer or antelope kachinas when they appear in the line dances of spring. He patrols the Pachavu procession in company with He-e-e, Warrior Woman, and other warrior or guard kachinas.

Letaiyo Fox

Kwewu or Kweo Wolf Kachina

The Kweo (the Wolf) Kachina carries a stick which represents trees and shrubs that he hides behind to stalk or observe his prey. He appears in the Soyohim dances usually stalking the Sowi-ingwu (Deer), Antelope and Mountain Sheep kachinas. The wolf kachina's sharp teeth and tongue are always visible and menacing. He represents the skillful hunter and will bestow blessings on villagers during and at the end of the ceremonies.

Laqán Squirrel

The squirrel kachina appears at Powamu or in the plaza dances in large numbers. He appears to be a playful kachina who challenges women to take from him any valuable possession he may have.

Pong Mountain Sheep

Poko Dog

The dog is considered to be the first domesticated animal given important responsibilities of friendship, protection, and guarding / herding other domesticated livestock. Poko Kachina is a very old Kachina and believed to represent the spirit of all domestic animals.

Poko appears as a clown on the First and Second Mesas. The appearance of the Poko kachina varies because there are so many different types of dogs, but generally the snout is yellow and there are five or more spots on each cheek.

Horse Kavai-i or Kawai-i

Kawai-i or Kavai-i Horse Kachina is an animal kachina and represents the spirit of the horse.

Animal kachinas such as the horse, sheep, cow and other domesticated animals, protect tribal herds and flocks from disease, injury and death. The horse kachina undoubtedly prays and dances to increase the horse population. In the spirit world horses represent freedom and power. The Kavai-i mask case is usually shown with white face, red ears and a snout with teeth. The primary identifiers or marks for this kachina are black horse silhouette drawings on each cheek.

This is a relatively new kachina first appearing in the early 1900's around the time when the Hopi first started preferring horses for transportation and beasts of burdon over the slower paced burro (donkey).

The horse kachina appears during the Soyohim or Mixed Kachina dances, and the Bean and Kiva dances.

Honan Badger

Honan or Hototo Badger belongs to a group of animal spirits that are considered to be doctors or healers, teachers and advisors to the Hopi people.

This kachina wears a kilt and sash. His case mask is usually divided into two contrasting color fields. He has a protruding snout, a bear track on each cheek and curved horns. The Hototo or Honan badger kachina is a versatile spirit creature with several different roles who appears during the Bean and mixed dances held at the First and Second Mesa. The Hototo's main role is to gather wood for the Kiva fires but he is also a guard or protector, gift bearer, and warrior.


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