THE MAKING OF THE HEADDRESS
From the Navaho, The Wanderings
The headdress for this dance should be made of buckskin. One medicine man may have 12 or more headdresses which are called tcgich or tqegisch. This includes the hide, the feathers, and the blue fox and swift skins.
There are many rules that must be followed. The hide used must be that of a deer not killed by a weapon. The whole hide must be reserved for the headdress. All the different places where the buckskin should be cut must first be run over by a piece of crystal. You must take the sinew from the right side of the spinal cord and use it for the sewing of the right side of the headdress. And from the bone of the deer's right foreleg must be made the awl to sew it with. So with the yellow feathers from the little yellow bird, they must be sewed only on the right side of the headdress. And the whole must be sewed by a right-handed man. Again, from the left side of the back of the deer take the sinew. And from the left foreleg make the awl. Sew the left side of the headdress with the bluebird feathers. And a left-handed man should sew the left side of the headdress. This is how the headdress must be made.
The rattle must be held in the right hand, Hasjelti said. It represents the Black Water Jar, and the feathers on the right side of the headdress also represent the Water Jar. The feathers on the left stand for the ears of corn. They represent the ears of corn when held in the hand, just as the Corn Father stands.
The face of the mask must be painted a bluish color. The pieces cut out for the eyes and the mouth are tied back on the headdress. The paint used in the painting of the face of the mask must be made from a soft greenish mineral like turquoise. And the paint used to mark around the eyes and around the mouth must be made of coal dust.
note: There are many chants sung while the headdress is being made for a medicine man.
The dancer is the figure representing the Corn Father. The rattle is the ear of corn, but it is also considered the Black Water Jar containing the rain. The feathers are the growing corn or the corn tassels.
Two willows must be brought from the Mancos Canyon. Only this place must they come from. The male willow must be cut going up the river and the female willow must be cut going down the river. You must use those willows when the patient is put through the Heat Ceremony. The patient must lie down. The willows must be placed standing on either side of the patient while he receives the medicine.
After Hasjelti told the people how to make the headdress and the men had learned the dances and all the ceremony, he said: "My grandchildren, go now to a place called Tat chee'. There you must live. You are to take with you the two ears of red corn." So he gave them the two ears of red corn, full ears with kernels to the tip, and they set out for the place called Tat chee'. After a day's journey they camped for the night. The next morning they started out again. Then the chief, who was called A'gily en'taeye, told them to halt. He said: "I have forgotten something. I left those two ears of corn where we started from yesterday." He sat there with his head bent in great thought for a moment, then he said: "I thought of those as my grandchildren. I am their grandfather." He chanted there with his thoughts:
He called me grandchild,
He called me my young child.
He loved me like a mother loves her child.
He chanted three chants and he said: "Let the two ears of corn return to Hasjelti, their grandfather."
The second day they reached the Red Bank Country called Tat chee'ee. And the people called themselves Tat chee'ee. Now when the Red Bank clan reached their new country they began to multiply. All around them the other people were increasing, so there were many people living to the South of Mesa Verde.
notes: This explains why the Mancos Canyon should belong to the Navaho. It should not belong to the Utes. The Navaho Indians believe that the State line and the Government have nothing to do with it. Cowmen have put up fences, etc. The Navaho have greatly resented this. They have tried many times to have this land returned to them, but they have failed. This area is sacred to them. They feel that it is safe as a National Park (Mesa Verde National Park), but it must not be turned over to the Utes.
note: A pit is dug and a fire built in it. When the ground becomes hot the fire is scraped out and the patient is laid in the pit and covered with the medicine. Willows stand around. This is the Heat Ceremony.