THE STORY OF THE SUMMER DANCE
From the Navaho, The Wanderings
The younger of the Twin Brothers, the sons of the Man Raised in the Mountain, also traveled over the country as had his elder brother. He was a great hunter and he always carried his bow and arrows.
One day, on one of his journeys near Dzil na'odili, he came upon a hogan. He left his bow and arrows on the outside of the dwelling and entered. There sat a beautiful maiden; she was lovely to see. She was making a pretty dress of buckskin and decorating it with porcupine quills. After the youth entered the home he heard someone coming. In came an old man with his bow and arrows in his hand. He said: "My daughter is narrow-minded, son-in-law. My daughter is all alone and she needs male help." Then again the young man heard someone coming. It was the girl's mother. The old man called out to his wife and said: "Your son-in-law is present. Now don't be foolish." So she ran away from the hogan.
Now the old man's name was Tloth ilth ine', One Who Looks at a Fish. He spoke to his son-in-law: "We are a poor family. We have nothing. Let us go out and see what we can find." So just before dawn they went out and they traveled to where people lived near Pueblo Bonito. They sat down, weapons in hand. The old man said: "I will sit here. You go farther on and sit there." It was not long before two beautiful maidens walked toward them. They wore beautiful dresses and had many beads around their necks and earrings in their ears. The maidens did not stop by the youth, but went on to the old man. The old man killed the two girls and took their scalps, their clothing, and their beads. Then he returned to the home.
On the second morning the old man said: "This may be your lucky day, my son-in-law. Let us go out again." They went out as before.
note: See "The Story of the Flint Knife Boys," etc.
The old man sat down and the young man went farther on. Again two beautiful maidens came toward them, and again they passed the young man and went on to the old man who killed them and took their belongings.
When they returned the young wife took her husband aside and said: "I will tell you what my father uses. He has a strong medicine. My father has the medicine of the enemies, the medicine from the Giant and the medicine from the Bear. You have nothing. He has the enemy's spinal cord, a short piece, dried, and the enemy's heel cords; and he has the unborn baby. He has all these for his medicine. Go and kill an antelope and also find a gopher heavy with young." The young man went out and did as his wife told him. She took the cord from the antelope, and the unborn from the gopher, and she made them look the same as her father's medicine. She exchanged them for the real medicine which she took home to her husband. Then she taught him the chants which her father used, and the prayers also.
The next morning the old man said: "Son-in-law, let us go out again. It may be your luck this time." The young man said: "Since this is to be my luck I will sit down first and you must go farther on." The young man chanted as his wife had taught him. Then came two beautiful maidens with turquoise beads, earrings, and dresses of beautiful goods. They passed the old man by and came toward him. He killed them and took their scalps, their beads, and their clothes.
Now the old man felt bad because he had lost all of the turquoise. He did not know that his medicine had been changed, and that he carried the imitation medicine.
On the fourth morning again the young man sat down first and the old man went farther on. The young man chanted, and again came two beautiful maidens. They passed by the old man and they came to the young man, who killed them and took their scalps, beads, and clothing. Then the old man came to him and said: "My son-in-law, by what medicine do you do these things?" And the young man answered: "I have nothing." The old man drew his body away from the young man and said: "Without a chant and medicine it is impossible. You alone cannot draw anyone." Now the old man's real medicine which the young man had in his possession was the same medicine with which the old man Bear had drawn the Great Warrior of Aztec and killed him. He took this medicine out and showed it to the old man who examined it closely. He sent for his own medicine. When it was brought to him he laid the articles side by side and said: "They truly look alike." Then he shook them in his hands and took the real medicine himself, but the young man said: "Mine is the oldest because I had the using of the last power. I had the medicine on me." So the young man recovered the real medicine.
After this the young man went after all the enemies he wished to capture. Those that he drew, he killed. Soon his home was full of turquoise, beads, and beautiful goods. But after a while the young man and his wife sickened. The cords of their legs drew up, and their heads ached as did their stomachs. They chanted all the chants that they knew but none helped them. Only Hasjel na' yei nazone, the Black Yei, knew of the proper medicine.
Hasjel na'yei nazone was to he the shaman. The friends of the young man took the skin of a deer not killed by a weapon to the Yei, but he would not look at it. Then the young man sent two buckskins, but the Yei would not accept them. He sent three, four, but Hasjel na'yei nazone would not look at them. Then the same person who told them that Hasjel na'yei nazone would act as shaman came and said: "My children, did you use him?" The young man and his wife both said: "We sent gifts but he would not look at them. We do not understand." So then Dotso, the All-Wise Fly (and here given as the old Man of the Mountain) showed them how to make the medicine stick to take to Hasjel na'yei nazone. They did this, and they took it and presented it to the Yei. Then he asked: "Who thought of the medicine stick?" They said: "We did, ourselves." He said: "No. Only Dotso could have thought of it. He is the only one who knows. Nevertheless I will come tomorrow." They begged him to come that day, but he said: "No. Nothing shall happen. I will come tomorrow."
Then he showed them how to make the jar drum, and what to use. He said that he had his own jar drum and the stick with which to pound it.
The next day he started out. He camped quite a way from the hogan of the young man and his wife, but they could see his fire. Different ones went to him and asked him to come at once; but to them all he said: "No. I will come tomorrow, in the morning."
Now by this time the two were very ill and they needed the Yei immediately. But he kept saying: "I will come tomorrow. Nothing shall happen to them." Then he told the friends of the young man to kill a young buck for him and for his friends. The buck must have two points on his horns. The next morning he arrived, but not before he stopped and demanded his meat.
They brought the deer, which they had killed, to him and there came buzzards, crows, coyotes, wolves, and all the creatures who had eaten the bodies of the enemies. They ate the deer which had been killed.
After this Hasjel na'yei nazone entered the dwelling of the sick couple. And their friends stood outside and beat the drum and chanted and called out the names of the sick ones, as also the name of Hasjel na'yei nazone. Then others came out and placed beautiful goods, symbolic of the spoils of the enemy, over their shoulders. And inside the dwelling the Yei burned the barks of the piñon and the willow trees, the bladder pod and the sage, and the sheepgrass and the radishgrass. These they burned while Hasjel na'yei nazone chanted and sprinkled the ashes of these plants over the persons of the two sick ones.
note: The Black God or Fire God, Hashchezhini.
Many chants were sung here and during the decorating of the medicine stick. Today the chants are those of the Two Brothers, the twin sons of the Man Who Was Formed in the Earth or Mountain. From the Elder Brother come the Mountain Chant and Dance (the First Mountain Chant comes from way back in the beginning, the Bear being the last to add his medicine to the old ceremony) and the Snake Chant and Dance. From the Younger Brother comes the Summer or Scalp or Squaw Dance.
Artifacts used In the Summer, or Scalp, or Squaw Dance and designs on the Medicine Stick. 1, The Rainbow stick to beat the drum with. Today an oak stick is used. The enemy is pounded into the ground symbolically. When the ceremony is over it is straightened out and, with a chant, is taken to the mountains. 2, The jar drum. Inside it are all the sacred waters mixed with the blood or spittle of the enemy. It is covered with skin and tied, with rain strings. 3, Scalp of the monsters. It is behind the stick. 4, The skin of a fawn not killed by a weapon, and two strings. Used as a covering for the jar drum. It has a face, eyes, and mouth. The strings hang down. 5, On the medicine stick: the bow of Hasjel na'yei nazone, the Black Yei. 6, On the medicine stick: an opening in the bow and a little object that represents a knife. 7, The rain, the narrow black streaks of rain. 8, The medicine stick is (was) taken from the root of a reed growing from one bank to another across a stream. Today a cedar stick is used.
Scalp or Squaw Dance and its chants. From Hasjelti came the Yei'bickai. Hasjelti is the god or Yei of the East or Dawn; Hasjohon is the Yei of the West and Twilight. Yolgai esdzan, the White Bead Woman is Nature or the Mother goddess. These three are the chief actors.
The one who holds the jar drum must stand with her eyes and mouth turned away from the drummer. In the first Dance the Black Cloud was used to cover the jar. Today they use a goatskin. Today, also, they use all kinds and colors of yarns around the sticks carried in the Summer Dance. They used the seeds of the columbine and the seeds of the sweet-smelling grass. They were blown on the medicine stick after it was finished.
Today the Dance is as follows: On the first day the medicine stick is taken to the person representing Hasjel na'yei nazone. They sing and dance all of that night. The second day the person representing Hasjel na'yei nazone goes only part of the way. They sing and dance at the place all of that night. The morning of the third day they come near and make camp not far from the hogan of the sick person. Food is then taken to the party, the gift of the sick person. After they have eaten they go to the hogan. On the fourth and last day, while the visiting party stand outside chanting, the women relatives of the sick person go out and distribute presents such as calico, ribbon, and candy. This is an old custom. (The gifts are given in the spirit of our Christmas gifts.)
To continue the story: at dawn Hasjelti came and sang three chants. There are no words, only the tune. Then came Hash chel bai, the Yei known as the clown, also called Tqo'nenili, the Water Sprinkler. He was the last to sing.
Yo ho, yo ho, ye hi,
Ha'he he, he'a,
That was the last chant, and after he had finished singing everyone went his way.
Today the Summer Dance is performed in this manner but without the chants. The ceremony takes 3 days. It is held a second time over a person.
Now after the first ceremony was held over the young man and his wife they recovered. The young man went out again and killed more enemies. After a time again they both sickened. Dotso came and told the young man that when he went out and killed the enemy the blood of the enemy was upon him when he returned to his wife. That accounted for her illness as well as his. Therefore the ceremony was held a second time.
note: The Water Sprinkler, Tqo nenili, also called the Gray God, Hash chel bai.
This second time Hasjel na'yei nazone told them they must use the small branch of the cedar, but it must not have two points at the end. On the east side of the branch, he who cut it must so mark it: there must be drawn a bow with an opening, and a scalp on the opposite side. Then the stick must be painted red. It must then be blackened with the same medicine which they burned. They must blow on it the seeds of the sweet-smelling grass and the columbine. Yam or cotton cloth or red flannel must be tied to the stick, and these must hang down like rain. This medicine stick must be taken to Hasjel na'yei nazone.
But this second time, on the last day, the White Bead Woman came and made the medicine. The herbs she used would heal the patient. She gave a beverage to the young man to drink, but the wife took her medicine outside the dwelling. The Crow stood between them. The Crow represented the third person, and is always shown between a man and his wife. Now after the young man drank the medicine he took a little string from the yucca and drew it away from the tip of his heel. Then he laid it down. He took another and another and drew them, separately, away from all parts of his body. When a medicine man draws the yucca string away from the body of the patient, the Crow, outside, calls, and another medicine man, sitting near where a scalp has been buried, puts ashes over it four times. All this was added to the second ceremony.
Today a wife goes through the same ceremony with her husband. The sick man remains in the hogan. Then they throw over her shoulders the robes, buckskins, belts, long strips of velvet, calico, red flannel, ancient squaw dresses, etc. These are the gifts of the friends and family of the husband. She takes them and gives them to her relatives one by one. She keeps nothing; everything is given to her relatives.