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The Origin of Totem Clans - Zuni

The Beloved Twins and priest-fathers gathered in council for the naming and selection of man-groups and creature-kinds (tánawa), spaces, and things. They thus determined that the creatures and things of summer and the southern space pertained to the Southern people,or Children of the Producing Earth-mother; and those of winter and northern space, to the Winter people, or Children of the Forcing or Quickening Sky-father.

Of the Children of Summer, some loved and understood most the Sun and so became the fathers of the Sun people (Yä'tok'ya-kwe). Some loved more the water, and became the Toad people (Ták'ya-w e), Turtle people (Étâa-kwe), or Frog people (Ták'yaiuna-kwe), who love the water so much. Others loved the seeds of earth and became the People of Seed (Tâatém'hlanah-kwe), such as those of the First-growing grass (Pétâa-kwe, now Aíyaho-kwe), and of the Tobacco (Ána-kwe). Yet still others loved the warmth and became the Fire or Badger people (Tónashi-kwe). According, then, to their natures and inclinations or their gifts from below or from the Masters of Life, they chose or were chosen for their totems.

Thus, too, it was with the People of Winter or the North. They chose, or were chosen and named, according to their resemblances or aptitudes; some as the Bear people (Aínshi-kwe), Coyote people (Súki-kwe), or Deer people (Shóhoita-kwe); others as the Crane people (Kâ'lokta-kwe), Turkey people (Tóna-kwe) or Grouse people (Póyi-kwe). In this way it came to pass that the Áshiwe were divided of old in the same way that their children are today, into ánotiwe (clans or kinties) of brothers and sisters who may not marry one another, but from one to another of kin. As the Earth-mother had increased and kept within herself all beings, cherishing them apart from their father even after they came forth, so were these our brothers and sisters made the keepers of the kin-names and of the seed thereof; nor may the children of each be cherished by any others of kin.

Now the Beloved Foremost Ones (Úan Éhkon Áteona) of these clans were prepared by instruction of the gods and the fathers of the house of houses and by being breathed of them, whereby they became áshiwani or priests also, but only the priests of possession, master keepers of sacred things and mysteries (tíkitlapon ámosi), each according to his nature of kinship. It was thus that the warmth-wanting Badger-people were given the great shell (tsúlikéinan 'hlana), the heart or navel of which is potent or sensitive of fire, as of the earthquake and the inner fire is the coiled navel of the Earth-mother. On the sunny sides of hills burrow the badgers, finding and dwelling among the dry roots where there is fire. Thus the "Two Badgers" were made keepers of the sacred heart-shell (súti k'ili achi), makers and wardens of fire. So, too, were the Bear, Crane, and Grouse people given the múetone, or the contained seed-substance of hail, snow and new soil (for the bear sleeps, no longer guarding when winter comes, and with the returning crane, in the wake of the duck, comes winter in the trail of the white growing grouse). So, to the Toad and other water people, descended to them from Yanáuluha the k'yáetone, or the contained seed-substance of water; and to the Átâa-kwe, or All-seed-people, especially to the First-growing-grass people and the Tobacco people, was given from him the chúetone, or the contained seed-substance of corn grains.

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