Manataka American Indian Council









By Gram Selma, Ocali Nation


With the holidays fast approaching, it is a time of memories and family stories of times past, it is a time of honoring what has gone before us and the traditions of each family  passed on .


Myths and legends are sacred stories form the past hat have withstood the test of time, that teach morals, explain universal events or truths, and often explain the origin of life or a vital tradition.


Most of these sacred myths are either ceremonial, religious, historical and or philosophical.


Legends tend to be associated with a specific geographical area or location and are therefore culturally related to a given climate, terrain, and weather conditions.


In recent times, some of the legends and myths have been adopted so to speak,  and become somewhat prominent in the dominant society.  Some of them actually become " fads" even thou the entire story or origin is not known or not accurately represented.


A good example of this is the surge in popularity of Kokopelli.


When the Hopi people emerged into this, the fourth world they were visited by an Eagle.  The eagle  borrowed a bow and arrow from the people and shot two insects with the arrow, both of these insects carried the power of heat.  Each of the two insects began playing  magical flutes.  Playing with such beauty and duration, they were able to heal their bodies.


In time, as the two Hopi bands migrated, each insect traveled with a separate band. Each insect would scatter seeds of vegetation and fruits as they walked.  They carried the seeds in a pouch hanging from their shoulders.  They would play the flute over the seeds and create heat for the seeds to germinate and flourish on the barren land.


Eventually, the people started calling one of the insects " Koko" meaning sacred wood , which referred to his flute. The other was called " Pilau" for the hump on his back or shoulders from the seed pouch.


Over time, Koko and Pilau became known as Kokopelli, and he was credited for drawing heat from Earth Mother to provide germination and growth of the many seeds sown.  Kokopelli is a living divine spirit of fertility and of the Earths ever ending bounty. He presides over both childbirth and agriculture as a " trickster".

At times , he carries unwanted infants in his pouch of seeds and gives them to barren women.  He takes part in Ceremony relating to marriage also,  and often has a female companion  named Kokopelli--Mana.


Kokopelli also presides over reproduction of the animal kingdom, and is often depicted with snake, lizards, and or deer.  In regard to agricultural reproduction, his flute sends winter fleeing and brings in the spring  calling the rains and the warmth needed.  He is much more than just the " humped back flute player", he is divine.




Gram Selma






EMAIL          HOME          INDEX          TRADING POST