Hopi Indian Snake Dance


E.A. Burbank, Photographer Benham Company, Los Angeles, California inho501pf.jpg IN-HO-501 Hand-Tinted Color 1502-0501-0006 inho501pf Postcard 3x5 Historic Photographs 1909 Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives


Hopi (Moqui) Indian Snake Dance at Walpi, Arizona. 

The back of the postcard reads:

"This dance, (which is a prayer for rain and good luck) is given at Walpi once in two years during the month of August.  The ceremony lasts nine days and on the last day just as the sun is setting the Indians leave the Keva (Cave) and dance with snakes in their mouths.  From 60 to 100 Rattlers and Bull snakes are used and occasionally an Indian is bitten by a Rattler; but they have an antidote known only to two Indian men and one woman, who prepare the antidote.  Every one of the figures in the picture is a portrait painted by the great Indian painter, E.A. (Elbridge Ayer) Burbank, and his celebrated painting from which this is taken, represents the most critical part of the dance."

NOTE: Sharlot Hall Museum Research Center has more Hopi photographs; however these are restricted and can only be viewed by approval from the Hopi Cultural Center (email: info@hopiculturalcenter.com or telephone 928-734-2401).


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