Kachina and Chester H. West

Drawings of kachina dolls, from an 1894 anthropology book.

A kachina (/kəˈtʃiːnə/; also katchina, katcina, or katsina; Hopi: katsina /kətˈsiːnə/, plural katsinim /kətˈsiːnɨm/) is a spirit being in western Pueblo religious beliefs. The western Pueblo, Native American cultures located in the southwestern United States, include Hopi, Zuni, Tewa Village (on the Hopi Reservation), Acoma Pueblo, and Laguna Pueblo. The kachina concept has three different aspects: the supernatural being, the kachina dancers (masked members of the community who represent kachinas at religious ceremonies), and kachina dolls, small dolls carved in the likeness of kachinas given as gifts to children.

Contents 1 Overview 2 Origins 3 Hopi kachinas 3.1 Wuya 4 Zuni kachinas 5 Kachina dolls 6 Ceremonial dancers 6.1 Clowns 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links


Kachinas are spirits or personifications of things in the real world. These spirits are believed to visit the Hopi villages during the first half of the year. A kachina can represent anything in the natural world or cosmos, from a revered ancestor to an element, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon, or a concept. There are more than 400 different kachinas in Hopi and Pueblo culture. The local pantheon of kachinas varies in each pueblo community; there may be kachinas for the sun, stars, thunderstorms, wind, corn, insects, and many other concepts. Kachinas are understood as having humanlike relationships; they may have uncles, sisters, and grandmothers, and may marry and have children. Although not worshipped, each is viewed as a powerful being who, if given veneration and respect, can use his particular power for human good, bringing rainfall, healing, fertility, or protection, for example. One observer has written:

The central theme of the kachina is the presence of life in all objects that fill the universe. Everything has an essence or a life force, and humans must interact with these or fail to survive. Kachina dolls in the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Origins

The exact origin of the kachinas is not completely known, but according to one version of Hopi belief, the kachinas were beneficent spirit-beings who came with the Hopis from the underworld. The underworld is a concept common to all the Pueblo Indians. It is a place where the spirits or shades live: the newly born come from there and the dead return there. The kachinas wandered with the Hopis over the world until they arrived at Casa Grande, where both the Hopis and the kachinas settled for a while. With their powerful ceremonies, the kachinas brought rain for the crops and were in general of much help and comfort. Unfortunately, all of the kachinas were killed when the Hopis were attacked by enemies (Mexicans) and their souls returned to the underworld. Since the sacred paraphernalia of the kachinas were left behind, the Hopis began impersonating the kachinas, wearing their masks and costumes, and imitating their ceremonies in order to bring rain, good crops, and life's happiness. Kachina dancers, Shongopavi pueblo, Arizona, sometime before 1900

Another version says that in an early period, the kachinas danced for the Hopis, bringing them rain and all the many blessings of life. But eventually, the Hopis came to take the kachinas for granted, losing all respect and reverence for them, so the kachinas finally left and returned to the underworld. However, before they left, the kachinas taught some of their ceremonies to a few faithful young men and showed them how to make the masks and costumes. When the other Hopi realized their loss, they remorsefully turned to the human substitute of kachinas, and the ceremonies have continued since then. Hopi kachinas See also: Hopi Kachina dolls

In many ways the Kachina Cult and its ritual are the most important ceremonial observances in the Hopi religious calendar. Within Hopi religion, the kachinas are said to live on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. To the Hopis, the name primarily refers to the supernatural beings who visit the villages to help the Hopis with everyday activities and act as a link between gods and mortals. These spirits are then impersonated by men who dress up in costumes and masks to perform ceremonial dances throughout the year. Wooden carvings of these spirits are also made to give to the children to help them identify the many kachinas. Overall, the kachinas can generally be said to represent historical events and things in nature, and are used to educate children in the ways of life. Wuya

The most important Hopi kachinas are known as wuya. In Hopi, the word is often used to represent the spiritual beings themselves (said to be connected with the Fifth World, Taalawsohu), the dolls, or the people who dress as kachinas for ceremonial dances, which are understood to embody all aspects of the same belief system. These are some of the wuyas: Hopi Pueblo (Native American). Kachina Doll (Pahlikmana), late 19th century. Brooklyn Museum Ahöla Ahöl Mana Aholi Ahul Ahulani Akush Alosaka Angak Angwushahai-i Angwusnasomtaka Chaveyo Chakwaina Chiwap Chowilawu Cimon Mana Danik?china Dawa (kachina) Eototo Hahai-i Wuhti He-e-e Hú Huruing Wuhti Kalavi Kaletaka Ketowa Bisena Köchaf Kököle Kokopelli Kokosori Kokyang Wuhti Kwasai Taka Lemowa Masau'u Mastop Maswik Mong Muyingwa Nakiachop Nataska Ongchomo Pachava Hú Patung Pohaha or Pahana Saviki Pöqangwhoya Shalako Taka Shalako Mana Söhönasomtaka Soyal Tiwenu Toho Tokoch Tsitot Tukwinong Tukwinong Mana Tumas Tumuala Tungwup Ursisimu We-u-u Wiharu Wukokala Wupa-ala Wupamo Wuyak-kuita Map of Native American tribes in Arizona — located in the Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona regions. Zuni kachinas

The Hopi are not the only tribe to observe the Kachina Cult in its religious calendar. Almost all other Pueblo villages in the Southwest observe the kachina ritual in one way or another. The Zuni however, has the nearest resemblance to the Hopi kachinas, and in many ways the two coincide so closely as to indicate a close relationship in the past. The Zuni believe that the kachinas live in the Lake of the Dead, a mythical lake which is reached through Listening Spring Lake. This is located at the junction of the Zuni River and the Little Colorado River. Although some archaeological investigations have taken place, they have not been able to clarify which tribe, Hopi or Zuni, was developed first. The Hopis have built their cult into a more elaborate ritual, and seem to have a greater sense of drama and artistry than the Zunis. On the other hand, the latter have developed a more sizable folklore concerning their kachinas. Kachina dolls

Kachina dolls are small brightly painted wooden "dolls" which are miniature representations of the masked impersonators. These figurines are given to children not as toys, but as objects to be treasured and studied so that the young Hopis may become familiar with the appearance of the kachinas as part of their religious training. During Kachina ceremonies, each child receives their own doll. The dolls are then taken home and hung up on the walls or from the rafters of the house, so that they can be constantly seen by the children. The purpose of this is to help the children learn to know what the different kachinas look like. It is said that the Hopi recognize over 200 kachinas and many more were invented in the last half of the nineteenth century. Among the Hopi, kachina dolls are traditionally carved by the uncles and given to uninitiated girls at the Bean Dance (Spring Bean Planting Ceremony) and Home Dance Ceremony in the summer. These dolls are very difficult to classify not only because the Hopis have a vague idea about their appearance and function, but also because these ideas differ from mesa to mesa and pueblo to pueblo. Ceremonial dancers A metal statue signifying a kachina dancer at the "Carefree Resort" in Carefree, Arizona, US.

Many Pueblo Indians, particularly the Hopi and Zuni, have ceremonies in which masked men, called kachinas, play an important role. Masked members of the tribe dress up as kachinas for religious ceremonies that take place many times throughout the year. These ceremonies are social occasions for the village, where friends and relatives are able to come from neighboring towns to see the "dance" and partake in the feasts that are always prepared. When a Hopi man places a mask upon his head and wears the appropriate costume and body paint, he believes that he has lost his personal identity and has received the spirit of the kachina he is supposed to represent. Besides the male kachinas are many female kachinas called kachin-manas, but women never take the part of male and female kachinas. Clowns Koshari clown Kachina Village, Arizona, Honolulu Museum of Art

Hopi clowns are an integral part of Hopi Kachina ceremonials where they participate in sacred rituals as well as unique clown performances—some with direct contact with the spectators. The clown's performance centers on humor and entertainment, but also they monitor the assembled crowd and provide policing activities over both the Kachina performers and the audience. Mockery is a tool used to warn spectators of non-Hopi behavior, and generally long remembered by the recipient of clown attention.

Chester H. West and Kachina

Chester Howard West (January 3, 1888 – May 20, 1935) was a soldier in the United States Army who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I.

Contents 1 Biography 2 Medal of Honor citation 3 See also 4 References 5 External links


West was born in Fort Collins, Colorado on January 3, 1888 and later enlisted for World War I in California. After the war, he married Maggie Elizabeth Van Sickle of Southside on Christmas Day, 1932, and began working as a farm hand for Sam McCausland, the son of Civil War Confederate Gen. John McCausland. West died May 20, 1935, shot and murdered by Sam McCausland at West's home during an altercation. West later died at a hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio and McCausland was convicted of second-degree murder. West is buried at the Van Sickle Cemetery in Southside, West Virginia, but his grave-site was lost as the cemetery became part of the Chief Cornstalk Wildlife Management Area in the 1970s. The first attempt to rediscover West's grave was 2012 by Jack Crutchfield of West Virginia Public Television’s “Obscurely Famous” series, however Crutchfield was unsuccessful. In 2015, the grave was successfully rediscovered in 2015 by Derrick Jackson, a Boy Scout who used the rediscovery of the grave as his Eagle Scout service project. Plans to reinter West's remains at the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery in Dunbar, West Virginia are currently in progress. Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 363d Infantry, 91st Division. Place and date: Near Bois-de-Cheppy, France, September 26, 1918. Entered service at: Los Banos, Calif. Birth: Fort Collins, Colo. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. Citation:

While making his way through a thick fog with his automatic rifle section, his advance was halted by direct and unusual machinegun fire from 2 guns. Without aid, he at once dashed through the fire and, attacking the nest, killed 2 of the gunners, 1 of whom was an officer. This prompt and decisive hand-to-hand encounter on his part enabled his company to advance farther without the loss of a man. See also List of Medal of Honor recipients List of Medal of Honor recipients for World War I
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