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This Site Last Updated: Wednesday, December 31, 2003
This Page Last Updated: Monday December 15, 2003
Introduction
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Turkeys play an important part in Zuni life. Excavations have turned up evidence of enormous numbers of domesticated turkeys based on the remnants of pens, eggs, bones, and guano. (Turkeys are like geese and produce copious quantities of excrement.) One Zuni clan even used the turkey as it symbol. The importance of the turkey is also reflected in the Zuni religion.
Zuni legends attribute miraculous powers to the Turkey People who can be summoned by planting turkey-feathered prayer sticks along with the proper incantations. One legend describes how the son of a Rain Priest summoned them and how they came in the night while the family slept and left gifts of blankets, buckskin and corn.
Ducks are also important to the Zuni. (The Hopi considered duck feathers to be symbols of rain.) In one ceremony, which represents the search for lost Corn Maidens, two Kachinas appear as ducks. At the end of other ceremonies, Kachinas turn into ducks and fly away.
The Zuni deity Pautiwa may be a representation of Tlaloc, the rain deity. Pautiwa was the leader of the deities, and was dignified, kindly, and generous. He was, like Tlaloc, also associated with deer. Both Pautiwa and Tlaloc are very similar to the Anasazi Tlaloc Kachina and Hopi Rain Kachina.