Digital Dimdima
-By Rashmi Menon
Labor Day
The Community College
Hiking the Grand Canyon – II
Hiking the Grand Canyon – I
The Niagara Falls
Desert Dogs
The Sears Tower
The Navajo Code Talkers
Driving Through McDonalds
The Mighty Desert Warrior
The Big Roundup
Serving the Americans
Martin Luther King Day
Harvard University and Other Ivy League Schools
Winter Wonders
Las Vegas
Let’s Give Thanks!
Fall Colours
Halloween
The Collared Peccary
Hurricane Isabel
Wonders of Yellowstone
A Trip Under the Sea
The Legend of the Kokopelli
The Great Lakes of North America

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The Legend of the Kokopelli

Hola friends! It’s the second half of August and many Indians will celebrate Lord Krishna’s birthday very soon. This mischievous flute-player is a favourite among young and old alike. Here in the American Southwest, we have our very own favourite flute-playing deity. He is known as Kokopelli.
This hunchbacked flute-player has been an important figure in Native American folklore for thousands of years. Archaeologists have found rock carvings of this mischievous character in the ancient Anasazi ruins. The earliest petroglyph of Kokopelli is about 3000 years old.
Myths and legends concerning Kokopelli abounded in the ancient pueblos. The most famous legends come down from the Zuni and Hopi tribes of Southwest America. The Kokopelli is a symbol of fertility. Some historians believe that the name Kokopelli is a combination of two words; “Koko,” meaning “God” and “pilau,” meaning “hump.” The term “pelli” may be a corruption of the term “pilau.” “Pelli” could also mean “desert fly.” In the earlier rock carvings, the Kokopelli resembles an insect more than a man. Native American mythology tells us about two ancient insect people who were hurt when an eagle shot arrows at them. These insects healed themselves by playing on their flutes. These insect people resemble Kokopelli and his wife Kokopelli-mana. The flute is, therefore, a powerful healing symbol. The Kokopelli is a wandering minstrel who roams the pueblos playing his flute. He is able to drive away the sorrows of the people with his powerful tunes. He is also capable of driving away the long harsh winter and heralding the spring.
According to the Hopi Indians, the hump on this God’s back is actually a sack of seeds. This bag contains seeds of all the world’s plants. As he goes from village to village playing his melodious tunes, he scatters the seeds on the ground, thereby giving new life to the world. Couples who could not have children often prayed to this God for the gift of an offspring.
Kokopelli is also known as Kokopele and Kokopetiyot. Tourists who visit Monument Valley, a Navajo nation tribal park, along the border of Northeastern Arizona and Southeastern Utah, can see a magnificent frieze depicting the Kokopelli. This long rock carving was excavated by archeologists in 1920 and has been dubbed as “The Flute Player House.”
That’s it for this week amigos. I’ll have another interesting story lined up for you in a couple of weeks. Till then, it’s “adios” from your amiga in Arizona.

Tribal parks preserve the Native American way of life. Monument Valley lies within the Navajo Indian reservation. There is a huge Visitors’ Center in the small Indian town named Goulding, which was established as a trading post in 1923.



Notes:
Hola = “Hello” in Spanish
Anasazi = Indian tribe
Hopi = Indian tribe
Zuni = Indian tribe
Petroglyph = rock carving
Pueblo = Spanish for “village”
Minstrel = poet/singer
Amigo = Spanish for “friend”
Adios = Spanish for “goodbye”
Amiga = Spanish for “female friend”

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