The Hopi Snake dance was first described in 1884 and through many articles over the last 100 years has become one of the best known of all aboriginal American Indian ceremonies. Yet, despite its notoriety, it was, and continues to be, little understood by those who are not Hopi Indians. Visitors to the Hopis remote reservation in the Arizona desert watch in amazement as members of the Hopi Snake Society, males of all ages, dance with living rattlesnakes clenched between their teeth.
The ceremony ensures plenty of spring water and abundant rain for the maturing crops, and dramatizes the legend of the Snake Clan as the Snake Priests wash the snakes ritually, and carry them in their teeth during the public dance.
This revised edition of the classic Bureau of American Ethnology reports from 1894-98 includes a new preface from the publisher, and additional period photographs of the ceremony.