There are hundreds of Hopi Katsinam, "personations" of supernatural
beings, important animals and ancestors who help the Hopi people raise
their crops, their children, and their spirits. The Katsina dancers are
men wearing masks--each of which represents a particular Katsina--and
paint and feathered costumes. Everyone in the village, aside from the
children, knows that the Katsina dancers are actually men from the
village, though Katsinam are still believed to have supernatural powers.
Much of the value in these dances is found to be instructing the young.
Signed and numbered.
Sammie Walker Kachinas
Walker, master carver of Kachina dolls since the age of 8, was born to
Deer Water Clan. He spent his childhood in Sand Springs, Arizona, in the
heart of Tony Hillerman Country, where he helped his family with their
farming and the tending of their 360 sheep, 67 cows, and 37 horses.
Sammie's father was a medicine man who also fashioned moccasins form the
cured hide of their cattle. At the age of 8, Sammie developed a love of
carving after working on a 2x4 that had been saved to repair the
family's horse drawn wagon. Sammie's first doll was a simple stick-typo
figure with no base. Pine tree sap was used as glue and the arms were
secured with horse shoe nails. He and his father took the doll to Bruce
Powell, owner of a trading post at Old Oraibi. He bought Sammie's doll
for $35.00. That was the beginning. Realizing that his son had a gift
for carving Sammie's father introduced him to a Hopi friend, Many
Cattles who gave Sammie a book on Hopi Kachinas and then taught him the
art of carving. Later, Many Cattles initiated Sammy in one of his Hopi
plaza dances. Since that time Sammie has carved dolls for local
enthusiasts as well as for Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and
President Fox of Mexico.