This initiation goes back in place to White House where the real katsina left and the katsina society was organized. Acoma people do it exactly the same today.
This ceremony usually follows a little after the dramatization of the katsina fight; now it is early in April. Every 5 years the dramatization is held, and after every second dramatization (every 10 years) the, initiation is held. It is called the initiation of the children (i'achniamanwatsi'watruma, "young initiated to be").
Country Chief asks Antelope Man if it is not time to initiate the children. (Girls and boys both are in this. This is initiation into the tribe.) 24 Antelope Man says, "Yes, it is time." They keep watch for the sunrise from the east end of the mesa. There are different points on the east mesa, where the sun comes up. The sun is watched from a certain rock; the horizon is on the east mesa and marked with small gaps. When the sun reaches a certain place, Country Chief knows it is time for the initiation. So he sets the date and tells the people, especially all who have a child about 10 years old (more or less from about 6 years to any age).
The father and mother watch out for this. It is the parents' duty to select someone to be a "father" to the child, to present him for initiation. The father makes up a prayer stick with which to approach the man he is going to ask to act as "father" to the child. Two days before the ceremony, the father goes to the house of the man he selects. Usually he selects a friend and he speaks to him as "brother." He asks him if he will act as "father" to the child, naming him with clan name. 25 He brings also corn meal and ground up mixed food and cigarettes. The man says a prayer accepting the child. It is customary to bring a large amount of corn meal, as the person accepting must take some of it to all his relatives because this child is to become a son of all of his clan, and each of his relatives (everyone, men, women and children) takes some of this corn meal and goes out and prays for the child. Country Chief appoints a man to represent Tsitsanits, the katsina chief, from hai'mataata 26 kiva. Country Chief also selects two Gomaiowish from the same kiva. (A man belongs in the kiva of his father.)
They are to dress up with masks representing their parts. At this time (the morning of the second day before initiation) the Antelope elan's altar is set up in Mauharo kiva. Country Chief helps bring in the altar. Country Chief then leaves, and guards the kiva. The Antelope clan nawai gets some of his clan members who know the songs and in the afternoon they are brought into Mauharo kiva. Later the two Gomaiowish come in, talking busily. They have come from the west. Antelope clan nawai waits for them in his office 27
and they go there, reporting to him that they have come, because, "You have called us. Tsitsanits is on the way and will be here later. We are coming to initiate the children. We came ahead to bring the medicine (plants, roots, branches, etc.)."
The Gomaiowish then leave, going up and down the streets talking, They look at the ground, saying, "There are lots of tracks, there must be lots of children here!" They say, "Some of them have no moccasins, but after they are initiated, we will bring them moccasins." The children are usually frightened half to death. (The talking is for the benefit of the children and to quiet their fears.) After they have done this, Gomaiowish enter Mauharo kai. There they dance to the singing of the Antelope clan, smoking, talking while they sing, making the people laugh. Just before sundown, they ask permission to go back for Tsitsanits, who is late. They joke, saying they are going to weigh the children and measure them. "But I guess they are not coming till Tsitsanits arrives, so we had better go get him." So they leave.
That evening, at sundown, the man who is to be "father" to the child goes to one of his relatives to get him to help by putting the feathers on the heads of the children when they come out from the initiation. The Gomaiowish leave their medicine in the kiva and the "father" goes and gets a little piece of each kind. This medicine is to keep the children from being afraid. Later in the evening all the people enter their kivas. When the time comes, the Country Chief comes around to the kivas telling the "fathers" to get their children and bring them to the chief kiva.
The "fathers" and their helpers take the children to the kivas. Other men go out to meet Tsitsanits. They go to the west end of the village and wait there. A short distance southwest of Acoma is where Tsitsanits and Gomaiowish dress. You can hear their cries as they approach. Before this the men who are not "fathers" ask their women to boil some corn for them, as they are going to act "katsina" to present corn to the children in kiva. They hand it down, but do not enter the kiva. They are not masked, but the children do not see them. They hand down apples, corn, etc., which the "fathers" reach up and get.
As soon as Tsitsanits comes past these men, they pray, saying, "He is the only one who is real; we are only guards." They all make a lot of noise like katsina, so it can be heard in the kiva. The man acting as father, when he comes to the home of the child, chews some of the medicine, spits it over the child and says, "I have come for you, my child." He gives some to the child, telling him, "Eat this and you won't be afraid." The parents encourage the child. The child is carried from its threshold on the back of the "father" all the way into the kiva. They are placed where they won't get lost. One
man can be "father" to two or three children; in this case they have to hurry so as to get them in before the katsina arrive. The katsina are not dressed and they believe that if they see the katsina not masked it will give them the itch and body sores.
Antelope clansmen are singing all this time in the kiva. When the children hear the noise outside, they get frightened. When Tsitsanits arrives on the roof, he yells and scratches, while the Gomaiowish make all the noise they can. A buffalo skin closes the entry. This skin is painted with katsina masks on the inside of the skin.
Antelope Man stands under the ladder. He has a ball of ashes mixed with food (corn meal and pollen). When the song ends he throws this ball up against the skin. The Gomaiowish then open up the skin and Tsitsanits dashes in as fast as he can, followed by Gomaiowish. This is acted out to seem as if the ball knocked off the skin cover. The Gomaiowish make a lot of racket. Tsitsanits shuffles his feet over the tsiwaimitiima. Antelope Man dips his feathers into the medicine and sprinkles Tsitsanits and the Gomaiowish. This quiets them down a bit. Antelope Man then says, "Tsitsanits has come to initiate our children." Tsitsanits makes gestures of agreement. The ones sitting near on the right side of the ladder go up first to the altar. There is a rush to get there first. The "father" leads the child by the hand to the front. Tsitsanits stands on the west side, the, "father" on the north side, and the child stands on the tsiwaimitiima. Tsitsanits strikes the child four times (across shoulder, back, thighs, legs). Then they turn around, the "father" stands on the tsiwaimitiima (still holding the child) and it is his turn to be struck. Then the one who is to put on the feather, a turkey feather, steps up and puts the feather in the hair of the child. If a man has more than one child, he puts them through one after the other. (Iatiku also told them to cut children's hair, all but a topknot to which the feather is tied. Their hair is cut thus until this initiation. After this it can grow long. That is why children want to go through this early.) The man tying on the feather first pulls up eight times on the topknot--so the child will go over four mountains (meaning long life). The feather is to be worn 4 days. Turkey feathers are used on prayer sticks as a guard and this hair feather is a guard for these 4 days. On the fourth day the child takes it off with a prayer. During these 4 days the "father" gets the measurement of the child's feet and makes moccasins for him (or her) and buckskin clothes (a whole new outfit).
On the fourth day the katsina will come. The Gomaiowish tell the children, before they leave, that in 4 days the katsina will come bringing them presents. It is customary for the Mixed katsina to come. Any number can come from each kiva. Their masks are brought to
[paragraph continues] Mauharo kai. In kiva the "father" is making moccasins. The "mother," the wife of the "father," is making up the clothing. Early in the morning of the fourth day, the "mother" goes to the house of the child and brings the child to her house. They have there in the house, set in baskets, the outfit for the child: if a boy--bow and arrow, hunter stick, and clothes; if a girl--clothes and the rainbow head ornament (uaishtiakayani) 28 (pl. 13, fig. 1). 29 When the children are brought in, the "mother" uncovers the basket, saying, "This has been sent you by the katsina. The crows brought it from Wenimats." (Children seeing crows, look at them to see if they are carrying presents, The "stockings" of the katsina represent crow stockings. Parents point out the crows to the children, saying, "See, the katsina are going to come!" 30 Katsina presents are left outside the door, to get children up early, and parents will say, "See what your brother found! Let's see to whom it belongs." The children try on the different things to see for whom each thing is intended.) After the presents are made, the "mother" washes the head of the child and gives him a feast (on the floor).
Meanwhile, just before the katsina are to come, the chaianyi have been placing their altars [? in the kivas]. They bring the children in front of the altar and give them a bath to give them new life. This finishes the initiation.
A general feast will follow. The "mothers" prepare the corn meal which is brought to the "fathers" by the real fathers as payment for service. The initiate will regard his "father" as a real father; and all the relatives of the "father" will be considered relatives.
108:22 According to White 1932, p. 40, the two under war chiefs may refuse, but the first chief must drink it.
108:23 Cf. White, 1932, pp. 71-75; 1942.
109:24 Women at Acoma are not initiated into the societies (Informant). Although Acoma women are initiated to the Katsina society, they never wear masks (White, 1932, p. 70). At Sia, according to Stevenson, women participate in masked dances, presumably wearing masks (Stevenson, 1894, p. 116). White's Sia informants stated that women were initiates into the katsina organization, but declared positively that they never wore masks (White, ms.). At Santa Ana some women are admitted to the katsina organization and may wear katsina masks representing females (White, ms.). At Santo Domingo and San Felipe women are not admitted to the katsina organization; moreover, theoretically, at least, they are kept in ignorance of the fact that the katsina dancers are men (White, 1935, pp. 49, 83, 96-97, 101, 104; 1932 a, pp. 27, 35). At Cochiti, women are kept in ignorance of the identity of the katsina dancers (Dumarest, 1919, pp. 174-175; see also Goldfrank, 1927 pp. 44 104).
109:25 Does this imply that the clan has a stock of personal names, like the Hopi clan? For Hopi-Acoma parallels, several drawn from this monograph, see Parsons 1939, pp. 980-982.
109:26 Cf. White, 1932, p. 30.
109:27 The house of the cacique who is Antelope clan nawai.