Desert Wind Sample Chapter


Aakwer (ah-kwur). Kwaaymii. A young runner.

arrowweed. A fibrous plant found in the desert. It was generally used to make nets for trapping rabbits.

arroyo. A brush strewn valley.

Black Bear. Kwaaymii. Father of SuSaan.

Bird Singers. Ceremonial singers who would lift up song throughout a variety of Kwaaymii ceremonies.

Flat-Nosed. A group of people from far north of the Kwaaymii homeland.

Haatipaa (hah-tih-pah). Haawii. The Haawii chief.

Haawii (hah-wee). Literally "Water in Rock." A group of people who dwelt in the desert year-round.

hakwall (hack-wall). A device used for carrying a smile child on one's back. Much like a backpack.

Hampuu (ham-poo). Haawii. A scout.

Inya (in-ya). The name for the spirit of the sun.

Karuk (kuh-rook). When a person died, the Kwaaymii believed their spirit would walk the earth for one year. The person would review their life during that period. After a year, their spirit would depart across the "bridge between the two worlds" to the afterlife. The Karuk ceremony was a sending-off of the person's spirit, celebrating their passage across the bridge and their entry into afterlife.

kapash cakes (ku-push). Cakes made out of a ground acorn meal.

Kwaaymii (kwie-mee). Literally "Bird that Sings." A group of people who migrated between the mountains and desert with the change of seasons. They spent winter in the desert, while spring, summer and much of fall in the mountains. They took their name from the sacred Kwaaymii bird.

kwaaypaay (kwie-pie). Literally "eagle." A village chief.

Kwutah Lueah (kwoo-tah loo-ay-ah). Literally "Song Dance Race." It was a race held in the early morning. The runners would race from the bottom of a hill to the top. They raced each other, but they were also racing against the sunrise.

Lugo (loo-go). Kwaaymii. The Kwaaymii shaman.

Mahwaa (Muh-wah). Haawii. The Haawii shaman.

mescal (mez-kal). A fibrous plant used for making heavy nets and rope.

message stick. A stick carried by runners bearing a message. The message stick allowed a runner to pass unhindered to their destination. Runners would even be allowed to pass through an enemy encampment if they carried a message stick.

Naamii (nah-mee). Haawii. Cousin of SuSaan's mother. SuSaan's second cousin (though she refers to her as "auntie").

ocotillo (oh-kuh-tee-yoh). A desert plant which grows in tall stalks.

olla (oi-yah). A type of pottery used for storage. Often used for holding water. It came in many different shapes and sizes.

Parahaan (Par-uh-hahn). Kwaaymii. The Kwaaymii chief

pinyon nuts. A nut taken from the small pinyon pine tree. The nuts usually ripened in the summer.

Saatiiko (sah-tee-ko). SuSaan's mother. Killed by the Flat-Nosed. Named from the legend of the twins. Saatiiko is the joyful one. Also the daughter of Singing Dart and Naamii.

saawii acorn (sah-wee). A nut that was used to make a flavorful, custard-like mush.

Saves an Eagle. Kwaaymii. An elderly Kwaaymii man.

Singing Dart. Haawii. Naamii's husband.

smoke-tree. A desert tree that flowered in the springtime. It had long, intertwined branches covered in sharp thorns.

Straight Branch. Kwaaymii. An elderly Kwaaymii woman who served as instructor during women's ceremonies. She was also particularly skilled at making baskets.

Stone Cutter. Kwaaymii. Swift Foot's brother.

SuSaan (soo-sahn). Kwaaymii. Daughter of Black Bear and Saatiiko.

Swift Foot. Kwaaymii. Fastest runner in the Kwaaymii village.

sweat house. A ceremonial gathering place. The structure was longer than a typical wickiup because it had to enclose large groups. There were usually two sweat houses in a village, one for men's ceremonies, and another for women's ceremonies.

sweat lodge. See sweat house.

Taakaayp (tah-kiep). A puberty rite (coming of age) ceremony. It was the celebration of a young person becoming an adult.

Tall Palm. Haawii. A tall Haawii with a birthmark on his cheek. His wife was killed by the Flat-Nosed along with SuSaan's mother, Saatiiko.

Warm Water in Rock. The name of the Haawii village.

wash. A thin and shallow valley usually cut through the desert floor by either seasonal runoff or flash flooding.

wickiup (wik-ee-up). A round structure which people lived in. It was typically made of sticks, leaves, and mud mortar for strength.

wiipuk uumyaw (wee-puk oohm-yah). The name for the path that led from the mountains into the desert. The Kwaaymii followed this path when they migrated from their mountain (summer) home to their desert (winter) home and back.


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