Request for Question Clarification by
31 Aug 2005 20:07 PDT
As I'm sure you know, this is a very obscure topic. Nevertheless,
I've managed to find quite a bit of useful information on the use of
the term dyami, and related terms, dya'mi, tyami.
Dyami is indeed a reference to an eagle, particularly the bald eagle.
It is also used to indicate North, is the name of a dance, and the
name of a clan. The term is most closely associated with the Keresan
Indians of New Mexico, most notably of the Sia Pueblo.
The problem is that the references occur within the text of fairly
academic, ethnographic studies, that make elaborate use of terms
(including native American vocabulary) that are defined earlier in the
text. Without reading through the entire works, I'd be hard-pressed
to offer a meaningful summary.
Here are the excerpts I've found though. Let me know if you think
these qualify as an answer to your question, and if so, I'll provide
the information for accessing these texts online.
Thanks for a most interesting question, by the way,
[There's a lot of text below. If you do a ctrl-F search for [ dya ],
you'll quickly locate all the relevant text regarding the terms.
Also, some of the original text is printed with strange diacriticals,
etc that don't reproduce well here]
The Pueblo of Sia, New Mexico
Book by Leslie A. White; U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1962
HISTORY OF SIA
The ethnographer is especially fortunate with respect to the pueblos
of New Mexico in that he has a long historic record of them even
though it be meager or even wholly lacking in spots. In many other
instances the anthropologist must begin his study of a people without
any specific knowledge of its past.
The Sia have only their origin and migration myth to account for their
present location. Like all other Keresan pueblos, Sia's mythology
states that they emerged from the lower world at a place "in the
North," and that they migrated southward until they arrived at their
present location, where they have lived ever since. They have no
legends, as far as I could discover, of having lived at some other
location, although one informant said that one of the nearby pueblo
ruins is called Tsiya. Nor have they any legendary account, as
distinguished from the origin-migration myth, of the initial
occupation of their present site.
COSMOLOGY AND PUEBLO LIFE
...The Sia, like every other people, have a traditional ideology that
explains the origin and nature of everything--the heavenly bodies, the
earth, plants, animals, human beings, and culture--and shows how they
are related to one another; their cosmology is the connective tissue,
so to speak, of the world--material, social, and spiritual--that they
live in. Temporally, reality or existence is divided into two eras:
the mythical past in which supernatural beings brought the world to
its present shape and condition, and the present real world of
ordinary experience, which includes, of course, the memories and tales
of grandparents, great grandparents, and so on. In this respect Sia
cosmology resembles other nonscientific ideologies.
...The earth, according to Sia belief, is square and flat; and, since
it has thickness, it may be assumed to be a cube. It is divided into
four horizontal layers: the lowest one is yellow; the one above,
bluegreen (the Keresan language does not distinguish between blue and
green; White, 1943 b); the third, red; and the top layer, white (this
is the opposite of the order at Santa Ana; White, 1942 a, p. 80; one
of these reports is probably an error). Everything in the world above
is arranged according to directions. There are six cardinal points:
north, west, south, east, zenith, and nadir; sometimes a seventh, the
"middle," i.e., the middle of the earth and the whole cosmos, is
included also. These points constitute a ritual circuit, in the order
just given, which is followed in songs and rituals: one addresses the
north first, then west, and so on. Each direction, or cardinal point,
has a color and a mountain. And at each lives a weather spirit, a
warrior, a woman with an appropriately colored face, an animal, a
bird, a snake, and a tree
...Animals. --North, mo·kaitc (mountain lion); west, kowáhaiya (bear);
south, dyu·pi (badger); east, k?ak?ana (wolf); zenith, dyami (eagle);
and nadir, maíDyup u (shrew). These animals are addressed in this
order in the rain song mentioned above ...[refers to: ...These
women-color-directions are mentioned in a rain song of the Kwiraina
(Querranna) society as recorded by Stevenson ( 1894, p. 130), except
that zenith and nadir are reversed]
...If a man kills a bear while on a hunt--and he would try to do so if
he encountered one--and becomes the first man to touch it, he must
become an Opi. He could, however, refrain from being the first to
touch the bear. But someone must do this: "it would be a great wrong
to let him lie there and not claim him." In any event, the first man
to touch the dead bear must become an Opi.
...On the morning of the fourth day the owner takes the bear's skin
and bones to the house of the society that is to perform the ceremony.
The medicinemen have laid down a sand painting and have put up their
slat altar. They "dress the bear": they lay the skin on the floor; the
bones, which have been painted with red ocher, are placed under the
skin so that both bones and skin assume the attitude of life. The bear
is not a full honawai'aiti so the tcaiyanyi make him one at this time.
They make a rattle for him and provide him with hicami, wicdyuma, and
bags of medicine.
...The ceremony is held on the evening of the fourth day. The owner of
the bear is allowed, for that occasion only, to wear the bear-claw
necklace and whistle, and is permitted to talk and act like
honawai'aiti. The owner and the honawai'aiti who removed the leg skins
sit against the wall to the left of the altar, i.e., to the left of
the medicinemen who are seated behind the altar. The bear is made
honawai'aiti: they give him the paraphernalia they have made for him,
put a piece of turquoise on his head, and tie a kaotsaiyawat (badge of
honawai'aiti) beside the turquoise. There is much singing.
...When the ceremony is over the bear's bones are gathered up and,
together with his honawai'aiti paraphernalia, prayersticks, and
itsatyunyi (beads of various kinds), done up in a bundle. The bear's
owner and one medicineman take the bundle to the top of Dyami Kot
(eagle mountain) on the west side of Sia pueblo. There is a tsapacroma
(sacred place) there: a circle of stones with an opening on the east
side; pieces of petrified wood lie within the circle.
...There is no English equivalent of "WÍCBi". It is the name of a
ceremonial object that is made and buried by each of the medicine
societies periodically (unfortunately, my notes do not specify when).
Each society makes and buries only one; all of the societies perform
this ceremony at the same time, however.
...The wicBi is made of a piece of "cane," or "bamboo," commonly
called istoa ('arrow').
...The tube, above the segment near the bottom, is filled with wild
tobacco (Báits); it is tamped in until the tube is filled from the
segment almost to the top. Then two crówakai (magpie, Pica pica ) tail
feathers are inserted into the tube, into the tobacco, on the side
where the highest point of the beveled end is: this is the "back" of
the wicBi. One could use the feathers of the djack' a (road runner,
Geococcyx californianus ) if magpie feathers are not available. The
top of the tube is then filled with Dyami cpaik' a (short, fluffy
Dyami cpaik' a (eagle feathers), 312
Dyami Kot (eagle mountain), 181
Eagle, 28, 31, 47, 51, 112, 114, 116, 139, 146, 147, 149, 153, 154, 177, 289, 297
Eagle clan, 184, 185
Eagle dance (Dya'mi), 268
Eagles, down from, 259 feathers, 238, 240, 242, 249, 269, 291, 304,
307, 309, 311, 312
tail, 240, 246, 247, 268, 304, 319
wing, 162, 172, 174, 175, 201, 218, 242, 247, 290, 295
Eagle Mountain (Dyami Kot), 181
NOTES ON OTHER DANCES AND CEREMONIES
Eagle (Dya'mi, 'eagle') dance. --This is performed by one or two men,
as a rule, who wear eagle costumes, accompanied by a drummer and
singers. It may be danced at any time, but it is always danced at
Christmas time, according to one informant.
Indian Tribes of New Mexico
Keresan Pueblo Indians
Keresan Pueblos. Keresan is adapted from K'eres, their own designation
Sia, on the north bank of Jemez River about 16 miles northwest of Bernalillo.
Origin Myth of Acoma, and Other Records
Book by Matthew W. Stirling; , 1942
Keresan pueblo origin myths
...At Sia we find Sûs'sîstinnako, who is also a creator, and said to be a spider
...Before they began to pray, Tsichtinako told them they were facing
east and that their right side, the side their best aim was on, would
be known as ku'a'mee (south) and the left ti dyami (north) while
behind at their backs was the direction piina'me (west) where the sun
would go down.
...Whenever a girl was born to Iatiku, she gave it a clan name.
...clans in order were:
Oak clan, hapani hano.
Squash clan, tanyi' hano.
Roadrunner clan, shaaska hano.
Eagle clan, dyami hano.
Turkey clan, tsina hano.
Ethnozoology of the Tewa Indians
Book by John Peabody Harrington, Junius Henderson; Govt. Print. Off., 1914
Haliæetus leucocephalus leucocephalus (Linn.). Bald Eagle.
...Eagles of various colors are mentioned in Tewa mythology. Tse· is
the tsiietujo, 'chieftain bird' ( tsiie, bird; tujo, chieftain), and
symbolizes the zenith in the beast-identifications of the
worldregions. The Isleta call eagle ?uiie; the Cochiti, t j áme; the
Hodge gives as Eagle clans of various pueblos: San Juan (given by
Bandelier), Santa Clara, and Tesuque, Tse-tdóa; San Ildefonso and
Nambe, Tsë-tdóa; Isleta, Shíu-t'ainïn; Jemez, Sehtsa-ásh; Pecos, Seé+;
Laguna, Tyámi-háno ch ; Acoma, T'yámï-hánoq ch ; Sia San Felipe, and
Santa Ana, D'yámi-háno; Cochiti, Dyámi-hánuch; Zuñi, K'yák'yalikwe;
also a "Painted Eagle" clan, Sepi n -tdóa, at San Juan.
Again, let me know if there's anything else you need to make for a
complete answer to this question.