Sacred Texts  Native American  Southwest 

[Hopi] Snake Dancers Entering the Plaza, Edward Curtis, 1921 [Public domain image]

Dancing Gods

Indian Ceremonials of New Mexico and Arizona

by Erna Fergusson

[1931, copyright not renewed]

This is a first person look at a wide range of Pueblo, Hopi, Navajo, Zuñ, and Apache ceremonials in the late 1920s. This book is both an ethnographic document and a classic of Southwestern literature.

Erna Fergusson (1888-1964), a native New Mexican, was a talented writer and journalist. She earned a master's degree in Latin American studies at Columbia University, and worked for the Red Cross in rural northern New Mexico. She then worked for the Albuquerque Tribune. She founded Koshare Tours, a pioneering tour of Arizona and New Mexico Native American ceremonials. This book grew out of that experience.

Fergusson's writing style is spare and vigorous, filled with a sense of place and a deep appreciation of the desert high plateau region. Dancing Gods is well researched and sympathetic, and remarkably free of attitudes patronizing or idealizing Native Americans.

Title Page
I. The Pueblo People
II: Dances of the Rio Grande Pueblos
III. Dances of Zuñi Pueblo
IV: The Hopis
V. Hopi Dances
VI: The Navajos
VII: Navajo Dances
VIII: The Apaches
IX: Apache Dances