Mohave - Religion and Expressive Culture



Religious Beliefs. A deity named Mastamho was believed to have been responsible for the creation of the land and teaching the people how to live. When his work was complete, Mastamho transformed himself into a nondeity fish eagle. Other supernaturals were few and were not worshiped nor the object of prayer. Dreaming and dream interpretation were the foundation of Mohave life. Dreams were believed to be the source of knowledge, skills, courage, success in love and war, and shamanistic power. Dreams were of two types: omen dreams, which foretold the future, and great dreams, which were the source of power and were obtained by select individuals before birth and rediscovered in adolescence. During the nineteenth century many Mohave converted to Christianity.

Religious Practitioners. The main religious leaders were men who organized feasts and celebrations and performed ceremonies believed to strengthen the solidarity of the tribe.

Ceremonies. Religious ceremonies were limited to the recitation of dreams and the singing of song cycles received in dreams. In the singing of song cycles ceremonial paraphernalia consisted of gourd rattles and baskets used as drums for accompaniment.

Arts. Pottery was painted with a yellow ocher applied with a small stick. Tattooing was a common practice, as was face painting, especially among the women. Both sexes were Commonly tattooed with lines or rows of dots down the chin, and women sometimes added lines across their cheeks and forearms. Since the close of the nineteenth century Mohave women have sold decorated pottery and animal figurines to tourists in Needles, California, near the Fort Mohave Reservation.

Medicine. Illness was believed to derive from a number of sources, including contact with aliens, dreaming, loss of one's soul, ghosts, and sorcery, in addition to physical wounds from arrows and poisonous animals. Illnesses were cured by shamans who were specialists in specific types of illness and who possessed the ability to cure by means of power obtained in "great dreams". Shamans were also believed to be capable of causing disease and death through sorcery.

Death and Afterlife. Funeral ceremonies consisted of the cremation of the deceased and his or her possessions, Speeches concerning the deceased, and the singing of song Cycles. Wailing accompanied the approach of death and cremation. In addition, mourning ceremonies consisting of ritual reenactments of warfare were held to honor important Warriors and chiefs. Mentioning of the names of the dead was taboo. The Mohave believed that after death the soul or ghost of the deceased remained for four days before journeying to the land of the dead, where it was greeted by the souls of deceased relatives and underwent a series of cremations and transformations after which it ceased to exist.


User Contributions:

1
Hunter Graves
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Sep 26, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
I want tips because I'm writing a paper on Mohave Indians
2
kenda
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Nov 5, 2015 @ 12:12 pm
me to i need to also because if i dont i will get a horrible grade in s.s.

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