The Dark Wind (1982)

The Dark Wind (1982)


An interrelated social group, whose connections derive from parentage as well as kinship. For different indigenous groups, clan structures develop and are expressed uniquely. For example, in Navajo culture, which is matrilineal and matrilocal, after the four original clans were established by Changing Woman, women who came into the tribe's membership either brought a clan name with them, or were assigned a clan on acceptance into the tribe. Some were existing clans from other tribes, while others were created out of circumstance. Today, the total number of clans represented is calculated in to be over one hundred and forty, from twenty-one major groups. K'é—the Navajo clan system—is the strength of the People. It keeps the Navajo people together.

For the Zuni and other pueblo communities, however, clans and kinship are partly expressed through membership in various kiva and medicine societies, although this is not exclusively true, as one can be elected into some kiva societies, while one is born into others. The Zuni clan system overlaps and interlocks with kinship and religious systems to enforce, regulate, and, to a degree, control the socioreligious behavior patterns of the Zuni.


A cigarette, often spelled cigaret in Tony Hillerman's mystery novels, is a small amount of finely cut dried tobacco rolled in small squares of thin paper into a torpedo-shaped tube for smoking.

Quite often, characters in Hillerman's novels smoke together or offer cigarettes to one another. The exchange and shared experience of smoking cigarettes, which is a common cultural phenomenon, is in some ways evocative of indigenous ceremonial practices of exchanging pipes, breath, and words. Not to over-simplify the effects of smoking cigarettes, especially those produced by large companies, Hillerman warns his readers through one of his main protagonists, Joe Leaphorn, that smoking is "never good. It hurts the lungs. But sometimes it is necessary, and therefore one does it" (Dance Hall of the Dead 13).


Also spelled chʼįį́dii in Navajo, a “chindi” is the spirit of a dead person. Navajos are taught to avoid contact with the dead or enclosed places, like a hogan, where someone has passed to avoid coming into contact with chindi and contracting ghost sickness. Navajos believe that when a person dies, everything that is bad or out of harmony with the person will be left behind as a kind of malevolent spirit that has power to harm the living. For this reason, any hogan or structure inside which a person has died potentially contains chindi and must be abandoned. If a Navajo contracts ghost sickness by coming into contact with a site to which a chindi is still attached, the proper ceremonies must be performed in order to restore balance to the living.


A plant common to the U.S. Southwest, cactus grows in habitats that regularly experience drought. Most cacti are considered succulents, meaning that they store water above ground in their flesh, water they scavenge from their harsh climate with their extensive, wide-spreading root systems. As a result, many cacti grow spines, which are modified leaves, which can prick to the touch. These spines protect the plant against herbivorous predators on the hunt for water during the brutal dry spells that help to characterize their desert environs.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is part of the United States Department of the Interior established on March 11, 1824. The mission of this bureau is to provide services to the 566 federally recognized Native American tribes and Alaska Natives in the United States. The BIA also administers and manages over 55 million acres of land within the U.S. The BIA is one of two bureaus under the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, the other being the Bureau of Indian Education.

Native American groups have clashed with the BIA because they believe the agency is not doing all it can for the groups it is pledged to support. Many of these claims of neglect, mismanagement, misappropriated funds, and hypocritical bureaucratic standards and procedures have been proven in courts of law.


A protective rim found at the front and rear of most vehicles. The bumper protects the body of the vehicle from incidental contact with objects, such as brush, debris, and even minor contact with other vehicles (for example the minor dings that can occur while parallel parking). The bumper is also engineered to absorb high impact contact and lessen the damage during an automobile accident. Rear bumpers have also become the site for automobile owners to decorate their car with eye-catching bumper stickers that communicate slogans, notices, cultural commentary, or political propaganda.

boarding school

A school where students live while they attend classes. Although some boarding schools have reputations for academic excellence and are notable for the elite and privileged social strata their students represent, boarding schools are also often synonymous with sadistic forms of punitive discipline, hazing, and antisocial behavior. In regard to the history of Native Americans, boarding schools have a particularly dark narrative associated with forced assimilation, cruelty, and disappearing students. Of course, not every Native American boarding school experience was dreadful, but in general, the testimony of several generations of boarding school children and their families bear witness to a system of hateful prejudice and dehumanizing policies aimed at producing a servant class of cultural amnesiacs.

The first Indian boarding school was opened in 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and many more across the country followed. The main goal was to assimilate Native American children into what was understood as dominant U.S. culture: white, Christian, and patriarchal. Many schools went to great lengths to get children to abandon their Native heritage, traditions, and language, enforcing strict punishment if languages other than English were spoken, and even legally changing names to erase familial and cultural linkages.

Because of these conditions, Native American communities were reluctant to enroll their children in Indian boarding schools, and the U.S. Army and even tribal police kidnapped potential students in order to meet enrollment quotas. In 1900, the Bureau of Indian Affairs acknowledged the violence, victimization, and even criminalization inherent within the policy of separating families through the forced enrollment of indigenous youth into enrollment in the Indian Boarding School system. As a result, many boarding schools became day schools, but the education of Native American children in traditions, languages, and communities other than their own continues to this day.

Blessing Way

Commonly spelled Blessingway. As opposed to the other Navajo (Diné) Chant Ways, which are used to effect a cure of a problem, the Blessingway (Hózhójí) is used to bless the "one sung over," to ensure good luck, good health, and blessings for everything that pertains to them. It is also thought of as being "for good hope." Blessingway ceremonies can be performed for expectant mothers shortly before birth is due, or young men leaving for the armed forces. The Blessingway ceremony is performed frequently.

The name of the rite, Hózhójí, is translated Blessingway, but that is certainly not an exact translation. In the Navajo language (diné bizaad) the term encompasses everything that is understood as good, as opposed to evil, for man. The root of the Blessingway ceremony, hózhó, encompasses such concepts as beauty, harmony, success, perfection, well-being, order, and ideal.

Black God

Black God (Haashchʼééshzhiní), sometimes referred to as Darkness to Be One by Tony Hillerman, is the god of fire and creator of the stars in Navajo mythology. Not all accounts credit him with the creation of the constellations, but all credit him with the creation of fire and light as found in the stars. As one story goes, when the Black God entered the hogan the Holy People noticed Pleiades, the Hard Flint Boys, attached to his ankle. When asked why the constellation was there the Black God stomped his feet and the stars leaped up his leg until they reached his head. After he did this impressive act, the Black God was allowed to place all the other constellations in the sky. However, while he completed this task Coyote came along and also wanted to place stars; he grabbed a handful of stars and threw them in the sky. This is why there are named constellations and other random non-clustered stars in the night sky.

The Dark Wind, Edited Manuscript.

This appears to be the last edited manuscript for The Dark Wind. This manuscript has all the editors’ marks for publication, including font size recommendations and margin sizes. Additionally, there are some more final editing marks for the content by both Harper & Row editors and Tony Hillerman.


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