Chief Priest of the Bow

Encyclopedia Article


The Chief Priest of the Bow is a Zuni ceremonial group leader, a high-ranking member of the religious hierarchy, and the Society of the Bow is one of the many Zuni ceremonial societies. There are many priests with differing functions in Zuni society, composed of the Sun Priest and priests who represent the four cardinal directions. This sacred body appoints the Bow Priests, who will hold their position for life. The Bow Priests are responsible for secular problems and executing the decisions of the sacred priests. The Chief Priest of the Bow is analogous to an army captain in guiding the Bow Priests to resist external aggression and settle internal disputes.

In the past, the Chief Priest of the Bow led war parties in carrying out the duties of protecting the tribe. The Bow Priests recommend the governor and are responsible for conveying the cane of office upon appointment and the Chief Priest of the Bow often serves as the pueblo governor.

Photo Credit: 

"Chief Priest of the Bow, Na-iu-tchi, sitting in the middle front with Zuni Pueblo leaders" by John. K. Hillers, 1882 is licensed under Public Domain.

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