Encyclopedia Article


For the A'shiwi or Zuni, the word "shiwani" means priest, and usually references a rain priest. Shiwani or Shiwona is also the husband of Shiwaonokia, and one of the five original deities who created the stars and heavens after making rainbow bubbles from spittle.

The ethnologist Frank Cushing was initiated as a Shiwani Priest of the Bow. As the Bow Priests are the only priests assigned to the secular problems of war and governance, Cushing hoped to gain an understanding of both sacred and secular affairs. The secular and religious do blend in Zuni society as the governor is chosen from the priesthood.

Photo Credit: 

"Paliwahtiwa, Governor of Zuni, full-length, seated - NARA - 530901" by unknown is licensed under Public Domain.

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