Encyclopedia Article


The Hopi word for "witch," either male or female. The Hopi believe that witchcraft was involved in the earlier underworlds and played a role in the people's bad behavior and banishment from each world. Eventually, the Hopi emerged into the present world, but evil followed them here to the surface and still manifests today in the work of the powaqa.

A powaqa is a person who hopes to change the world around him in a negative way that only benefits himself, which is contrary to traditional Hopi beliefs that privilege the idea of community. Often, the benefit the powaqa seeks involves extending his own life and therefore disrupting the natural order. In many cases, the Hopi believe that selfish intentions and selfish behaviors of the powaqa lead to death and other negative consequence for those around the powaqa.

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