Christian Fish: "The fish became a primitive Christian symbol, principally on the basis of the anagram drawn from the name for fish: ichthys. Then it came to be taken as a symbol of profound life, of the spiritual world that lies under the world of appearances, the fish representing the life-force surging up." (Cirlot,1971)
island: "(Laguna's) early traditions and beliefs point to (an) island, for such it must have been, as the cradle of the Queres nation. The island is Spipap. Now, in the water which surrounded this island lived a monstrous animal or fish, the 'Wa-wa-keh,' that vomited water. Thus fish came up and threw such quantities of water over the land that it was submerged and all the people who had remained on the island perished. These traditions...are peculiar in one way, showing that these Indians were at one time a sea-faring people." (Documentary Evidence in Reference to the Laguna Indian Pueblo. Pueblo Lands Board, Aug 2, 1929)
acres of pits: The Jackpile-Paguate mine, owned by Anaconda Minerals Corp., is located on the Laguna Pueblo, 40 miles west of Albuquerque. For 29 years this was the world's largest open pit uranium mine, with almost 25 million tons of ore extracted from 2656 acres. Some 2000 acres of land covered by tailings and ore storage piles are currently in the process of reclamation.
May: On the 5th day of the 5th month the Boys' Festival, celebrating boys of ages six or seven having survived early childhood, is held in Japan. Pennants depicting carps are flown, the carp symbolizing good luck. (Yu = "fish" and "abundance." Both characters share the same sound but are written differently.) Here the pennants are from Hiroshige's "Suido Bridge and Surugadai (1857)."
anguished fins: A Chinese legend tells of a carp whose spirit was so strong it leaped a waterfall.
bulging eyes: "The pannier and sword: / Use them to decorate the Boys' Festival / Along with carp streamers." (Basho,1969). Basho is referring to the sword of Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-1189), who was the greatest romantic hero of premodern Japan. (Yoshitsune is said to have had bulging eyes.) The pannier belonged to the warrior-monk Saito Musashibo Benkei. After being defeated by the young Yoshitsune, on a bridge in Kyoto, Benkei became his loyal retainer.
drink the ruins: "To cure childhood illnesses, a reliable medicine consists of potsherds gathered from old ruins, ground fine, and drunk in water. The sherds are impregnated with power because they were made in one of the four epochs of the distant past, in each of which people were created by 'Our Mother' (Iyatik) but later destroyed (not having proved entirely satisfactory), and replaced by a presumably better group." (Ellis,1959)
Mother's cloaked: "'Naiya iyatik said that she would never come out of the earth. If I go out into the world and people see me they will not prosper. If they do not see me, they can pray to me and I can help them.' And my old woman informant added, 'For this reason there is no face on the iyatik (the corn ear fetish), so they will not see her.'" (Parsons,1920)
flower: "In the late nineteenth century the church, which had finally admitted trees into cemeteries, turned its attacks on funeral wreaths, a pagan rite if ever there was one." (Regon,1983)
yellow corpse: "It had been the custom for a number of years, or at least since the new Roman church had been built (in the latter part of 1799 or the fore part of 1800) to bury the dead either in the church or in the yard in front." When those space were finally filled, which didn't take too long, "the remains of one would be exhumed and another deposited, the bones of the exhumed being carelessly thrown over into an out-corral adjoining the church." (Gunn,1917). "After death, the father's kinswomen come in and wash the corpse. (Then) a cheani (medicine man) paints the face of the deceased yellow —yellow (uchini) is thought of as flesh color." (Parsons,1920)