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 Types of Hopi Kachinas

Chief Kachinas or Mongwi

The chief kachinas are called such because of their importance to particular Hopi clans. These kachinas have spiritual roles which are akin to that of the Hopi elders. Chief kachinas have a personal interest in the well being of the clan which they are associated with and can only be portrayed in the dances by specific members of the clan.

Guard Kachinas or Tuwalakum

These kachinas are also called angry, warriors or the watching kachinas. Their role in the dances can include guarding the ceremonies from unwanted spectators to  even guarding ceremonies from the unwanted influence of other kachinas. You will often see them carrying yucca whips or even a weapon such as a bow.

Kachina Women or Momoyam

The kachina women represent the wives, mothers, and sisters of the kachinas.  While these kachina represent the female sex they are still portrayed by Hopi males with the exception of the Pachavuin Mana which is portrayed by a women. When a kachina is accompanied by a female the female kachina will be named after him. So the female kachina accompanying a Shalako will be named Shalako Mana.


The clowns serve to add levity to many of the kachina ceremonies providing amusement to the audience. Often times their actions have an underlying social statement or provide an example of undesired social behavior.

Runner Kachinas or Wawash

These kachinas stage races with the local Hopi men.  Should the man win he is often presented with piki bread but if he loses he will usually endure some form of punishment. It is believed by some that the water will run down the canyons relative to how the men run their races.


The Ogres are disciplinarians who appear around the time of the Powamu Ceremony. The purpose of  these kachinas is to reinforce the Hopi way of life to the children of the Pueblo. The fierce and threatening behavior of these kachinas strikes fear into the children but they are eventually saved from imminent danger by the people of their pueblo.

Borrowed Kachinas

These kachinas are borrowed from other pueblos usually for their perceived value of performing useful functions such as bringing rain. During the process of adopting these kachinas they will either cross over intact or they will under go changes more in line with Hopi beliefs and customs.

Animal Kachinas

Mixed Kachinas

Plant Kachinas




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