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Snake Dance - The Snake Ceremony of the Hopi Indians.  This dance was Hopi Indians Dancing for Raina prayer for rain in which the snake priests carried live snakes - bull snakes, whip snakes, and rattlesnakes - in their mouths while they danced around the plaza of their village.  At the end of the dance the snakes were carried to the edge of the village and turned loose as messengers to the rain gods, with whom they were supposed to win favor.

The only venomous snake used in this dance was the rattlesnake.  As far as it is known the fangs of the rattlers were not removed, but the priests, because of their skill in handling dangerous reptiles, seldom were bitten.  But just in case they should be bitten, tribal medicine was made before the dance.  Among common cures for snakebite in the Southwest was the placing of a part of the belly of the snake on the wound.


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[ Dance ][ Hopi ][ Pueblo Indians ]