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Shalako - By Brandon Calavaza

It is at this time everyone comes,
From all walks of life,
It doesn't matter,
As long as your pay your respects.

It is at the end of every year they come
The bringers of wealth,
But not of the physical,
But to our health, our well-being,
For everyone to brace.

Then comes the six deities,
The Shalako,
With gracefulness they come,
Clucking as they go
Going to their homes.

As the night progresses the Shalako dance,
Dancing all night,
Being playful sometimes,
Playing with the religious leaders,
Playing with their brother,
Playing with the Koyemshi.

Each step they take is with grace, pride and elegance,
Dancing from side to side,
Then they stop,
They cluck their beaks,
and wisp away like the wind,
to the other side.

As the morning sun rises they stop,
They stop and rest for the afternoon ahead,
Where they will prove themselves,
Prove that they are bringer of good fortune.

As the six enter the village,
Going through the bridge to the south,
They wait,
They wait for their brothers.

With all of them there they begin,
They begin their race,
They race from one end to another,
With each step they bring wealth,
Wealth to all to spectate.

After it ends they go,
They go silently with their beaks open,
They go back to Kothluwalawa, Zuni Heaven,
To await next year.

Brandon Calavaza

"Brandon is also an accomplished writer and artist. He excels in all subjects in school and plays tenor saxophone in the Zuni Pueblo Band. I know he is of the Badger Clan (Donashi:kwe) because my late grandmother always used to refer to him as our "baba ts'ana", or "Little Big Brother" because agewise, even though we (myself, my sister and brother) are all older than he is, since we are only CHILDREN of the Badger clan, Brandon is considered our "older brother" by clan since he is superior to us in clan. He was born on Christmas Eve in 1984 and lives with his mom, two older brothers, and his uncle. "

- Wells Mahkee, Jr., Editor,

Reprinted with permission from Brandon Calavaza
& The Shiwi Messenger, (c)2000. All Rights Reserved.

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