American Indians •  Anthropology and Southwest

$19.95 paperback

Add to Cart

Dancing Gods: Indian Ceremonials of New Mexico and Arizona

Erna Fergusson

One of the most remarkable features of life in the Southwest is the presence of Native American religious ceremonies in communities that are driving distance from Sunbelt cities. Many of these ceremonies are open to the public and Dancing Gods is the best single reference for visitors to dances at the Rio Grande Pueblos, Zuni Pueblo, the Hopi Mesas, and the Navajo and Apache reservations. Fergusson's classic guide to New Mexico and Arizona Indian ceremonies is once again available in print. It offers background information on the history and religion of the area's Native American peoples and describes the principal public ceremonies and some lesser-known dances that are rarely performed. Here is information on the major Pueblo rituals--the Corn Dance, Deer Dance, and Eagle Dance--as well as various dances at Zuni, including the complicated Shalako. Fergusson also describes the Hopi bean-planting and Niman Kachina ceremonies in addition to the Snake Dance, the Navajo Mountain Chant and Night Chant, and several Apache ceremonies.

"Still the best of all books about the Indian ceremonials of New Mexico and Arizona. . . .perceptive and simple, reverent and lucid."--Lawrence Clark Powell, Southwest Classics


Erna Fergusson (1888-1964) wrote widely on New Mexican themes and helped create tourism in the Southwest with her Indian Detours business.

Tony Hillerman (1925–2008) was an award-winning author and newspaperman, best known for his mystery novels set on the Navajo Nation.


"A clear, sympathetic, and informed introduction to these people and their ceremonies . . . should give every new onlooker a deeper appreciation of the dance which is really a prayer."


The Denver Post

6 x 9 in. 314 pages 13 halftones