Kle-tak-wa (Rabbit-hunt). — Communal hunts seem at one time to have been held by many of the Indian tribes, and are described by the early Spaniards. Many of them were nothing less than a wholesale slaughter. Whether the Zuñis ever indulged in them to that extent I am unable to say, but I saw a fence about fifteen miles to the southeast of Zuñi which, I was told, extended for seventy-five miles, and was formerly used to direct the herds of antelope to a certain place. The presence of the fence suggests the possibility that formerly such hunting expeditions may have taken place there, as Livingstone describes in southern Africa. The rabbit-hunts are described by the early Spanish chroniclers, and are still held by at least the Zuñis and Moquis. Undoubtedly at one time they had a considerable religious significance, but to-day they have more the nature of a frolic.
The Zuñis have eight rabbit-hunts a year — four by the Coyote people and four by the Eagle people. The time of holding them is fixed by the chief of the rabbit-hunts. Although held under the especial direction of particular clans, yet nearly all the male inhabitants take part. I will describe the one in which I took part last August.
Fig. 3. — The Start fur the Rabbit-hunt.
One evening about sundown I heard the herald (as is the custom of this people) announcing something from the top of the pueblo. Upon inquiry, I learned that there would be a rabbit-