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The Peyote Ritual: Visions and Descriptions of Monroe Tsa Toke
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primitive mime or clown - which have a haunting appeal

to all who may witness them.

On the first night of the Indian Ceremonial of which I

speak, the audience sat quietly awaiting the coming of

the Indians. Below the grandstand were great log fires

burning in the dance arena; around the outer edge

of the circle sat thousands of Indians, largely the Navajo

whose wealth in turquoise and silver was on their

persons. Lit by the firelight this audience was as

beautiful as the dancers themselves.

From the shadows of the night beyond the fires came a

soft medley of unfamiliar sounds, varying from drum

beats to haunting snatches of song and chant. Gradually

there could be caught an individual drum rhythm, the

few notes of a song, the deeper note of a chant.

Against this background into the grounds rode a group

of Navajo horseman, slowly circling the blazing logs,

singing one of those strange old songs which, like

all Navajo music, carries the mood, the distant sounds

of desert spaces. Singing still, they rode slowly back into

the shadows.

Above the dying song of the Navajos rose the throb and

beat of tribal drums as from the darkness beyond the

fires, with flash and flare of color came the other Indians,


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