The Katcinas are the personal and spiritual bases of the Hopi belief, a complex mixture of myth, legend, ritual and ceremony. Katcinas are spirits of plants, animals, stars, ancestors, etc, who aid men and women in their journey through life. There are around 250 different Katcinas who live mostly in the San Francisco Peaks. They have a myriad of functions. The major concerns dealt with by Katcinas are rain, fertility, rich harvest, good health, long life, and to achieve balance and harmony in nature. Katcinas arrive every year at the winter solstice and leave in July after the first harvest.
Katcina dolls are made out of cottonwood in the image of the spirits and are meant to serve as instructional aids.
“”The hardest ones are the kids. The deaths are disturbing but so are the funerals,” he says. “At the funerals you see the glamorised attention they get. They’ve got their names written all over the windows in honour of this kid because he took his life. Kids see that. Kids want attention. This is how they’re going to get attention. I’ve heard them say: when I go, I hope that’s how they honour me.” In fact, Native Americans teenagers are more likely to kill themselves than any other minority group.”