Kolowisi

The Legend of Kolowisi, Water Serpent of Zuni Pueblo: The feathered or horned water serpent is a hero in Zuni because he saved the Zuni people from the flood. When the waters rushed into Zuni Pueblo, the people fled to the top of their sacred mountain, Dowa Yallane (Corn Mountain), to get above the flood. They were dying of thirst and starvation and so said prayers to each of the six directions, asking for rescue. Kolowisi heard their prayers and came from the West direction and rested his jaw on top of Dowa Yallane and regurgitated fresh water, meat and seeds and so saved the Zuni people. When the waters receded Kolowisi did not want to go back to the West and so he now resides in the underground lake in the South where the katsinas live.

Kolowisi is the guardian of the water sources and can move around in aquifers and into Zuni River, Salt Lake, or any body of water. He is very sacred and sometimes is brought into Zuni Pueblo as a katsina. In the Tewa Pueblos he is called Avanyu and is sometimes seen on the pottery in this area. He is believed to live in the Rio Grande and the underground streams and waters sources in this area. The Cochiti People also know him and he has been sighted near the Cochiti Lake area.

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