February 19, 2017

Meet the Kakaka: The Little Indian People Who Live in the Mountains

Granite Mountain--one of the homes the Kakaka.


For those of us whose minds were formatted in the style of Western Civilization and culture, the Kakaka pose a paranormal puzzle. Are they spirit beings? Are they aliens? Are they elementals? Do they even exist at all? However, for the Yavapai and other Arizona tribes, the Kakaka aren't only real--they're a vital part of their culture.

For it is the Kakaka who give instruction and teaching to their medicine men.

According to the book "Oral History of the Yavapai" by Mike Harrison et. al., (Published 2012; pp 229-237,) " The Kakaka are just like Indians. But little, tiny Indians. They live in the mountains...(and) they talk Yavapai, but they don't talk to everybody; just to the teacher, the leader--like medicine men.

"The Kakaka never die. They are around all the time. You can't see them all the time, but it can happen sometimes... But quick like that and you can see them no more...They are just like the wind, like air."

In addition to being small in stature, Kakaka have a round head and no nose: "Just holes in there."

The Kakaka aren't peculiar to the Yavapai. "All the tribes know about the Little People," the book states. For example, the Kachina of the Hopi are purported to be the same beings.

The Kakaka reportedly live on (as well as under) the area mountains. Among these are: Granite Mountain (in Prescott,) Jerome (Cleopatra?) Mountain, Superstition Mountain, Four Peaks, Fossil Creek, Red Mountain (at Fort McDowell,) as well as the mountain at Bloody Basin which the Yavapai call "Kathatkullo" (Turret Peak?).

"The Kakaka also have houses. Like over at Tiguan Ranch near Prescott. There is a rock ledge there and they have a house with little rooms. Same over there near Horseshoe Ranch. There is a Kakaka house up on the cliff. There are (also) many Kakaka houses...at Fort McDowell."

One of the authors of "Oral History...," himself a medicine man, gave testimony to his own sighting of the Kakaka. While rounding up cattle above Horseshoe Dam, "I see two Little People coming right down (Chalk Mountain.) I see them walking and then they are gone all of a sudden."

A description of 19th century remedies from nature that were particular to Arizona. Today these seem humorous if not ridiculous!

When one is in the company of the Kakaka, time seems to stand still. One incident of note took place circa 1872 at Four Peaks when the Kakaka escorted a young man into a tunnel there. "He goes in there and takes a walk down in the tunnel and the Kakaka take him all the way up to Four Peaks." Upon his return, the young man thought he had been gone a couple of days, "but the people missed him for a long time." He had, in fact, been absent for 30 to 40 years!

He related that "the Little People live under the mountain" and "it is just like day in there...And there are some of the Little People in there making something like gravy. They eat it some time and they sleep some time."

The young man told the people of a warning the Kakaka gave him--that many of the people would soon die. The man wanted the people to follow him back to the Kakaka for safety. However, knowing that this man had just disappeared for decades, they were all apprehensive to join him. So he went back alone. Later, out of curiosity, the people followed his tracks to a point where they stopped. "They don't go no further," the oral history states, "They go up in the air, I guess."

Four or five days later occurred the ghastly massacre at Skeleton Cave. His prophecy had come true. As far as anyone knows, this man might still be with the Kakaka today.


The Yavapai Indian's origin story includes a "Great Flood" that holds intriguing commonalities with the story of Noah in the Book of Genesis.


One of the most important things the Kakaka taught the people was the "Kakaka Imu" or the Crown Dance.

To prepare for the dance, the Yavapai would adorn themselves to look more like the Kakaka. First they would carefully put wool around their noses to make sure they didn't show. Then they would put buckskin over their heads and tie it to make their heads look round.

"When a person dances the Kakaka Imu...he can see anything. He can see things way off."

"They dance, dance, dance and pretty soon the Little People come in. You can't see them, they say. Just like the wind."

"People know when the real Kakaka come in the dance. They can smell it. The Little People have cedar leaves wrapped around them. My grandmother said: that cedar sure smells good when they come in."

Then the wind the Kakaka came in on begins to swirl into a whirlwind. "We call that wind Matequirra." The whirlwind soon turns into a body of one of the Little People. It is then "you get and learn something."

The Kakaka are musical beings teaching the medicine men songs both old and new. It was common for medicine men to spend extended time in the mountains where the Kakaka live so they could learn medicine and songs from them.

Indeed, the Kakaka play a vital role in the culture of many Arizona tribes. Their existence is not even questioned by them.

But where in the great filing cabinet of Western Civilization should the Kakaka be classified? Spirit beings? Aliens? Elementals? There are arguments for and against each. As for elementals, the Kakaka sound most like sylphs.

According to bibliotecapleyades.net:
"The sylphs are the air spirits.

"They live hundreds of years, often reaching one thousand and never seeming to get old. They are said to live on the tops of mountains. 
"Sylphs often assume human form but only for short periods of time. They vary in size from being as large as a human to being much smaller. They are volatile and changeable. The winds are their particular vehicle.

"They work through the gases and ethers of the Earth and are kindly toward humans. Because of their connection to air, which is associated with the mental aspect, one of their functions is to help humans receive inspiration."

However, unlike most sylphs, the Kakaka do not have wings. More to the point, Kakaka are purported to be immortal--elementals are not; and while sylphs live on the top of mountains, the Kakaka live underneath.

Perhaps the Kakaka are a unique entity--not yet categorized by paranormal researchers.

The reader's conjecture is every bit as good as the author's!




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