The Hiaki word tekuuku refers to a tornado or dust devil. In Hiaki lore, the occurrence of a destructive tornado is more than just a coincidence; they happen as a result of serious wrongdoings such as child abuse and other major crimes. There are many stories among the Hiaki about the homes of people rumored to abuse their own family being destroyed in a tornado while everyone else’s homes are left completely untouched. This is also known to happen to buildings that are a haven for prostitution and substance abuse. Because tornadoes are so common in areas like Texas, some Hiakis speak of Texas as a place where sin is everywhere and people have forgotten God. If you wanted to talk about tornadoes and where they hit, you could use a sentence like.

Ume bweere tekuukum wam vicha Tehauvicha hivayu kom hohote ta imi’i kaa tua kom hohote.

“Tornadoes occur in Texas a lot but they don’t really happen here.”

Dust devils, while usually not as destructive, are still considered very dangerous. If you see one you should avoid going anywhere near it, especially its center. There are elements within it that can enter your body and cause all sorts of problems.

Photo credit: Jim Reed, 2008

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