Issue Number 20
The time will come to pass when the minds of men will become deluded and the words of the wise will be ignored. When the influence from foreign sources has taken hold the spirit within the Native People of this land will wane, perhaps even be destroyed. We were warned of this by the prophets of old.
The Hopi will be the last target because the traditional ways embody a high level of knowledge and strong ability to resist. In the effort to accomplish his ends the Bahanna will use many tactics. As time passes there are increasing signs within the Hopi Nation that the oppressors are succeeding.
Yes, the Hopi have come a long way, through one obstacle after another. Many of the ancient prophecies have already come to pass. At this time the Hopi live in two worlds, our traditional one and that of the Bahannas. We are now at the point where each of us has to make his own decision as to which world to choose.
Our ancestors were right in predicting that soon dances and music not our own will drown out the traditional teaching and know}edge of the Hopi. Our long tradition and customs of dress appearance, hair styles, our traditional sports for children and adults, many things uniquely Hopi will disappear. Most of our ceremonials will end.
In order to keep our village stable we must keep our thoughts on a spiritual level. This becomes the most important base for our village to stand on. We must not forsake the laws and instructions of the Great Spirit, the Creator, from whom we received our teachings and to whom we vowed to live them.
It has been said that if even only one or two stand firm it will accomplish the good result for all land and life. If we weaken and fall under the mounting oppression of the Bahanna as we did when we allowed our land to be cut up and put in writing and sold, then any possibility of recovery of our Tradition and our land is nil. When all that is ours, all that is Hopi, is taken away and all our powers of reaching the spirits of heaven and earth are gone, we are dead. We may stomp our feet to the beat of the drum and sing ever louder when praying, but, sadly, we will not reach the spirits, the guardian spirits and the producers of food and rain. We will know then our identity, our spirit power and values have gone. Though we may walk the crowded streets of our village, in truth, we will be dead.
Now we enter the time of testing which only the Great Creator can confirm. The alignment of the planets, we were so kindly informed of by the star watchers. The Hopi have expected this to happen and have been waiting. According to ceremonial tradition following the stars one day certain stars will come together in a row as has happened thousands of years ago. It is a time of purifying the land. Changing climate and many catastrophes may occur as we pass through this stage. What may happen no one really knows.
Although the alignment of the planets does have an exact time, according to legend it may be in your lifetime, your children's or their children's. But as the time times near the predicted behavior of the people accurately describes the people of today. Perhaps it is the time to repent and pray that our earth will not be totally lost. It has been said that this event may bring about one of two things: destruction or the prosperity to renew the earth to its original wholesomeness. This much we do know.
Stone Racer, Mishongnovi, 1901
Once again let us explore our past. One of the sports which has died out is the "stone race" as it has been called by outsiders. For those who are unfamiliar we will describe the "stone" briefly. The stone is made out of pitch, or resin, from the pine tree. It is boiled at a high temperature and some animal hair is added to hold it together. Dark sand is then added for color and then it is shaped into a cube roughly the size of a baseball. When the mixture cools it becomes as hard as stone. The stone can be thrown a great distance with a scoop-like motion of the foot.
The stone race begins on the fourth day after the Bean Ceremonial, (Powamu). Every able-bodied man and boy could participate, so that each kiva was represented. The race is repeated four times. Each morning an elder would run from kiva to kiva announcing the race to be held that day, the old animal hooves around his waist clanking as he ran in the early dawn. He would complete four rounds, the first to prepare the body paints, the second to commence painting, the third to dress up, and the fourth round to be on your way to the start of the race. Each Kiva's members dressed differently. The first race is held in a small circle about five miles in circumference. Each day the circle is increased until at least twenty-five miles are run.
The enactment of the stone race meant many things. Its chief meaning is the Commemoration of the Migrations of the Hopi clans by which our land was claimed. The last, the largest circuit symbolizes the claiming of the whole continent for its Native People and wildlife.
At the time when the stone races were being held the Hopis were good runners and the different kivas challenged each other. Sometimes the races were for the purpose their Clan mothers and their father's Clan mothers. At the end, the Kachina racers would come to challenge the men and boys of the village. It is a time of fun for everyone but still it has a mysterious meaning. It was as if we used ordinary, everyday language to address the spirit world.
No doubt many of our readers will wonder why this meaningful ceremonial has died out. Let us say it is because of one aspect of Bahanna's modern technology, the wheel. The wheel which caused our feet and legs, and our bodies too, to be dependent on being carried by wheels. Where we once used to walk and run long distances, we now use wheels to reach places both near and far. We hope you have enjoyed this look into our past with us.
We are aware that many of our readers are anxious to hear about our relations with the Tribal Council. At this moment we are not certain in which direction the newly elected Chairman, Ivan Sidney, will lean. We have heard rumors that he is not in harmony with most of the Council Members, and that in most cases he follows closely the Hopi Tribal Constitution, respecting the Traditional leaders and Traditional values. The latest rumor was that the hard-core Progressives wanted him to step down.
We wonder if he will keep his campaign promises by remaining in touch with us. So far he has defaulted twice by not meeting with us as arranged. We hope that he lives up to his words before we are forced to use pressure.
The water line was forced into the village this past year, but no hookup has been attempted. Perhaps President Reagan's program of cutbacks has something to do with it. However, we fear that the coming warmer days will bring renewed problems.