Will they blend?
Issue Number 33
LOOKING AT HOPI
Greetings, we know many of you are waiting to hear about the goings on here in Hopi land and in our neighboring Navajo tribe at Big Mountain. But first, let us give our attention to local matters.
We sense that most of our readers and people in general are not totally familiar with the position of the Hopi Traditionals and the so-called Hopi Tribal Council. This is because often what comes through the media is misleading and creates confusion. There are some questions in people's minds which must be clarified. Herein, briefly, we shall try to show where each group of Hopis stand, how the Hopi thinks, and how he looks at his problems.
It would be nice if we could write about pleasant things but, because of the frustrations and emotional problems confronting Hopi society, we feel it is time to admit our shortcomings to the outside public in order that they may understand our situation. At present the future of the Hopi looks bleak. But, we know that throughout our history crises like this are good for the people. It causes them to stop and think, to find their way back to the good path. So we are hoping that all our mistakes can be mended for the sake of a brighter future. We are certain that those with open minds will understand. That because of frictions and divisions within Hopi society it becomes difficult and complicated to voice personal opinion to a person with a different mind. It creates aggressive feelings toward fellow Hopis, often disturbs clan relationships, and also causes hard feelings among leaders because the opinions of others do not agree with their own wisdom and knowledge. This problem exists in all other villages, not only in our village of Hotevilla.
One good bit of news is that our Traditional spiritual wisdom has not declined much. Ceremonialism is one factor which unites us for a day or two at a time to help one another and to share our food and happiness. The sharing makes our ceremonials complete.
Not long ago Traditional Hopi, mainly the people of Hotevilla Village, were regarded as a people with a wayward spirit. A backward people wanting nothing not Hopi and believing in dead wisdom and knowledge like devil believers in doomsday prophecies. Humiliated, but refusing to buckle under the heavy pressure, they continued their ways because they believed the struggle was worth it in order to continue to live their own way of life.
The village continues to oppose and reject all the programs and proposals of foreign government. To the casual observer Bahanna activities seem harmless while the promoters think good things will come out of the proposal which will benefit the village. But the fact is these programs ware part of an attempt to force the village into the assimilation of western ways. An effort to force us away from our tradition and culture.
Hotevilla Village was founded in 1906ce by Chief Yukiuma, following his eviction, with his followers, from our mother village of Oraibi. The eviction followed his efforts to preserve the Hopi tradition and culture. He is the only Hopi Chief who shook hands with U.S. President Taft in the White House. The only Hopi Chief who defied the power of the great American Nation, who went to Alcatraz Prison, who endured suffering, bribes, and flattery. The great American President could not convince him to bow to the greatest nation on earth. Still, to this day, Hotevilla Village has been following the philosophy of Chief Yukiuma. We do not forget his followers, men, women, and children, who suffered equal punishment and humiliation at the hands of Government Agents. We do not forget some Hopis from other villages who stained their hands by committing sorrowful and disastrous acts against our village. In spite of this it is our elders' advice that it is proper to forgive, but not to forget, the incident.
If we are fortunate this event in our past will, in the future, help fulfill some of our prophecies. Upon these bases we must stand firm and at a certain period of time we must widen our distance from people who have a spirit unlike ours or we will be tricked into the pitfalls in which they will be caught.
All traditional established villages have problems similar to ours because of encroachment from some sources. Since they have their own guidelines we are not in a position to give direction. We mean in terms of Bahanna political matters we are lacking in understanding. On the spiritual level we have understanding for the most part in areas where we share the feelings of good will and oneness. We know it can be difficult for outsiders to understand where each village stands. There is no easy answer. So we will again point out that each village is separate, like Bahanna towns. Each village has its own self-governing body depending on the number of traditional thinking religious leaders and people who make decisions for the community.
Sadly, at the present time, lifestyles are changing at a rapid pace. The things we were supposed to avoid have made inroads into our communities. Power and water conveniences are now being installed in homes. Large numbers of Hopi now depend on the BIA created Hopi Tribal Council for economic purposes. The unconcerned observer may think these activities are a great step towards progress, that they will do no harm. Our view is that they should know better because it shows that we are ignoring the wisdom and knowledge of our wise elders and ignoring the great laws of our Creator. We are forgetting our guideline to survival. We are proud to say that our village still stands firm in keeping out modern things. We mean those things which will break down our resistance. Hotevilla is the last traditional stronghold in Hopi land, please help us keep it.
DEFINING "HOPI NATION" AND "HOPI TRIBE"
Which faction in Hopi land deserves the name "Hopi Nation" or "Hopi Tribe"? Thee two important names have been crisscrossing between the Traditional Hopi and the progressive "Hopi Tribal Council." We bring this out because it has caused much head scratching and confusion among outsiders who are unfamiliar with the Hopi. This is particularly noticeable in the Navajo relocation issue.
It seems these terms portray all the united Hopi tribe within the Hopi Nation as working together in trying to throw out the Navajo by their ears. We view this as misleading for the Traditional Hopi are not involved in relocation so as not to tarnish our proud name of peaceful Hopi. As far as we know the "Hopi Tribal Council" was created by the BIA. We don't know from what substance and they failed to give them a name so they adopted the name "Hopi Tribe."
The Traditional Hopi were created by the Great Creator from spiritual seed and received the name "Hopi" long before the progressive Council was ever heard of. We will let you decide.
THE REWARDS OF WHAT WE SOW
The Hopi elders look on with awe as the predictions of our prophets begin unfolding before their eyes. The fast life, the changes in attitudes and behavior of the world's people, contesting for power, boastfulness in know how, increased immorality and materialism. The world's people do not realize these actions gradually diminish the life resources through opposing the laws of nature with our own designs. Clever is Man, he did not see his actions set nature in motion toward disastrous consequences.
Upon this basis our religious leaders always opposed modernization. But for some years conflicting and distorted versions of our traditional wisdom and knowledge have been passed on by "progressive" Hopi. These distortions are now confusing the minds of Hopi people into going forward toward modern ways. People who don't understand the old teachings correctly are easily misled. Those with shortcomings are easily hooked into the very way of life that true Hopis are avoiding. These people are encouraged to follow the new system of a salary based life and education. They are told that modern ways will not harm them. While those who lack education and technical skills are encouraged to become dependent on handouts, welfare, food stamps, etc. This harms the traditional principles of self-sufficiency through farming and hand crafts. We feel that this is a shameful, not a proud way of obtaining necessities. It seems they would know better, but they appear to ignore the problems of the present crisis as if it were unimportant. Devoted Hopi regard this crisis as extremely serious. It could be the harrowing last chapter of the true Hopi way of life.
To show you how persistent willed the Hopi "progressives" are in doing their dirty work, only a month ago they made an inroad into our village with telephone lines without the approval of the village leaders. From informed sources we hear that they are planning to install water and power lines into our village. Can we stop them?
During the Navajo relocation deadline of July 7th for a showdown there was no direct action. Protest marches of Navajo and outside support groups were in evidence ending with the main event near Big Mountain of the cutting of more than a half mile of partition fence by the Navajos. At this time things are at a stand still. Promoters of relocation are at their wits end, scratching their heads, figuring the next move that might work. The Hopi Tribal Council Chairman demands relocation plan in 30 days. Insisting that Navajos are trespassers subject to eviction.
Most impressive is Bill (S. 2545) which Senator Cranston (Calif.) introduced in condemnation of the relocation ruling (PL-93-531), that this ruling has not worked after 12 years. His bill is calling for a moratorium on relocation. It also calls for the establishment of a Presidential Advisory Committee to study the remaining problems. The Committee would consist of the Secretary of the Interior, four members of Congress, four Hopi Indians and four Navajo Indians. The Hopi and Navajo delegations would consist of two from each Tribal Council, two Traditional leaders, and two elders facing relocation.
If we understand correctly the moratorium would cut all further funding for relocation through the fiscal year 1987. So we expect nothing will happen for quite some time. This depends on the passing of the bill.
For first hand information, write to or contact:
Big Mountain JUA, Legal D/OCOMM
2501 N. 4th Street, Suite 18
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Phone (602) 774-5233
Thank you - Good Day