Issue Number 8

Who Can Tell Us What We Are?

It is well known among traditional Hopi that the Constitution of the so-called Hopi Tribal Council is a tool used to impose a system which violates the true meaning and purpose of Hopi. This document, imposed in 1936 by the U.S. Government, even seeks to redefine Hopi identity to suit a very different purpose.

In our language, the name, Hopi, has held the same meaning from the beginning. It names those who live by the plan laid out by the spirit, Maasauu, and today hold the land in trust for him. Although our bloodline is very important, the word refers to our whole way of life, as well as to the foundation of the authority of our traditional leaders, and our claim over the land.

Article II of the Constitution gives a different definition:

Sec. 1

a) All persons, whose names appear on the Census Roll of the Hopi Tribe as of Jan. 1-36, but within one year from the time that this constitution takes effect, corrections may be made in the roll by the Hopi Tribal Council with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.

b) All children born after Jan. 1-36 whose father and mother are both members of the Hopi Tribe.

c) All children born after Jan. 1-36 whose mother is a member of the Hopi Tribe and whose father is a member of some other tribe.

d) All persons adopted into the tribe as provided in Sec. 2.

Sec. 2

NON-MEMBERS of 1.4 degree of Indian Blood or more who are married to members of the Hopi Tribe, and adult persons of 1/4 degree of Indian blood or more whose fathers are members of the Hopi Tribe, may be adopted in the following manner:

Such person may apply to the Kikmongwi of the village to which he is to belong, for acceptance according to the ways of doing established in that village. The Kikmongwi may accept him and shall tell the Tribal Council. The Council may then by a majority vote have that person's name put on the roll of the tribe. But before he is enrolled he must officially give up membership in any other tribe.

Last July a diagram of this was printed in the
newspaper of the progressive village of Bacabi

Is this really a definition of Hopi? Why have it? We do not need such a plan to live as true Hopi. It is only valid for some who choose to give up being Hopi, and live from Government programs which include dividing, leasing, and selling the land. To accept such "benefits" they need to be identified. But each Hopi leader has vowed never to sell or cut up the land. Anyone who does is no longer Hopi.

Now are we just being stubborn and old-fashioned, or is there some wisdom behind this stand? The truth is, we Hopi have no need to yield our self-determination to an outside power in order to prosper. We don't need to place control of our land under foreign laws. We understand what is behind the "easy-money" system, and we know how dangerous it is.

Let's look forward to the day when we may share without being asked to give up all that we live for.

Hotevilla Village Commemorates Founding

Address by David Monongye, a religious leader of Hotevilla, to a gathering of friends on September 6, 1976, the 70th anniversary of the village.

First of all, as you come here to my village of Hotevilla, I wish to welcome each one of you. At this time we are celebrating a time in our history which is both filled with joy and with sadness. I am very glad that you have come to share these feelings with us.

We are now faced with great problems not only here but throughout the land. Ancient cultures are being annihilated; the people's lands are being taken from them, leaving them no place to call their own.

Why is this happening? It is happening because many people have given up their teachings and the Way of Life which the Great Spirit has given to all people. It is because of the sickness called greed, which infects every land, that simple people are losing what they have kept for thousands of years.

Here at home, it is the so-called Hopi Tribal Council which is stealing our land and life. We Hopis are a Sovereign Nation. We have never signed a treaty with the U.S. Government, or with any government. Yet the so-called Tribal Council has let the U.S. run over them and push them around. Now they, the so-called Tribal Council, push around their own people as if they have some kind of authority. But they do not have authority over Hopis. Hopis have their own authority and their own leaders who watch over all the people like a mother and father. But the so-called Tribal Council will not admit that this is so. Yet if it was not so, how else would we be able to still be alive today? We have managed for thousands of years to survive, without wars, without laws, without outside authority telling us how to live our own lives.

Now we are at the very end of our trail. Many people no longer recognize the True Path of the Great Spirit. They have, in fact, no respect for the Great Spirit or for our precious Mother Earth, who gives us all life.

We are instructed in our ancient Prophecy that this would occur. We were told that someone would try to go up to the moon; that they would bring something back from the moon; and that after that, Nature would show signs of losing its balance. Now we see that coming about.

All over the world there are now many signs that Nature is no longer in balance. Floods, droughts, earthquakes, and great storms are occurring and causing much suffering.

We do not want this to occur in our country and we pray to the Great Spirit to save us from such things. But there are now signs that this very same thing might happen very soon on our own land.

Now we must look upon each other as brothers and sisters. There is no more time for divisions between people. Today I call upon all of us, from right here at home, where we are guilty of gossiping and causing divisions even among our own families; out into the entire world where thievery, war and lying goes on every day. These divisions will not be our salvation.

Only by joining together with love in our hearts for one another and for the Great Spirit, shall we be saved from the terrible Purification Day which is just ahead.

Those of you who have come here today are honest people. I know you, each one of you, and I know that you have good hearts. But good hearts are not enough to help us out with these great problems. In the past, some of you have tried to help us Hopis, and we will always be thankful for your effort. But now we need your help in the worst way. We want the people of this country to know the truth of our situation. This land which you people call the Land of Freedom has just celebrated its 200th anniversary. Yet in 2000 years the original Americans have not seen a free day. We are now suffering the final insult. Our people are now losing the one things which give life and meaning to life: our land, which is being taken away from us.

I ask you this:

Where is this freedom which you all fight for and sacrifice your children for? Is it only the Indian people who have lost or are all Americans losing the very thing which you originally came here to find?

Listen to us:

We have no freedom of religion because others come to our homes and tell us that our religion is no good; that we should take their instead.

We don't share the freedom of the press because what gets into the papers is what the government wants people to believe, not what is really happening.

We have no freedom of speech, because we are persecuted by our own people for speaking our beliefs.

So you have come here to help. I hope and pray that your help will come. If you have a way to spread the truth, through the newspapers, radio, books, through meeting with powerful people, tell the truth! Tell them what you have seen here; what you have heard us say; what you have seen here with your own eyes. In this way, if we do fall, let it be said that we tried, right up to the end, to hold fast to the Path of Peace as we were originally instructed to do by the Great Spirit.

And should you really succeed, we will all realize our mistakes of the past and return to the True Path; living in harmony as brothers and sisters, sharing our Mother, the Earth, with all other living things. In this way we could bring about a New World. A world which would be led by the Great Spirit and our Mother could provide plenty and happiness for us all.

God bless you, each one. May the Great Spirit guide you safely home and give you something important to do in this great work which lies ahead of us all.

Snake Ceremonial

"Look, the snakemen are coming out from their kiva now!" shout the children as they stand on the housetops and call to each other. Yes, the children always used to wait for the snakemen's departure and arrival, knowing that the main dance was near at hand because the snake priests and their helper had been out several days gathering their little brothers, the snakes, from all directions.

This important ceremony, lasting only about an hour, attracts many visitors from all parts of the world, people of all religious sects, plus writers, anthropologists, and the curious. One group which is absent is the Hopi people who have converted to other religions, and one may well wonder why this is so.

The ceremonial dance is performed by two societies, Antelope and Snake. Antelope members are the leaders. The day before the main dance, the races at sunrise occur, in honor mainly of the Antelope Society but also for those in the Snake. This event is not run for prize money, but for good health and food in the coming year, as well as for the land and all life. NO fee is charged visitors, because care is taken not to commercialize this sacred ceremony. At one time this dance was closed to the non-Indian public because of its sacred quality, but the decision to make it public was reached by the high priests. As one older priest said, "If only one, two, or three spectators with good hearts and good thoughts merge with our thoughts of prayer to accomplish our success, that is good." (Lololma)

The snake dance is also an occasion for a reunion of all the friends and relatives who come from afar. It is a time for a four-day feast of fresh corn, melons, and fruits right off the vines and trees. And after the dance the ladies of all ages have some good fun by challenging the men and boys to a chase in the streets for special prizes. But this was how it used to be.

Today, this unique celebration is beginning to wane, to become extinct. Instead of enjoying these few days in the old way, some young people use it as an opportunity for immoral behavior and to be out of control. This affects the people in an adverse way, sometimes making them cross and frustrated, and always causing worry to the traditionals that the ceremony at present is losing effectiveness with nature. The cycle this year is very poor, there is very little rainfall, insects on our crops are many--because in our food is the only moisture to satisfy their thirst and hunger. We are sad that they too are suffering.

Surely there is something wrong. We must look within ourselves and take care in our movements. We seem to be in doubt of the Great Laws that govern the earth. We are in doubt of the words of old. It has been said that there are two water serpents coiling the earth, from North to South pole. On each of the poles sits a warrior god on the serpents' head and tail, now and then communicating messages of our conduct and behavior toward each other; now and then releasing light pressure which causes the great serpents to move, resetting earth movements--a message also commanding nature to warn us by her actions that time is getting short and so we must correct ourselves. If we refuse to heed the warning, the warrior gods will let go of the serpents and we will all perish. They will say: we do not deserve the land given to us because we are careless.

This sounds much like fantasy. We might believe the old ones' stories then, but it will be too late. There is another "fantasy" that is often mocked: that the Hopi ceremonials, with all their foot thumping and singing praise of the earth, cannot produce rain, while the white man's country has much rain without the use of any ritual. The old ones say our earth is like a spotted fawn, with each spot having a duty to make the body function. Hopiland we hold to be the center of the earth's body. It is the spot of power, with the duty to foretell the future by comparing the actions of mankind with the prophecy told to us. Hopi teaches caution and awareness. This much we know.

Cutting the Hopi Lifeline

Government, law, and industry are actively working as a team to break our hold on our sacred trust, our aboriginal homeland. This is nothing new, of course, but events described in a Bacabi Newsletter dated August 6 provide a very important study lesson for all who are seriously interested in true Hopi law.

The newsletter tells us that John Boyden, attorney for the Hopi Tribal Council (called "Puppet Council" by the true chiefs) discussed the Phillips Petroleum Company's application to develop oil in the "joint use area," a section of Hopiland currently shared with the Navajo people. "Phillips Petroleum Company feels that there is strong indication that there is oil in certain portions of land in the joint use area," the letter states.

Mr. Boyden "and a group of attorneys," are apparently promoting a resolution (H-52-76) which contains "three major objectives: (1) To take to the U.S. Courts the matter that the Navajo Tribe should pay the Hopi a certain amount of money for charging joint use traders fees and related fees on joint use area, (2) To take to the U.S. Courts the Navajo Tribe for damage to the land of the joint use area, and (3) The Hopi tribe will sue the Navajo for other related relief to which the Hopi Tribe is entitled on the joint use area."

The letter concludes with the announcement that "Two new attorneys were hired to our ring of attorneys," namely Boyden's son, John, and Michael Hunter. But this happy family, whose firm represents "Utes, Paiutes, and other Zuni tribes," would not be complete without one more: "...these tribal attorneys are under the Congressional Act, which provides that they will be paid by the U.S.A."

So the U.S. Government pays attorneys to help the Hopi sell out their birthright, fight their neighbors, the Navajo people (whose attorneys are probably paid to do the same to the Hopi), and to do this fighting in a court of U.S. law! How can the so-called Hopi of Bacabi Village and the Tribal Council be so gullible? Well, the Government would have them feel proud to be the "new leaders," tempt them with crumbs from the table of the great oil company and most of all, have them think the "old way" is dead.

They work in this manner through the puppet Tribal Council because a true Hopi leader can never be paid to break that sacred vow upon which we were first allowed to hold this land. That vow is a real and binding agreement by which we may never lease it for oil profits.

In effect the United States Government is telling us, "That's all nonsense! Forget the past! The land is all ours now!" They must have a good reason for wanting everyone to forget the fact that Hopi land has never been given up, even according to their own Law. "No war, no treaty," was the reason we traditional Hopi refused to fight. We also refuse to forget.

But is this just another sad story? If we thought so, we would no longer do our part by continuing to live in the Hopi way, and continuing to speak out about these things. We have no powerful army, so it is only with the help of friends on this continent and throughout the world that we can be heard by those able to stop this attempt to replace our original leaders and cut us away from the land.

So whether it's a sad story is up to you as well.


This summer the puppet press reported the eviction of two or three families from their low-cost housing by the Hopi Tribal Council. One of the eviction victims had a stroke because the family couldn't find a home, and the tribal council was powerless to help. What gives? Did they become unfaithful or did they serve their purposes?

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There has been a report that so-called Tribal Chairman Mr. Abbot Sekaquaptewa, passing as a chief of the Hopi Nation, visited South and Central American countries, with the purpose of what? To convert the natives into the progressive class system? Big rip-offs.

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Another report came our way. The puppet council had shut off the water to their faithfuls, the old Oraibi puppet residences, who have been getting water from the Council's tap. Reason? The tribal council now pays for the water, and it was their decision not share with their faithfuls, who now must carry water miles to their homes. The Council feared their bills would be too much, so in their September 16th editorial the puppet press complained that the federal government has failed to respond to their local needs. Are they now biting their big brother's hand that feeds them? Well, we told you so. Your big brother has raised you like a kind mother hen. Now you must go on your own and stop acting like a little kid. No ripping off.

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  • The shield symbol with its four
    circles in four quadrants means:
    "Together with all nations we
    protect both land and life, and
    hold the world in balance."