Flourish #TheDailyPost #WritersWednesday

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Since their land was so inhospitable to foreign eyes, they retained their freedom longer than those tribes whose territory the predators desired, and plundered. Little did the invaders knew that the old prophecy had been tested: they were imposters, their creed a fraud, their ignoble brutality a sign they were of inferior stock to the tribes that knew the Peaceful Way.

So they survived the Castillans and their priests, the Anglo preachers who knew nothing of their culture and kept kidnapping their children, in the futile hope to convert them, and now the flow of tourists, ignorant, sun-burnt and fat, and ever so friendly. Yet they flourish, on the same land, now spared the threat of raiders, with better healthcare, a rewarding trade, and still, their incomparable freedom.

Image: The Medicine Man, John Moyers, 2007, oil on canvas, Tucson Museum of Art

Oraibi #AtoZAprilChallenge

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Oraibi, whose original name is Ojaibi – Round Rock  – is an old Hopi village on Third Mesa. Marshall Trimble (“Arizona: a Cavalcade History“) writes that “Old Oraibi, on Third mesa, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in America, dating back to before AD 1200.” The region surrounding the Black Mesa, 2,500 square miles of the now Hopi Reservation area surrounded by Navajo country, has been settled since before the time of Christ.

Oraibi witnessed several tragedies in the history, and oral tradition, of the “Peaceful People”. Trimble again: “The first whites to visit Hopiland were soldiers from Coronado‘s exhibition in 1540 during his quest for the mythical Seven Cities of Gold… In their pursuit of treasure other Spanish explorers, including Espejo, Farfán, and Oñate, all visited the mesas in the late 1500s.”

Harold Courlander (“The Fourth World of the Hopis“) tells the story of the arrival of the Castillas in Oraibi. “The Castillas demanded food offerings constantly, and many families had to give up a share of their corn, squash and melons. By this time the priests had a lot of sheep that had been sent to them from Santa Fe. They made the Hopis build large stone corrals for them. The Hopis had few sheep, the Castillas had many. The people became discouraged about the way life was going. They did not plant as much as in the old days, and some of them neglected their fields. They were tired of the heavy work they had to do for the Castillas. They were tired of hearing the priests say that the kachinas [representation of the spirits in traditional Hopi ceremonies] were something bad. And they grew angry when they discovered that the Castillas were taking Hopi women into their house and abusing them. Talking together in the kivas at night they say, ‘Something must be done. We cannot go on living this way’.” Eventually the Spaniards were driven out in the Great Revolt of 1680 by the Pueblo tribes of what is now New Mexico, and of course the Hopi clans. “Beams from the church were used to construct a new kiva [ceremonial chamber] at Oraibi, still in use today.”

Often the Navajos raided Hopi villages. Courlander tells of one such attack on Oraibi. The tradition says that, at a crucial moment in the battle, “the warriors gods, Pokanghoya and Polongahoya, [went] out toward the enemy with lightning arrows in their bows… There was a great flash and a sound like thunder, and many Navajos who had been riding a moment before were now lying scattered and lifeless on the battlefield… The main Navajo party turned away and rode northward. Seeing this, the raiders looting Oraibi abandoned the stocks of corn they had piled up, mounted their horses and departed.”

Image: Originally uploaded by Promking (Transferred by JaumeBG) – Originally uploaded on en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17815248 – Very old abandoned house and panoramic view on the outskirts of Oraibi village.

Niman #AtoZAprilChallenge

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[In the Hopi culture] Niman (NEE-mahn) is the annual festival celebrating the departure of the kachinas [spirits]. During the dance, which is an aspect of the festival, the kachinas give out bread, pike, fruit and other gifts to the spectators. Small boys receive bows and arrows; and small girls receive kachina dolls.

from: The Fourth World of the Hopis, Glossary and Pronunciation Guide, by Harold Courlander, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque ©1971

Image: Kachina (tihu) depicting Palhik’ Mana (Water Drinking Girl); Hopi people, probably 1920s; 50.8 x 35.9 x 10.2 cm; Wood, paint, and wool yarn; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; given in memory of Congressman James M. Collins by his family; object number 1993.71

A Story From Long Ago….

Beautiful memories…

From The Earth Studio

There was a time when I found out I was going to be a father for the first time. It set me off on a journey to figure out how I was going to teach my daughter about who we were as Hopi People. I thought back to my own childhood and recalled stories I had heard from my relatives. These stories help me connect to the land and I remembered in my youth how I used my imagination to come up with other stories. So I decided to put some of these down in a book that I could give to my daughter in the hopes that she would be able to relate to the landscape and our culture as I had done.

I spent quite a bit of time putting together the stories and then laying out and drawing the accompanying pictures you see below. Ultimately, I never…

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#FiveSentenceFiction: Memories #Wupatki National Monument #NativeAmerican

Wupatki PuebloWe stood, silent, our eyes fixed on the painted desert: then you talked to me in the tongue of your ancestors, it was suddenly as if we were transported in time.

Children played on the circular ball ground, parents laughed, you spoke with them.

I saw the house, as it was then, in its splendour, full of happy people.

A joyful little troop came back from the fields, carrying basketfuls of corn cobs and fruits – I remember then what you’d said about those expert astronomers, canal builders and farmers…

I looked up at the cloudless sky, then, you said in English, your hand on my shoulder: “You see, that’s how it was, in the 14th century of your era, and we remember.”

#FiveSentenceFiction: Abandon #Hopivotskwani #NativeAmericans

Dedicated to the Hopi tribes, who knew agriculture, and the art of living, when Europe was starving, crawling in medieval darkness.

DSC_0322He stands on the red rocks, alone with ghosts, his sight on the painted horizon.

Slowly they appear in his vision: the millions, slaughtered by disease, hunger, the swords and bullets of the invaders.

He knows: a people in tune with nature, who understood the path of Mother Earth, as no-one since has understood Her.

And, now, he, the scientist, knows the end is near: his own tribe will have to leave the fourth world, and find solace in hell.

Then the braves will rise from their forgotten graves, as trees from the desert.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Fresh

GloriousWe drove from Flagstaff, and took Route 89 North, under the volcano, our sights on the snow capped San Francisco range.

Soon, in the direction of the Wupatki ruins, home of the Water clan, we saw the Painted Desert in its splendour, stretching as a thin rainbow on the horizon.

We stopped at the Sunset Crater: there you said the ground was alive, with the spirit of your ancestors.

1064 was the year of the great eruption, and after a millennium, the trees are back, their roots deep in the dark grey lava.

Then I said I loved your home, and your smile took me to heaven.

 

Hopivotskani: the Path of the Hopis #Arizona #Hopis #FourthWorld

This text is an extract from Nancy J. Parezo’s “Emergence to the Fourth World”, in Paths of Life, American Indians of the Southwest and Northern Mexico, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

In the beginning, Tawa, the sun spirit and father, impregnated Mother Earth, who gave birth to living things. These people, animals, and insects lived in the underworld, where they tried to live the Hopi way but were not able to understand the meaning of life and became mired  in corruption and strife caused by sorcerers. Upon hearing footsteps above  and the words of Hummingbird and Spider Grandmother, a brave group decided to leave the koyaanisqatsi, or “crazy life”, behind. They sent out birds to find a way to ascend and explore the unknown land. Catbird finally succeeded in reaching the sipapuni, a hole in the sky, and found Masauwu.

Masauwu, the Spirit of the Dead, gave the people fire and permitted them to settle on his land. The Fire People, who have a special relationship with Masauwu, emerged first, because they agreed to assume the responsibility of leading the others to their final destination. Chipmunk helped the good people climb to the sipapuni through a tall reed. As the people were resting before their journey, Spider Grandmother said, “The journey will be long and difficult. When we reach the Upper World, that will be only a beginning. Things are not like things here. You will discover new ways of doing things. During the journey you must try to discover the meaning of life and learn to distinguish good from evil. Tawa did not intend for you to live in the midst of chaos and dissension.”

Maria II

 

Image:

Maria II, Kate Russell photographer, Freyr Marie and Rose B. Simpson, models – Arizona State Museum

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