Who was Pvt. Norman A. Puhuquaptewa? The Arizona Republic newspaper byline dated March 10, 1949 reads, “Army returns bodies of 31 war victims from Europe“. The small article listed the names of men from Arizona, no unit or circumstances of their deaths was provided. When World War II ended, these men returned home to their loved ones. Many KIAs did not return and remain on foreign soil in Europe, even today.
Hopi warriors have served in the U. S. Military in the global conflicts of WWI and WWII, in many different countries. Many question why American Indians serve in the U.S. military that historically fought against our people. One answer is the American Indian warriors view the Americas as our original homelands before contact with foreign peoples. America remains our homelands today.
Pvt. Norman A. Puhuquaptewa is distinctively a Hopi by his namesake. Upon searching for his Hopi roots from the clue “Oraibi” as his home place, one finds on the 1934 Hopi Census that his father may have been Arthur Puhuquaptewa, of the Sun Clan. His mother was of the Real Badger Clan and they lived in the mother village of Orayvi, on the Hopi Reservation. One older Hopi woman remembers the family of Pvt. Puhuquaptewa who was killed in action during WWII in Europe.
One Hopi mother’s son returned to his homeland and rests in peace.
“I can tell you exactly how it happened because I was involved in the business. I was sixteen years old”. Chuka, Don C. Talayesva, Orayvi, September 8, 1906.
On September 8, 1906, two fueding Hopi Leaders chose a non-lethal, sports-like push and pull strategy requiring only physical prowess to resolve a civil dispute in the original mother village of Orayvi.
“It [hostilities] got pretty bad in the village. Things got upside down. We drove the hostiles from the village. At three o’clock Youkioma of the hostile faction made four lines on the ground. Youkioma said “Well, it has to be done this way now that you pass me over this line, it will be done”. The Split at Old Oraibi: An Oraibi Account.
This date marks a historic event that changed the lives of the Hopi people on Third Mesa 112 years ago. This historic “Push of War” is inscribed on the rock surface near the village today as a reminder. The faction that was pushed over the line with their leader were the families who left their homes to seek a new future.
The newspaper photograph shows Tawaquaptewa, the Bear Clan leader of Orayvi, at the site where the rock writings are carved in English words, inscribed by Robert Selina and Charles Addington.
I have heard oral accounts from different elders who witnessed this traumatic event in their lives. My maternal grandmother talked about this day vividly, every day of her life. As a teenager, she carried her little brother on her back as her family began walking a life as refugees overnight.
This “war” was heartbreaking but no one died. As I think about the basic questions – why did the Hopi leaders choose this ritual act of severing and what is the significance or relevance to Hopi today? Why did our ancestors leave their ancestral settlements and where did they go? Today, we know the answer.
The act of the “tug of war-like” traditions in world cultures goes back to the 12thCentury in places like Egypt, India and Myanmar. How did the Hopi leaders know of this tradition? In the 1800s, Hopi men travelled to the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nevada to hunt turtles and to the Pacific Ocean to trade for shells and minerals. They had contact with the people who lived in these areas. One group now called the Mohave, have a cultural tradition of the “tug of war” that continues to be practiced today. The Hopi may have seen or participated in this activity at that time so it was known to them in 1906.
The idea of a ritualized act by the Hopi leaders has a deeper meaning that we do not fully understand. For my family, the final outcome of this “hands on” democracy was uniquely Hopi. My grandmother and her family walked on and founded a new village, Bacavi where she lived her life ways for over 100 years. We Are Still Here.
Dedicated to Senator John McCain, a friend of the Hopi
See Hopi Tutuveni Issue “Remembering John McCain” here:
Our grandmothers tell of the beginning times when all the life forces were borning. We were not alone. The spiritual deity, Masauu was here and we met this spirit who was the guardian of life. In this time before memory, a covenant was made with Masauu. The human species agreed to live a life of humility, respect and thankfulness of all life forces.
In this present time of Anthropocene; when every human action or non-action generates consequences, the human species has the capacity to influence global climate change – for life beginning anew or our own demise. The commitment between humans and Masauu can begin anew. HOPI(E)
The oldest villages on the North American Continent, the Hopi and Acoma Pueblos, are living, vibrant communities where the first people of the Americas met later migrating cultures from foreign lands. Migration is a time proven human activity in the Americas.
Hopi and Acoma have a unique, shared history as being the “Oldest, Continuously Occupied Village in the United States” in the U.S. Register of Historic Places, documenting living cultures prior to Spanish and European contact.
The Hopi and Acoma people have always had a strong relationship and ties going back to 1680 when they stood “shoulder to shoulder” to evict the Spanish dictator from their lands. The relationship was again solidified in their struggle to object to the continuing auction sales of their cultural patrimony in Europe.
The Hopi mother village of Orayvi is dated as “Prehistoric 1150 – 1900” but new archaeological findings pushes the dates further back. Recent carbon dating of Hopi drought tolerant corn has been dated to AD 900 from a site on the Hopi lands.
“Prior to 900 A.D., and during the 10th century, various cultural areas became evident and began to diverge from the general cultural traditions with the use of D-shaped, rather than circular, pit houses. By the 12th century, D-shaped kivas were evident in the area, and by the 13th century, influences from the south and southeast caused the inhabitants of the area to adopt the rectangular kiva, black-on-orange pottery as a replacement for black-on-white wares, and the 3/4-grooved axe. These new traits became characteristic of later stages of Hopi development. The general trend of settlement during the 12th and 13th centuries involved a decrease in the number of pueblos accompanied by an increase in their size. Judging from the pottery and an unpublished tree-ring date of 1290 A.D., Oraibi was probably founded sometime during this period and is thought to have been the only occupied town on the Third Mesa in 1300 A.D. Only excavation could clarify these early periods in the development of Oraibi.” U.S Register of Historic Places.
The descriptions in the Register do not capture the important history and continuing importance of this living village in our lives today. Orayvi village is the home place of the Hopi leadership clan, the Hon ngyam (Bear Clan), the first people who treated with and welcomed migrating foreigners who could demonstrate a positive skill or knowledge to benefit Hopi society for over 18 centuries.
Today, Orayvi is a private, occupied village, it’s residents living quiet, unassuming activities in tune to the sun and moon cycles. It comes alive when the Katsina spirits visit and all the surrounding village residents come to visit their clan relatives. Orayvi is a mystery as over the centuries, layer upon layer of human history is underfoot, never to be disturbed, as the Hopi believe it should remain.
The Hopi people have an ambivalent attitude towards non-Indian visitors. The uncomfortable feelings generate from past disrespect by missionaries, US government agents, archaeologists/anthropologists and visitors alike. Not everyone is disrespectful but how you visit an old, old place is important. Hopi cannot keep the visitor or tourist away and the cultural intrusion is balanced with the need for tourism dollars by the Hopi families.
If you have intentions to set your feet on this holy ground of the first inhabitants of the Americas, you should prepare yourself with respect, mindfulness and honoring of the Hopi and Acoma. We are still here.
It is recommended to employ a Hopi Tour Guide to enjoy an educational visit to Hopiland. See HopiArtsTrail.com, EvelynFredericks.com located at White Bear Hopi Arts on Third Mesa and Left Handed Hunter Tour Company located on Second Mesa, who are certified, local Hopi Tour Guides.
An ancient traveler scanned the horizon to the west. The “Paayu” (Little Colorado River) was spilling over its’ banks like a red writhing snake. The Cloud People were forming over “Nuvatukya’ovi” (San Francisco Peaks). He must hurry to finish his task so that the ceremony will be completed. With his sharp stone, he began pecking, rubbing, incising an image on the large black boulder. As “Tawa” (Father Sun) was setting, he could see the high point of Wupatki, his clan village. The shadows of the stone began to take form on the image to mark this important time of the ceremony. He was pleased that the ceremony was now complete.
Yesterday, another traveler stopped in his tracks when he saw rock images pop out of the rock boulder. Maybe it was a Navajo person or a Hopi person. He remembered what the medicine man instructed him to do to put an end to his sickness and witchcraft. He began earnestly pecking, rubbing, scratching the image on the large black boulder until it was completely erased.
Is this a tuuwutsi (an oral story of ancient times)? No, it is 2018. The intentional desecration of prehistoric rock images on the east side of the Little Colorado River on the Navajo Reservation has reached a final result of destruction, an erasing of our presence in the Americas. Who is the culprit? A Navajo person practicing the “Healing Way” or a Christianized Hopi or another Native American. It is not a Pahana or Balagana (Anglo) who is stealing the rock images. It is a Native American who knows the meaning and importance of the images of the ages. The evidence is stark. We are intentionally erasing our existence from the land.
The “Paayu” (Little Colorado River) is rich in ancestral sites, petroglyphs and pictographs from its’ headwaters in Springerville to the Confluece of the Little Colorado River and Colorado River. The stories of habitation by the ancient ones from a time before memory is etched in stone. It is OUR STORY. Our evidence of Native American presence in the Americas. Why are we erasing our history?
Desecration Panel in Utah is a well-known place of this erasing of history. “In the 1960’s a number of Navajos who lived near rock art in Utah mysteriously fell ill. Upon seeking the help of a local Medicine Man, they were told that the source of their illnesses came from this rock art panel along the San Juan River. The medicine man said that ‘altering’ the rock art images, if done with the proper knowledge and ceremonial approach, would put an end to their suffering. This alteration would stop the malevolent power coming from the images on the rock and return the world to a state of balance and beauty. The result is what we see today on the Desecration Panel.” ExpeditionsUtah.com
At Inscription Point across from Wupatki National Monument we see the same extensive intentional desecration. “The most disturbing example of such actions is visible where a huge serpent-like image some 5.1m long has been chiseled out of the rock. Other examples of purposeful destruction are three of four masks that have been rubbed out by abrading away the soft sandstone rock.” Donald E. Weaver, Jr., Robert Mark, and Evelyn Billo
The same intentional desecration is well documented at Tutuveni, a sacred Hopi site near Willow Springs. Fencing, digital cameras, publicity and tribal co-management has not stopped these desecration practices.
“Purposeful destruction being carried out by Native Americans follows a pattern of erasing sexually explicit images, snakes and horned faces, targeted by Christian or Traditional Natives who live on the east bank of the Little Colorado River.”
As the Navajo and Hopi Governments press to protect cultural and rock art sites at Bears Ears, it is hypocritical that we cannot protect these same petroglyph sites on our own reservations. How can we expect to enforce federal and tribal laws on others if we don’t clean up our own house?
Are Native American people exempt because it is “traditional” or that we have adopted the Christian ways? Law Enforcement seems to be looking the other way when it comes to our own people or our governments are lacking the resources to protect land based cultural resources.
I ask everyone to think about what we are doing to ourselves by erasing our history and presence on this sacred land. I ask the younger tribal generation to seek out ways to resolve inter-tribal issues and social issues that cause sickness. I ask local reservation communities to adopt site stewardship activities to monitor these important cultural sites. Let’s have a constructive dialogue about this. Once the ancient image is erased, it is gone forever!
The Navajo and Hopi people must respect and preserve what little we have on our own lands as true Sovereigns. We may have lost the battle at Bears Ears, San Francisco Peaks and Uranium mining on and off reservation lands. Why are we rushing to erase ourselves on our own lands? Usqwali.
Ancient dwellings of the Hopi ancestors included several types depending on the natural resources available. The dwelling types were cavates, cliff dwellings and Pueblos. Around 700-800 years ago, the ancients lived in cavates (“CAVE-eights”) excavated into welded volcanic rocks. I visited these dwelling sites around the San Francisco Peaks to understand the relationship of our culture to the spirits of fire. Geologic events like volcanic eruptions were witnessed by the ancient ones and the stories are recounted in Hopi oral traditions today. The USFS/NPS Partnership provides excellent interpretive hikes into these sites
The OLD CAVES CRATER is a U-shaped crater on which 70-80 cave dwellings can be seen from the top to the bottom on the south side of the crater. It is an easy 2.4 mile round trip hike on to the crater.
Old Caves Crater is distinguished from New Caves Crater by the way the cavates were dug by the dwellers. At Old Caves the dwellings were dug top down. At New Caves the dwelling were dug horizontally into the volcanic rock. Some of the cavates have three or more rooms. There is a line of sight to New Caves Crater from this site.
The TURKEY TANK cavates are east of Flagstaff under the county highway. The canyon is very picturesque with oak trees, cat tails, black volcanic rock and water cisterns. It was monsoon season and the summer storms passed throughout the day. The cavate entrances are not easily seen unless you hike along the canyon walls.
The cavates are larger than the Old Cave dwellings and there are deep, lower level rooms inside the main outer rooms. I could easily stand inside the outer room but did not dare try to venture into the inner rooms. Pink plaster, placed by hand was evident on the walls and floor. Black soot covered the ceilings of the cavate.
Other cavate sites include nearby Walnut Canyon and the Eldon Pueblo. The ancients survived a harsh life, dwelling in the volcanic rock for a period of time. It was very humbling to know that our ancestors survived so that the next generations of indigenous peoples of the Americas are still here. Usqwali!
For anthropological information see: *Pueblo Ruins Near Flagstaff Arizona, J. Walter Fewkes, American Anthropologist, Vol 2, No. 3, Jul-Sept 1900
Roving Rangers Interpretive Hikes August 2017 Flyer
U’yis muyaw, the planting moon marks the lunar cycle for the new Hopi planting season. The indigenous, drought resistant Mother Corn is reverently selected and cleaned by the women for planting by the Hopi males. A new beginning of an ancient life plan of the Americas begins anew.
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