Issue Number 12
The Selling of Our Earth Mother
We are all aware that here as well as in other places certain mystical changes are occurring in society causing us to question our very basis of existence. Some of us know the sacred purposes and designs given to us by our creator and realize that the spirit dwells within all of us. But unfortunately, some other people, giving way to great ambitions, are trying to control others. Instead of correcting certain imbalances found in today's world, they are busy trading blame which further drains our planet of spiritual energy. These people are weaving self-destructive circles causing great harm to all land and life.
It is a fact that today's generation no longer relies on what was said by our forefathers. They have forgotten how to avoid temptation--a key by which man has survived thus far. And while it is true that we cannot escape new changes, we can at least use these changes wisely, so that we won't destroy those important elements which maintain our way of life. At this point in time we must awaken ourselves to our true destiny. We must not be deaf to the cries of our Earth Mother for if we do not mend our ways the benefit of our sacred purpose will be in vain.
Looking at one of those changes in our society, we come to the rather long and dangerous subject of the 5 million dollar settlement for 1.5 million acres of Hopi land. This situation much worries those of us within our traditional circle. It is also a subject of much interest to most world watchers and therefore we thank our friends in Washington, at the Institute for the Development of Indian Law, for analyzing and simplifying the complicated language of the Land Claims Commission. We are printing this information for the benefit of those people who have doubts about what is really happening to the land. Hopefully this simplified language will help people understand the danger of accepting this award (money) settlement. It is stated in 'section 70v in law 25 of the U.S. Constitution' that "payment and acceptance of an award made by the Indian Claims Commission is a complete bar to any other legal action to recover land for which the claim is made." This 5 million dollar award would thus mean a complete settlement for Hopi land and accepting it would put an end to further petition any claim to the land itself.
This situation confirms a theory found in our prophecy telling us that the choice of what to do with the land is ours. Therefore, whatever choice is made will bring its due reward. We will see what happens. When we look at our past history, we see the actual fulfillment of our prophecies, and that amazingly enough many events were foretold centuries in advance. And even still some of us refuse to accept the reality of this ancient knowledge.
In our last issue we quoted some passages from the Hopi Constitution, written by one Oliver La Farge who for the Indians was both oppressor and protector. We feel that these testimonials will become a reality if we lose our struggle for survival of the Hopi way. What will our grandchildren say to us when they find out that we sold them out? From our recollection of facts contained in both the Hopi Constitution and U.S. Constitution, it was thought that for the U.S. to recognize Indians, they would have to find a group of native people numbering 6,000 or more who still retained a tribal life and organization. Since 1870 the U.S. has dealt with tribes as if they were individual little nations having limited sovereignty that was always subject to Federal jurisdiction. When the government wants to have new arrangements with Indians they simply make promises called treaties. It is a sad truth that there is not a single tribe with which the U.S. government has not broken its treaties. Most Indians still have the feeling that the tribes have never surrendered to Federal jurisdiction and therefore retain their original sovereignty.
The Hopi have long resisted all services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs--especially educational services--thus remaining one of the most primitive and traditional of all Indian groups. In recent years, unfortunately, some of our people have neglected their struggle and are now dealing more with the Federal government. Since 1946 Indians were no longer considered to be wards of the government and therefore the U.S. had no more or less authority over them than on any other citizen. By 1880 the tribe owned a total of almost 155,000 acres at which point well meaning people came to supposedly civilize the Indians. Their theory was that tribal ownership would allow certain allotments of land to be given to strengthen the tribe, but in reality, this allotted land would only bind the tribe to a limited reservation. This then was a process of giving Indians a home with a fence around it. Since they were considered a "dying race," if everyone got an immediate allotment of land, there would be no need to worry about having more land available for their future.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people saw great possibilities of using this allotment plan to further their own gains with the Indian once again suffering. These people knew that if all Indians got allotments, then a lot of land would be left over and would be declared 'surplus land.' They then could buy this 'surplus land' very cheaply and could use it either for homesteading or for reselling at greater profit. Therefore to offer an Indian $3,000 for his land was usually more money than he had ever seen or heard of in his life and could imagine no end to this money.
Now comes the introduction of taxation, a means by which the government continues to control the Tribal Council. The Council's first attempt was to tax all local Hopi traders and those whose livelihood depends on selling their wares. This proposal was rejected by the people. The Council is now putting a lot of pressure on the local Hopi traders and the other villages may go along with this plan. But Hotevilla Village will stand firm on the basis that this move will jeopardize our ways of life. This tax system is something we know nothing about. We are neither members of this system now have we any representatives in their organization. Therefore, they are outside our jurisdiction and we feel that they have no right to dominate us. In spite of this, our local traders continue to be harassed and pressured to pay up. Were we to permit this to happen, then it would be the beginning of our gradual movement into the tax pot where we will be lost. So, beware brothers and sisters!
Migration Story--Once Upon a Pure Land
The Hopi elders tell a story of the great migration which is very long and differs in certain aspects from clan to clan and village to village. Long, long ago, there were nomad-like people who had a sacred purpose as they roamed this continent. The land was pure and these people traveled by foot with their belongings on their backs for they know not of animals of burden to carry them and their goods. Harmony with nature was in full bloom--health was assured as food was plentiful and one could live off the land with little effort.
These people had a great knowledge of the teachings and prophecies for this sacred knowledge had not yet been twisted to mislead the masses as reflected in today's age. They had learned from their history of the previous worlds that man brings his own downfall by both forgetting and repeating his past mistakes. The people were obedient to the great laws and instructions given to them by the Great Spirit for these instructions were means to guard and protect the land from all harm.
Living through the inspiration of the Great Spirit, man could foretell events centuries in advance and therefore they knew that some day strange people would come ashore to take over the land. We Hopi remember the historical event of this first meeting with the stranger, perhaps Bahana, who came asking permission to share the land with us. Knowing that someone was coming, Massau put his footprints on the shore, perhaps as a test to see if the stranger would respect them and understand that the land was already occupied. The stranger did not respect the footprints and so Massau appeared as a person. The stranger then asked him, "Are these your footprints and do you live here?" Massau confirmed this and so that stranger then asked his permission to stay and settle on the land.
The Great Spirit remained silent and pointing off-shore suggested that they should sit down on a log. Again, the man asked for permission, but Massau replied, "First move a little toward the water for I'm getting crowded, and then I will answer." He repeated this command four times until the stranger was sitting above the water at the edge of the log. "The land is already occupied and I cannot permit you to stay here--go back to the land that was given to you--this land was for a certain kind of people," answered Massau. More words may have been spoken but having no choice, the stranger kindly agreed to leave the same way he had come--perhaps by boat. But Massau knew that he would return--next time, he would not come alone, but with others who would have great ambitions to take over the land.
These migrating people knew the importance of fulfilling Massau's instructions. They knew that they were to travel to all corners of the continent leaving rock writings and symbols as records of their migrations. Although they knew that others would come along, they trusted that these strangers would either leave or ask the first people's permission to settle. The people traveled on for years resisting temptation to stay too long in any one place where life became too easy and subject to corruption--they were to leave before a complete breakdown occurred. Their destination was EARTH CENTER--where all clans would gather and establish a permanent village and ceremonial pattern. After many years the people settled at what is now known as Oraibi whose original true name is "Sip-Oraibi" meaning a place where the roots solidify. Other surrounding villages were also established according to whatever instructions the people were given. Many of these prophecies were retold from generation to generation. People with open minds can view today's events as being simply astonishing fulfillment of thee ancient prophecies. But even still some people choose to disbelieve what is foretold even as they come to see it pass. For them, these ancient signs do not appear to be the pathway to progress. So out of fear, these old prophecies are avoided or ignored.
One might wonder what secrets our founding fathers have for survival. The secret is really very simple--anything that glitters with charm and lures one to promises and gain is temptation. The Hopi have made every effort to avoid such temptation by rejecting good offers to improve themselves by Bahana standards. The Hopi will not allow themselves to be induced by something foreign that could be harmful. So, they surround themselves with what appears to be superstition, taboo, bad luck, and even death to control and protect their key doctrines. Sadly bolder men, unable to resist temptation, gained powerful positions and found that no immediate harm came to them. Because these men lacked clear vision, they were not able to realize that their actions marked the beginning of gradual decline and death of the Hopi way of life.
In connection with this story we find valuable the words of a wise man, "if good does not accumulate, it is not enough to make a name for a man. If evil does not accumulated it is not strong enough to destroy a man. But the inferior man thinks that goodness in small things has no value and so neglects them. He also thinks that small sins do no harm and does not give them up. So his sins accumulate until they can no longer be covered up and his guilt becomes so great that it can no longer be wiped out thus bringing him to ruin."
Tales of Horror Transformed into Tales of Greatness
It is easily seen that we have been put through the mil ever since the coming of Bahana. We knew that the whiteman's educational system would be fatal to the Hopi way. So, we refused to follow their path which caused the government to strong arm us by kidnapping our children and forcing them to be educated at gun point. In addition, tribal leaders were imprisoned and tortured for defending their children. Then, somewhere along the way, the U.S. government changed its tactics--perhaps because of pressure from certain powerful people who considered these "sadistic" methods against the Hopis to be completely un-american. Unfortunately, other ambitious people found new ways to further harass the peaceful Hopi. Reduction of their animal stock was enforced and the Hopi had to either oblige or suffer the consequences. Those refusing had their entire animal supply confiscated and sold for a dollar a head to those people cooperating with government agents. To make matters even worse, young ladies were stripped naked and thrown into sheep vats for amusement. Are these the actions by which the United States of America is considered a great nation? No wonder we Hopis look upon government services with suspicion knowing that acceptance of those services continues to jeopardize our future.
When the old traditional Hopi leaders refused to knuckle under to government pressures, a new way of stealing from the Hopis was found. This new way was through the formation of the Hopi Tribal Council, an organization made up of only a very few Hopis who, motivated by personal ambitions, betrayed their sacred Hopi teachings by swiftly accepting all government services. So with backing from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Hopi Tribal Council leased our sacred land to be raped through exploration and coal-mining developments. Ignoring the voices of traditional village leaders and chiefs, they sold our Mother Earth for five million dollars.
If this didn't quite work, then get him drunk and talk him into signing something called a mortgage--a procedure which the Indian didn't at all understand. The Indian certainly did not realize that if he did not pay off this mortgage, then his property would be foreclosed and he would be shut out of his own land!
So, for the past 200 years, the Indian has endured many bitter experiences under the whiteman's so-called justice. Our people know that to follow the whiteman's ways would indeed be a very poor thing for the Indians. You can perhaps begin to understand why the Indian did not progress under 'white' rule and, indeed, you may wonder how they were able to survive at all! Although the situation for us today is quite bad, our remarkable Indian people can still drum, sing, joke, and laugh as they maintain their traditions under such hardships. They have not given up. They do not want handouts or charity from the government as they continue to follow their old ways. They will attain their goals by holding to the ancient knowledge. If Hopi survive this pressure--all land and life in America will be enriched. If not, it is anybody's guess as to our collective chances for survival.
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The Geneva Conference
We are glad that Hotevilla Village was represented by David Monongye at the Geneva Conference this last September. The conference was held for all Indian leaders from North and South America, to protest, on an international level, against the United States. Monongye expressed a deep concern for the prophecies and the importance for all tribes to hold on to our lands and not give them up. "Do not go for the money: for the money will be gone."
The Hopi and Iroquoi nations went to Geneva on their own passports; we urge and support all our native peoples to do the same. It should also be acknowledged that Switzerland and Sweden have accepted the passports as being valid. Let this be an example for the world community.
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May this be directed to all our Indian and non-Indian brothers and sisters who are concerned.
The time has come when the government through bills like H.R. 9054 introduced by Cunningham and S.B. 1437, a criminal code reform act introduced by Kennedy, will try to take away all our native lands and rights by promoting us from savages to citizens and by turning our reservations into real estate, taxed and controlled by the federal government. But beware, for it is a trick and at the same time a test to see who will stand with Great Spirit's law or stand with man-made law.
This very issue is what Hotevilla has been standing for, and will continue until the end. May the Great Spirit guide you and give you the strength and wisdom to take this message out and be known and acted upon.
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As part of our pattern of life in Hopi land, ceremonials were held in each village. Prayers for rain and fruitful crops once again were accomplished, bringing happiness and surprises to relatives and friends, changing our facial expressions and physical appearances.
But sadly alarming changes of our disrespectfulness and competitive tendency in overdoing kachina and wedding ceremonials are disregarding the most important ones.
This year, social dances were held before the sacred snake and flute ceremonials as it is proper to wait four days after they are over.
Hopi land was very dry this summer. Our crops were poor, many plants dried out, and rainfall was spotty, as foretold by our elders. This is a time when our thoughts and prayers stray by pressing problems, which makes us forgetful of nature's presence. The changing of our ceremonial pattern could be a proof of our prophecy.
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In spite of the traditional resistance, a one million dollar grant issued by outside sources has been allotted to build a civic center. The tribal council was given a deadline of thirty days to find the site needed for construction. After much confusion and opposition a site was chosen near Oraibi. As expected, the tribal council does not respect the fact that the land is held in trust by the Sand clan, and that the authority over such matters should be consulted by the Kikmongwis of the village.
The tribal council wants to take things into their own hands, and this will only harm our children.
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We respect and honor Mina Lansa Kikmongwi of Old Oraibi in her passing on to the next life. Her spirit made much snow fall on our Mother Earth to give us strength to continue for the survival of the Hopi Way.
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."