Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Techqua Ikachi #4: The most Sacred Season

Issue Number 4

The most Sacred Season

"Boom! Boom! Boom!" sounded a drum at dusk somewhere. "What is that, grandpa?" asked the excited children who gathered around the old man listening to the stories he quietly told each year at the time of Ka-mu-ya (December), a tradition among Hopi for both young and old. Coyote tales and stories of the past are told and retold year after year. Some of the stories are fables from which one can learn, and some are true history. Most of our readers who know about ancient traditions readily understand the purpose. "Go outside my children," he answered, "and look west above our village! Perhaps the new moon has appeared." The old man feels happy, yet a little sad that the sacred month has gone and his story telling will end. He will miss the children. But before he dismisses the thought, he silently prays for strength that he will still be there to tell his stories to the same children and perhaps a few new ones next year.

Knowing that the children will now find other things to do, he recalls the time he was their age, how he looked at Ka-mu-ya long ago. It seemed such a cold, long, and boring month. There was nothing to do. He also thought of it as a fearful month. Customs were carefully respected. Many things were not permitted such as playing ball, running, loud talking and singing, playing the drum, dancing or digging in the earth. One must be home and indoors by sundown and mark his cheeks with ashes before venturing outdoors after dark, a protection against evil spirits lurking everywhere ready to cast a spell over you.

"Why all this hocus-pocus?" one may wonder. The modern world finds it difficult to understand such practices, but in the ancient traditions throughout the world this time of the year has a special meaning. It is a time of careful preparation for the new birth. A new life may not be born normally if the mother is disturbed when brooding. The seeds of the coming year are sown during this month. Our mother earth must be free from disturbance to produce normally.

Because of the disrespect encouraged by the new culture that has been forced upon the Hopi few people in our villages truly respect this silent and sacred month today. Story telling is replaced by many new things, such as radio, television, and books. We no longer walk softly, our movements are fast, and the noises are ear-splitting and earth-shaking. Ballgames, cars, airplanes, we stay out all night, as our mother earth is being pierced and scraped by the new inventions of today. As a result we are no longer normal. Things are out of balance. Look at your surroundings and draw your own conclusion. The outlook seems dim. but we have known all along that the temptations of today's world would be very strong, and that it would take great strength to keep the world in balance.

"So you see the moon!" confirms grandpa. "When will the katchina come grandpa?" "What kind will come grandpa?" another asks excitedly. "Well," he answers, scratching his head and looking at the anxious faces, "It depends on the religious leaders. Before long they will gather in their kiva and make prayer feathers with their blessing and smoke tobacco. The katchinas will come." "But we hear the katchinas dancing in the kiva already," says the smallest child. "But what you heard could be something else," grandpa replies. "Have you forgotten? This month is also for boys and girls to dance, and one of you might even take part. What you hear may be the men in the kiva rehearsing their songs... or it could be katchinas practicing way under ground and preparing food to bring to you as friends when they come."

Yes, Pa-my-ya (January) is the time for katchina ceremonies and social dances. The katchinas are activated by the religious leaders. There will be great numbers of them in six groups from six kivas beginning at sundown and lasting into the night. Everyone will enjoy it, especially the children. Our mother earth is especially happy and peaceful at this time, protected from evil elements, what is in her womb will produce an abundance for all living things.

Dreaming again? Yes, this was when our hearts were one not very long ago. The Bahanna (whiteman) system is destroying what was once beautiful and good. Our children are induced into bahanna activities through the efforts of the United States Government, its school system and its so-called "Hopi Tribal Council." Children are forced to spend much of their time in schools where their only chance for fun is in such activities. Before long they seem to know nothing else. Then they are easily encouraged to join night ballgames, which have taken a great toll, as well as Bahanna dances and other programs. As a result, most of our children who are old enough to participate in ceremonies have lost interest. They have been taken from our hands by this foreign system and deprived of their chance to grow in their understanding of the sacred ways which have brought us prosperity and peace for countless centuries.

We wish only to be given the freedom to continue our tradition. This is our prayer during this most sacred of seasons.

In the early 1900s it became the stated objective of the United States Government to allow only the elders freedom to continue the full cycle of ceremonial life. The children were removed by force, and those elders who objected were imprisoned. The true ceremonial cycle was destined to die out with the elders. To the casual observer, the various Bahanna cultural activities seem harmless and those who promote them think they are doing good, but in reality they are part of a tremendous effort to force us from the path of the Great Spirit. We must face the fact that our vital link with mother earth has almost been destroyed.

The world is changing rapidly, and mankind is now in serious trouble. What we see today has been predicted all along, which is the reason the true Hopi have never stopped resisting.

We know it is possible for our children to see once again the importance of preserving the Hopi way. The troubles of the world showed this more clearly with each passing year. Our respect for the ancient way that has given us life is not merely a dream of a beautiful past. It is a dream of a beautiful future.

Retracing Our Steps

In this sacred season, as we prepare quietly for the coming year, we would like to begin a series of articles on important Hopi leaders. We shall start with that stubborn dedicated man whose name is identified with the struggle of the "hostile" Hopi, Yukiuma.

An article in Qua'toqti, the puppet news, (December 11) takes a glimpse of the story-telling tradition of this season, but what they say is misleading. The time is sacred, all motions must be slow and silent as possible, for all life is germinating as in the mother's womb, and nothing must be disturbed. IN order to have a healthy village as well as a healthy body we must retrace our steps, to see how we came into the cycle of life with our father sun, our mother earth, and all children of nature. So the Soyal ceremony is performed.

The stories told at this time are not all fables. It is true as Qua'toqti says, today stories can be written or recorded on tape, but contrary to their editorial this is not the best way to remember. To trust our memory to such methods can prove dangerous and humiliating, for we might still disregard the great laws of the Creator and lose his way of life, which will affect our future children. Even if we abandon the Great Spirit's path, many of our people may remain on earth for a time. It is said that if the future generations, even our own sons and daughters, find our through books and records that we did nothing to preserve the good ways, they will pull and box our ears and even throw us from our houses into the streets. Our suffering will be of our own making. So we are making our best effort to keep what little we have left.

This is the story of Yukiuma, whom Alcatraz could not tame. It is for a great purpose that we recall his adventure to the whitehouse. We bring this story to our readers around the world, as well as to our own children of today, so that they may draw their own conclusions. Yukiuma's struggle grew out of his stubborn refusal to place the manmade laws of Washington, D.C. above the way of the Great Spirit. We must each consider whether this struggle is bearing fruit in our life today. The fight against Yukiuma still continues long after his death through smears made against him by the "puppet" Hopi of today, who mislead our children to rebel against us. Some try to say Yukiuma secretly accepted the school system and other programs. Some even mistake the prophecy that one day our children with short hair will become our ears and tongue. The original prophecy is meant to warn us that one day our own children may one day become our enemies. The meaning has been twisted to cover up the ways of the ones that have done that very thing.

Still, there are many among the younger generation who have a true Hopi heart but are forced into a difficult position by the government's influence. We hope the story of Yukiuma will help them retrace their steps.

Yukiuma, the "Hostile" Hopi

The Traditional Hopi earned the name "hostile" because they refused to bow to a foreign power. The United States Government thought their resistance was just a sign of stupidity, and their chosen leader Yukiuma was even thought to be insane, but the Government failed to see the high purpose behind this "madness."

Why would the Hopi resist what the Government thought to be benevolent offers? How did the Hopi earn the name "hostile"? As early as 1883 when the anthropologist, Frank Cushing, visited Hopi, to collect material for the National Museum, it is said he was turned away with the words, "stranger, you may as well attempt to scratch flint with your fingernails as to pierce our ears with your lying words. You will leave with all your brothers before morning, or we shall wipe you out as with a moccasin sole we wipe out bedbugs." What could have provoked such a reply?

Year after year, as Government Agents came to interfere with our life, the friction grew. When the Agency was established at Keams Canyon and the Hopi were ordered to send their children there to the boarding school, great division was created among the Hopi. After Chief Lololma and chiefs from other villages made a trip to Washington where they were flattered into cooperating with the government, the seriousness of this threat was recognized. Because of the importance held by his clan, the Fire Clan, keeper of the sacred stone tablets, Yukiuma was chosen as the leader of those who refused to abandon the Great Spirit's way.

Government agents looked upon him as a crazy man who would rather wear g-string than accept the comforts of modern life. HE was even called "a filthy, dried up little old chimpanzee." Rarely has a crazy man, especially a crazy indian, received an appointment to visit the President of the United States in the Whitehouse. But Yukiuma got his appointment at 10:00 a.m. March 1911.

What was the purpose of this? Clearly the government did not understand him nor did they understand the prophecies for which he lived. But because of hisä stubbornness and his position as a leader, they regarded him as a key figure uniting opposition to the stated tactic of the government, to take leaders from each native nation and show them the power and glory of U.S. civilization. Even if these leaders were not attracted to the glory, they reasoned, surely they would be impressed by military power. They did not realize that such tactics would not work with a true leader. To their dismay Yukiuma was not impressed.

And even to this day he is ridiculed, not only history books, but in the news media of the progressive faction which has knuckled under to the demands of the government. Last year, Yukiuma, among other traditional leaders, was the subject of newspaper articles calculated to diminish his true authority. This slander has a definite purpose, the same purpose for which he was brought to Washington, a purpose very much opposed to the Hopi way for which he stood.

No, Yukiuma was not crazy. He seriously believed with his whole heart that the old Hopi ways were the right way, and no amount of imprisonment or suffering, bribes or flattery could shake him from his stand. But would the government understand him?

His interpreter was Mock Setima of Polacca, accompanied by Mr. Lawshe, the government agent at Keams Canyon. Commissioner Robert G. Valentine accompanied Yukiuma to the Whitehouse. While waiting for the President, Yukiuma was told, according to government documents, that President Taft "was a great big man as kind as he was big, as strong as he was kind, and as wise as he was strong." Yukiuma was told that he should tell him about the problem of the Hopi children, and that the "great white father" would decide what was best. But Yukiuma was not a bit astonished when he met President Taft face to face, for the statement of the Commissioner was dead give away. The tactic was obviously to impress upon him the numerical and mechanical strength, and also the kindness of the whiteman. It had been said that "the surest guarantee of savage fidelity to any nation, is through the conviction that their government possesses the power of prompt punishment... By bringing the best informed and most influential chiefs to the city of Washington, where they will have ample view of our population and resources, they will become convinced themselves and upon their return convince their people that it is fruitless to attempt to oppose the will of the government." Many of the chiefs who visited the city under this policy were flattered and impressed to see what the whiteman wanted them to see. Few were so "stupid" or stubborn as to wage actual battle after a visit to the "great white father." But the power of these representatives over their leaders and their people usually diminished upon their return from Washington.

Though Yukiuma must have had hopes, a real meeting of the minds was impossible. The stated policy of the government made it clear that this was not their intent. And to make matters worse, the language was serious barrier. We know that Yukiuma's words were spoken in what we call high Hopi, which is used to communicate the deepest Hopi teachings. There are important shades of meaning which cannot be know to a Hopi who has been denied his full traditional training. The interpreter spoke English, as he had been educated in the government's schools, but by that same fact he was unable to fully comprehend Yukiuma's words. How foolish must have sounded Mr. Valentine's argument, as he tried to convince Yukiuma that by going to school, as his interpreter had done, the Hopi can make themselves heard by the government. Their argument was false, for not only was the interpreter not able to make the point Yukiuma wished to make, but the government did not heed the warning anyway. The damage predicted by Yukiuma has already taken place, and is with us today.

Yukiuma is supposed to have said, "Oh, great white father..." but we know he would not begin in that way, for our true father, the sun, is the highest. No doubt Yukiuma began in our customary way, by saying, "Are you the chief or highest of your people?" He would then introduce himself as a chief and representative of his own people. Yukiuma's chief concern was that his people should be left alone to live as they wished, to roam free without the whiteman always there to tell them what to do and what not to do. The Hopi must be left free to teach their own children how to plant so they can survive as they have for centuries. He wanted the Hopi to continue to meet their needs in their own way and to grow up in stages learning the ceremonies and prayers by which to preserve the sacred balance of life. He knew that the schools would destroy this, causing friction and division. They would interrupt the tradition and the people would forget the instructions of Masauu, and the destruction would reach much further than our village. The whole earth could go off balance.

The predictions of Yukiuma concerned not only the village life but the life of mankind around the world. The U.S. Government's record of Yukiuma's conversation shows that he attempted to tell the prophecies, but it was all very confusing as it came from the lips of the interpreter, Setima, who did not rightly know himself what it was all about. This was before the First World War, so even with the good translation, our instructions regarding that event would be labeled meaningless or even crazy.

The President told Yukiuma that he understood his desires and wanted him and the other older men to live in the old ways. He also said that it was good for the Hopi to continue to raise corn and melon in the desert where the white man would starve, but insisted that the children must go to school. He told Yukiuma that unless he permitted the children to return to their classrooms soldiers would come again and there would be trouble. Still Yukiuma was stubborn. He knew that his people would be doomed if they accepted these new ways.

Another meeting was arranged for the next day. At that meeting the commissioner tried in every way to convince Yukiuma to yield, but was unable to convince "granite-hearted Yukiuma."

Yukiuma refused to accept the written summary of what the President and the Commissioner had told him. The document was mailed to Yukiuma through his daughter who had become a progressive. Yukiuma refused to accept it even from her. She returned the document to the Commissioner with the following letter:

May 11, 1911

Agent Lawshe,

Dear Friend, my father came here last Monday evening and I read the letter and told him what the letter said. He said he did not want his children to be in school and that he had said to you: "I want to take care of my own people." I told him it is bad for them and that some of the children like to learn the white people's way, and I said to him that the President wanted the children of his village to go to school, but he said he did not want it. I give it to him, but he would not take it. And said it was because he did not know how to read. I was so sorry for him because he has never been to school, and he want his people to be like him. I talk to him but he does not want to put away his old Hopi way and so I have send the letter back to you, from your friend,

Mrs. Myra George.

As time went on, Yukiuma counted eight times that he was deported from his land and imprisoned on the same charge without trial. Once he spent a year in prison on Alcatraz Island. The government could think of no better way to convince him, but all their attempts failed, so great was his commitment to his people.

On November 22, 1911 Colonel Scott, with two of his aides, left his soldiers behind and journeyed to Hotevilla to talk with Yukiuma. They camped there ten days trying to persuade Yukiuma to permit the children to go to school. Scott even threatened to call in his soldiers. On the fourth day, November 26, Colonel Scott composed a night letter to the Secretary of Interior, for instructions, one of theä strangest letters to be sent over the telegraph wires. It reads in part:

"After four days constant observation the medical officer and I convinced that Chief Yukiuma is a mild lunatic. He positively refuses obedience to any officer of the government. Nothing in the way of kindness and argument has been spared to influence him. To all argument he replies with talk of witches and spirits of underworld. He is perfectly sincere and is ready to die before he consent to the children going to school. He refused consent even if the school was in his own village. But if he is actually forced he cannot help and the blame will rest with the government."

The answer came directing Colonel Scott to take healthy children ten years or older. The soldiers came during the night and surrounded the village taking the Hopi by surprise. Yukiuma felt very much deceived by the President and doubted that he had ordered this move for he was suppose to be "as kind as he was big, as strong as he was kind, and as wise as he was strong." To confirm the claim that Scott had received presidential orders, Yukiuma chose Ray Rutherford Derranyema ofä Shungopavi to write a letter to President Taft:

December 10, 1911

W. Taft, President U.S.

Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

I take a great pleasure and writing to you while I am here with Chief Yukiuma as he is talking about his long tribe, and he said he was glad to visit you once, and speak to you himself, and so you are now all know him now. You know what's going over there for, about his people are not wanted to send their children to school, because they like to keep it their children, themselves, and the boys could help their fathers on the farm, and the girls could also help their mothers in their homes, that's reason, they don't let them go to school. Of course we are Indians, the school is not our own business. The school is belong to white people I think it's be alright, if you let the Chief Yukiuma alone. Let they staying at their home, it's only 600 of people let their children stay home and not go to school. Chief Yukiuma wanted to his people must not lazy and to work on the farm an rase corn and oatwhald and potatoes,ä vegetables, and they could sale them for money and pay for some cloth for them own selves. That what Yukiuma wanted for his people to do. He don't want any harm for his people. He wanted to good take of his people's and children. I think we like to be stay Hopi way. Of course these friendlies peoples children must attend to school and those hostiles children must not be allowed to school. And stay at home, and help their fathers or mothers that way they want. You American peoples must stay your own way and us Hopis Indians stay our way too.

Last week ago we are crying. Because superintendent from Keam Canyon, Mr. Leo Grean (Crane) take the childrens to school, did you send the soldiers to Yukiuma? One company of soldiers came here with Grean. Woh is that man came to Hodvealla to Chief Yukiuma asking what the old people saying. Then Yukiuma tell him all about what he knows. Then that man write all those things, and sent it to you. But I now this Supt. Grean and soldiers are making large trouble, and that man too. I don't know what is name. He said he come from Washington, D.C. Did you send that man to Yukiuma? You told him to come out here and make trouble out here? Yes or no. Yukiuma want you to answer this letter. Send to me, what you say. And I tell Yukiuma, what you said to-marrow. I am going to Winslow, you must hurry to answer this letter. I guess this is all I say to you. Good-bye.

From Ray Rutherford Derranyema

Chimopovay, Toreva, Arizona.

Jail had failed, and the president also had no effect, so they took him back to jail. Since he never fought with them physically they gave him the run of the place. Mr. Crane recalls, "sitting on the porch floor hugging his knee in his skinny arms he would say, 'You see, I am doing this as much for you as for my own people. Suppose I should not protest your orders. Suppose I should willingly accept the ways of the Bahannas. Immediately the great snake would turn over, and the sea would rush in, and we would all be drowned. You too. I am therefore protecting you. Yes, I shall go home sometime. I am not unhappy here, for I am an old man, of little use, and my chief work is ceremonies. Washington may send another agent to replace you, or you may return to your own people, or you may be dismissed by the government. Those things have happened before. You have been here a long time now, seven winters, much longer than the others. And you too may die.'

In 1921, Crane and Scott returned to Hopi for the snake dance. They found the old rebel Yukiuma in the guardhouse once more, and wrote, "He looked half starved, and he was naked, refusing the clothing and food they urged upon him. He sat in the agent's swivel chair, barefooted, his knees doubled under his chin. Scott asked him whether he would promise to obey the agent if he were allowed to return home. "No! No!" he said. Scott was dumbfounded. "I looked at the little monkey with what amounted almost to stupefaction. This was the result of twenty years of effort by the great American nation, or rather the Indian Bureau, to make that dried up little monkey obey."

Crane said of him that he was not malicious, but simply a "deluded old savage living in a lost world of fable." In Supt. Lawshe's opinion, "One might as well have taken a piece of Old Oraibi sandrock to see the Pope, as the spider-like Hopi prophet to see President Taft." Yet he had more of the core of greatness in him than the man whose hand he shook in the Whitehouse. He lived unfalteringly in his light, and not for himself alone, but for his people and his children's children.

"Council" Unlawful, Un-Hopi

What and who is the Hopi Tribal Council? Does it represent the whole Hopi Nation? How does it function? What power does it have over the Hopi Nation? Who draws its Constitution and By-Laws, and by what method? These are a few of the questions often asked about that strange new institution which the traditional Hopi leaders have named the "Puppet" Council.

In our first issue of Techqua Ikachi we defined three factions: Traditional Hopi (living under the laws of the Great Spirit, the Creator), On-the-Fence Hopi (Bahana Traditionalists" who support the Hopi Tribal Council as the ruling class over the Hopi Nation, and recognize its chairman as higher than all the chiefs, while trying on the surface to cling to Hopi tradition), and the Progressives who completely support that Tribal Council for whatever benefits they can get.

Let's turn our attention to the establishment of that organization. It only takes a little research to uncover serious mistakes and violations in the ambitious ventures of that organization. We ask our readers to consider whether it rightly rules the people it claims to represent.

For our first example we consider the original election. One morning in the 1930's we were all called together at the outskirts of our village. Before us was something that looked like a hot dog stand. A white woman was there with a few Hopi who were affiliated with the government's efforts. A blank piece of paper was placed in front of each person who approached the stand. At that point we noticed tow markings (+ and 0). We were told to mark either + or 0 on a piece of paper. We were also told that both were good symbols. We asked the lady what this was all about. "It's a secret," she said, but she coaxed and insisted that we choose either one. We asked again what it was for, but she refused to give any information saying that we were not supposed to know. We told her we would choose neither, because she refused to explain it to us, and we left.

We later found out that this was what they called "voting," the purpose of which was to establish the Hopi Tribal Council to act as our mouth and ears. Of 400 people here in Hotevilla, only 2 or 3 voted. Later we learned that the same activity was conducted in other villages, with the exception of First Mesa. Out of about 6,000 Hopi very few actually voted. We heard that it was only 100 or 200, but in order to make the issue pass votes were switched or stolen to make it look legal. In spite of this, the number of votes counted was far below any legally recognized percentage. One of the two Hopi who helped count the votes testified that they helped stack votes in favor of the establishment of the Council promoted by The Burea of Indian Affairs (BIA). The so-called "Hopi Tribal Council" was born.

Oliver LaFarge, the author and so-called father of the Hopi Tribal Constitution around twenty years later described the Tribal Council as "an unlawful body." Now, what did they do wrong? Is there any penalty for their misdeeds?

In future issues we shall try to bring out some of the serious mistakes by which this organization not only violates our way of life but is actually illegal according to its own laws. Until then, we would like our readers to consider why a foreign government would establish such an organization, and how it has earned the name "puppet." And for now, why not write and tell us what you think of that election!

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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."

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