Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Techqua Ikachi #5: Pamuya & Powamuya

Issue Number 5

Pamuya & Powamuya

In our last issue we left you wondering what would take place with our excited and anxious children and our friendly kachinas. Just as our Grandpa said, drums could be heard throughout the kivas. It has been seven months since our friends the kachinas left to their underground resting place for the winter. Now familiar sounds cause much excitement among both children and grown-ups. This is also a month of togetherness, the right time not only for boys and girls but also for grown-ups to dance and have a good time. All of this activity has a meaning and a purpose.

Early one cold morning, Grandpa came home for breakfast from the kiva, where he had spent most of his time smoking and praying with is not heeded today, and much damage has been done.)

One of our little children took part in the Buffalo Dance from her Uncle's kiva. it was her first time and she enjoyed it. She need not fear for she is yet so pure that hardly anything could pierce her heart.

Po-wa-mu-ya, the purification month (February), has many activities and many special meanings. Entering into the new moon a sacred ritual is performed to purify all life on Earth. The evil elements we have accumulated over the past months must be washed away in order that we may blend with nature. We must be free from contamination to emerge from the earth mother in colorful beauty, glorifying and creating harmony for her and all her children.

It is also a month of initiation for the children who have come of age. They are introduced into membership in a higher order, the second stage of life following the birth ritual with which they came into the world. This is regarded as a very sacred ceremony. Those who abide by it respectfully can learn much about the Hopi way of life, through its functions and the power it holds.

Colorful gifts are given to the children with the fresh green plants, symbolizing the introduction of the first fresh nourishment. Right at sunrise, katchinas come out of all the kivas (ceremonial chambers) to bring gifts to all the houses. Katchina dolls, rattles, and woven plaques for the girls, bows, arrows, and rattles for the boys, and maybe balls and sticks later in the day when the katchinas come to entertain the people. each of the toys is designed with special meanings.

That night will be a sleepless one. The men in the kiva will smoke and pray for the success of the coming year. After midnight, dances will commence until dawn, symbolizing the passage from new to old, or from creation to the fulfillment of life. But it would take many pages to tell all of the symbolism, so let's return to our children.

As usual grandpa returns from the kiva early one morning for breakfast. Smiling, he tells the children, "Get up! Get up! Go outside and look! It must be spring already, for I just saw doo-gots-ka (small black bird) walking eastward wearing green moccasins, announcing that it's time for planting!"

"Where? Which way?' They got up quickly and rushed toward the door, rubbing their eyes. "Down the street a ways! If you hurry you may be able to catch up with it and see it going by the next kiva," he replied with a smile, knowing they would never find the bird with green moccasins. This is a code message used to get around the children's prying ears with a hint that man must now prepare for spring.

Seeds must be sprouted in the kiva, and in about sixteen days the main ceremony will be at hand. While the children are out looking, grandpa discusses the possibility of initiation with their father and mother. Grandpa informs them that this year there will be no regular ritual, but possibly a short form will take place. Mother hints that maybe the oldest daughter, Mano, should be included, for she has been getting curious lately, asking things she is not supposed to ask.

By this time the children rushed back indoors, shivering and excited. "Grandpa," yells the smallest, "we've seen it! It was flying far off down the canyon." "Innocent liar," grandpa thinks to himself.

After dinner the katchina mother comes out again, going from kiva to kiva with her crowd of children growing larger all the time. They each bring gifts, dolls, bows and arrows, some have balls and sticks to give to little boys.

Later in the afternoon Mano's godmother came to prepare her for the initiation. The children would soon gather at a certain kiva. Her godfather would come for her when it was time. They dressed her in a black hand-woven dress, red, green and black belt around her waist, and a cape of red, white, and black, but no shoes.

Mano was fearful, but her godmother encouraged her, telling her not to be afraid, for it would not hurt her as much as the boys who would be naked.

Her little brothers would make remarks that were not so funny now that she felt so anxious. It was a relief when her godfather finally came for her.

She followed him proudly into the kiva where the children of age were already gathered to wait for the whippers. Visitors and parents also waited outside the kiva. "Mother," whispered two little boys huddling under their Mother's shawl, "they are coming closer to the kiva where our sister is. Will they hurt her much?" "She's got a dress on, it won't hurt much," she reassures them.

It took some time for all the katchinas to enter the kiva, for there were many. All of a sudden they heard screams and yells mixed with the voices and sounds of the katchinas. After a while the screams stopped and the katchinas came out, pleased that they had fulfilled the task of bringing new members into the fold.

The children who are not initiated will not be permitted to witness the dances tonight. The new initiates will occupy special places in the kiva under the watchful eyes of their godmother, and from midnight until dawn they will watch the mystical drama unfold before them. Then they will return to the houses of their godmothers where their hair will be washed and they will each be blessed and given a new name. Thus they become full-fledged Hopi.

There will follow activities such as ball games, games with bow and arrow, and stone races by men and boys from each kiva, not just for competition, but for their symbolic significance. In our next issue we will bring you some traces of this.

Beans will soon grow in fields of sand...


World Council of Churches Supports

Traditional Native Religion

This may be bad news for the devil but it brings out the brighter side. We received a letter telling us that the last assembly of the World Council of Churches in Geneva and in Nairobi agreed upon a resolution to support the vested original rights of the North American Indian in general, and to make a study about the very problem of the "traditionals." Support will be given to groups or organizations of white people known to be in strong support of the traditional native nations.

We wonder whether we are dreaming. Could this mean us? We like to take for granted that we are not a forgotten race, but we are weary of our surroundings after a full century of unending interference. But we must not forget that this is a purification month (Powamuwa) and that everything has been purified, land and life, the unseen above and below, the whole earth is glorified. This may be a good omen.


Techqua Ikachi has also received an inspiring letter from none other than our old enemy the U.S. Department of the Interior, asking for our subscription rates in order to receive our publication on a regular basis: "Thank you very much for sending a complimentary copy of your publication, I found it extremely interesting and informative. And it does an excellent job of providing the understanding and knowledge which we are seeking in order to more effectively deal with the Indian nations."

We have gladly included the U.S. Department of the Interior on our mailing list free of charge, so long as our publication exists.

We thank the unseen and the people by whom our message is shared. We pray that this will benefit all people.

Our prophecies foretell that one day we will recover our senses and find that some vital element is amiss. We will retrace our steps with some fear, not bearing to look back. So we will go forward, backward, forward and backward, our decisions uncertain. This is happening today in Hopi land, as it is happening in the rest of the world.

Housing Threatens Hopi Life


The Hopi villages are religious farming communities, each with its own independent leadership established in a very careful way according to their ancient tradition.

Throughout history, the United States Government has refused to recognize this fact. Since the first government contact with the Hopi villages programs have been enacted in complete ignorance in the meaning of Hopi life. This has caused serious trouble over the years. The current HUD housing project which threatens Hotevilla land is no exception.

The recent assault on one of our elders illustrates this clearly. The incident provoked a meeting of several Traditional Leaders in our village who directed the following letter to the Secretary of the Interior, signed by three traditional leaders:

February 15, 1976

"Dear Sir:

"Your immediate action is requested on the following:

"William Pahongva, a respected and learned Hopi elder over 90 years of age, was knocked unconscious when he was pushed from the doorway of the home of James Pongyayouma of Hotevilla Village, in the Hopi Independent nation.

"The incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. following a meeting on the evening of Friday, February 13, in which traditional leaders sought to determine his true role in a proposed housing project which would affect the village land rights. It is typical of the trouble your programs frequently cause.

"William identified his assailant as Charlie Sekyawuyuma. The meeting ended in violence when Charlie, accompanied by Percy Loma, a Hopi-turned-Mormon, began to forcibly evict the visitors in an angry outburst, according to witnesses.

"Hotevilla was founded in 1906 in order to preserve the Hopi tradition. It has always been the Hopi custom that anyone wishing to live under another system must do so elsewhere, without interfering with the village life.

"The housing project would require that village land be leased to the Housing and Urban Development Project (HUD) of the U.S. Government. Failure to make regular payments has resulted in the actual loss of aboriginal land title for native nations who have accepted such projects. The leases may later be transferred to banks or other business interests, who may demand unexpected increases in payments. These implications are very serious, yet they are not clearly explained to the applicants, who often think they are just getting a free house.

"The traditional leaders were alerted to the imminent danger by Melbert Pongyaysvia who found several government workers in his orchard. Since James Pongyayouma's name appeared on a recent tribal council announcement of the project, the leaders invited him to a meeting to clarify his position.

"James was once the Kikmongwi (chief) of Hotevilla until he left for about seven years, neglecting his duties and ceremonies, which means he forfeited his authority according to Hopi tradition. Upon his return he could not face his former traditional associates, because of his conversion to the more corrupt way of life. He even departed from tradition by switching to another kiva society, rather than face them. He has since denied his former responsibility in order to seek wealth through the white man's system.

"James and several of his associates are known to have been promoting the installation of water and power lines into our village against the wishes of the villagers, and against the purpose for which the village was founded.

"Also invited to the meeting was Nathan Fred, Sr., the progressive governor of Bacabi, the village responsible for introducing the project, who works with a group that seeks to recognize James as kikmongwi in order to gain access to government projects through the Hopi Tribal Council, which the traditional Hopi must refuse.

"About fifteen of us waited at the house of David Monongye, but James, who has consistently refused to meet with the village leaders, failed to show up. Finally we decided to go to his home. We found him there with a few associates, more of whom arrived later.

"When asked to account for the use of his name on the document he told us he did not know a thing about it. He insisted several times that he is not a leader, and denied any association with a group. He denied that he approved of the housing project, or that he was associated with the so-called Hopi Tribal Council, which has always served the U.S. Government which set it up.

"Around 10:30 p.m. James asked the visitors to leave. Some of us are hard of hearing, and did not respond immediately, though nobody refused to leave. Then someone shouted that the owner wanted everyone to leave. Percy Loma and Charlie Sekyawuyuma started pushing people out very roughly.

"William Pahongva said Charlie grabbed him by the collar and began to shove him backwards toward the door. He held on to Charlie's shirt to keep hi balance. Charlie then pushed him hard through the doorway, causing him to fall to the ground, which knocked him unconscious for a short time. William found it hard to move. Later his feet and knees became swollen and bruises showed on his face.

"This incident brings out the friction caused by the needless and insensitive introduction of such projects. We can build much better houses ourselves, as we have for centuries, with rock and mortar. There is no need for us to accept such interference from outside interests, especially when they work against our traditional way of life.

"In formerly accepting the position of kikmongwi, James Pongyayouma committed himself to the purpose which Yukiuma, the founder of Hotevilla, suffered greatly to uphold. Perhaps the people behind HUD don't realize that we are still committed to this high purpose, which is the foundation of our village life. The sole power to select a kikmongwi still rests with the village, and must be carried out according to clearly defined principles and customs. James has ended his authority by his own choice. The fact that the Tribal Council chooses to recognize him to suit their selfish purpose does not change this. Responsibility for this village still rests with the village leaders.

"We Hotevilla people do not want government housing, or any other projects which tend to place control of our land in the hands of outside interests.

"We bring this to your attention so that you, and all other individuals responsible, may know the trouble your projects are causing, and be in a position to act with knowledge and a clear conscience.

"To us the matter is very urgent. We are asking you to bring an end to this serious interference into our village life. May your good faith be shown by the steps you take."

The response of the Secretary of the Interior, if any, will be reported in the next issue of Techqua Ikachi.


True to their established pattern, and in violation of the Tribal Council Constitution under which they operate, Bacabi Village and the Bureau of Indian Affairs allowed Charlie Sekyawuyuma to represent Hotevilla Village in a meeting regarding the transfer of the water-sewer system to Bacabi Village. This meeting took place February 10, three days before Charlie assaulted the 90 year old William Pahongva. The reason he was chosen to represent Hotevilla Village: He was "instrumental" in bringing water to Hotevilla! It is easy to see how outsiders are trying to choose our leaders for us.


Readers of the local anti-traditional paper, Qua'toqti, are urged to notice the fact that that paper not only has failed to give any of the background of the Hotevilla land problem, but carried only a brief statement based on Charlie Sekyawuyuma's claim that he was the victim, and not the attacker! He prefers not to "press charges." OF course, the Hopi do not use courts and jails, so the leaders involved will not "press charges" either, but we welcome any move to fairly investigate the incident.


We now quote from the newsletter of Bacabi Village, February 6, 1976, one of the documents which made necessary the meeting at Pongyayouma's house:

"At the Board of Directors meeting on January 21, 1976, the members decided to continue the survey of the area for housing and development. The governor informed the members that although the council recognized James Pongyayouma as the chief of Hotevilla, it was not him who was protesting Bacabi's claim. Therefore, the board decided to go ahead with the plan for this area. If and when James Pongyayouma protested, only then would the governor and the board meet with him. Some members felt that the village should go ahead with the survey and other plans simply to resolve the jurisdictional problem between Bacabi and Hotevilla.

"The area was designated last year September as a housing and development area for Bacabi and since then have been stopped by followers of David Monongye of Hotevilla. Monongye has requested several meetings with the authorities of Bacabi, but Bacabi has refused pending the council's reply on who is the recognized leader of HOtevilla. Bacabi maintains that if and when it must meet with Hotevilla it should be with the recognized chief."

We would like our readers to carefully consider the above proposal in the light of history as well as Hopi tradition. As our letter to the Secretary of the Interior explains, the authority to govern the village and select the Kikmongwi (chief) rests with each independent village. Hotevilla has never relinquished this right to the Hopi Tribal Council, which is a recently established foreign institution, basically opposed to our traditional form of government.

As a religious community the traditional people of Hotevilla are committed to a sacred vow to follow the instructions of the Great Spirit which have been handed down to us from the beginning of time.


The fact that James Pongyayouma, also known as James P. George, abandoned his former position as Kikmongwi years ago, is common knowledge within the village. He himself has denied having any authority. Even if he should now claim authority, he could only do it by uniting once again with his people, and by once again committing himself to the Great Spirit's instructions. The present attempt to recognize him as Kikmongwi is not motivated by a commitment to Hopi purpose, and does not originate from the present village leadership. IT is clearly the attempt of a few individuals who are seeking cheap housing, and do not care about the consequences for their village as a whole.


Surely the Housing and Urban Development Program (HUD) was not designed with the intention of creating friction in our villages and destroying our independence. At least we hope this is the case. If so, those responsible for the program will not allow it to be used in this way.

It is important to understand the historical background of Bacabi Village. Hotevilla Village was founded in the midst of great struggle, in a desperate attempt to escape the government's influence. The imprisonment of many of the men, including the leaders, added to the difficulty, which lasted for several years.

Bacabi was founded by a group who left this struggle to return to Oraibi, due to their own weakness and disregard for the great laws. This took place on October 27, 1909.

A letter dated October 30, 1909 from Superintendent H. H. Miller, the Keams Canyon agent to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, F. H. Abbott, refers to the occasion:

"On the evening of October 27th, Kewanimptewa, Nasequaptewa, Secavma, and Sematehauku from Oraibi Village visited this office and reported that Chief Tewaquaptewa has refused the returned hostiles to remain in the village and refused to shake hands with Kewanimptewa, the leader of the returned hostiles. They asked if we could make temporary arrangements for the winter only under promise of living there peacefully until Spring or until desire to go elsewhere."

This was actually the suggestion of the superintendent, to which they reluctantly agreed. They thought that by returning, the government officials would agree to protect them. They settled the new village of Bacabi the following year, 1910, but the allotment to them never materialized, because they were undecided on the location to which they would move. Eventually they chose Bacabi because of the nearby springs and wood, and for other reasons.

By this time the Hotevilla people had made new fields around the area. After Kewanimptewa and his followers established their new village, he ordered his people to take over Hotevilla's land in order to feed his people, knowing that the agency soldiers would help if they met with resistance. Hotevilla was helpless as our leader, Yukiuma was in prison.

From that time to the present day, the people of Bacabi have played the same game. They still seek to use the power of government programs in order to better their situation at the expense of the traditional village of Hotevilla.

The large school building with its giant water and sewage system is one example of this. (The sewage system may likely be the cause of contamination in the natural spring which is our village water source).

They were welcome in Hotevilla Village, but chose to leave because of the hardship caused by the government. They used the government as their tool, and in turn became the tool of the government against our traditional way of life.

We emphasize that none of this trouble is really necessary. It should be clear to all that we could not have survived happily in these villages all these centuries without being able to build our own houses and govern our own affairs.

We would like to think it is all just an innocent mistake, but there are great and complicated plans for industrializing our area, along with much of Navajo country and the Southwest. These plans are made without our knowledge or consent, and we hear of them only by chance.

The master planners must not want to believe that our civilization even exists. We believe they are afraid to meet the true leaders of Hopi face to face, and really listen. That is why they set up the Hopi tribal council through which to push their programs. That is why they use police to force the things we are bound to resist because of our sacred purpose.

So long as we survive, we shall continue to bring the truth to those responsible, and to all concerned people, in the hope that someone will take steps to correct this mistake.


The so-called Hopi Tribal Council has chosen to recognize James Pongyayouma, or James P. George, as the chief of Hotevilla village. This is out of order according to our ancient doctrines. Looking at the past dealings of the Tribal Council, we see this move as a scheme, the latest in a long series, by which to topple the last stronghold of original Hopi government. The council and the forces behind it find this move necessary because of the past failure of their attempted conquest, and because of the mistakes they have made in failing to abide to their own constitution.

Article III, Section 3 states: "Each village shall decide for itself how it shall be organized. Until a village shall decide to organize in another manner, it shall be considered as being under the Traditional Hopi organization, and the Kikmongwi of such village will be recognized as its leader," although in Section I it reads: "The Hopi tribe is a union of self-governing villages sharing common interests in working for the common welfare of all. It consists of the following recognized villages..." (All nine villages are mentioned including Hotevilla.) We have never considered organizing in another manner. We are an independent village not subject to the laws made by the Tribal Council, and have no representative in that organization. Since James Pongyayouma has excluded himself according to our ancient system of government, and has even personally denied having any authority, the council violates its own constitution in forcing us to recognize him.

It is true the Fire Clan are the rightful people to hold the authoritative position in this village, from which a Kikmongwi might be chosen, because it was under their leadership that this village was established, an they are also caretakers of the Sacred Stone Tablet which is to be respected. But they are bound by certain obligations in order to accomplish their mission. That is, they must strictly adhere to the Great Spirit's laws and instructions. They must not stray from the path. They would become the highest, for along the way they would gather and accumulate the powers of the fallen ones. But if before they complete this task, they become wayward, their authority and power will decline to nothing, and they will be spat upon. The power would then be given to the next person who still adheres to the Great Laws.

Keeping this in mind let's look at Pongyayouma and compare him with his great uncle Yukiuma. He took over the chieftaincy soon after Yukiuma's death, without the regular ritual of ordination. No one objected because it was thought he could be trusted, being of Yukiuma's blood line.

But not many years after he took office, he secretly became affiliated with the agency's stock reduction program. Many who did not cooperate were jailed and their stock confiscated by the agency, though Pongyayouma escaped that treatment. In later years he became the victim of an adultery scandal, and there were other signs as well that his image was tarnished. This caused him to exile himself to an Indian reservation in New Mexico, where he stayed for seven years. We learned from reliable sources that he was expelled from there for some offense. He returned a changed man, a progressive, supporting the puppet council, a reactionary opposing the views of the traditional leaders. We know that this may sound slanderous to some, but it is the truth.

Tax Refused

It looks as if the puppeteers of the Puppet Council, the lawyers who work behind the scenes, have been working overtime on their new act. A letter dated January 8, 1976 was circulated "To all persons doing business on the Hopi Reservation who are subject to the proposed Ordinance 17." The letter announced a meeting on January 19th at the "Criminal Justice Department, Oraibi, Arizona," concerning the proposed tax on private income within our independent nation. The ordinance is the work of outsiders who know nothing of the Hopi way of life. The title page states that the ordinance is from the "Hopi Indian Tribe, Oraibi, Arizona." Of course we are not "Indian," that's their mistake!

We have reviewed the provisions of this ordinance and find them completely unacceptable to the Hopi way of life. The following letter was directed to John Hennessy, coordinator of the "Hopi Criminal Justice Department."

January 13, 1976

"Our respond and reaction to your letter--subject proposed Ordinance 17. Mailed to businesses throughout Hopi land. Dated January, 1976. (Including--article of establishing Hopi revenue commission and providing revenue through taxation for the Hopi Tribe.)

"Upon going over the text, we feel this ordinance does not fit our needs. Thereupon behave of our village standing and for people of Hotevilla we will not affiliate into supporting the ordinance 17. We think it is undesirable, it will be our greatest mistake to support that will be harmful and will hinder our ways of life. We have our own laws to go by that are far richer than manmade laws, by which we have survived thus far.

"On January 13, 1976 we are the leaders of the Hopi people gathered and declared not to adopt the ordinance 17 of the Tribal Council, on basis we do not recognize the Tribal Council as our leaders and vice-versa. Nor we have any representative in the establishment. Therefore we are not under their domin. Only our desired that we live in peace and selfdetermination. Thank you."

(Signed by religious leaders: D. Monongye, D. Evehema, W. Pahongva, L. Naha, J. Pongqyesvia, P. Sewemanewa.)

We sent a second letter with the same signatures on January 18th, pointing out that:

"The so-called Tribal Council purports to take its 'authority' from a document called 'Constitution and By-laws of the Hopi Tribe.' According to this document 'This constitution is adopted by the self-governing Hopi villages.' This is a lie!

"The traditional self-governing village of Hotevilla never acknowledged the so-called Tribal Council for its continuing efforts to impose their ways upon us.

"Furthermore, since the so-called Tribal Council has in the past leased our land without our knowledge or consent we consider them traitors to the Hopi nation and its traditional beliefs.

"As traditional people our religious instructions strongly warn us never to implicate ourselves in any organizational structure of a political nature.

"It is for this reason that we have never sent a representative to the so-called Tribal Council and that we continue to look upon ourselves as a sovereign nation."

So far, the tax measure has failed to pass. Even the "progressives" don't want to pay taxes. But our objection is far more serious. The whole thing was planned from outside Hopi by white lawyers. It forces us to pay the very system that is destroying our independent and sovereign nation. It would have cost the United States absolutely nothing to just leave us alone.

Back Issues?

We are very pleased that so many people have responded to our publication, but due to some confusion in our mailing list, some may have missed back issues. Please let us know.

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