- The Hopi Way
- Traditional Values and Visions of A Hopi
The Public Statement of the Keeper of the Hopi Fire Clan Tablets, during his Prophetic Mission to the New Mexico State Capital at Santa Fe, December 1990
I am the keeper of the sacred Fire Clan tablets of the Hopi at the village of Hotevilla. These tablets represent our ancient title to this land, which existed long before the arrival of Columbus, and has never been relinquished. They have been entrusted to me under the highest authority, to be held until the last stage of our prophecies has been completed. The signs that we have entered that final stage are now clear.
In fulfillment of my spiritual instructions I have come to Santa Fe, the oldest European capital on our land, to offer the people of the United States of America, and all humanity, a final opportunity to collaborate with the forces of creation to purify our lives, and restore peace to the world.The root cause of the problems that threaten life on earth is the concept of land title acquired and maintained by force. Since modern civilization is based on this concept, it does not hold the key to peace.
Our original Hopi land title is based on permission. We recieved that permission from Maasaw, the guardian of all land and life, who holds it in trust for the creator. Thus it is implemented by the forces that create this universe.
Regardless of differences in culture and tradition, true aboriginal title throughout the world is based on a similar relationship. To usurp aboriginal title by deception and force, then build an empire upon that basis, is to oppose the forces of life, and ensure the eventual destruction of that empire. The United States of America has become such an empire.
Before the White Man arrived from Europe, everything was in order. Our life was beautiful and clean. The land was green and there were plenty of flowers, animals, birds and trees, rain and clouds. We lived in great happiness because we followed the simple life taught to us by Maasaw.
Maasaw is both a real person and a manifestation of the Creator. We met him in person near the place where we built our mother village of Oraibi, after a long migration to claim the land in his name. At that point he gave us permission to live here as caretakers, as well as the spiritual knowledge by which to keep the forces of life in balance. This knowledge is implanted in our sacred stone tablets.
But when the Europeans came they forced their religion, culture and language upon our children, which brought great division amoung our people. As a result, today our young people are turning away from this basic law. They no longer understand it. They only understand the White Man's law.
Because they were forced into this situation, there is now hardly anyone fulfilling the sacred instructions and correctly performing the ceremonies essential to the Hopi way of life. There are still leaders from various clans who know of these instructions, which reveal their true purpose in life, but more and more they are turning away. This intrusion by outside forces, and the harmful effect on our function as caretakers of life, is the reason life on Earth is now so disturbed.
Like the Hopi, original native peoples were placed across this continent, and given special instructions by a higher being. Each had special functions by which to hold life in balance, which they were still carrying out when the Europeans arrived. We know these foreigners once had similar spiritual means for promoting life, with which they were supposed to bless the native peoples. But they had apparently misused their power. Most of the native peoples were forcibly stripped of their culture, language and religious ceremonies, depriving them of their function as caretakers. Those that remain face imminent cultural extinction. Clearly these foreigners are not here to help, but to destroy everything the original people have left, and in doing so, destroy this world. The only hope for humanity lies in restoring true land title, which is inseparable from our function as caretakers of life.
For this reason we bring our sacred stone tablets to the New Mexico State Capital in Santa Fe. Because it is the first foreign capital on this land, there must be documents here that confirm the rights of the original native peoples, and possibly information reguarding stone tablets such as those we brought with us. We want to see whether someone will search for such documents, proving whether the original title of the native peoples, including the Hopi, is still binding according to existing modern laws.
The Spanish people must have documented something concerning the Hopi title. When the Mexican government took over, it must have left similar documents, and the same holds true for the United States. There must be a whole stack of such documents. If the entire stack were turned over the search should not take long. The first few should prove that the native peoples hold the true title to this land, and the knowledge by which it should be protected.
The role the foreigners were to play in protecting this land should also be revealed. Documents must exist that show where the United States turned against this original law. What document does the United States have that says it is supposed to protect this area?
The Spanish, the Mexican, and the United States governments have all fought over someone else's land without consulting the original native peoples living on it, then created some kind of document. But what of the rights of the original native peoples? Who has the ability to look into this, and see that the basic rights of the Hopi and other native peoples are restored?
This is the key to the problem that threatens all life on earth. If someone can uncover this information and bring it before the world, it might be possible to reverse the destruction of the native cultures that lies at the root of the devastation that now threatens our entire world.
The great powers of the modern world need to realize that if they are to escape the punishment that lies ahead, what they are doing to native peoples around the world must be corrected. Those who accumulate power at the expense of the native peoples think they have a God-given right, but in doing so they are increasing the threat to all life. And although they now recognize that threat, they are powerless to reverse it by any means unless they stop preying upon the native peoples.
We came here to plant the seed of this realization, which could turn the course of all humanity away from disaster. An investigation within the the area of the present Hopi villages would benefit all indigenous peoples. Moreover, those who now live at the expense of the native land title would thus be given the chance to correct their mistake, and avert the terrible consequences foreseen long ago by the Hopi, which are already in evidence today. Either way, this would benefit all humanity.
Because our true original land title is essential to our role in holding this land and life in balance, we have never compromised that title by signing a treaty with the United States Government. We have never given it authority to destroy our culture and take our land, nor have the other original native peoples. Yet this is being done here and throughout the world.
Today the Hopi are forced to live under laws that come from Washington DC, such as those that created the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the so-called 'Hopi Tribal Council' without consent from the real traditional people. In violation of our spiritual teachings, these agencies have been promoting paved roads, water lines, sewers and government-financed housing. They have even forced such things into Hotevilla, the village we founded in 1906 in order to protect the Hopi Way from such intrusions.
They are cutting our land into small allotments, confiscating our livestock, and allowing the land to be stripped of its mineral resources. Underground water is being depleted and the land is drying up. Open pit uranium mines are polluting the area with radioactivity, causing the birth of many deformed babies. This shows what is happening to indigenous people around the world.
Those who perpetrate such abuse, and the countless modern people who thrive from it, truly have no land title. They build their power through resources taken by force, then use those resources to gain power to take even more. Since they consider the true aboriginal title of indigenous peoples to be worthless, they treat us like animals to be kicked around.
But as the Purification foretold in our tradition materializes, they too will get kicked around. They will find themselves disrespected everywhere, just as they have disrespected others, and their power will collapse. Soon they will see how little power and authority they really have.
We hope they will heed our warning for their own sake, and for the sake of the native peoples who want nothing more than to rule themselves peacefully without being dictated to by anyone else. Part of the commission we recieved from the Creator through Maasaw is to sound this warning to the world.
We Hopi know our true white brother is to come and help us. He has a stone tablet representing his own title and power within the Creator's plan. By placing it together with our Fire Clan tablet, he may call upon the natural forces to purify the world. If the task of purification is left to these natural forces, we may all be wiped out. So it is up to all people to purify themselves voluntarily.
We have also known that if the wrong white brother should arrive, one who has lost his spiritual path and thus has no title, he would bring misery and destruction. But when the world problem becomes great enough this false white brother will find his survival threatened. Where will he turn?
He proposes to save the world by converting everyone to what he calls 'democracy,' but can he even use it to save himself? We hear that democracy means rule by the people. Yet he has reached the point where only three people, the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense, can start a war against any nation that doesn't submit to their wishes, reguardless of the will of the people, Congress, or existing laws.
We Hopi don't know what the word 'democracy' means. The 'Hopi Tribal Council' established by the United States is supposed to be a democracy, but in fact it is only an instrument through which our people are forced to submit to programs conceived in Washington. Offers of money, jobs, a better life, and so forth, really mean signing away control over their land and their life.
Such false democracy is being extended throughout the world. In the name of democracy the US Government is taking control of native lands, exploiting the mineral resources to produce great wealth, then using that wealth to bribe native peoples elsewhere into accepting contracts to deforest their land.
The deployment of armies to protect the freedom of native peoples abroad is causing the loss of that very freedom. It is the task of the Hopi to warn everyone concerned that even in the name of freedom, this will unquestionably lead to a third world war much worse than the first two, which may leave hardly any life on earth. This is why our religion forbids us to join the army, even if we are drafted.
Today the American people are being taught how it feels to be held hostage. That is how we have felt, having been held hostage up to the present day. In truth, everyone in that army is held hostage by the Government. Young people who want to live a long life are forced to suffer in the Arabian desert. We know that they are about to be burnt up in a war if they don't stop. It's up to the President to recall the troops he has sent to the Middle East. They must all be allowed to refuse this fate and return home. It is especially urgent that all native people who have become involved come home right away.
Current education of the Hopi into modern ways is a continuation of the policy of forced acculturation that began when our children were first kidnapped and forced into schools. The attempt to convert the schools so as to promote Hopi culture damages Hopi culture even further. Instead of dancing at the right time of year in the plaza, the Hopi children are taught to do their dances in school, outside the natural cycle, ignorant of their significance, and without the traditional preparation by the whole family.
This disturbs the very harmony these dances meant to maintain. Prior to such interference, our community life was held together by the relationship between the religious societies, each composed of a careful balance of the special qualities of each clan, dancing together with the cycles of nature. The disruption of this pattern accounts for the epidemic of delinquency and crime we witness today.
We know the Government would like to wash its hands of the schools, but instead of closing them it tries to put them into the hands of 'progressive' Hopis who have already lost their tradition. They should simply close the schools and let us return to our original methods of educating the young, which were already very advanced - the real education from which we were torn away. We have no need to learn from books. We have better methods by which children can learn how to live in peace, identify plants and animal tracks, and ultimately learn to keep the world in balance.
If the schools are closed, then those families who want their children to learn the English language would have to move out, earn money, and pay for that education themselves. This is what Yukiuma was standing for when he brought the sacred stone tablets of the Fire Clan with him in 1906, and led the founding of our village at Hotevilla.
There is a document by the Mennonite missionary, H.R. Voth, which testifies to the superior quality of education he witnessed among the Hotevilla children after the new village became established. They learn not only how to read the animal tracks, but many songs, dances, ceremonies and painting, all of which contribute to a very good memory, as well a solid understanding of the Way of Peace.
The proof that this education really works is in the fact that we never needed jails, courts, police, hospitals, or complicated systems of administration to keep things in check. There was hardly any sickness because we lived only from the food we grew organically, without chemicals. Any sickness that did occur could be healed with ceremonies and herbs. Even today there are old people so strong that when you try to follow them up a hill you can't catch up with them.
Now, as our land is being gradually cut up by the government, this beautiful life is disappearing. The recent division of our land with the Navajos, which the United States enforces through its courts and police, is clearly a means to seize total control, even of that land supposedly granted to the Hopi. Those Hopis who are relocated onto new areas are only allowed to lease that land from the 'Hopi Tribal Council.'
Only a few centuries ago there were no Navajos here. We were protected by the Paiute people to the north, who learned many words from our language. Later the Navajos arrived. Since they often survived by raiding, they became a problem to the Spanish and later to the American settlers. The Americans responded by rounding up all the Navajos under Kit Carson and putting them in prision. Later they gave them a portion of the Hopi homeland through the 1868 treaty. After it was learned that the land given to the Navajos contained valuable resources, instead of enforcing the treaty restriction that they remain there, the United States just let them wander off, then created another reservation for them on land belonging to the Paiutes, and moved the Paiutes out. When the Navajos expanded onto the Hopi area, rather than force them back onto the Paiute land the Government made still another reservation for them on the Hopi land.
With the discovery of mineral resources in that area came the passage of Public Law 93-531, which was not requested by the true Hopi leaders, but promoted by lawyers through the 'Hopi Tribal Council,' creating the illusion before the world that the Hopi have traded certain areas of their land over to the Government, or approved mineral leases.
Public law 93-351 divides our land still further, by requiring both Hopi and Navajo families to be forcibly relocated, and the artificial Hopi-Navajo border fenced with barbed wire. Our elders have long warned of the time when a line might be drawn around our feet, granting us no more land than that, which really means we would have no land at all. This time is not far off.
We want everyone to know that the Navajos are not the ones taking our land, but the United States. The Hopi and the Navajo made peace long ago, and sealed their agreement spiritually with a medicine bundle. It is through the puppet governments, the 'Tribal Councils' forced upon both nations by the United States, that the illusion of a conflict has been created on the basis of the false modern concept of land title.
This short history shows how our land has been taken away. Why is this happening? It is done through younger Hopis, robbed of their tradition through compulsory foreign education, and arbitrarily empowered to speak for their whole nation through the 'Hopi Tribal Council,' yet never consult with their original leaders. Would you allow your children to sign away your family possessions without even letting you know? That's exactly what the 'Hopi Tribal Coucil' is doing.
Land title based on such deceit and coercion is theft from the very forces that gave us life. Since most of modern civilization is based on such false entitlement, it can only destroy itself. The severe problems that face not only humanity, but every form of life on Earth, serve to warn that the time of destruction is at hand.
We can no longer escape. We must trace this situation to its root cause. This is why I act now to call world attention to the true nature of aboriginal land title, which alone holds the key to world peace. Hopi land title is based on our agreement with the Creator, the true owner of the land, through our meeting with Maasaw, to serve as its caretakers. This requires genuine knowledge of the pattern through which people can live together in peace without relying on the use of force. This way of life can continue forever.
So for the sake of the indigenous nations that remain with us today, and all people who are moved to correct their ways and restore that harmony which can enable life in this world to continue, I have come to Santa Fe, the first European capital established on our land, to urge that those documents that might reveal the true nature of our title to this land be investigated and revealed, and to place our knowledge of the Way of Peace at your service.
We hope that what we are asking will be brought about soon, and that those who sincerely wish to resolve this great crisis will make use of our knowledge.