Hopi Culture of Peace Message precedent/example
Report on October 10, 1977 Hopi Meeting in Shungopavi

Hopi Message to the Public, report on October 10, 1977 Meeting

Here is the retyped text of report from Marcia Sims of the organization "Friends of the Hopi" in Flagstaff, Arizona about the results of the October 10, 1977 meeting in Shungopavi Village, one of the 11 Hopi villages.

This document contains not only important historical information of legal significance today, but it also gives insights into how the traditional Hopi culture of peace and nonviolence operates, ie, an historical precedent and example from which may be learned something to help implement the United Nations mandate per its 2001-2010 International Decade of Creating a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World.

[Excerpts]

President Truman: "...we have purchased from the tribes that once owned this continent more than 90 percent of our public domain, paying them approximately 800 million dollars in the process. It would be a miracle if in the course of these dealings -- the largest real estate transaction in history -- we had not made some mistakes and occasionally failed to live up to the precise terms of our treaties and agreements with some 200 tribes. But we stand ready to submit all such controversies to the judgment of impartial tribunals. We stand ready to correct any mistakes we have made."

As a result of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, a "Hopi Constitution" was drawn up by B.I.A. anthropologists and aides and imposed upon the Hopi people through a fraudulent election which has never been investigated. It is important for you to understand that we already have our own form of government and decision-making, and that your "democratic" way of majority rule is alien to us. Also foreign to us is your "separation of church and state".

Our Hopi way is to recognize the Great Spirit as our supreme leader in all facets of life. We do not divide God and man, religion and politics. All aspects of our relationship to land and life are intertwined. Earl Pela, a Hopi religious leader of Shungopavi village:

"So we see clearly that the Tribal Council, the judge, and the Government of the U.S. are leading us to total destruction of our way of life and holding land. It is plain to us now that they are also destroying the power and authority of the Kikmongwi and destroying the religious structure of the Hopi, taking away our power and authority over our religious clan holdings. We will be left standing with no right to protest and stripped of everything, not owning anything.

"Most of us have claimed that we are Hopi people. But the way the Hopi life structure is set up on a religious basis, only those that are fully initiated into the highest societies can truly be considered Hopis. Because of this way of becoming a Hopi, it is very necessary that we continue to uphold and practice our religious initiations. I look only to the first people who have brought this religious knowledge and planted these religious shrines and carry on their own way of life according to their religious instructions... When one becomes initiated into the three highest societies, one is given the sacred responsibility to take care of life in the Hopi way..."

The official interpreter for the Hopi Kikmongwis, Thomas Banyacya, also spoke, reminding them that the basis of Hopi life and the religious shrines and markers imbedded in the ground were all here long before any U.S. Government came into this area, and that the increasing oppression and forced acculturation of the Hopi and other native people by the U.S. has been appealed to the U.S. Government again and again.


---end excerpts, begin cover letter, news release page:

For further information, please contact Marcia Sims c/o "Friends of the Hopi" (602) 774-4957

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Hopi Human Rights Threatened

Oraibi, Arizona 10/12/77. Corrected as of 10/20/77

The Hopi traditional people and religious leaders, people indigenous to northeastern Arizona, have just become fully aware of the most serious threat to their human rights and the very continuance of their religion and peaceful way of life. As a result of a suit brought by Herbert Hamana, Sand Clan leader of Oraibi, Arizona, the position of the Hopi Tribal Council came to light in the defense document they presented to the court. The suit is in protest to the building of a civic center by the Tribal Council on land Hamana claims was originally given to the Sand Clan many centuries ago by the Kikmongwi (traditional village leader) of Oraibi and passed on to him by the previous Sand Clan leaders. The Hopi Tribal Council alleges, through a series of analogies to other suits not directly related to Hopi religious and clan land holdings, that they now have jurisdiction over all Hopi village clan lands. If this allegation is upheld by the courts, the Tribal Council will have, through legal decisions, completely wrested from the Kikmongwis and spiritual leaders their last sovereign, traditional control of their village clan lands, essential to the continuance of their religious ceremonies.

The trial, which began in the Keams Canyon tribal court on September 26 and 27, was recessed by Judge Robert Ames of Fresno, Ca., reconvened on October 17 and 18, 1977, and was again recessed. No new date for the continuance of the trial has been scheduled at this time. The plaintiff's lawyer, Raleigh Johnson of Holbrook believes the trial could last a month and if, as Judge Ames has stated, he can only hear the case two days each month, the civic center will be built before the case if finished. Johnson's motion that the case be assigned another judge and a mistrial declared was denied.


----------begin full retyped report text:


Report of a meeting held in Shungopavi, Second Mesa, Arizona, on Oct. 10, 1977 follows. This report contains important background information and position statements.

As a result of the discoveries make resulting from the Keams Canyon trial and the Hopi Tribal Council's clarification of their position through the defense document submitted to the court, as well as other critical matters, Mr. Earl Pela of the Blue Bird Clan and a spokesman for the Kikmongwi of Shungopavi, Mr. Claude Kewanyama, called a meeting on behalf of the Kikmongwi and other religious leaders of the sovereign village of Shungopavi to be held on October 10, 1977, at 10:00 a.m. In his urgent request to all the villages, Mr. Pela said, "I call on all the Hopi people and religious leaders to come and consider these subjects together with us. We, the Traditional Religious leaders of Shungopavi village, sense that we are now approaching perilous times and we need to take steps to correct these things before it is too late."

The meeting was attended by over 40 people representing all of the traditional Hopi villages and most of the other villages as well, and lasted into the evening. There were three main topics of discussion. The first was the issue of the land claims settlement, Docket 196. It was brought out that by accepting $5,000,000 appropriated by the U.S. Government, the Hopis will in effect be selling one and a half million acres of their land, giving up all aboriginal claim to it. The second topic was a discussion of the actions of the Hopi Tribal Council to strip all authority from the traditional religious leaders and Kikmongwis, as has come to light through the civic center trial. The third subject was to question whether the qualifications and past record of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council validate their ability to sit in those positions. This also brought up the fact that it is through their instigation that congressional acts and legal decisions have been brought about through Public Law 93-531, which will necessitate forceful relocation of Hopis and thousands of Navajos, disruption of their family life, fencing in of all Hopi land -- thereby restricting them from woodland areas as a heating resource, and hindering the religious leaders from freely visiting religious shrines beyond the fenced area.

In Mr. Pela's address to the meeting he stressed that "The Hopi people stand on a religious basis. The Kikmongwis have the authority to stand on that basis also and they carry on their sacred duties with the hope that there will be a good life for all children to come. During the migrations, as different clan groups came and brought the different religious societies, they stayed with the permission of the Kikmongwi and kept their ceremonies to bring good rain, an abundance of crops and to keep the land fertile. These instructions came from the Great Spirit who placed this land in our hands as a sacred trust to take care of for Him. He told us how to take care of it. We must perform our religious ceremonies with prayer feathers, taking care of the religious shrines planted all around us, and perform all our rituals we have so that this land and life will never be destroyed."

Discussing the $5,000,000 land claims settlement, Mr. Pela went on to say, "If we do not follow our religious instructions and sell our land, that will totally destroy all Hopi way of life. Now we know that all other native people who have separated from us and gone the four directions are now looking to Hopi to stand up and hold on to his land. If we fall for this $5,000,000 and sell our land then we have made a grave mistake, not only for Hopi but for all other native people and all children coming after. I am sure we all are aware of this fact because our elders have passed this knowledge on to all our people, warning us never to sell our land. If we accept this $5,000,000 our way of life will be at an end, and we may be traveling around with our bedrolls on our backs."

Referring to the Healing vs. Jones case heard in Prescott, Arizona, in 1962, by which the Hopi Tribal Council now claims they were given sole authority over all Hopi land by the U.S. Government, Pela said, "We did not know about this until now, during the Hamana court case in Keams Canyon. So we see clearly that the Tribal Council, the judge, and the Government of the U.S. are leading us to total destruction of our way of life and holding land. It is plain to us now that they are also destroying the power and authority of the Kikmongwi and destroying the religious structure of the Hopi, taking away our power and authority over our religious clan holdings. We will be left standing with no right to protest and stripped of everything, not owning anything."

Considering Chairman Abbot Sekaquaptewa's and Vice Chairman Alvin Dashee's actions, characters, and qualifications, Pela went on to say "Most of us have claimed that we are Hopi people. But the way the Hopi life structure is set up on a religious basis, only those that are fully initiated into the highest societies can truly be considered Hopis. Because of this way of becoming a Hopi, it is very necessary that we continue to uphold and practice our religious initiations. I look only to the first people who have brought this religious knowledge and planted these religious shrines and carry on their own way of life according to their religious instructions. We make our livelihood from the land where we grow our crops. In order to have good crops, green fields, we perform these ceremonies and appeal for rain. It is in the heart of all of our religious leaders to have this good life for all our children. But now these members are leading us to a path that is not in line with our religious life. When one becomes initiated into the three highest societies, one is given the sacred responsibility to take care of life in the Hopi way, to ensure that our land will be fertile, beautifully resplendent and abundant. So it is up to all of us to keep our land and take care of it for our Kikmongwi who is the recognized authority to uphold all this land and life for all people."

The statement made by Mr. Claude Kewanyama, Kikmongwi of Shungopavi, then followed:

"I have been given the authority and power through the religious society that has the responsibility to initiate me as a Kikmongwi and I have received this land and life in my hand from them to take care of for my people. This is my responsibility. Because I hold this land as Kikmongwi for all people, I never want to let go of this land and life because of these instructions and the authority given to me. In order to protect this land, follow my instructions as caretaker of all this land, and hold it in trust for the Great Spirit, I don't want to accept anything which would disturb or destroy this land. I have received criticism from my own people for this, but I am bound to carry out the instructions as the religious leaders gave them to me.

"Now you have come to consider what is happening at this time, threatening our very land base. You who are my spokesmen and my clan guardians have the responsibility to consider all things that tend to disturb or destroy the land. So you have come to look at these problems so that something good will come out of this meeting that will continue to preserve this land and life. I leave it to you people to seriously consider these problems we face today." The official interpreter for the Hopi Kikmongwis, Thomas Banyacya, also spoke, reminding them that the basis of Hopi life and the religious shrines and markers imbedded in the ground were all here long before any U.S. Government came into this area, and that the increasing oppression and forced acculturation of the Hopi and other native people by the U.S. has been appealed to the U.S. Government again and again. The Hopis have appealed to the BIA, the Department of the Interior, the Presidents of most recent administrations, Congress, Senators, etc., but to no avail. Then Mr. Banyacya read a promise made by President Harry Truman in 1946 when he signed the Indian Claims Act:

"This bill makes perfectly clear what many men and women, here and abroad, have failed to recognize, that in our transactions with the Indian tribes we have at least since the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set for ourselves the standard of fair and honorable dealings, pledging respect for all Indian property rights. Instead of confiscating Indian lands, we have purchased from the tribes that once owned this continent more than 90 percent of our public domain, paying them approximately 800 million dollars in the process. It would be a miracle if in the course of these dealings -- the largest real estate transaction in history -- we had not made some mistakes and occasionally failed to live up to the precise terms of our treaties and agreements with some 200 tribes. But we stand ready to submit all such controversies to the judgment of impartial tribunals. We stand ready to correct any mistakes we have made."


-------end retyped 7pp un-numbered double-spaced letter-sized unsigned release, from a copy provided by Thomas Banyacya, apparently written by Marcia Sims.

http://www.angelfire.com/on/GEAR2000/Hopi77-2.html

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6/12/2006 7:53 PM PDT