Thinking of HOPI FAMILIES“Hopi Faith”. This basket of medicinal items is a well wishing for everyone this past Easter Sunday by Hopi artist Filmer Kewanyama. Shared with permission of the artist. Fil says:
During the Covid Emergency
“This symbolizes a positive message that you will have faith in a good outcome. The Earth will heal itself and we will be OK.”
Many Hopi people I have communicated with in the past few weeks said they had not yet seen any personal supply support at their home from tribal or other sources. However, they have faith we will all get through this together. They are praying for the health and safety of all people.
Hopi family waving during the December 2019 delivery of food and gifts during the 21st annual Hopi Holiday Project.
Photo by Chris Duffy-Wentzel.
Now during this coronavirus emergency stay-at-home time, we are shipping support to families rather than delivering in person.
The Hopi Tribe is a sovereign nation of more than 1.5 million acres. There are 12 Hopi villages on three mesas. 7,000+ Hopis live here. Hopi is surrounded by the larger Navajo Reservation, which has about 357,000 people.
Gatherings are prohibited.
Villages are closed to non-residents and security checkpoints are in place. Many Hopi people are in need of hygiene supplies and groceries.
- Sign showing Hopi appreciation of 1st Responders. Photo by Lional Parra.
- Mishongnovi road block April 2020 closes village to all but residents. Photo by village resident.
Hopi youth are out of school and most do not have home internet access. Few Wifi hotspots exist across the entire 1.5 million acres of the Hopi nation.
See newly updated web page here:
Hopi Family Support during the Covid Emergency
A happy Hopi recipient of one of our recent hygiene and food shipments (this is box 1 of 2 that were sent to her). Photo shared with permission.
Several of these Hopi heads of households expressed gratitude and surprise that someone thought of them when our supply boxes were delivered. Toilet paper especially is impossible to find in their area!
Hopi Emergency Support Budget Expenditures
$8,278 is total expenditures for family support since March as of 5-4-20.
$6,000 of this is from March and April donations we received that were dedicated to this purpose. Your donations are very much appreciated and 100% of it is applied as they come in to ordering shipments to Hopi families.
Approximate number of shipments from March 15 to May 4, 2020:
- 54 individual families food-hygiene shipments (usually arriving in 2 or 3 boxes for each household and sometimes had to wait to order toilet paper separately for some families at a later date when it was available) and 4 art & activity shipments to kids (goal is to increase this when we have more donations)
- 32 elder households in need of support group in Shungopavi (14 bulk shipments to the 32 elder group. These have all diligently been picked up at the post office and distributed to their door by Augustine Mowa. We are still waiting for toilet paper I ordered from Amazon 6 weeks ago; am guessing it is on a slow boat from China. I have since found a quicker source of TP that comes available to order every few days.)
- 86 total households (approximately)
I have made about 98 individual shipment orders in the past 6 weeks!!
We plan do do more shipments to more families as we receive more donations.
Donation Link for Hopi Family Support
100% of donations are used to ship boxes of hygiene and food supplies to Hopi families.
Confirmed Hopi Coronavirus Cases
“During an April 24, 2020 town hall, HHCC-IHS officials stated that of the April 23, 2020, 39 Cumulative Number Positive results, there have been over 20 confirmed cases of Hopi Tribal members. However, it was clarified that it does not mean the individuals live on the Hopi reservation.
On that date, Chairman Nuvangyaoma also reported that there are positive cases in the following Hopi communities: Spider Mound, Polacca, Shungopavi, Kykotsmovi, Oraibi, Hotevilla, Bacavi, Lower Village of Moencopi, and the Upper Village of Moencopi.”
source: Hopi Tribe website
Current Emergency Stirs Cultural Memories
Many Hopi people I have spoken to in the past few weeks expressed how this current coronavirus emergency evokes cultural memories of past epidemics and also historic fears of raids by Navajos. Cultural history for Hopis, who have a long oral tradition, is experienced more as a timeless recent memory. While in the Western world, we see the past more as “history” than a related continuum of our people’s life experience.
“My grandpa and his grandpa recorded a lot of the genealogy and tracked families through other pandemics like the flu, influenza, tuberculosis. That knowledge is always passed down from, you know, mother to daughter, father to son, elder to grandchild. Some of our teachings that I was brought up with is that when in times of other pandemics, everybody would have to kind of go into seclusion, go into their homes, and especially during the winter, it’s a time of quiet and reflection and peace.”
Shannon Francis (Hopi and Navajo) on NPR 3-28-20
“The records available prior to the nineteenth century, whether recording eyewitness accounts or rumor, hint at disease epidemics, severe famines, and the impact of raids…
Sometime in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries, imported European diseases arrived at Hopiland, drastically reducing the population and changing the Hopi people. While the estimates of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries places the population of Hopi well over ten thousand, in the early years of the twentieth century population estimates place it closer to two thousand. “
source: The Unwelcomed Traveler: England’s Black Death and Hopi’s Smallpox by Kathryn Sweet 2014 PhD dissertation
Two examples of more recent historic sickness traumas brought in by the outside world are: in 1853 Hopis experienced a severe outbreak of smallpox; and in 1898-1899 smallpox epidemic sickened 632 Hopi people and 187 of them died.
Hopi men and boys are busy planting fields in April and May.
“Hatikonmuyaw (May) – this is an exciting time for farmers. They are ready to plant the first of their beans and corn. The corn that has been selected to plant will be determined by the women and what types of corn they are in need of. Corn is life to Hopi. The act of planting is so important to the cycle of Hopi life.
“If we stop planting the corn, we will starve.” In both cultural and spiritual aspects of the phrase, our elders believe Hopi’s livelihood will cease to exist.”
source: Natwani Coalition Facebook post from the Hopi Natwani for Youth Project curriculum.
“As has been clearly outlined in the Hopi teachings and instructions, the destructive forces of the present civilization have brought the future survival of both humanity and all life to a crisis point.
For the survival of life, for the survival of the Traditional Worlds, the Leaders are aware that bridges of life forces must be rebuilt and maintained. The Spirit of the Natural Worlds must once again reach the hearts of the peoples of the Earth.”
source: Shungopavi traditional leaders
In closing, I echo our Hopi neighbors in saying….
Please take good care, stay safe and healthy,
Sandra Cosentino, Director, Crossing Worlds Hopi Projects