Crossing Worlds Hopi Projects

Hopi Water and the Black Mesa Trust

Hopi Water and the Black Mesa Trust

This article, assembled by Sandra Cosentino, has excerpts from materials provided by the Black Mesa Trust, a Hopi-based, non-profit environmental protection organization, at a very insightful Hopi water conference in Flagstaff, Arizona.

They are eloquent words for all humankind. We hope you will hear them with your heart and decide to support this excellent and worthy organization.

Our Belief…Our Science…Our Challenge

In the Beginning was water, Paatuuwaqatsi…next land, Tuuvaqatsi… with help of Father Sun, Taawa, all life came to be.

Black Mesa deserves special protection. It deserves our utmost reverence. It is our sacred homeland…a learning plaza for all.

We are taught that our ancestors (moti sinom) journeyed through three worlds. We believe Black Mesa is the final destination of our migrating ancestors. Here, on the fingertips of Black Mesa, our ancestors met Ma’saw and agreed to help steward the land in return for permission to remain here.

They were shown three simple things; an ear of corn, a gourd of water, and a planting stick. They were then instructed and challenged to create a truly sustainable society using these three things as cornerstones. This, we believe, was the beginning of the Fourth World of the Hopi.

We believe Black Mesa represents the earth center, (Tuuwanasavi). Underneath lies untold wealth, which if used creatively with corn (mother), water (lifeblood), and planting stick (technology), will sustain future generations of our children forever.

We believe Black Mesa handprint represents the spirit of Poqanghoya, (a weaver). Together with his twin brother, Paloqaawhoya (echoer), they work to keep the earth in balance.

We believe all waters: the aquifers, the springs, the lakes, the rivers, the oceans, the rain, the snow are joined together. All work in harmony to sustain life.

Hopi Flute ceremony

Historic photo of Flute Ceremony at Mishongnovi spring below the mesa

We believe the aquifer breathes. They breathe in the rain and snow and breathe it out. The springs are breathing holes…passageways to Paatuuwaqatsi. Over 30 years of groundwater pumping by Peabody has weakened the water pressure and weakened its breathing, causing many of our springs and washes to dry up.

We believe humankind is a participant in water-life, Paatuuwaqatsi. We are of clouds and the clouds are of us. How we behave influences rain, snow and hence the “hydraulic cycle and balance”. If our thoughts are bad, only the wind will come when we dance. If our hearts come together, rain will come.

please give photo credit to Jackie Klieger

Photo by Jackie Klieger

We believe it is time for every Hopi to Unite in defense of sacred waters. Our ultimate punishment, if we fail to protect our land and waters, is prophesied in an ancient Wuuchim prophecy song:

One day you will sell rain water
Springs will dry up, then
Your exodus will begin
With “tin-cups” in hand
Looking for water where springs once ran healthy
Now dead.

We believe time has come for ALL Hopis to begin learning and trusting the wisdom of our ancestors…to be challenged by the knowledge (Navoti), and to challenge peoples of the world to unite in weaving the next world prophesied to come. It is our hope that the Fifth world will be fashioned by harmonic blending of ancient knowledge and modern sciences.

Black Mesa deserves special protection. It deserves our utmost reverence. It is our sacred homeland…a learning plaza for all.

Navajo ride speaking for the protection of Black Mesa by Sierra Club

Navajo ride speaking for the protection of Black Mesa by Sierra Club

The Mission of the Black Mesa Trust is to safeguard, preserve and honor the land and waters of Black Mesa. We work toward creating a region where generations of Hopi and Dineh people can live and thrive in harmony with all of nature.

Black Mesa Trust is an organization born out of concern for the depleting water supply and it’s long range implications for the health and viability of the Black Mesa ecosystem and native people. We are dedicated to bringing back the traditional water ethics that have sustained our people for millenniums and creating new ways of caring for and healing the water…the lifeblood of all living things.

At its essence, the Black Mesa Trust is about harnessing the lessons of traditional knowledge with western science and technology to create a permanent homeland for generations of children yet to come. It is our hope that our families will always enjoy the wide and open spaces, deep canyons, majestic mesas and clear air and waters that characterize our sacred homeland.


Vernon Masayesva, founder of Black Mesa Trust

About Vernon Masayesva.  In 1998, he founded the Black Mesa Trust and currently serves as its Executive Director. Vernon is an international speaker on the subject of Water and is honored among many scientists, physicists and water researchers including renown author and water researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto from Japan.  Among other things, he is beginning a serious study of Hopi symbols and metaphors to understand who he is and what he can do to help his people lay a vision of a future Hopi society.

Black Mesa Trust
P.O. Box 33
Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039

Article first published December 9, 2002

Hopi Water Declaration page