For our second week in Hopi we have been working more with Hopi Tutskwa (http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1678&Itemid=33) on helping to build the cob home for Lillian’s mother Serena. The walls are going up quickly, especially after we put in the window frames. This past weekend we got the opportunity to visit Roberto and visit his farm where he is doing the permaculture work through the Black Mesa Water Coalition. (http://www.blackmesawatercoalition.org/) We took a tour of his field and even helped him to set up a brush dam, to prevent the floodwaters from washing away the fiend and allow the water to soak into the ground. When we finished, Roberto led us to Tim and Belinda Johnson’s home in Dove Springs for a permaculture workshop.
Their home is completely off the grid- solar power for their electricity, a spring that they pump water from, and an outhouse. It was a big change from the hostel we are staying at, but we loved the place. It is tucked away in the corner of a canyon, so you wouldn’t know where it is unless you went looking for it. The dirt road helps, since theirs is the only house that it leads to, but it is very secluded and peaceful. We met up with The Black Mesa Colorado Caravan crew who travels around the southwest doing service projects, education, and activism with local Indigenous communities.
We were also surprised to see some friends from Flagstaff that we met at the beginning of our journey, who are involved in saving the San Francisco Peaks from snowmaking with waste water from the city of Flagstaff. There was a recent article in the New York Times highlighting this issue.
It was fun to reconnect with them and hear more about how their protests for the Save the Peaks issue have been going. These headlines have even caught the attention of Donald Trump, who tweeted something along the lines that he would never ski in a place that has waste water for snow. They are reassessing various strategies to raise more awareness and concerns for the environmental, spiritual, and health impacts of using waste water as a snowmaking technique.
We woke up early on Sunday morning and helped to prepare lunch and breakfast. At around 10:30 a.m., we all gathered around the makeshift kitchen outside and watched the sheep butchering ceremony. I personally didn’t watch because I am very squeamish, but everyone that I talked to has said that it was a powerful experience. Tim started off by telling a couple of stories about the traditions and some prayers were said before the actual butchering. I spent the majority of my day helping Shannon, the coordinator of the BMCC, and the other women in the kitchen, frying sheep parts over the fire and making fry-bread. Fry-bread is similar to deep fried pita bread. The other members of BMCC, and several in our group were working on a bread oven for Tim and Belinda, made from cob (a mixture of sand, clay and straw- our favorite) on a stone base. Later that night, before heading back to Kykotsmovi in Hopi, we stopped by Tuba City (roughly an hour from the village) to do our laundry. It was nice to have clean clothes to wear!
Monday morning we woke up and headed back to Lillian and Jacobo’s where we continued to work on Serena’s home. Everyone was pretty tired from our long weekend, so we didn’t get as much done as we would have liked. We went home and had a pretty chill evening, and Abby and I went to bed around 9:30. Tuesday everyone was feeling better, and when we went to Lillian’s we got a lot built on the house. Roberto and a couple of his friends came to help as well, and Danielle came with us in the morning to keep working. We made a lot of progress throughout the week and the house continued to go up. By Friday, we had all of the walls up, with only a few small adjustments for Lillian and Jacobo to make before they get started on the roof. We are all feeling fortunate to have contributed our time and sweat to this project, and can’t wait to see pictures of the end result.
On Saturday we headed to First Mesa to have lunch with our friend Roanna, a Hopi woman that we met a week ago at the Hopi woman’s dances. She made us a delicious lunch (and more fry-bread!) before we headed up to her home on the mesa where we helped her out and she showed us traditional clay for pottery making. We spent some time working on small clay projects to take home with us. Roanna is a very generous and hospitable, as well as enthusiastically open to share her cultural knowledge. It was amazing to be walking through one of the older villages that dates back in time to around 900 A.D. It was silent and eerie, and yet I felt a sense of peace as I followed Roanna down the street. Back at her house, we met a few of her friends that came from Sedona.
We stopped at the Cultural Center on our way back to Kykotsmovi (also known as K-Town), and looked at a few of the crafts for sale. Back at Danielle’s we chilled and hung out until 9:30, when we headed to Hopi Day for the country dance. I have to say that I am personally the worst two-stepper this world has ever seen, but I had a good time dancing anyway. It was fun to see a more intimate side of the community and to gather with them. Faith and Trinity are better dancers than me, and I was following the lead of a four year old across the dance floor. We all had a great time, even though most of us left early to put the girls to bed and hit the sack ourselves.
Our time in Kykotsmovi has been an amazing experience, and as we move toward the rest of our journey, we will carry all of our memories of this village with us.