Hopi and other Native understandings of Rainbow Bridge

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time fishing and water skiing on Lake Powell. While having fun on the lake, one of the places that we used to visit was Rainbow Bridge National Monument in southern Utah.

On YouTube, I came across an interesting video of Hopi oral histories of the bridge. In 2009, the U.S. National Park Service conducted the interviews to mark the Monument’s 100 year anniversary. The Hopis in the video include Wilton Kooyahoema (Hotevilla), Floyd Lomakuyvaya (Shungopavi), and Rod Duwala (Oraivi).

Members of the Navajo, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Paiute, and White Mesa Ute nations were also interviewed for this project. I have posted their segments below.

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3 Responses to “Hopi and other Native understandings of Rainbow Bridge”


  1. 1 feminineocean January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    The Hopi History was informative, could not play the Navajo.

  2. 3 Phil K January 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    All five National Park Service (You Tube)videos played fine here using Mac, OS 10.6.8, on DSL.

    These five videos conveyed important tribal perspectives however the first interview from a Hopi perspective was done outdoors at Rainbow Bridge whereas the others were likely completed at some NPS offices. Still it is good to see all of the Rainbow Bridge interviews as it reminds one, like the European view of San Francisco Peaks, where thirteen different cultural groups hold that mountain sacred, there are often numerous perspectives of what one group might think is only one view and yet all of these different views are often paradoxically similar.


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© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an associate professor of American Indian Studies & History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930″, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers’: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909″, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

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