[UPDATE: Dec. 20, 2:36PM CST – The blog post that I refer to below has been removed from the Craftista website]
This morning I received a Google Alert that directed me to a blog called Craftista. The author of the blog belongs to a blogging group that is currently doing a A to Z meme, and so the author decided that “I” would stand for “Indian Village.” In November, the author visited the Hopi Reservation, took a picture of a village, and posted it to the author’s blog. The photo does not have a caption, but the author refers to the village as a “quaint Indian village.” The picture is of Lower Moencopi near Tuba City, Arizona. A kiva is clearly visible in the photo. About a hundred yards from where this picture was taken, a sign welcomes visitors to the village. The sign reads:
WELCOME TO MOENKOPI VILLAGE, TO ALL VISITORS, YOU ARE WELCOME TO RESPECTFULLY VISIT OUR VILLAGE AND OBSERVE OUR CEREMONIES = ABSOLUTELY NOT PERMITTED = 1. NO SOUND RECORDINGS, 2. NO SKETCHING, 3. NO PHOTOGRAPHY OF ANY KIND, 4. NO REMOVAL OF ANY OBJECTS, 5. NO VIDEO TAKING
The purpose of this post is not to blast the author of Craftista for posting a photo of Moencopi on the author’s blog. Many people who visit our village do so respectfully. Rather, I want to inform people about protocols that Hopi villages ask visitors to follow and respect. Hopis established these protocols to protect their intellectual property, privacy, and to keep people from publishing photographs of village structures, shrines, and ceremonies.
The producers of BEYOND THE MESAS received permission from the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office to include old black and white photos of Hopi villages in the documentary, but we did not film or photograph exterior shots of present-day villages, kivas, or other religious sites.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert