Hopis and the Navy

Hopis have a long history of serving in the U.S. military. My dad is part of that important history. In the 1970s, he followed in the footsteps of his uncles and joined the Navy.  He was stationed on the aircraft carrier the USS Constellation (CV-64) and traveled way beyond the Hopi mesas to places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Persian Gulf.

After listening to his stories of life aboard the Connie, I also wanted to be in the Navy. As a kid I used to dress up in my dad’s Navy clothes and I even wore his “dog tags” to school! The movie “Top Gun” was a big hit in our home. I also remember hanging out at the Navy recruiter office in Flagstaff, Arizona, just to look at the pamphlets and posters on the walls.

Although my desire to join the Navy ended in high school, I’ve always had great respect for those who have served in the U.S. military.

Today I blog about Hopis in the military as a way to announce a special event about American Indian involvement in the Navy. The gathering will take place on August 7 at the Navy Operational Support Center in Phoenix, Arizona. More information can be found below.

Many thanks to Robert A. Flores, Museum Project Coordinator of the Arizona Capitol Museum, for letting me know about this event.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert


Ladies and Gentlemen,

You are cordially invited on Sunday, August 7, 2011, to the Navy Operational Support Center, Phoenix, Arizona. Rear Admiral Sanders United States Navy will speak concerning the important impact of Native Americans currently serving in today’s Navy. The Navy’s impact on the Native American Community and local economy, the Navy’s engagement with American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), as well as the Navy’s commitment, and opportunities in education, leadership, meaningful service, travel, and other areas of significance.

The Admiral would like to address and speak with Native American Elders, Leaders and Native American Youths on Sunday, August 7, at the Naval Facility located on 35th Avenue of the I-10 freeway.

When: Sunday, August 7, 2011

Time: 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Where: Naval Reserve Center 1201 N. 35th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85009. Located on the Southside of the I-10 freeway, 35th Ave. exit, Exit 141 south, the facility is on the eastside of 35th Ave. To enter the facility, after you take the 35th Ave exit, Exit 141, go south to W Roosevelt Street and turn east toward on W Roosevelt Street towards 34th Ave and turn north on 34th Ave. At the end of 34th Ave, you will see the entrance to the Naval Facility.

To view the facility map, click on the link below or copy and paste it to your browser (It is the facility (1) above/north of Falcon Park on the satellite map),


The point of contact for this event is Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Ray Fryberger U.S.N. (602) 353-3001 or you may contact me.

Please RSVP with number of attendees to: 602.926.3827 or rflores@lib.az.us

Please pass this email invitation to others that you feel may be interested in attending.



Robert A. Flores

Museum Project Coordinator

Arizona Capitol Museum

Arizona Secretary of State

1700 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007

Email: rflores@lib.az.us

(602) 926-3827 (Direct)

(602) 515-6373 (Cell)

Adding color to my blog

Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Today my daughters suggested that I add more color to my blog.  According to them, all the black and white photos that I post would be more “pretty” if they were in color.  So in an attempt to add a little color to BEYOND THE MESAS, and to make the overall appearence of my blog more “pretty,” I have posted a (daughter approved) photograph that I took of a hot air balloon that recently flew over our house.  For those who might be interested, I was using a Nikon D60 with a 70-300mm Nikkor lens.

Jessica Lynch honors Lori Piestewa on Nez Perce Indian Reservation

Kevin Taylor wrote a very moving article in the latest edition of Indian Country Today about Hopi soldier and mother Lori Piestewa and Jessica Lynch.  Earlier this month, Lynch traveled to the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Idaho to honor Piestewa at a gathering for Native veterans. Lynch talked at length about her admiration for Piestewa, and highlighted the Hopi soldier’s bravery and courage. I hope everyone who visits my blog will take the time to read this story. Here are the first two paragraphs:

The route leading to this longtime campsite amid the pines on the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho includes several miles of gravel road swooping through hilly farm country. Green with crops, it looks nothing like Iraq, but still gave Jessica Lynch a moment of flashback. “It was the dust,” Lynch says.

A car ahead of the one bearing Lynch to Talmaks Camp on Monday morning kicked up a cloud of dust that carried her back to March of 2003, when she was a 19-year-old supply clerk and private first-class in the U.S. Army driving a truck in the enormous military convoy racing across the desert to Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces. “All you were seeing was dust and sand and you had to follow the person in front of you by their taillights,” Lynch recalls. “We were exhausted and tired and hungry… ”

To access the complete article, please visit the following website: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/07/america%E2%80%99s-most-famous-pow-jessica-lynch-honors-the-hopi-woman-who-saved-her-life/

Opportunity for Hopi and other Native students to learn about Indiana University’s Ph.D. programs

On October 9-12, the Indiana University Graduate Program will host a fall recruitment event titled “Getting You Into IU.” The purpose of the event is to attract minority students who are underrepresented in IU’s Ph.D. programs.

This is a great opportunity for Hopi and other Native students who are thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. “Getting You Into IU” is especially geared for students who want to pursue the professoriate or a career in academic research.

Students must be nominated by an adviser, faculty member, or mentor to participate. Those who have been nominated and accepted to attend the event will receive full funding for travel, lodging, and food.

For additional information, click on the above image or visit the following website: http://graduate.indiana.edu/agep/campusvisit.php

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert