This exhibit opens June 29 at the Autry in Los Angeles. And is the culmination of a long project by Susan SecakukuKatsina in Hopi Life, featuring remarkable Katsina dolls from the Autry’s Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, provides a glimpse into Hopi life and culture. Katsinam (the plural form of Katsina) are spiritual beings who represent all aspects of life and travel to be with the Hopi people six months of the year. Told from the Hopi perspective, this exhibition shares the unique relationship the Hopi people have with the Katsinam, focusing on the values, lessons, and encouraging messages learned from them.
Last night I came across this 26 minute video on Tewa-Hopi artist Dan Namingha from Polacca titled “Seeking Center in Two Worlds.” From what I can tell, the video was produced in August 1992 and it was shown on various PBS affiliated stations. Here is the video summary on the KNME Chanel 5 (Albuquerque, NM) website:
Life is a balance for painted and sculptor Dan Namingha. Balance between the high stakes art world and his American Indian origins; balance between his distinctive abstract painting and sculpting, and his expression of the ideas and concepts of his native religion; and balance between his Hopi and Tewa origins and the dominant Anglo culture. Only thirty-four years old, Namingha uses traditional themes and concepts in his unique modern vision to communicate an essence of something beyond himself, something deeply spiritual and universally direct.
If “Seeking Center in Two Worlds” is of interest to you, then I would suggest seeing Allan Holzman’s film “Beautiful Resistance,” which examines the Indian boarding school experience through contemporary American Indian art, including works by Hopi artist Michael Kabotie. I have written about this film in a previous post. Holzman was also the director and co-executive producer of “Beyond the Mesas.”
Join us as we host the “HEEF Art Sale – Supporting Hopi Students”, featuring outstanding pieces of native art including pottery, jewelry, sculptures, paintings, katsina dolls, prints, textiles and baskets.
In conjunction with the sale, the HEEF is conducting a raffle with numerous items available including a “3 Corn Maidens” Pendleton blanket, jewelry, prints, resort packages and more. Tickets are available for $2 per ticket of 3 tickets for $5. To purchase contact the HEEF Office at (928) 734-2275.
The HEEF is still accepting all forms of artwork and more information on the sale can be found by visiting www.hopieducationfund.org or by contacting the HEEF at 928-734-2275. All proceeds from the event benefit deserving Hopi college students across the U.S. in addition to funding other educational programs for the Hopi people.
The HEEF thanks the following Sponsors for their Support:
Premier Sponsor: Central Arizona Project · Peabody
Major Sponsor: Husk Partners · APS · Osborn Maledon P.A.
Supporter Sponsor: Walker & Armstrong, LLP · Hufford, Horstman, Mongini, Parnell, & Tucker
Hopi Education Endowment Fund
PO Box 605
Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039
Phone: (928) 734-2275
Fax: (928) 734-2273
This past summer I took my family to Walnut Canyon National Monument in northern Arizona. When we entered the visitor center gift shop, my girls immediately ran to the shelves with children’s books and “oohed” and “aahed” over the glossy pages with colorful illustrations. At least half of the books in the gift shop were for young readers, and some of them were on the Hopi.
At Walnut Canyon, park officials mostly had books about the Hopi that non-Hopi people wrote. One of these books was Heather Irbinskas The Lost Kachina. While The Lost Kachina was written by a non-Hopi, the book was illustrated by Hopi artist Robert Albert (Sahkomenewa) from Moencopi. There was at least one Hopi-authored children’s book on the shelves, namely Michael Lomatuway’Ma’s The Magic Hummingbird, which he co-wrote with Ekkert Malotki, a non-Hopi linguist. There are other Hopi-written children’s books that park officials did not include in the shop such as Polingaysi Qoyawayma’s The Sun Girl and Emory Sekaquaptewa’s (et. al.) Coyote and Little Turtle: Iisaw Niqw Yongospnhoy.
For the past several months my friend and colleague Debbie Reese from Nambe Pueblo has encouraged me to write a children’s book on the Hopi. Debbie authors a very successful blog titled American Indians in Children’s Literature. On her blog she critically examines children’s books about American Indians and challenges authors to portray Native people in accurate and respectful ways. If you are not familiar with Debbie’s blog, be sure to visit it at the following address: http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/
My post is not intended to critique the books in the Walnut Canyon gift shop. Sahkomenewa’s illustrations in The Lost Kachina are quite remarkable, and I assume that he would not illustrate a book on the Hopi that he did not approve of himself. Perhaps one day I will take up Debbie’s challenge and write a children’s book of my own. We certainly need more Hopis today writing and illustrating children’s books. And we need more publishers, school librarians, teachers, and even federal park officials to make Hopi authored books available to children.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
Since the 1930s, more than 60 artists have come together each year to sell and demonstrate their art to the public at the annual Hopi Show. Held on the 4th of July weekend at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, the Hopi Show attracts thousands of visitors from around the world to witness and experience authentic Hopi art, dance, music, and food.
In addition to the artists, several vendors and Hopi organizations such as the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, the Hopi Foundation, and the Black Mesa Trust participate in the event. The show organizers also provide special activities for children, including crafts, ceramics, and an exhibit where kids learn to grind corn and make piki (paper-thin bread) according to the Hopi way.
The above slideshow consists of photographs that I took at the 76th Hopi Show in 2009. This year, the Hopi Show will take place July 3-4. For more information, please click on the following link: http://www.nativeart.net/nativeamericanartshow/indianmarket/hopi-festival-of-arts-and-culture-2010-j0zij5.php
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
In 2005, I published an article on a Hopi chief named Tawaquaptewa from Orayvi on Third Mesa. He was kikmongwi (village chief) at Orayvi during a very unstable time in Hopi history. In the early 1900s the village of Orayvi was divided over several issues. One of these issues was the mandatory enrollment of Hopi children at government schools.
In the past scholars have produced a great deal of material on Tawaquaptewa, but most of the scholarship focuses on Tawaquaptewa during this period. However, when I was writing my book on the Hopi boarding school experience I came across a fascinating article by Barry Walsh titled “Kikmongwi As Artist: The Katsina Dolls of Wilson Tawaquaptewa” in the American Indian Art Magazine (Winter 1998).
Walsh highlights an area of Tawaquaptewa’s life that has not received much attention. Tawaquaptewa was a carver and he sold his katsina dolls to tourists who visited the reservation between 1930 and 1960. Today his dolls are highly sought after by collectors. A website called TribalArtCollections.com has a photo gallery of his work.
In March 2008, the Antiques Roadshow (PBS) featured one of Tawaquaptewa’s katsina dolls. The segment is less than 3 minutes long, but I think you will find it interesting. To see the video click here. I have also pasted the appraisal transcript below.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
The following transcript was originally published on the Antiques Roadshow (PBS) website at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200705A39.html
20th-Century Wilson Tawaquaptewa Kachina Doll
Aired: March 31, 2008
GUEST: It’s a kachina doll. It was my father’s. I got it after he passed away. He taught school in Southern Idaho. During the ’20s, when they relocated tribal people from different places, they sent the children all over the United States, and this young man became a friend of my father’s, and when he left school, he gave my dad the doll, so…
APPRAISER: Do you know where it came from?
GUEST: From hearing what my dad talked about and what he said, you know, that it was from… Southwest America somewhere.
APPRAISER: It’s from Northern Arizona.
GUEST: Northern Arizona?
APPRAISER: It is a kachina doll, but… there’s some different things about this one that makes it a little bit special. It’s not like most kachina dolls. We actually know who made this doll.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: Yeah. It was made by a guy named Wilson Tawaquaptewa.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
APPRAISER: And he was the Hopi chief at Oraibi, but there’s two Oraibi villages and I’m not sure which one it was.
GUEST: See, that name sounds familiar.
APPRAISER: Yeah, but… because he was the chief, he wasn’t going to do something traditional and sell it, and so he made these kachinas that are like no other kachinas.
APPRAISER: You go through the books and you’re not going to find one of these, because they most often represent a badger, or they have characteristics of a mouse or some animal in his world out there that’s not a traditional kachina, and this is one of them. The way that we spotted it is he liked to use this indigo color, and… it’s this really faded blue here.
GUEST: I never noticed it.
APPRAISER: Yeah, we almost didn’t, too. Tawaquaptewa worked from about 1930 into the early 1960s. If it wasn’t one of his and it was a kachina that looked like it was from the ’30s like this one, that’s worth some pretty good money– $2,500…
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
APPRAISER:…to $3,500, but because it’s a Wilson Tawaquaptewa, there’s a group of collectors now who recognize his work, who buy his work. On a bad day, this is worth $7,500 to $8,500. Uh… …if it’s a good day and the right collector’s in the room, $9,000.
GUEST: My goodness.
APPRAISER: So it’s something real special and it’s something real unique that you ended up with.
GUEST: Oh, no kidding, and to know that, you know, you can recognize the maker, you know…
GUEST:…that is, that is amazing. That surprises me, surprises me a great deal.
APPRAISER: Great. Yeah.
GUEST: Yeah, it does.