Archive for the 'Hopi authors' Category

Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American

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Today the University Press of Kansas officially launched my book Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American (CultureAmerica series).  

I am grateful for the support of so many people over the years who have encouraged me as I completed this project. I thank my family and friends, past and current students, colleagues at the University of Illinois, and numerous scholars here in the United States and abroad. I also thank the wonderful staff at the press, and of course, readers of this blog!

Last week, Craig Chamberlin of the University of Illinois News Bureau published a story about the book. You can access the story here. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Hopi Runners, you can do so through Amazon or the publisher’s website.

Below is an excerpt from the book’s Introduction titled “To the Fence and Back.” The excerpt comes from a section of the Introduction where I describe Hopi runners who competed at federal off-reservation Indian boarding schools:

While Hopis participated in several sports, including basketball, football, and even boxing, their greatest success came as members of track and cross-country teams. Sports at off-reservation schools provided Native athletes opportunities that did not exist  for them on their reservations. When Hopis joined cross-country teams at Sherman Institute, or the Indian school at Carlisle, they experienced for the first time different regions of the country, life in modern cities, and a new way of running footraces. And Hopis used these opportunities to learn and interact with people from other parts of the United States and the world. While competing in marathons, Hopis ran with runners from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Japan, and although from vastly different cultures, they spoke a common – and perhaps universal – language of competitive running.

Having come from a society that valued long-distance running for ceremonial and practical purposes, Hopi youth transferred this cultural mindset with with them when they entered these faraway schools. Hopi runners who competed at Indian schools had come from a tribe of racers. While none of these athletes needed to be taught the essence of long-distance running, coaches nevertheless trained them in modern running techniques and rules to compete effectively in American track and cross-country events. The dirt trails on the reservation did not resemble the paved roads or clay tracks used in many American running competitions. And so, in their first year on a school’s cross-country team, Hopis learned about running in different locations, climates, and elevations. And they had to develop mental and physical strategies for running in cities, on mountain roads, or in front of thousands of cheering spectators in a stadium.

When Hopis ran on trails back home, they did so in a relatively quiet and peaceful environment, far from the sounds of locomotives arriving and departing towns such as Winslow. Running on or near the mesas, Hopis became attuned with their bodies and surroundings, becoming one with their environment. They listened to their own breathing, the sound of their feet tapping the trail as they danced on Mother Earth. They felt the rhythmic pounding of their heart telling them to adjust or steady their pace. And they listened to birds singing and the sound of the wind cutting through the canyons. And often they ran alone, experiencing physical ailments that all distance runners endure. “He was alone and running on,” Kiowa poet N. Scott Momaday writes of a Jemez Pueblo runner named Abel. “All of his being was concentrated in the sheer motion of running on, and he was past caring about pain.” In the high desert of Arizona, Hopi runners also beheld beautiful landscapes , greeted majestic sunrises and sunsets, and had unobstructed views for miles in all directions. Running with no distractions from the outside world, Hopis ran with “good hearts,” prayed silently for the well-being of their people, and sang songs to the katsina spirits to entice the rain clouds to follow them home to their villages.

However, the tranquil environment that encompassed the trails back home did not reflect the fast pace and at times chaotic life in large modern American cities…

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American (University Press of Kansas, 2018), 8, 9, 10.

 

 

“A Second Wave of Hopi Migration” (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

A short response essay I wrote entitled “A Second Wave of Hopi Migration” was recently published in the History of Education Quarterly (Volume 54, No. 3, August 2014), the flagship journal of the History of Education Society.

The article is part of a special edition on Indian education histories that was edited by Adrea Lawrence,  Donald R. Warren, and KuuNUx TeeRit Kroupa. In addition to the editors, various scholars contributed to this collection, including K. Tsianina Lomawaima, David Wallace Adams, Milton Gaither, Yesenia Lucia Cervera, and Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (click here for the Table of Contents).

In my essay I note that historians have primarily interpreted the American Indian boarding school experience through a frame of Indian education policies and discussions of assimilation and acculturation. But I argue that there is perhaps a more nuanced way of understanding the education history of Indigenous people.

By using my grandfather Lloyd (Quache) Gilbert as an example, who attended the Phoenix Indian School in the 1940s and early 1950s, I instead highlight the value and importance of utilizing Native ways of understanding to interpret Hopi and other American Indian education histories.

I also discuss and critique the U.S. government’s name changing policy, and explain how school officials required my grandfather (and his siblings) to change his surname from “Quache” (“friend” in the Hopi language) to the English surname “Gilbert.”

The complete essay can be downloaded by clicking the image below.

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1000 Words and a Cup of Coffee: A new Hopi-authored blog

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Be sure to check out a relatively new Hopi-authored blog by VaNiesha Honani of Walpi entitled “1000 Words and a Cup of Coffee.” So far VaNiesha has written on a handful of topics, including the Hopi Code Talkers, and the recent auction of 71 Hopi ceremonial items in France.

Here’s an excerpt from a post that she wrote entitled “This Little House on Walpi”. I think you will find her writing style and perspective to be quite engaging.

This past summer, I was in a mood and set on sitting in that little house during our Home Dance, moping and eating stew. I sat still. Little girls ran in and out, screaming with laughter and the boys chased each other around with bows in the summer.

As the day passed, they got dirtier. I held my little niece and talked to her. “You see this craziness?” She smiled. All the girls were dressed in traditional dresses. Even in my grumpiness, as I held my niece and had random one-sided conversations with her, my breath was taken away. The memories multiplied to the present. I looked at all my sisters, my nieces and aunts, in the same traditional clothes as 1000 years ago. The corn stalks and kachina dolls. The random small toy arrow that would come flying through the door. How beautiful.

I smile because when I hear somebody in an L.A. gallery wonder, “I can’t imagine growing up there, I wonder if people still live there or did they leave because it’s hard living.” I muse. Yes, we do still live there. No matter where or how far. Technology and all. It’s home. I smile as I stand next to them pondering over my house, this little house on Walpi.

Want to read more? Head on over to her blog: www.1000wordsandacupofcoffee.com

“Hopi Running” – University of Illinois, Springfield, Nov. 5, 2012, 7PM

Upcoming lecture on Louis Tewanima at University of Notre Dame – Wed. April 11, 2012

Education beyond the Mesas temporarily available for FREE download

I am pleased to announce that Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010) is temporarily available for free download through Project MUSE.

It has always been my desire that people on and off the Hopi Reservation will have access to my research, and the University of Nebraska Press’s decision to allow my book to be featured on Project MUSE, is a major step in that direction.

However, free access to Education beyond the Mesas via Project MUSE will only last until January 2012. See the Project MUSE website for more details.

To download Education beyond the Mesas, please click on the above image or visit the following link: http://beta.muse.jhu.edu/books/9780803234444

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Returning to the Cottonwood Trees of Our Communities

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert at 2009 Native American House Congratulatory Ceremony. Photo courtesy of Muskogee Creek writer and photographer Durango Mendoza.

In the Spring of 2009, our Native students at the University of Illinois asked me to say the closing remarks for the Native American House Congratulatory Ceremony. The event took place on May 16, 2009. Since we are appoaching the end of the academic year, I thought that it would be fitting if I posted these remarks on my blog.

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Returning to the Cottonwood Trees of Our Communities

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

I have the privilege and honor of saying a few closing remarks to end our time together.

We are fortunate at the University of Illinois to have students who have not forgotten that the greatest “scholars” and teachers come from their own communities.  These men and women have not published books for Oxford or Harvard University Press.  They have not published articles in the esteemed journals of the academy. But they are known by people in their communities as the gatekeepers and protectors of intellectual property, and teachers of knowledge.

Among my people in northeastern Arizona, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, and other community members often told their children stories about the owl, the squirrel, and giant beasts that threatened to destroy the Hopi way of life. Hopi elders shared these stories with their children to teach them life lessons.  Lessons that would help them to succeed in life, contribute to their communities, and to be passed on to their children and grandchildren.

At an early age, Hopi children were taught to value hard work, and to shun laziness.   “Get up before Taawa, itana (the sun, our father) greets our village,” Hopi parents often told their children, “Taawa, itana has many things to accomplish throughout the day, and he need not waste his time and energy on getting you out of bed.”

The stories and teachings that have emerged in Hopi and other indigenous cultures have great meaning for people of the past, present, and future.  They ground Native people in their communities, they connect us to our places of origin, and they forever remind us of who we are as Choctaw, Ho-Chunk, Kiowa, and other indigenous people.

I am reminded of a story that originates from my village of Moencopi that Hopi educator Dr. Noreen (Kewanwytewa) Sakiestewa once retold about a young girl who was lazy, and did absolutely nothing.  She did not help her parents take care of her siblings, she refused to grind corn, and she had no desire to learn Hopi stories and songs.  Seeing her laziness and apathy, people in the village called her kyena, which is Hopi slang for “ignorant one.”

Sakiestewa recounts that one day, as the girl wandered about near the wash by her village, she sat under a large cottonwood tree.  The wise old cottonwood tree realized that her people, and even the animals, had become angry with her, and so he asked the young girl: “Why are you not a part of your people?”  The girl did not respond, and so the wise old cottonwood tree told her to gather yucca plants and to bring them to him.

When she returned, the wise old cottonwood tree taught her how to weave a plaque with a coil design.  But the girl became restless, and she wanted to learn other design patterns to incorporate in her plaques.  So the wise old cottonwood tree told her to observe the things of nature.  “Look at the sky, the mountains, and the animals, and they will show you new patterns for your plaques.”

After several days or traveling and searching, the young girl from Moencopi came across a rattlesnake who asked her why she had wandered so far from her village. “I am on a journey to find new designs,” she told him.  And so the wise old snake said to her, “Look at the design on my back. I give you permission to use my design in your plaques.”

Soon the young girl came across other designs, and months later, she returned to her people with beautiful plaques and immediately started teaching her sisters, and other girls in the village how to make baskets.  All that she had learned amazed the people at Moencopi.  And from that day forward, they no longer called her kyena.

In her retelling of this story, Sakiestewa asks the question:

“At what point did the girl come out of not being kyena?  Overwhelmingly, the response was when she learned to make baskets.  The Hopi response to when she stopped being kyena was when she returned and taught the skill of basket making thereby completing her circle.” [Norene E. Kewanwytewa, “Being Hopi: A Collaborative Inquiry Into Culturally Responsive Education,” Ed.D. Dissertation, Northern Arizona University, 2002, pp. 2-4].

Today, as we gather together to honor our students, I close by urging our Native graduates to return to the cottonwood trees of their communities.  Complete the circle, and take what you have learned at the University of Illinois and contribute something useful to your people.  And never forget that long ago, our people held to and practiced indigenous ways of understanding that provided meaning, and continue to provide meaning, for every aspect of life.


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2018. 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 (Hopi) is Professor of American Indian Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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New book on Hopi runners set to launch in October!

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

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

Foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

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)

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

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

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

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