Archive for the 'Hopi history' 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.

 

 

Foreword to the Second Edition of Don Talayesva’s Sun Chief (2013)

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Click on the image to download the entire Foreword (PDF)

“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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Hopi interview on C-SPAN

Picture 7In April of this year, Susan Bundock, C-SPAN’s American History TV Producer, interviewed me at the 2013 Organization of American Historians conference in San Francisco, CA. At the end of June, the interview aired on national television and streamed on-line. Bundock asked me a number of questions about Hopi and Native American history. She also asked about my family history, and the American Indian Studies Program, and Department of History, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The interview is just over 20 minutes long, and can be viewed at the following address: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/312267-6

“Tracking Tewanima” by Cindy Yurth of the Navajo Times

On September 1st I traveled back home to deliver a talk on Louis Tewanima at the Louis Tewanima Footrace Pre-Race Dinner. A reporter for the Navajo Times named Cindy Yurth was present in the audience, and recently published a story about the gathering. A special thanks to Yurth for granting me permission to republish her article on my blog.

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Tracking Tewanima

Centennial footrace draws record crowd to mesas

By CIndy Yurth

Tséyi’ Bureau

SHUNGOPOVI, Ariz. — Louis Tewanima may be the most celebrated Hopi runner, but he himself would have admitted he was not the fastest, a Hopi historian told the crowd gathered Saturday night for a celebration of the centennial of Tewanima’s bringing home an Olympic silver medal to this tiny but spectacular hamlet on top of Second Mesa.

The fastest Hopi ever was probably some unheralded farmer who never had a chance to go to school — or was forced to, as Tewanima was.

Still, Tewanima was the one who brought home the medal, and this past weekend Hopis along with well-wishers from around the world celebrated the centennial of that feat with footraces of varying lengths along some of the very trails Tewanima himself once graced.

“It was great to follow in his footsteps,” said the second-place finisher in the commemorative 10K race, 16-year-old Kyle Sumatzkuku of Moencopi and Mishongnovi. “I look up to him, even though he was even smaller than me.”

Sumatzkuku is not a large person by any means, but he’s probably correct in assuming Tewanima was smaller. Tewanima was 5-foot-4 1/2 and 115 pounds, according to Illinois University Professor Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, who gave the historical address Saturday night. In the press of his day, he was referred to as “the little Hopi redskin.”

This past weekend, though, he was everywhere. Perhaps literally.

“We believe they (the spirits of the departed) come to us in the clouds,” said race announcer Bruce Talawyma. “So he’s all around us today.”

Somewhere else, in fact, the race might have been cancelled when a torrential downpour washed out part of the trail Saturday. But Hopis, those ultimate dry farmers, know better than to scoff at moisture, even when it comes at such an inopportune time.

“That’s what we’re running for, right?” asked Sam Taylor, Tewanima’s great-nephew and one of the organizers of the race, at the pre-race carb-loading party that featured both the traditional spaghetti and a Korean noodle dish, courtesy of a Second-Mesa war bride and her churchmates. That’s a whole ‘nother story.

Running for rain was certainly the rule  in Tewanima’s time. As a member of the Sand Clan, Gilbert explained, Tewanima and his kinsmen were charged with running to far away places and back to “bring back the rain.”

That could be part of why Tewanima offered to run for Carlisle Indian School even though he was dragged to the school after protesting Natives being forced to study at Western institutions — and how he ultimately ended up in the Olympics.

As for the history of the Louis Tewanima race itself, it was mostly started because the organizers — the Hopi Athletic Association — saw the need for a competitive footrace on Hopi to give Hopi runners a goal. Naming it after Tewanima was almost an afterthought, said Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, who helped organize the first Tewanima Footrace in 1972.

“I’m not really sure how Louis Tewanima was brought into it,” Kuwanwisiwma confessed.

One sure thing is that the race succeeded in bringing attention to Tewanima’s feat, which may have been nearly forgotten otherwise.

“Everybody knew Louis Tewanima, just like we know everyone in the village,” explained race volunteer Kathy Swimmer of Shungopovi. “When I was growing up, him and his wife used to sit on their front porch in the morning and watch the kids load into the school bus. We just thought they were a nice old couple. I had no idea he was an Olympian until I joined the high school booster club and started helping with the race.”

After winning the silver medal, Tewanima returned to Shungopovi and never ran again except for religious reasons and pleasure.

As Gilbert mentioned in his talk, Tewanima himself knew he was not the fastest Hopi and never had been.

In the course of his research for a book on Hopi running he plans to publish soon, Gilbert uncovered a tale that he thinks sheds some light on the Tewanima era.

Apparently, Tewanima and fellow Hopi track star Philip Zeyouma, who attended Sherman Institute, were both home for a break and people encouraged them to race each other to prove once and for all which man was the best runner.

As both men appeared on the starting line in their school-issue tracksuits, the older men of the village started teasing them.

“You don’t look much like Hopi runners,” taunted one man.

“If you think you can do better, then come and show us!” challenged Tewanima.

Two 50-year-old men stepped forward.

“According to the New York Times report, they had essentially no clothes on, no shoes on, and looked like they were dying of consumption,” Gilbert said.

However, “By the time they reached the six-mile mark, those older men were so far ahead that Louis Tewanima and Philip Zeyouma dropped out of the race.”

The two 50-year-olds crossed the finish line “and just kept going,” Gilbert said.

So neither Tewanima nor Zeyouma was the fastest Hopi. And yet, Gilbert argued, they deserve to be honored, particularly Tewanima.

“This new generation of Hopi runners represented a transition in Hopi running,” the historian said.

“Whereas before people ran for transportation, and for religious reasons,” Gilbert said, “Tewanima ran as an ambassador of his people. He used running to create a privileged condition for himself at the Indian school. He used running to broaden his experience of the world.”

And as for the Louis Tewanima Footrace, “it gives testimony to the importance of running in Hopi society,” Gilbert said. “It celebrates the continuity of Hopi running.”

A record crowd of 361 runners would seem to agree.

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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.

Launch of new Hopi Petroglyph Sites web portal

Click image to be directed to Hopi Petroglyph Sites web portal

See also: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111219006532/en/University-Redlands-Professor-Research-Basis-Hopi-Petroglyph


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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