This week I’ve been writing a lot about Hopi corn beyond the mesas. And yet, the more I write about Hopi corn in Illinois, the more I think about corn back home. Here’s a scene (depicted in the photo) that one can never replicate in the Midwest, or any other place besides the Hopi mesas of northeastern Arizona.
This afternoon I took a break from grading final exams to check on our corn, which students from the University of Illinois planted last week. As many of you know, we are filming this corn for a film by Victor Masayesva, Jr. titled “Maize.”
When I arrived at the plot, I was glad to see that our corn was coming up.
The first photo is of Hopi sweet corn (twaktsi), and the second one shows Tzeltal corn (teosinte) of southern Mexico. They are planted next to each other.
I also added a few photos to give readers a sense of the plot and surrounding area.
I took this photo on Point Vicente in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. I wanted to capture the calmness of the ocean and the layers of colors reflecting off the sky and sea. From the shore, the sailboat in the foreground seemed so small and insignificant amidst the ocean’s vastness.
In May of this year, I photographed our cat, Twila, stalking a bird in our yard. Although Twila is a great “mouser,” she tends to be gentle with birds. She plays with them (similar to the way she plays with spiders), and then lets them go. This bird was no exception. Thirty minutes after I took the photo, I saw the bird perched in a nearby tree. No longer interested in playing with the bird, Twila moved on to stalking bigger and better things, including a squirrel. But unlike the birds, squirrels in our neighborhood refuse to play with her. She gets the same response from the raccoons.
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.
A few weeks ago I traveled with my family to San Francisco for my sister-in-law’s wedding. We stayed in a house that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. Below are other photographs that I took of that trip. The last photograph is of Alcatraz Island. When I took this photo, I was reminded of an important and difficult time in Hopi history.
In November 1894, Hopi leaders at Orayvi refused to accept U.S. government policies, including the forced removal of Hopi children to government-run schools. Consequently, officials arrested 19 of these leaders and shortly thereafter transferred the Hopi prisoners to Alcatraz Island.
Separated from their families and village community, they remained on the Island from January 1895 to September of the same year. Although I wrote briefly about this topic in Education beyond the Mesas, historian Wendy Holliday has written much more on the Hopi prisoners in a two-part essay entitled “Hopi History: The Story of the Alcatraz Prisoners.”
For those interested in learning more about the Hopi leaders who were imprisoned on Alcatraz Island, you can access both parts of this article by clicking on the following links:http://www.nps.gov/archive/alcatraz/tours/hopi/hopi-h1.htm and http://www.nps.gov/archive/alcatraz/tours/hopi/hopi-h2.htm
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert