One More for the Hopi

[The following post includes the first few pages of a new book that I am writing entitled Modern Encounters of the Hopi Past]

Introduction – One More for the Hopi

Screen Shot 2019-12-30 at 12.26.26 PM
Emory Sekaquaptewa, Photo courtesy of the Navajo-Hopi Observer

When I was a young scholar, I had the opportunity to speak with Hopi elder Emory Sekaquaptewa, who at the time was professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I had traveled to campus to interview for a faculty position in the Department of American Indian Studies, and he graciously took time out of his busy schedule to visit with me. He inquired about my family, and I shared with him school records that I uncovered about his father at the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, California.

He spoke to me as my elder. He was gracious, welcoming, and kind, but he was also very direct. He seemed disappointed that I wanted to return to Arizona so early in my career, explaining positive reasons for our people to spend time away from home. We discussed several topics during our visit. But there was one that proved especially meaningful to me and serves as the intellectual energy behind this book: “I want to write a history book with you that we can use back home,” he said to me, “for our teachers and students.” 

Emory knew the significance for Hopi people to write their own history. And he knew the importance for Hopi scholars to share that knowledge with a wide audience, including those in our village communities. Emory had grown up in the village of Hotevilla Screen Shot 2019-12-30 at 12.17.01 PMon the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. His willingness to receive an education beyond the mesas and teach at a university, paved the way for other Hopi academics such as myself. He showed us how to excel at a research institution. And he demonstrated the importance for us to meet scholarly expectations while remaining closely connected to home.

Having navigated the world of our people and that of an American university, Emory was familiar with the academic and cultural terrain that lay before me and other Hopi scholars. He realized that for us to excel in the academy, we needed to publish our work. And he knew that for me to succeed as a Hopi historian, I needed to provide research that was meaningful and useful to my people. 

The co-author of books and numerous articles, Emory also understood the power of the printed word, and of its ability to carry the Hopi voice to a diverse and sometimes unexpected audience. Not long after I started working at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I taught a class on Native American religious traditions. Among the readings that I assigned to my students was a chapter by Emory entitled “One More Smile for a Hopi Clown.” In it, Emory explains the meaning of clowning in Hopi culture. He describes in great detail skits between the clowns, katsina dancers, and spectators in a village plaza.

Screen Shot 2019-12-30 at 12.20.20 PM
University of Illinois, Photo courtesy of E. Jason Wambsgangs, Chicago Tribune

The drama unfolding in the plaza and on the pages of Emory’s chapter captivated the minds of my students. Emory likely never imagined that forty years after he published the essay, students and a Hopi professor in Illinois would be contemplating his every word. He took us with him to a different world, a world of Hopi ceremony, laughter, and clowning. He forced us to consider the value of lightheartedness and the role of humor and self-awareness. And through story and by his example he taught us to not take life or ourselves too seriously. For as Emory so aptly reminds us, the “heart of the concept of Hopi clowning is that we are all clowns.”

To be continued…

Historians have their books

IMG_0099
My library. A mix of books on the Hopi, Indian education, American sport studies, Southwest Indian studies, American Indian studies, American West, and Native American history (broadly).

Over the years I have amassed a large collection of books on the Hopi. My bookcases give evidence of this obsession.

Even as I write, I am looking at these books, and they are looking back at me. Some are on Hopi religious ceremonies, language, and history. Two of them I wrote.

Still others are biographical accounts, written during a bygone time in American history.  Regardless of topic or genre, they are a reminder of those who came before and after me.

A canon that I have contributed to and have grown to appreciate. A foundation that I have built on, but that has also shaped and built me.

Carpenters have their saws and chisels.

Historians?

Well, we have our books.

Hopi Runners wins 2019 David J. Weber-Clements Prize

I am pleased to announce that my book on Hopi long distance runners has won the 2019 David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize for “best non-fiction book on Southwestern America.”

The award is presented annually by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies and the Western History Association. I received the award last week at the Western History Association conference, which was held at the Westgate Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

This would not have been possible without the support of many people over the years who encouraged me as I wrote and completed the book. To them, I extend a heartfelt Kwakwha!

Screen Shot 2019-10-26 at 12.04.54 PM

 

Hopi Runners – Preface, Acknowledgments, and Introduction

I am pleased to pass along the Preface, Acknowledgments, and Introduction to my book Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American, compliments of the University Press of Kansas. Click image to download.

Also, for those who might be interested, the University Press of Kansas is currently having a 30% off sale (and free shipping) on all books, including Hopi Runners. The sale will last from now until December 15, 2018. Use promotion code HOLI30 when you make your order. The discount and free shipping brings the cost down to about $20 for the book.

Screenshot 2018-11-22 10.27.18

Revisiting the Hopi Boarding School Experience at Sherman Institute and the Process of Making Research Meaningful to Community

Screenshot 2018-10-27 11.11.31

“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.

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 10.54.52 AM

UPCOMING TALK: “Hopi Runner Harry Chaca and the 1929 Vallejo Pre-Olympic National Marathon”, UC Riverside, February 7

I am scheduled to give a talk entitled “Hopi Runner Harry Chaca and the 1929 Vallejo Pre-Olympic National Marathon” this Thursday February 7 at 1:30PM.

My presentation is part of the two-day symposium, “Sherman Institute: The American Indian Boarding School Experience”, which will be held at UC Riverside’s Costo Library.

For more information about the gathering, please visit UC Riverside, Sherman Indian High School Host Symposium

Below is the schedule for the event:

Sherman Institute: The American Indian Boarding School Experience

February 7, 2013: Costo Library (4th Floor Rivera Library)

9 AM: Wlecome by Clifford E. Trafzer and Lorene Sisquoc, Moderators

Invocation by Henry Vasquez

9:30-10: David Adams (Cleveland St. University), “What We Don’t Know about the
History of Indian Boarding Schools”

10-10:30: Robert McCoy (Washington St. University), “Building to Assimilate:
Mission Architecture of Sherman Institute”

10:30-11: Diana Bahr (UCLA), “Robert Kennedy and Sherman Institute, A Promise
Fulfilled.”

11-11:30: Leleua Loupe (CSU Fullerton), “A Network of Control: Exploiting
Indigenous Labor in the West”

11:30-12: Kevin Whalen (UCR), “Indian School and Company Town: Sherman
Student-Laborers at Fontana Farms Company, 1907-1930″

Lunch Break

1:30-2: Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (University of Illinois), “Hopi Runner Harry
Chaca and the 1929 Vallejo Pre-Olympic National Marathon”

2-2:30: William O. Medina (Riverside Community College), “Patriotic Indians at
Sherman Institute”

2:30-3: Jason Davis (CSU San Bernardino), “Paradigm Shift: Assimilation to
Preservation at Sherman Indian School”

3-3:30: Kathleen Bartosh (UCLA), “Domesticity and Defense: The Female Experience
at the Sherman Institute, 1930-1960.”

3:30-4: Jean Keller (Palomar College), “Before Sherman Institute: The Perris Indian
School.”

Rupert Costo Chair, California Center for Native Nations, Native American Student
Programs, Native American Educational Program of UC Riverside and the Sherman
Indian Museum offer this Symposium as Sponsors.

—————————————————————————————————

Sherman Institute: The American Indian Boarding School Experience

February 8, 2013, Sherman Indian High School Auditorium

9-10:  Panel 1,  Former Students, Staff, and Faculty

10-11:  Panel 2,  Current Students, Staff, and Faculty

11-12:  Panel 3,  Sherman Scholars and Historians

12-1:  Lunch Break

1-4:  Sherman School Museum is Open

2-3:  Visit to Sherman School Cemetery

Symposium is sponsored by the Sherman School Museum and Costo Chair, California Center for Native Nations, Native American Educational Program,

and Native American Student Programs of UC Riverside.