Today I read a blog about an American who now lives in Boquete, Panama. This week he visited the Hopi Reservation and took a picture of a home at Orayvi on Third Mesa and posted it to his blog called Boquete Panama Guide. Here is what he writes:
It has been years since my last visit and I wanted to see if the life of the Hopi had changed. Everything was closed, the poverty obvious and although there were signs up not to take photos I took one of this dwelling.
Recently a friend asked me why Hopis post signs at the entrance of their villages that forbid tourists from taking photos. I told him that one of the reasons is because Hopis want to protect their privacy.
Think of it in this way…
Imagine that you live in a remote area of North America that receives thousands of tourists each year. Your house is unlike most homes in the United States. It is made of sandstones and situated close to a highway. Throughout the year tourists zoom by your house, abruptly stop their cars, roll down their windows, and snap photos of your home. Sometimes this happens when you are sitting out front drinking ice tea and visiting with members of your family. Other times your children are playing outside. But it does not matter to the tourists if anyone is home, or whether people are outside. All they want is a photo of your home, and to them, the photo is only enhanced if you and your children are part of it. You sometimes wonder what people do with these photos. You imagine that some people put the picture of your home in a photo album, a book, make postcards and calendars from it, or sell it.
Concerned about your family’s privacy, you decide that enough is enough and so you put a sign in your front yard that reads: “Please do not take photos of my home.” And then you wait. It does not take long for the next tourist to drive by. He slows down. He reads the sign, then looks at your home, then reads the sign again. A Nikon camera is laying on the passenger seat. He finds himself in a dilemma, but he decides to honor your request. Five minutes later, another car approaches your home. These people stop and read your sign, then look around to see if anyone is looking, roll down their window, take several photos of your home and speed away. This happens day after day and it will only increase during the summer months.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert