Several months ago Yale University Press asked me to write the new Foreword to the second edition of Don C. Talayesva’s book Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian. The book was originally published in 1942. Yale will release the second edition in December of this year.
Talayesva was from the village of Old Oraibi (Orayvi) on Third Mesa. As a young man, he had been educated in western schools, including Sherman Institute, but eventually returned home to live according to Hopi ways and customs.
In the 1930s and early 1940s, he worked alongside a white anthropologist named Leo W. Simmons to write and publish his autobiography.
In the new Foreword, I situate Sun Chief within contemporary Hopi studies, and explore the ways scholars have used the book since its publication more than seventy years ago.
The Hopi Tawa image on the cover is of a mural by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie of Shungopavi. I collaborated with Kabotie’s grandson, Ed Kabotie, the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, the National Parks Service, and the Press to help get this image on the cover.