Posts Tagged 'Museum of Northern Arizona'

Museum of Northern Arizona director condemns Paris auction of Hopi and other Native ceremonial objects

The following post was taken from the Facebook page of the Museum of Northern Arizona. I thank Director Dr. Robert Breunig for granting me permission to repost his letters (English and French versions) on BeyondtheMesas.com. Please distribute widely.

______________________________________________

Museum of Northern Arizona Facebook page:

An auction house in Paris, France, Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou, plans to auction off 70 ceremonial katsina friends, improperly translated into English as “masks,” on April 12. Below is an open letter in both English and French to the auction house, in which Museum of Northern Arizona Director Dr. Robert Breunig voices his condemnation of this planned sale of significant religious objects, adding MNA to the public opposition to this sale by the Hopi and Zuni tribal members, the Heard Museum, and many individuals.

______________________________________________
March 29, 2013

Étude Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou
Commissaires-Priseurs
8, Rue Saint-Marc
75002 Paris FRANCE

To the Directors,

I am the director of the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona. If the name of the museum is familiar to you, it is because this museum was founded by Harold S. Colton, my predecessor and the author of “Hopi Kachina Dolls,” the book you have cited as an authoritative source in the listing of 70 Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, and Jemez “masques katsinam,” properly called “katsina friends” and advertised for an auction by your firm on April 12, 2013.

I am writing to request that you cancel this auction, withdraw the katsina friends from sale, and that they be returned by the “owner” to the Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, and Jemez people. I have placed quotation marks around the word “owner,” because no one can “own” them but the Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, and Jemez people. Although katsina friends can be held and cared for by individuals, they belong to the communities from which they come or to specific ceremonial societies. Under tribal custom and law they cannot be sold or given away by an individual.

I can tell you from personal knowledge that the proposed sale of these katsina friends, and the international exposure of them, is causing outrage, sadness, and stress among members of the affected tribes. For them katsina friends are living beings; that is why they are called “friends” (kwatsi) in the Hopi language. The friends are loved, cared for, and ceremonially fed. They are a connection between the human world and the spirits of all living things and the ancestors. To be displayed disembodied in your catalogue and on the internet is sacrilegious and offensive. If one claims to value these katsina friends as “works of art,” one must also respect the people who made them and the native traditions that govern their use. And, as fellow human beings, it is my hope that you will offer understanding and empathy to the tribal people who are so deeply affected by this proposed sale. You cannot honor and value these katsina friends while dishonoring their makers. These are universal principles of cross-cultural human conduct.

On behalf of the Museum of Northern Arizona, I appeal to your sense of decency and humanity, and request that you terminate the auction and send these katsina friends to their proper homes among the native people in Arizona and New Mexico.

Sincerely,
Robert G. Breunig, Ph.D.
Director, Museum of Northern Arizona

_______________________________________________
Ce 29 mars 2013, Flagstaff

Étude Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou
Commissaires-Priseurs
8, Rue Saint-Marc
75002 Paris FRANCE

Messieurs les Directeurs:

C’est dans ma capacité de Directeur du Museum of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff, Arizona, États-Unis) que je me permets de vous contacter. Le nom de notre musée vous est connu : son fondateur, mon prédécesseur Harold S. Colton, fut l’auteur du livre Hopi Kachina Dolls que vous citez comme source d’autorité dans votre catalogue de 70 “masques katsinam” – plus correctement nommés des amis katsinam – présentés pour une vente aux enchères de votre établissement, prévue pour ce 12 avril 2013.

Je vous écris pour demander dès aujourd’hui l’annulation de cette vente ; le retrait desdits amis katsinam de toute vente présente ou future ; et surtout, que ceux-ci puissent être restitués aux peuples Hopi, Zuni, Acoma et Jemez par leur « propriétaire ». Si je mets entre guillemets ce dernier, c’est que nul ne peut être en « possession » des amis katsinam, à part les peuple Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, et Jemez dont ils proviennent. Je tiens par ailleurs à vous assurer par ma propre expérience récente et personnelle, que cette vente annoncée des amis katsinam, ainsi que leur exposition publique et internationale, est source d’outrage, tristesse et angoisse – profonds et réels – parmi les membres des tribus concernées. Pour eux, les amis katsinam sont des êtres vivants : raison pour laquelle la langue Hopi les dénomme « amis » (kwatsi). Les kwatsi sont aimés, chéris, nourris de façon rituelle. Ils incarnent le lien entre le monde humain, les esprits de tout ce qui vit, et les ancêtres. Se trouver ainsi exposés – désincarnés – dans votre catalogue et sur Internet, est une offense profonde, un sacrilège. Si les amis katsina peuvent être soignés et tenus entre mains humaines, ils appartiennent seules aux communautés dont ils sont issus, spécifiquement à leurs sociétés cérémonielles. Par coutume et par loi tribale, leur vente, donation ou dation par qui que ce soit, est proscrite.

Quiconque prétend estimer ces amis katsina comme « œuvres d’art » se doit en parallèle de respecter les peuples qui les ont crées, et les traditions amérindiennes qui gouvernent leur utilisation. Aussi, sur un plan purement humain, devriez-vous étendre votre compréhension, voire votre empathie, envers les peuples tribaux si profondément affectés par cette vente dont vous êtes l’organisateur. On ne peut apprécier et estimer ces amis katsina tout en déshonorant leurs créateurs. Il s’agit de principes universels, et d’une conduite humaine digne de ce nom…

Au nom du Museum of Northern Arizona, je fais appel à votre sens de décence et d’humanité en vous priant de supprimer cette vente, et de faire parvenir ces amis katsina à leur seul vrai lieu d’appartenance : chez les peuples amérindiens de l’Arizona et New Mexico, afin que ceux-ci puissent en disposer selon leur rite et coutume.

Je vous prie, Messieurs les Directeurs, de recevoir l’expression mon sentiment respectueux et profondément déconcerté.

Robert G. Breunig, Ph.D.
Director, Museum of Northern Arizona

Running Spirit by Hopi video producer Alexander D. Chapin

I came across an interesting YouTube video on running by Hopi video producer Alexander D. Chapin. The video appeared on YouTube in November 2010. I do not know much about Chapin, except that he has produced a number of short videos on-line. A few years ago, Chapin discovered interview tapes of his grandfather James (Jimmy) S. Kewanwytewa and he used a section of the interview on running to make Running Spirit. Kewanwytewa was from Orayvi on Third Mesa. Some people consider him to be the most famous Hopi kachina carver of the twentieth century. In addition to carving, he spent several years working with zoologist Harold S. Colton, co-founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona, to identify a large collection of kachina dolls. Below is the YouTube commentary that goes with the video:

I recently (2009) obtained an audio recording of my Great Grandfather Jimmy Kewanwytewa. In this recording I chose one of the stories he told and composed music to it.

My Great Grandfather was Hopi Indian and was known for being a talented distance runner. So in this story he tells about a time when he was headed home from work and saw someone running ahead of him, so he thought he would go an catch up with that person on his way home.

But the entire way to the Oraibi village, as talented as a runner that my great grandfather was said to be, he could not catch up with that person. Afterwards he told his father what happened and his father laughed at him and told him the same thing happen to him one time, and that he was never going to catch that person because that person was a spirit.

I created this video for the song in a rush so I could share this song with everyone but hope to produce a better video in the future.

Watch & listen or just listen & enjoy my most accomplished musical composition to date.

Thank you.

Shot & Edited by Alexander D. Chapin
Alexander D. C. Productions

Photographs of the 2010 Hopi Show

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photographs by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Every year before I attend the annual Hopi Show at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, I intend on taking many photographs of the event. However, once I arrive at the venue, I end up spending most of my time visiting with family, friends and talking to the artists and vendors.

Prior to photographing someone at the Hopi Show, I ask their permission and explain to them how I plan on using their photo. This year I gave people my business card with the BEYOND THE MESAS web address written on the back. I told people that their photo would appear on my blog within the next few weeks.

Many thanks to everyone who agreed to have their picture taken for this post.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Hopi radio KUYI 88.1 FM live stream

Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Last weekend I attended the 77th Annual Hopi Show at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff and spoke with volunteer DJ “Jimbo” (pictured on the left) and Richard Alun Davis (pictured in the center), Station Manager for KUYI 88.1 FM, the official radio station of the Hopi Tribe. They informed me that the radio station is now being transmitted via a live stream on the internet.

In addition to playing a variety of music from rock-n-roll, reggae, country western, and religious selections, KUYI is committed to  broadcasting programs in the Hopi language. Other programs focus on Hopi health, education, farming, and youth.

When I spoke with Davis at the Hopi Show, I asked him if KUYI would be willing to transmit the audio of Beyond the Mesas. He seemed very interested in the idea. Once we finalize the details, I will make an announcement on my blog.

To listen to the live stream of KUYI, please click on the following link: http://www.kuyi.net/listen-online

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Hopi Show at Museum of Northern Arizona

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Since the 1930s, more than 60 artists have come together each year to sell and demonstrate their art to the public at the annual Hopi Show.  Held on the 4th of July weekend at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, the Hopi Show attracts thousands of visitors from around the world to witness and experience authentic Hopi art, dance, music, and food.

In addition to the artists, several vendors and Hopi organizations such as the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, the Hopi Foundation, and the Black Mesa Trust participate in the event. The show organizers also provide special activities for children, including crafts, ceramics, and an exhibit where kids learn to grind corn and make piki (paper-thin bread) according to the Hopi way.

The above slideshow consists of photographs that I took at the 76th Hopi Show in 2009. This year, the Hopi Show will take place July 3-4. For more information, please click on the following link: http://www.nativeart.net/nativeamericanartshow/indianmarket/hopi-festival-of-arts-and-culture-2010-j0zij5.php

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2019. 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 and Head of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 887 other followers

Revisiting the Hopi Boarding School Experience at Sherman Institute and the Process of Making Research Meaningful to Community (JAIE, 2018)

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Introduction to Education beyond the Mesas (2010)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Foreward to Don Talayesva’s Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian (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 (HEQ, 2014)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (WHQ, 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930 (AQ, 2010)

The Hopi Followers: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909 (JAIE, 2005)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

Blog Stats

  • 166,106 hits

Categories


%d bloggers like this: