This Saturday August 6, Hopi runner Juwan Nuvayokva and the village of Oraivi will host the annual Oraivi 8K Footrace and 2 Mile Fun Run and Walk. The 8K race will begin at 6:30AM. Be sure to arrive early if you intend to run but have not yet registered. And bring extra cash with you to buy coffee, breakfast burritos, and race t-shirts and mugs. Kwakwha’ to all those who keep our trails open by running in this event!
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
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.
Shot & Edited by Alexander D. Chapin
Alexander D. C. Productions
Photographs by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
For the past five years, Juwan Nuvayokva, an accomplished Hopi long distance runner, has organized the Oraivi 8K Footrace and 2 Mile Fun Run and Walk on the Hopi Reservation. Both races begin and end in the village of Oraivi on Third Mesa.
Last summer I received permission from Nuvayokva to take pictures of the Oraivi Footrace, which was held on August 9, 2009. When I arrived at the venue, I was informed that the person scheduled to photograph the race was unable to attend, and so the organizers designated me as the “official photographer” for the event.
Some of my pictures are posted on the Oraivi Footrace website, including other photos by George Silas and Lavanya Polacca. The above slideshow includes 41 of the nearly 1,800 photographs that I took of the race.
This year’s Oraivi 8K Footrace and 2 Mile Fun Run and Walk will take place on Sunday August 8, 2010. All individuals are encouraged to participate. There will also be a new race called the 1/2 Mile Kids Dash. For more information, please visit the Oraivi Footrace website at http://oraivifootrace.com/1.html
If you are pictured in the slideshow, and you would like a high-resolution copy of the photograph, feel free to contact me and I will send you the picture via email: email@example.com
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
When I started researching on the Hopi boarding school experience at Sherman Institute, I thought for sure that I would come across many references of Polingaysi Qoyawayma (Elizabeth Q. White) at the Sherman Indian Museum. She is, after all, one of the school’s most famous alums. I looked in the Sherman Bulletin, the school’s student-written newspaper. I examined various letterpress books and other school records, but I never came across her name.
While conducting research at the National Archives in Laguna Niguel, California, I uncovered a file with a name similar to Polingaysi Qoyawayma written on the tab. I thought I found the documents that I had been searching for. But when I examined the records closely I discovered that the file belonged to someone else.
In an attempt to find clues that would lead me to archival information on Qoyawayma, I reread Don Talayesva’s autobiography Sun Chief. Talayesva and Qoyawayma attended Sherman at the same time. They both came from Orayvi and likely traveled with each other to the school in November 1906. But nowhere in Talayesva’s book does he mention her name.
Fortunately, one does need to depend on Talayesva or an archive to learn about Qoyawayma’s experience at the Indian school in Riverside. Although the archival record may appear to be silent, at least in reference to her time at Sherman, her story remains with her family, others who knew her, and in her book No Turning Back.
The documents that I searched for may never surface. They may not even exist. But Qoyawayma has already shared with us about her school days at Sherman Institute. She has already provided us with the archive, the documents, and the narrative of her life.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert