Saturday, August 3, 2013

Awesome Arizona - Hopi Reservation

Hopi are surrounded by Navajo.
On National Public Radio (NPR) the other day, the announcer said that the Hopi Reservation was suing the Navajo Nation because the Hopi were being prevented from crossing Navajo property to reach their sacred lands.  It's no wonder the Hopi are frustrated.  Their entire reservation in Arizona is completely surrounded by the Navajo Nation.

Relations between these two tribes have never been particularly friendly, but you won't see signs of that discord when visiting the Reservation.  The proud Hopi have maintained their traditions and culture for hundreds of years, and they happily share it with visitors.

Their one request is that no one take photographs.  They want people to appreciate their culture first-hand, not through a camera lens.  David and I chafed at that restriction at first, but we discovered that not having to worry about taking the perfect shot allowed us to experience fully the places we were seeing without any distractions.  

The road leading from Winslow to the Reservation is, once again in this northeastern corner of Arizona, just a sliver of tarmac crossing a barren land.

This road must have led to a house or two, but there was no evidence that people were anywhere around.

Poverty is evident everywhere on the Reservation with houses in various states of disrepair and few of the parks or landscaping we usually see in most American towns.  We respected the no-photo
rule in the villages, but decided it was okay to take this photo of the Post Office.

The Hopi Cultural Center is well worth the small admission charge.  For a closer look at village life, guides can be arranged in advance or you can drive to some of the places yourself.  Just follow the signs pointing the way to a village, but be prepared for some white-knuckle views as the Hopi love to build on the tip of mountains.
This 10-mile-per-hour road with hairpin turns led to a village clinging to the hilltop.

Practicalities -

There are many Hopi guides who will be happy to help you appreciate their culture.  Friends recommended Gary Tso-Left Handed Hunter Tour Co at (928) 206-7928 or (928) 734-2567.

Remember that the Hopi Reservation does not follow daylight savings time while the Navajo Nation does. That means you can begin driving in Winslow, Arizona, at 9:00 and be in Navajo Nation in a few miles where it is 10:00 before reaching your final destination in the Hopi Reservation where it will only be 9:45.

No liquor can be bought or sold in the Hopi Reservation.  If you will miss your evening glass of wine, be sure to bring it with you. 

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