It took over a year, but I finally managed to get my hands on the Hopi book I bought at the Grand Canyon. Matt was slowly reading it (as he had time), and our lovely Taiji had munched the back pages, so that I had to go to Amazon.com and get another copy.
Native American creation stories (please don't call them myths), are so very interesting and show a keen understanding of the world around them. The Hopis were, and are, a fascinating people with a very structured and easy to understand belief system. I knew the basics of the Hopi, after living near them, and personally knowing some Hopi while in New Mexico.
From their beautiful ceremonies to the awesome kachinas (we have a beautiful Hopi made Wolf kachina), I just fell in love with the people. They are really a wonderful and beautiful group. I never had a chance however to learn much about them ( I was near and hiring people from nine tribes, and needed to be familiar with their ways). When we were in Sedona in 2009, we went to a few sites where there were Hopi pictographs including a calendar that was about 20 feet tall carved in the rock. There were many groups that used this rock to commemorate important events. Learning that the Hopi knew the world was round well before Copernicus, I wanted to know even more about them. They knew the seasons, the planets, and so much that most of the world didn't have a clue about. They were obviously keen observers. This sparked my interest to learn even more about them. I knew little bits and pieces, but not how it all fit together, I was so excited to have my new book.
After a long day of hiking we settled in one night, Matt had forgotten to bring his book, so I handed over the Hopi to him....he held them hostage for over a year. Now I have them firmly seated on my nightstand, and I started reading about their creation story last night. This book that I have is not just their creation story, but their history as well, and I already know that is also a fascinating one.
Most creation stories in the Native American world have many "gods", and even some "minor" deities or messengers (like the kachina). There is no dogma, nor Savior (they didn't need one, they asked for forgiveness and help constantly), and there was a reason for everything that happened. The Hopi even knew why their ceremonies didn't always work (someone was not thinking the right thoughts as the ritual progressed). They are a very simple, yet complicated people. Their culture is rich, and they are surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres called the Navajo Nation. They and the Navajo were not always friendly, and yes some cultural aspects leaked over from one to the other, but they somehow maintained their autonomy.
When you understand the Native American way of thinking , you will understand much. It is different than other groups, and it is way that is wonderful, loving, and a life of learning, respect and humbleness. Pick up a creation story. It doesn't matter which one, there are several out there. However if you want to read about a highly intelligent, brave, skilled, and still vibrant Nation, pick up The Book of The Hopi by Frank Waters. You will be amazed at how well advanced the Nations of the Southwestern area of Turtle Island were, and are.
Those who can step back and shed their way of modern thinking and what has been drilled into their heads for a lifetime, will honestly have a new perspective that shows a way that needs none of the modern beliefs to live a well structured and wonderful life. These people had a great way, and still do! Once you understand Native American thought and beliefs you can better understand rites and rituals. You will know why it is improper to some things that are held sacred by the NA community, and why they must be done a certain way in some circumstances. You will know why you can't leave out bits and pieces and what is really important in life.
When in AZ, travel to the Navajo and Hopi reservations, they rugged land in beautiful, and so are the people.
(C)2011 Dr. RM Reiter Wolf. May not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.