For the first time in the history of the Hopi people a Hopi Kikmongwi is sharing his NAVOTI with an outsider and now with this book, with the world. He risked criticism from his people, but he says it is now time to share this knowledge with the rest of the world. His major concern is that this knowledge will be lost to the younger generations of the Hopi people.
Hopi Stanley Bahnimptewa, Sr. Kikmongwi of Old Oraibi, Arizona told me the kind of book he wanted to be written. This book is his story, his legends, his thoughts and wishes for his people and their future.
The Hopi people are the only tribe in American that has never fought the United States Army and has never signed a peace treaty with the United States government. In this, they are unique in the annuals of American history. They are known as the “Peaceful People”, but they will be the first to tell you that they are warriors, and have fought many battles with other Indian tribes. They have lived on the three mesas and the land surrounding them for thousands of years, until the nineteen thirties, when the government declared that the reservation would be allotted according to the population of the tribes of the Hopi and Navajos. At that time most of the land the Hopi had used for centuries became Navajo land. In the summer of 1989, I visited with the Kikmongwi (chief) of the village of Old Oraibi on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona. The village of Old Oraibi has been continuously inhabited for over 2,000 years and is the oldest existing city in the United States. I was there to ask his permission to write a book on the Hopi people and his village. At that time I had in mind a totally different kind of book, he said he would think on this and let me know. Shortly after my return to my home in Kentucky, I was contacted by the Kikmongwi’s spokesman. The chief wanted to know when I would be returning to do the book. This was his way of letting me know that he had given me his permission.
In February of 1990, I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in order to be close to the reservation and the work I would be doing.
Cody, Wyoming Raine A. Taylor December 10, 1999
Someday I hoped someone would help me do this, then I would share with such a person my Navoti, then Raine Taylor agreed to cooperate with me on this book, and with the help of my spokesman, Caleb Johnson, to translate the Hopi language into English. This has been done. What I am saying are my own words, my own thoughts, not anyone else’s. Thus, this is my responsibility, for I had dreamed how someone would help me so I could share with people as to how the Hopi are. I did not wish to keep this knowledge to myself, but I wanted to share it.
The words which make up this book are mine only. I accept full responsibility for them and will not give that responsibility to anyone else.
However, much of what is in this book was passed down to me from my father, Tawaquaptewa, the former Kikmongwi of Oraibi. He would tell me his Navoti in story form. He has persuaded me that I am to share all these things, so I have talked about everything.
The only other thing that I will say is that I am extremely grateful this has now been accomplished.
“Qua Qai” (Thank you) Stanley Bahnimptewa, Sr. Kikmongwi Old Oraibi, Arizona March, 1993
Sometimes books are written ahead of their times and I feel this is one of those books, in 1993 publishers thought it was a great book but not the right time for the public or the Hopi tribe to accept it. I hope now that nearly 20 years have past and you as a potential reader will accept the book as it is written, in the old chief’s own words and how he wanted the story of his people told.