Tom Bauyacya: Hopi Translator and Tribal Leader

A Plowboy Interview with Tom Bauyacya, a tribal leader of the Hopi — People of Peace.

| November/December 1971

  • hopiweb
    The Hopis.

  • hopiweb

Translated literally, the word Hopi means "People of Peace" and the Hopis are the only tribe of American Indians that never fought the white man. Their culture is an old and proud one. Even modern anthropologists — always quick to date everything within recent and safe times  trace the oldest Hopi Village, Oraibi, back to about 1200 A.D. The Hopis (who, perhaps, know better) believe that Oraibi is the original settlement built by the survivors of the destruction of Mu or Lemuria and think that Old Oraibi has been inhabited for at least 4500 years, or since approximately 2500 B. C. 

Today, the remaining seven or eight thousand Hopis still reside in their traditional homeland  three flat, sandy mesas that tower above the seemingly endless Painted Desert ofnorthern Arizona  and ask only to be left alone to maintain their way of life and ancient religion. But the tribe faces bitter times. Their tiny reservation is surrounded by a sea of hostile Navajos and the U.S. Government is making a maximum effort to annihilate the Hopi culture.  

The government's weapons are food, Christianity and "education" and the Bureau of Indian Affair has used these tools to — among other thingscreate The Hopi Tribal Council, a puppet organization which the Bureau controls and manipulates.  

The Council has signed a contract with Peabody Coal Company, a division of Kennecott Copper Corporation, to strip mine the Four Corners area where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet. The traditional Hopis know only too well that Peabody (a company that has already ravaged large areas of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states) will destroy the delicate ecology of the desert region where they live and the real tribal leaders are trying to institute legal action against all parties involved in the devastation of what they regard as the spiritual center of this continent.  

Mick and Lini Wheelock attended a portion of the kachina parade this year on the day of the Hopis' Bean Dance and talked with two of the traditionaltribe's spokesmen Tom Bauyacya and David Mononguie.

PLOWBOY: Tom, how old are you and David?  

4/23/2010 12:41:23 PM

I have to say I am a white american but try each and every day to be a better person and live the 'Old Ways'. What I mean by this is living from the land and freedom to do what we each believe is spiritual and healthy for us to survive. I share my belief with others every chance I get, I know that it might not make as big of an impact as government can but I will never stop trying. I firmly believe the earth is our home and it has everything here we need to survive, there is no need to invent things. Our society is going so fast and loosing touch of what is really important each and every day to survive. I wrote this comment after reading 'Tom Bauyacya: Hopi Translator and Tribal Leader' article/interview on this site. I have to say the government is wrong in treating these people like they do. What happened to freedom of religion/spirituality and home schooling. Living here in the US really makes me question each and every day if we will survive and for how long. We all have to do our part, I do each and every day, I find time to help others no matter who.

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