Good Read: The Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters
In this strange and wonderful book, thirty elders of the ancient Hopi tribe of Northern Arizona–a people who regard themselves as the first inhabitan. In this strange and wonderful book, thirty elders of the ancient Hopi tribe of Northern Arizona–a people who regard themselves as the first inhabitants of America–freely reveal the Hopi worldview for the first time in written form. The Hopi kept this view a secret for countless centuries, and anthropologists have long struggled to understand it. Now they record their myths and legends, and the meaning of their religious rituals and ceremonies, as a gift to future generations. Here is a reassertion of a rhythm of life we have tragically repressed; and a reminder that we must attune ourselves to the need for inner change if we are to avert a cataclysmic rupture between our minds and hearts.
Kate Lochte says:
“From what I can gather the Hopi didn’t like Frank Waters’ The Book of Hopi because it brought in a lot of gringo new-age people visiting the mesas of their villages, seeking a religious bonding with the tribe that considers itself the first people on earth. And apparently serious anthropologists dismiss the book for its unscientific exposition.
“Frank Waters wrote the book in 1963. His foundation website shows he wrote several novels as well as other “non-fiction” works like The Book of Hopi. Waters said that he learned all about the Hopi traditions and religions from conversations with elders. Reading takes you into the kivas, into the past, and describes in great detail the cycle of ceremonies, the significance of Kachinas, the Hopis struggles with the Navajo, the Catholic missionaries, the Spanish, and the U.S. Government. There are diagrams of petroglyphs and discussions of what symbols mean. There are black and white archival pictures of Hopi taken by an early Mormon missionary to the tribe. There’s a chilling story of the Hopis obliterating the people and property of their own village Awatovi because of its hosting Spanish Catholic missionaries.
“Read this book to start catching up with the very oldest Americans one doesn’t learn about in school (or at least not when I went to school). I hope First Nation history is part of the curricula now and children are learning about our own ancient peoples as best they can. Shame on the historians who ceded telling their tales to Hollywood.”
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