Walpi Village, Hopi Lands, Northern Arizona
July 20, 2007 1:37 PM   Subscribe

Visiting Northern Arizona? Well, of course you should see the canyon. However, you might want to skip that sky walk nonsense. Instead you might want to visit Walpi village on the Hopi Lands. The Hopi have lived out there on three mesas (an island inside another reservation) since the first century A.D. They were never moved to other areas or reservations, and spent a lot of time defending their land in many important ways over the ages. These days you can have a very intimate visit to the oldest, most continually occupied place in North America, if you don't mind a little drive. Don't bring your camera.
posted by BrodieShadeTree (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 1:39 PM on July 20, 2007

Was there in April. Very striking, but I was surprised at the poverty - seemed much worse than my previous visits.
posted by A189Nut at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2007

Thanks for this post. We drove down 191 on vacation a few weeks ago, but didn't have time to make the side trip. Need to make it next time. It was interesting looking at the history page you linked to and connect it to another thread today. The link for that thread has this observation:
Arizona's 8 congressional districts (pdf; as they were in 2004) Yes! We have a new champion for most incredible gerrymander: district 2.

Great. Now compare with our approximate sketch (png fastest) (tiff second best) (pdf) (ps) of how they'd instead look as drawn by our algorithm.
Of course, district 2 is drawn to carve Hopi land out of the district that includes Navajo land.
posted by eckeric at 1:58 PM on July 20, 2007

If I was driving around up there, I couldn't resist a quick side trip through Colorado City to ogle teh fundamentalist Mormons while I was at it.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:20 PM on July 20, 2007

Yea, the Colorado city place is CREEPY. I've been through there a few times. . . real children of the corn vibe. Read "under the banner of heaven" to learn more!

The 2nd district info does not surprise me, just more in the long history of US politicians taking advantage of the native population.

Poverty is very bad on both the Navajo and Hopi rez lands. When you look at general indicators, the Navajo rez ranks lower than most 3rd world (non-developing) countries in things like, teen preg. aids and general health. Currently a Navajo male born in 1997 stands a +75% change of having diabetes by age 30.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:25 PM on July 20, 2007

I do like a post with no Wikipedia links. Bravo.
posted by rhymer at 2:44 PM on July 20, 2007

Kanab didn't look that odd driving thru a month ago . . .

I really didn't grok I was on "The Rez" (overnighting in Kayenta, driving over to Mesa Verde CO, down to Shiprock NM) until I saw a Navaho Nation police cruiser in Tuba City on my way out. Just seemed to be like the more desolate places of the San Joaquin valley, with some amount of BIA money thrown at it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:03 PM on July 20, 2007

Tuba City has pizza, a supermarket and surely the only Chinese restaurant on the reservation.

I recommend the Greyhills Inn there, set in part of the Navajo school.

I never saw so many stray (or not actually) dogs as on the rez.

Least fun part was driving at night on some of those narrow roads.
posted by A189Nut at 3:18 PM on July 20, 2007

Don't forget the notoriety of Lori Piestewa, and the Navajo Nation Veterans Office (located in Tuba City), thanks to Ty Pennington and Extreme Home Makeover.

And next time you're in Second Mesa at the Cultural Center/Motel/Restaurant, make sure to try the noqkwivi (hominy and lamb stew) and frybread. Of course, if you're in the mood for pizza, you can get some about 11 miles from Second Mesa, in Keams Canyon. (You'll know it when you see it.)

(Also, in case you were curious, the tires are placed on the roofs of the mobile homes to prevent them from blowing away in the strong winds.)
posted by parilous at 3:43 PM on July 20, 2007

(...the roofs, not the homes)
posted by parilous at 3:51 PM on July 20, 2007

For a good readable historical and cultural overview of the natives of that part of the country, I'd reccommend The People by Stephen Trimble. I read it last spring, and thought he did a good job of digesting a broad subject.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:07 PM on July 20, 2007

On the Rez, is really good too.

My parents used to take us for "vacations" out there and near-abouts, and even though I was a kid, it was astounding if not shocking. Having been raised on elementary school gibberish like "thanksgiving" the reality of the poverty and 3rd worldliness really hurt my feelings. It was quite a wake up call for me.

Apparently it's no better today except in regions where "gaming" is possible. Thanks for the post.
posted by snsranch at 5:14 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Given the remoteness of the Hopi rez, gaming stands no chance, not to mention how the Hopi are still very traditional by comparison to other regional tribes.

Walpi is just beautiful and very worth the side trip. I'd never been there before last week. It is unlike an other place I've been in America (or anywhere else, really) and is the most authentic thing you are likely to encounter in the southwest.

Wonderfully friendly people too. Not out to fleece the tourists, but to just share their culture.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 6:41 PM on July 20, 2007

snsranch: I've read Black Elk Speaks and The Sacred Pipe, both fantastic books. I've heard about On the Rez, but haven't gotten to it, yet. I'm moving it to the top of the list.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:08 PM on July 20, 2007

Don't bring your camera.

posted by -harlequin- at 10:12 PM on July 20, 2007

If you're closer to the New Mexico border, check out Canyon de Chelly.
posted by darren at 7:24 AM on July 21, 2007

Tourism and photography desecrate and appropriate the culture of this ancient Hopi site.

(Yeah, I've been there.)
posted by lathrop at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2007

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