||The group went on to meet with William Whatley, Cultural Preservation Officer for Jemez Pueblo who gave them practical tips for mapping their lands and sacred sites and for drafting legislation to preserve them. Santa Fe was our next destination where we toured and met with the President and faculty of the Institute of American Indian Arts, the only all-Indian college of its kind in the U.S. We then headed to Taos Pueblo for a tour of this ancient site which is the longest-inhabited Indian village in the country. In Taos we also met with John Kimmey who has spent 30 years studying with Hopi elders who have passed on their knowledge of the Hopi Prophecy to him which he recorded in his book "Light on the Return Path." John welcomed us warmly with drumming and singing and a purification ceremony and spent the afternoon explaining the prophecy and sharing stories with the group.|
From Taos we headed across the mountains of northern New Mexico to Chinle, Arizona. There, two Navaho guides, Daniel Staley and Benjamin Anagal, showed us the lands in and around Canyon de Chelley and explained some of the traditions and life ways of the Navaho. Benjamin guided us as we hiked into the Canyon on the land where he grew up. The group got a taste of the bright blue skies and red rock canyons so characteristic of the southwest and felt the spirit and aliveness of these lands.
We continued westward to the Hopi reservation and were met by a double rainbow and blessed by much-needed rainshowers on these arid lands. Sandra Cosentino of Crossing Worlds Journeys arranged for us to meet her Hopi friends and spend the day immersed in their culture.
Roanna, a vibrant Hopi woman who is a potter, wood carver, jewelry maker and the leader of a woman's society, explained about the roles of men and women, the structure of the different clans and the lifestyle of the Hopi now and in the past. We also met with several elders at Old Oraibi and with Augustine a medicine man at Second Mesa. The next day we met with Ferrell Secakuku, a former Hopi Tribal Chairman who has started a nonprofit to fight the Peabody Coal Mine that is threatening the very existence of the Hopis and Navahos in the region by depleting their water source. The Siberians were
Roanna (Hopi) sharing with the group in her home.
very moved by the openness and strength of the Hopi people, their world view, and the power of their ancient traditions that have held their culture together. In the words of the Siberians, "We were highly touched and spiritually re-charged by the visit to the ancient Navaho and Hopi lands and Native American sacred sites".
The Siberians returned to the Northeast with many new insights and perspectives and feeling renewed and inspired. They had a productive meeting of setting goals to further their work with the indigenous people's network "Light of the Ancient Lands". Final events of their trip to America included meeting with Tom Dostou (Abenaki/Quichichan) a peace and anti-nuclear activist and participating in a sweat lodge led by Arvol Looking Horse, the well-known Lakota Pipekeeper.
We hope that this extraordinary exchange is just the beginning
of more global exchanges between indigenous peoples. This is
part of the great work of "Restoring the Hoop of All Nations"
as prophesied by the late Lakota holyman Black Elk. The revitalization
of these ancient earth-based cultures and empowerment of native
peoples is essential to restoring harmony and balance on this
planet. Instead of suppressing these native voices it is time
that we heed their words.
Ferrell Secakuku (kneeling front center)
(L to R) Bill Pfeiffer, Milan, Lyuba, Gulya, Lyudmila, Cathy Pedevillano, Erjen
Gulya, Benjamin Anagal, Erjen, Lyuba
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