We had eaten a small breakfast at the spacious, high-ceilinged cafeteria near our lodge, then had taken the Rim Trail and walked to the middle of the village. We paused now for a gentle swing on one of the porches of El Tovar Hotel and I set up my tripod so I could take a couple of pictures of Jerry and me. In the distance you see the Hopi House. After a fine lunch as we were leaving El Tovar we heard the tom tom tom of an Indian dance; we walked over and joined the gathered crowd.
The man whose ornaments you see here was the emcee and was announcing the dance a young man was about to perform. He talked leisurely, in a casual across-the-fence sort of way, going on and on about the dedication of the young people during the summer, their study of traditions and lore and Indian dances.
It was very hot, and finally the stone-faced young indian turned to the emcee and, expressionlessly, did a spinning motion with his arms.
Amusement was perceptible in the voice of the emcee as he said, “The floor is hot. He wants me to get on with the music.” He went on talking, though, about the rings and how the heat makes them so flexible it is hard to perform the maneuvers. It was an interesting interchange, although a little unnerving to me. I think that may have been so because Indians usually present such stoic faces and their performances seem exact and regimented and the man, who was also the drummer and the singer, seemed a bit uncaring of the young dancer.
The young man was quite talented and performed flawlessly, it seemed to me. Using the rings, he intertwined himself, then stepped smoothly out of them; he arranged designs and signals, all in perfect rhythm to the music that was being played.
Immediately on finishing his dance, the young man went to the side of the stage and grabbed a bottle of water. It was so hot, I assumed he would lift it to his mouth and guzzle it down. No, he sat down, poured the water in his hands and began rubbing it across the soles of his moccasins. His feet must have been blistered.
The American Indian communities surrounding Grand Canyon actively maintain their ancient cultures and traditions. They have long been associated with exquisite but functional crafts which reflect their close ties with nature. Fine collectibles created by native artisans began to be marketed to outsiders in the 1880s through trading posts they erected. Within driving distance of the Grand Canyon are reservations of Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kaibab-Paiute and Navajo. It is a fascinating area of the country.
We just had time to breeze through the Hopi House before boarding our train, and when Jerry asked one of the clerks if the building was original, she explained much of their history and handed him a small card with this information on it.
“Hopi House constructed in 1905. Designed as living quarters for Hopi artisans and as a place to sell Hopi crafts and souvenirs, this building represents the efforts of the Fred Harvey Company to revive Southwest Indian arts and crafts. Designed by Mary Jane Colter, the building was modeled after part of the Hopi village at Third Mesa, in Oraibi. It retains much of its original appearance.”
We were ready to walk to the long flight of stairs that led to the train station when I spied a van that was tastefully lettered “Grand Canyon Railway.” Jerry asked, the driver said, “Sure,” we climbed in and within minutes had been discharged and were now mingled with the crowd awaiting the boarding call.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: I am experiencing significance computer challenges and consequently am not able to respond to your comments as I would like. Last Thursday, my sweet little Apple crashed. There is no certified tech here in Lake Havasu, so it’s either a trip to Las Vegas or Phoenix or California. We’re going there in ten days, so I’ll take the little hurting white machine to be repaired while we are “home.”
In the meantime I’m using Jerry’s Fujitsu which has an aversion to the internet connection at our motor home park and also, at times, refuses to type a y. I’m at the Lake Havasu library at the moment–Fujitsu likes it here and has allowed me to use its y all afternoon. 🙂
I do appreciate your comments and anticipate reading them. I promise to respond when I can.
My devotional blog is here.