KYKOTSMOVI, AZ. - Mesa Media Inc. (MMI) put on a free Hopi
language workshop March 11 for youth ages 12-18. The theme was Itam
it natwanit pu piw nöösiwqat yu'a'a'totani: We will be
talking about agriculture and foods.
than 60 youth from the Hopi villages and surrounding towns attended
the day's activities held at the Hopi Veteran's Memorial Center.
This workshop was MMI's first event put on to empower youth to speak
the Hopi language. Five Hopi instructors led small breakout sessions
presenting topics such as Hopi corn, fields, patnga (squash and
pumpkin), Hopi foods and the psychology of learning a language.
MMI gave each youth a packet of materials including a copy of
the brand new CD and booklet entitled Hopilavayvenpi: Hopi Alphabet.
Hopilavayvenpi introduces each of the characters in the Hopi alphabet
in both written and spoken formats. Each letter is pronounced in
words and sentences and the booklet shows the written words that
are spoken in Hopi on the CD.
Many parents and community members also attended the language
workshop, sharing their views of how they would like to help MMI
work toward the huge task of revitalizing the Hopi language.
"We all need to work together and start speaking Hopi every
day in the home. Let's help our children become more confident in
their speaking abilities," said MMI president and co-founder
KUYI Hopi radio also broadcasted the morning's sessions live
and interviewed participants about why the Hopi language is important.
Some people even stopped in after hearing the broadcast on the radio.
The youth who attended said the event would be better if there
were games, cooking and music. MMI hopes to organize another Hopi
language workshop for youth, which will incorporate more hands-on
activities. Those in attendance also said they would like more activities
in their village or town. Those that traveled from Flagstaff asked
specifically for Hopi language classes there. About 50 percent of
the youth in attendance said they speak and understand some Hopi
but more than 95 percent said they would like to speak more Hopi.
Poleahla said the organization will play host to a second workshop
in June for instructors and parents who want to enhance their teaching
skills and build their resource library.
"If there is a need for a Hopi language class and an instructor
or parent needs assistance getting the class started, this is the
workshop for them," said Poleahla.
Advertising for this event will begin in the coming weeks.
The Christensen Fund, First Nations Development Institute (Native
Youth and Culture Fund) and the Flagstaff Community Foundation (an
affiliate of the Arizona Community Foundation) helped make the class
The instructors were Clara Dallas, Lendrick Lomayestewa, Arivs
Myron, Dorothy Nahsonhoya, Bonnie Secakuku and Joannie Takala. Norma
Martin and the Pawytewa family made Hopi food for the event.
Loretta Goldtooth, the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, KUYI
Hopi radio, Hopi Jr./Sr. High School and Sipaulovi Development Corporation
all contributed to the event as well.
"We appreciate all of the community members who helped
us," Poleahla said. "Our elders share with us their teachings
and want to help us learn. They are the keepers of our valuable
knowledge and skills. They are the ones who know the importance
of the language. This is the knowledge that we are losing very rapidly.
We can't pull up a book or website to research these teachings.
Once this knowledge is gone, it's gone. We continue to receive support
from our elders. We are working really hard to hear them, to hear
what they want to share. We want all of our elders to know how much
we appreciate their support and valuable sharing. Eskweli uma itamuy
pa'angwantota. Itam soosoyom itaalavayiy aw ungangwtapyaqw pay so'onqa
More information is available at www.mesamedia.org
or (928) 737-2255. Mesa Media Inc. is a Hopi-based non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization founded in 2003 by Anita Poleahla and the late Ferrell
Mesa Media, Inc.'s mission is to revitalize the Hopi language, which
encompasses the philosophy of land stewardship maintained by Hopi
people for centuries. In 2004, fluent Hopi speakers Anita Poleahla
and Ferrell Secakuku founded Mesa Media, Inc. because they believe
that all Hopi people deserve the opportunity to understand the richness
of the Hopi language and its teachings.