Sunday, June 18, 2017
These two parks are close in location and the Sunset Crater story is the opener to how it effected the Wupatki people.
Sunset Crater is one of the more recent active volcanos in the United States having taken place approximately 1,000 years ago. At the time of its eruption, the Hopi Indians occupied the surrounding land. After the eruption their homes and all plant life were ruined for a 3-mile radius. Farther away, plants were suffocated or stripped by ash fall and damaged by acids and gases.
To revive this land requires moisture so cinders can become soil. Weathering is so slow that cinders on the rim of the cone are barely altered to date. Volcanic eruptions change soil conditions, sometimes impacting recovery for centuries. Today, the trees are probably not the first generation to return. Still, after approximately 1,000 years, only the lower half of the north slope has soil and an established forest.
The Hopi people moved far enough away from the lava runs to find new land they could farm. To accomplish making this land useable, they would dig through the lava crust a good 3-4” to plant seeds. One benefit from the lava crust was its ability to hold moisture in the soil making this drought desert land produce better crops. At the Wupatki National Monument you can enjoy viewing some of the remains of former stucco houses still standing some 700 years from when they were built.
Upon emerging into this world, Hopi ancestors accepted the gift of corn as a way of life. They then embarked upon long and complex migrations with a preordained purpose. When the people stayed too long in certain areas and failed to lead moral and responsible lives, social and environmental catastrophes reminded them of their destiny. In other instances, astronomical events were signals to complete migration.
According to traditional Hopi beliefs, ancestral villages were purposely settled and left for a reason. It was the destiny of Hopi people to value spiritual life over material possessions, to survive as farmers in a harsh land, and to travel to the four corners of the Earth before finding and settling in the Center of the Universe where the Hopi live to this day.
World history has shown when people commit to agriculture certain things happen. They grow more food and raise more children. They become sedentary and build substantial homes. Groups come together into communities. Trade networks and complex relationships form. This patterned behavior can be seen in the Southwest but a great deal of behavioral experimentation also took place.
Many cultural changes occurred when environmental conditions were favorable for agriculture. But many happened during stressful times as well. Faced with changing natural and cultural conditions, people attempted new behaviors, new social arrangements.*
One Landscape Many Lives – A challenging environment, but full of opportunities; many people have valued what Wupatki has to offer. From hunter-gathers to farmers, herders, ranchers, and caretakers, a variety of cultures have invested their lives in this land we now call Wupatki National Monument.
For Hopi people, Wupatki recalls a specific event and the importance of this place in the histories of Hopi clans. The anglicized name was mistakenly applied to the largest village here, then used as the name of the monument.
* Two Points of View (taken from a national monument publication)
Monday, June 19, 2017
After such a full day on Sunday with the heat and driving, we decided to rest a little today and head to Grand Canyon on Tuesday. The advantage of having a flexible schedule.
The forest fire in the distance from our campground is known as the Highline forest fire in Tonto National Forest. As of Sunday night it was 60% contained. One hundred homes had to be evacuated north of Payson, AZ.