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SAN JUAN RIVER - Yota'vayu

Lolma” – Welcome, Hopi and non-Hopi people!

We are the Hopi youth who participated in the trip to the San Juan River. We welcome you to the San Juan River home page. Through our website you will be given a virtual tour of what we experienced while camping and rafting down the river.  You will learn aspects of Hopi life that we learned from our elders, such as, the significance of plants, Hopi identity, migration stories, and appropriate general clan history. The main reason for us participating in this project was to understand our heritage, where our ancestors came from, and how to find a balance between traditional ways of life and modern society. We made connections between symbols etched upon cliff walls and our ancestral migrations. By learning from these footprints our ancestors left, we can preserve our future and be stewards of our culture, tradition, and Hopi values of life.

It was fun floating on the river, going through rapids in our boats, learning how to paddle “duckies,” and getting wet. We traveled the river, making many stops along the way to learn how our ancestors built their homes, grew or gathered their food, and thrived. We enjoyed each other's company, sleeping by the river, listening to the sounds of the river, watching wildlife, looking at the moon gleaming on the water, getting up early in the morning, setting up tents, cooking food, and cleaning dishes. We did all this as a part of the team. We also did a lot of vigorous hiking. It was exciting going up the ridge, seeing the winding river below, and the interesting shapes of the Comb Ridge in the distance.

The beautiful San Juan River is ancestral place for us, the Hopi people. All the visitors to this land should respect its environment, ruins, and images etched in sandstone.





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NAU Anthropology,
Footprints of the Ancestors

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