Museum of Northern Arizona
79th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture
All of us here at the Best Western Inn of Sedona would like to thank the Hopi people and the Museum of Northern Arizona for one of the best Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture yet! Some of us were able to attend the festival Saturday, and for those who missed it we highly recommend putting it on your calendar for next year.
When we first arrived at the event we were a little concerned about parking, there were cars lined up and down the road and the museum parking lot was filled, but the Museum had it under control, there was free parking across the street and a short, air conditioned shuttle ride to the event.
Before reaching the main entrance to the museum there were vendors set up offering grilled corn, Piiki bread (a ceremonial food made from blue corn), honey soaked fry bread and other culinary delights. If you are someone who has never tried fry bread let me just say it is a must (especially topped with honey and powdered sugar)! After our delightful sweet we headed into the main entrance of the festival, every part of the museum and grounds were filled with artists, presenters and demonstrators.
The art of the Hopi people blew us away, we were awestruck by the amazing talent of the artists who not only showed their beautiful pieces, but many were demonstrating and educating us about their work and culture. The Hopi Katsina Dolls (carved representations of the Katsinam, the spirit messengers of the universe, in cottonwood roots), were in strong showing, as well as basket weaving, pottery, jewelry, etched glass, and more.
We were also able to make it over to the Heritage Insights Tent to enjoy the musical performance featuring Casper and the 602 Band performing their high energy, Jamaican-inspired reggae combined with Native Roots. Casper Loma-da-wa’s lyrics were filled with hope and power, telling stories of contemporary reservation life. He says, “Reggae is the music of a struggling people―that’s what Jamaican music is. We, as Native people, have been struggling all these years.”
Later in the day we were treated to the Nuvatukya’ovi Sinom Dance Group performing the Palhikwmana or Water Maiden Dance, and the Koshari, or clown dance, to unite people and make them happy. All of the dance troop’s regalia—clothing, weaving, jewelry, and tabletas, or headdresses, were absolutely gorgeous and designed and handmade by the dancers. We also really enjoyed Hopi educator Jennifer Joseph, who was serving as emcee and cultural interpreter for the Heritage Insights Tent, she did a great job sharing her knowledge and answering our questions.
So once again, thank you to the Hopi people for teaching, showing and sharing your culture with us. We look forward to seeing you next year!