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am 4. August 1999
About 1270 A.D., the Anasazi (now called Ancestral Pueblo) and Fremont were forced to evacuate Utah and Colorado because of a prolonged drought that lasted several decades. Scholars have studied these peoples' ruins, pictographs, human remains and artifacts to learn more about their culture. From these reports we now know what they ate and wore, where they lived and farmed, and how they made pottery, baskets and other crafts. We also have some insight into their belief systems, family relationships and how they defended themselves. Despite all this data, there are still many unanswered questions that must be resolved. Perhaps looking at the lifestyles of some of the descendants of these people will provide a few answers. Many of today's anthropologists believe Arizona's Hopi, Pueblo and Zuni people are the descendants of the Anasazi and Fremont. Helen's touching account of her childhood in a traditional Hopi village, provides a view of practices that may have been used or originated in the Great Basin more than a thousand years ago. Her narration describes the coming of age ceremonies in the kivas, the functions of the Kachinas (Kachinavaki), her parents' discipline, farming and cooking practices and her people's belief system. Sadly it also tells of the emotional pain she experienced when she was taken from her family and forced to attend the white man's schools. Despite her many challenges, she proved remarkably resilient and later describes how she and her husband struggled to teach their children an appreciation of both cultures. There is sadness in this story but no bitterness or hatred toward the white man or his culture. The "Journal of Arizona History" and the "Western Historical Quarterly" both feel her autobiography/biography is "an honest story of a life of integrity and genuine values, told with sensitvity" and "a remarkable view of contemporary Hopi life." I agree! I hope all of Utah's local and American history teachers will utilize this resource in their Native American units.
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