I Entered The Most Remote Native American Tribe – Hopi (Invite only)

Jan 01, 2023 784.5K Views 3.1K Comments

The Hopi Reservation is a remote place surrounded by the larger Navajo Nation and the much larger United States. Many Natives look at their tribe as their nation and in this case, the Hopis are in a way, on an island. Join me and local Lehauli as we learn about one of the most remote, fascinating, and unknown tribes in America. It definitely felt like I entered another country.

► Lehauli & Brandi’s Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@Serious7Family
► Lehauli & Brandi’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serious7family/

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

-Good morning, guys.
Far out in the Arizona desert
way out there
is the Navajo Nation.
A reservation that is
bigger than 10 US states
but did you know inside of
the Navajo reservation is another people?
The Hopis.
A lesser-known people.
A people who have been
somewhat removed from the outside world.
I got an invite from a Hopi who said,
“Peter, do you want to
see our reservation?”
“There has been nothing
filmed like this before.”
and I said,
“Of course, 100%, let’s do this.”
He said, “I can’t guarantee anything.”
“Many people might be shy of the camera.”
and I said, “Not a problem.”
“We’re not gonna do anything
anybody doesn’t want to do.”
So this is a very unique perspective, guys,
into a reservation and a people
that really, none of us have an idea about.
Okay, let’s do this.
If I don’t blow away.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪
PETER: This is what you’d call
a border town?
So we’re very close
to the Hopi reservation?
LEHUALI: -Yes, Hopi reservation
right on the edge
of the big old
Navajo reservation as well too.
-You see a lot of guys like me out there?
-Oh, no, no.
Peter, you would have been a Bahana.
That’s what they call you, Bahana.
-Bahana?
-A white person.
Yes, a white person.
-Is that like gringo?
-Yeah, gringo.
Yeah, so you’re gonna be
the Bahana man today.
-I’ve always wanted to be one,
so thank you.
So you were saying on
the phone when we talked,
“Hopi is the most
difficult tribe to enter.”
-Yes, it is.
-It’s like there’s nothing like this
online you were saying?
-Yes, there’s nothing like this.
Especially like with you,
that I’m gonna take you into the village
and we’ll walk in and everything like that.
-Okay.
-But you will never see nobody doing this
and you’re gonna be the first one
and we have our boundaries
of what we can see.
What we can talk about and stuff.
-Okay.
-Hopi is just so sacred out there
and I just can’t…
It’s just so hard, like just to get
all the elders to talk to you and stuff.
-Yeah, yeah.
Like you were talking about spirituality.
-Yeah.
-We can only talk so far
on camera about that.
Off-camera you can
tell me different things.
-Yep.
-And then there’s things you probably
can never tell me, right?
-Nope, yep, yep.
-It stays within the tribe?
-Yep.
And that’s one thing I say,
like for you, the Bahana man,
cruising through this I-40 out here
on this line right here that you see…
-Yeah.
-So much crazy stuff, so many stories,
and a regular person just driving through
probably going
to Albuquerque or something
would never think of anything like that.
-Like a different country?
-Yes, yes, exactly.
LEHUALI: Homol’ovi is known to man
as one of the first many
Hopi villages out here on the Southwest.
Hopi is not just on the reservation.
Hopi’s been everywhere
ever since the beginning of time.
-You’re Hopi?
-Yes.
-And what else?
-I’m also Hopi and Chuukese.
It’s deep Pacific.
More close to Australia
but it’s the Federal States of Micronesia.
And I would say I’m proudly to represent
the islands of Tonof and Fefen.
-That is a motley mix.
-Yes, it is.
-Are there many of you guys out there?
-No, I would say I’m practically
the only Hopi Chuukese
that you probably would meet.
You know, to be honest. [laughs]
LEHUALI: Right here is
the painted desert.
That’s part of the Navajo but
you know, it has a very
good importance for us
as well as it is for Lakota,
as it is for Navajo.
Very sacred spot
for all these Natives up this way.
-Interesting.
So even up in South Dakota
they know of this area?
-Yeah, yeah.
-And so going into Hopi
you have to go through Navajo
no matter what direction you’re going in.
It’s interesting that your people are
surrounded by two nations almost, right?
You’re surrounded by Navajo Nation.
-Yes.
-And then outside of that is United States.
-Yes.
And then you’re on like a
little island in here, landlocked .
-That’s awesome,
I never thought of it like that, Peter.
Yeah, that’s the best way to put it, man.
The sign was here,
used to say welcome, but it fell off.
It was actually above that one.
Second Mesa is right here.
-Oh wow, the houses are up there.
-Yeah, yeah.
-Oh wow, that’s interesting,
I didn’t even see those.
-Yeah, so right there
is the village of Mishongnovi.
and that’s actually where I’m from
and I’m part of the Eagle clan.
One of the top clans out on Hopi.
There’s another village
right next to it, Sipaulovi.
-Oh, on the hill up there?
-That’s another village, Sipaulovi.
Then right here is Shungopavi.
-Oh, so you guys all live up on the mesas?
-Yes sir, yep.
-Why is that?
-Um from what I was told,
from back then in the day,
from when we were warring with
the Navajos, Apaches, all the other tribes,
it’s so we could see who’s coming to us.
In the Hopi way we have clans
just like how I believe
every other tribe has clans
but ours are more of animal clans.
You are born into the clan
of what your mom is.
So my mom is Eagle clan.
So let’s say for instance if my dad
was Hopi and he was Bear clan
I wouldn’t be Bear clan,
I’d be Eagle clan instead.
The highest clan that you can be though
is Bear clan.
There’s different packing
order within the clans?
Like a certain clan’s gonna be
up here in society, one’s gonna be…
So there’s a big hierarchy here.
-Yes, yes, there is, there is.
-Interesting.
It’s like the Badlands a little bit.
Badlands in the Southwest.
-Yeah, yeah.
All right Peter, go ahead and put it
this way, our cemetery’s on that side.
-Okay.
Cemetery’s over there, don’t shoot it?
-Yeah, yeah.
Got you, thank you.
Make sure you let me know whatever else
I’m not supposed to put the camera on.
-Okay.
-When you have a deceased member
of a family or friend
do you go out to the graves
or you don’t do that?
-Um, only once in a while
you’re liable that you can go out to.
You can go out… down there,
but most of the time you’re not
really supposed to go down to the graves
or anything like that.
-Okay.
So they’re buried?
-Yeah.
-And then you never really go back.
-Yeah.
-[Peter surprised] Oh, wow!
What country are we in?
-We’re still in the good old US
but we’re on Hopi.
-Where am I, man?
-Yeah, you are… You just fell back
like 50, 60 years behind.
PETER: All right, guys,
hard to put this place into words.
I’ve never experienced
anything quite like it.
Haven’t even experienced it yet
but just the looks, the mesas,
the buildings on top.
[Peter to Lehauli] So you’re
up here hundreds of years ago
looking out for Navajos coming in, right?
-Yep, from every direction, not just
Navajos, you know, Apaches too as well.
It was kind of like really
us against the world
because I really do feel like,
and I do believe that my people
Hopi people, Anasazi, we were
the first ones here to walk this earth.
And that’s what I really do believe.
-First ones to walk this earth?
-Yes, yes.
-What about the Navajos?
-Navajos, well so one thing
that a lot of people don’t know,
that the Navajos, and what I was told
and taught that they came from Alaska.
So the Navajos…
And that’s why they have the long walk.
They were tooken from Alaska
and brought down here.
So that is why the Navajo Nation
is surrounded by Hopi.
-How many Navajos watching this video
are gonna drop some beef in the comments?
-Let’s see, let’s see but you know,
that’s what I was told
I’m all for it if it’s something else,
something different, you know?
But that’s what I heard,
and that’s what I was told,
and that’s why Navajo
is settled around Hopi.
-So is this memory lane right now?
-Yeah, this is big time
memory lane right here.
-So I don’t think I explained it well
but you live in Winslow right now.
Which is considered a border town
outside of the Navajo Nation.
-Yes.
-But you have many memories here.
-Yes, very… A lot of good memories.
We’re coming around the corner
to my soh’so’s house.
-What’s a soh’so?
-Grandma.
She passed away a while ago
but we just only use these houses
for when we have
ceremonies going on here and stuff.
-Oh, so the family still owns it?
-Yeah, yeah.
Usually my uncle’s here.
I don’t think he’s here.
-So is this normal,
this crazy wind up here?
-Yes, it is always windy out here
and it sucks ’cause it’s so windy, man.
-Well look at that.
-Yeah, look at this view right here.
This rock has been here
400 or 500 years ago.
That’s why we’re always like,
“We’re the house with
the painted green rock.”
And right here too,
is one of my family’s name.
-That’s your family’s name?
-Honyaktewa, it’s actually
one of my uncle’s names too, his Hopi name.
I know that you learned the Navajo way,
they have hogans, right?
-Yeah.
-And they can live, and sleep,
and they also do ceremonial stuff in there
but in the Hopi way, our kivas though,
are only for strictly
traditional ceremonial purposes only.
-So the kiva looks like what?
-The kiva…
-It’s like a little hut?
-I would say it’s more…
It’s an underground chamber practically.
You can fit so many people,
hundreds of people in them.
-So there are a lot of kivas up here?
-Yeah, so right now at my village
we have five kivas.
You gotta know what’s going on actually
to be inside the kiva.
-Okay.
-And there’s certain things
where you have to be
initiated and stuff to be in there.
-Okay.
-So kivas, we use them
for our social dances.
The dancers can go in there, they can rest,
they also get fed in there too as well
and we use them for
our kachina dances too as well
but that’s not until
the summer time and spring time.
But most of it though,
the kiva is for the men.
You will rarely…
You will never see a lady in there.
It’s for the men.
-Okay.
And that’s still being used
how many times a year roughly?
-Man, it’s an all year ’round thing.
-Okay.
So it’s like a men’s club?
-Yeah, yeah, it’s a men’s club,
men’s society thing out here in Hopi, yep.
-Interesting.
-We have kachinas here.
A kachina is a spirit that we pray to
that carries our prayers to the clouds
and gives us rain,
and gives us anything that we need in life.
We have a kachina for almost everything.
One thing that’s very unique
and every village that will have it
and they will tell you
Hopi even goes all the way
to Flagstaff at the San Francisco Peaks.
Those peaks up there are sacred to us
and that’s why with that Snowbowl
and everything going on
they had a big old…
A protest against that because they were
trying to create Snowbowl up there.
-Snowbowl is a ski resort?
-Yes, it is a ski resort.
And that was like a real big
fiasco thing going on over here
’cause it’s sacred to us Hopis
but they still made it
because that’s where we know
and we believe our kachinas come from.
-And you’re gonna show me something
back here but I can’t show it on camera?
-No… Yes.
Yes.
-Gotcha.
All right, guys.
That’s the difference between
watching online and being here in reality.
-Yes, sorry people, sorry people. [giggles]
This is what we do
when we’re bored out here on Hopi.
We go and climb the rocks.
-All right.
Wow.
[both chuckling]
-This is another view
a lot of people do not get to see.
I wanted to show you this desert right here
because running is a very big part of us
and everything that we do,
ceremonies, traditional stuff,
there’s always a race to follow.
Always some kind of race to follow.
-Okay.
-And so when you’re standing up here,
a lot of people will come
to the edge of the villages.
Even Sipaulovi, if Sipaulovi knows
that there’s a race going on
you’ll see all them standing
on their village looking out this way
and you’ll barely see everybody running
through all these trails behind here.
This is the plaza.
As you can see, it’s very empty.
Nothing in here,
but when we have our social dances,
kachina dances, this is packed.
People up on the roofs are watching.
There’s a whole bunch of chairs down here
and it is packed.
-Okay, so where are all the people?
We haven’t seen one person.
-No, either they’re at school, or at work,
or they know we’re just here.
-They don’t want to get
sandblasted with the wind?
-Yeah, I’m pretty sure they see us
right now looking out the windows like,
“Oh, there’s somebody here.”
But yeah, that’s how it is
out here in Hopi.
It’s very hard to talk to people.
When we let people in,
they do really take us for granted.
What we teach them and stuff,
they take it for granted for us.
We actually had stuff
that were stolen from us actually
and they were barely returned back to us
I think like two years ago or so
and I think that’s why.
That’s the main reason why
a lot of the elders and older people,
they won’t come out and talk.
-Okay, so you’re taken for granted?
Like what would be some examples of that?
-Just like the teaching
or stuff that we show people
and they end up going back
and making their own story about it
or putting their own flip onto it.
Which it was nothing like that.
-Sure.
-It’s just their stories just get
out of perspective
and everything like that,
and it just sucks.
-You’re very guarded about your culture,
about your story?
-Yeah, yeah.
-And it’s being passed down?
-Yes, it is being passed down
and that’s why it’s good
when you have your kids and stuff,
to take part in social dances
and stuff like that.
Come out to Hopi whenever you can.
Any thing that you can do
related to Hopi, do it.
‘Cause you will learn so much about it.
And for me, for my relatives taking me in,
teaching me stuff…
You know, I learned so much about Hopi
and that’s why I love it.
I love it, that’s why.
-Yeah, your passion is obvious.
-Summertime, perfect weather out here.
You go get your sleeping bag, a pillow.
Boom, you are sleeping on top of the roofs
and when you wake up
you’ll see like 20 other people
who are sleeping on the roof with you too.
-Stars are amazing out here?
-Yes, yes, it’s beautiful.
-Can you look at the stars?
-Yes, you could like… Oh my goodness.
-The Zunis told me
they don’t look at the stars.
Least the ones I was with.
-Oh, yeah.
-Because it’s like spirits
or something sacred with it.
-Interesting.
-See, that’s what’s so cool
about all of these tribes.
Just the stars,
they’re interpreting them different.
-Yeah, and it’s cool too,
not just the tribes too,
just like even the village too.
Each village is unique in their own way.
Each village does something for the world.
Not just for Hopi land.
-For the world?
-For the world, yes.
-How so?
-Hopi, we just don’t pray for us.
We just don’t do everything for us.
We think of it as the world.
When we do our ceremonies and stuff,
we’re not just doing it
for our Hopi people.
We’re doing it for every people,
every walk of life.
-So even though you say
people are very shy,
they don’t want to interact
with outsiders, they think of outsiders?
-Yes, yes, they do
and that’s one thing that I believe.
That’s why the Hopi’s a peaceful people.
That’s where it comes from,
that’s where our name comes from.
‘Cause we just don’t care about ourselves,
we care about all the other tribes,
all the other walks of life,
and when we do our social dances
sometimes we dance Navajo,
sometimes we dance Zuni Butterfly,
sometimes we dance Apache,
sometimes we dance Comanches
and that’s just how it is out here on Hopi.
We just don’t do Hopi.
We… The whole world
together is part of us.
To be honest this plaza’s
gotten a lot more smaller
because a lot more houses has been built.
-You don’t have
a hardcore rez dog culture here, right?
-[laughing] No, no,
that’s only down on the lower land.
-Your dogs are nice.
-Yeah, yeah.
-I always used to call this the alleyway.
-The alley, lot of memories here?
-Yeah, running around,
getting chased, stuff like that.
Playing with my cousins and everything.
-So I noticed a lot of porta-potties,
is this what you’re using?
Using the restroom?
-Yes.
-There’s our first human.
-Yeah.
-They exist.
-Yeah, out here on Hopi we don’t have
a lot of electricity or plumbing.
You do see electric lines
here and there but…
-Some AC units.
-Yeah, oh wow, look at that.
-You got a friend.
-I know, what should we name him?
-God, this is the nicest rez dog ever.
Is this your dog?
Nice dog, what’s its name?
-Coco.
-Coco?
And you got another
little dog coming in here.
What’s your name?
-Jayden.
-Jayden, right on.
LEHUALI: You guys all
barely getting off of school?
-If I told you I was Navajo,
would you believe me?
-Mm-hmm.
-You would?
-Mm-hmm.
-See, very accepted.
How you doing?
What’s that?
-No, no I’m not.
I’m as white as they get.
He’s Hopi.
Are you Hopi?
Are you guys okay with being on camera?
We’re making a video together.
[all] Yeah.
-So do you remember being that age here,
walking around?
-That’s the fun age right there.
Being with your cousins, your brothers,
and everybody’s walking around the village.
-So everybody knows everybody.
Is there any crime issue up here
or are these mesas well-off?
Like they regulate themselves?
-No, I think they’re pretty…
You know, yeah, they regulate themselves.
I never hear of nothing.
So crazy crimes happen out over here…
-Sure.
-…or anything like that
which is a good thing but…
-Yeah.
-But who knows
what goes on out here though.
-Are we doing a good job?
-You wanna be my cameraman?
JAYDEN: Can I hold it?
-There you go, okay.
You’re hired.
-That’s awesome.
-All right, how do I do this now?
I don’t know what to do
without the camera in my hand.
-What clan are you guys?
-Oh, Bear clan.
PETER: Bear clan?
If I was in a clan,
what do you think it would be?
Stone clan?
-Sand clan?
[all laughing]
Geez.
PETER: What’s that?
PETER: Oh, a painting.
Is that your buddies
down there playing basketball?
PETER: Did you guys paint this?
What kind of kachina?
LEHUALI: That’s a Manka, like a Comanche.
-So you do represent
a lot of the other nations?
-Yes, we do.
Not just Hopi.
PETER: Jayden, the new camera man,
this is awesome.
I don’t have to use my hands,
think about shots.
Jayden, where’s your
secret route down here?
LEHUALI: Right here?
JAYDEN: You have to climb down.
LEHUALI: We have to climb again, Peter.
PETER: Let’s climb.
PETER: All right.
LEHUALI: Go ahead, I got you.
PETER: Look at her…
Look at her going for it.
She is scaling this rock like it’s nothing.
Do you do it with the cast and the socks?
-There are many videos where I think,
“This could be the end.” you know?
LEHUALI: Yeah. [laughs]
-And this might be one of them.
LEHUALI: If Jayden can do it with a cast
on his arm, Peter, you can do it, man.
-Yeah, exactly you’re
giving me the challenge here.
His legs are like half my length too.
All right.
-I wish there was a weight limit on this.
PETER: How’s my style?
Is that pretty good?
LEHUALI: That was smooth.
[Peter grunts and jumps down]
LEHUALI: Oh, wow.
Oh, he won’t stop. [laughs]
Wow, that’s actually a pretty big jump
from up here to down there.
[Lehuali grunting]
PETER: The run down there?
Nice.
Like Spider-man.
-Stick the landing.
LEHUALI: You guys make sure to
subscribe to his YouTube channel, okay?
PETER: Oh, you don’t have to do that.
I suggest unliking, unsubscribing.
[all laughing]
LEHUALI: So now we’re down
on the bottom of the village
and there’s a big wall right here
and it was used
for battle purposes and stuff.
I actually know of one story
behind Polacca over there
about a war that happened.
Which is… It was with Apaches.
All the men, they were
in the kiva at night, you know?
And while they were there, the Apaches
knew that the men in the kiva were up.
-Okay.
-In the kivas, they were not home,
not doing anything like that.
So the Apaches, from what I heard,
they came around this back side
to Polacca and Walpi
and instead of attacking
the front side of the village
they wanted to come
and attack the back side of the village.
-Okay.
-When they were coming out this way,
the men in the kiva
were singing their songs.
That’s when the Apaches
decided to slowly come up the village
but the Apaches stopped
because they said they seen
so many people running from rock to rock
and then when you look…
When you’re on the back side of there,
there’s so much rocks and hills
through just like how it is right here
and they got scared
because they said there’s too many of them.
-Oh.
-But all the men, they were in the kiva.
So the men in the kiva were calling
on the ones that passed away
and everything like that to come and help.
To come protect the village.
And those were spirits of our, you know,
maybe warriors.
You know, just whoever
the men in the kiva called upon to come.
My uncle actually told me this story.
He said that there’s
one Apache bow and arrow bow
that’s hidden in those rocks somewhere.
-Okay.
-And he said that next time that bow gets
blown out by the wind or it’s exposed,
a really big war is gonna happen
within the world.
Not just out on Hopi.
Something big is gonna happen in the world.
-Okay.
-You were saying in the car,
I found this to be very interesting,
though you’re so removed here,
though there’s little interaction with
let’s just say the outside world
in a place like this,
you’re very much in tune
with what’s going on in the world.
You told me that.
-Yes.
-You feel like there’s something
fundamentally wrong right now.
-Yeah, yeah, yes, that is…
-And that’s… A lot of Hopis feel that
or it’s just case by case?
-Yep, even Jayden feels it too as a kid.
Yep, he feels it that there’s
something going on in this world.
Where we feel like there’s something
that’s gonna happen in this world
that’s gonna wake everybody up.
It’s just gonna make everybody realize.
You know, respect it, you know?
-How long has that feeling
been going on for?
-[scoffs] Man…
You know what, I think my feeling,
I really believe I felt it
once the pandemic hit.
So many older people
that were so important to us out here
that passed away
from COVID and everything.
It took away those people
with the knowledge
that we’re supposed to be taught.
That we want to know
but they all passed away.
-And you guys got hit really hard out here.
-Oh, yes, yes.
JAYDEN: My step-dad died.
-I’m sorry, man.
-I’m sorry to hear that.
-Yeah, yep.
LEHUALI: This is the road
to the mission right here.
The village that we just came from,
Mishongnovi, is just right above us right here.
-Up on those rocks.
-Yep, so back in the day,
my mom and my uncles and them,
they would all walk down
from the hill there, and come down here.
They would spend the whole day down here
but the missionaries now,
they would have snacks, food, and all that,
and they actually had
running water and electricity.
So they were able to come down here,
take a shower,
bathe and all that, freshen up.
This mission actually served a really good
helpful purpose for the village.
-Okay, so they were obviously
pushing religion with the mission, right?
-Yes.
-So how did that go over?
You have very strong Hopi traditions.
-Yes, yes we do.
-But you have a mission…
…that’s offering you things.
-Yeah.
-So is there like
an internal battle with that or what?
-Yes, I could imagine that there was one.
Because I know that
they’re here to help and all that
but then they want to push
something else onto us as well.
-Right, it’s not like free help.
-Yeah, so it’s not really
like free help but um…
It was pushed onto Hopi
but Hopi, they were…
They were so true to their value,
you know, they just pushed it all away.
PETER: For example, one of these houses
we see out here in the desert,
where do these people work?
Like how do they make a living out here?
-Oh, wow, you know, um…
If you’re lucky enough,
you could be part of the tribal council.
You know, work for the tribe
or actually work for the actual Hopi tribe.
-Sure.
-Another good job that I always heard
out here was the water.
Taking care of all the water levels
and everything out here.
And then, you know, we got
a hospital just right there too as well.
Which… And hospital job is…
But if you cannot score
any of those job or anything
you’re either better off, of course,
moving off the Hopi
to go find you a better job
or if you’re willing to travel
and go look for work.
Like, the closest place
right here, right now to Hopi…
The next biggest city would be Gallup.
And Gallup is to the east… Like how far?
Like at least 200 miles away from here.
Then the next one would be Flagstaff.
Which is about 150 or so
miles away from here to go work.
I work in Ganado,
and that’s on the Navajo reservation.
I travel about two hours every day
to work and back from work
and that’s me living in Winslow.
-Four hours of driving?
-Yeah, four hours every day.
-And I put 1,000 miles a week on my truck.
-How much are you spending on gas a week?
-Every day, about $75.
And that’s to get me there and back.
-Is that a big hit on your pocket?
Is that pretty brutal or…
-Yes, very big, very brutal.
Like… I feel like when the work week…
I’m like, “I’m good right now.”
but once I start doing that gas money…
[snaps] instantly.
And I’m thankful
that we get paid on Thursdays
’cause if we didn’t get paid
’til Friday after work
I wouldn’t be able to come to work at all.
-You’re doing construction?
-Yes, I’m doing construction.
-Okay.
-Yes.
-And are you really feeling inflation?
-Yes, oh yeah.
You know, inflation not just from gas too.
You know, even food prices too.
Especially out on the res, it is crazy
how much a candy bar is at the store now.
Almost like $5.00 at the store.
-[disbelief] No.
-Yes.
-A Snickers bar out here is five bucks?
-Yes, yes.
It is crazy.
-Seriously?
-Yes.
-How does anyone afford that?
-[scoffs] Man, who knows
how they afford it out here, you know?
Some people are probably lucky enough
to get welfare checks every month so…
But in all reality, you know,
what the government is giving us,
giving our Hopi people out here,
they cannot live off of that.
Any reservation cannot live off
what the government is giving us.
People are so quick to judge, like,
“Oh, it’s easy living out here.”
“You don’t have nothing
to worry about, you don’t have no rent.”
No, you need money for the outside world.
The welfare checks and all that,
that’s just not cutting it.
Not even close.
-So let me ask,
and shut me off whenever you want.
A guy like you, do you get checks
from the government every month
or how does that work?
-You know, I’m actually enrolled
with the Hopi tribe
but the Hopi tribe,
they don’t have nothing like that.
So the way that works with a lot of tribes
’cause they have casinos.
-Okay.
-Yes, the casinos are like
the real big thing
that helps out a lot of people.
-So that’s what’s gonna give
the people in the community money?
Monthly stipends?
-Yes, yes.
-Does the government pay
for your housing at all?
-Um, no, no.
The government does not
pay for the housing.
-How ’bout for yours?
-Oh, for mine, no.
No.
-You pay rent?
-Yeah.
I pay rent and everything to a landlord.
-So as a Hopi, you’re not getting
anything from the government?
-No, the only thing I actually did get
from Hopi was a stimulus check.
Which was awesome, you know?
-From the pandemic?
-Yeah, for the pandemic.
But that was actually like the only thing
I’ve ever received from Hopi.
-You can go get
Indian healthcare services, right?
-Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
We can go to the hospitals
as long as we have our access…
Well you gotta have access
and all that but…
-Okay.
-A lot of Natives though, they feel
like they need to have an access card
right off hand to get treated
but in all reality,
as long as you’re Native,
you’ll get seen by hospital.
-Okay.
[doors close]
PETER: The cornfields.
LEHUALI: Yes, the cornfields right here.
If you think of corn, you think of Hopi.
PETER: How are you growing
out here though? It’s so dry.
-Hopis, we do dry farming.
It’s something that our prayers
really go into and that’s why every…
When it comes to
winter time and everything,
Hopis, we love to pray for a lot of snow.
Because what is the snow gonna do?
It’s just all gonna melt back into
the ground for us and it’s gonna be ready
when it’s time to plant corn.
One thing that I was told too out here
in Hopi, this big old land right here.
We are on a body of water.
There’s a big old body of water beneath us.
-There’s a lot if you go down?
There’s good aquifers?
-Yes, yes.
So I believe that’s why too.
Us Hopis out here,
we can dry farm like this.
-Okay.
-We just do not do corn, we have beans,
we have squash, watermelon,
every type of…
Just like a regular garden but…
-So is this a communal thing?
Like it’s for the whole town?
-No.
-Everyone or someone owns this?
-No, this is actually…
Would be somebody else’s field.
Our family field’s more back there
but I don’t think my uncle’s
been there for a while.
-Okay.
-So right now, this one,
it just would be one family’s field.
And one thing, I love these stories
of coming down early in the morning time
4:00, 3:00 AM, pull the weeds,
get the corn ready, get the ground ready
with your digging stick and everything
and my mom and them used to say,
“All of our aunts, and uncles, cousins,
everybody would come down to the field.”
The will camp out
right here for the whole weekend.
Just grilling up right here,
cooking it up.
Camping out and just having fun
out here on the field
and that’s one thing
I really want to bring back to my family.
Especially to my Hopi side of the family.
I really want to bring
all of us men, all of us,
everybody that can’t
come down to the field,
let’s make the field great again.
-You have a a big family?
-Yes, yes, we do got a very big family.
-You have five kids right?
-Yes, yep.
And that’s why I’m very happy
that I want them to come out here
and experience what my mom
and them were always talking about.
What my aunts and uncles
were always talking about.
-That’s great.
-I want to be that generation
to pick this all back up.
Come back down to the cornfield
and everything like that and just hang out.
Have fun, good old times.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪
PETER: So this is the main town?
LEHUALI: Yeah, this is where the hospital
and the housings are.
-That’s the hospital?
-Yep, there’s the hospital right there.
-For the whole tribe?
-Yes, for the whole tribe.
So say if you get hurt and you’re
all the way in Bacavi or anything.
Gotta drive all the way over here.
We don’t have no other little clinics
or anything for that.
-Which is how far away?
-About 30 minutes or so.
-So while you say
most people live up on the mesas,
there are a few towns here in the valley?
-Yes, yes, there is, there is.
-Like where all
the infrastructure is, the schools…
-Yeah, and like the way we like to call it,
we call it down below.
-Down below?
-Down below.
-How is the high school?
Like is it a good education,
a terrible education?
-Oh no, it’s a pretty good education
I would say and it’s awesome
because they teach you your Hopi language.
Like, I think it’s actually
a class you have to take out here.
-You have to take Hopi?
-Yes.
And that’s one thing
I always thought was cool.
It’s like English is the second language.
-But with the kids, no, right?
-No.
I guess people more around your age.
-Okay.
[both laughing]
Mid-life crisis people.
-Yeah.
They… It’s just constantly Hopi.
All you hear would be Hopi language.
Hopi language.
-No way, so guys my age…
Out and about…
No English?
-Yeah, yeah, most of them, they…
Well, you know, they know English
but they would rather talk to you Hopi.
-Is this one of the big stores?
-Yeah, this is actually one of the…
I would say
the second biggest store out here.
There’s another one
in K-town, in Kykotsmovi.
-Okay.
-That’s another village.
-Is this a dry reservation?
-Yes, dry reservation.
Yes, no alcohol allowed
out here on the reservation.
-A lot of moonshine?
-[scoffs] Bootleggers and everything.
-Let’s go check this out.
-Yeah guys,
so a lot of these reservations…
I think the majority
of the ones I’ve been on, dry.
No selling of alcohol in stores
but then they’re making it, so…
Getting some Brazilian influence, right?
-[chuckles] Yeah, man.
Hello.
-Standard market?
-Yeah, nice little market.
-If you have to do a big shop
you go to Winslow to the Walmart?
-Um, actually we stop in Dilkon.
Out in Navajo, Dilkon they have Bashas.
-Bashas is the Diné market?
-Yes, yeah.
-Bashas is good.
-Yeah.
-I was surprised in Bashas,
the selection of fruit and everything.
They must subsidize the fruit or something
because I got
a whole thing of strawberries.
Some of the best strawberries
I’ve had in my life
on Navajo Nation for $3.00.
-Oh.
-I got a massive thing of them.
-Yeah, they got some good stuff.
-I’m gonna do a fact check on you here.
-Oh.
-Oh, $2.09.
-$2.09.
-On Hopi… No…
I go for the king size bars, that’s why.
King size bars, Burnside in Ganado.
It’s almost like five bucks
for a king size bar.
-This is something
I wouldn’t expect to see out here.
Hats like this.
-Yeah.
-So how does that feel?
Do you identify yourself as American,
as Hopi, as Arizonan?
-Hopi.
-Hopi, okay.
-Yeah, yeah.
-But you consider yourself
American too or no?
-Um…
-How is that?
‘Cause everyone’s different.
I’m trying to come to a consensus
and there is none I’m finding out.
-Yeah, and that’s why
I was always like, you know…
I just say Hopi, you know?
Proud to be American,
now don’t get me wrong,
but I just say Hopi.
-Living on Hopi, we have Tewa.
All this is Tewa land.
All this right here.
-Tewa, is that another tribe?
-Yeah, from New Mexico.
Back in history, they came and protected us
I guess from the marauders.
The Navajos and stuff
and they gave them a village up there.
They gave them land.
-And you guys were always here?
-We came from Mexico, you know,
but we’re still…
-You came up from Mexico?
-I think so.
I’m actually a quarter Sandia Pueblo
but they’re all Catholicized.
-Okay.
-And we’re the only people
that have never been taken over
by the Catholic Church and all that stuff.
-So nobody’s following…
-Nobody’s conquered us.
-That mission didn’t do so well
up there on the hill?
-No.
-And you’re a father,
you have kids in college?
-Yeah.
-Do you want your kids to come back
or do you want them to…
-No, everybody’s too overqualified.
-Okay.
-I was overqualified when I came out here.
-Yeah?
-I couldn’t even find a job.
So I was working at the little
restaurant motel up in Second Mesa.
There’s so much drama here, man.
-There’s drama out here?
-There’s drugs and assaults and…
-Is it because of drugs,
alcohol, lack of jobs?
-I think so. I mean meth is bad out here.
There’s no authority out here
to tell them to do otherwise.
-You guys want more cops out here?
-Not really,
but it’s individual choice, you know?
-Ma’am, can I ask you
do you want more cops out here or no?
-Really?
So we were up at Second Mesa.
It felt very safe and nice up there,
very communal.
Wait ’til night time.
I got stabbed 13 times
when I first moved out here.
-What?
-2010, in Mishongnovi.
I went to…
LEHUALI: [excited] That’s my village.
MAN: When I got assaulted, man,
nothing happened to the guy.
I still see him here and there.
He’s part of my ex-family’s household.
-But then you don’t want more
law enforcement out here doing their job?
-Because they don’t know sh*t.
-But if you had good law enforcement…
-Meh, I don’t know.
[Peter chuckles]
Even… This was back when the
Bureau of Indian Affairs, BIA was out here.
-When did they leave?
-I would say about five years ago.
-Is it better without them
or better with them?
-Hell no, they just got Hopi cops now.
Local law enforcement,
they don’t know sh*t.
-So is that the problem
you’re saying with this crime?
There are no father figures or what?
-Yeah, a lot of it, you know?
-Are divorce rates high?
-No, we don’t get married. [laughs]
-You don’t get married?
-Nope.
-So you have kids with a partner
and it stays your partner?
-Pretty much, yeah.
But you know, the biggest thing for me
out here I think is housing.
Because men don’t get land out here
-Men don’t get land?
-No.
-Women get land?
-Women get all the land.
-Women get the land?
-Yeah.
-How’s that work?
-Because it’s matriarchal.
We’re a matriarchal society.
-The clans always hand the land
down to the women?
-Their family, yeah.
-So you just have to
find the right lady I guess.
-That’s why I live up in the mesa
because I have no where to stay, man.
I live with my mom, it’s sad to say but…
-Rob, where’s your mask?
[man scoffs]
-We’re on Tribal mandate,
we have to wear masks.
-Yeah, gotcha.
-We can get shut down because of that.
LEHUALI: Thank you, [Hopi].
MAN: See you, bro.
-I’ve seen this on a few reservations
but it must be a bit of a battle
for those that go
outside of the reservation.
They come back, they’ve changed a little.
-Yes.
-And those that never left,
there’s, like, some resentment.
Some tension there, right?
-Yes, yes, it is, yes.
And the people that never did leave,
that’s one thing
that they don’t understand.
That they just think that
this person left Hopi
and they’re trying to come back,
and they’re trying to act
like they’re better than me.
I kind of feel like
they think that too, you know?
Which is nothing even like that
’cause you know,
just how he was saying at the store.
I want them to go educate
themselves better and to see the world.
And I feel like that’s where
the envy comes in.
When they know that,
“Oh, so and so’s son, daughter went here.”
“They went to school here.”
and when they come back
they get treated differently, they get…
You know what I mean?
-Almost like an outsider at that point?
-Yes, yes.
-And then some,
and obviously I can’t speak for everyone
’cause I just don’t know but some people
that are staying here are like,
“Don’t tell me how to change
or be any different…”
“…or bring your new ways
upon me.” type-stuff.
-Yes, yes.
-Okay.
PETER: I gotta say,
your roads are pretty good.
-Oh yeah, you know, these roads
are pretty good, well-maintained
because there’s not
that much roads in Hopi.
-Yeah, there’s a few.
[both laughing]
LEHUALI: This is where
all the boarding schools and everything…
This is where all
the Hopi kids were taken to.
Down in this area in Keam’s Canyon.
It’s way off of…
It’s about 10 miles away from Polacca.
Which is First Mesa.
Just imagine rounding all the kids up
from the villages
and having them come down here.
-All the way from the mesas down here?
-Yep, all the way down here.
How far they are from their parents
and from their houses.
My so’o [grandmas], they told me stories about…
Just like how every boarding school was.
They didn’t like it, you’d think that
something positive would’ve come out of it
but it was just all negative.
-On different reservations
I’ve talked to different people.
Most of it’s been a negative
but interestingly enough,
last video I did on Navajo, the granny said
it was a big positive for her.
-Oh, wow, that’s…
-Which I find interesting.
So I don’t know enough
about boarding schools.
I understand it’s mostly a net negative
but she was like… She got education
and it allowed her to develop her life.
-Oh, true. Okay then.
-And she’s very religious too.
-Okay, all right.
-Loves the Book.
-Okay, see… Look and… That right there
is another big thing, the religion.
-If you’re loving the Book,
the boarding school is
probably a better experience, right?
-Yes, that is true.
-And if you’re getting the Book
pushed down your throat
you’re probably hating it like I would too
if someone’s trying to
tell me something to believe in.
I’m not down with that.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Okay.
-Yeah, this is the old boarding school.
Where a lot of people were sent off to.
-What is it now?
It’s now an elementary school?
-Keam’s Canyon Elementary School.
For the people
that live out around this way.
-What a scene here though.
Look at that, beautiful mesa rocks behind.
This is fantastic.
Lehauli, thank you, brother.
-Yeah, no problem, Peter.
-Appreciate it.
That was amazing, very interesting,
you’re a great guy.
-C’mon man, ‘c’mon, you are, man.
-And guys, I want to mention
Lehauli has a very cool
YouTube channel with his wife.
-Yes.
-And if you want a deeper look
and more content
from the reservation and around this area
I’m gonna leave that link at the end.
He’s the man, and it’s only because of you
that we got to do all this today.
So I really thank you for that.
-Oh, no, no, thank you, Peter.
For taking time out, coming out,
and I’m happy I got to show you
the beautiful land of Hopi
and the little taste of the culture
and educate you the best I can.
And I can’t thank you enough, you know?
It goes both ways, man.
Thanks, man.
Yeah, we’re forever gonna be
brothers now after this, now.
-Hell yeah, bro.
Like and sub…
I never say like and subscribe my own stuff
but like and subscribe Lehauli’s
and his wife’s channel.
-Yes, Serious 7 Family.
You guys, come on by
and come hang out with us.
-Beause there’s seven of ’em,
seven of ’em in total.
-Yes, seven of us.
-And next decade, 14 of you?
-[whispers] I hope.
[both laughing]
PETER: All right, guys.
Have some final thoughts for you here.
This is the end of this Native series.
It started in Montana
three and a half weeks ago.
Wow, what a journey.
I’ve learned a ton.
I can tell you this, that I’ve learned
only this much to be honest.
There’s a lot here.
Tip of the iceberg.
So the goal of this series…
And I think I started on this.
‘Cause this won’t be the end
but it’s the end for now.
Is that I wanted to bring down the walls
between Natives and non-Natives.
You know, traditionally when I see
things online about Native culture
the majority of it is done in
a documentary style with a ceremony
and a narrator talking about
the Native culture
they’re interacting with.
Which is very cool.
It’s very interesting.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get into
any ceremonies this trip
but I always felt a distance in that.
I felt like there was them and then me
and there’s no connection.
So the goal with this series
was to build that connection.
You know, whether that be Lakota, Crow,
Salish, Zuni, Navajo, and now Hopi.
Never once in the course of these
three and a half weeks
did I have any bad feelings.
Like, did anyone look at me
as the bad White guy and ostracize me.
Everyone was very open and cool.
And I want you to know
that it’s the same for you.
If you have zero experience with Natives
from whatever tribe,
most of them are very open.
Most of them want to connect with you.
I had the additional challenge
of going in with a camera, right?
That never makes it easy.
But very warm reception from everyone.
Every reservation I went to.
Are there serious, serious problems
on reservations? Of course.
Is there beauty, and spirituality,
and amazing things happening?
Of course.
You can’t put a label
on any of these things.
Take religion and spirituality for example.
I met some Natives that are
very, very religious.
Very much into Catholicism.
Others want to have nothing to do with it
and are into their spirituality.
So as with anything,
the further down you go
the more complex it gets.
This is just the start,
it’s the end of the series for now
but next year I would like to go
down a little deeper.
Let’s say graduate into
the second or third grade on this topic
because there is so much to discover.
356 tribes in this nation alone.
It’s unbelievable.
I want to close on
thanking all of you Natives
from all the tribes I traveled to.
Thank you for bringing me in.
Thank you for trusting me
with your story, with a camera.
I understand the history,
I understand in the past
there’ve been a lot of people
trying to extract things in a negative way
and there’s an overcoming to that.
So thank you again
for giving me that trust,
those smiles, those fantastic stories,
and what Natives do best…
Every tribe I went to…
Sense of humor.
Very funny people.
All right, guys.
This is the end of this series.
This is the end of this year.
I’ll be revisiting some of these tribes
and others down the road to bring you more.
All right, until the next one, take care.
LEHUALI: [excited]
Oh, there’s something in the wash.
It’s coming after me.
Hurry, hurry, Peter!
PETER: I gotta get up on my mesa.
LEHUALI: Yeah, get up on the mesa, man.
They ain’t gonna come up there.
Hey Peter, you know how
I know this is meant to be, man?
In any Native American way,
especially our Hopi way,
when it rains after you do something
that means you’ve
done something for a purpose,
and it’s gonna be for a good purpose,
and this is the sign I was waiting for.
‘Cause I was getting cold feet
and everything like that.
To take him around
’cause that’s how sacred Hopi is
and look, it’s raining on us right now,
and I really now feel deep down,
this was meant to be.
♪ melodic acoustic guitar ♪

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