A tradition on the TripAdvisor Forums is that after one seeks the help and guidance of the panel of Local Experts, we appreciate if the “seeker” comes back after his or her vacation to post what’s known as a “trip report.” You can imagine we get lots of them. But every so often a trip report is posted that stands out from the rest. Today, a poster who goes by the short but sweet acronym of “vcv” posted a trip report on a seldom-seen part of Northern Arizona: the Hopi Indian reservation. It immediately grabbed my attention because the Hopi people, though relatively close to the Grand Canyon, still carry an aura of mystery about them.
Situated a couple hours’ drive due East of Grand Canyon National Park, Hopi Land Arizona encompasses a cluster of mesas. Some of their villages and towns which sit atop them are considered to be one of the longest continually occupied settlements in North America.
Their reputation precedes them as being a very private and intensely spiritual people, but ‘vcv’ happily reports that he found the people he met there to be very welcoming and open, almost contradictory to other reports he/she had read:
From time to time people post queries on TripAdvisor about visiting Indian villages. Of course, a tourist doesn’t get to know another culture in a day or even a year. But a visit to the Hopi mesas offers a glimpse into the lives of a people who have a reputation for peaceful and friendly ways. Contrary to some comments on TA, visitors are allowed in the villages—if for no other reason than many of the artists sell their wares from their homes. Many of these homes have “welcome” signs, and a few even display credit card logos, though cash is the usual method of payment. During special ceremonies, villages do close their roads to outsiders; otherwise, visitors are welcome and often specific parking areas are designated.
The Hopi people also possess a deep spiritual connection to the Grand Canyon. According to Hopi legend, the Grand Canyon is said to be the location of the “sipapu,” the portal between the underworld and the corporeal world where mankind supposedly emerged upon Earth.
If during your Grand Canyon travels, you are interested in Native American culture and history, there are ample opportunities for partaking of it. The Hualapai Indian Tribe, for example, own and operate Grand Canyon West, site of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. They also operate the only single-day Grand Canyon white water rafting trip. The Navajo Tribe, who have Grand Canyon land holdings outside the Eastern border of the park, may also easily be visited during a Grand Canyon vacation, particularly if you’re traveling from Grand Canyon South Rim to or from Lake Powell, Zion, or Bryce Canyon. World-famous Monument Valley is a Navajo Indian Tribal Park, as is surreal Antelope Canyon.
In the Hopi way, tourism is an important part of their economy, but as ‘vcv’ puts it, it is far less “orchestrated” and conducted on a more one-to-one basis, touching you on a much more personal level. He/she adds:
Somewhere on the reservation there must be a few grouchy unfriendly Hopis, but I didn’t see any!
And thanks to ‘vcv’ for a wonderful trip report that cleared up some of the mysteries and misconceptions about the Hopi people that even those of us who call ourselves “Destination Experts” still clung to!