Hopi Sinom Club drew rave reviews for performing at the Smithsonian
Institutions Spring Equinox Celebration in Washington D.C.
The event was sponsored by the National Museum of the American Indian
(NMAI) in anticipation of its opening of the National Mall Museum
in the fall of 2004.
The Hopi Sinom Club comes from Hopi Junior/Senior
High School. The Hopi Sinom Club performed the Pahlikmana Dance
- known as the Liquid-drinking Maiden Dance.
This is part of the Hopi ceremony that
represents the reproduction of life. It is also significant for
rain and other moisture it can bring, representing a bountiful harvest
and sustenance for life.
In times of drought, a request for a
Pahlikmana ceremony can be made. The ceremony can also be done for
curing illness and to dispel sadness. Hopi people live in an arid
environment and practice dry farming. According to the Hopi tradition,
spiritual preparation for the new year begins with the Winter Solstice.
Several events take place before the spring equinox. The Pahlikmana
is usually danced within the Hopi calendar month of Osomuya (March)
to assure an abundance of moisture to assist with the development
of new crops.
This ceremony also enhances the persistence
The first corn is planted 20 days after
equinox. Each village has its own interpretation of Pahlikmana.
The Hopi Sinom Club uses the version from Old Oraibi. The Hopi Sinom
Club entourage included students Christopher Polivema, Yanaka Pewo,
Anthony Puhuhesva, Chelsea Laban, Cliffany Mowa and Raymond Namoki.
The adult leaders on the trip were Roger Mase, Cynthia Mase, Jessie
Talaswaima and Mark Talaswaima Jr.
Jessie Talaswaima said she was proud of
the way the young dancers performed and acted.
She wondered whether it was a coincidence
that their performance brought rain. She praised NMAI for paying
for everything from the flight and the hotel to the food. We
gave an impressive performance. We danced hard and our dancers were
synchronized, she said. Talaswaima praised Susan Secakuku,
former Hopi Chairman Ferrell Secakukus daughter from NMAI
for giving the Hopi Sinom Club the cultural tour of Washington D.C.
Yanaka Pewo, a 16-year-old junior, said
the trip and dance performance was eye-opening for her because she
had never done anything like it. I hope we can do it again
some time because it gave me a greater outlook on life. Not only
for whats available in the Southwest, but all over,
she said. We received a lot of compliments and I was happy
with our performance. Pewo enjoyed visiting the Lincoln Memorial,
Washington Monument and Smithsonian Castle.
Pewo said other students should join the
Hopi Sinom Club so they could get to go places and participate in
activities. She is the daughter of Lorraine Choyou from First Mesa.
Chelsea Laban, a 13-year-old seventh grader, said she enjoyed sharing
her Hopi dances and culture with the people. It was cool,
she said. Everybody performed well. Laban is the daughter
of Barbara Polingyouma and Vernon Laban from Old Oraibi.
Chris Polivema, an 18-year-old senior,
noted that the Hopi Sinom Club performed twice during the ceremony.
He thought the second performance was better. The crowd was
happy and pleased to see Native Americans performing. There was
mostly non-natives in the crowd. We were glad to share our culture
and dance, he said.
Polivema said he enjoyed seeing the monuments,
the National Geographic Building and the White House. He is graduating
this year and plans to attend Eastern Arizona College, but he hopes
to be able to continue to travel with the Hopi Sinom Club. He is
the son of Rose Mary Polivema and Marvin Talayumptewa of Kykotsmovi.
The other performers at the event were
Sadie Buck (Seneca, Turtle Clan), Nalani Olds (Hawaiian), Inkhay
(Andean) and Native Roots. Richard West, director of NMAI, said
this was the first of four equinox celebrations that will lead to
the opening of the National Mall Museum. This serves as reminders
of the important relationships between native peoples and the seasonal
influence of the sun, moon and stars, he explained. From
the south facing prisms that capture the suns rays and animate
the interior of the Potomac withspectacular displays of light and
color, to the abstracted solar burn pattern tracing the path of
the sun on the Copper Screen Wall, the National Museum will be infused
with subtle, yet striking, design elements.
West noted that native perspectives of
cosmology will be incorporated into the museums three inaugural
exhibitions, Our Lives, Our Peoples, and Our Universes.
He said the malls landscape design; building design and exhibition
elements evoke the beauty and fluidity of the solar system, and
the secular world, at every turn.