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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Hopi Monies Give New Life to Village Water Source
by Rosanda Suetopka Thayer - The Navajo-Hopi Observer
credits: photos by Rosanda Suetopka Thayer/NHO

HOTEVILLA, Ariz. - In one of the most practically applied use of tribal monies for a utilitarian project that honors water, the most essential natural resource for everyone, the Village of Hotevilla on Third Mesa has just completed the first phase of a natural village spring restoration project.

Utilizing the ancient art form of Hopi quarried masonry along with mentoring younger Hopi men in sculptural stone art, the 3 1/2 month village project has yielded a renovated, working spring that looks like a prize winning, architectural water spa.

Some of the artwork incorporated incised and three-dimensional clan markings as a part of the overall structure, so a true Hopi aesthetic is evident in the final product.

Robert Sumatskuku, Assistant Community Service Administrator for Hotevilla, submitted a full village restoration proposal to the Hopi Tribe's budget oversight team originally for the amount of $175,000.

The amount was projected to complete a full restoration that would end with a second phase of work that will start next year. The second phase will include some wall strengthening in the irrigated garden area and some shoring up of the stone steps that lead to and from the public use spring.

The Hopi Tribe was only able to grant an amount of $87,500 from the supplemental funding source, but this was a generous start; the first part of the village project is now complete.

The village also applied for EPA monies to finish the second half.

Sumatskuku was pleased to say that the EPA has approved their request and that the village is awaiting the final approval signatures from Hopi officials to release their funding so that the second phase of the project can begin.

The Hopi Tribe's portion of money paid for salaries and benefits for eight laborers and two lead foremen.

Nathaniel Selestewa of Hotevilla was the principal lead foreman. He is a known, gifted Hopi stone mason and has now been able to pass his expertise on to some younger Hopi members at Hotevilla.

Jimmie Lucero and Chris Cook were part of the crew who were at a special luncheon on Dec. 4 to thank and honor the spring restoration work that was done to benefit all Hotevilla village members who gather water at the spring.

Lucero had prior experience in working with Hopi stone, having apprenticed under Danny and Kevin Lomatska, who are also renowned Hopi masons. Lucero also went to architectural drafting school, so he also understood about incorporating design work into the mathematical structuring.

Lucero and Cook said that the project itself was "pretty back-breaking" since they only used wheelbarrows to transport the carved stone, and until a gas-powered cement mixer was brought in, they had to mix the cement by hand.

Cook said he didn't have any mason work experience but he learned a lot on this project.

"I was hired as basically just a grunt laborer, but [by] watching and learning how to cut and shape the stone, I really learned a lot. When we started to make the bench area for the ladies to sit on ..., it really made me feel good that I was doing something that would really help all of us here."

Lucero and Cook both added, "We all learned from each other on this project, the younger guys learned a new skill [and] learned how to work in structured shifts."

"We also learned more about how to get the most from a power jackhammer," they said laughing.

The Hotevilla Spring Renovation Crew included: Alvin Tenakhongva, Andrew Duwyenie, Anthony Honanie, Bobby Saddleblanket, Chris Cook, Courtney Outie, Craig Masayesva, Darwin Kayquaptewa, Daryl Lomatewama, Eldon Selestewa, Eric Chapman, Eric Tenakhongva, Erickson Tessay, Faron Ahownewa, Hubert Tenakhongva, Jimmie D. Lucero, Joseph Montoya, Kevin Crooke, Kevin Quanimptewa, Larson Onsae Jr., Lean Monogye, Leander Tenakhongva, Marvin sekayesva, Michael Sakenima, Michael Tenakhongva, Nathaniel Selestewa, Norman Albert, Oran Selestewa, Raynard Nasingoitewa, Reginald Selestewa, Robert Bible, Robert Kaursgowa, Robert Tenakhongva, Roy Masayesva, Sam Kayquaptewa, Steven Kuyvya, Terrance Tewa, Thomas Hoyungowa, Walter Poleyma Jr., Wilford Duwyenie and Willis Monogye.

Hotevilla, Arizona map
Hotevilla, Arizona map
(courtesy of Microsoft Maps and Directions)
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