When I stepped out of my car in the village of Old Oraibi, a few locals invited me to see some art for sale.
I asked if I could walk around first and come back.
That’s when I met Bryan from the Coyote Clan, who offered to give me a tour.
I never felt so privileged in my life as I walked around that village.
Bryan showed me where he lives in his grandmother’s house.
I saw ancient stone walls. Some mixed with modern block, and newer structures completely made of block. A village that is evolving.
Bryan showed me walls that have collapsed since the time he was a child living in Phoenix and spending his summers here with his grandparents, much like I remember spending my summers on my grandparent’s farm in Iowa.
(In fact, we both gathered chicken eggs during the summers.)
Bryan showed me the shrine that his grandmother maintains, where small morsels from every meal are placed in thanks.
I wasn’t allowed past a certain point, but I did get to see what looked like a crumbling multi-story building off in the distance.
Bryan told me the story of Mennonites who long ago tried to convert the Hopi and forced them to build a church.
The oppressed Hopi eventually entered their Kiva and smoked and prayed for something to happen.
Lightning struck the building and turned it into a grave for the Mennonites inside.
The Mennonites later forced the Hopi to rebuild the church, but again lightning struck.
The Mennonites gave up.
What an unforgettable tour. The highlight of my road trip!