Today, it is snowing in Beijing, and there are Hopi Katchina dolls from Kykotsmovi Village,  in my apartment.

I think about the possibility of working with children on the res, asking where they think a Katchina doll might want to visit… where they themselves might to visit in Beijing, and then taking the dolls to see the sights. Not as some gnome or prop or other thing, but to actually see and for the spirits that of the Katchinas that the dolls they represent to feel. Or, perhaps work with people on the reservation to build stories around them. Because, although my step-father in half-Hopi, and my mom and he lived on the reservation for over 12 years, and I have four really good books to read about the dolls, I still don’t much understand the culture… and I’d want to do any project like this, well, right.

But, for today, it is snowing in Beijing, and there are Hopi Katchina dolls from Kykotsmovi Village,  in my apartment.


  1. In Feb. or March 1969, while recovering from a bad strep infection, I read Frank Waters’s “Book of the Hopi” (1963). It was a strange time for me, involving a nervous breakdown, my application for conscientious objector status, and a general movement away from intellectualism and toward a more “instinctive” way of experiencing the world. I remember being impressed with the account of the Hopi living in harmony with their surroundings, but don’t remember much more about the book.

    Are you familiar with the work of Sherman Alexie? He’s not Hopi, and I’ve never read any of his fiction, but the film “Smoke Signals” (1998) was based on one of his books, and my buddy Matt and I enjoyed it. Also, “Thunderheart” (1992), starring Val Kilmer, is an interesting look at life on the Sioux reservation in South Dakota … not Hopi, but interesting.

    I remember travelling through New Mexico and Arizona in 1953 on the old Route 66, struck by the poverty of the land we passed through, and remember people selling silver and turquoise jewelry by the roadside.

  2. i’ll share this photo and your comments with friends from hopi who are visiting tomorrow. certainly the watching of the moisture would be wonderful, since the actual kachinas have so much to do with moisture. so, it is a perfect way in which to photograph the tihus (dolls). love, mom

  3. Hi Su, This post reminded me of a story I heard from my very good friend Jackson about the time when he was traveling through New Mexico with his wife and two young children and their car broke down on a Hopi reservation. He had some very interesting interactions with the Hopi people over the course of a couple of days that I’d like to tell you about, but I realized when I went to write about it that I don’t remember quite a few details. I’m asking Jackson if he can remember and write it for me so I can share it with you. He and I have been having a Hopi conversation for the past 40 years.

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