TRUTH OF A HOPI
Stories Relating to the Origin, Myths and Clan Histories of the Hopi
by Edmund Nequatewa
[1936, copyright not renewed]
This is one of the rarest types of ethnographic documents, one actually written by a native American. Mr. Nequatewa ably relates some of the mythological stories also covered by Voth. However, the bulk of this book--by far the most valuable section--covers the historical legends of the Hopi, from a Hopi viewpoint. The Hopi 'theory' (Nequatewa's word) was that the 'Bahana' (the white people) emerged from the under-world alongside the Hopi, and went off in search of the truth. Someday they would return and live in harmony with the Hopi, bringing wisdom and great abundance.
So what is the truth of a Hopi? The return of the Bahana didn't work out quite that way. The Hopi resisted enculturation, sometimes through armed resistance, at other times through nonviolent resistance (as when they hide the children from the policeman coming to take them to the boarding schools). However, all the while they apparently kept their good natured belief that someday their ironic 'theory' of the inherent goodness of the whites would work out.
Throughout, Nequatewa relates incidents and characterizations of Hopis that go far beyond the 'Noble Savage' sterotypes of brave warriors and laconic wisemen. The Hopi who occupy these pages are all too human, and that alone is a drop of truth that is missing from accounts of the Hopi, even to the present day.