Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the true tale
of an epic pilgrimage for the Earth
across North America

by people of all colors and faiths.

  - A creative non-fiction book in online evolution - ◊
© - 2007 by Steven McFadden

To hear a sample
audio recording of
Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
click here.


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“The Great Spirit based us here to take care of this land and life for Him through prayer, meditations, ceremonies, and rituals, and to lead a simple life close to the Earth. That’s what we have been doing.

“Governments talk all the time about human rights, equality, justice, and all those things, but they have never done anything for the native people…So it’s time that they do that – live up to their talk, otherwise nature is going to take over. Earthquakes, flooding, destruction by volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, things like that. It’s already happening…

"…We're all going to have to work together. The world is in trouble right now."

- Thomas Banyacya

Day 173  - Tuesday, December 12, 1995 – Way back at the start, before we’d even taken our first step, Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya talked with Grandfather Commanda and Tom Dostou about the walk.

Grandfather Banyacya

Grandfather Banyacya told them that our pilgrimage needed to finish at the Western Gate at Point Conception, along the Pacific Ocean. That’s the place he pointed to. After listening to him, and contemplating his message, we agreed. That’s where we are all headed.

Grandfather Banyacya is one of the traditional elders, a spiritual messenger who carried the teachings of the Hopi since 1948, making sure that they were finally heard at the House of Mica (United Nations).

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One of the issues that the walkers are learning about as they enter Hopi land is the conflict over installation of sewer and water utilities at Hotevilla, a Hopi village located on Third Mesa. Hopi traditionalists are battling the imposition of unwanted modernization in their village, a process being pushed by the federal government and certain BIA-supported Hopi factions.

Because the Traditional elders were keepers of teachings that warned against such disruptions of the earth at this sacred place -- and in particular near their kiva and near sacred places marked by earlier elders -- the plans are causing consternation and division.

Hotevilla came into being in 1906 as a result of the eviction of the Kikmongwis (traditional spiritual elders) from their original home at Oraibi. It was intended to be a sovereign village for those people who follow the ancient Hopi way of simplicity. Back in 1906, the dispute centered on the villagers' refusal to send their children to government schools for indoctrination in the consumer culture.

Hotevilla scene

Hotevilla, the elders say, embodies the covenant Great Spirit made with the Hopi 1,100 years ago, and the prophecy that it involved: the Hopi were to understand themselves as a microcosm of all of humanity, and as keepers of the world's balance. Time would spiral down toward a climax, when the Hopi, their traditions and wisdom would be threatened with extinction. If that were to happen, the teachings say, it would be catastrophic for all of humanity.

At issue now as our walk is arriving –- really since 1989 when the idea first came forward -- is the construction of a sewer line and wastewater lagoon . The sewer project has generated intense controversy.

When the digging for the sewer project began, and the first prayer feathers were dug up and discarded by workers, the traditional Hopi sought help. That was about two weeks ago, on November 28, 1995, just before our walk arrived. The elders filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking a temporary restraining order in district court. Their petition was denied.

According to the elders, construction of the sewer and water lines will desecrate sacred areas and shrines, and are too close to the kiva that they use for meetings and ceremonies. The sewer pipeline, they say, will interfere with the path they use to communicate with Creator.

Kiva interior - A kiva is a room used by Puebloans for religious rituals, They are most often entered via a hole in the roof, and a ladder leading down to the prayer room.

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Elder Dan Evehema, 104, who has promised to meet with the walkers in the days ahead, has been a leader in the opposition to the sewer project. According to him, Hopi teachings hold that, "this sacred shrine must keep its spiritual pathways open."

Chief Dan Evehema - raises his arm as he offers up a prayer.

Chief Evehema, known widely as Little Dan, has lived and worked for the last 90 years, on his small farm in Hotevilla. He is the spiritual head of his clan, and spokesman for the elders who are the keepers of the covenant made with the Creator.

He says the covenant made between the Hopi Sinom and the Creator entrusted the Hopi as the keepers and protectors of Mother Earth, not only for the Hopi but for all of mankind. Consequently, Hopi traditionalists are generally opposed to modernization and the constant encroachment of white society.

Hotevilla is the last remaining Hopi village with an almost complete cycle of Hopi religious ceremonies, a cycle which has eroded in other villages as a result of assimilation.

The centuries-old prophecies, he says, warned us what would happen when we forget the principles of right and wrong in our behavior. We will see extraordinary events in nature; because modern people ignores the wisdom of ancient Earth-honoring cultures. Modern man looks upon old wisdom and knowledge as dead, useless and no longer respected.

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"We settled down here with a purpose to be who we are, as a traditional Hopi group," Litle Dan says. "That was our choice." He is convinced that we are headed in the wrong direction, that we have broken the covenant with the Creator.

Little Dan and other traditional elders believe that Maasaw, the guardian spirit of the Earth, came to the Hopi around 1,100 C.E., and entrusted the fate of the world to them. Maasaw gave the Hopi numerous prophecies and placed upon them a network of responsibilities.

The Hopi were initially just charged with spiritual responibility watching out for Turtle Island (North America), he says. But as native loyalists in other lands have become extinct, the Hopi elders have had to take responsibility for those countries, too.

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Note: Chief Dan Evehema, died January 15, 1999, at age 108. Grandfather Thomas Banyacya died February 6, 1999 at age 89.        

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Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 174 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

 
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Odyssey of the 8th Fire Copyright © 2006-2008 by Steven McFadden