October 31, 2017
Tyler Walls, Project Director, Indigenous Vision, an educational nonprofit organization.
A group of around 30 people, including Vice-Chairman Larry Jackson Sr. from the Yavapai-Apache Nation, came together on October 28, 2017 for a prayer run for water. A 70 degree day created a perfect setting. Runners, mainly youth, from the Hopi Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Zuni Pueblo and a Lakota group called No Surrender from Pine Ridge participated. Organized by a community group, Perseverance for Preservation, the “Run for Water” was a nearly 70-mile awareness run from Winslow, AZ to the Village of Tewa, First Mesa on the Hopi reservation. For years, high levels of arsenic have contaminated Hopi drinking water causing health disparities and the group ran to heal and raise awareness on this crisis. Arriving after a long day at the base of First Mesa, the runners began their ascent to the old Village of Walpi, guided by a local teenage Hopi boy. Finally reaching their destination, the runners entered the plaza of the Village of Tewa where they were welcomed by Hopi-Tewa elders. In appreciation for their sacrifice, the grandmothers of the Spider Clan washed each runner’s hair which is customary during ceremonial runs. Words of wisdom and appreciation were spoken recognizing the need to protect our land and water. Just as the sun was setting atop the mesa, the group was welcomed to a full spread feast of piki, blue corn tamales, stews, salads, meats, pies and cookies. In the distance, Nuvatukya’ovi (San Francisco Peaks) towered a 100-miles away as everyone enjoyed overlooking the mesa’s edge into the vastness of Hopi land.