The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, April 26, 2018

Indian tribes join forces to save petroglyph site dating as far back as A.D. 1200
Patrick Secakuku, who works with the Hopi schools, points to part of the ancient petroglyphs of Tutuveni near Tuba City, Ariz. The site, whose name means "newspaper rock," contains some 5,000 petroglyphs of Hopi clan symbols, the largest known collection of such symbols in the American Southwest. AP Photo/Pauline Arrillaga.

By: Pauline Arrillaga, AP National Writer

TUBA CITY (AP).- In the far reaches of northern Arizona, where city sprawl gives way to majestic canyons and a holy place is defined not by steeple and cross but rather by earth and sky, lies a monument to a people's past and a symbol of the promise of peace between two long-warring Indian nations.

The Hopi people call it Tutuveni (tu-TOO-veh-nee), meaning "newspaper rock," and from a distance this place is just that — a collection of sandstone boulders set on a deserted swath of rust-stained land outside of Tuba City, some 80 miles from the Grand Canyon and a four-hour drive north of Phoenix.

It is only when you step closer that you begin to understand what Tutuveni really is: a history of the Hopi Indian tribe carved into stone.

The site contains some 5,000 petroglyphs of Hopi clan symbols, the largest known collection of such symbols in the American Southwest. According to researchers with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, the many etchings on the boulders of Tutuveni date as far back as far back as A.D. 1200.

On the dark desert varnish of the boulders are rows of bear paws, corn stalks, spiders, coyotes, kachinas, clouds, cranes. Some of the symbols represent various aspects of Hopi cultural life, but most are the markings of the Hopi clans, or family systems, which are usually named for animals or other natural objects.

The Hopi made these engravings during ceremonial pilgrimages from their land to the Grand Canyon to mark the passage into adulthood for Hopi young men.

"They would stop at Tutuveni and camp there, and they would peck their clan symbols on those rocks to mark their participation in that pilgrimage. And they did this for four or five centuries at least," said Wes Bernardini, an archaeologist and professor at the University of Redlands who has been studying Tutuveni for years. "When people from the same clan would visit the site, they would put their symbols next to the previous symbol that somebody had left earlier. There's no other site that we know of like that, that shows these repeated visits.

"It's a very important place."

It is also a place threatened by modern-day vandals who view Tutuveni not as the sacred site and archaeological treasure that it is, but rather a canvas for their own graffiti.

Scattered among the many ancient impressions are the markings of lovers, history buffs and random visitors looking to leave their mark with etchings such as: "Aaron Myrianna 07," ''The Victor 10-20-85," ''Van.B," ''Ramon Albert," ''Ariz. Hy. Dept." Even: "1969-Man Land on Moon."

On one rock is a carved image of the two World Trade Center towers, with a plane heading for them. Elsewhere, clan symbols have been chiseled away or spray-painted over.

The Hopi had long known that what they considered a religious place had become, instead, a gathering spot to drink beer and act out. There was talk over the years of erecting a fence or building berms to help keep out vehicle traffic.

But the question of how to protect Tutuveni was complicated by its mere location: The site, while recognized as a Hopi traditional cultural property, actually sits on land now owned by the Navajo Indians, the result of a decades-old dispute that saw these neighboring tribes fighting over land each considered its own. The conflict was finally resolved in 2006 with much of the disputed 1.5 million acres going to the Navajos, but bitterness lingers still.

It might have been easy for Tutuveni to get caught up in all of that — and its needs overlooked — but for the small group of researchers, archeologists and preservationists from both tribes and beyond who came together in common cause: to save this important cultural resource.

"It's something that's really unique and very special to the Hopi," said Ron Maldonado, supervisory archaeologist for the Navajo Nation. "In my mind, it didn't matter who it belonged to. It needed to be protected, and that was it."

Maldonado talked with Jon Shumaker, a fellow archaeologist at electric utility Arizona Public Service, to see if the company might contribute some funding for fencing materials. APS came up with some $13,000.

Meanwhile Bernardini, in collaboration with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, nominated Tutuveni for inclusion on the World Monuments Fund 2008 "watch list" of endangered cultural sites around the world. Among the treasures listed in years past: the Great Wall of China, India's Taj Mahal and ancient Pompeii, Italy. The fund pitched in some $100,000 toward a protective fence and surveillance cameras, but also a laser-scanning project that captured many of the petroglyphs for an educational website that was launched this past December.

Today, a chain-link fence stretches around the rock site, with only a narrow opening to allow for visitors on foot. Hidden cameras capture the movement of people and animals. Some beer bottles still litter the ground, but far fewer than what once was found at Tutuveni.

On a recent visit, Lee Wayne Lomayestewa of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office and Patrick Secakuku, who works with the Hopi schools, walked slowly among the boulders, stopping to run their fingers over the clan symbols and talk about their significance to their people. It was Secakuku's first visit to Tutuveni, and he stared in awe as he discovered just how many engravings represented his own ancestry in the bear strap clan.

"I'm really amazed. I didn't realize there were this many," he said. "This tells you a lot of history about our tribe, our Hopi people, and for people to desecrate, vandalize ... you're losing a lot of rich culture, history. It's sad. But how do you control it? You just wish that out of respect they'd leave them alone."

Lomayestewa comes out to the site regularly to check that the surveillance cameras are still working and to document any new vandalism with his digital camera. The fence, completed in 2010, has helped, he said. But educating both outsiders and the Navajo and Hopi people who live near Tutuveni about the importance of the site is the only real way to help preserve the place — and allow the past to live on.

"I wish we could have protected it before all this happened," Lomayestewa said, as he sought to explain just what Tutuveni means to the Hopi. "White people don't understand that we have these places where we pray. Their way of thinking is that you have to pray in a church.

"Ours is out here," he said, standing on the earth where his ancestors walked so long ago, on the soil that is his sanctuary.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Today's News

January 30, 2012

Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition explores van Gogh's deep immersion into nature

Newly renovated and freshly installed 19th-Century French galleries reopen at National Gallery of Art

Weegee: Murder Is My Business at the International Center of Photography in New York

The Clark explores the art of copying - "Copycat: Reproducing Works of Art" opens

Indian tribes join forces to save petroglyph site dating as far back as A.D. 1200

Aargauer Kunsthaus opens monographic exhibition featuring Swiss artist Roman Signer

Rachel Kneebone presents new artwork alongside sculptures by Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum

George Custer dealer Christopher Kortlander seeks return of seized artifacts

Amalia Pica and Karsten Födinger open exhibition at Kunst Halle St. Gallen

Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda presents exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof

Kunsthalle Zurich announces opening date in new permanent home in the Lowenbrau art complex

Celebrities and unknowns alike star in presentation of nearly forty rarely or never-seen Andy Warhol Polaroids

Exhibition on the production and culture of tobacco as seen through the eyes of Xu Bing

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation announces recipients for the inaugural round of its artistic grants

MoMA P.S. 1 announces a solo exhibition of Darren Bader

Media pioneer Zbigniew Rybczynski and Gábor Bódy in an exhibition at the ZKM Media Museum

Egyptians move to reclaim streets through graffiti

Frederick's Montezuma: Power and Meaning in the Prussian Court Opera opens in Berlin

Israeli artist Ruven Kuperman opens exhibition at Kit Schulte Contemporary Art

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful