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9/17/2013 11:09:00 AM
Slice of life: Patrick Pynes, Kykotsmovi Hopi beekeeping
A group of Hopi interested in sustainable and traditional Hopi agriculture get a close look at their Kykotsmovi bee colony. Photo/Sharon Lee Harris
A group of Hopi interested in sustainable and traditional Hopi agriculture get a close look at their Kykotsmovi bee colony. Photo/Sharon Lee Harris
Todd Roth
NHO

Recently the Navajo-Hopi Observer talked with Patrick Pynes (Ph.D. and Northern Arizona University (NAU) professor of Native Studies) about the introduction of beekeeping to Hopi.

Patrick, what's your background in bees?

I've been the gardening manager at La Posada for 13 years, I've been a gardener and beekeeper for about 22 years.

How did you get into beekeeping and Hopi beekeeping activities?

When I first moved to Flagstaff in 2000 my first job was working part time for the Center for Sustainable Environments at NAU doing research. At the same time I found this job at La Posada. One of my primary interests is the relationship between indigenous people and the land, and their relationships to non-indigenous people.

I was teaching a class at NAU about native cultural expressions and met a student named Lillian studying for her degree in Applied Indigenous Studies (AIS). Lillian also had an interest in peoples' relationship to the land. Lillian is Hopi from Kykotsmovi and is doing deep studies in many cultures' relationship to their land in a global context.

What is specifically going on with Hopi beekeeping?

My understanding is that Lillian and her husband acquired some grants to do education work with local Hopi youth about the Hopi relationship to their land. Lillian asked me if I would teach beekeeping as part of her workshops on Hopi perennial plant growing past and present. One of Lillian's main interests is the peach tree which is a traditional Hopi grown fruit. That's really the connection with bees.

Overview of bees in America

Europeans brought various fruit trees to North America and also brought honey bees to pollinate them. Without bees, fruit trees don't produce fruit. Without bees flowering plants cannot exist. Bees are the critical active agent in the process of returning traditional fruit trees to the Hopi land.


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