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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : features : features May 28, 2016

9/15/2009 4:59:00 PM
Tewa Village christens new building
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer/NHO
Former Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa was the special guest speaker at the dedication ceremony for the new Tewa Village administration building.
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer/NHO
Former Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa was the special guest speaker at the dedication ceremony for the new Tewa Village administration building.
Rosanda Suetopka Thayer
The Observer

POLACCA, Ariz. - Over 400 people attended the grand opening dedication of a new office complex building just east of Polacca, about 11 miles west of Keams Canyon on the Hopi Reservation. Dorma Sahneyah, Tewa Village Board President welcomed those in attendance.

"I want to thank everyone ... who has made this building ... possible. There were many obstacles in getting this project finalized, but with the dedication and commitment from our Tewa and Hopi village members, it's finally done," said Sahneyah.

What makes this building completely unique is not just the beautiful, pueblo style design, but the fact that the 50 acres surrounding the building was given by the Sand Clan for their own tribal and community enrichment, epitomizing the extreme generosity of Hopis and Tewas to look to and plan for the future.

The fact that the building is all solar powered with a single source water well located behind the building will allow this new office building to be self-sufficient from any major outside utility company.

It was indeed a grand day further punctuated by a formal ribbon cutting with Emil Honie Sr., Sand Clan-Tewa Leader; Margaret Pooyouma, Tewa Village CSA; Brenda Patterson, Tewa Board member; Keith Pahovama, AML Hopi Tribe; Larry Adams and David Boling, Tewa village consultants; and Sahneyah.

In an especially moving presentation to the Tewa Village, two visitors from Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo), N.M. - Herman Agoyo and Art Garcia - presented the village with a bronze maquette statue of famed San Juan leader Po'pay, who was a central figure in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

This maquette is a miniature version of Jemez pueblo sculptor Cliff Fragua's original seven foot high statue, which is located in the U.S. Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

This gift was to show the connection between eastern (New Mexico) and western (Arizona) pueblos and how they worked together over 300 years ago to defeat Spanish colonization by banding together to reestablish their centuries old religion and cultural practices.

The attending Tewa dedication crowd was extremely moved by the Ohkay Owingeh presentation.

Former Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa was the featured guest speaker. Nuvamsa was greeted with rousing cheers and applause. Nuvamsa spoke to the crowd about what he termed as "Hopi doctrines," which highlighted pride, persistence and perserverance.

He stated, "Though we are taught as Hopis and Tewas to be humble, today, you must be proud of what you have gone through to get this building finalized. That no matter how disappointed you were when you kept facing political and personal obstacles along the way, it got done."

He added, "Secondly, you must recognize your own persistence. When electrical power was denied to you ..., you went solar. Your seven Tewa leaders are to be highly commended for this. The decision to be independent from major source line power is a powerful decision. To be truly resilient and self-sufficient is what we always teach our children [and] you are living it."

Nuvamsa concuded his remarks by stating, "Finally, perseverance. This is the quality of humans to persist living despite personal obstacles, never taking no for an answer. You had a goal - you had a mission. This is your day today, you have realized your dreams and have shown the Council members ... that if your village members are behind you, you can truly do it on your own."

Four of the seven current Tewa leaders were at the opening, including Norman Honie Sr./Cloud Clan, Carl Sinquah/Parrot-Kachina Clan, Paul Sidney/Stick Clan and Emil Honie/Sand Clan. The other Tewa leaders who were not present, but were honored during the ceremonies were Harvey Paymella/Kachina-Parrot clan, Alvin Chaca/Tobacco clan, Clifton Ami/Bear clan and Loren Hamilton/Corn clan.

Special recognition was given to Margaret Pooyouma, Tewa Village CSA; Claude Pahona, Tewa Board member; Dorothy Ami, Tewa Community; James Roy and David Boling of JP Morgan; and Larry Adams of Pueblo Construction. Each of them were given either a handmade piece of pottery or a framed kachina print.

Sahneyah added, "We want to invite all of you to our public meetings to help plan and establish the programs that we are planning for our young and our elderly. Our children are a big part of what is the future for this Tewa building, and just like the rain ..., we must use our own good wishes and hard work to make something beautiful and productive for our community."

Eldon Povatah provided the closing prayer.

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