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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : features : features April 30, 2016


7/27/2010 11:25:00 AM
Traditional Hopi foods crucial in Hopi life
Tyler Tawahongva/NHO
Iva Honyestewa of the Hopi Puítavi Program conducts a demonstration on how to prepare blue corn hotcakes, considered to be one of the traiditional Hopi meals that many people no longer prepare. Honyestewa was part of a special presentation that illustrated the importance of traditional Hopi foods as part of a healthy Hopi diet.
Tyler Tawahongva/NHO
Iva Honyestewa of the Hopi Puítavi Program conducts a demonstration on how to prepare blue corn hotcakes, considered to be one of the traiditional Hopi meals that many people no longer prepare. Honyestewa was part of a special presentation that illustrated the importance of traditional Hopi foods as part of a healthy Hopi diet.
Tyler Tawahongva/NHO
Beatrice Norton (right) from the Hopi CHR program explains how Hopi food is a way of life as Iva Honyestewa of the Hopi Puítavi Program (left) and Cassandra Yaiva of the Hopi Special Diabetes Project stand and listen. Norton explained that there are spiritual, medicinal and many other cultural uses of Hopi foods. She explained other traditions, including that Hopi food should be respected as a living entity because it provides nourishment and life and that food should be shared and never thrown away ó even if you have to give it to the dogs. She concluded by stating that whenever you were finished with a meal, you should always be thankful to have eaten.
Tyler Tawahongva/NHO
Beatrice Norton (right) from the Hopi CHR program explains how Hopi food is a way of life as Iva Honyestewa of the Hopi Puítavi Program (left) and Cassandra Yaiva of the Hopi Special Diabetes Project stand and listen. Norton explained that there are spiritual, medicinal and many other cultural uses of Hopi foods. She explained other traditions, including that Hopi food should be respected as a living entity because it provides nourishment and life and that food should be shared and never thrown away ó even if you have to give it to the dogs. She concluded by stating that whenever you were finished with a meal, you should always be thankful to have eaten.
Tyler Tawahongva
NHO

BACAVI, Ariz. - On July 21, the Hopi Special Diabetes Program, Hopi CHR and Pa'tuvi programs held a special presentation on the importance of traditional Hopi foods.

Matt Livingston, a community outreach specialist from the University of Arizona, has been here for 18 years researching different aspects of Hopi culture such as Hopi farming and Hopi cooking. Recently there was a survey taken on single parent head of household families and traditional cooking. There is also a Hopi cookbook that has been revised through the efforts of these groups and is recommended to anyone wanting to learn to make traditional foods.

Starting the presentation was Beatrice Norton from the Hopi CHR program on the importance of traditional Hopi foods. She explained that the cover o f the Hopi cookbook utilized traditional artwork in combination with the food pyramid in basic Hopi colors. She explained that Hopi food is a way of life and the main staple of the Hopi.

There is spiritual, medicinal and many other cultural uses of Hopi foods. She explained that Hopi corn meal or ungmni can be used on cuts to dry up the wound. She says that with talent, practice and prayer a Hopi woman can perfect Hopi cooking. She went on to explain that Hopi food should be respected as a living entity because it provides nourishment and life. She explained food should be shared, never declined, and never thrown away, even if you have to give it to the dogs. Most of all don't be mad when cooking, it will go to the food. She stated that when finished with a meal, always be thankful to have eaten.

Iva Honyestewa from the Hopi Pa'tuvi program next made a presentation regarding the survey. The survey was conducted during a three-year period and created data from all the villages. Participants ranged in age from 18-87. One interesting finding was the fact that just a few people cook traditional food outside of ceremonies. Some of the strengths of the Hopi women were resources such as financial, political, social and cultural resources. Hopi women set norms and articulate values and norms to younger generations. It is absolutely necessary to carry on the cultural and spiritual importance on to the next generation.

She stated, "There is a need for resurgence of Hopi traditional foods."

Livingston added that the survey information is available to anyone wanting to use the data to write a grant or set up a Hopi food program. Data from each individual village is available.

Cassandra Yaiva from the Special Diabetes Project made a presentation on the importance of diet in the overall health of an individual. She wanted to make clear that it is always not easy to make healthy changes to one's diet. She made a point by showing well-known fast food images without any names that were easily recognizable by the crowd. Then she showed numerous plants that were traditional Hopi food, which many in attendance were unable to name. She wanted to make the point that foods that have been here for centuries should be easily recognizable to Hopi children on trails and in the fields as easily as the fast food images.

She continued to explain that things have changed since our ancestors ate native foods.

In the past, choices were fairly limited, but now, everything is readily available to us. In the past planting was done by hand. Now, tractors do much of the work. In the past, kids played stickball. Now they play video games. She reinforced the claim that a Hopi food diet contains whole grains, more fruit and vegetables, low fat and high protein.

Yaiva stated that sometimes kids don't seem interested in learning traditional ways, but they actually would like to learn and are very eager to participate. She states even boys can help out in traditional female picking and cooking.

In the survey, about 25 percent of the respondents said that traditional cooking was learned from a male family member. In our busy days, however, sometimes there is no time to make traditional foods. Some suggestions offered were to prepare food items such as hominy ahead of time and dry it out for later use. Canning was also suggested since blue corn doesn't freeze too well and crumbles.

Increasing Hopi food consumption has added benefits by offering a well balanced diet, better meal choices, increased physical activity, increased knowledge of Hopi, increased use of Hopi language (lavayi) and can balance traditional and modern lifestyles.

There is also a push to get Hopi foods into the schools and a suggestion was made to have local stores sell Hopi food.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: DAVID FERRER

I AM A CHEF WHO WOULD LIKE TO HELP,I HAVE MAKE A COOK BOOK FOR THE HOPI. TO HELP WITH THE EATING ,CLASSES AND COOKING OF FOOD.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: liz rebollar

is there a plant also call hopi .if there . can you post a picture,thank you

Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Van Sant

I respect the Hopi farming skills and would like to know about how many people can one farmer feed from his own work?
What traditional crops are grown besides blue corn,squash, beans? Are any compost, natural fertilizers used? Thank you.


Posted: Thursday, August 5, 2010
Article comment by: Burt Poley

Kwa Kwaii, I do miss home and all the foods from home especially Tunuviki, fresh warm moist piki off the stone. and pivilpiki with Greasy pork riibs, I know not healthy.
One thing I hope for is that our kids get more involved with the feilds. It is not just planting, the hard part is taking care of it during the growing season. This will help them appreciate the food that sis, mom, kyah and so oh make for us.


Posted: Friday, July 30, 2010
Article comment by: Cynthia Kewanwytewa

I would like to say "Asquali" to these ladies for continuing the cooking and educational classes. I went home (Munquapi) last spring and attended their class. It was very nice and informative. I live in Mesa and miss the Hopi foods. When I go home or if my sister comes down to the valley she gives us blue corn meal. I love to cook with it...and it makes me happy to see my family down here eating what I make.



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