Walpi Looks to the Future
It’s both exciting and challenging to be part of the team working to restore and preserve Walpi Village. I’ve been working with members of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office for more than 10 years to document and protect Hopi cultural resources, but Walpi Village represents by far the biggest project we’ve tackled.
This is both because of the size and complexity of the site—a maze of some two hundred rooms stacked up to five stories deep, some of which have not seen daylight in more than two centuries—and also because of the cultural and religious significance of the site. While no longer a permanent residence for most of the families that call it home, the houses on Walpi have an importance far beyond providing shelter. Each Walpi family has a powerful connection to its ancestral home on the mesa top, returning frequently for ceremonies and other clan activities. The houses are tangible symbols of Walpi clans. It’s always a challenge to find consensus in a large group, but I’m so encouraged by the start that’s been made so far. The recent fire in the Coyote Clan house and the impending collapse of the Bamboo Clan house roof have made it clear that we need to act soon. I’m confident that Walpi will stand as a monument to Hopi culture for many generations to come.