KYKOTSMOVI -- Held in conjunction with the Hopi Tribe's Office of Cultural Preservation and the University of Arizona, the 2005 Hopi Lavayi Summer Institute for Teacher Training: Hopinaatuwpi was a success. All sessions were held from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day at the Hopi Day School from July 20 and 21 and July 25-29.
The students rotated through five sessions throughout the morning and were encouraged to speak only Hopi as their first language.
Due to the loss of the Hopi language among the younger generation, the Hopinaatuwpi's goal is to work towards creating speakers of Hopi among the children, known as oral immersion.
Sheilah Nicholas, Hopi language instructor from the University of Arizona in Tucson, interacted with 10 Hopi teachers who taught more than 60 Hopi students between the ages of 4 and 26 years old. The classes were grouped according to clan membership and the use of the students Hopi names were strongly encouraged.
Hopi children receive their Hopi names 20 days after their birth from their paternal grandmothers and aunts.
"The Naatuwpi is the practicum component of one of the two courses we are offering. Naatuwpi is a model for a community based Hopi language program which can be applied through after school programs," Nicholas said. "The first cohort received training in the strategy and research based methods of language teaching and learning. These Hopi teachers are fluent and semi-fluent Hopi speakers. They live the daily life of language and culture at home and can apply it towards a natural context for language, teaching and learning. The students also learn at home and they learn the most from their siblings. This program is geared for people who will teach the language. We have seen three years of development and this is the first time I've seen an oral immersion approach implemented. The more the students hear their language, the more likely they will acquire the language."
Emory Sekaquaptewa, University of Arizona Hopi research anthropologist, has also been very instrumental in teaching language teachers to become literate in the Hopi language as part of the Hopi Lavayi Program. He has served as a Cultural Editor of the "Hopi Dictionary: A Hopi-English Dictionary of the Third Mesa Dialect, Hopiikwa Lavaytutuveni" which was compiled by the Hopi Dictionary Project, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology through the University of Arizona. Sekaquaptewa taught other future Hopi teachers the basic knowledge of transforming Hopi words into Hopi stories in written form.
Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Director of the Hopi Tribe's Cultural Preservation Office and Dawa Taylor, Outreach Coordinator for the Hopi Lavayi Program and staff have worked hard to make the Hopi Lavayi Program a success. Many long hours of dedication, research and cooperation has helped the Hopi Office of Cultural Preservation become very valuable in preserving the unique language of the Hopi Tribe.
Two of the Team Teachers, "Tsu'yangtima" Arvis Myron, Paaqapwungwa of Munquapi village and assistant, "Nuvahongsie" Susie Mahle, Aaswungwa of Sits'omovi village taught the students the correct names and ways of addressing their grandmothers, grandfathers, moms, dads, older brother, younger brother, older sister and younger sister.
The students were given photos of each individual according to a particular sentence. The students held up the correct picture of the name of the adult and another family member and what each picture showed what they were doing in the home. All students also pointed out the correct names of the outside of a Hopi home.
After each day, students and staff shared snacks in the gym before the students were released to their respective villages. Other classes taught the values of planting corn, household chores (not to be lazy), respect for one another,names of food (not to be stingy, sharing and thankfulness), photos of local village activities, women working with corn seeds (grinding corn), names of musical instruments through song and much more. The students said they enjoyed learning from the Hopi teachers and the teachers all enjoyed learning from the students.
"Paatsinaya" translated as "Cleaning the Springs,"and also known as Philbert Polingyaoma, 16, of Old Oraibi, was interviewed during a snack break and was asked what he thought about this class."
"It works your mind," he said. "The teachers teach the kids how to speak Hopi. They use hand and picture symbols to help you know what they are saying. I would like to keep learning Hopi because I don't want to lose my learning skills."
Paatsinnaya was a great student who helped other students by pronouncing the words correctly. He showed great leadership skills, teamwork, humor and was always happy to be among members of his tribe.
Another Team Teacher, "Dawahongnewa" Donald Wadsworth, Piikyaswungwa of Songopavi village helped the students with his Hopi teachings. Dawahongnewa taught his class the important steps of planting corn. He also taught them to treat the corn like they are their children. Through planting, food can be shared among the family as well as with other community members.
He showed the way the girls cooked for the boys while they were at the fields and the way the boys all sat in a circle and ate together. After the boys ate, the girls all ate and everyone was thankful and happy. This "play" showed community commitment and village closeness.
Dawahongnewa said, "The students really picked up the language, they were eager to learn and they thought about their language seriously. I am very pleased with what the students learned."
He also spoke about the time when there were no Hopi language programs around. He said, "In 1991, a group of us had our own Hopi language classes for a group of about 30 Hopi kids in the village of Songopavi. We tried to teach them using our vocabulary just by the way the words sounded. It was good to teach the kids and to see them learn. Nowadays, there are many Hopi language programs around."
Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Director of the Hopi CPO, was among the students and staff to observe the sessions.
"The Hopi tribe needs to make very serious decisions towards community based programs with time and resources for our Hopi kids who want to come in and learn," Kuwanwisiwma said. "Right now the school boards are divided on these issues. It is a tough situation to deal with this in institutions. The system can become very political, which is what other native tribes are facing."
He said the teacher training is about Hopi teachers personal interest in revitalizing the Hopi language in their own way by teaching Hopi kids how to speak orally.
"The immersion schools have a dedicated responsibility with the school system that involves language and culture," Kuwanwisiwma said. "We try to get the teachers to deal with the immersion approach. There also has to be parental involvement. Hopi parents aren't speaking the Hopi language to their kids. The majority of Hopi homes with Hopi speakers are not directing it to the kids. The language issue is at home and so is the solution. We need a Hopi language and culture school within a community based institution."
Hopi Tribal Chairman Wayne Taylor Jr. was also in attendance on July 26 and addressed the students and staff in the Hopi Day School gym. Chairman Taylor spoke to the students and staff first in his native tongue. He welcomed everyone in attendance.
"One of the goals of the tribe's five year strategic plan is to mandate the Hopi language in the classroom. Therefore, our eventual goal is to institute this summer program throughout the school year. Our dream is to have all of our children speaking Hopi one day. The students and teachers here today are helping to achieve that dream.
"As our children learn to speak Hopi, they learn who they are and where they come from and why they are so unique," he added. "Use the teaching on how to speak Hopi as you are learning. You are learning what it is like to be a Hopi. This program is a very valuable learning experience and we are all very supportive of this program. Thank you all for being here today. All of you who are here today are working toward's making this dream a reality!"
On July 29, the students and staff gave a final presentation for all to see what each class learned. Awards were presented by Team Teachers "Taavimaniqw" Shereen Susunkewa, "Somimana Ada" Joseph Curtis, both of Songopavi Village, and "Nuva'inmana" Doris Honanie of Munqapi village. Each student was called up to receive their award in their respective Hopi name. Several students received awards for being extra helpful, nice, dedicated and serious about learning their language. Each student received an award, a T-shirt, a handshake and words of encouragement for their participation.
"It was very challenging to stay with the Hopi language all the time. Thru the Hopi language, the kids will learn why we do what we do," said Myron, team teacher. "Without the language, the kids will not understand why they participate in village activities. Hopefully we will have this program every year. Our presentations were done slowly. We learned much since we've been here. We've also turned into better teachers."
Myron also introduced a special guest and his boss, Dr. Hector Tahu, Superintendent of the Tuba City Public Schools. Dr. Tahu spoke to the students in his native New Zealand language. Both Dr. Tahu and the students were impressed with hearing the native languages. Throughout the teacher training, the teachers were also given lessons in the Spanish language to adjust to what the student language learners adjusted to. So everyone learned something new from each other.
Hopefully through parental, community and administrative support, the oldest language of the world will be passed on to the younger children, students and adults living on Hopiland.