Hopi honors veterans on Veterans Day
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - Hopi veterans were overheard joking with one another about the Nov. 11 Veteran's Day celebration at Hopi Day School, saying that "it was packed tighter than the kiva on a night dance."
And they were right.
Nearly 600 people crowded into the Hopi Day School gym to enjoy the entertainment and pick up free promotional items like rubber wristbands that said "Support our Veterans" from various veteran organizations. Other Hopi tribal programs gave out pencil sharpeners, snow scrapers, and calendars. One veteran booth featured Iraqi clothing, news items, Iraqi flags and other foreign cultural items.
Hopi veterans, their families and friends had a chance to sample beautiful pastry and fruit trays catered by the Hopi Cultural Center while enjoying live music, presentations by tribal officials and a special presentation of last Hopi Code Talker Rex Pooyouma's burial flag to his surviving family. Also included were interviews with Vaugh and Georgianna Sieweyumptewa (Operation Desert Storm), Leroy and Mrs. Outah (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Mrs. Elizabeth Poseyesva and Renee Archambeau (Blue Star Mothers).
The main event was a full Thanksgiving meal complete with a few Hopi additions like piki and fresh, fluffy Hopi yeast bread and fresh baked Hopi fruit pies.
Geno Talas, current Director of Hopi Veterans Services, coordinated the event with the help of several Hopi organizations, including the Kykotsmovi Elderly Program who coordinated the meal.
Diane Lucero was in charge of the kitchen staff and crew, which included family members of Hopi veterans who assisted with cooking 14 turkeys complete with the trimmings. Community members donated side dishes.
Miss Hopi Johnetta Honie was also there with First Attendant Jenna Lamson. They asked for donations of gift items for current active duty military members from Hopi. Items would need to be donated no later than Jan. 31.
If you wish to make a donation or volunteer with packaging, contact the Miss Hopi committee at (928) 734-3436 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posting of colors for the day's event was provided by American Legion Hopi Post No. 80 and the Hopi High ROTC program. The National anthem was sung by Renae Mahkewa. A Tewa flag song was sung by Randall Mahle and Pernell Mahle with an opening prayer by Leonard Talaswaima and closing prayer by Edmund Quotskuyva, a Hopi veteran from WWII.
Special recognition was given to the first Hopi woman to join the ranks of military service. Ethel Sahmie, who is now 89 years old, served in the Army/Air Corps. She received a standing ovation from the packed crowd for her personal contribution to her tribe and country's service in pursuit of freedom and honor.
A special slide show created by Gordon Mahkewa was shown at the event's end.