FREDONIA, Ariz. - The United States Forest Service recently honored the Hopi Tribe and the Kaibab National Forest with a national award for their work on the Snake Gulch Project within Kanab Creek Wilderness.
In the summer of 2008, Kaibab employees led a joint field trip into Snake Gulch with Hopi tribal elders to view prehistoric rock art and discuss their meanings. Snake Gulch is an area on the west side of the Kaibab Plateau that contains many petroglyphs and pictographs thought to be more than 1,000-years-old.
The group produced a documentary video that explained the trip and elaborated on the Hopi relationship to the land.
The Forest Service Washington Office awarded the Kaibab and members of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office the National 2011 "Windows on the Past" award for the collaborative effort and the accompanying video.
The Kaibab National Forest and the Hopi Tribe have a long history of collaborating on projects together, said Forest Tribal Liaison Michael Lyndon. This is the first time the Kaibab National Forest has received the national award.
"Each year in the Forest Service, we honor a group that has done the most to preserve and interpret heritage resources," said Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Mike Williams. "This year's award is for the work in conducting a field trip with Hopi elders, incorporating Hopi tribal knowledge into the draft revised Forest Plan, and producing a documentary to tell the story."
The video is posted on the Kaibab National Forest web site, has been shown on the Archaeology Channel, and has been shown at conferences and public events.
"The Snake Gulch Project was selected for the national award in recognition of its excellence in planning and execution with its emphasis on tribal participation, and its success in terms of on-the-ground results," Southwestern Regional Forester Corbin Newman wrote in an award letter.
Award plaques were given to the Hopi Cultural Resources Advisory Task Team, the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, Hopi videographer Victor Masayesva Jr. and the Kaibab National Forest.