Historic Hopi photographs on display at Moenkopi Inn exhibit

Photos provide look into cultural life and agricultural practices

Leland Dennis, curator for the exhibit on behalf of Moenkopi Developers Corporation and the Hopi Education Endowment Fun, discusses historic photographs depicting Hopi cultural life and agricultural practices. Photo/Duane Darling

Leland Dennis, curator for the exhibit on behalf of Moenkopi Developers Corporation and the Hopi Education Endowment Fun, discusses historic photographs depicting Hopi cultural life and agricultural practices. Photo/Duane Darling

MOENKOPI, Ariz. - A new photo exhibit at the Moenkopi Legacy Inn and Suites conference center depicts Hopi life and agricultural practices from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, providing a look into the life of the Hopi people at the turn of the century.

The exhibit is on permanent display at the Moenkopi Legacy Inn and Suites and provides a historic glimpse into the cultural life of the Hopi people and how some of the agricultural practices are still carried on today.

The Moenkopi Developers Corporation (MDC), the non-profit owner of the Moenkopi Legacy Inn, created the exhibit. Proceeds will benefit the Hopi Education Endowment Fund (HEEF), a non-profit group the Hopi tribe created in 2000 to fund educational opportunities for tribal members. Hopi artist Leland Dennis curated the exhibit.

"The photo exhibit idea and vision was to give visitors a good idea of Hopi culture, not just agriculture, but lifestyle, architecture... a snapshot of Hopi life," said James Surveyor, marketing manager for the hotel. "The partnership with HEEF is what MDC envisions as far as supporting the community, supporting Hopi youth, supporting Hopi overall not only in economic development but also in education."

The exhibit coincides with HEEF Hopi education fundraising activities.

Surveyor said the photo exhibit is a perfect way for people traveling to northern Arizona, especially to Tuba City or Moenkopi, to learn more about the history of the area even if they are not staying at the hotel. It is a small and focused exhibit and Surveyor estimates it is a quick 30-minute stop that people can appreciate. It is a great way to break up a trip and learn about Hopi without interfering with major stops on an itinerary.

"There is not a Hopi museum that is owned and operated by Hopi that is consistently open and free to the public," Surveryor said. "So it is a good opportunity to learn a little bit and check out the hotel, learn about the exhibit, learn about HEEF and add to that experience of northern Arizona."

Another important feature of the exhibit is the history on display. The exhibit has photos of the Hopi people as they were at the turn of the century and gives people the opportunity to compare how they lived half a century ago to how they live today.

"It's a good cross section of Hopi," Surveyor said. "Most people are always wondering about Hopi. There's all the arts and crafts, the mesas of course. But for those who can't make that trip, this might be a good thing for them to check out and decide whether they are going to come out to Hopi and spend a day or two."

Visitors have the opportunity to support the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, which directly benefits Hopi youth who are looking to attend secondary educational institutions.

"Maybe the youth will bring that education back to Hopi and help keep things moving forward," Surveyor said.

The exhibit showcases photos that have never been used before, whether they were part of an exhibit or a book.

"Every photo, this is the first time they are being used," Surveyor said.

The photos are part of collections from the Braun Research Library Collection at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California, Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Arizona, The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Milwaukee Public Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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