Hopi Elders Warned About Our American Dilemma In 1948
By James Donahue
Indian Times Magazine carried a story by an unidentified writer in July that should
be of interest to all Americans.
It seems the Hopi Elders, and a delegation of elder tribal chiefs from various
other tribes, attempted to warn the leaders of America as early as 1948 that our post-war materialism and industrial growth
were taking the world down a road toward self-destruction.
The story recalled a report by magazine columnist John Mohawk, a Seneca tribal
historian, about mutual visits by Hopi and Haudenosaunee “traditionalists” or elders in 1948, “where a prophetic
tradition popularly referred to as the purification was exchanged.
“This was way before the ecology movement, before ‘New Age’
and even before the energy crisis. The elder Indian spiritualists from the Hopi of that time not only had prophecies of meeting
‘Indians from the East,’ they actually fulfilled their own tradition and traveled east to meet and tell the Haudenosaunee
about it,” the story said.
The writer went on to say that Hopi tradition warned about patterns of human activity
on the Mother Earth that would have profound and predictable consequences. They especially warned that greed for material
possessions, new science and technology had the potential to alter the systems of the earth and lead humanity down a path
toward chaos and disaster.
The Hopi have a word for what has since happened to us. It is koyaanisqatsi, which
means a life out of balance.
“No one listened then and too few are listening now, as the ancient Indian
warning is diluted by modern economic and political concerns,” the Indian Times story said.
The story strikes close to home for this writer and his family because we had
the privilege of visiting and personally knowing one of the last of these Hopi elders when we visited the ancient city of
Hotevilla on the Third Mesa in 1997.
This white-haired old man met with us in the hot sun in the heart of that dry,
arid community where the only source of water was a single faucet. We remember him as if it was yesterday. His eyes were strangely
blue and sharp. His clothes, although worn and patched, were clean. Although he lived an austere life, we sensed that we were
in the presence of royalty.
But this man had a sad message to tell. He told of tribal prophecy of a great
world war, when iron would fall from the sky over America. He said the elders were silent then, because the young tribal leaders,
all “elected” to a US government-established tribal council, were no longer listening and following the old ways
when meetings were held in the kivas. He said that because the young leaders were not listening, the elders are no longer
This man said that only six elders remained alive on the day that we spoke to
him. I have since learned that they have all since died. The last to go was well over 100 years old when he passed.
The reference to “Indians from the East” was a twisted version of
the Hopi prophecy that spoke of the twin brothers who separated back when the people came to the area to settle. The dark
skinned brother went into the high desert while the light skinned brother traveled east. He was to return in the end times
and give the tribe instruction on what to do to avoid the purification that was to befall mankind.
Some contemporary students of the old stories suggest that the myth involving
the twins points to an ancient symbolic prophecy about a breakdown of the bi-cameral brain, the joining of left and right
hemispheres of the brain and our DNA link all humanity.
Some believe the Hopi were linked to the ancient Mayans of Central and South America,
and were directed to come to this sparse place by the feathered god figure known as Quatzequatel.
Archaeologists and historians also link the Hopi to other Pueblo tribes, including
the Zuni, who descended from the Anasazi, who in turn may have been related to the Aztecs of Mexico. These people are believed
to have been living in the area of northeastern Arizona, near the Four Corners, for the past five to ten thousand years.
The Hopi have long been known for their end-time prophecies. We found that they
are a people who remained spiritually awake. Due to government intervention into tribal customs and a breakdown of families
through forced schooling of children in Bureau of Indian Affairs facilities located far from their homes, however, even the
Hopi have forgotten who they are.
This is why the young elected members of the tribal councils were no longer listening
to the advice of their elders.
And this is why the Hopi, like all of the other Native American tribes, are facing
the purification when it strikes us all. This was the very thing the elders were trying to avoid when they made their trip
East in 1948.
The story in the Indian Today magazine noted that the elders at that time urged
the younger generation “to stay close to the earth” and to disregard the national quest for materialism. Their
message was that good water and land for growing useful plants and healthy wildlife was the “real economy” for
Some say that the Hopi were sent to the arid high desert landscape in Northern
Arizona to learn how to live with hardship. This was a preparation for surviving the events that would come in the crisis
The elders urged in 1948 that all of the people strive to quit warfare and work
together in harmony.
There was great wisdom in the words. It is unfortunate that nobody was listening.