Hopi Culture: Listening to the Flow of Nature

Wed. 6/15 at 830am: This week on Watersheds as Commons, we hear from Hopi Indians who live in a particularly arid region of the Colorado Plateau in the community of Oraibi - the oldest continuously inhabited village in the United States - whose water supply is threatened by nearby coal mining.

The Hopi culture is complex, sophisticated and deeply attuned to the flow of Nature. Traditionally an agrarian culture, they have relied on sparse precipitation to water their crops, and springs to supply water for themselves and their daily household needs.

The Hopi villages are situated mainly on three mesas that are promontories extending southward from Black Mesa, a great landform that contains an enormous deposit of high-grade coal that is now being strip-mined to provide a trainload of coal each day to the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. Until recently, coal from Black Mesa was also being slurried to the Mojave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nevada using water pumped from the Pleistocene aquifer that lies beneath Black Mesa, and which is the source of water for the Hopi Springs.