Like a young corn plant sprouting from an ancient mesa, Explore Hopi is growing, thriving and showing plenty of promise. This Hopi-owned and operated cultural tourism program’s roots spring from the Hopi Tribe’s intention to make sure Explore Hopi boosts economic development for the Hopi and Tewa people.
“It was designed to help the people and bring the economy out to Hopi,” said Clarice Tafoya, Explore Hopi director.
Explore Hopi is offering an introduction through a variety of tourism offerings for visitors both on and off Hopi lands into what may be some of the least known of Native American cultures. The program provides guided tours, tour packages, a Hopi art passport, Hopi consignment art works, special events, education about Hopi ways and culture and more.
Explore Hopi Art Gallery in Sedona
In April, an Explore Hopi art gallery at Days Inn Kokopelli in Sedona enjoyed a successful grand opening. The opening event featured a variety of art for sale by Hopi artists, a lecture on Hopi art by Lyle Balenquah and a special appearance and dance by the current Ms. Hopi, Nikki Qumyintewa, and her first attendant.
“The opening was really successful,” said Tafoya. “We sold two of the paintings and the Hopi artist was really happy about that.” A couple visiting from Norway purchased “Protecting the Earth” and “Prayer for Good Life,” two large paintings both by Hopi artist Dickson Silas from Sichomovi Village on First Mesa.
With the sale of the two paintings, now one focus for Explore Hopi is to attract additional Hopi artists to participate and display their works at Days Inn Kokopelli Sedona and online at www.ExploreHopi.com through this consignment art program. “We hope to bring in more consignment art,” said Tafoya. “We’re always in the process of that, of getting more Hopi art.”
Villages and Petroglyph Sites
On Second Mesa, the Hopi Center of the Universe, visitors find an attractive base for their stay at the Hopi Cultural Center Restaurant and Inn and can get visitor information at the Explore Hopi Visitor Information Center. Serving as the Hopi Cultural Tourism Office on Second Mesa, the Visitor Center is a prime, go-to stop for travelers to check in and get local information.
“We seek to educate and share Hopi history with visitors that come to Hopi land,” said Hannah Honani, Explore Hopi office manager. “Explore Hopi offers tours to villages and petroglyph sites. Our tours are guaranteed to be an educational experience of a lifetime with local guides who bring their own unique perspectives on the history and traditions of centuries-old Hopi and Tewa cultures.”
At the Visitor Center, the staff guides visitors to all they can experience during their visit and the things they need to know to respect the ancient, still-thriving Hopi and Tewa cultures. Visitors can get a Hopi passport that includes a map to help them find the art galleries on Hopi.
“On its one side is a map with all three mesas,” said Tafoya, explaining that it features the galleries that are on Hopi land and has information that visitors need to know. “Visitors have to have a tour guide to see villages,” explained Tafoya, and she noted that the exceptional petroglyph site is another featured attraction on Hopi land but visitors also need a local guide to visit that special site.
“Merchandise is another way visitors can remember their experience here on Hopi,” said Honani. “Explore Hopi is building up our sales inventory to include one-a-kind items that are unique in Hopi design. We would like to leave an impression on our visitors to not only come back and visit, but to spread the word about Explore Hopi to others for their chance to embark upon their own Hopi land experience.”
Hopi-Sponsored Events Introduce Visitors to Hopi Art
From the start, Explore Hopi has featured many special events to help bring about wider awareness of Hopi and help serve as an economic springboard for Hopi and Tewa people. This season, Explore Hopi features an arts and crafts show on Saturday, June 14.
“We’re going to be hosting an arts and crafts show and it’s open to everyone to come out here,” said Tafoya. “We want to get as many artists as we can. That’s the whole purpose of Explore Hopi – to bring the economy to the people.”
Another main event for Explore Hopi is the Fifth Annual Hopi Festival. Native American tribes from across Arizona and New Mexico will be gathering in the Hopi-owned Heritage Square in downtown Flagstaff on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27 and 28. Sponsored by the Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation (HTEDC), this all-Native festival is a celebration of Hopi and other cultures with social dances, music and traditional and contemporary art.
The Hopi Tribe’s Economic Development team, through its growing Explore Hopi program, is offering a variety of authentic cultural tourism activities for visitors both on Hopi and in other Northern Arizona towns. “They just come and see us and we’ll guide them on their visit,” said Tafoya. FBN
For more information, visit Explore Hopi at www.explorehopi.com. To preview the Fifth Annual Hopi Festival, go to www.hopiallnativefestival.com.
Steele Wotkyns, a Flagstaff Business News contributor, is the principal of WotknsPRplus, a public relations firm serving clients in northern Arizona.