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  • Footprints of Hopi History: Hopihiniwtiput Kukveni’at ed. by Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, T. J. Ferguson and Chip Colwell
  • Lillia McEnaney (bio)
Footprints of Hopi History: Hopihiniwtiput Kukveni’at
edited by Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, T. J. Ferguson, and Chip Colwell
University of Arizona Press, 2018

the long-awaited Footprints of Hopi History does heavy legwork. Coedited by Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, T. J. Ferguson, and Chip Colwell, Footprints expertly brings together Hopi and non-Hopi voices to tell the important story of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office (HCPO). The book was born out of a session organized in honor of Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma at the Seventy-Eighth Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, in 2013. The papers presented during that session served as the basis for the fourteen unique chapters in this book. All contributors to the volume clearly demonstrate their role with(in) the HCPO and show the ways in which their individual (or collective) research programs have been enhanced by meaningful partnerships with Hopi people. Organized to follow the arc of the HCPO’s trajectory, Footprints expertly demonstrates how “one tribe has significantly advanced knowledge about its past through collaboration with archaeologists and cultural anthropologists” (x).

The Hopi Tribe is considered to be one of the most heavily studied Indigenous communities in North America. Evolutionary anthropologists of the late nineteenth century, fueled by settler colonialism, traveled to Hopi to extract, record, and document evidence from what they thought to be a “dying civilization.” These incredibly harmful practices did not, by any means, cease as time progressed, and the HCPO is in direct response to these difficult histories.

Space does not allow a review of each chapter, but the introductory and concluding chapters deserve particular attention. The text’s preface poignantly begins by introducing the reader to a fundamental aspect of the Hopi worldview: footprints, kukveni, are the way through which Hopi people understand their past. This ontological orientation, made visible through the voices of Hopi people, is felt strongly throughout all subsequent chapters. The first chapter, authored by Kuwanwisiwma, intricately describes the pathway to the formation of the HCPO. In the two opening chapters, the HCPO’s development is made uniquely personal, reiterating the intimate, human aspects of collaborative work.

The volume continues with discussions of particular research programs undertaken in partnership with the HCPO. These projects include [End Page 146] documentation of Hopi migrations and cultural histories, analyses of visual representations of mountains, examinations of archaeological excavations in the San Pedro Valley, and DNA analyses of corn and clan migrations, among various other important long-term initiatives. Each of these chapters provides a unique perspective on collaborative processes and demonstrates that research with Hopi should be conducted for the explicit benefit of both the larger Hopi community and the researcher.

The final two chapters of Footprints discuss larger intellectual and pedagogical movements in Indigenous anthropology and archaeology as related to the HCPO. Gregson Schachner argues that we must “more explicitly acknowledge how Native Americans have shaped current practices and research efforts to fully understand the current state of Southwest archaeology [and anthropology] and its trajectory going forward” (215). Importantly, Schachner highlights the importance of tracing intellectual genealogies between Indigenous people and non-Native researchers and calls on us to effectively and candidly train students in collaborative methodologies. Peter Whiteley somewhat similarly reviews the concept of “Native anthropology,” and though his chapter certainly tends to overstate the “successes” of early anthropology, it provides useful information regarding the development of his own fieldwork at Hopi. Whiteley makes explicit the key question of this volume: What are the “epistemological conditions and possibilities of anthropological practice and knowledge” (232)? Each chapter in Footprints provides a variant answer, but all point to the multiplicities of Indigenous anthropological futures.

This is an important and interdisciplinary book and should be encouraged reading for any student, practitioner, or scholar who hopes to work with Native communities in North America. Footprints is written in a remarkably accessible manner and would be appropriate for both advanced undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines. The text also provides important information to tribal communities looking to develop, or further develop, their...


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