[Source: Mary Beth Faller, Arizona Republic] -- In the visitor center, a feathered paho is attached high on a stone wall, protecting non-Hopis from the forces unleashed by the opening of the ancient villages buried here. "There are powerful forces associated with archaeological sites," says park manager Karen Berggren. "They're not evil, but the power released is like a flash flood." Hopis made the paho icon out of raptor feathers to protect visitors to the park, which is part of the Hopis' homeland. Homolovi, a recreational area for visitors, is a sacred site for the Indians, who nonetheless are happy to share their culture.
The endless views of the stark plateaus and mesas enhance the sense that visitors are setting foot on holy ground. The park, just off Interstate 40 north of Winslow, was created in 1993 at the urging of the Hopis, who were desperate to save their ancient villages from thieves and vandals. The ruins of villages from the 1200s to the late 1300s were filled with thousands of pots, luring unscrupulous collectors. "In the 1960s, a guy came in here with a backhoe," Berggren says. The thieves stole the pots and destroyed much of the surrounding village structures, all of which are sacred to the Hopis. It would be like tourists chipping off pieces of the Sistine Chapel ceiling when they visited. "We estimate we've lost 95 percent of the pots," Berggren says.
[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Arizona Republic.]