Hopi ruins near Winslow, Arizona face closure

Susan Secakuku, a Hopi Tribe official, speaks at an ancient structure at Homolovi Ruins State Park near Winslow. The site is important to the Hopi because it once was occupied by the tribe's Anasazi ancestors. The tribe is trying to develop a partnership that would keep the park open if budget cuts require park closures.
Susan Secakuku, a Hopi Tribe official, talks about the importance of Homolovi Ruins State Park near Winslow.

[Source: Daniel Newhauser, Cronkite News Service] — Before Homolovi Ruins became a state park, relic hunters with shovels and even backhoes used to tear through the rolling high desert here scrounging for ancient pottery.   Today, remnants of a 14th-century Anasazi village are preserved, and in some cases, restored so visitors such as Micah Lomaomuaya, a member of the Hopi tribe, can see how ancestors of the Hopi traded and farmed along the Little Colorado River.  But it also serves as a bridge between cultures, he said. “This is really a good stepping stone for us to use in terms of sharing our culture with the outside world,” said Lomaomuaya, a consulting anthropologist for his tribe.  “If this park closed, it would really limit our ability to reach and interact with the outside world.”

As the Legislature grapples with a $3 billion budget shortfall for fiscal year 2010, Homolovi Ruins, the only state park dedicated to Native American culture, is among facilities that could face closure as Arizona State Parks anticipates budget cuts.

That’s no small worry to Lomaomuaya and others in the Hopi tribe, whose reservation lies 60 miles north of Homolovi Ruins, but whose history is embedded in this auburn expanse that in Hopi means “place of the little hills.”  “It cannot close, in my mind,” Lomaomuaya said.  “It needs to be open for everybody.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Tucson couple starts website to save state parks & cultural sites


die080.aiHusband-and-wife team Alan Sorkowitz and Michele Rappoport have created a new website, seeitbeforeitcloses.com. Alan, a retired book publishing executive, and Michele, a retired marketing communications writer, moved to Tucson in 2006 and began learning about and appreciating the natural beauty and rich cultural, historical, and archaeological heritage of Arizona.

Alan enjoys hiking in the Sonoran desert and volunteering on archaeological digs.  He is a member of numerous state and local cultural organizations and serves as archivist for the Tubac/Santa Cruz chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. Michele designs and creates jewelry, much of which reflects the heritage of her new home state.

They created seeitbeforeitcloses.com in outrage over the threatened cuts to the Arizona state park system and to cultural sites — ancient Indian ruins, historic properties, arts centers, and others — being reported throughout the state.  “We didn’t move to Arizona to watch helplessly as its beauty and distinctiveness are lost to shortsighted budget cuts that threaten both Arizona’s tourism economy and the quality of life for its citizens,” says Alan. Michele underscores this point, saying, “Arizona’s parks are America’s parks. People come here to witness the majesty of a place they can experience nowhere else in the country.”

The goal for the website is to raise awareness and provide information as well as to raise funds that can be used to maintain Arizona parks and cultural sites and organizations.

Collaboration may put Papago Park in Phoenix on par with Central Park

[Source: Dianna M. Nanez, The Arizona Republic] – – A collaboration involving three Valley cities and a Native American community could put Papago Park on a par with New York City’s Central Park or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  While some public projects, especially those needing the blessing of multiple government agencies, often run out of steam before they ever reach fruition, the stars seem to have aligned behind plans to revamp the Papago area.

A $576,897 bill for a consultant to assess the more than 1,500 acres of central desert land bordering Scottsdale and sprawling over Phoenix and Tempe would be a lofty goal, even in brighter economic times. But Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale, the cities leading the Papago Park effort, can thank Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community for covering more than half of the consultant fee. The Native American community awarded Tempe a $100,000 grant in 2007 and Phoenix two grants totaling $284,000 to develop a Papago Park master plan. That plan would involve developing a Web site for public input, looking at the area’s natural resources and facilities, studying the culture and historical ties dating to ancient times when the Hohokam Indians cultivated the land and balancing the area’s future development with preservation and educational efforts. The remainder of the funding is coming from $100,000 in Tempe bond funds and Phoenix is assessing a $100,000 contribution. [Note: to read this full article click here.]