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.]