December 03, 2009

Hopi Tutuveni closes

Statement from NAJA on closing of Hopi newspaperIt was personally and professionally disheartening to hear that the voice of the Hopi Nation--the Hopi Tutuveni--will be silenced after December.

It is equally disheartening to hear reported by another newspaper that a Hopi tribal council member as calling the tribal newspaper “ineffective.”
And:NAJA can understand the Hopi tribal government having to cope with budget constraints and the need to balance the necessary services to their people and the financial capability to do so.

But, we also feel that completely eliminating the tribal newspaper does more harm to a government working to improve its financial situation.
Comment:  I subscribed to the Hopi Tutuveni for several years and read it thoroughly. It was instrumental in shaping my knowledge of reservation life. It informed my writing of PEACE PARTY, letting me create a sense of verisimilitude that I couldn't have managed otherwise.

Life on Hopi is pretty much the same as it is anywhere in small-town, rural America. The news is full of local issues that don't seem important to anyone else, school achievements, sports wins and losses, community projects, fairs and celebrations, road closings, petty crimes, columns and editorials, profiles of tribal leaders, celebrity and VIP visits, historical and cultural notes, advertisements, announcements, legal notices, letters to the editor, prayers and obituaries, and so forth and so on.

This is why the Prairie Rose reservation in the SCALPED comic book seems false to me. Prairie Rose has almost none of these indicators of everyday life. In SCALPED, Indians live in a hellhole of poverty and crime with only occasional moments of normality. In reality, rez-based Indians live mundane, normal lives with only occasional bouts of poverty and crime.

Sure, you'll find gangs and drugs, but you're not inundated with them wherever you go. The rez consists of homes, schools, and community centers, not brothels, crack houses, and meth labs. Life is probably a lot closer to Green Acres or The Waltons than it is to The Shield or The Sopranos.

Anyway, it's always unfortunate to lose any source of news, and especially this one. Any government needs a watchdog to curb its excesses. Of course, if printing is the big cost, the Hopi Tribe could publish the news on its website.

For more on the subject, see Native Journalism:  :To Tell the Truth.

Below:  The Hopi town of Polacca below First Mesa.

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