'CARRYING the GIFTof WATER'
to Sedona, Arizona
Communities in Northern Arizona Come Together to Honor Water
Long-distance athletes from the Hopi villages atop Black Mesa in Northern Arizona ran from the Mesa's to Sedona, Arizona April 20-22. They literally carried "the Gift of Water” across land, time and cultures.
The over 130-mile, three-day journey across the mesas and on to the banks of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona was organized by Sedona's Institute of Ecotourism to raise awareness of the impact that humans have on the earth's very limited supply of fresh water.
The idea was inspired by the 1,500-mile Hopi-to-Mexico City Run last March when runners from the Hopi villages took messages about the Hopi water ethic to the 4th World Forum on Water. “Carrying the Gift of Water” was a collaboration between Gardens for Humanity, Black Mesa Trust and the Institute of Ecotourism.
Diane Dearmore, executive director of the Institute of EcoTourism: "Water connects all people transcending all cultures, ethnic backgrounds and belief systems. Water is the precious gift of life. My hope is all of our eyes will open to the very important role water plays in our lives.”
Black Mesa Trust Executive Director Vernon Masayesva, recently described a Hopi view of water: "Within this living system, water from each of the four terrestrial directions—from rivers and springs, from great aquifers and tiny seeps—bring life, give life, sustain life among all life. And when its work is done, the waters are re-gathered in the celestial sea, the home of the cloud ancestors.
There it is renewed and rejuvenated, and then transformed again into water, into rain and snow, sleet and hail, mists and fogs. It falls toward the earth, toward the depths of the great sea, and rises again to nourish the lakes, the ponds, and the streams upon which all beings, all brothers and sisters, depend. It returns and the great cycle of water is renewed bringing new energy to the universe."
The runners carried water gathered from sources on tribal lands in a traditional Hopi gourd and ancestral water vessel, sweet corn "mother corn" and traditional planting sticks. The run was organized as a relay, with each runner traveling a minimum distance of one-quarter mile on each leg of the run. Long-distance running is an ancient Hopi
tradition that is widely practiced on the mesas today.
A month prior to the run, March 20-22, elementary-school students from Sedona and the Hopi Tribe visited each other’s communities as part of a “Student Exchange.” The overnight event gave the children an opportunity to learn about each other through educational activities, art and family experiences.
Many activities were planned throughout the week to celebrate this multi-cultural event, including a creek-side concert, traditional Hopi cooking, seed planting, screening of the H2OPI Mexico Run Documentary and a Hopi Art Market.