Monday, May 29, 2017

Hopi Mythology of Grand Canyon by Marvin, a Hopi Park Ranger

Story Ranger Marvin of Hopi Descent told, Desert View, Grand Canyon

Park Ranger Marvin presents the Hopi beliefs as it pertains to the Grand Canyon, where his ancestry has lived for over a thousand years.  Marvin has worked for the Park Service for five weeks now, a man in his late 50’s to early 60’s.  He had a career in law enforcement, which I assume was on the Hopi Reservation, which is surrounded by the Navajo Reservation to the east of the canyon…we will be driving along a small portion of the Hopi Reservation tomorrow.

Story Ranger Marvin of Hopi Descent told, Desert View, Grand CanyonOn the second floor of the watchtower, one can see this Hopi Story on the wall.  I have a picture of it in my previous blog post.  Marvin told the interpretation of this story last night.  It tells how a Hopi (Puebloan) young man named Tiyo, who was fascinated with where all the water flowing through the canyon went, was asked by his dad (upper left quarter of frame in picture to the left) to float down the river and discover the secret of the water, because they were in a terrible drought and they needed the water.  The next frame (upper right quarter) is him floating down, then ends up in the ocean, then ends up in Peru (Incas).  The next frame (bottom right quarter) is him meeting his future wife, and how these people knew the secrets of the snakes (there are snakes along the top, bottom and sides of that frame) and the secrets of the water.  The last frame is the two of them returning to the Grand Canyon area, her with the power to make rain, and you can see the many rain clouds above them. 

Ranger Marvin of Hopi Descent, Desert View, Grand CanyonTo the right Marvin is holding up a picture of a young Hopi woman, with her hair up, much like Princes Leia (Carrie Fisher) wore her hair in the Star Wars movie.  A Hopi woman who wears her hair like this has never been married.  In the third frame the woman has her hair up like this, but in the fourth frame it is down…so the two of them got married in Peru before they came back to the Canyon area.  

Sunset, Desert View, Grand Canyon     Sunset, Desert View, Grand Canyon

What a lovely backdrop for the presentation, with the Watchtower (which is full of Hopi culture) and the sun setting along the canyon.  Marvin and I talked for a good 20 minutes after the presentation, what a nice man, with such a love for his people and culture and for the creator of all.  I asked him during the Q&A about the Hopi thoughts about how the canyon was made…and he said it was a long story, but to keep it short, it was another quest but this time the father sent the fastest young man up river to a location where he planted feathers, said some special words, and then ran back as the canyon was split open behind him.  Later as we talked alone I asked if there was a story about a great flood as found in many other cultures, and he said yes…that was how they went from the third world to the fourth world (we currently live in the fourth world), because the third world had become so corrupt that it had to be destroyed.   I asked if there was a fifth world, and he said, “If the world becomes too corrupt, then yes, and I don’t want to be around when and if that happens.”  Marvin is a wonderful addition to the seasonal staff here at Canyon View…he will truly share his knowledge, love and respect for the Hopis with all those who take the time to talk to him, and to attend any of his presentations.

Sunset, Desert View, Grand Canyon    Sunset, Desert View, Grand Canyon
Sunset, Desert View, Grand Canyon

Afterwards, I hung around for another wonderful sunset…

Sunset, Desert View, Grand Canyon


Elk near Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon

Saw this little thing as I drove back to the campground…did not realize there were elk so close to our campgrounds.

Campground Poachers, Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon

Woke up this morning and found some creatures had invoked upon our camping grounds during the night.  This picture is from the window I sit at every day..this is where I take the dogs to do their morning business, and so we went there anyway.  I mentioned to the young man and woman that they were in my camping space, and that Ranger Bill would be coming by real soon and that it would be to their betterment to pack up and leave…and they did…

Ranger Bill, camp host, Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon

…and Ranger Bill did come by, and I told him about it.  He said told me that they were probably part of the group that he caught last night, but was able to move them into a spot that another camper decided to vacate yesterday evening.  My hat is off to both Ranger Bill (above) and Ranger William (his helper who fills in during his time off).  They are both seasonal work-campers, which means they camp out, and work about 40 hours per week, and are volunteers of the NPS but get free electricity, propane, water and sewer.  Bill is now on his fourth year, while William (who went by Bill until he arrived this year and found out there was already a “Bill” here) just started his first year.  These two guys are both wonderful, and they keep this campground in fine shape…make that great shape.


  1. There's always lots of critters there, especially elk, much preferable to the two legged kind. The sunsets in the Grand Canyon are my all time favorites!!

    1. Was not too happy about finding a tent outside my window...


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