Thomas Banyacya speaks in Chaco Canyon

Hopi Messenger-Thomas Banyacya

Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya (1909-1999) was selected as spokesman for traditional leaders in 1948, after atom bombs triggered Hopi awareness that the prophecized “gourd full of ashes” had finally appeared. We worked with Thomas from 1977 through 1999 and were fortunate to film him at Chaco Canyon, in Washington DC, and at sacred migration sites around the Four Corners area. His humor, good spirit and wisdom will be long remembered.


Cremations in a Sacred Spring

Once each year, the Winnemem Wintu make a summer pilgrimage to their sacred spring on Mt Shasta, the source of the McCloud River, to conduct a healing ceremony. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, New Age offerings — mostly in the form of crystals — disrupted the start of the ceremony as designated men had to clean the spring by removing all foreign objects.