Skip to main content

Hopi Indians, South Jordan Rotary Form Bond

Sep 14, 2015 02:04PM, Published by Bryan Scott, Categories: News

Young people from various schools helps the Hopi tribe each year at the oldest inhabited city in North America. Photo courtesy Shaun Michel

By Rhett Wilkinson

It’s not Squanto and the Pilgrims. But the Hopi Indians and South Jordan Rotary have a rather unique relationship. 

A teenage girl’s efforts seven years ago means that, today, the club visits a primitive village at least once every year.

The Hopi Indians need water, fixed roofs, firewood and seeds. Annually for eight years now, 25 students have the opportunity to help in Oraibi, the Hopi village, near Tuba City, Ariz. Oraibi is the oldest inhabited city in North America – it dates to 1200 A.D. 

“It’s about as third world as I’ve seen – and I’ve been around most of the world,” said Shaun Michel, the Rotary-Hopi liaison and governor of the Utah Rotary district. “The people have lived there for generations, in the middle of a Navajo nation.” 

That’s because the Hopi choose to live that way, the way their ancestors live. They are concerned that modern conveniences will corrupt their young people. In some cities, there is no electricity nor water. And when the Hopi gather water, they lose three-quarters of it because of the holes in their buckets. That has proven difficult to one lady who Michel met that is 5 feet, 89 pounds and loses her water after walking 2,000 feet to get it.

The Hopi need corn. A lot of it. Because of their religious values and traditions, some spend 80 percent of their time growing corn. That’s why 20 members of the Brighton Interact Rotary, a club for persons 12 to 18 years old, brought corn seeds in 2008, after Michel’s daughter Jerika wanted to do a service project. That was because the Rotary is non-denominational – true to their motivation to avoid being uncorrupted from their way of life, the Hopi does not allow religiously-affiliated groups to visit for any reason.

 “That’s a privilege afforded us strictly because we are Rotarians,” Michel said. “It’s a gift to us to be able to interface with others, but we get a chance to see who they are. That will be lost, especially as the old generation dies off. There is a lot of culture and heritage that goes on. If we preserve that in our children, those stories won’t die.”

This year, young people who attend school from Brighton, Herriman, Bingham and Timpview high schools visited Oraibi.                                       

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...

  • Back to School Sale-A-Bration

    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    The Draper Peaks/Draper Crossing Shopping Centers are planning a Back to School Event on Saturday...

  • Guest Author Liv Bartlet

    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Twenty-nine-year-old artistic prodigy Kat Porter has golden statues on her career horizon until s...

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.



Online Edition
Follow us on Facebook
Online Edition South Salt Lake
Advertise with us


City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974