Message #364:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Hisatsazi Anasinom ?
Date: Fri Oct 24 04:47:12 1997


[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

From: Austin Lamont

Term 'Anasazi' May Become Extinct -- Navajo Word for 'Enemies' Offends
Hopi, Puebloans

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - "Anasazi," the word for prehistoric Four Comers
inhabitants that today adorns everything from a sign shop in Moab to a
Colorado motel to a New Mexico beauty pageant, appears to have joined the
ranks of the politically incorrect.

From a Navajo word that literally means "ancestral enemies," the term
always has bothered the Hopi and other Pueblo tribes who claim to be
descendants of the Anasazi.

"It's what the Navajos called the Hopi and other Pueblo people, the 'enemy
of old,' and we feel that sort of. interpretation is very derogatory, since
the Hopi religion doesn't call anyone an enemy," says Leigh J.
Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Tribe Cultural Preservation Office.

Hopis have lobbied to abolish the word and persuaded some agencies, like
Mesa Verde National Park, to adopt terms such as "ancestral puebloans" to
describe the Four Comers early civilization rather than Anasazi.

Not everyone is eager to switch, however.

"We've been told we should maybe use the word 'Hisatsinom,' instead of
Anasazi and that's a Hopi word that I, as a Navajo, don't use," says Irv
Francisco, a ranger at Navajo National Monument near Kayenta, Ariz.  "It's
my language, not theirs, and Anasazi is our own form we use to refer to
these people."

The word debate goes beyond Anasazi.  Around the Southwest, a handful of
common, psuedo-archaeological terms are failing out of favor.

A Four Comers field guide to endangered words:

* "Primitive," because it connotes no skills and "these people could do
things, to survive out here that we've long since forgotten," says Art
Hutchinson, superintendent of Hovenweep National Monument.  "I'm glad they
are not administering our IQ tests."

* "Ruins," because "people expect them to be ruined," says Butch Wilson of

Chaco Culture National Historic Park.  "We have .500,000 square feet of
pueblo structure that needs to be repaired and if you use the term ruins to
a congressman, they ask, 'Well, isn't it supposed to molder away?"'

*  "Ancient," because "it implies a lack of continuity," says Cortez,

Colo., author Ian Thompson, who has written about Southwestern archaeology
and cultures for 30 years. "I no longer refer to ancient Pueblo Indians,
but I will write about ancient dwellings or ancient communities that are no
longer inhabited."

Unlike generally recognized offensive terms such as "redskin" and "squaw,"
this new course in sensitivity training has many Anglos - and American
Indians - debating the limits of cultural accommodation.  Even the phrase
"rock art," used in countless guide book to describe the prehistoric
pictographs unique to this part of the country, is being discouraged by
Hopi leaders.

"I understand the Anasazi thing, but then I heard the complaint that we
shouldn't  use 'rock art' because it means there's some kind of
interpretation going on that we as non-Hopis should not be engaging in,"
says Dale Davidson, archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management in
Monticello.  "My first reaction was, 'Hey, we're not saying 'rock crap.'
We're being honorific, we're admiring it as artwork."

But Hopis say viewing panels of petroglyphs as simply art shows a lack of
understanding of the native culture that produced them.

From the "Albuquerque Journal", 22 October 1997