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I was motivated to begin studying Hopi language and culture by my desire to find a world view different from that of global capitalism which seems intent on spoiling and desecrating the earth for profit. I did discover this different perspective in Hopi culture, a respect for life, earth and community as having more value than affluence and progress. The differences that I discovered between the Hopi culture and the values of the dominant Euro-American system apply to the other Native cultures, Apache and Tohono O’odham, mentioned here. These differences explain the conflicts discussed in this article between scientists, collectors etc. and Native peoples. Ultimately as I understood Hopi values, I realized the inappropriateness of research that I had initially perceived to be harmless to the Hopi and possibly even beneficial to the dominant society if it could learn to appreciate these different values. Thus from my original naïve opinion that those whose values are destructive to life on this planet might really be open-minded enough to learn respect for the values of Native American cultures, I now recognize the complexity of cultural representation as well as the intransigence of those who oppose Native American sovereignty and religious freedom.


Communicating Across Cultures: ethics of representation


Fairhaven College, Western Washington University

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Cultural relations--Moral and ethical aspects; Hopi Indians--Social life and customs; Indians of North America--Social life and customs; Multiculturalism

Geographic Coverage

North America



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