Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Hopi Children Stories Tie Hopi History to People of Ammon (Anti Nephi Lehies)
In some of my recent reading I stumbled across Zula C. Brinkerhoff's "God's Chosen People of America" Zula was very close to the Hopi she was actually adopted into the Turtle Clan and given the name of Gah Het Tut (Little Mother) in July of 1975. Zula was also an active member of the LDS Church.
In her book Zula Brinkerhoff's adopted Hopi father David Monongye shares different Hopi traditional stories that are used to teach the children life lessons as well as the history of their own people. I would like to share one in particular which directly links the Hopi to the People of Ammon (The Anti Nephi Lehies). Its called the "Story of the Bow"
"Let me tell you about the bow. There's a story on the bow. During the month of February when the small children are initiated, they get the bows and arrows, and the little girls small dolls to play with.
I want to tell you now, there is a lot of meaning to it. There is a lot of different colors on the bow and a few places you seen dots and then right in the center of it all is white. Now, to the Hopi people, it means peace, so these are given to the small boys and when they receive this bow they hold it in the middle where it is white. Simply holding a whit flag which means peace and on the sides there are different colors means all of the vegetation on the earth. Like the flowers, trees, and animals and all things that live on this mother earth. And the dots on there represents the rain drops. When it rains on this mother earth it helps the plants to grow and it waters them.
And the string is stretched on top. Now that string, it sets this way-one is pointed toward east and the other toward the west. An the string is stretched to it. And then on that string, as we all know the sun rises from the east, and when the sun rises from the east and it travels on this string overhead and fertilized all the plant life and animal and human life upon mother earth, and it gives heat to all living things, such as trees, and everything that lives upon mother earth. And then the sun sets in the west, and then there is a little feather that hangs on the side and that means it represents the breath of this bow. And so that is what it means, you know when a boy receives his bow. He holds it in the middle where it is white so when they grow up they will grow up in Hopi ways that they would respect and would not molest anyone, because way back before the Great Star appeared in the sky, the Hopi have buried their weapons so that if ever war came up, they will not participate in any kind of war because they have buried their weapons deep in the earth. And so they were instructed not to take up arms and go forth against any other nation to kill any people, because this is a great warning to them by the Great Spirit. So this is what the bow means.
And the small dolls that is given to the girls, they take care of them and they are like babies. They are preparing themselves when they grow up so when they become of age they can marry and have children. And they must take good care of their children, just the way as their mothers do. They are preparing themselves to take care of these dolls, and they put them in little cradles, and sing to them. They get them to sleep. That is the way they are preparing themselves to become mothers in the future Now this is what it means."
In the Book of Mormon in Alma chapters 23-25 the converted Lamanites (actually Ishmaelites) buried their weapons of war and covenanted with their Lord never to take them up again. Their swords had been stained with blood and in burying their weapons of war they were (the people that is) washed clean in the sight of God and they suffered themselves to die by the sword when other Lamanites who were not converted attacked them rather than take up their weapons of war again and break the covenant and lose the forgiveness and promises they had received. This act of faith and courage actually brought more converts from the Lamanites than those of the converted group (later called the Anti Nephi Lehies or People of Ammon) who had died during this attack.
From this time forward they were considered a "Peaceful People" and after a four year proving time period in the Land of Jershon they were eventually accepted by the Nephites (although they did not consider themselves Nephites) and obtained a promise of protection by the Nephites. In return they gave the Nephites part of their crops as a good token of friendship. Later on when the Nephite armies were having problems with the Lamanites the Anti Nephi Lehies considered taking up their weapons to help in the battle. They were persuaded by their leader (who actually went by the name Anti Nephi Lehi) and a captain of the Nephite army by the name of Helaman not to break their covenant. At this point their children (2000 young men) decided to help the Nephite armies because they had not made the covenant (it was their parents) plus they had faith in the teaching of their mothers. They experienced many miracles while helping the Nephites.
With this said I think it is easy to see how the story of the Anti Nephi Lehies and the Hopi go hand in hand. They both are a peaceful people and had buried their weapons of war and held the family unit extremely important (especially the mother and her teachings). Thus he reason for the bow and arrows and the Kachina dolls being used to teach these key principals of their important past and the covenants they made with their God.