Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile
February 26, 2010 / 12 Adar 5770

First Nations, LDS, Joes work together

to help Hopi through emergency

MbY would like to thank all who assisted the Hopi in their recent wood emergency.

The emergency is now under control as FEMA has "caught up" and will be providing Hopi mesas with wood through the end of March, ben Yoseif said.  After an uncharacteristic storm at the end of January buried the mesas with up to three feet of snow, Hopi and the Navajo reservation that surrounds Hopi were declared national disasters for 60 days.

Initially, the emergency supplies delivered by FEMA to Hopi included propane but no wood.  Especially on Third Mesa, but throughout Hopi land, propane tanks lie disconnected and empty since the price of propane has almost doubled in recent years and few Hopi can afford to refill them.  As the tanks emptied, many had converted back to wood and coal burners.

Hopi elders had warned that this would be a bad winter and many Hopi had stocked up on wood but repeated storms before this one had exhausted the wood supplies.  Surrounded by Navajo and living on a big rock, wood is scarce on the mesas.

"I am sure it was pleasing to Grandfather to see First Nations and LDS working together to help Hopi," ben Yoseif said. "It is good to know this is possible. This storm hit right before the Bean Dance, when Hopi were preoccupied with initiating their sons into the various kiva societies.  Our taking over this wood emergency allowed the ceremonies to continue without interruption on all of the mesas." 

Thanks to the intertribal elder, Whiteeagle, and coordination and publicity about the emergency provided by several grandmothers, First Nations responses from Arizona and southern Utah, mostly in pickup trucks, were immediate.  Doug Mendenhall and his associates, including many LDS friends from stakes in southern Utah and other LDS from Provo, Salt Lake and as far away as Logan delivered about 60 cords in trucks, trailers and horse-trailers to the emergency staging area within a week after the highway was reopened.

More wood and about two tons of coal was purchased by Larry Fischer of the Boise, ID., area for the Tuba City, AZ., stake and the chapter at Polacca on First Mesa.  Some of this wood and coal also was shared with non-LDS members.  Other deliveries came from Membreno and Chiracaua Apache in southwest Utah and southeastern Arizona and Navajo and Zuni from New Mexico and Arizona.  Several First Nations' peoples and interested "Joes" also contacted the Hopi Tribal Council  to donate assistance to the emergency.

Council of 70 member and LDS Historian Marlin Jensen alerted the LDS leadership in Salt Lake City, which arranged at least two truck-loads of emergency supplies.


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