Preserving the Old Ways

Bonita Imus uses a bow and arrow to teach students the Hualapai words related to the bow, arrow, and other objects. The tribe is passing on its heritage and customs to its youth.

Photo by JC Amberlyn.

Bonita Imus uses a bow and arrow to teach students the Hualapai words related to the bow, arrow, and other objects. The tribe is passing on its heritage and customs to its youth.

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Romy, front, and Orion Holmes, both 10, learn how to fletch an arrow Friday at the Hualapai Cultural Center. It is part of an effort to ensure tribal members, especially the young ones, retain the Hualapai heritage and its language and customs for future generations.

PEACH SPRINGS – The Hualapai Cultural Center is working to promote Hualapai cultural traditions and language through a series of classes.

Among these are Cultural Arts and Language Program classes, which may include projects such as drum making, wild plant identification and uses, creating rabbit nets and other items with yucca fiber, or other traditional skills combined with lessons on the Hualapai language. Drake Havatone, Bennett Wakayuta, Carrie Cannon and Bonita Imus work with tribal elders to instruct students by demonstration, participation and flash cards.

Some Hualapai adults have lost the knowledge of the Hualapai language and the Cultural Center focuses on teaching youth to learn it so that the language and the knowledge that comes with it remain a part of the Hualapai heritage.

On Friday, students were at the center learning how to make a bow, arrows, and a quiver to hold the arrows. They were also learning the Hualapai words that related to their project. For instance, a bow is called “pu’/puchinyar.” A knife is “kwa.” One might “gwe dimk” (take aim at a target) at a “qwa:q,” a deer.