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The Navajo and Hopi: Indigenous Cultures and Contemporary Issues

Program Number: 2787RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/24/2013 - 3/29/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Cameron, Arizona
Price starting at: $770.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Native American Studies; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

While the Navajo and Hopi are geographic neighbors, they are two very different peoples. The Navajo, with their nomadic culture, have a history that includes the American Indian Wars, Kit Carson and the Long Walk. The Hopi, descendants of ancestral Puebloans, have occupied the Hopi Mesas for more than 1,000 years and remain primarily agrarian. Study how these two cultures respond to modern challenges while working to continue their traditions.


• From silversmithing to Katsina dolls, discover the role of Native American art and its relationship to culture.
• Enjoy a rare opportunity for in-depth discussions with members of both cultures, and a home-cooked meal on the Hopi Reservation.
• Take a field trip to a 1,000-year-old Hopi village, visit a traditional Navajo hogan and enjoy access to an exclusive area with extensive ancient petroglyphs (rock engravings) not open to the public.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one-half mile. Elevations of 4,000-5,500 feet.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Cameron, on Navajo Reservation, 2 nights; van to Hopi Cultural Center on Hopi Reservation, Second Mesa, 3 nights; Van returns participants to starting point at Cameron or departure directly from Hopi Cultural Center. Vans during program allow access to more remote locations.

Coordinated by Northern Arizona University.

Second Mesa (Hopi Reservation)

Not to be confused with the nearby town of the same name, Hopi Nation’s Second Mesa is located on the Hopi Reservation and comprises three Native American Hopi tribe villages. Art and craft shops dot the reservation displaying local handicraft, and archaeological and historic sites surround the region.


Named after Ralph Cameron, a U.S. senator who owned several copper mines, the town sits 80 miles south of Page in the Painted Desert and is on the Navajo Indian Reservation. To reach his mines, the senator created the Bright Angel Trail in 1899, which has since become one of the most popular hiking trails on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Cameron: historic trading post and lodge. Second Mesa: Hopi Cultural Center. Home-cooked traditional meal at a Third Mesa village.
Meals and Lodgings
   Cameron Inn
  Cameron, AZ 2 nights
   Hopi Cultural Center
  Second Mesa, AZ 3 nights
 Cameron Inn
Type: Motel
  Description: Modern facility done in turn of the century Santa Fe style. Adjacent to the old and still operating Cameron Trading Post.
  Contact info: 466 North US Hwy 89
Cameron, AZ 86023 USA
phone: 928-679-2231
  Room amenities: Individually controlled heat and AC, phone, clock radio, satellite TV.
  Facility amenities: On site restaurant, small grocery store, post office, gas station.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal. Call the Cameron Inn for the rates applicable to your stay.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Hopi Cultural Center
Type: Motel
  Description: Being part of the overall Hopi Cultural Center, the motel is in the center of cultural and economic events on the Hopi Reservation.
  Contact info: US Highway 264
Second Mesa, AZ 86043 USA
phone: 928-734-2401
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, individually controlled AC/heat, phone, clock radio, individual bath.
  Facility amenities: On site restaurant, museum, native arts and crafts workshops and vending areas.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: Seasonal. Contact the Hopi Cultural Center for the rates applicable to your stay.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
On site registration from 4:30 - 5:15 PM. You will be staying at Cameron Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends in Hopi at 10:00 AM. Airport shuttle will depart from Hopi immediatly following the program and Road Scholar van will return participants to Cameron for those who have left cars there. You will be staying at Hopi Cultural Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking at Cameron Inn for the length of the program. Some participants may wish to shuttle their personal vehicles to Hopi so they will have them at end of program for independent travel from there.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Cameron, AZ
  Nearest city or town:  Flagstaff, AZ, 53 miles S
  Nearest highway: US 89
  Nearest airport:  Commuter: Flagstaff; Intl: Phoenix
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departures
Travel Details

Cameron, AZ to/from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Van Go Shuttle
phone: 866-448-2646
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Estimated $75
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:






210 miles


Van Go Shuttle works exclusively with these programs and plans shuttles to arrive in conjunction with program start/end times. Shuttle picks up from all terminals. Before program, arrive at Phoenix airport by 11:30 AM. After program, return shuttle arrives at Phoenix airport approximately 2:30 PM. Book airline departures after 4:15 PM. Call shuttle company PRIOR to booking other travel for ease of transfers.

Driving Directions
  Cameron Trading Post & Lodge from I-40 Take I-40 to Flagstaff. In East Flagstaff, take exit 201 towards Page, AZ and turn onto US-89 North. Stay on 89 North for 53 miles to Cameron, AZ. Cameron Trading Post and Lodge is on your left on the banks of the Little Colorado River Canyon.
  Cameron Trading Post from Phoenix I-17 Go north on I-17 in Phoenix to junction with I-40 East, exit 340 to Albuquerque. Stay on I-40 East for 6 miles to exit 201, US 89 North to Page, AZ. Stay on 89 North for 53 miles to Cameron, AZ. Cameron Trading Post and Lodge is on your left on the banks of the Little Colorado River canyon.
  Second Mesa, AZ from I-40 From the I-40 take exit 257 for Highway 87. Turn north and follow Highway 87 for 67 miles to the junction with Highway 264. Turn left and follow Highway 264 5 miles up the side of Second Mesa. You'll see the cultural center complex on your right.
  Second Mesa, AZ from US 89 Take Highway 89 to the well marked junction with Highway 160, about 16 miles north of Cameron, AZ. Turn east towards Tuba City. In Tuba City, turn right on Highway 264, traveling 60 miles to the top of Second Mesa. You'll climb over Third Mesa, passing several villages, then drop down into a valley and pass by the north edge of Kykotsmovi Village before climbing up on Second Mesa. The cultural center complex will be on your left.
Elevation Note: 3800 - 6000 feet. Those with heart / lung problems should check with a physician before attending.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration/Orientation & Introductions
(Sunday, March 24)
 Afternoon: On site registration from 4:30 PM - 5:15 PM.
 Dinner: Each night you'll choose from two entrees at the Cameron Inn Restaurant. During the week you may be selecting from entrees including Navajo taco, chicken florentine, chef's salad, beef stew and more. A salad and dessert are included every evening. The restaurant is a showcase of Navajo art where intricately woven rugs and baskets adorn the walls and theTiffany glass cabinets and pressed-tin ceiling transports you to an earlier time.
 Evening: Cameron is located on the southwest corner of the Navajo Nation in view of the San Francisco Peaks, one of the Navajo's Four Sacred Mountains. Find out about the week's activities, meet your fellow participants and receive a brief introduction to Navajo Culture.
Accommodations: Cameron Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Growing Up Navajo/Navajo Government/Navajo Arts and Crafts/Traditional Music & Entertainment
(Monday, March 25)
 Breakfast: Choose from a number of breakfast selections at the Cameron Inn Restaurant. Eggs, oatmeal, waffles, toast and bacon are among the choices. Coffee or tea and juice included.
 Morning: After breakfast, listen to a presentation on the challenges of growing up Navajo and the challenges of living in two worlds. The Navajo Reservation is the largest in the contiguous United States (about the size of West Virginia) and spans the Four Corners region of the United States.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Cameron Inn restaurant. Multiple choices to choose from, including vegetarian option.
 Afternoon: Hear about Navajo tribal government (including the Chapter system) and the challenges and benefits of this system of government. Following our talk, we will then visit some of the Cameron Trading Post's "special collections" of Native American arts and crafts. Discussion focuses on Navajo examples including jewelry, rugs, and pottery. The collection does encompass many other Native American art traditions as well. Make sure to linger in the Trading Post Gallery -- it's museum-like in its assortment of fine works of art.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Cameron Inn Restaurant.
 Evening: Entertainment by a local performer and discussion of the Navajo Beauty Way and the concept of 'Walking in Beauty'.
Accommodations: Cameron Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Navajo Hogan visit/Navajo Interactive Museum/Travel to Hopi Reservation/Hopi Museum & Cultural Center
(Tuesday, March 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Cameron Inn Restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast, embark on a field trip to a Navajo hogan and learn its historical cultural significance and modern uses. The Hogan is the traditional Navajo dwelling. You may have the opportunity to hear about growing up in this stark landscape, herding sheep, and traditional weaving practices.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Cameron Inn restaurant.
 Afternoon: Following lunch, we say goodbye to the Cameron Trading Post and travel to the Hopi reservation via Tuba City. While in Tuba City, enjoy a stop at the Navajo Interactive Museum for a more in-depth look at the Navajo Culture. Originally created for exhibition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the Navajo Interactive Museum marks the first time the Navajo people have told their own story in this format. The museum includes a range of exhibits about Navajo life and customs, starting with the creation story. Other areas explore weaving and the Navajo relationship with their sheep, living in two worlds and hopes for the future. From Tuba City, we enter the Hopi reservation and travel 60 miles up to the Hopi Mesas, enjoying sweeping views of the Navajo nation below. (The Hopi Reservation is completely surrounded by the Navajo Reservation.) Prior to our afternoon check-in into the Hopi Cultural Center (HCC) hotel, we will visit the Hopi Culture Museum.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Hopi Cultural Center. Choices vary every evening. Each entree comes with a salad, beverage and scoop of ice cream. Vegetarian options available.
 Evening: Orientation to the Hopi portion of the program with your Hopi coordinator. Begin discussion of Hopi Culture this evening including the clanship and matrilineal systems.
Accommodations: Hopi Cultural Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Kachina Doll Carving Presentation/Piki Bread demonstration/field trip to Anasazi petroglyph site.
(Wednesday, March 27)
 Breakfast: Choose from a number of breakfast selections at the Hopi Cultural Center Restaurant. Eggs, oatmeal, toast and bacon are among the choices. Coffee or tea and juice included.
 Morning: After breakfast is a demonstration of the ancient art of Kachina doll carving. You'll see how the dolls are made and hear about their significance in Hopi life and culture. Are they deities? Spirits? Or are they too esoteric for non-Hopi to understand?
 Lunch: Lunch at the Cultural Center restaurant.
 Afternoon: We will begin our afternoon with a demonstration on Piki bread making. Piki has much cultural significance which will be explained. Made of blue corn, the ash of the Juniper tree and other ingredients, Piki cooks almost instantaneously and is peeled from the cooking surface (typically a heated piki stone) in sheets so thin they are almost translucent. Several sheets of the bread are often rolled up loosely into flattened scrolls. After the demonstration you will have the opportunity to taste this centuries old Hopi staple. Following our demonstration, we will embark on a field trip to a very special location (only accessible with a Hopi guide) of ancient Anasazi petroglyphs (rock art). You will be amazed by both the quantity and quality of these 1000 year old messages on stone.
 Dinner: Dinner choices vary every evening. Each entree comes with a salad, beverage and scoop of ice cream. Vegetarian options include salad, hopi bean taco, grilled cheese and cottage cheese.
 Evening: Enjoy another discussion of Hopi culture.
Accommodations: Hopi Cultural Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hopi Culture Insights/Hopi pottery demo/Hopi Tribal Police Presentation/filed trip to Third Mesa Village/Traditional Hopi Dinner
(Thursday, March 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hopi Cultural Center restaurant.
 Morning: Enjoy a pottery demonstration from start to finish with an engaging presentation. The process begins with clay gathering at sacred sites; the tempering process; coiling, shaping and building techniques; burnishing; design and painting techniques; and finally the firing process with sheep dung. See pieces in all stages of the process from wet clay to finished masterpieces, some with fire clouds. Hopi pottery stands out amongst all of the pueblo and non-pueblo pottery makers, with its white wash and poly-chrome painting, as some of the most recognizable art in the world.
 Lunch: Lunch selections at the Hopi Cultural Center restaurant. Vegetable salad and other vegetarian options.
 Afternoon: Visit the 1000 year old village of Old Oraibi on Third Mesa. Still home to Third Mesa residents, the Hopi villages are the longest continuously inhabited locations in the Americas. Enjoy panoramic views of the desert floor below the mesa top. Then visit an ancient rock art site to observe the extensive petroglyphs of Dawa Park. Hear interpretations about some of the symbols and their clan connections.
 Dinner: A traditional Hopi dinner will be served in the village of Bacavi. The main dish is traditional Hopi white corn hominy with beef. Learn about the food and its cultural significance as you share this simple yet tasty meal with new friends and a greater understanding of the Hopi culture.
 Evening: Free evening upon returning from the traditional Hopi dinner.
Accommodations: Hopi Cultural Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Hopi Culture Wrap Up//Farewells
(Friday, March 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Cultural Center Restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast, a final Q and A session with your Hopi Coordinator. More discussion on the current challenges of the Hopi people. This session gives participants a chance to discuss their impressions and allows questions of the Hopi coordinator about the tribe, its beliefs, its leadership and its future. Program wrap up and farewells by 10:00 AM. Van Go will be ready to take people back to the Phoenix airport and the NAU Road Scholar van will shuttle participants from the HCC back to Cameron.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Cameron, AZ General
Places to see within 2 hours of Cameron: South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs Natl Mon, Sinagua ruins at Wupatki, volcanic fields at Sunset Crater Natl Mon, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon and Marble Canyon, Sinagua ruins at Walnut Canyon Natl Mon.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Dine Bahane: The Navajo Creation Story

Author: Zolbrod, Paul G

Description: This is the most complete version of the Navajo creation story to appear in English since Washington Matthews' Navajo Legends of 1847. Zolbrod's new translation renders the power and delicacy of the oral storytelling performance on the page through a poetic idiom appropriate to the Navajo oral tradition. Zolbrod's book offers the general reader a vivid introduction to Navajo culture. For students of literature this book proposes a new way of looking at our literary heritage.

Diné: A History of the Navajos

Author: Iverson, Peter; Roessel, Monty

Description: This comprehensive narrative traces the history of the Navajos from their origins to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Based on extensive archival research, traditional accounts, interviews, historic and contemporary photographs, and firsthand observation, it provides a detailed, up-to-date portrait of the Diné past and present that will be essential for scholars, students, and interested general readers, both Navajo and non-Navajo.

Hopi Summer: Letters from Ethel to Maud

Author: Carolyn O'Bagy Davis

Description: Hopi Summer tells the true story of a special cross-cultural friendship. In 1927 Maud Melville, a wealthy New Englander, and Ethel Muchvo, a Hopi potter, struck up a remarkable friendship. Using diaries, letters, and photographs of Ethel and Maud, biographer and historian Carolyn O'Bagy Davis delves into the touching relationship that blossomed between two very different women over many years of triumphs and sorrows. The story of Ethel and Maud also documents a bygone time in Native American history, a "Hopi summer" before wrenching change came to the traditional Pueblo world of the Hopi. 60 b/w photos.

Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters, and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region

Author: Anderson, Michael F

Description: A comprehensive look at the pioneer history of the Grand Canyon Region, from its earliest residents to the creation of the national park at the end of the pioneer era (circa 1920). Included are close to two hundred historic photographs, many never published before, and 12 custom maps of the region. 184pp

Me and Mine: The Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa

Author: Udall, Louise

Description: An energetic Hopi woman emerges from a traditional family background to embrace the more conventional way of life in American today. Enchanting and enlightening—a rare piece of primary source anthropology. 262 pp

Native Roads : The Complete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations

Author: Kosik, Frank

Description: Using the mile markers of the US, Arizona, and Navajo highways and routes running through the Navajo and Hopi nations as her organizing principle, the author offers a travel guide to the sites found in the area. Natural, historical, and cultural points of interest are covered, along with some information on lodging and services. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR 304pp

Sacred: Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life

Author: Beck, Peggy; Walters, Anna; Francisco, Nia

Description: An informative introduction to traditional and contemporary religious concepts of North American Indians, and a standard reference for all U.S. and Canadian universities. 384pp

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