Talking with a Volcano: Native American Perspectives on the Eruption of Sunset Crater, Arizona
AffiliationSchool of Anthropology, University of Arizona
United States national park service
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CitationStoffle, R., & Van Vlack, K. (2022). Talking with a Volcano: Native American Perspectives on the Eruption of Sunset Crater, Arizona. Land.
RightsCopyright © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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AbstractA new volcano erupted in the eleventh century AD in the San Francisco volcanic field, which has as many as 80 old volcanoes and 600 eruption cones all centered around Flagstaff, Arizona. This volcanic landscape has been a cultural center for Native American spiritual activities for up to 23,000 years. During that time, they have come to perceive volcanoes as earth navels and thus places where the earth is reborn. For this reason, the emergence of an active volcano, called Sunset Crater, drew pilgrims and resulted in the construction of ceremonial and support communities surrounding a place called Wupatki. This paper is partially based on a 2004 study funded by the U.S. National Park Service, which produced 80 ethnographic interviews with representatives of six Native American ethnic groups composed of 12 tribes and pueblos. The analysis is informed by a total of 23 ethnographic studies of volcanoes conducted with Native Americans by the authors. In all studies, Native American participants conveyed that they have cultural connections with volcanoes that derive from their Creation-based knowledge of the Earth as being alive and volcanoes being its rebirth. Traditional cultural information is critical to park management and compliance with various laws, regulations, executive orders, and policies so that park managers can better address tribal requests for continued access, use, and interpretation of park natural resources. Native Americans involved in our NPS ethnographic studies agreed that it is not necessary for the NPS to accept as true what Native Americans believe, but it is essential to tell in park interpretative settings both stories side by side with equal accuracy. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).