By Shashi Tharoor
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Extra resources for The Elephant The Tiger & The Cellphone
The Verde Valley around Sedona supported a rich cultural melting pot of prehistoric people, the most prolific being the Southern Sinagua. Their culture is best defined by the large pueblo hill town called Tuzigoot, and the Palatki Ruins located alongside the highest concentration of pictographs in the region. Tuzigoot (Apache for “crooked water”) is the remains of a Sinaguan pueblo community built between 1125 and 1400 CE. The ruins crown the summit of a 120-foot (36-m) limestone ridge overlooking the meandering Verde River.
Despite their given name, the Sinagua people did have water. Early in their development they discovered an unusual and effective method of farming based on water conservation. Later, they adopted the art of irrigation farming. ” The Sinagua were strongly influenced from all directions by their surrounding Anasazi, Mogollon, and Hohokam neighbors. They eagerly adopted Hohokam buff colored pottery, Anasazi above-ground pueblo building techniques, as well as Mogollon-style ball courts and canal irrigation systems.
The clan members of Old Oraibi are still buried in the traditional manner of bundling the body with yucca ropes and placed into hidden caves in the western cliff walls of the Third Mesa near Oraibi. Hopi spirituality is intertwined with everyday life. Most Hopi still pray to the kachina supernatural beings as their outward expression of spirituality. The roots of the Hopi people can be traced back 100 generations or more. Today approximately 40% of Hopi are Christian, while the rest adhere to the indigenous religion of their ancestors.