The Hopi call it “Yupkoyvi,” simply translated as way beyond the other side of the mountains.
“Whose land do we all occupy? We walk the land of the creator. That’s what was told to us at the beginning — at the bottom of the Grand Canyon,” Tenakhongva said. “Many of us have that connection. Many of us can relate to how important the Grand Canyon is. Ask the Zuni, the Laguna, the Acoma. They made their trip from there to this region. We know the importance of these areas.”
Pueblo leaders also talked about areas near Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico and Bears Ears National Monument in Utah that are tied to Chaco civilization.
Laguna Gov. Martin Kowemy Jr. said Chaco is a vital part of who his people are.
“Pueblo people can all relate through song, prayer and pilgrimage,” he said. “Now more than ever, connections to our peoples’ identities are a source of strength in difficult times. We must ensure these connections will not be severed, but remain intact for future generations.”
Acoma Pueblo Gov. Brian Vallo said the beliefs, songs, ceremonies and other traditions that have defined generations of Pueblo people originated at Chaco.
“Our fight to protect this sacred place is rooted in what our elders teach us and what we know as descendants of those who settled here,” Vallo said. “That is our responsibility — to maintain our connection, our deep-felt obligation and protective stewardship of this sacred place.”