Excerpt by Antonio Lopez
“”In the incongruous atmosphere of the Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, an extraordinary encounter took place in 1979. During the Dalai Lama’s first visit to North America, he met with three Hopi elders. The spiritual leaders agreed to speak in only in their Native tongues. Through Hopi elder and interpreter Thomas Benyakya, delegation head Grandfather David’s first words to the Dalai Lama were: “Welcome home.”
The Dalai Lama laughed, noting the striking resemblance of the turquoise around Grandfather David’s neck to that of his homeland. He replied: “And where did you get your turquoise?”
Since that initial meeting, the Dalai Lama has visited Santa Fe to meet with Pueblo leaders, Tibetan Lamas have engaged in numerous dialogues with Hopis and other Southwestern Indians, and now, through a special resettlement program to bring Tibetan refugees to the United States, New Mexico has become a central home for relocated Tibetan families.
As exchanges become increasingly common between Native Americans and Tibetans, a sense of kinship and solidarity has developed between the cultures. While displacement and invasion have forced Tibetans to reach out to the global community in search of allies, the Hopi and other Southwestern Native Americans have sought an audience for their message of world peace and harmony with the earth. In the context of these encounters are the activities of writers and activists who are trying to bridge the two cultures. A flurry of books and articles have been published, arguing that Tibetans and Native Americans may share a common ancestry.
The perception of similarity between Native Americans of the Southwest and the Tibetans is undeniably striking. Beyond a common physicality and turquoise jewelry, parallels include the abundant use of silver and coral, the colors and patterns of textiles and long braided hair, sometimes decorated, worn by both men and women.
When William Pacheco, a Pueblo student, visited a Tibetan refugee camp in India, people often spoke Tibetan to him, assuming that he was one of them.
“Tibetans and Native American Pueblo people share a fondness for chile (though Tibetans claim pueblo chile is too mild!),” says Pacheco, “and a fondness for turquoise, used by both cultures as ways to ward off evil spirits. Also, the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche, when he said, ‘when Tibetans are scattered throughout the world, and horses run on iron wheels and when iron birds fly, the dharma will come to the land of the red man.’”...
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I’ve also heard of other native groups who see link themselves to Tibetans through prophecies. One group I remember reading about was a native group in Alaska who interpret their prophecies to mean that in the near future the Dalai Lama will shift the healing powers of the world from Tibet to Alaska because of all destruction the Chinese have inflicted to the monasteries and the other religious institutes there. They believe that when this shift occurs the world will begin to “heal itself”.
I also noticed that the Navajo Indians make sand paintings and then destroy it after it is completed just as Tibetans do. But in contrast they make them for healing purposes and then destroy them because they believe the paintings take in the illness of the person they are trying to heal and thus destroy the painting because it has become “toxic. Whereas in Tibetan “sand paintings” or Mandalas they are destroyed because it represents the Buddhist belief of impermanence.
The Hopi Indians also have a very interesting interpretation of their prophecy where they believe the Tibetans have a very close relation to them. I can’t remember the exact detailed explanation they had but I remember that it had to do with Tibet being situated on the exact opposite side of the world as them and also because of the very strange language links. In the Hopi language, the word for love sounds very similar to the Tibetan word for hate and the word for love in Tibetan sounds very similar to the Hopi word for hate. This is also the case with the words Sun and Moon in both languages and there were others words that I can’t remember as well.
Hopi prophecy also believes that the world is comprised of 4 different people represented by a color. The Native Americans are said to be of the red people and are a people deeply attached to nature. They also have sacred stone tablet which is kept with the Hopi tribe. Tibetans and East Asians are said to be the yellow people and they are deeply spiritual people, their sacred stone tablet is said to be kept by the Tibetan people. The other two peoples are the black people, who are the people of Africa who are said to keep their sacred stone tablets at Mt. Kiliminjaro by a certain African tribe there and the Europeans are the white people who are said to excel in crafting things and harnessing fire (ie: technology), they are said to keep their sacred stone tablet in Switzerland.
Edit: I’ve found a excerpt explaining the whole prophecy or belief.
“To the Indian people, the red people, he gave the Guardianship of the earth. We were to learn during this cycle of time the teachings of the earth, the plants that grow from the earth, the foods that you can eat, and the herbs that are healing so that when we came back together with the other brothers and sisters we could share this knowledge with them. Something good was to happen on the earth.
To the South, he gave the yellow race of people the Guardianship of the wind. They were to learn about the sky and breathing and how to take that within ourselves for spiritual advancement. They were to share that with is at this time.
To the West He gave the black race of people the Guardianship of the water. They were to learn the teachings of the water which is the chief of the elements, being the most humble and the most powerful.
To the North He gave the white race of people the Guardianship of the fire. If you look at the center of many of the things they do you will find the fire. They say a light bulb is the white man’s fire. If you look at the center of a car you will find a spark. If you look at the center of the airplane and the train you will find the fire. The fire consumes, and also moves. This is why it was the white brothers and sisters who began to move upon the face of the earth and reunite us as a human family.”
Here’s some info about the stone tablets and their wherabouts:
“And so a long time passed, and the Great Spirit gave each of the four races two stone tablets. Ours are kept at the Hopi Reservation in Arizona at Four Corners Area on 3rd Mesa.
I talked to people from the black race and their stone tablets are at the foot of Mount Kenya. They are kept by the Kukuyu Tribe…
The stone tablets of the yellow race of people are kept by the Tibetans, in Tibet. If you went straight through the Hopi Reservation to the other side of the world, you would come out in Tibet. The Tibetan word for “sun” is the Hopi word for “moon” and the Hopi word for “sun” is the Tibetan word for “moon”.
The guardians of the traditions of the people of Europe are the Swiss. In Switzerland, they still have a day when each family brings out its mask. They still know the colors of the families, they still know the symbols, some of them. I went to school with some people from Switzerland at the University of Washington and they shared this with me.
Each of these four peoples happen to be people that live in the mountains.“
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