In relating the prophecies of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas the risk is run at every turn of commodifiying them, and of appealing to innocents
who imagine prophecy in this tradition to mean "prediction," and who are unaware of the logic that underlies indigenous prophetic discourse.
It is all but inevitable that this should occur, and the only justification for publishing them is that they may reach some small percentage of those who read them, at a juncture in time when it is urgent that the messages they contain be heard.
The Hopi prophecies, for example, bear no relationship to the products of a Nostrodamus, sitting in his study in isolation and "seeing" things that lack context or coherence as part of a moral or symbolic system.
To the contrary, the Hopi prophecies, for example, are part of an overall moral and cultural system, a religious system that
constitutes a way or road of life, and that gives moral instruction and guidance with respect to How to Be in relation to the world around us. For lack of a better term to explain the point we might also call these prophecies the central element of a moral ecology of culture that permeates every aspect of life - of living in respect and unison with life and its natural cycles.
Ultimately, it is a simple matter. A way of life in Balance is the highest good. Balance entails an entire set of values expressed in every aspect of a culture. The violation of these cultural values – natural laws – has predictable results, leading to disintegration and corruption – to a life out of Balance, a way of life that calls for another way of living.
The beauty of this way is found in its synchrony at every level of culture, and
in its moral commitment to a holistic way of living that produces and reproduces harmony with the Earth. This is what it means, at one level at least, that the name Hopi Sinom means people of peace – perhaps one might say people at peace.
None of this detracts from the mystery of the Hopi pronouncements or the power of their voice. Rather, it deepens the mystery and contextualizes it. The prophecies are not mere "predictions" of the kind a better, faster computer might produce – they are symbolic gestalts of meaning – like that of a dream whose underlying logic is as rich as it is inevitable.
The Hopi prophecies, because they pertain to a coherent way of life, have an inner coherence that makes them consistent expressions of a single set of values in the inner life of the individual, in the ritual life of the
community, and in the consistent communal "politics" of the Earth that can be found in the newsletters of the Hopi Traditionals – the Techqua Ikachi newsletters.
Because of this internal coherence, they cannot be sampled and extracted, one element in isolation from the others, without damage to the understanding of the whole, and without damage to the _expression of Balance they embody. That the Hopi "predicted" atomic warfare means little when divorced from the stories that relate the moral commitment to Balance that permeates the culture, and the stories by which the culture knows itself.
The same is true of other Indigenous prophecies. Mayan prophecy can not be understood at all apart from the context of the Mayan calendar system – indeed the whole of Mayan and Mexica cosmology, "mythology," morality,
symbology science and cultural meaning are inextricably interwoven with the Meso-American calendars.
The priests and elders of a Mayan people in Guatemala urge us to go deeply into our own cultural traditions, and it seems apparent that one reason is the need for integrating our traditions in a holistic, non-consumeristic way.
For related reasons some Hopi people object to the sharing of their prophecies – they feel the full meaning cannot be conveyed, and that to share a partial meaning exposes their culture to degradation. It is a delicate matter to, in effect, defy them.
Yet, the most traditional of the Hopi, those who expressed the most consistent intent through their actions toward preserving Hopi
culture – those who followed Yukioma, who was imprisoned repeatedly for his refusal to compromise his culture and religion, or to abet the impositions of the white man in any way – determined, by all accounts, to ensure that these prophecies were shared as widely as possible in the wake of the dropping of the "Gourd of Ashes" at the end of WWll.
For us, as Xicana/os, it is important in this context to recognize that the Traditional Hopi view the Mayan and Mexica peoples AS Hopi – specifically as Hopi groups that did not complete their mandated migrations to the four directions of this continent.
In any case, the Hopi are part of the Uto-Aztecan language and culture group, which includes the Mexica, Tolteca, and other Nahautl speakers, the Raramuri (Tarahumara), Huichol, Ute, Paiute,