HMRP and HCPO meet with Zuni Cultural Resources Advisory Team to Return Historic Songs

IMG_5443Hopi Tribal Archivist, Stewart Koyiyumptewa, and HMRP Lead Researcher, Trevor Reed, met with the Zuni Cultural Resources Advisory Team (ZCRAT) on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, to begin the repatriation of a series of 70+ year-old A:shiwi (Zuni) traditional songs from the Laura Boulton World Music Collection.  The meeting was generously supported by the Zuni Culture Resource Enterprise, Hopi Cultural Preservation Office and Columbia University’s Center for Ethnomusicology, and allowed ZCRAT—comprised of A:shiwi elders—to hear the voices of prominent early-twentieth-century community leaders and traditional singers performing ceremonial and social songs recorded by A:shiwi men and women at Zuni Pueblo in October 1940.

ZCRAT members collaboratively identified the performers, content, and contextual details pertaining to approximately 25 A:shiwi recordings currently housed in Columbia’s Center for Ethnomusicology in preparation for their formal return next year.  The body of recordings currently being repatriated also includes two Hopi ceremonial songs containing Zuni linguistic content, which were previously repatriated to Hopi clans and villages but have now been offered to the A:shiwi elders at the request of Hopi leaders and representatives as a token of the ongoing alliance between the two communities. Of particular note were ZCRAT members’ recollections of individuals, places, and histories that resurfaced through listening to these recordings. Members of ZCRAT stated that several of the songs would be heard again at upcoming events and within local community programs and also expressed interest in meeting with Hopi composers to exchange information about A:shiwi language and poetics, as has been practiced over centuries between the two groups.

HMRP and HCPO thank ZCRAT members for their willingness to collaborate with us in the music repatriation project and look forward to working with them in the coming years as we begin process of returning these songs and their corresponding rights back to the A:shiwi people.


About trevor99

Hopi scholar at Columbia University writing about repatriating his people's music to its rightful owners
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