A week ago I met a man who is a Pueblo Indian who was recently adopted into the Hopi tribe. He spoke to a few of my friends about the Hopi Indians and about their culture and sacred ceremonies. He shared with me this painting which depicts a bearded white man known by the Hopi as Maasaw.
Tradition says that Maasaw gave the Hopi instructions and warnings about a way of life He wanted them to follow. He said if they followed His way, they would live long and fruitful lives. Maasaw told the Hopi that He was the first and last. He wanted them to be humble and live like He did. He wanted them to take care of, and respect the land and live in harmony with it. The Hopi lived this way for centuries, and they thrived. They lived in communities and cared for each other. They planted their crops and sustained themselves. Sacred rituals were performed daily, and they never lost sight of what Maasaw had taught them. Then came the white man with their religion--a counterfeit way implemented by the Great Seducer. They trampled on the Hopi sacred way of life. Now many Hopi have lost their wonderful, sacred culture, and walk the material way of illusion with Christians who claim to follow Jesus.
The following are a few of my own personal observations of the above painting. The central figure is the Maasaw (Messiah). He is clothed in a golden priestly robe with a record in his hand, symbolic of truth. He is wearing a blue and white loincloth symbolic of the Power of the Priesthood. There is a group of humble Native Americans to His right (left side of painting) who are kneeling with outstretched and open arms.
There is another group of Native Americans standing somewhat proudly with brightly colored apparel around their shoulders which all appear to be looking at the red-eyed serpent. There is another priestly man with a purple crown and blue robe who appears to have some authority or higher rank and status.
In the distance, there is a multitude of people on the other side of the river who have yet to cross over. In the foreground, once the people cross over there seems to be a division. The right side of the painting is group of six who seem to worship a false idol along side a man with the blue cap. (it is important to note that they are on the left hand of Messiah). The other group of six is the humble group with some kneeling.
According to this man who spoke to us, once a Hopi is baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they are “advised” to no longer participate in their Native American sacred dances and ceremonies. He went so far as to say that if they do continue to participate that they would be excommunicated.
On the otherhand, the LDS Church owns and operates what the Polynesian Cultural Center where other cultural tribal dances and ceremonies are performed from the Pacific Islands. Some of these dances derive from ritual and ceremonial war dances and some are sensual dances. It is not cheap to experience and watch. General Admission for the day is 49.95 with some packages as much as 228.95.
In addition, the LDS Church is constructing a huge development project near the Polynesian Cultural Center called Envision Laie. Envision Laie is a project guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that will, most significantly, create a new bunch of subdivisions collectively called Malaekahana. Part of this construction project is a multi-million dollar hotel is being built by the LDS Church. The new hotel will be in partner relationship with Marriott International Inc. to operate a new 220-room hotel. The development has been estimated to cost approximately $25 million to build, and will measure approximately 150,000 sqaure feet. The new Marriott is expected to open in September 2013, coinciding with the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 50th anniversary.