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Lyle Balenquah

Lyle Balenquah

Lyle Balenquah, Hopi, is a member of the Greasewood Clan from the Village of Paaqavi ("Reed Springs Place") on Third Mesa, located in northeastern Arizona. He currently works as an archaeologist, as well as a river and hiking guide across the Four Corners region. Through his work he advocates for the protection and preservation of ancestral landscapes, combining his professional training with personal experiences and insights about Hopi culture and history.

  • The Fremont were ancient pueblo farmers of corn, beans and squash, as well as expert hunters and gatherers. By 1000 A.D. they had developed a highly sophisticated culture among the lush river valleys and forested canyons of their homeland.
  • Chaco Canyon, in northwestern New Mexico, is the setting for one of the largest ancestral Pueblo communities in the southwest.
  • Throughout the southwest are thousands of villages that were once the homes and gathering places for ancestral Pueblo peoples. These structures represent the last thousand years of Indigenous skill and ingenuity.
  • The headwaters of the San Juan River originate in the snow-capped peaks of the southern Rocky Mountains. Along its journey, the river is joined by numerous tributaries as it flows through the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
  • The Hopi Mesas in Northeastern Arizona rise more than 600 feet above the surrounding landscape. They form the southern edge of Black Mesa, a large geologic uplift that peaks at more than 8,000 feet above sea level.
  • Four Mile Polychromes represent a Pueblo ceramic tradition with origins in the Mogollon Rim and mountains of eastern Arizona. This style was developed in the 13th century and is associated with the construction of large villages such as Pinedale, Show Low and Four Mile Pueblo, from which the ceramic is named.
  • Recent genetic testing of Hopi corn is revealing insights about its evolution from varieties grown thousands of years ago, to the varieties grown by Hopi farmers today.
  • For a few centuries in the ancient southwest, T-doors were a unique architectural feature built at thousands of archaeological sites. Archaeologists named them T-doors because of their shape, which resembles a capital letter “T”, with a large, rectangular opening balanced on top of a smaller rectangle at the base.
  • Ancient foot trails radiate out from the Hopi mesas like the spokes of a wheel. One of these is known as the Palat’kwapi Trail, and it traverses through landscapes rich in Hopi history.
  • In the summer of 1963, a cache of five intact pottery jars and bowls was discovered in what is now Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The discovery is unique because the pottery consists entirely of a type known as Hopi Yellow-wares, which is only made on the Hopi Mesas in northeastern Arizona, 200 miles away.