Emory Sekaquaptewa

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Emory Sekaquaptewa (1928 – December 14, 2007) was a Hopi leader and scholar from the Third Mesa village of Hotevilla. Known as the "First Hopi" or "First Indian," he is best known for his role in compiling the first dictionary of the Hopi language.

Sekaquaptewa worked in many fields during his life. He was believed to be the first Arizona Native American to attend West Point,[1] and he later attended law school at the University of Arizona. Working with his brother, he developed new methods of jewelry production. He held various leadership positions within the village of Kykotsmovi, as well as positions on the Hopi Tribal Council and the appellate division of the Hopi Tribal Court.[2]

Sekaquaptewa was the "Cultural Editor" on the Hopi Dictionary Project, which produced the first Hopi dictionary: "Hopi Dictionary/Hopìikwa Lavàytutuveni: A Hopi–English Dictionary of the Third Mesa Dialect". The 900-page dictionary contains entries on 30,000 words, as well as a sketch of Hopi grammar. This dictionary is credited with playing an important role in revitalizing the Hopi language.

His nephew Phillip Sekaquaptewa, son of Wayne Sekaquaptewa, was a talented silversmith and skilled at not only Hopi silver overlay technique but an original contemporary master of stone and silver flush inlay.

Sekaquaptewa was at one time married to Beverly Sekaquaptewa, and was the son of Helen and Emory Sekaquaptewa, Sr who met at the Phoenix Indian School about 1915. His mother's story was told in the book "Me and Mine: The Life Story Of Helen Sekaquaptewa" as told to Louise Udall, Published by University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1969.[3]


About 1961 Sekaquaptewa and his brother Wayne Sekaquaptewa opened Hopi Enterprises in Phoenix, a business which employed Hopi silversmiths to make overlay jewelry for sale. Two of the silversmiths hired were Harry Sakyesva and Bernard Dawahoya. In 1962 Emory and Wayne relocated the business to the village of Kykotsmovi at Third Mesa on the Hopi Reservation and renamed it Hopicrafts. The business developed its own designs and style of overlay and successfully competed with the Hopi Silvercraft Guild on Second Mesa. It employed many talented silversmiths while in operation. Pieces made in the shop all bore a shop hallmark of a conjoined capitol "H" and lowercase "C". Sekaquaptewa made silver jewelry that was hallmarked SEKAQUAPTEWA, his brother Wayne only occasionally made jewelry and shared the hallmark. Hopicrafts closed in 1983.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Me and Mine: the Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa as to Louise Udall.
  2. ^ Pioneering 'Renaissance man' who wrote Hopi dictionary dies
  3. ^ Udall, Louise (1969). Me and Mine: The Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1969. ISBN 0816502706. 
  4. ^ Messier, Pat & Kim (2014). Reassessing Hallmarks of Native Southwest Silver. Schiffer Publishing. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-0-7643-4670-5.