Picks and Pans Review: Hopi

updated 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Susanne and Jake Page

This big, glorious volume intends to convey through 137 color photographs and serious, careful interviews a searching look at the lives of Arizona's 10,000 Hopi Indians. "Except for those among us who hark back to Scotland for our roots, there is no comparable concept of the clan in most non-Indian American society, and it is extremely difficult to conceive of what clan relationship means among the Hopi," writes Jake Page, a science magazine editor and novelist. (His wife, Susanne, took the photographs.) The Hopi culture is made up of rituals; the famous rain dances and lesser ceremonies go on almost all the time. "It is considered rude not to visit a related family when there is a ceremony in that family's village, ruder still not to sit down at the table and eat. One can wind up eating eight meals a day on these occasions." The sunbaked browns of the three remote mesas in northeastern Arizona look incredibly rich in the accompanying photographs because of the intense blue skies, which are dotted with puffs of clouds. Yes, many of the white man's superficial things—clothing, TV sets, white flour—have become accepted by the Hopi, but the amazing thing about this beautiful book is how well it conveys an ancient culture's ability to permeate lives today. (Abrams, $50)

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