Banyacya, Thomas (1909–1999)
Thomas Banyacya, an elder of the Hopi Nation, was selected
as one of four spokespersons of his people in 1948 to deliver
an urgent prophetic message to all people. He was born on
June 2, 1909, in Moencopi, a Hopi town in Arizona. He attended
school under the name Thomas Jenkins, an Anglo name demanded
of students at the time by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
He later adopted the name Thomas Banyacya, a combination
of the name he had been called as a youth and his birth name.
In 1930 he entered Bacone College in Oklahoma, an institution
set up for Native Americans. The college did not include
studies of Native American culture, and Banyacya and a fellow
student set up a medicine lodge for the use of the other students.
He dropped his early plans to become a Christian minister
and returned to his home as a school teacher.
Banyacya emerged out of obscurity among his people in
1941 when he refused to register for the draft. He served seven
years in prison. It was soon after his release from prison that
the Hopi leadership selected him as one of their four representatives
who were sent out with the Nation’s message of peace.
This message was one selected from a host of Hopi prophecies
and warned that ecological disaster was imminent. If humanity
continues to destroy nature, nature will rise up and destroy humankind.
The message was integral to the Hopi vision of their
role as the people of balance, who are acting on behalf of all
humankind.
Banyacya’s first actions had some immediacy to them. In
1952 he organized a caravan to travel among the Native American
people, encouraging the revival of interest in culture and
ways. The next year he set up a meeting with President Eisenhower
to gain conscientious objector status for the Hopi males.
He also traveled to the UN building in New York to present the
Hopi message. Soon afterwards he produced a passport as a citizen
of the Hopi Nation and began to travel the world using it.
During his many years of travel, he went across central Europe
to Moscow and on another occasion to Japan. Most of his years
were spent in the western United States.
Of the four messengers, Banyacya lived the longest. He
passed away on February 6, 1999, in Hopi land.
Banyacya, Thomas Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
152
Sources
Fitten, Ronald K. ‘‘Messenger Preaches Hopi Love of
Earth.’’ Seattle Times (February 21, 1994).
Thomas Banyacya. httpwww.alphacdc.combanyacya
bio.html. May 20, 2000.