Erin Monique Grant

Colorado River Indian Tribes

Curator Erin Monique Grant (Colorado River Indian Tribes) is a museum professional and in 2019–20 was the Anne Ray Intern at the Indian Arts Research Center, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe.


Tribal Affiliations:

Artwork Affiliations:

Erin chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:

Tewa/Hopi Hano jar

Tewa/Hopi Hano jar
c. 1900
Clay and paint
9 x 14 in. (22.9 x 35.6 cm)
Collection Vilcek Foundation

A Blessing

When I look at and hold this pot, I am reminded of my Hopi family and the land. I was adopted as a child, and pottery was my first introduction to my culture. In fact, pottery led to other firsts. I received my own pot the first time I visited the home of my mother’s side of the family for the home dance; the pot was a blessing and a gift from the dance. It was the first time I met the other spiders¹ in my family, and the first time my grandfather explained to me the true meaning of home.

When I first held my own pot, I was reminded of my connection to my family. When I first held the pot pictured on these pages, I was taken aback not only by its physical weight, but also by the weight of its cultural significance. The clay is a remnant of its home village, its composition and color specific to that place. The form takes the shape of ancestral pots. The swooping red-and-black painted designs illustrate the way of life of the Tewa/Hopi. The worn rim represents the vessel’s longevity.

To this pot, I say askwali.² You have survived so much to be here today. I am delighted that you get to be closer to home and surrounded by relatives. You will be greatly cared for. I met you when I returned to the Southwest after so many years, and although it was a tough time, you helped me. You brought me strength and resilience. You inspired me to be who I am and who I will continue to be. I think of you often. I am excited for you to see so much more, and for others to meet and learn from you. Be well. Askwali.

¹Other members of the Spider Clan.
² Hopi female term for “thank you.”