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.
Erin chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:
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.”