For Belva Ann Starkey, Sipaulovi Village is home. She grew up there as a child, and after moving away to California and North Carolina, culture and tradition called her back to her roots. Her family’s home didn’t have indoor plumbing until the 1980s, but that didn’t stop her father, who worked for many years as the Foreman for the Arizona State Highway in Keams Canyon, from installing an indoor plumbing system in their home. This was the first of its kind in Sipaulovi. Her father also installed other additions, including a shower and a few extra rooms.
In Starkey’s native Hopi culture, homes serve as both the center of the family unit and an important piece of familial inheritance. Due to Hopi’s matrilineal system, Starkey is charged with the maintenance and inheritance of the home as the family’s oldest daughter.
Recent storms and a faulty installation have caused the roof of the house to fall into disrepair, and other areas of the house (such as the kitchen window) also need fixing. In response, Belva must fulfill her duty in maintaining her family home, and she has turned to Red Feather Development Group to help assemble the necessary resources and ensure the project's quality of workmanship.
Red Feather is a non-profit which partners with homeowners, community members, and tribal partners to repair and weatherize homes, demonstrate how housing conditions impact health, and assemble professionals, volunteers and materials within the community and outside to address the most urgently needed housing needs.
Belva, her father, and the Starkey family have worked hard to make sure their family home remains the center of family tradition, culture and pride that it has been for generations. By donating to this project, you are supporting the work of Red Feather and empowering Belva Ann Starkey and her family to continue making their family house a home.
*Story and photos were developed by a team of dedicated volunteers from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina who spent two month of their summer living on the Hopi Reservation helping multiple groups and families in various capacities. Our sincere thanks to Craig Yount, Hunter Dixon, Emma Wetenhall, and Hannah Metwally for their assistance on this project.