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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—I was sent a reprint from The Wall Street Journal the other day on the episode about the Hope Indians, and I think it is worthy of being told to as many people as possible.

It appears that "six Hopi Indians, having consulted their gods and their prophecies, traveled to New York City to instruct the delegates to the United Nations on what the Hopis fear will come to pass as soon as the corn is harvested.

"The reason for their long trip was that an ancient prophecy adjured the religious leaders of the Hopis to go, at a certain time, to the 'house of glass walls to inform the nations of the day of purification.' And that certain time is ripening, as corn does in the Arizona sun."

It seems there was nobody at the U.N. to receive the six Hopi Indians and their message. There were sessions going on, of course, of different units. But in the complicated machinery of the U.N. you must present your desire to be heard according to protocol, and one could hardly expect that the Hopi Indians would understand this particular type of protocol.

The man at the desk who dealt with them must have had very little imagination and no flair for a good newspaper story.

The U.N. was established to bring about the peace of the world and when people come—even Indians with a religious warning on peace, or rather on the troubles that may come if we do not have peace—they certainly should be heard in high places.

I am sure, had they known of the visit, either Mr. Andrew Cordier or Dr. Ralph Bunche would have been glad to sit down and listen to the prophecies that started six Hopi Indians on that long trip from Arizona to the U.N.

They want peace primarily between their own tribes or between their tribes and the U.S., but their message might well be of value to all the "tribes" of the world as they meet trying to find solutions to different questions that bedevil the world today.

Peace is the preoccupation of people everywhere in the world. Their leaders may weigh the question of whether modified wars might serve their purposes. None of them, however, actually dares to suggest that nuclear war is something to be hoped for. And it is quite possible that Premier Nikita Khrushchev, with his firm determination that the world must be a Communist world, still feels that he can accomplish this—a little more slowly perhaps, but even better—through other methods than war."

Somehow one cannot help feeling as one reads the headlines that nothing very definite seems to be coming out of the meetings in Geneva between the Soviet Union's foreign minister and the West's foreign ministers. One wonders what would happen if suddenly everyone sat down and said exactly what they thought, what they felt about one another, where they hoped to arrive at, and what they hoped to achieve if any one of the projected plans were accepted.

Would it bring about pure shock and stop all future discussions? Or might it actually bring about a little more confidence and feeling that for once each one really knew what was in the middle of the others?

I don't suppose this is possible to achieve, because many representatives of all governments today can't really know what they think they want in the future. Just to have them say as nearly as possible what they believe, however, would be a help in the direction of confidence among the men themselves in their integrity and willingness to be honest with one another.


(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 20, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.