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The ancestors of today’s Hopi and Zuni Indians witnessed the eruption.

In some Hopi accounts, the Qa’na Katsina caused Palatsmo (Sunset Crater) to erupt after people engaged koyaanisqatsi, a life out of balance. For Hopi people, Palatsmo is a living reminder: if people stray from their religious ideals and lifeway, there may be another eruption.

In Zuni traditions, stories of the eruption were carefully guarded because of the belief if people continually dwell upon negative events those events will happen.

Regardless of our worldview, places like Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument help us to better understand each other and the forces that continually affect our lives.

Jamie Frees, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories
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