Grant #465

Hopi Weaving Project—Paaqavi Weaving Program

September 5, 2021

What’s Looming Ahead When The Poverty Rate Is Over 90%?

It’s shocking that a county in Arizona, home to many indigenous Hopi and Navajo people, has such a staggering rate of poverty: 90%.

What could possibly turn that around? Somana Tootsie is a community organizer who believes that ancient skills can help create prosperity. Equally important is the preservation of traditional knowledge of indigenous people.

“If the art stops, if the knowledge is lost, then we cease to carry on our purpose and are no longer a strong people,” says Tootsie.

By custom, the Hopi textiles and ceremonial attire are entirely handmade. So teaching traditional Hopi weaving might be a way to generate some cash as well as instilling respect and appreciation for the ancestors.

Weaving has deep spiritual and cultural meaning to the Hopi. Perhaps you’ll be surprised (we were!) to learn that men are the ones who have historically been at the loom.

How to skill up?  “We would like to be able to offer enough training so they can use what they learn for economic and social advancement, “ says Tootsie.

Our Awesome Without Borders grant will go toward looms and weaving tools including needles, scissors, and a handmade spindle.

Every new weaver and every woven piece produced continues to give life to the culture and its teachings, spreading the knowledge so that it will not fade away.

We like that the project offers an instant economic opportunity. Whatever’s produced becomes immediate inventory for sale.

And we hope it inspires a deeper understanding of the tribes and their histories.

Learn more here:

Category: Culture



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders