Arizona Indian Living Treasures Awards

To Honor the Cultures of Arizona Native American Tribes

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Vivian Muchvo

Year: 

Born in 1931 in Polacca, Arizona, is from the Tewa village and belongs to the Parrot / Kachina Clan. Ms. Muchvo is a piki maker, crafting this traditional food for most ceremonies such as dances, baby naming, and weddings in her own and nearby villages.

The light, dry, thin piki sheets are made from grayish-blue cornmeal and melt in the mouth. She learned how to make piki when she was in the eighth grade from her mother, when Vivian stayed home from school to care for her during a serious illness.

Vivian also taught her daughters and granddaughters the difficult art of piki making. Today, they are virtually the only traditional piki maker left, taking several days to produce the coveted results.

They do everything by hand, grinding the blue corn to a fine powder and mixing it with water and the ashes of native bushes to increase its nutritional value. Then the piki maker thinly spreads the batter by hand over the family's large, flat, traditional piki stone, which has been heated over a fire and coated with oil made from pounded seeds. The translucent bread bakes almost instantly and is peeled from the stone, rolled, and amassed for ceremonial use across the reservation.

Tribe: 
Hopi
Tewa
Craft: 
Piki Maker

Previous AILTA Recipients

Victor Paul Beck, Sr.
2003
Craft: Silversmith
Tribe: Navajo
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