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Anonymous writes...

The use of Kachina's in Cloud Fathers is clearly Hopi. Yet Maza is Navajo? Which tribe was Peter Maza born to?

Greg responds...

I'm struggling with three or four year old memories here, but I think this is what happened. When we had finished casting the lead characters, my development associate, Paul Lacy, made some phone calls to a number of tribal reps and got a bunch of different Elisa surnames for us to choose from. (We were initially leaning towards "Bluestone". We even recorded the first couple episodes using the "Bluestone" name. And that's after we had already recorded those same lines using the name "Chavez".) My boss, Gary Krisel, chose "Maza", which was fine with me also. We were under the impression that "maza" was the Sioux word for "iron". That appealed to me. (So we rerecorded again.)

Later in the season, when Elisa was shot, her parents made reference to her sister Beth who was in school in Arizona. That was my mistake. No real Sioux population in Arizona, as it turns out. Brynne Reaves and Lydia Marano found that out pretty quick when they started doing their research for what would eventually be titled "Cloud Fathers". I had recently read Tony Hillerman's novel COYOTE WAITS, so I suggested a Navajo connection, but by the time the story was done, we clearly had a Hopi ritual. (Or maybe Zuñi. Even now, I certainly don't pretend to be an expert.)

To top things off, Michael Horse, the voice of Peter and Carlos Maza, read the script and gave us a few tips. He also told us that "Maza" was not a Sioux name, so we got that wrong too somehow.

So the long answer is... I screwed up. And it pains me, because we had such good intentions. Next time, I'll be much more careful.

The short answer (the explanation) is that Carlos Maza's ancestors are largely, but not exclusively, Hopi. This is some consolation to me, since (1) it helps us understand the interracial marriage that Peter and Diane have (not to mention Elisa's interspecies attraction) and (2) it offers us the possibility of exploring more Native American legends while simultaneously exploring more of Carlos, Peter, Elisa, Derek and Beth's ancestry. Trust that if I ever get the chance to do these further stories, I will research the hell out of the whole thing before I even begin.