Hector’s legacy of education and enrichment lives on in 2021. One of Hector’s male offspring is still on display in the Life Sciences Building with his mother, with an additional female offspring also kept at ASU off exhibit. Another male offspring is cared for at the Phoenix Zoo. In addition there was a single offspring born at ASU in 2019, a grandchild of Hector, who will likely be adopted out to another institution.

After discovering the scope of Hector’s impact on the ASU community, the Naholowa’a family said they are full of pride, and they're sure their father would be too.

“It's such a big deal to all of us and we are super proud of our dad. Hector was so beautiful, I know our dad took major pride in being a part of his life,” B.A.’s son Howard said. “Nobody else would have picked up that snake and made the effort to get him protection. Our family has come a long way, but we had no money and very little resources at that time. It was a major effort to contact the zoo and ASU, and then make the 60-mile journey to deliver him.

"I'm really happy that so many people were able to see the snake. I never realized how big of an impact he had on the people walking through that hallway until I read the ASU article.”

B.A.’s children believe that including his part in Hector’s story is important, and that bringing the Indigenous worldview their father had to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can positively change our understanding of Indigeneity and science.

“Too often Indigenous characters are left out of real-life stories about science, so we really appreciate the chance to share the part that my dad played in Hector’s life. I think a lot of times the media portrays Indigeneity as being spiritual and not scientific, and that is not correct,” Makalika said. “Indigenous spirituality is fundamentally based upon observation, which is what Western science is based off of … It is so important to recognize the role of Indigenous contributions to our lived experiences in the sciences. Understanding that we are a part of that story gives an accurate depiction of the system and makes space to help bridge these gaps between Indigenous worlds and the Western world.”

Above all else, they hope their father’s story inspires others to respect animals and view them as one with humans.

“Understanding the wonder of nature and the wonder of the animal kingdom is so powerful,” Callie said. “If we view animals as people, and we start treating them with the respect that people are due, then it's not only good for the animals, it's actually good for us, because it makes us better human people. What I would love to see happen as Indigenous people are included in these conversations is that institutions are actually empowering everybody to be better humans.”

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences