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A group of the Pueblo, formerly called Moki, or Moqui. They speak the Hopi language, which belongs to the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock, at all their pueblos except Hano, where the language belongs to the Tanoan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock. They occupy several mesa villages in NE Arizona and numbered 6,624 in 1988. In 1540, they were visited by some of Francisco Coronado's men under Pedro de Tovar, but because of their geographical isolation they remained more independent of European influence than other Pueblo groups. The Spanish began to establish missions in 1629 at the pueblos of Awatobi, Oraibi, and Shongopovi. These missions were destroyed in the revolt of 1680 and when the residents of Awatobi invited the missionaries to return, the other Hopi destroyed their village. After the revolt, pueblos in the foothills were abandoned and new villages were built on the mesas for defense against possible attack by the Spanish. The pueblo of Hano was built by the Tewa, who had fled from the area of the Rio Grande valley that the Spanish reconquered. During the 18th and 19th cent., the Hopi were subjected to frequent raids by the neighboring Navaho. The region was pacified by the U.S. Army in the late 19th cent. and a Hopi reservation was established in 1882, but the ambiguous status of much of the reservation enabled Navaho populations to encroach on traditional Hopi lands. By the 1960s and 70s, Navaho expansion on lands set aside for joint use provoked court action and a definitive partition of the disputed land. The court-ordered relocation of over 10,000 Navaho and fewer than 100 Hopi from the partitioned lands remains incomplete and is a source of bitter conflict. The Hopi are sedentary farmers, mainly dependent on corn, beans, and squash; they also raise wheat, cotton, and tobacco, and herd sheep. Each village is divided into clans and is governed by a chief, who is also the spiritual leader. Political and religious duties revolved around the clans. The Badger clan, for instance, still conducts the kachina (fertility) ceremony, and the Antelope and Snake clans perform the famous snake dance at Walpi and other pueblos. A Hopi tribal council and constitution was established in 1936, but internal dissension has limited tribal unity. See J. Kammer, The Second Long Walk (1980); S. Rushforth and S. Upham, A Hopi Social History (1992). Kachina The spirit of the invisible life forces of the Pueblo of North America. The kachinas, or kachinam, are impersonated by elaborately costumed masked male members of the tribes who visit Pueblo villages the first half of the year. In a variety of ceremonies, they dance, sing, bring gifts to the children, and sometimes administer public scoldings. Although not worshiped, kachinas are greatly revered, and one of their main purposes is to bring rain for the spring crops. The term kachina also applies to cottonwood dolls made by the Hopi and Zuni that are exquisitely carved and dressed like the dancers. Originally intended to instruct the children about the hundreds of kachina spirits, the finer carvings have become collector's items. The name is also spelled katchina.

History of the Hopi People

Official Hopi Website


Although their continual occupancy of the area since 500 C.E. gives Hopi people the longest authenticated history of occupation of a single area by any Native American tribe in the United States, most of their tutsqua has been expropriated. At 1.6 million acres, the modern Hopi Reservation is a mere 9% of the original tutsqua, and the Hopi must still contend with illegal Navajo squatters.

People have used the Four Corners area for about 10 thousand years, although not much is known about the first 8 thousand years except that the people hunted locally available animals and gathered wild plants.

Beginning in about 1 C.E. an identifiable culture developed over the next 700 years. The Hopi call these people Hisatsinom (People of Long Ago) although the public and archaeologists refer to them as Anasazi or San Juan Basketmakers.

By about 500 C.E. the Hisatsinom had learned to make pottery and developed elaborate pit houses of increasing size. By 700 C.E. they were cultivating corn, beans and cotton and settling down to a more sedentary life in small settlements of two to five pit houses. They occupied a vast territory stretching from the Grand Canyon to Toko'navi (Navajo Mountain), toward the Lukachukai Mountains near the New Mexico/Arizona border, and south to the Mogollon Rim.

At about 700 C.E. the first substantial presence in the Hopi mesa area was established on Antelope Mesa, east of present-day Keams Canyon. Masonry walls came into use and aboveground dwellings replaced pit houses.

From 900 C.E. to 1100 C.E many small masonry villages appeared in the area but a subsequent drying of the climate over the next 200 years saw a clustering of the areas population into larger villages, such as Oraibi, Awatovi, Wupatki, Betatakin and the villages in Canyon De Chelly.

In the late 1200s a massive drought forced 36 of 47 villages on the Hopi mesas to be abandoned. Following the drought, the 11 remaining villages grew in size, and increased population saw three new villages established.

While Hopi located their villages on mesas for defensive purposes, the villages were by no means the entirety of Hopi territory. Land surrounding the mesas was divided between clans and families while certain areas were held in common for medicinal and religious purposes. The Hopi established boundary markings hundreds of miles away from their villages to demarcate their ancestral homeland and use area, called the tutsqua. It is estimated that the tutsqua once covered over 18 million acres.

By the 1500s Hopi culture was highly developed with an elaborate ceremonial cycle, complex social organization and advanced agricultural system. They also participated in an elaborate trade network that extended throughout the Southwest and into Mexico.

The first outsiders to arrive in Hopi territory were Spanish explorers in 1540 under the leadership of Don Pedro de Tovar. However, unable to find the legendary Seven Cities of Gold, the Spanish returned to New Mexico. They maintained sporadic contact with the Hopi until 1592 when Catholic priests established a mission at Awatovi. The priests spent the next nine decades attempting to suppress Hopi religion and gain Catholic converts.

Contact with the Spanish did have some positive aspects however. Over this period the Hopi acquired horses, burros, sheep and cattle, and new fruits and vegetables were introduced into their diet.

The Spanish and later Europeans also introduced smallpox, which over the centuries, periodically reduced the populations on the mesas from thousands to hundreds in devastating epidemics.

In 1680 the Hopi joined the Puebloans of New Mexcio in the Pueblo Revolt, which forced the Spanish out of the Southwest. Although the Spanish were successful in reconquering the pueblos of New Mexico, they were never able to firmly reestablish a foothold among the Hopi.

Following on the heels of the Spanish, Navajos began moving into Hopi territory in the late 1600's. They distributed themselves throughout the area to graze their livestock and appropriated Hopi rangeland, farm fields and water resources. Navajos also conducted frequent raids against Hopi villages.

Hopi fell under Mexican jurisdiction in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. This lasted until 1848 when the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe de Hidalgo. Hopi territory became part of the ever-expanding United States.

Although whites were exploring Hopi territory before 1848, during the 1850s and 1860s contact became more frequent as numerous government surveyors, investigators, missionaries and Bureau of Indian Affairs employees began exploring the area. Contact between the Hopi and the US Government continued sporadically until 1870 when the first Hopi Indian agent was appointed, followed in 1874 by the establishment of the Indian Agency in Keams Canyon.

In 1882 President Chester Arthur established a 2.5 million acre Hopi Reservation through Executive Order. This was followed by many years of effort to eradicate Hopi culture and religion and take their land. Children were made to go to school, men and boys were forced to cut their hair, efforts to try and convert Hopi to Christianity intensified, and attempts were made to allot their land, even though traditionally no Hopi can own land.

Tension between those Hopi who accepted white ways and those who tried to resist them culminated in a devastating split in the village of Oraibi in 1906.

In 1934, a changing tide of sentiment towards Native Americans led to the Indian Reorganization Act, which codified the obligations of the US government to protect and preserve the rights of Native Americans. Soon after, the Hopi Tribal Council was formed in 1936 in an effort to establish a single representative body of the Hopi with which the U.S. Government could do business.

While the Tribal Council represents Hopi people in matters external to the tribe, Hopi villages maintain quasi-independence. Of the 12 villages, only 3 have adopted constitutions and established a truly western form of government. The remaining 9 villages vary in the degree to which they adhere to the traditional Hopi form of governance. Oraibi remains strictly traditional in its governing structure and does not accept funds or any other form of assistance from the Tribal government. Other villages merge traditional with western governing policies by maintaining a village Kikmongwi (chief or leader) but also having representatives on Tribal Council.

From the Beginning of Life...
Here you have the teachings, history, and prophecies of theHopi People as told by Dan Katchongva, Sun Clan (ca. 1865-1972). This is the translation of a talk recorded in 1972.

Guide to Hopi Kachinas
View several examples of Kachina dolls. The accompanying text describes the nature and purpose of each.

Hon Dah House
This author of this attractive website says that "entertainment, discipline, teaching, explanations of nature, and reflections of the Hopi past all blend together in the Kachina Cult."

Honour the Faith
"The Hopi villages are generally regarded as the oldest, continuously
occupied settlements on the North American continent." The Hopi Foundation's
mission is to preserve this people's heritage while adapting to a
rapidly-changing world. Their on-going challenges are discussed on this page.

Hopi Basketry Presentation
Informative site, broken down into two parts -- "History and Method" and
"Manufacture and Design". Good images to illustrate the text. Facts about
culture and comparisons to by-gone days can be found here.

Hopi Cultural Preservation Office
This site offers a great deal of information about Hopi history, language,
and culture, and a map of the reservation which shows village locations.

Hopi Way - Cloud Dancing
Prophecies, messages, pictures, and a link to The Touch the Earth Foundation
are all a part of this very interesting website.

Apparently all is not rosy in the Hopi village of Hotevilla. Read up on the
latest resolutions by the council and see the list of rules that was drawn
up to deal with "outsiders" who disrupt village life and disrespect Hopi
religious ceremonies.

What is a kachina? This site tells you and shows you with pictures. Just
follow the links. To get enlarged images, click on the pictures! There is
interesting text to accompany and explain most kachina images.

Who IS this little guy depicted in stone drawings? What's his meaning?
Here's a site that can tell and show you.

Navajo-Hopi Long Land Dispute
View good maps and follow the links which corroborate the statements made here.

Pages from Hopi History, Excerpt...
The Hopi origins story is accompanied by a photo of Sipapu, which is
considered to be the entrance to the Hopi underworld.

Parallels Between the Hopi and the Ancient Sumerians
There is a list of interesting similarities between Hopi and Sumerian words,
but the author isn't making any claims or drawing any conclusions. Food for
thought, though.

Preservation of Kachina Cult: Compartmentalization Not the Answer Is the Hopi religion faltering? Should those who decide such matters allow the Kachina cult to advance into the modern age? These questions are addressed in essay form.

Rainmakers from the Gods: Hopi Katsinam
A great site dealing with the religion of the Hopi people. There are images,
dance descriptions, explanations of ceremonies, and an article about
runners. There is also an image of the Hopi calendar.

Is Hopi farming dying out due to the "almighty dollar?" Read this discussion
about the decline in Hopi (and Zuni) farming of indigenous plants.

Techqua Ikachi Index
Read this good summary of Hopi culture. It's text only.

White Man's Justice
This article lists grievances concerning the Navajo on Hopi lands. I might
add that this is the first time I've run across a reference to President
Chester Arthur doing ANYthing, much less doing anything concerning Natives.