Uto-Aztecan speakers

Hopi means "peaceful" or "good"

They numbered about 2800 at time of contact

I. THE HOPI ORIGIN MYTH: in the beginning:

1.  there was no light or living thing on earth--only a creature called death -Masau'u

2. there were 3 caves beneath earth's surface--all dark

3. in the lowest, people lived, where they complained of darkness & filth

4. there were 2 Brothers—called the 2—who pierced the cave roof & tried to grow plants for the people to climb up to a new world

5. finally, a corn stalk grew high enough to break thru into the 2nd cave--& again into the 3rd

6. people then lived in all the caves & great chaos began as women preferred to dance in the Kivas rather than be wives & mothers

7. finally, the people, along w/ Coyote, Locust, Spider, Swallow, & Vulture emerged into the 4th world

8. there the 2 found fire--people then had torches to light their ways

9. then began the ordering of the cosmos

a. spider spun a white blanket that gave off light;

b. the people made a great disk & painted it turquoise,

c. this became the sun & the Spider blanket became the moon

d. then Coyote released stars from a jar—he was told to be orderly--but  he wasn't, he scattered the stars all over the heavens.

10. once the earth was lighted, people saw the waters

11. Vulture fanned them w/ his wings & the mountains appeared

12. on the earth, death-Masau'u--appeared & caused people to die

13. the dead became witches who live under the earth & cause strife between the nations

14. of  the 2, one bro--the younger-- was the ancestor of the Hopi

15. the other--the older--went east--but promised to return when the Hopi needed him

16. Some Hopi believe that the older bros' descendants were the Bahana -- the whites & they would return w/ food & clothing

17. In one version of the myth, the Hopi must reject the Bahana's path--lest a great apocalypse destroy the earth; another version allows he Hopi to accept Bahana’s gifts.


1. They are a Puebloan people who live on 3 mesas in western AZ

2. historically, have occupied 6 villages

a. subsistence eco based on farming corn, squash, & beans

b. deep farming to seepages--which are pools of water that come down from sandstone to layer of shale & forms pools

c. tap into aquifers far below the surface

d. also have a few irregularly flowing streams w. cottonwoods & willows

e. adopted sheep & horses after contact w/ Europeans

3. Hopi organized into 30 named matriclans that own the land & it's produce

a. clan is a collection of as few as 3  and as many as 60 lineages

1. a lineage is a group of extended families descended from common ancestor

2. in this case, descent is traced thru the mother's line

b. the maternal household is the  primary economic unit

c.  a segment of the clan lives in the household

1. is: sisters & their daughters & their husbands & sometimes unmarried sons

2. married sons usually go live w/ their wives

4. the Hopi Life Cycle: birth.

a. have kids in Mo's house w/o midwife--squatted over a sand pit

1. sand, blood, afterbirth then covered w/ cornmeal

2. put in a special crevice

b. then g'ma enters room, & takes charge, cuts umbilical cord & puts in roof, prepares for 20 days of rituals

c. baby's father’s eldest female relative participate heavily in these

1.      and baby’s dad w/draws to his kiva for 40 days

2. he prays and fasts for the good of the baby

d. 20 days end w/ naming ceremony

5. lifecycle: marriage:

a. have rituals for women of marriageable age: 16-20

1. all unmarried girls in a clan of this age gather yearly in an aunts house

2. they grind corn in the dark, observed food taboos, made piki

3. boys caught rabbits for them to eat

4. at end of 4 days emerged from aunts house--1st time, get maiden buds

b. courtship simple: men sneak into girls house & sleep w/ them

1. no double standard

2. girl may have many lovers--eventually gets pregnant & marries her favorite

3. family prepares feast--bride goes to grooms house & grinds as much corn as she can for 3 days to prove she is industrious

c. during these 3 days, her aunts & mo pelt the grooms female relatives w/ mud--very good natured

d. the ceremony at the end of 3 days = washing of bride 7 grooms' hair in same jar of water

1. then go to edge of mesa to pray
2. return to a ceremonial breakfast

6. now married, but lived w/ groom until his family completed 2 sets of wedding garments for her

a. took about 1 month
b. important because needed 1 set to go to underworld after death
c. went home to moms & wore the garments fro some time afterwards

7. plural marriage forbidden

a. all women married but not all men
b. marriage & divorce was easy & about 35% of marriages broke up

8. life cycle: death:

a. washed body & put on wed garments--if didn't have them, men wrapped in blanket

b. put in seated position, prayers made, feathers put on body--esp...... in the naval, where soul had been--

c. bodies buried in ground, facing west, prayer sticks, corn meal, water, food offerings left to aid journey to underworld

d. those involved in ritual purified themselves & all person's goods were destroyed

e. kids had separate cemetery & infants who died didn't go to underworld but were re-born into the next baby of the opposite sex born into the clan


1. tied to the agricultural cycle,

or focused on curing, or success in fertility, hunting or warfare

2. also believe in supernatural beings called Kachinas who inhabit the earth near Hopi

a. they perform ceremonies for the well being of the Hopi: are male & female

3. in Hopi myth, certain rituals were given by Father Sun: who called them out of the 4th underworld

a. in gratitude the Hopi perform sacrifices of prayer sticks to the spirits: these are willow sticks carved  w/ a face & painted & decorated w/ feathers

b. are planted in the ground in return for blessings of life

c. men make the prayer sticks

1. both men & women sacrifice them

4. Hopi religious ideas

a. all have a soul that could go to afterlife in the underworld

1. the underworld is just like this one

2. or to the sky to become clouds

b. the sun goes to the underworld at night

c. every time a ceremony is performed here, one is performed in the underworld by the Kachinas

d. believe in sorcery & witchcraft (w/c)

1. w/c often responsible for mishaps

2. anyone could be suspect but usually aggressive people accused

3. w/c associated w/animal familiars--owl, coyote, wolf, or small black ant--the most evil of all

4. thus witches = 2-hearts, b/c had heart of animal familiar

e. have healing shaman--male & female--who cure illness brought on by witches

5. Hopi ceremonial systems:

a. the clan:

1. clans organized into 9 larger groups called phratries

2. clans own various ceremonies for the harvest--mostly to ensure rain or fertility

3. each lineage has a ceremonial room in which religious paraphernalia are stored on an alter

a. the most important object is the lineage fetish: an ear of dried corn wrapped in cloth & feathers

b. has the lineage symbol on it

c. the oldest women of the lineage guards the room & watches over the objects

5. the lineage holds rituals in the room, including smoking ceremonial pipes and offering prayers

6.  men & women participated in these rituals

7. but the brother of the eldest women stages & directs all of the ceremonies


b. the kiva group: not restricted to men, associated with one of the several kivas in the village

1. kiva groups include the Kachina societies  whose members:

a. wear Kachina masks and dance the Kachina dances, thus imitating the Kachinas

b. had dolls to teach Hopi children

c. over 240 different Kachinas represented in the dolls

2. all Kachina Societies under control of Badger & Kachina clans

3. adults knew dancers were friends of Kachinas, kids thought they were actual Kachinas

c. the Secret Societies--perform various rituals yr round to ensure the well being of the group

1. both public & private ceremonies performed

a. all ceremonies performed in kivas

b. men & women had separate societies but women could enter kivas, unlike at Zuni

2.  each Hopi ceremony controlled by an association

3. each assoc based on clan affiliation but membership not restricted to one clan

a. mostly: priesthood performs rituals aimed at weather control: esp. bringing rain

4. Ritual calendar began in Dec at winter solstice--Soyal Ceremony

a. led by men who were full tribal initiates, both sexes could do it.

b. purpose--convince sun to return, ensure women & land be fertile

5. all men & women underwent Tribal Initiation ceremony--Rite of Passage; most complex of all ceremonies; cornerstone of Hopi religion

a. done in the kivas in groups

b. women didn't have menstrual huts but were initiated in the kivas like the men

c. at this time, adopted by ones' secret society

d. was a 5 day ceremony--w/ much emphasis on fertility

6. Powamu Ceremony also very important: centered on growth of beans in the kiva of the Pow society

a. performed in Feb at 1st new moon

b. 5 day ritual to present sprouted beans to Kachinas' children--i.e. the Kachina cult members

7. Snake Dance--has attracted much attention--men dance w/ live snakes in mouth--poisonous

a. purpose was fertility--snakes danced w/, sprinkled w/ corn pollen by women of Snake clan,

b. then presented to 4 cardinal directions

c. & put back into cages

d. no deaths from snake bites reported--

1. snake venom was milked out before the dance
2. or the fangs were broken out

8. War Priesthood: warfare was defensive only

a. but war chief was village chief

b. did take scalps--Navajo scalps considered worthless, Ute or Apache valued

c. purpose-get spiritual power for success in warfare


1. SPANISH : Coronado met w/ them about 1540

a. met w/ hostility  at Oraibi--would be center of all resistance

b. attacked 1 of the villages, but met peaceably w/ the other

c. 1598 agreed to be subjects of king of Sp

d. but ignored until 1629 when Franciscans came & est. 3 missions

e. missions had little success, although tried a brutal persecution of Hopi

f. 1680, joined in the revolt by killing their missionaries

g. after reconquest, a faction of Hopis requested missionaries but they were then killed for this

h. the Sp tried to retaliate & send in other missions but the Hopi were too well fortified & they had to w/draw



1. Moqui Pueblo Agency opened in 1870 & mission school about 1874

a. official reservation est. 1882, was about 1,000 square miles

b. Navajos gradually came to surround them

c. BIA reduced their land to 1/4 of  its original size--in 1937, its current size

d. est. a govt. school in 1887--Oraibi resisted; 2nd school closer to Oraibi est. 1897


2. were pressured under Dawes but never signed on


3. Mennonite Mission est. by H. R. Voth about 1893; Baptist Mission est. 1894


4. Oraibi village led resistance to all contact w/ whites since the very 1st contact

BUT then Lololoma (Bear Clan) took over as head of village—the Kikmongwi

a. he went to D.C. to get help against raiders and economic aid

b. there he signed a treaty of cooperation—became leader of Progressives

c. he met w/ resistance when he returned home: 2 factions

d. conservatives--led by Lomahongyoma--said the whites were not Bahana (elder brother) of origin myth--

1. if were, could speak Hopi, would have sacred stone to match the one held at Oraibi
2. if accepted them as Bah, real Bah would destroy the earth in a cataclysm
3. also rejected all Anglo ways for fear of bringing the end of the world

e.  BUT Progressives said whites were Bahanas & Hopi should cooperate w/ them


5. Lolo had turned Loma over to authorities in 1894--US soldiers  took him to Alcatraz held for several years

6. Loms followers then seized Lolo & held him in a kiva

a.       he was then rescued by U.S. troops

b.      b. and his captors arrested

7. the factionalism so bad that secret societies were split & each faction was holding its own ceremonies

a.       Lololoma dies about 1901

b.      & his bro, Tawaquwapti, was selected by clan as leader

8. Finally, about 1906, 2 factions agreed to a pushing match

a. Tawa drew a line in the sand

b. Loma would be pushed by one side & his followers would try to hold him in place

c. he lost--left & founded Hotevilla, near Oraibi

9. BIA arrived on scene--again arrested Loma & sent him to jail for a few yrs

a. Tawaquwapti sent to Riverside to learn the white man's ways

b. returned in 1910, very bitter & quarrelsome

c. so obnoxious that he alienated most of his followers--by 1933 only 109 folks left there

d. who left & founded new Oraibi

The modern Conflict-1935 IRA

 1. for IRA to be accepted, needed 30% of eligible voters

a. At Hopi got 45%

b. BUT: some Hopi maintain they thought they were voting to retain their lands

c. Traditional Hopis did not like representative govt.

1. preferred clan-based, village based

2. Kikmongwi = village leader & religious elder was traditional chief

2. Council set up w/ reps from all but Hotevilla & Old Oraibi

a. problems on council led to several villages from 2nd Mesa w/drawing

b. and council didn't meet from 1943 to 1955

3. the council was revived by Hopis concerned at being surrounded by growing Navajo population

a. and by younger, more acculturated men

b. who resented the power of the Kikmongwi & wanted democracy

c. AND who wanted to promote development

d. council boycotted by Traditionals

4. the council sees eco development as means to get better position w/ respect to the federal govt.


a.  in 1967 negotiated to open a BVD under-ware factory in Winslow AZ, about 50 miles from rez

b. tribe would put up BIA $ in return for employment

c. but the factory only hired 70-80 Hopi in a work force of over 200

d. all female work force in needle work jobs

1. complained of low wages, boring work, many injuries

2. also needed nearby day care for women

e.  in response to complaints, in 1971,  BVD closed the plant



a. 1961 signed 3 million $ worth of oil leases

b.  65, 000 acres under lease to Peabody Coal for strip mining on 3rd mesa

c. this sparked the Traditional Resistance Movement

E. 1971  the Traditional chiefs filed suit against Sec of Interior & Peabody (had help from Sierra Club & Friends of the Earth, & Nat'l Wildlife Federation)

1. used lawyer from Native American Rights Fund

a. suit based on grounds that the lease is not legal because all Hopis not represented on council

b. i.e. the Traditional villages were not represented

c. and that the council is puppet of US govt. in league w/ only 1 faction of Hopi

d. the council is also a foreign institution imposed on the Hopi, w/o any recognition of the Hopi way of governing

e. the suit also claims religious grounds

f. if the land is abused,  Hopi sacredness will disappear

2. 1st judge ruled against them

3. appeals judge dismissed the case saying he had no jurisdiction

4. and the Supreme Court refused to hear it


F. Some Hopi Traditional leaders have taken to direct actions of  sabotage against signs of modernity--

1. tearing down phone & electricity lines

2.  but most have silently accepted it and live in isolation in villages--

3. where signs state village is closed to whites