Hopi Tribe of Arizona

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The federally recognized Hopi Tribe of Arizona lives in northeastern Arizona in twelve villages on three mesas.

Official Tribal Name: Hopi Tribe of Arizona

Address:  P.O. Box 158, 100 Main Street, Hopi Agency, Keams Canyon, AZ  86034
Phone: (928) 734-3102
Fax: (928) 734-6665
Email: [email protected]

Official Website: http://www.hopi-nsn.gov/ 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

They call themselves, Hopituh Sinom, meaning the people of Hopi.

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Hopi is a shortened version of Hopituh Sinom.

Alternate names /Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

They were formerly called the Moki (or Moqui) Indians, a name probably taken from a Zuni epithet.

Name in other languages:

Region: Southwest 

State(s) Today:  Arizona

Traditional Territory: The Hopi are the westernmost of the Pueblo peoples. First, Second, and Third Mesas are all part of Black Mesa, located on the Colorado Plateau between the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, in northeast Arizona. Of the several Hopi villages, all but Old Oraibi are of relatively recent construction. 

Confederacy: Pueblo

Treaties:

Reservation: Hopi Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land

The Hopi Reservation was established in 1882.

Land Area:  Consisting originally of almost 2.5 million acres, the total land base stood at just over 1.5 million acres in 1995.

Tribal Headquarters:  Kykotsmovi, AZ
Time Zone:  
Thirteen Hopi villages now stand on three mesas. Major villages include Walpi (First Mesa), Shungopavi (Second Mesa), and Oraibi (Third Mesa).  

Population at Contact: Hopi population was perhaps 2,800 in the late seventeenth century.

Registered Population Today: The population was roughly 7,000 in 1990.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

A person must be one-fourth (1/4) Hopi-Tewa Indian blood or more and be a lineal descent from any Hopi-Tewa Indian person whose name appears on the December 31, 1937 Hopi Basic Membership Roll, and not be enrolled in another tribe. 

Genealogy Resources: Hopi Genealogy Research

Government: A tribal council was created in 1936, although only two of the villages were represented in 1992. Some Hopi people are also members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation.

The Hopi Reservation was carved in 1882 from traditional Hopi lands plus three villages of Navajos living on Hopi lands (settlers and refugees from U.S. Indian wars).

A major dispute has emerged within the tribe and among the Hopi tribal council, the Navajos, and the U.S. government over the lands around the part of the reservation known as Big Mountain.

Technically the land belongs to the Hopis, but it has been homesteaded since the mid-eighteenth century by Navajos because, in their view, the Hopis were just “ignoring” it.

The Hopi council wants the land for mineral exploitation. Hopi traditionalists want the Navajos to remain, out of solidarity, friendship with their old enemies, and their inclination to share. They would prefer that the land remain free of mineral exploitation.

In 1986, the United States recognized the squatters’ rights by proclaiming 1.8 million acres of “joint use area.” Each tribe got half, and those on the “other” side were to move. In effect, the Hopis lost half of their original reservation to the Navajo.

More than 100 Hopis moved, but many Navajos remained. This conflict remains ongoing, with the Hopis still trying to hold onto their land. Many Indians believe that coal company profits are at the root of the dispute and forced relocations.

The Hopi way continues; they are among the most traditional of all Indians in the United States. Hopis maintain a strong sense of the continuity of life and time. The split between “progressive” and “traditional” factions continues. Hopi High School, between Second and Third Mesas, opened in 1986 with an entirely local board.

The school emphasizes Hopi culture and a new written language as well as computers and contemporary American curricula.  The Hopi are making progress in solving not only the land dispute with the Navajo but also a host of social problems, including substance abuse and suicide.

Charter:  
Name of Governing Body:  Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   14 representatives from the villages of Upper Moenkopi, Bacavi, Kykotsmovi and Sipaulovi. Currently, the villages of Mishongnovi, Shungopavi, Oraibi, Hotevilla, Lower Moenkopi and First Mesa Consolidated Villages (Walpi, Shitchumovi and Tewa) do not have a representative on council. Representatives to the council are selected either by a community election or by an appointment from the village kikmongwi, or leader.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Sargent at Arms

Elections:

Each representative serves a two-year term. 

Language Classification:  Uto-Aztecan => Hopi

Language Dialects: Hopi is a language isolate.

Although the Hopi are composed of elements that must have spoken diverse tongues, their speech is readily recognized as a dialog of the Shoshonean language, which in various forms was spoken in a large part of the Great Basin between the Rocky mountains and the Sierra Nevada, in southwestern Oregon, and in southern California even to the coast and on Santa Catalina island; and which is undoubtedly allied to the great Aztecan language. A linguistic map would represent the Hopi as an isolated people surrounded by alien tongues.

Number of fluent Speakers: This language is alive and well.  In 1990, it was estimated that more than 5,000 people could speak Hopi as a native language (approximately 75% of the population); at least 40 of them were monolingual in Hopi.

Dictionary:  The first dictionary of written Hopi is in preparation.

Origins:

Evidence suggest that the Hopi consist of the descendants of various groups that entered the country from the north, the east, and the south, and that a series of movements covered a period of probably three centuries, and perhaps considerably longer.Their ancestors, the Anasazi, appear to have been related to the Aztecs of Mexico, and may have arrived in their current location 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.

During the fourteenth century, Hopi became one of three centers of Pueblo culture, along with Zuni/Acoma and the Rio Grande pueblos. Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, three traits in particular distinguished the Hopi culture: a highly specialized agriculture, including selective breeding and various forms of irrigation; a pronounced artistic impulse, as seen in mural and pottery painting; and the mining and use of coal (after which the Hopi returned to using wood for fuel and sheep dung for firing pottery). 

Bands, Gens, and Clans

The traditional Hopi are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife’s clan. The Bear Clan is one of the more prominent clans.

Traditionally, the Hopi favored a weak government coupled with a strong matrilineal, matrilocal clan system. They were not a tribe in the usual sense of the word but were characterized by an elaborate social structure, each village having its own organization and each individual his or her own place in the community.

The “tribe” was “invented” in 1936, when the non-native Oliver La Farge wrote their constitution. Although a tribal council exists, many people’s allegiance remains with the village kikmongwi (cacique). A kikmongwi is appointed for life and rules in matters of traditional religion.

Related Tribes:

The Hopis didn’t have a single group identity–they were independent villages, sharing with the Zuni and other Pueblos to the East a basic culture and view of the sacred, while sharing among themselves their own language base.

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

The Hopi, more than most Native American peoples, retain and continue to practice their traditional ceremonial culture. Many of their ceremonies are private and not open to outsiders. They do however have several celebrations that are open to the public where they perform ceremonial dances. Photography and recording of these ceremonies is strictly forbidden.

The cliff painting of the Mesa Verde and other areas are said to be “guides” for their warriors and they claim that the “snake-shaped” mounds in the eastern United States were built by their ancestors.

The “Snake Dance” is still performed. The dance takes about two weeks to prepare and the snakes are gathered and watched over by the children. The snakes are usually rattle snakes and are dangerous but no harm seems to befall the children.

Before the dance begins the dancers take an emetic (probably a sedative herb or hallucinogenic) and then dance with the snakes in their mouths.

There is usually an Antelope Priest in attendance who helps with the dance, sometimes stroking the snakes with a feather or supporting their weight. After the dance the snakes are released to carry the prayers of the dancers.

Hopi Kachina Dolls (Katsina) or Tihu and the katsina society ceremonial dances

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Visiting the Hopi Tribe
Visiting the Three Mesas of the Hopi Reservation

Legends / Oral Stories:

Hopi Warrior (Poem)

Art & Crafts:

First Mesa artists are known for their pottery and Kachina Dolls. There are three villages on First Mesa: Walpi, Tewa, and Sichomovi. Driving to the top of First Mesa is like climbing to the top of the world as the vistas take in a great expanse of the surrounding desert. Walpi is a unique village that is accessible to visitors on a Walking Tour that begins at Ponsi hall. There is no electricity or running water in the village of Walpi. Hano was settled by the Tewa people who were the last group to become Hopi over 600 years ago.

Second Mesa artists are known for intricately coiled baskets and Katsina dolls, commonly referred to as Kachina dolls in the craft trade. There are three villages on Second Mesa: Shungopavi (where most religious and ceremonial activities are centered), Sipaulovi (the last village to be established after the Pueblo Revolt) and Mishongnovi.  Visitor services on Second Mesa include picnic areas, a campground, a restaurant, the Hopi Arts and Crafts Silvercraft Cooperative Guild, the Hopi Cultural Center, and a hotel. Second Mesa has road-side venders where locally made crafts are sold, as well as a number of galleries.

Third Mesa artists are known for wicker and twill basketry as well as Kachina Dolls. There are four villages on Third Mesa: Hotevilla, Bacavi, Oraibi, and Kykotsmovi which is where Hopi tribal offices are located. Oraibi is the oldest of the Third Mesa villages, one of the original Hopi villages dating back over a thousand years of continuous occupancy. Moenkopi is also known as a Third Mesa Village but is situated approximately 50 miles west of the other Third Mesa villages at the Western Gateway to Hopi.

Pottery was made for everyday use, including cooking, storage, bathing, and religious ceremonies.They were painted and carved with designs that told a story. The Hopi are also accomplished weavers and are especially known for their fine rugs.

Modern earthen ware is considerably softer and of coarser texture than the pieces that have been exhumed in large numbers from the ruins of this region.

The most successful imitator of this ancient ware, who is not a Hopi at all, but the Tewa woman Nampeyo, of the village Hano, says that its superiority was obtained by the use of lignite, by which the prehistoric potters were able to fire their vessels for several days. A well-informed Hopi traditionalist asserts that it is the result of burying the clay in moist sand for a long time, perhaps two moons, which caused something in the clay to rot.

When train travel opened up the Southwest to tourists, some Hopi artists learned silver smithing from a Navajo man and this skill has been passed down through the subsequent generations in some Hopi families.

They also make fine baskets decorated with intricate designs which are a contrasting color to the the background of the basket, which are considered to be some of the finest created by Southwestern people. The Hopi method of basket making has not changed for hundreds of years.

An introduction to Hopi Basketry
Hopi Basketry techniques and uses
Modern Hopi Potters
Hopi silver jewelry is a modern craft
The differences between Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, and Santo Domingo jewelry styles
Early history of Hopi pottery
 

Animals:

The very first Southwest Native Americans hunted mammoths until they became extinct. Then people began to hunt buffalo, also known as bison. Horses arrived with the Spanish in the sixteenth century.

Clothing:

The clothing the Hopi wore in traditional times depended on what they did. They lived in a warm climate so they wore little clothing. They would dress in flowers and paint with feather headdresses. They also used clothing to signify their fighting skills. Later clothing was usually made of cotton and included long dresses for women and loincloths for men. Both wore leather moccasins and rabbit-skin robes as well as blankets and fur capes for warmth. Unmarried women wore their hair in the shape of a squash blossom; braids were preferred after marriage. 

Housing:

Hopis live in pueblos that are made of stone and mud and stand several stories high.

The walls of some Hopi houses are constructed of undressed stone fragments bound with mud plaster. The flat roof consists of beams resting on the tops of the walls, pole battens, rod and grass thatching, a layer of gumbo plaster, and a covering of dry earth. Most of the houses are more than single story, some as much as four stories. The upper apartments are reached by outside ladders.

The Kivas are an underground chamber in the pueblo home that they use to talk and have religious ceremonies. The center of the floor has a fire pit. You climb down a ladder to get to the south end of the kiva, where there is a bench for spectators.

In general, women owned (and built) the houses and other material resources while men farmed and hunted away from the village.

Today, most Hopis still live in the traditional pueblos, many of which now have glass windows. Perhaps 1,500 Hopis live and work off the reservation, although many return for ceremonies. Especially in some of the modern villages, houses contain plumbing and electricity and are constructed of cement blocks without benefit of a central plaza.

Subsistance:

The Hopi were traditionally farmers, who created extensive irrigation systems to water their crops. Corn, which was first domesticated in Mexico, was the staple plant. The Hopi grew 24 different kinds of corn, but the blue and white kernaled corn was the most common.They also grew beans, squash, melons, pumpkins, and fruit.

Corn is the central food of daily life, and piki – paper thin bread made from corn and ash–is the dominant food at ceremonies. Corn relies on the farmer to survive, and the Hopi relies on the corn – all life is designed to be interrelated. Many of their biggest ceremonies are dedicated to fertility rites for a successful corn crop.

The Spanish brought crops such as wheat, chilies, peaches, melons, and other fruit. Men were the farmers and hunters of game such as deer, antelope, elk, and rabbits. The Hopi also kept domesticated turkeys. Women gathered wild food and herbs, such as pine nuts, prickly pear, yucca, berries, currants, nuts, and seeds. Crops were dried and stored against drought and famine.

The women and men each have specific jobs or duties they perform. The women own the land and the house. They also cook and weave the baskets. The men plant and harvest, weave cloth, and perform the ceremonies.

Farming technology included digging sticks (later the horse and plow), small rock or brush-and-dirt dams and sage windbreaks, and an accurate calendar on which each year’s planting time was based. Grinding tools were made of stone. Men wove clothing and women made pottery, which was used for many purposes. Men also hunted with the bow and arrow and used snares and nets to trap animals.

When a child is born they get a special blanket and a perfect ear of corn. On the 20th day after birth, they take the child to the mesa cliff and hold it facing the rising sun. When the sun hits the baby, it is given a name.

Hopi children learn their traditions through katsina dolls, including scare-katsinas, as well as social pressure, along with an abundance of love and attention. This approach tends to encourage friendliness and sharing in Hopi children.

The Hopi obtained gems, such as turquoise, from Zuni and Pueblo tribes. Shell came from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They also traded for sheep and wool from the Navajo, buckskins from the Havasupai, and mescal from various tribes.

Economy Today:

With the installation of electricity and the necessity of having a motor vehicle and the other things which can be purchased, the Hopi have been moving into a cash economy with many people seeking and holding outside jobs as well as earning money from traditional crafts.

Today there are 12 Hopi villages on or below the three mesas, with Moencopi to the west (on Dinetah), and Keams Canyon to the east. Each village has its own village chief, and each contributes to the annual cycle its own ceremonies. Each village presents its own distinct cast of katsinam, and each village has maintained its own balance of engagement with the Euro-American culture and traditional Hopi practices and views.

Today, the Hopi Indians are divided into the traditional –which preserve ancient lands and customs, and new Hopi people – who work with outsiders. The Hopi Indians today love their traditions, arts, and land, but also love the modern American life. Their kids go to school and they use medical centers.  The Hopi live and work outside of the reservations. Troubles with the Navajo whose reservations surround the Hopi still continue today.

There are now eight Hopi pueblos, all of them on the tops of mesas. The Hopi villages were established on their present almost inaccessible sites for purposes of defense; and with the same object in view the builders formerly never left a door in the outer walls of the first story, access to the rooms invariably being through hatchways in the roof.

Most Hopi people still prefer to keep their traditions and spiritual beliefs and ceremonies private, except for a very few celebrations which are open to the public with a strict set of etiquette rules for attendees. Travel off Hwy 264 into areas other than the villages is allowed only with a Certified Hopi Guide.

As they have for centuries, Hopis continue to farm for their food. They also raise sheep and cattle.

Crafts for the tourist trade— especially silver jewelry, katsina dolls, and pottery—bring in some money.

Seventy percent of the tribe’s operating budget comes from coal leases, but mineral leases remain exploitative, and their effects include strip mining, radiation contamination, and depletion of precious water resources.

The tribal council has also invested in factories and in a cultural center/motel/museum complex.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

The Hopi have brought with them in their migration from other regions or have borrowed from other pueblo a mass of religious practices, and the result is a complex presenting many anomalies and obscurities. They recognize a very large number of deities, and of none can it be said that he is supreme over all others.

Special societies included katsina and other men’s and women’s organizations concerned with curing, clowning, weather control, and war.

Numerous ceremonies are performed at proscribed times, which are determined by the position of the rising sun with reference to certain landmarks or by the moon.

Maasaw is the principal God, the ancient caretaker of the earth. 

The Kachinas, or Gods, were beings of a great might and power. There are over 300 different kachinas. Each katsina, as they are spelled by the Hopi, held a different power or skill. They were known to come down to Earth and help the native Americans tend their fields bringing wisdom about agriculture, law and government. They physically interacted with the people themselves. There are drawings of them on cave walls. Some people today believe the katsinas were extraterrestrial beings who visited the Hopis long ago.

The famous Hopi Prophecy speaks about the return of the Blue Kachina to herald in the Fifth Age of Man.

Kachinas are still an important part of many ceremonies and ceremonial dances. They believe that Mythic Mountain is actually the home of the Kachinas. This mountain top is a sacred one. Being the home of the kachina spirits it is the place where all of the large mythic beings they honor in their rituals land. “We come as clouds to bless the Hopi people” is a quote passed from generation to generation.

Hopi Star Knowledge says that beyond the land where they live, is the sky, and that beyond that are dimensional portals or sky holes. Beyond the Sky Holes is an area that they call the Ocean of Pitch, where the beauty of the night sky and the galaxies spun out towards them. Beyond that are the boundaries of the universe, and set along the rim at the boundaries of the universe were four different exterrestrial groups.

The Hopis called the Pleiadians the Chuhukon, meaning those who cling together. They consider themselves direct descendents of the Pleiadians.

Kokopelli is a god worshipped by many southeastern tribes. He is a humpbacked flautist. Among the Hopi, he brought the fetuses to pregnant women, and took part in many rituals relating to marriage.

Shop for Kokopelli gifts.

Muyingwa is the god of germination.

Taiowa is the creator god. He made Sotuknang and ordered him to make the universe. The first world was called Topela and had land, water and air, as well as Koyangwuti (spider woman), who then created twins, Poqanghoya and Palongawhoya. They made rivers, oceans and mountains. Koyangwuti then made all organisms, but most of the men did not obey the gods, so Sotuknang killed them with a flood. Two more bad worlds were created and destroyed.

The fourth world, the modern world we live in now, is Tuwaqachi.

Tokpela was the endless, primordial space before creation.

The religious and ceremonial life of the Hopi centers in the kiva, which is simply a room, wholly or partly subterranean and entered by way of ladder through an opening in the flat roof. While the membership of the kiva consists principally of men and boys from certain clan or clans, there is no case in which all the members of a kiva belong to one clan- a condition inseparable from the provision that a man may change his kiva membership, and in fact made necessary by the existence of more clans than kivas. It is probable that originally the kivas were clan institutions.

According to legend, the Hopi agreed to act as caretakers of this Fourth World in exchange for permission to live here. Over centuries of a stable existence based on farming, they evolved an extremely rich ceremonial life. The Hopi Way, whose purpose is to maintain a balance between nature and people in every aspect of life, is ensured by the celebration of their ceremonies.

The Hopi recognize two major ceremonial cycles, masked (January or February until July) and unmasked, which are determined by the position of the sun and the lunar calendar. The purpose of most ceremonies is to bring rain. As the symbol of life and well-being, corn, a staple crop, is the focus of many ceremonies. All great ceremonies last nine days, including a preliminary day. Each ceremony is controlled by a clan or several clans. Central to Hopi ceremonialism is the kiva, or underground chamber, which is seen as a doorway to the cave world from whence their ancestors originally came.

Katsinas are guardian spirits, or intermediaries between the creator and the people. They are said to dwell at the San Francisco peaks and at other holy places. Every year at the winter solstice, they travel to inhabit people’s bodies and remain until after the summer solstice. Re-created in dolls and masks, they deliver the blessings of life and teach people the proper way to live. Katsina societies are associated with clan ancestors and with rain gods. All Hopis are initiated into katsina societies, although only men play an active part in them.

Perhaps the most important ceremony of the year is Soyal, or the winter solstice, which celebrates the Hopi worldview and recounts their legends. Another important ceremony is Niman, the harvest festival. The August Snake Dance has become a well-known Hopi ceremony.

Like other Pueblo peoples, the Hopi recognize a dual division of time and space between the upper world of the living and the lower world of the dead. Prayer may be seen as a mediation between the upper and lower, or human and supernatural, worlds. These worlds coexist at the same time and may be seen in oppositions such as summer and winter, day and night, life and death. In all aspects of Hopi ritual, ideas of space, time, color, and number are all interrelated in such a way as to provide order to the Hopi world.

Reading the Rocks: Hopi history in Petrglyphs

Wedding Customs:

A Hopi bride grinds corn for three days at her future husband’s house to show she has wife skills. The groom and his male relatives weave her wedding clothes. After they are finished, the bride to be walks home in one wedding outfit, and carries the other in a container. A Hopi man wears several bead necklaces on his wedding day.

Burial Customs:

According to Hopi beliefs, good people go west and become kachinas, but there is no absolute connection between the former soul and the kachina.

Following a death, the deceased’s hair was washed with yucca suds and decorated with prayer feathers. The face was covered with a mask of raw cotton, to evoke the clouds. He or she was then wrapped in a blanket and buried in a sitting position, with food and water. Cornmeal and prayer sticks were also placed in the grave, with a stick for a spirit ladder.

Women are also buried in their wedding outfit so when they enter the spirit world they will be dressed appropriately.

Education and Media:

Hopi Tribe Grants and Scholarship Program

Radio:  
Newspapers:  Hopi Tutuveni Newspaper

Hopi People of Note:

Thomas Banyacya (born ca.1909 – 1999) – Interpreter and Spokesman for Hopi Traditional leaders

Neil David Sr (born 1944) – Painter, illustrator, and kachina doll carver

Jean Fredericks (b. 1906–?) – Hopi photographer and former Tribal Council chairman[37][38]

Diane Humetewa – Appointed by President Obama to be a U.S. District Court Judge

Fred Kabotie (ca. 1900–1986) – Painter and silversmith

Michael Kabotie (1942–2009) – Painter, sculptor, and silversmith

Charles Loloma (1912–1991) – Jeweler, ceramic artist, and educator

Linda Lomahaftewa – Printmaker, painter, and educator

Helen Naha (1922–1993) – Potter

Tyra Naha – Potter

Dan Namingha, (born 1950) – Hopi-Tewa painter and sculptor

Elva Nampeyo – Potter

Fannie Nampeyo – Potter

Iris Nampeyo (ca. 1860–1942) – Potter

Lori Piestewa (1979–2003) -US Army Quartermaster Corps soldier. First native American and first woman killed in the Iraq War.

Dextra Quotskuyva (b. 1928) – Potter

Emory Sekaquaptewa (1928–2007) – Hopi leader, linguist, lexicon maker, commissioned officer of US Army (West Point graduate), jeweler, silversmith

Phillip Sekaquaptewa (b. 1956) – Jeweler, silversmith (nephew of Emory)

Don C. Talayesva (b. 1890–?) – Autobiographer and traditionalist

Lewis Tewanima (1888–1969) – Olympic distance runner and silver medalist

Tuvi (Chief Tuba) (ca. 1810–1887) – First Hopi convert to Mormonism. . Tuba City, Arizona was named in his honor.

Modern Hopi Potters

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

The Hopi first met non-native Americans when members of Coronado’s party came into their country in 1540. The first missionary arrived in 1629, at Awatovi. Although the Spanish did not colonize Hopi, they did make the Indians swear allegiance to the Spanish Crown and attempted to undermine their religious beliefs. For this reason, the Hopis joined the Pueblo rebellion of 1680. They destroyed all local missions and established new pueblos at the top of Black Mesa that were easier to defend. The Spanish reconquest of 1692 did not reach Hopi land, and the Hopis welcomed refugees from other pueblos who sought to live free of Spanish influence. In 1700, the Hopis destroyed Awatovi, the only village with an active mission, and remained free of Christianity for almost 200 years thereafter.

During the nineteenth century the Hopi endured an increase in Navajo raiding. Later in the century they again encountered non-natives, this time permanently. The U.S. government established a Hopi reservation in 1882, and the railroad began bringing in trading posts, tourists, missionaries, and scholars. The new visitors in turn brought disease epidemics that reduced the Hopi population dramatically.

Like many tribes, the Hopi struggled to deal with the upheaval brought about by these new circumstances. Following the Dawes Act (1887), surveyors came in preparation for parceling the land into individual allotments; the Hopis met them with armed resistance. Although there was no fighting, Hopi leaders were imprisoned. They were imprisoned as well for their general refusal to send their children to the new schools, which were known for brutal discipline and policies geared toward cultural genocide. Hopi children were kidnapped and sent to the schools anyway.

Factionalism also took a toll on Hopi life. Ceremonial societies split between “friendly” and “hostile” factions. This development led in 1906 to the division of Oraibi, which had been continuously occupied since at least 1100, into five villages. Contact with the outside world increased significantly after the two world wars. By the 1930s, the Hopi economy and traditional ceremonial life were in shambles (yet the latter remained more intact than perhaps that of any other U.S. tribe). Most people who could find work worked for wages or the tourist trade. For the first time, alcoholism became a problem.

In 1943,  a U.S. decision to divide the Hopi and Navajo Reservations into grazing districts resulted in the loss of most Hopi land. This sparked a major disagreement between the tribes and the government that continues to this day. Following World War II, the “hostile” traditionalists emerged as the caretakers of land, resisting cold war policies such as mineral development and nuclear testing and mining. The official (“friendly”) tribal council, however, instituted policies that favored exploitation of the land, notably permitting Peabody Coal to strip-mine Black Mesa, beginning in 1970.

In the News:

Hopis, Navajos end 40-year battle over Bennett Freeze Area
Navajo and Hopi land dispute settlement in sight
Sacred Hopi masks sold at French auction house for 1.2 million
French auction house plans to sell sacred Hopi katsina masks
Drought hits tribal plant rituals

Further Reading: