North American Indian people constituting the westernmost group of Pueblo Indians. Most live on reservation lands in northeastern Arizona, U.S., surrounded by the Navajo Reservation. The name Hopi means “peaceful ones.” They speak a language of the Uto-Aztecan stock. Most of their traditional settlements were on high mesas and consisted of terraced pueblo structures of stone and adobe. Their precise origin is unknown, though they are usually considered descendants of the Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) peoples. Before the Spanish colonization of the Southwest, the Hopi supported themselves by growing corn (maize), beans, squash, and melons; sheepherding was added after contact with the Spanish. Matrilineal descent was the rule. Traditional Hopi life was steeped in religious ceremony and involved secret rites held in semi-underground kivas and the use of masks and costumes to impersonate kachinas (ancestral spirits). Early 21st-century population estimates indicated more than 15,000 individuals of Hopi descent.
Learn more about Hopi with a free trial on Britannica.com.
In the Hopi language, the word "moqui" means "dearly departed one". The Moki described themselves as "the people who left"; they left the world of strifing for profit to focus on improving their own consciousness. Over the ages the Moki had developed some extraordinary skills which a westerner would call psychic or esoterical. The last member of the Moki was Kimo, who lived in Surinam near the French Guinea border.
Kimo, as the last surviving member of the Moki tribe felt that along with their belief in peacefulness and their love for living beings, their arcane knowledge and psychic abilities had value to be passed on beyond his own life or that of his tribe . This was the reason he went to look for a successor, even though his late fellow tribespeople and the Moki tradition stated that it was alright for the lineage to end.
Kimo, then in his seventies, visited Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 1983 as part of his journey to find a successor to keep the Moki tribe and culture alive, and found a successor in the form of a young man named Northwood, who was not tied to any religion or tribe but willing to accept the nomination to be the first of the new Moki, and to keep the thought of this ancient and wise tribe alive. The young man received the name Moki, and was given a ceremonial feather and a turqouise stone pendant to seal his heirship of the Moki culture. The young man set out to recreate the heritage of the Moki and to recruit suitable new tribe members in order to keep the sacred culture of the Moki alive.