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 Hopi pueblos of Awatobi, Oraibi, and Shongopovi. These missions were destroyed in the revolt of 1680 (see Popé), 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 Navajo. 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 Navajo populations to encroach on traditional Hopi lands. By the 1960s and 70s, Navajo expansion on lands set aside for joint use provoked court action and led to a partition of the disputed land. Amid bitter conflict, over 10,000 Navajo and fewer than 100 Hopi were relocated from the partitioned lands. A court decision in 1992 assigned most of the land still in dispute to the Navajo. Some Navajo were permitted to remain on Hopi land under 75-year leases.
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 revolve around the clans. The Badger clan, for instance, still conducts the kachina (fertility) ceremony, and the Antelope and Snake clans perform the well-known snake dance at Walpi and other pueblos. A Hopi tribal council and constitution were 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).
Hopi kachina of Laqán, the squirrel spirit, circa 1950; in the National Museum of the elipsis
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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.
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The Hopi are Native American people who primarily live on the 12,635 km² (2,531.773 sq mi) Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi Reservation is entirely surrounded by the much larger Navajo Reservation. The two nations used to share the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area. The partition of this area, commonly known as Big Mountain, by Acts of Congress in 1974 and 1996, has resulted in seemingly endless controversy.
The Hopi reservation is surrounded by the Navajo reservation. While traditionally the Hopi and the Navajo have considered each other to be "enemies" in various ways, they have recently become more cooperative in actions involving environmental, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and economic issues, most notably in political and contractual actions to restrict the withdrawal of groundwater by outside entities, particularly by coal extractors for use in coal slurry transport.
The name Hopi is a shortened form of what these Native American people call themselves, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, "The Peaceful People" or "Peaceful Little Ones" . The Catholic Encyclopedia lists the name Hopi as having been derived from "Hopita", meaning those who are "peaceful ones". Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture's religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. The Hopi religion is anti-war, to be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, which involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth. The Hopi observe their traditional ceremonies for the benefit of the entire world.
Traditionally, Hopi are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife's clan. These clan organizations extend across all villages. Children are named, however, by the women of the father's clan. On the twentieth day of a baby's life, the women of the paternal clan gather, each woman bringing a name and a gift for the child. In some cases where many relatives would attend, a child could be given over forty names, for example. The child's parents generally decide the name to be used from these names. Current practice is to either use a non-Hopi or English name or the parent's chosen Hopi name. A person may also change their name upon initiation into one of the religious societies such as the Kachina society.
The Hopi still practice a complete cycle of traditional ceremonies although not all villages retain or ever had the complete ceremonial cycle. These ceremonies take place according to the lunar calendar and are observed in each of the Hopi villages.
Nonetheless, like other Indian groups, the Hopi have not escaped impact by the dominant American culture. The Hopi have been affected by missionary work carried out by several Christian denominations and also by consumerism and alcoholism. However, the effect of missionary work has had relatively little impact on traditional Hopi cultural and religious practices.
Traditionally the Hopi are highly skilled micro or subsistence farmers. The Hopi also interact in the cash economy; a significant number of Hopi have regular paying jobs; others earn a living from producing high quality art, traditional crafts—notably the carving and sale of Kachina dolls, highly crafted earthenware ceramic pottery, and other activities such as the design and production of jewelry, notably sterling silver silversmithing.
Traditionally the Hopi are a religious people. Individual clans practice ancient ritual prayer. In the Kivas the Hopi observe and practice through custom the preparation of ceremonial dance, costume and sacred chants.
The Hopi religion has no written text. The Hopi pass down from generation to generation the precepts of their complicated belief systems through oral tradition. The leaders of the various clans organize ceremonies throughout the year. The life of the Hopi revolves around the growing cycle of corn and the movement of animals.