Members of the Hopi tribe still live in some of the same areas of the Southwest United States that they have occupied since approximately 600 CE. They have practiced agriculture throughout their long history, and they successfully adapted to the arid climate by using irrigation and growing crops suitable to their environment. Their language is derived from that of the ancient Aztecs of Mexico and is not related to that of other pueblos in their area.
The Hopis are well known for the adobe pueblos in which they live. Traditionally, they built their homes on mesas that allowed them to view the surrounding landscape and offered extra protection while defending their homes. Also, the first floor of their buildings didn't usually have a door that led outside of the pueblo. Instead, they used ladders to reach doors on the second or third floors. In case of attack, they could pull up the ladders and deny their enemies access.
The Hopi society follows a matrilineal descent system, meaning that a member's inheritance and status within the group came from his mother. Before the Spanish invaded the area, the Hopi enjoyed a wide trade network and led a very peaceful existence. In the past few centuries, the Hopi have struggled to maintain their way of life while adopting some technology and traditions from European Americans.