What Are Some Facts for Kids About the Hopi Tribe?

John Cancalosi/Photolibrary/Getty Images

The Hopis live in Northwestern Arizona and have resided there for generations. The word Hopi means “civilized person” in the native Hopi dialect. The Hopi language is not related to the languages of nearby Pueblo tribes. Instead, Hopi is more closely related to Aztec.

Historically, each Hopi village was ruled by a high priest or kikmongwi. In modern times, the kikmongwi is a religious, ceremonial position, and the Hopi reservation is administered by tribal council members. In traditional Hopi culture, clan groups were matrilineal. After marriage, Hopi men joined the families of their wives.

Many Hopi still live in traditional adobe dwellings, multi-level complexes divided into separate units. The Hopi have a long-standing tradition of agriculture. Traditional Hopi foods include beans, squash and maize. Hopi tribespeople also grew crops of cotton and tobacco. The Hopi rounded out their diet with nuts, fruits and wild game animals.

During the 1600s, the Hopis were colonized by Spanish settlers, who subjected the Hopis to forced labor. Franciscan monks tried to convert the Hopis to Catholicism, at first by persuasion and then through force. In 1680, the Hopis joined with other Pueblo natives and revolted, throwing off Spanish rule. The Spanish never again occupied Hopi territory.