Hopi Native Americans
The Hopi tribes lived in small desert villages near phoenix Arizona. The
Hopis had six towns on three high mesas, and a seventh village shared with the Tewa
Indians, Who called the Hopi,"The peaceful ones". The homes the Hopi lived in
were called Pueblos. These were square, flat topped houses,several stories high, with
ladders leading to the upper levels. The material the pueblos were made out of varied
slightly depending on the location. The Hopi pueblos are made of stone when they are on
mesas. When the pueblos are on the lowlands they are made of brick.
The Hopi people were very peaceful, And had practically no sports or
gambling. The Hopi were brown skinned,had broad flat noses,large mouths. Women often were
plump. The Hopi were divided by the mothers extended family, these groups were called
clans. Each clan had a chief. The chief led the people,supervised irrigation projects,and
stamped out witch craft. When the Hopis farmed they relied on under ground water, which
they could transport. Farms could be miles away from the pueblos. They farmed without
The Hopi children learned domestic skills from their mother. Boys
learned to weave, while girls cared for the infants, learned how to grind corn, weave
baskets, and make pottery.
While a mother was waiting to give birth she made sure her hair was knot
free, and that she stayed away from snakes, otherwise the baby might come out crooked.
After a young Hopi was born, they were included in a ceremony at twenty days of age. When
boys and girls were eight years of age, they could participate in the rain ceremonies, and
to join a Kachina cult. When Hopis reached the age between sixteen and twenty they
officially became adults. The girls had a corn grinding festival. They would grind corn
for four days (to prove they knew the skill ),after four days they would come out and
their hair would be positioned in two huge buns at each side of the head. This meant they
were ready for marriage. The boys would have to successfully defeat other men in a fight,
and always came out victorious.
In the Hopi society the men choose their spouse, even though the women
had to agree. One of the strictest of Hopi rules is that you may not marry within the same
clan. This was such a serious rule, that marrying inside the clan hardly ever passed
through the mind of a young Hopi. Hopi men could only have one wife at a time, just as the
women could only have one husband. When a Hopi wore their wedding clothes, the only other
time they wore it was at their burials. When someone died the were buried in a sitting
position, with their head between their knees. The mourners left food near the grave each
The Hopi house hold ran down the maternal line. The women inherited, or
owned the homes. The uncle raised her children instead of their father because their
father was raising his sisters children! The men were responsible for their mothers house,
and their sister's.
The biggest part in the Hopi religion are the Kachina gods. Kachinas
were their rain gods, who were supposedly friendly. One of these Kachinas is the spider
woman, who the Hopi believe wove the clouds. During Hopi ceremonies, the men would dress
like Kachinas, and dance in the plazas. There were special groups of dancers at these
ceremonies, the Koshahe, the society of clowns in black and white stripes, and the
Goyemshi, the mud heads. As rain sacrifices to their gods the Hopi would leave feathered
wands in their cornfields.
The Kiva was the Hopi religious center. Only men were allowed in. It was
where they prayed to the spirits.
One of the most famous Hopi ceremonies is the snake ceremony. The men
gathered around the Kiva, and collected snakes. They washed, and purified the snakes,
after this was complete they prayed for four days. The men were cooped up with the snakes
for four whole days, When the men came out they each had a snake in their mouth. They
danced with the snake in their mouths, then released them as messengers to the rain gods.
I think that these Indians are extremely interesting to study. They
managed to live in desert climates, farm, practice their religion, and raise their
families. The Hopi villages are the oldest continually inhabited villages in the Americas.