Hopi means "peaceful person" or "civilized person" in the Hopi language.
Where do the Hopis live?
The Hopi's live in the Northwest of Arizona, where they and their ancestors have been living for thousands of years.
How is the Hopi Indian nation organized?
The Hopis live on a reservation, which is land that belongs to them and is under their control. The Hopi Nation has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, the Hopis are also US citizens and must obey American law. In the past, the Hopi Indians had a theocratic government. That means that the head priest or kikmongwi of each village was also the town chief. Today, each Hopi village still has its own kikmongwi, but he is primarily a religious leader. The Hopi nation is now led by an elected tribal council. Language: Almost all Hopi people speak English today, but most of them also speak their native Hopi language. Hopi is a complex language with long words. It isn't related to other Pueblo languages at all, but is actually a related to the Aztec language. How do Hopi Indian children live, and what did they do in
the past? They do the same things all children do--play with each other, go to school and help around the house. Many Hopi children go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play in their daily lives, just like colonial children. But they did have dolls, toys, and games to play. A Hopi mother traditionally carried a young child in a cradleboard on her back--a custom which many American parents have adopted now. Jobs: Generally, Hopi women were in charge of the Home and family. Hopi clans are matrilineal, which means Hopi people trace their family through their mothers. Hopi men were in charge of politics, agriculture and war. Hopi political leaders and warriors were traditionally always men. Both genders took part in storytelling, music and artwork, and traditional medicine. Homes in the past: Hopi people lived in adobe houses, which are multi-story house complexes made of adobe (clay and straw baked into hard bricks) and stone. Each adobe unit was home to one family, like a modern apartment. Hopi people used ladders to reach the upstairs apartments. A Hopi adobe house can contain dozens of units and was often home to an entire extended clan. Unlike most old-fashioned Indian shelters, traditional Hopi houses are still used by some people today. Other Hopi families live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you. Clothes: Originally, Hopi men didn't wear much clothing-- only breech cloths or short kilts (men's skirts). Hopi women wore knee-length cotton dresses called mantas. A manta fastened at a woman's right shoulder, leaving her left shoulder bare. Missionaries didn't think this dress style was modest enough, so in the 1900's many Hopi women started wearing blouses underneath their mantas. This style is still in use today. Men and women both wore deerskin moccasins on their feet. For dances and special occasions, women painted their moccasins white and wrapped white strips of deerskin around their shins as leggings. The Hopis did not traditionally wear feather war bonnets. Hopi men usually wore cloth Headbands tied around their foreheads instead. Most men wore their hair gathered into a figure-eight shaped bun called a hömsoma, though some Hopi men began cutting their hair to shoulder-length during the early 1900's. Unmarried Hopi women wore their hair in elaborate butterfly whorls, while married women wore theirs in two long pigtails. As jewelry, Hopi women traditionally wore necklaces made of many strands of polished beads. After learning silver working techniques from the Spanish in the 1800's, Hopi people also began to wear silver earrings, bracelets, and rings, and today Hopi artists are famous for their ornate silver overlay jewelry. The Hopis also painted their faces for special occasions. Today, many Hopi people still wear moccasins or Mantas, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of a breech cloth and they only wear legging wraps or kilts on special occasions like a dance. Transportation No--the Hopi Indians weren't Coastal people, and rarely traveled by river. Originally they just walked. There were no horses in North America until colonists brought them over from Europe, so the Hopis used dogs pulling travois (a kind of drag sled) to help them carry heavy loads. Once Europeans brought horses to America, the Hopis could travel more quickly than before Food: The Hopis were expert farming people. They planted crops of corn, beans, and squash, as well as cotton and tobacco, and raised turkeys for their meat. Hopi men also hunted deer, antelope, and small game, while women gathered nuts, fruits, and herbs. Favorite Hopi meals to eat included hominy, baked beans, soups, and different types of cornbread. Weapons and tools Hopi hunters used bows and arrows. The Hopis did not go to war often, though Hopi warriors did sometimes have to defend their territory against the Spanish and Navajos. When this happened, they normally fired their bows or fought with spears. Hopi tools included wooden farm implements, spindles and looms for weaving cotton (and later wool), and pump drills for boring holes in turquoise and other beads. What other Native Americans did the Hopi tribe interact with? The Hopis traded regularly with other tribes of the Southwest, particularly the other Pueblo tribes. Pueblo trade routes reached into Mexico and to the California coast, supplying Hopi craftsmen with shells, Coral and turquoise for their jewelry. The Navajos were frequent trading partners, but also frequent enemies, who sometimes raided Hopi villages. Arts and crafts Hopi artists are famous for their intricately carved kachina dolls and fine pottery and baskets. All of these art forms are still flourishing today. Here is a good site about the art of Hopi kachinas. What kinds of stories do the Hopis tell? There are lots of traditional Hopi legends and Fairy tales. Storytelling is very important to the Hopi Indian culture. Here is a Hopi story about a rooster and mockingbird trying to win a wife. Good books to read You may enjoy Truth Is a Bright Star, a good historical novel for young readers about a Hopi boy’s experiences in the 1800's. Younger children may like Field Mouse Goes to War, a picture book of a traditional Hopi legend. Meet Mindy is an illustrated biography of a modern Hopi-Tewa girl which makes a great introduction to Hopi life today. If you want to know more about Hopi culture and history, two good books are Hopi Native Americans and The Hopi Indians of North America. You can also Browse through our reading list of recommended Indian books in general.
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