The Hopi Indians are Native Americans who have lived in Northwestern Arizona for thousands of years. Information suggests that the name 'Hopi' is translated to mean peaceful person. These Southwest American Indians inhabit an area called the Black Mesa, a plateau which rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding grasslands, and refer to this place as the center of the universe. They are entirely surrounded by the much larger, Navajo reservation. Facts and history about these Southwest American Indians can be found below.
Hopi lived in pueblos or adobe houses made of dried clay and stone. They had flat roofs and multiple levels which were accessible by ladder. The bottom level was an underground chamber called a Kiva. It was primarily for religious ceremonies. The upper levels contained apartments so that the entire extended family could live in the home.
The Hopi language is a complex and difficult language descended from the Aztec language and unrelated to other pueblo languages. The language is known for having a
unique was of expressing of time and space concepts. The language is spoken by about 5,000 people today although all Hopi today speak English as well.
Oraibi was an important Hopi village. With the demise of several smaller Hopi villages, it became the center of Hopi population and culture and one the oldest
continuously inhabited settlements in the U.S, dating back to 1100 A.D.
Farming and agriculture was the cornerstone of traditional Hopi life. With over twenty different varieties of corn, including yellow and blue, it was the most
common crop grown. They also grew squash, not only for eating, but for making instruments and utensils. Pumpkins and beans were grown for food and they cultivated
sunflower so they could make dyes and oils. They also grew cotton and tobacco.
Hopi Indian Art
The Hopi were skilled artisans and had a special flair for making pottery and intricately woven rugs.
In fact, Hopi pottery is one of the most recognizable of all of the pottery making tribes with its vivid colors and distinct hieroglyphics. It requires great
attention to detail and long hours of hard work.
The pottery not only looked beautiful, but it was used in everyday life.
Hopi Indian Tribe Clothing
The Hopi lived in a very warm and dry climate so clothing was usually kept to a minimum.
Men typically wore a simple breechcloth for cover and deerskin moccasins on their feet. They usually wore their hair in a bun called a homsoma along with a
headband tied around their forehead. In cooler months and in the evenings, blankets were used to stay warm.
Women wore mantas which were light dresses that left one shoulder exposed and came down to their knees. They also wore moccasins on their feet and if it was a special occasion they decorated them. They also added deerskin leggings to their shins for special events.
The Hopi liked to adorn themselves with accessories. These included wildflowers, beaded necklaces, various feathers, and eventually silver jewelry such as
necklaces, bracelets and rings.
Both men and women had a distinct pattern in which they would paint their faces for specific occasions like war or special tribal ceremonies.
Hopi Tribe Tools and Weapons
Although the Hopi did not normally participate in acts of war, they did have weapons to defend themselves against an attack on their land by the Navajos and the
Spanish. In this circumstance they would use bows and arrows and spears.
They used carved rocks and animal bones, traps, and large sticks when hunting animals like deer, antelope and other game.
Tools included rakes and hoes and other farming implements, cotton looms, knives, arrowheads and adz. Adz allowed them to carve out big logs that could then be made into water-worthy canoes, an important means of transportation.