The Mesa. In the beginning, they were
The Hopi tribe formally known as the “Moki”,the westernmost group of Pueblo Indians, living in what is now northeastern Arizona, on the edge of the Painted Desert. The Hopi indian tribe of the Uto-Aztecan language have always been a “matrilineal society”. Women exercise a great deal of domestic authority since they own the house, land and the crops that support and feed their family. Hopi in Navajo language means many things like peaceful ones, righteous people, or the correct people. Living on a 1.5 million acre reservation in Arizona, the Hopi people have the longest history of occupation of one place by any Native American tribe.
In the beginning, the tribe was a “hunting and gathering group” divided into numerous small groups that stayed together. Around the year 700 A.D.
the Hopi tribe became an agricultural group.To protect themselves from other tribes, they built their homes on three high mesas on a rock called Black Mesa. the oldest permanent Hopi settlement is oraibi which is believed to have been established around 1150 A.D. The Hopis inhabited 14 villages spread across the Mesa. In the beginning, they were a hunting and gathering group divided into numerous small bands that lived together. However around the year 700 A.D.
the Hopi tribe became an agricultural group and used the runoff from the mesa. As the population grew agriculture became more important. By the 16th century, the Hopi culture became very advance in agriculture.The Hopi people lived a peaceful life until a group of soldiers moved north from Mexico under Francisco de Vasquez de Coronado.
The Spanish were looking for the Seven Cities of Gold. When they were unsuccessful in finding the gold, they returned to Mexico. In 1592 the Hopis were forced to submit to the Spanish crown, and in 1598 missionary efforts begin to convert the tribe to being Catholic. For the next nine decides the Catholic priests would attempt to convert the whole tribe. Enforcement of transformation and extreme maltreatment of the tribe sparked a revolt in 1680 which sent the soldiers back to Mexico.
As a result, the Hopi Indians withdraw father back into the Mesa and spreading out. But freedom was short lived as the Spanish returned in 1692. The tribe fought for their land until late 1700’s. Though no longer having to face the Spanish other tribes continued to attack the Hopi until they were forced onto reservations in 1800’s. The Spanish people gave, the Hopi horses, burros, sheep, and cattle as well as new fruit and vegetables. They also gave the tribe smallpox which over centuries lowered their population from thousands to hundreds. The Hopi people are a deeply religious group, whose custom and a year-long calendar guide every aspect of their lives.
They believe in the kachina religion. The kachinas are the spirits of everything in the real world. These Kachinas possess a large amount of “wisdom and power” in their religion. There are many different placements of Kachinas like the chief kachina, guard kachinas, and clown kachinas.
The chief Kachinas are considered the most important kachina an example is the Buffalo Dancer the most powerful among all dolls, who protects and can rid the bad of evil thoughts. The guard kachina protects the tribe and enforces rules. A Guard Kachina is Toho who porteds as a mountain lion who guards the north. The last Kachina Doll is the Clown which provides amusement during ceremonies and are often drummers or dancers. Koshari is one of the most famous clown Kachina has he stands for harmony through the villages. Throughout the year the Hopi people have three main ceremonies that involve the dolls.
These ceremonies involving the dolls are “extremely sacred”. The ceremonies serve many purposes, such as good food, great weather, and plentiful crops. Participation is vital to the ceremony and their religion.
Most ceremonies are held in kiva which is an underground pit usually in the center of villages and in the shapes of a circle. Through December to July the Hopi villages celebrate with different ceremonies. The first major ceremony is Soyal. Which starts on the shortest day of the year and is the “longest ceremony lasting up to sixteen days.” During the ceremony, men dress up like Kachinas and emerge from kivas slowly acting like they have been sleeping for a very long time. Children of the tribe are given kachina dolls that are craved and dressed like the dancers, to help them learn about all the Kachina spirits. At times the elders pass down stories to children teaching important lessons.
The second major ceremony happens in late February. The ceremony is called the Powamu or the bean dance. It not one ceremony but many important events that combined together. The significance of this ceremony is the germination of the crops to be planted in the upcoming spring. To achieve this the Chief appears a Muyingwa a Kachina responsible for germination.
Every male who is in the tribe is expected to grow beans in the kivas which is important for the success of the growing season. The third ceremony the House dance occurs in July when the first maize of the season is ripe. This ceremony is for the Hopi tribe to give thanks to many Kachinas who have helped them with their crops.
Corn, Melons, and fruit are carried by the dancers as proof of the plentiful harvest. After the ceremony, the Kachinas return to their winter homes in the mountains. Hopi girls receive two dolls as a gift each year from the age of one till they are ten years old.
They are presented to them during the Bean dance and Home Dance. They are only given to girls because the women of the tribe do not possess the same degree of contact with the Kachina spirits as the men tribe. Which is why the men portray the spirits during the ceremonies. Another purpose of the dolls is to teach the girls about the hundreds of different kachina spirits Sometimes they are also used to “keep kids in line,” one of the spirits that helps with that is Ogre Woman Kachina. She goes to different house before the Bean dance asking for food.
She leaves the girls grains of maize and says that she will be back, and if she is not given food she will take the girls. When she comes back she will see if they have done what she asked. If they did not do what she asked she would begin to pick up the children by the feet and act like she is going to eat them as a punishment. Before she can take them away a relative tells the Orge by saying that “child has learned a lesson”, and that it will it never happen again. She comes around during this so children know that they have to help in every way they can with crops.
Since contact with other people and cultures the Hopi culture is riddle with changes over their culture and land. The peaceful people has seen the United States government help protect their homes from the “largest tribe in the United States, the Navajo.” Throughout the past decade the Hopi people have waged exhausting and expensive legal fights over land, religious rights, water, and sacred grounds against the Navajo Nation, Peabody Coal Nation, Arizona Snowbowl ski area, and the federal government. The Peabody Coal Company extracts about 4000 acre feet of water every year from the N-Aquifer directly under the Hopi and Navajo reservation which is used for the only coal slurry operation in the U.S. The N-Aquifer is the only source of drinking water for the tribe.
Throughout the years, the Hopi Tribe has noticed that springs fed by the N-Aquifer are drying and soon the well will dry-up in a decade if nothing is done. In hope to stop this problem, the Tribe, has stated that the development of the Lake Powell pipeline to bring a different source of water to the homes. Another problem of the tribe is the destruction of sacred sites. After years of fighting the San Francisco Peaks will become a ski resort. For ten years thirteen tribes have “worshiped the site and claim it scared” for thousand of years. The Hopi Tribe, the Havasupai tribe, The Navajo Nation, the Yavapai-Apache Nation and the White Mountain Apache Nation lost their battle in february. Even Though they had convinced the U.
S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and wildlife services on the effects of an endangered plant that lives near the mountain. But that is not what tribes are most worried about they are worried that when the wastewater snow melts that it will ruin a mountain they consider sacred and the ecosystem, Another sacer is that it could ruin the water quality of the aquifers,