About the Hopi
The Hopi Indians, who live in the arid highlands of northern Arizona (located in the southwestern part of the United States), have inhabited the same place for a millennium, far longer than any other people in North America. They are not only the oldest dwellers in this land but are considered by most other Indians to have a wisdom, a knowledge of things, beyond average comprehension. Peace-loving and knit tightly together by clan relationships, they are intensely spiritual and fiercely independent. Their all-pervading religion is a many stranded cord that unites them to their stark, and beautiful environment.
The Hopi live on top of and around three Mesas (a high plateau or tableland with steep sides) in the arid highlands of northern Arizona. The Mesas and the villages are:
First Mesa – The traditional villages on First Mesa are Walpi, Sichomovi, and Hano. The community below First Mesa is Pollacca. Keams Canyon is located a few miles east of First Mesa.
Second Mesa – The traditional villages located on Second Mesa are Sipaulovi, Mishongnovi, and Shongopavi. The Hopi Cultural Center and Hotel is located on this Mesa.
Third Mesa – As you approach Third Mesa, you will see Kykotsmovi, the seat of the Hopi Tribal Government. The traditional villages on Third Mesa are Old Oraibi, Hotevilla and Bacavi. Then, 45 miles to the west near Tuba City, is the Hopi village of Moencopi.
The oldest continuously inhabited village in the United States is Old Oraibi. This village, located on top of Third Mesa, came into being around 1050 A.D. as the Hopi came to this area.
Religion – The Hopi have an extremely complex series of annual ceremonies. The kiva is the social and ceremonial chamber and the center of their religious life involving hundreds of Kachina (Katsina) spirits.
The Kachina are the spirits of the invisible life forces of the Hopi. In a variety of ceremonies, they dance, sing, bring gifts to the children, and sometimes administer public scoldings. The Kachina are greatly revered, and one of their main purposes is to bring rain for the spring crops. Kachina dolls are made of cottonwood root and are exquisitely carved and dressed like the dancers. Intended to instruct the children about the hundreds of Kachina spirits, the finer carvings have become collector’s items.
Crafts – Many Hopis live by selling Kachina dolls, jewelry, baskets and pottery. Each Mesa is known especially for their particular craft(s). You can support the Hopi by buying only authentic Hopi crafts available throughout the villages and Hopi land. Click here to see samples of their crafts.
Etiquette – There are many shrines and objects very sacred to the Hopi. Because we are visitors to their villages, we must treat the Hopi with respect and dignity. Please be aware of the rules and regulations before entering the villages. Sketching, recording (video or audio), and taking photographs is not allowed while visiting Hopi villages. At times, Hopi villages may be closed to the public due to religious ceremonies. If this is the case, respect their wishes and their privacy and do not enter.