The Hopi are a Native America Nation who primarily live on the 1.5 million acre Hopi Reservation in northeaster Arizona. The reservation is surrounded by the Navajo reservation. Hopis call themselves Hopitu - 'The Peaceful People'.
The name Hopi is the shortened form of the title to what they called themselves, "Hopituh Sinom", "the people of Hopi". Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture's religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. To be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, but one never achieves in this life. This concept is one where you are in a state of total reverance and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the teachings of 'maasaw'.
Hopis live in northeast Arizona at the southern end of the Black Mesa. A mesa is the name given to a small isolated flat-topped hill with three steep sides called the 1st Mesa, 2nd Mesa, and the 3rd Mesa. On the mesa tops are the Hopi villages called pueblos. The pueblo of Oraibi on the 3rd Mesa started in 1050, and is the oldest in North America that was lived in continuously.
The traditional Hopi are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife's clan. The Bear Clan is one of the more prominent clans.
The women and men each have specific jobs or duties they perform. The women own the land and the house. They also cook and weave the baskets. The men plant and harvest, weave cloth, and perform the ceremonies.
When a child is born they get a special blanket and a perfect ear of corn. On the 20th day they take the child to the mesa cliff and hold it facing the rising sun. When the sun hits the baby is given a name.
Traditionally the Hopi were highly skilled subsistence farmers. With the installation of electricity and the necessity of having a motor vehicle and the other things which can be purchased, the Hopi have been moving into a cash economy with many people seeking and holding outside jobs as well as earning money from traditional crafts.
Today there are 12 Hopi villages on or below the three mesas, with Moencopi to the west (on Dinetah), and Keams Canyon to the east. Each village has its own village chief, and each contributes to the annual cycle its own ceremonies. Each village presents its own distinct cast of katsinam, and each village has maintained its own balance of engagement with the Euro-American culture and traditional Hopi practices and views.
Today, the Hopi Indians are divided into to traditional --which preserve ancient lands and customs, and new - who work with outsiders. The Hopi Indians today love their traditions, arts, and land, but also love the modern American life. Their kids go to school and they use medical centers. The Hopi live and work outside of the reservations. Troubles with the Navajo whose reservations surround the Hopi still continue today.
There are now eight Hopi pueblos, all of them on the tops of mesas. The Hopi villages were established on their present almost inaccessible sites for purposes of defense; and with the same object in view the builders formerly never left a door in the outer walls of the first story, access to the rooms invariably being through hatchways in the roof.