AskDefine | Define hopi

Dictionary Definition



1 a member of the Shoshonean people of northeastern Arizona
2 the Shoshonean language spoken by the Hopi people

User Contributed Dictionary


Proper noun

  1. A tribe of North American natives.
  2. The Uto-Aztecan language spoken by this North American native American tribe.


Hopi tribe
Hopi language

External links



  1. short form of Hopi'sinom, People Who Live in the Correct Way

Extensive Definition

The Hopi are Native American people who primarily live on the 12,635 km² (2,531.773 sq mi) Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi Reservation is entirely surrounded by the much larger Navajo Reservation. The two nations used to share the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area. The partition of this area, commonly known as Big Mountain, by Acts of Congress in 1974 and 1996, has resulted in seemingly endless controversy.
The reservation had a 2000 census population of 6,946 persons. Its largest community is First Mesa, Arizona.


According to Hopi lore, the Hopi are a gathering of many separate people representing tribes from distant areas, now identifying culturally as one people. With impact of the Athabascan migrations from Canada (forming the modern Navajo nation) ending as late as the 15th century the Hopi moved from original village locations at the bottoms of mesas to the tops where these villages could be defended. Popularly these are known as First, Second and Third Mesas because of their order of Spanish encounter. In contrast, the Navajo prefer to live in small family groups now widely distributed across northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The Hopi have been town dwellers for many centuries (nine existed at the arrival of the Spanish of them—Sikyatki, Koechaptevela, Kisakovi, Sichomovi, Mishongnovi, Shipaulovi, Shungopavi, Oraibi and Awatobi). The Hopi village of Old Oraibi, located on Third Mesa and founded about the year 1100, is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States. Some aspects of the Hopi culture are in common with those of the Tewa puebloan culture; however strictly abiding by non-Hopi anthropological writings remains too constricting across all "Puebloan" tribes.
The Hopi reservation is surrounded by the Navajo reservation. While traditionally the Hopi and the Navajo have considered each other to be "enemies" in various ways, they have recently become more cooperative in actions involving environmental, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and economic issues, most notably in political and contractual actions to restrict the withdrawal of groundwater by outside entities, particularly by coal extractors for use in coal slurry transport.


The name Hopi is a shortened form of what these Native American people call themselves, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, "The Peaceful People" or "Peaceful Little Ones" . The Catholic Encyclopedia lists the name Hopi as having been derived from "Hopita", meaning those who are "peaceful ones". Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture's religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. The Hopi religion is anti-war, to be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, which involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth. The Hopi observe their traditional ceremonies for the benefit of the entire world.
Traditionally, Hopi are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife's clan. These clan organizations extend across all villages. Children are named, however, by the women of the father's clan. On the twentieth day of a baby's life, the women of the paternal clan gather, each woman bringing a name and a gift for the child. In some cases where many relatives would attend, a child could be given over forty names, for example. The child's parents generally decide the name to be used from these names. Current practice is to either use a non-Hopi or English name or the parent's chosen Hopi name. A person may also change their name upon initiation into one of the religious societies such as the Kachina society.
The Hopi still practice a complete cycle of traditional ceremonies although not all villages retain or ever had the complete ceremonial cycle. These ceremonies take place according to the lunar calendar and are observed in each of the Hopi villages.
Nonetheless, like other Indian groups, the Hopi have not escaped impact by the dominant American culture. The Hopi have been affected by missionary work carried out by several Christian denominations and also by consumerism and alcoholism. However, the effect of missionary work has had relatively little impact on traditional Hopi cultural and religious practices.
Traditionally the Hopi are highly skilled micro or subsistence farmers. The Hopi also interact in the cash economy; a significant number of Hopi have regular paying jobs; others earn a living from producing high quality art, traditional crafts—notably the carving and sale of Kachina dolls, highly crafted earthenware ceramic pottery, and other activities such as the design and production of jewelry, notably sterling silver silversmithing.


Traditionally the Hopi are a religious people. Individual clans practice ancient ritual prayer. In the Kivas the Hopi observe and practice through custom the preparation of ceremonial dance, costume and sacred chants.

Oral Tradition

The Hopi religion has no written text as does the Hindu, Buddhist, Judeo-Christian, and Muslim religions. The Hopi pass down from generation to generation the precepts of their complicated belief systems through oral tradition. The leaders of the various clans organize ceremonies throughout the year.




Further reading

  • Susanne and Jake Page, Hopi, Abradale Press, Harry N. Abrams, 1994, illustrated oversize hardcover, 230 pages, ISBN 0-8109-8127-0, 1982 edition, ISBN 0-8109-1082-9
  • Alph Secakuku, "Hopi Kachina Tradition: Following the Sun and Moon" 1995
  • Alfonso Ortiz, ed. Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 9, Southwest. Washington: Smithsonian Institition, 1979
    • J. O. Brew, "Hopi Prehistory and History to 1850", pp. 514-523 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • F. J. Dockstader, "Hopi History, 1850-1940", pp. 524-532 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • R. O. Clemmer, "Hopi History, 1940-1970", pp. 533-538 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • J. C. Connelly, "Hopi Social Organization", pp. 539-553 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • E. A. Kennard, "Hopi Economy and Subsistence", pp. 554-563 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • A. Frigout, "Hopi Ceremonial Organization", pp. 564-576 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • L. A. Hieb, "Hopi World View", pp. 577-580 in Ortiz, Handbook
    • M. B. Stanislawski, "Hopi-Tewa", pp. 587-602 in Ortiz, Handbook
  • New York Times article, "Reggae Rhythms Speak to an Insular Tribe" by Bruce Weber, September 19, 1999
  • Frank Waters, The Book of the Hopi, Penguin (Non-Classics), (June 30, 1977), ISBN 0-140045279
  • Frank Waters, Masked Gods:Navaho & Pueblo Ceremonialism, Swallow Press, 1950; Ohio University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-804006415
hopi in Catalan: Hopi
hopi in German: Hopi
hopi in Modern Greek (1453-): Χόπι
hopi in Spanish: Hopi
hopi in French: Hopis
hopi in Croatian: Hopi
hopi in Italian: Hopi
hopi in Dutch: Hopi (volk)
hopi in Japanese: ホピ族
hopi in Norwegian: Hopi
hopi in Polish: Hopi
hopi in Portuguese: Hopis
hopi in Saterfriesisch: Hopi
hopi in Slovak: Hopiovia
hopi in Finnish: Hopi-intiaanit
hopi in Swedish: Hopi
hopi in Turkish: Hopi
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