Hopi Tribal Council and Local Government
This unit traces the history of the Hopi Tribal Council and examines the functions of the various branches of the organization. The teacher may also explain the significance of the contemporary Hopi Tribal Council to the students and compare with Navajo Nation government. If Navajo students are in your class, these activities may be adapted so they research the Navajo Nation infrastructure.
Ø To understand the evolution of the Hopi Tribal Council and its role in the
Ø Hopi government.
Ø To encourage students to compare and contrast the role of the Hopi Tribal Council with that of the village administration.
Ø To comprehend the dissensions between the Hopi Tribal Council and the Traditionalists.
Grade Level/Subject Area
Ø Arizona/Hopi History
Ø Student Handouts for each activity.
Ø Hopi Constitution and By-Laws1936 - NAU Special Collections and Archives.
Ø Poster paper (can be butcher paper, poster board or construction paper – anything that works for illustrations).
Ø Sample political cartoons.
Ø Recent editions of the Hopi-Navajo Observer, Arizona Daily Sun or appropriate web page print outs dealing with local issues (ex: bio-diesel fuel project).
Ø Information on the Navajo government, particularly if Navajo students are in your class: http://www.navajo-nsn.gov/
The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 endorsed the formation
of a tribal form of government for the Hopis on
Meanwhile, Hopis have always had a traditional form of village administration, which includes a leader/ kikmongwi from a specific clan. Each village has had its own social, religious, and political organizations. Nevertheless, there have been significant structural similarities between many villages. While some Hopi supported the creation of the new administrative system, there was also considerable opposition to its establishment. The resistance to the new tribal council and constitution can be traced to the Hopi refusal to adopt the white man’s political system, and the lack of formal governments in the Hopi culture. Yet, the Hopi Tribal Council was superimposed over the traditional village system of administration.
The Hopi Tribal Council adopted its constitution in 1936,
and it has been recognized as the Constitution and By-laws of the Hopi Tribe.
The Hopi and Tewa villages agreed the challenge of working together, protecting
the good aspects of Hopi life, promoting peace, and finding methods of
resolving problems with the
At present, the Hopi tribal government constitutes three branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary branches. The legislative branch makes tribal laws, decrees and policies and supervises the administration of tribal business. The executive branch enforces and executes the Hopi Tribal Council’s legislations and policies. The judicial branch elucidates and implements laws and regulations authorized by the Hopi Tribal Council.
It is important to remember that Navajo students may be part of the Hopi classroom. Include discussion and comparisons to the Navajo forms of governing.
Activity 1: Hopi Tribal Council Illustration
Activity 2: Satire and Cartoons
4. Display the cartoons around the classroom.
Questions for oral or written discussion during any part of this unit:
significant ways? If yes, in what ways has it impacted the Hopis?
1. How similar and different were the functions of the Hopi Tribal council in the past compared to the present? Would you consider the present institution an improvement over the past organization? Why?
2. Write an essay describing the relationship between the village administration system and the Hopi Tribal Council using appropriate evidence to support your answer.
Ø Field Trip: Arrange for students to visit a Tribal Council meeting.
Ø Student Interviews: One group will interview a few elders on the evolution of the village administration system, its advantages and significance. The other group will interview some tribal council members about the various branches, councils and offices of the Hopi Tribal Council and their functions. Ask students of the two groups to share and discuss the results of their projects in class.
Ø Class Speakers: Invite Elders and Tribal Council members to your class. Ask them to give talks to students about the role of kikmongwis and the Hopi Tribal Council.
Ø Mock Council: Have students set up a mock tribal council meeting. They could research, discuss and “vote” on a contemporary controversial issue, such as gaming or the cell phone tower.
Ø Debate: Have the students form two groups and debate about the advantages of the village administration system over the Hopi Tribal Council, and vice-versa. This activity will help them to reinforce what they learned through interviews and other activities in class and to analyze issues from a critical perspective.
Ø In response to question three, the class will be able to list the two main reasons for resistance against the new tribal council and constitution, specifically, the Hopi refusal to adopt the white man’s political system and the lack of formal governments in the Hopi culture.
Ø In response to question eight, the class will be able to describe at least two ways in which the establishment of the Hopi Tribal Council affected the Hopis, specifically the imposition of the western model of political system on the Hopi culture, and the complete subjugation of Hopis to the western rule.
Ø In response to activities one and two, the students will be in a position to advance clear and strong arguments in favor of the village administration system over the Hopi Tribal Council, and vice-versa. If the class is able to actively participate in this debate, then it can be inferred that students have understood the history of the Hopi Tribal Council, and they have gleaned the necessary information from the interview projects, and the talks of the Elders and Hopi Tribal Council members.
Ø In response to activity three, students will be able to clearly identify contemporary controversial issues, analyze them critically, and imitate the functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Hopi Tribal Council.
Ø In response to closing activity two, the students will be able to write an essay describing the relationship between the village administration system and the Hopi Tribal Council making use of relevant information gathered through in-class debates and discussions, guest talks, and interview and research projects.
and By-Laws of the Hopi Tribe:
Eds. Spicer, Edward H. &
Thompson, Raymond H. Plural Society in
Ed. Fay, George E. Charters, Constitutions and By-Laws of the
Indian Tribes of
Hopi Tribe Collection, Hopi Tribal Constitution, Folder No: 25, Series: 4.
Louis A. Hieb Collection, Constitution and By-Laws of the Hopi Indians, Folder No: 22, Series: 1.
Kelly, William H. Indians of the Southwest: A Survey Indian
Tribes and Indian Administration in
Page, James K., Jr. A Rare Glimpse into the Evolving Way of the Hopi. Smithsonian, 6; 8; 90-101; Nov . 1975.
This lesson correlates with the following Arizona Social Studies Standards
STANDARD 2: CIVICS/GOVERNMENT
Analyze the historical sources and ideals of the structure of the
Analyze why and how the
Analyze the structure, powers, and roles of the legislative branch of the
Analyze the structure, powers, and roles of the executive branch of the
Analyze the structure, power, and organization of