Northern Arizona University > Cline Library > Special Collections and Archives
| Indigenous Voices
Pueblo Revolt of 1680
White Mountain Apache
Save the Peaks!
The Hopi are a unique group of indigenous people whose reservation is located in the Northeastern portion of Arizona, approximately 60 miles north of Winslow, Arizona. The Hopi villages are located on a group of mesas respectively known as First, Second and Third Mesas.
The village of Kykotsmovi, located at the base of Third Mesa, is the tribal government seat. Oraibi, located just above Kykotsmovi, is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States. Other villages include Hotevilla on Third Mesa; Mishongnovi, Shipaulovi, and Shungopavi, found on Second Mesa; and Walpi, Hano, and Sichomovi, all located on First Mesa.
Farming and gardening are essential elements of Hopi culture. The archaeological record shows that agriculture was introduced to the northern Southwest from Mesoamerica as early as 1500 B.C. The Hopi view of agriculture, specifically corn, differs from academic interpretations. Since the emergence, this life is referred to as the fourth way of life for Hopis. As the Hopi moved from the third to the fourth way of life, they were offered corn by Ma'saw. The other peoples took the largest ears of corn and Hopis were left with the short blue ear. Each clan history explains how the Hopi received the short blue ear. The Hopis knew that their fourth way of life would be difficult and that they must submit to the corn as a way of life. The themes of humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship became the lifeway of all Hopis. In this way, the Hopi have always had corn and agriculture.
The Hopi have been able to adapt to their arid desert climate by using different agricultural methods. These methods include dry farming in the washes or valleys between the mesas as well as gardening on irrigated terraces along the mesa walls below each village. Some of the garden terraces at Paaqavi (Bacavi) have been in use since, approximately, A.D. 1200.
Hopi traditional knowledge begins with the emergence story. The world we live in now is the fourth way of life that the Hopi have lived. Different Hopi clans and animals emerged from the third into this fourth way of life. Hopis tell how the people of the world were offered ears of corn by Ma'saw. Many jumped in ahead of the Hopi and picked large ears of corn and left Hopis the smallest ear. This symbolizes the difficult but enduring life the Hopi live in the arid Southwest. Along with each ear of corn, the various peoples of the world inherited homelands, cultures, and responsibilities from the rest of creation. The Hopi fulfill their responsibilities through their daily life and ceremonies. Hopi life revolves around agriculture, in particular, corn. The Hopi way of life is the corn -- humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship.
Because each story contains information meant specifically for one group of Hopi people, the Hopi learn only the story of their clan. The oral tradition entrusted to each Hopi is more than enough to consider and meditate upon during a lifetime. By pursuing their own understanding, it is natural that the Hopi respect the privacy and sacred nature of the traditions entrusted to other Hopi, as well as other cultures.
Information taken from the website of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office
All contents copyright © 2005, ABOR, NAU. All rights reserved.