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The Hopi Peoples

2013-07-05 16:16:34 - By Jennifer Perri


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 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.

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.

 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.


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