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The Hopi Native Americans


The Hopi tribes lived in small desert villages near phoenix
Arizona. The Hopis had six towns on three high mesas, and a
seventh village shared with the Tewa Indians, Who called
the Hopi,"The peaceful ones". The homes the Hopi lived in
were called Pueblos. These were square, flat topped
houses,several stories high, with ladders leading to the
upper levels. The material the pueblos were made out of
varied slightly depending on the location. The Hopi pueblos
are made of stone when they are on mesas. When the pueblos
are on the lowlands they are made of brick.
The Hopi people were very peaceful, And had practically no
sports or gambling. The Hopi were brown skinned,had broad
flat noses,large mouths. Women often were plump. The Hopi
were divided by the mothers extended family, these groups
were called clans. Each clan had a chief. The chief led the
people,supervised irrigation projects,and stamped out witch
craft. When the Hopis farmed they relied on under ground
water, which they could transport. Farms could be miles
away from the pueblos. They farmed without horses.
The Hopi children learned domestic skills from their
mother. Boys learned to weave, while girls cared for the
infants, learned how to grind corn, weave baskets, and make
While a mother was waiting to give birth she made sure her
hair was knot free, and that she stayed away from snakes,
otherwise the baby might come out crooked. After a young
Hopi was born, they were included in a ceremony at twenty
days of age. When boys and girls were eight years of age,
they could participate in the rain ceremonies, and to join
a Kachina cult. When Hopis reached the age between sixteen
and twenty they officially became adults. The girls had a
corn grinding festival. They would grind corn for four days
(to prove they knew the skill ),after four days they would
come out and their hair would be positioned in two huge
buns at each side of the head. This meant they were ready
for marriage. The boys would have to successfully defeat
other men in a fight, and always came out victorious. 

In the Hopi society the men choose their spouse, even
though the women had to agree. One of the strictest of Hopi
rules is that you may not marry within the same clan. This
was such a serious rule, that marrying inside the clan
hardly ever passed through the mind of a young Hopi. Hopi
men could only have one wife at a time, just as the women
could only have one husband. When a Hopi wore their wedding
clothes, the only other time they wore it was at their
burials. When someone died the were buried in a sitting
position, with their head between their knees. The mourners
left food near the grave each day. 

The Hopi house hold ran down the maternal line. The women
inherited, or owned the homes. The uncle raised her
children instead of their father because their father was
raising his sisters children! The men were responsible for
their mothers house, and their sister's.
The biggest part in the Hopi religion are the Kachina gods.
Kachinas were their rain gods, who were supposedly
friendly. One of these Kachinas is the spider woman, who
the Hopi believe wove the clouds. During Hopi ceremonies,
the men would dress like Kachinas, and dance in the plazas.
There were special groups of dancers at these ceremonies,
the Koshahe, the society of clowns in black and white
stripes, and the Goyemshi, the mud heads. As rain
sacrifices to their gods the Hopi would leave feathered
wands in their cornfields. 

The Kiva was the Hopi religious center. Only men were
allowed in. It was where they prayed to the spirits.
One of the most famous Hopi ceremonies is the snake
ceremony. The men gathered around the Kiva, and collected
snakes. They washed, and purified the snakes, after this
was complete they prayed for four days. The men were cooped
up with the snakes for four whole days, When the men came
out they each had a snake in their mouth. They danced with
the snake in their mouths, then released them as messengers
to the rain gods.
I think that these Indians are extremely interesting to
study. They managed to live in desert climates, farm,
practice their religion, and raise their families. The Hopi
villages are the oldest continually inhabited villages in
the Americas. 


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