Hopi Indians

By: Kelsey B

American West Home
Works Cited
 The Hopi Indians came to the west in about 500 A.D. Many historians say they were the first Native Americans to make the United States their home. They are descendents of the Pueblo Indians and make their home in Northeastern Arizona. They live on top of mesas where pueblos made of stone are built. When the family grows they add on to the pueblo. The Hopis believe in the Hopi Way; which means that they perform certain rituals and follow religious rules in order to keep the world in balance. The Hopis really take the Hopi Way seriously. They are always using it in their lives. For example they believe that everything in life should be managed in art. Many of the jobs people have are to make pottery or baskets. The Hopis are an Indian tribe that does not rely on the outside world. They think if the tribe works as a team, they can do anything to protect the tribe from problems that may occur.
Chief Tuba was a Hopi leader in a small town of Moencopi, Arizona in the 19th century. Tuba was born in 1810 in Oraibi, Arizona in the Short Corn Clan. In 1858, the first Mormon missionaries came to the Hopi reservation to try and covert the Hopis to becoming Mormons. Tuba had many thoughts going through his head about Mormonism. He did not know what to think about them. After many years of the Mormons irritating the Hopis to convert, Tuba got angry and in 1870, Tuba and his wife, Pulaskaninki, decided that they would visit Utah to see how the Mormons live their lives. They spent a year with the Mormons and even Brigham Young, the Mormon leader who took over after Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, died.  After spending a lot of the time with the Mormons Chief Tuba decided to convert to Mormonism. He still lived in Moencopi because a Mormon city called Tuba City was being built near Moencopi to allow Mormons and Hopis to both live together. In 1887, Tuba died and in 1941, a sandstone plaque was dedicated in Tuba City by the Mormons in honor of Tuba.





The Hopi Indians lived in peace until the Spanish tried to take over them. The Hopis first encountered the Spanish lead by Francisco de Coronado in 1540. Coronado explained to the Hopis that they were looking for riches like gold. The Hopis were pretty welcoming, but the Spanish did not care. They stole from them and even attacked them. The Hopis did not know what to think of the attack. They decided they wanted the Spanish to leave because they killed many of their people by attacking them or giving them new diseases they were not immune to. The Hopi decided to tell the Spanish about a great river that was nearby and so the Spanish left to explore it. The Hopis were left alone for about 40 years until the Spanish came back. This time they were trying to convert the Hopis to Christianity. The Hopis though did not budge. They knew their religion was the way they wanted to live. Even though the Hopis did not want to convert the Spanish made them build churches in hopes that maybe some would convert. Nobody converted and so the Spanish left to see if other Indian tribes would convert.
The Hopis are an Indian tribe that really thrives on their agriculture. The Hopis live in a very warm climate, so growing food can be hard to do. Since the Hopis live in an area that receives little rainfall they use a technique called dry farming to grow their crops. Dry farming conserves the moisture in the soil, so the crops can get some water nutrients to grow. They also used irrigation canals to get water to the crops. Even though dry farming is a tedious job to accomplish; the Hopis believe that the crops they grow illustrate faith in life. The most important crop that the Hopis rely on is corn. Corn is the most important crop because in their religious ceremonies they focus on rain coming so that the corn can grow. Another food that is important during ceremonies is piki bread. It is bread that is very thin and made from blue corn meal. The Hopis work very hard to follow and accomplish their work. It shows when they are doing their farming and they really enjoy working their hardest.
The Hopis Indians were and still are an interesting tribe to explore. Ever since the Europeans came to the west and westernized it, Hopis have followed some of their ways and used some of their own ways. One big change was their clothing. They used to wear clothes made from animal skins and hand woven materials, but when the Europeans came the Hopis westernized their clothing. Since the Hopis have many religious ceremonies they wear their traditional clothing to them. Another thing interesting is katsina dolls. Katsina dolls are wooden dolls that are painted to look like different gods. There are a lot of the dolls and all represent different gods. The dolls are thought to help the people with everyday chores and with their spiritual needs. They are usually given to children because it helps them learn about what each katsina doll does and represents. Finally, education is really important to the Hopis. The Hopis believe that the children should have a Hopi education and Western education. Given that the Hopi Way is solely based on cooperation and not competition, many children have a hard time or fail in their western studies. The Hopis are very serious about the Hopi Way in which they apply to all their responsibilities they do daily. That reason makes them a very unique tribe in the Southwest.