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Navajo-France Association » Hopi culture

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Hopi culture

Who are the Hopis ?

Hopis Reservation Map

The Hopi’s are basically hunting and gathering group of people. They migrated North out of Mexico around 500B.C. This people lived in small groups in little pit houses. They had the way to irrigation and grew corn, squash, tobacco, cotton and beans in the middle of the Arizona desert. The Hopis are best known for the irrigation and agriculture.



Their clan system

When the populations grew in the Hopi tribe, they developed clans. Each clan had there own field which there clan was responsible for. The women own the field but only the men of the clan worked in them.
Each clan’s women were also responsible for their ceremonies. When the mother would have a baby, her child would have the same clan as the mother, no matter if it is a boy or girl. For the Hopi people, we only have one clan while the Navajo have four.

Today’s Hopis

Village Hopi

Today, the Hopis live on the Hopi reservation near Black Mesa. They continue to struggle for their own way of living and and their culture belief’s. The Hopi people still fight the U.S government and as well as the Navajo people to return the lands of their ancestors. The elders still teach the young the way of the Hopi culture the beliefs and the secrets to keep the Hopi traditions alive.



Kachinas

What Kachinas are

Kachinas are spiritual beings that are very sacred . There are many types of Kachinas. They come from the San Francisco Peaks located in Flagstaff. Kachinas had taught Hopi men their ways and how to perform ceremonies before they left this earth.

Who get to perform these types of sacred ceremonies

The men are the only ones that know these teachings. They go to villages and dance/perform ceremonies, when they dance they sing and when they sing they are asking for rain to come so that their corn fields will grow, and so they will have a good harvest. They visit their villages during the times of summer and winter. During the summer they dance in plazas and give out food. In the winter they dance in kivas, where they also give out food. Anyone can go see certain Kachina dance but they are asked not to take pictures.

Kachina dolls

Kachina doll Butterfly

There are also Kachina Dolls that are given out during dances by Kachinas, or sold by Hopi artists/painters. Hopi men carve these kachina dolls from wood, these dolls have very bright colors and have extreme detail, and are designed in just the same way a real Kachina would look. These dolls are given to little girls and women. The main time these are given out is during “The Bean Dance,” which is like Hopi Christmas. Kachina dolls are very prized possessions. The men are the only ones who make these, women are not supposed to make Kachina dolls. The art of Kachina doll making is past down mainly through father and son, or by any father type figure. Some Hopi men also sell their Kachina dolls at art shows and galleries around the country.