Hopi Indians, one of the Pueblo tribes. The Hopis speak a Shoshonean language. Their name means peaceful ones. They live in northeastern Arizona on a reservation that is completely surrounded by the Navajo reservation. The Hopi area contains three mesas on which are located 10 Hopi pueblos (villages). Oraibi pueblo, built some 900 years ago, is one of the oldest villages in the United States. The Hopi Cultural Center, on Second Mesa, has vocational training facilities, a museum, shops, and tourist accommodations.

Oraibi puebloOraibi pueblo was built by the Hopi Indians some 900 years ago.

There is strip-mining for coal on the reservation, and some manufacturing is done there. Most of the Hopis, however, engage in dry farming, with corn as the major crop. They keep large flocks of sheep. The Hopis are skilled in making pottery and baskets and in weaving. The Hopis hold many elaborate ceremonies and dances. One of the best known is the snake dance, like most Hopi dances a prayer for rain, in which the dancers carry live snakes.

The Hopis are organized into groups consisting of related clans. The society is matriarchal, with women owning the property and heading the families. Traditionally, each village is autonomous. In the 1930's the United States government organized a Hopi tribal council, but it has never had the support of the majority of the people. In general, the Hopis remain faithful to their traditional religion, which recognizes a number of deities, including the kachinasspirits of ancestors, animals, plants, and forces of nature.

The Hopi snake danceThe Hopi snake dance is a prayer for rain.

The Hopis are descendants of the Anasazi, a prehistoric Indian people. They have lived at their present site for about 1,000 years. The Coronado expedition visited them in 1540 and the Spaniards occupied the region in 1598, but they were driven out within a century. When a Christian missionary returned and converted many persons in one pueblo, it was destroyed and all its inhabitants killed by other Hopis. The present Hopi reservation was set aside in 1882. Over the years, there have been disputes with the Navajos regarding grazing land. A 1974 partition of the disputed land by the federal government failed to satisfy either side. There are now about 9,000 Hopis living on or near the reservation.