Published on October 27, 2010 by John
The Hopi are a group of indigenous Native American people who primarily live on the 12,635 km² (2,531.773 sq mi) Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The Hopi Reservation is entirely surrounded by the much larger Navajo Reservation. The two nations used to share the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area. The partition of this area, commonly known as Big Mountain, by Acts of Congress in 1974 and 1996, has resulted in longterm controversy.
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The Hopi area according to the 2000 census has a population of 6,946 people
Oraibi, the oldest Hopi village, is most important to the people’s history. It has been occupied since at least 1150 CE. It is the oldest continuously inhabited village within the territory of the United States. In the 1540s the village had 1,500-3,000 residents.
Early European contact, 1540-1680
The first recorded European contact with the Hopi was by the Spanish in 1540. Spanish General Francisco Vasquez de Coronado had come to North America to explore the land. While at the Zuni villages, he learned of the Hopi tribe. De Coronado dispatched Pedro de Tovar and other members of their party to find the Hopi villages. The Spanish wrote that the first Hopi village they visited was Awatovi. They noted that there were about 16,000 Hopi and Zuni people. A few years later the Spanish explorer Garcia Lopez de Cardenas investigated the Rio Grande and met the Hopi people. The Hopi warmly entertained de Cardenas and his men and directed him on his journey.
In 1582-1583 the Hopis were visited by Antonio de Espejo’s expedition. He noted that there were five Hopi villages and around 12,000 Hopi people.During these early years, the Spanish were exploring and dominating the southwestern region of the New World. There were never many in the Hopi country. Their visits to the Hopi were random and spread out over many years. Many times the visits were from military explorations. The Spanish colonized near the Rio Grande and, because the Hopis did not live near rivers that gave access to the Rio Grande, the Spanish never left any troops on their land. The Spanish were accompanied by missionaries, Catholic friars. Beginning in 1629, with the arrival of 30 Friars in Hopi country, the Franciscan Period started. The Franciscans had missionaries assigned and built a church at Awatovi. The Hopi Indians originally were against conversion. After an incident where Father Porras purportedly restored the sight of a blind youth, by placing a cross over his eyes, the Hopi at Awatovi believed in Christianity. Most Hopi in the other villages continued to resist conversion, wanting to maintain their own ways.
Pueblo Revolt of 1680
Main article: Pueblo Revolt
The priests were not very successful in converting the natives, and persecuted the Hopi for keeping their religion. The Spaniards took advantage of Hopi labor and the products they produced. The harsh treatment by the Spanish caused the Hopis to become less tolerant of them. The only significant conversions were at the pueblo of Awatovi. Eventually the Rio Grande Pueblo Indians suggested a revolt in the year 1680, and Hopi supported them.
This was the first time that all the Pueblo people worked together to drive the Spanish colonists away. The Hopi revolted against the Spanish, attacking missions, killing friars and destroying the Catholic churches. After the revolt it took two decades for the Spanish to reassert their control over the Rio Grande Pueblos. Spanish influence in the distant Hopi country was limited, but by 1700, the friars had built a new, smaller church at Awatovi. During the winter of 1700-01 the other Hopi villages sacked Awatovi, killed the men of the village and carried off the women and children. Despite intermittent attempts in the course of the 17th century, the Spanish failed to reestablish a presence in the Hopi country.
Hopi-U.S relations, 1849-1946
Nampeyo Ceramic jar, circa 1880
In 1849, John S. Calhoun was appointed official Indian agent of Indian Affairs for the Southwest Territory of the U.S. He had headquarters in Santa Fe and he was responsible for all of the Indian residents of the area. The first formal meeting between the Hopi Indians and the U.S Government happened in the year 1850 when seven Hopi leaders made the trip to Santa Fe to meet with Calhoun. Their objective was to ask the government for protection against the Navajo Indians. At this time, the Hopi leader was Nakwaiyamtewa. As a result of this meeting, Fort Defiance was established in 1851 in Arizona and troops were placed in Navajo country to deal with the Navajo threats. General James J. Carleton, with the assistance of Kit Carson, was assigned to travel through the area. They “captured” the Navajo natives and forced them to the fort. As a result of the Navajo Long Walk, the Hopis were able to enjoy a short period of peace. In 1847, Mormons founded Utah and tried to convert the Indians to Mormonism. Jacob Hamblin, a Mormon missionary, first made a trip into Hopi country in 1858. He was on good terms with the Hopi Indians and in 1875 a Mormon church was built on Hopi land.
The Hopis have always viewed their land as sacred. Agriculture is a very important part of their culture and their villages are spread out across the northern part of Arizona. The Hopi and the Navajos both never knew of land boundaries, including state boundaries, and just lived on the land that their ancestors did. On December 16, 1882 President Arthur passed an executive order creating a reservation for the Hopi Indians. Their reservation was much smaller than the Navajo reservation, which was the largest in the country. The Hopi reservation was originally a perfect rectangle 55 by 70 miles (110 km), in the middle of the Navajo Reservation with their village lands only taking up about half of the land within their reservation.This reservation kept white settlers from coming through their land, but it did not protect the Hopis against the Navajos.Significant amount of time has been spent between the Hopi and the Navajos fighting over land. Eventually the Hopis went before the Committee of Interior and Insular Affairs to ask them to help provide a solution to the dispute between the two tribes. The tribes argued over around 1,800,000 acres (7,300 km2) of land in northern Arizona. In 1887 the U.S Government passed the Dawes Allotment Act. The purpose of this Act was to divide up tribal land into privately owned individual family plots of 640 acres (2.6 km2) or less. The remaining land would be free for U.S citizens to purchase. For the Hopis, this Act would destroy their ability to farm, which was their main means of income. Fortunately the attempt of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to set up land allotments in the Southwest never resulted in the division of Hopi land.
Very old abandoned house and panoramic view from Oraibi village
The history of the Oraibi split is one of the most famous about the Hopi tribe. The chief of the Oraibi at this time, Lololoma, was very enthusiastic regarding Hopi education but the Oraibi people were divided on this issue. Most of the village was conservative and refused to allow their children to attend school. These Indians were referred to as the “hostiles” because they opposed the American government and their attempts at assimilation. The rest of the Oraibi Hopis were called the “friendlies” because of their liberal attitude and acceptance of the white people. The “hostiles,” unlike the “friendlies,” refused to let their children attend school. In 1893, the Oraibi Day School was opened in the Oraibi village. Even though this school was within the village, the hostile parents still refused to allow their children to attend. In 1894, a group of Hopi parents announced that they were against the ideas of Washington and did not want their children to be exposed to the culture of the White American people. They also said that this argument couldn’t be settled peacefully, so the government sent in troops to arrest the nineteen parents and sent them to Alcatraz Prison where they stayed for a year.Another main Oraibi figure at this time, Lomahongyoma, competed with Lololoma for village leadership. Eventually the village split in 1906 after a battle between Hostiles and Friendlies. The conservative Hostiles were forced to leave the village and form their own village, called Hotevilla.
At the turn of the century, the U.S Government put a policy into effect that created day schools, missionaries, provided farming assistants and physicians on every Indian reservation. This policy required that every reservation set up its own Indian-police and Tribal courts, and appoint a chief or leader who would represent their tribe within the U.S Government. In 1910 in the Census for Indians, the Hopi Tribe had a total of 2,000 members, which was the highest in 20 years. The Navajos at this time had 22,500 members and have consistently increased in population. During the early years of this century, only about 3% of Hopis lived off the reservation.In 1924 Congress officially declared Native Americans to be U.S citizens. The Indian Reorganization Act helped the Hopis to establish a constitution for their tribe and in 1936 also helped them to create their own Tribal Council. The Preamble to the Hopi constitution states that they are a self-governing tribe, focused on working together for peace and agreements between villages in order to preserve the “good things of Hopi life”. The Constitution consists of thirteen different “Articles” all with a different topic of interest. The articles cover the topics of territory, membership, and organization of their government with a legislative, executive and judicial branch. The rest of the articles discuss the twelve villages recognized by the tribe, lands, elections, Bill of Rights and more.
The Hopi tribe is federally recognized and headquartered in Kykotsmovi, Arizona. Their current tribal chairperson is Leroy Shingiotewa.The tribal council was established on December 19, 1936, and the current administration is as follows:
* Upper Moencopi:
o Everett Calnimptewa
o Danny Humetewa Sr.
o Wayne Kuwanhyoima
o Leroy Sumatzkuku
o Velma Kalyesvah
o Arvin Puhuyesva
o Mike R. Puhuyesva
o Danny Honanie
o Norman Honanie
o Phillip R. Quochytewa, Sr.
o Nada Talayumptewa
o Emma Anderson
o Archie Duwahoyeoma
o Leon Koruh
o Owen Numkena
* First Mesa
o Alvin Chaca
o Leroy Lewis
o Dale Sinquah
o Celestino Youvella
* Tribal Secretary: Mary Felter
* Sergeant at Arms: Violet Sinquah
* Tribal Treasurer: Russell Mockta, Jr.