Published on February 22, 2012 by Amy
The Hopi 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 Navajo did not have a conception of land being bounded and divided. They lived on the land that their ancestors did. On December 16, 1882 President Arthur passed an executive order creating a reservation for the Hopi. It was much smaller than the Navajo reservation, which was the largest in the country.
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The Hopi reservation was originally a rectangle 55 by 70 miles (110 km), in the middle of the Navajo Reservation, with their village lands taking about half of the land. The reservation prevented encroachment by white settlers, but it did not protect the Hopis against the Navajos.
The Hopi and the Navajo continued to fight over land, and they had different models of sustainability, as the Navajo were sheepherders. Eventually the Hopi went before the Senate Committee of Interior and Insular Affairs to ask them to help provide a solution to the dispute. 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 was to divide up communal tribal land into individual allotments by household, to encourage a model of European-American style subsistence farming on individually owned family plots of 640 acres (2.6 km2) or less. The Department of Interior would declare remaining land “surplus” to the tribe’s needs and make it available for purchase by U.S citizens. For the Hopi, the Act would destroy their ability to farm, which was their main means of income. The Bureau of Indian Affairs did not set up land allotments in the Southwest.
The chief of the Oraibi, Lololoma, was very enthusiastic regarding Hopi education, but the people were divided on this issue. Most of the village was conservative and refused to allow their children to attend school. The Indians were referred to as the “hostiles” because they opposed the American government and its attempts to force assimilation. The rest of the Oraibi were called the “friendlies” because of their acceptance of the white people. The “hostiles” refused to let their children attend school. In 1893, the Oraibi Day School was opened in the Oraibi village. Although the school was within the village, the traditional 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. The government sent in troops to arrest the 19 parents and sent them to Alcatraz Prison, where they stayed for a year. Another Oraibi leader, Lomahongyoma, competed with Lololoma for village leadership. In 1906 the village split after a battle between Hostiles and Friendlies. The conservative Hostiles left and formed a new village, known as Hotevilla.
At the turn of the century, the U.S government established day schools, missionaries, 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 Navajo 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.
Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the Hopi established a constitution to create their own tribal government, and in 1936 elected a 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.
From the 1940s to the 1970s, the Navajo kept moving their villages closer and closer to Hopi land, causing the Hopi to raise the land issue with the U.S government. This resulted in the establishment of “District 6” which placed a boundary around the Hopi villages on the first, second, and third mesas, thinning the reservation to 501,501 acres (2,029.50 km2). In 1962 the courts issued the “Opinion, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Judgment,” which stated that the U.S government did not grant the Navajo any type of permission to reside on the Hopi Reservation that was declared in 1882; and that the remaining Hopi land was to be shared with the Navajo.
Between 1961–1964, the Hopi tribal council signed leases with the U.S government that allowed for companies to explore and drill for oil, gas and minerals within Hopi country. This drilling brought over 3 million dollars to the Hopi Tribe. In 1974, The Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act was passed. It created the Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation Commission, which forced the relocation of any Hopi or Navajo living on the other’s land. In 1992, the Hopi Reservation was increased to 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2)
The Hopi tribe earns most of its income from natural resources. On the 1,800,000-acre (7,300 km2) reservation, a significant amount of coal is mined yearly. Peabody Western Coal Company is one of the largest coal operations on Hopi land, with long-time permits for continued mining.
The tribe’s 2010 operating budget was $21.8 million, and projected mining revenues for 2010 was $12.8 million.
The Hopi Economic Development Corporation is the tribal enterprise tasked with creating diverse, viable economic opportunities. The HEDC oversees the Hopi Cultural Center and Walpi Housing Management. Other HEDC businesses include the Hopi Three Canyon Ranches, between Flagstaff and Winslow; and the 26 Bar Ranch in Eagar; Hopi Travel Plaza in Holbrook; three commercial properties in Flagstaff; and the Kokopelli Inn in Sedona.
Tourism is a source of income, and the tribe’s opening of the 100-room Moenkopi Legacy Inn and Suites in Moenkopi, Arizona, near Tuba City, Arizona, is the second hotel on the reservation. It provides non-Hopi a venue for entertainment, lectures, and educational demonstrations, as well as tours and lodging. The project is expected to support 400 jobs. The tribe operates the Tuuvi Travel Center and Tuuvi Café in Moenkopi. The Hopi people have repeatedly voted against gambling casinos as an economic opportunity.
The name ‘Hopi’ is a shortened form of their autonym, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu (“The Peaceful People” or “Peaceful Little Ones”). The Hopi Dictionary gives the primary meaning of the word “Hopi” as: “behaving one, one who is mannered, civilized, peaceable, polite, who adheres to the Hopi way.” In the past, Hopi sometimes used the term “Hopi” and its cognates to refer to the Pueblo peoples in general, in contrast to other, more warlike tribes.
Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture’s religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. To be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, which involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth. The Hopi observe their traditional ceremonies for the benefit of the entire world.
Traditionally, Hopi are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife’s clan. These clan organizations extend across all villages. Children are named by the women of the father’s clan. On the twentieth day of a baby’s life, the women of the paternal clan gather, each woman bringing a name and a gift for the child. In some cases where many relatives would attend, a child could be given over forty names, for example. The child’s parents generally decide the name to be used from these names. Current practice is to either use a non-Hopi or English name or the parent’s chosen Hopi name. A person may also change the name upon initiation into one of the religious societies, such as the Kachina society, or with a major life event.
The Hopi practice a complete cycle of traditional ceremonies although not all villages retain or had the complete ceremonial cycle. These ceremonies take place according to the lunar calendar and are observed in each of the Hopi villages. Like other Native American groups, the Hopi have been influenced by Christianity and the missionary work of several Christian denominations. Few have converted enough to Christianity to drop their traditional religious practices.
Traditionally the Hopi are highly skilled micro or subsistence farmers. The Hopi also are part of the wider cash economy; a significant number of Hopi have mainstream jobs; others earn a living by creating high-quality Hopi art, notably the carving of Kachina dolls, the expert crafting of earthenware ceramics, and the design and production of fine jewelry, especially sterling silver.