The Culture of The Hopi Indians

Published on September 22, 2010 by Alice

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The Hopi Indians have lived in the same area of the Southwest since before the time of Columbus. They lived in what is now Arizona. They lived on desert land at the foot of the mesas.

The Hopi Indians believed in many gods. The Hopi used Kachinas to talk to their gods. Kachinas were Hopi spirits or gods which lived within the mountains. Hopi dancers would dress like Kachinas to represent, or stand for, the gods. Wooden Kachina dolls were made to teach the children about the gods. The Hopi believed the Kachina costume gave magic power to the man who wore it. They felt a man needed magic to talk to the gods. Hopi Kachinas talked to the gods by singing and dancing. The Kachinas danced and sang for rain. They did their dances over and over. Sometimes the gods did not seem to hear the Kachinas, and it would not rain for weeks. At other times the gods seemed to hear the Kachinas right away, for it would rain and rain.

When it rained hard, the rain would run down the mesas forming little paths. The Hopi would plant corn in the paths that the running water took. Like the Anasazi, the Hopi grew corn, beans, and squash. But the Hopi Indians depended on the rain to make their crops grow. If their plants did not grow, the Hopi might starve. The Hopi also planted cotton and tamed wild turkeys.

Hopi Indians built their houses out of stone with clay plastered on the outside and inside. There were no doors or windows. The Hopi entered their homes through a hole in the ceiling with ladders. Hopi Indians of today live in the same type of homes, but now have doors and windows.

The Hopi ate very little meat because animals were so scarce. Mostly, the Hopi ate something made with corn. Hopi women knew over 50 ways to cook with corn. Corn was dried on the roof of the house and then ground into a flour-like meal. Hopi women and girls would gather in groups to visit while spending hours grinding corn.

Hopi women also made beuatiful baskets, clay bowls, and jewelry. The men hunted, farmed, and wove cloth for blankets, clothing and belts. The men wore these belts with short skirts. The women wore them with long dresses. They wore moccasins on their feet. The children dressed like their parents.

Hopi children almost never had to be punished. If they were bad, they were talked to. If they were very, very bad, the men would dress up as a Scare Kachina to frighten them. The men would wear scary masks with long teeth and popping eyes. They would scare the children but never hurt them.

The religious beliefs of the Hopi Indians were called the Hopi Way. It was the Hopi Way to love all people, plants, animals. It was the Hopi Way to be kind to everyone and everything. If a Hopi Indian was cruel, everyone in the village would stop talking to him. The Hopi Indians lived a quiet, peaceful life. They almost never fought because they were too busy farming to have time for fighting.

Source: Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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