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Hopi Indian Tribe


Hopi Indian Tribe

Walpi Snake Priest

The Hopi Indian Tribe speak a Uto-Aztecan language and have probably inhabited the area of the Four-Corners region of the Southwestern US for millennia according to archeological evidence.  In fact, the Hopi town of Oraibi is said to be the oldest know town in the United States, having been discovered by the Spanish in the 1540s.  Presently the majority of the Hopi Indian Tribe lives in a federal reservation whose boundaries are within the larger Navajo Indian Reservation.   This presents a dilemma for the Hopi People in that historically relations with the Navajo People have been hostile, the Hopi being frequent victims of raids on their livestock and crops by the Navajos.  However, the US Government has historically tried to protect the Hopi Indians from their more numerous Navajo neighbors and have created a reservations of about 6,500 square kilometers for them.   Similar to the Navajo Indian Tribe, the Hopi are arranged into matrilineal clans. The Hopi children belong to their mother's clan rather than their fathers. The Hopi still practice their native religion and have traditional religious societies, an example being Kachina society.  The Hopi word "Kachina," strictly speaking, refers to spiritual beings rather than the Kachina dolls or Kachina dancers used in religious ceremonies.  The Kachina spirits are often used to represent historical events, and stories about the various Kachinas are used to teach children about life and the Hopi way of being.  Similar to the Navajos, the Hopi were used by the US Military during WWII.  Not to be outdone by the US Marines and their famous Navaho code talkers, the US Army had Hopi code talkers supporting their Wildcat Division so that enemy Japanese forces could not intercept messages during battle.  The Walpi Snake Priest, as shown in the photograph above, used eagle feathers to manipulate animal spirits, as Hopis were animists, believing that animal spirits were responsible for bad luck and diseases.  The Hopi Indian Tribe refers to themselves as the "Hopituh Shi-nu-mu" (The Peaceful People) and currently has a population of about 18 thousand Native Americans. 


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