Who Are the Hopi? – Part Two

Hopi Indian jewelry is a beautiful art form of the Hopi Nation of Native Americans. Here we continue our look at who these people are…

Hopi Reservation and US Relationship

Remains of ancient Hopi villages can be visited today by tourists at Chaco Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Wupatki.

An official Indian Agent of Indian Affairs was appointed by the white American government in 1849, and in 1850, the first formal meeting occurred between the government and Hopi leaders in Santa Fe. The Hopi at that time sought protection from threats from the Navajo. This resulted in the establishment of Fort Defiance in Arizona in 1851.

In 1875, Hopi leaders travelled with an English trader to Washington D.C. where they met with US President Chester Arthur. A federal boarding school for Hopi children was established at Keams Canyon to teach and enforce European culture and language on the Hopi and to persuade them to relinquish their traditions. Boys were forced to cut their long hair, and children were forced to give up their language, clothing, and even their traditional names. Baptist religious conversion also occurred. Many Hopi understandably refused to allow their children to attend.

In 1882, US President Chester Arthur passed an executive order which created the Hopi reservation; this is entirely surrounded by lands annexed by the Navajo reservation. The Navajo reservation is the largest Native American reservation in the USA.

In the 1900s, the government of the US established clinics, schools, missions and bureaus for farming on every Indian reservation. Each reservation was required to have its own tribal court, leader, and police force.

US Congress declared that Native Americans are officially US citizens in 1924. The Hopi ratified a Constitution for themselves in 1936; this vested all powers in a Tribal Council.

Matrilineal Clans

The Hopi are traditionally organized into matrilineal clans. This means that children are born into the clan structure of their mother, and this extends across villages, yet they are named twelve days after birth by the women of the father’s clan in honor of the paternal clan. A child may have many names. Common names are decided by the members of the village, and today, many Hopi children are given an English or otherwise non-Hopi name.

Culture Today

Many Hopi have been influenced by missionary work and Christianity including Mormonism. Some still traditionally observe ceremonies in alignment with the lunar calendar, and while the Christian influence is there, very few have completely dropped their spiritual traditions.

The main income for the Hopi comes from natural resources including coal mining. They were traditionally micro-farmers, and today many have mainstream jobs and also earn income from the creation of art, ceramics, Kachina dolls, and silver Hopi Indian Jewelry.

Check out our beautiful range of Native American jewelry and other goods at Indian Traders today!

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