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1st Retreat, Hopi Makeup
You need to read this creation story and write a report on it with enough detail that I know that you
really read it. Then go to Part 2.
The Hopi myth of creation begins with the creator and endless space. Like many other religious and
scientific views of the emergence of earth and man, the Hopi belief of creation began with the
Taiowa created Sotuknang first followed by Spider Woman, then a set of twins. These first people created
by the creator were in tune with the creator in a way which modern day people are not. The first Hopi
people were committed to their creator and only wished to do as the creator commanded them.
The Hopi believe that the human race has passed through three different worlds and life ways since the
beginning. At the end of each prior world, human life has been purified or punished by the Great Spirit
due mainly to corruption, greed and turning away from the Great Spirit's teachings. The last great
destruction was the flood which destroyed all but a few faithful ones who asked and received a permission
from the Great Spirit to live with Him in this new land. The Great Spirit said, "It is up to you, if you
are willing to live my poor, humble and simple life way. It is hard but if you agree to live according
to my teachings and instructions, if you never lose faith in the life I shall give you, you may come and
live with me." The Hopi and all who were saved from the great flood made a sacred covenant with the
Great Spirit at that time. We Hopi made an oath that we will never turn away from Him. For us the
Creators laws never change or break down.
The first of these three worlds gave the Hopi people a simple life with the animals. The second world
produced further developments such as crafts, homes and villages. The third world proved to be a great
world with mass multiplication, advances in society such as big cities, countries and a higher form of
civilization. This proved to be too difficult a barrier to carry on the wishes and plan of the creator.
The more advanced a society became, the more the people became preoccupied with their own earthly
plans. Those who remained close to the creator and his plan recognized that the more advanced society
became and the longer people remained on earth, the harder it was to keep the wishes of the creator.
In this third world, the creator allowed for the world to be destroyed by flood. The Hopi who believed
were guided by Spider woman to safety and then the earth was flooded. After a long period of time in
safe keeping, the Hopi people were instructed as how to journey to the fourth world, known as Tuwaqachi,
or World Complete. Once the journey was complete the people were instructed that although this new
world is not as beautiful and easy as the previous worlds, it has everything the people need and allows
them great choice. The manner in which the people choose will determine whether or not this world must
be destroyed as the previous three, or whether the Creator's plan will be carried out by the people.
A gift given to the Hopi by the creator was the ability to communicate with each other even though
they did not speak the same language. They could do this through a closeness of spirit which allowed
them to see and talk to each other through the center on the top of their head. They had this ability
because of the continuance of singing praises to the creator.
The Hopi believed there is a consequence to every action. There is also a distinct difference between
the balance of nature on earth and human nature on earth. Human nature has some characteristic flaws
such as greed, hatred, and violence. The Hopi believe that human nature has destroyed three previous
worlds due to a lack of respect for nature by humans as well as a lack of respect for one another,
as well as a lack of respect and reverence toward the Creator.
The people once dwelled in the Third World inside the earth and lived there in good ways for many
years, but eventually materialism prevailed and the people forgot the laws of the Great spirit.
Corruption ensued and a great division of the people resulted for some wanted to continue to follow
the good laws and live Simply, while self-importance took over the hearts of many. Immorality
flourished so the high priests and the leader gathered together to smoke and pray for guidance.
This is when the idea came to them to move. Because they had been hearing footsteps in the sky above
them, they sent a red racer snake and birds to investigate, neither of which was successful. Finally,
a :ootsa, or small sparrow hawk, found the sipapuni, or hole in the sky, and emerged into this, the
Fourth World. There it found a well dressed and handsome young man sitting next to a fire. Around his
neck were four strands of turquoise and from his ears hung large pendants of this same precious stone.
Streaks of black hematite ran from the bridge of his nose downward to each cheek. He identified himself
as Maasaw, Caretaker of the Earth. He knew of the situation below and because of the trouble the people
had brought upon themselves, he refused to grant them permission to enter the Fourth World.
When the sparrow hawk returned to the leader and priests with this disheartening news, they tried again.
This time they sent along paho, or prayer feathers, and instructed the bird to present this to Maasaw for
an offering. The leader pledged that only good people would enter the Fourth World if permission to enter
were granted. The young man was impressed by the prayer feathers and granted permission, but only if the
people agreed to practice his way of life. But the evil ones must stay behind.
The leader and priests were overjoyed with the news and instructed by guidance, planted a spruce tree
and pine trees. As they sang creation songs and prayed, the trees shot up into the air but the branches
were too soft to support the people all the way into the upper world. So a bamboo reed was planted.
Because all of this was kept secret from the corrupt people, only the good- hearted people knew of the
plans to leave. They climbed the bamboo reed, which did not have sections in the beginning, and as they
grew tired, rested between the joints as they worked their way up. Thus sections were created in the
bamboo reed where the people rested. Finally, the pointed end of the bamboo pierced the sky and the
people climbed through the emergence hole into this, the Fourth World where Maasaw gave them his rules
for living a proper way of life, along with the navoti, or prophetic statements. He then instructed the
Hopi to migrate to the four coruers of the earth, assuring them that after their wanderings they would
eventually meet at a common site. It was there they were to found a village, name it Oraibi, and settle
permanently. Here they would gather eternal benefits from the land for the area was the "backbone of the earth."
Old Spiderwoman, who emerged with the people, was given a stone tablet on which she magically inscribed
Maasaw's instructions on life. Then, breaking it in two, Maasaw gave one half of the tablet to the Hopi
and one half to the Pahana, the Elder White Brother, who had also emerged with them.
You need to read this material and write a report on it with
enough detail that I know that you really read it.
HOPI PREHISTORY MAKEUP
Archaeologists relate the Pueblo to an older Southwest culture known by the term Basket Maker.
The entire cultural sequence is called the Anasazi (Navajo for Òancient onesÓ) culture. During the early
Basket Maker phase (100? bc-ad 500?) prehistoric settlements were established in the northern part of the
Southwest. The inhabitants practiced weaving. They lived in caves or built shelters of poles and adobe mud.
Pumpkins and corn were grown as a supplement to hunting and the gathering of wild plants. Food was stored in
underground pits, often lined with stone slabs. With the addition of a bean crop and the domestication of the
turkey, agriculture became more important than hunting and gathering during the Modified Basket Maker period
(ad 500-700). Pottery was introduced. The food storage pits developed into semi-subterranean houses and
ceremonial chambers, and buildings began to take their present connected form.
The transition from the Basket Maker to the Pueblo culture occurred about ad 700. Stone construction
was adopted, and the connected, now-aboveground houses became larger. The ceremonial chamber developed
into the kiva, an underground chamber used for rituals and as a male lodge. Several kinds of corn were
grown, and the cultivation of cotton may have been introduced. Pottery was produced in a diversity of
shapes and styles. During this period the Anasazi made their greatest territorial expansion, reaching
as far as central Utah, southern Colorado, and a large part of northern Mexico. During the Classic
Pueblo period (1050-1300) the northernmost regions were no longer occupied, and the population became
concentrated in large multistoried, terraced pueblos and in similar villages built in recesses in
cliffs. Notable advances occurred in pottery and weaving. At the end of this period many large centers
of Pueblo life were abandoned, possibly because of drought or because of invading bands of Navajo
and Apache. During the Regressive Pueblo period (1300-1700) many villages inhabited today were founded.
Houses became less elaborate, but pottery and weaving continued to develop.
During the Modern Pueblo period (1700-present), cattle, goats, horses, and sheep were introduced
by the Spanish, and wool replaced cotton as the principal textile.
The Pueblos, probably the Zuni, were first encountered by the Spanish in 1539, by the Spanish
Franciscan missionary Marcos de Niza. A year later the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado,
searching for the legendary Seven Cities of C’bola, led an expedition among the Hopi; failing to find
any treasure, he withdrew. In 1598 the Spanish occupied the Pueblo country, and by 1630 Spanish
missions were established in almost every village. A mass Pueblo revolt in 1680 drove the Spanish
from the territory. No other indigenous group had succeeded in doing this, and the Pueblo were not
reconquered until 1692. Few of the missions were reestablished, and most of the villages continued
their ancient religion. The number of villages during this time was reduced from about 80 to about 30.
The Pueblo remained under Spanish, and then Mexican, domination until the close of the Mexican War in
1848, when they came under United States jurisdiction. Throughout this time, they preserved their
traditional culture to an unusually high degree, often adopting superficial religious or governmental
changes but maintaining the old ways in secrecy. The western villages, in particular, resisted Spanish
influence; in the eastern villages, some Spanish elements were assimilated into the underlying
According to Fewkes, Hopi is a contraction of Hopitu, meaning "peaceful ones," or Hopitu-shinumu,
"peaceful all people." The name Moke (Moqui), which was frequently used to refer to the Hopi before
the early twentieth century, is of disputed significance, but is never used by the Hopi themselves.
The Hopi live on a reservation of nearly 4,000 square miles in northeastern Arizona. Their territory
was traditionally known as the Tusayan region. The Hopi language belongs to the Shoshonean branch of
the Uto-Aztecan language family. In 1950, the Hopi population was 3,500, with village populations
averaging 300. (Eggan 1950: 18). For more extensive summaries of the Hopi culture, see Lowie (1940),
Murdock (1934), Forde (1934), and Fewkes (1959)
The climate of northeastern Arizona is dry and temperate. Rainfall averages less than 10 inches
per year, primarily in midsummer thunderstorms. The area is a plateau marked with washes, gullies,
canyons, and mesas. The natural vegetation includes sage, yucca, greasewood, cactus, etc. The fauna
include deer, antelope, wildcat, badger, coyote, and rabbits. Dogs and turkeys are the Hopi's only
In spite of the aridity, the Hopi were traditionally agriculturalists, the principal crop being maize.
In addition they raised beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, and cotton. Irrigation was not practiced
except in small gardens. Sheepherding was also a major subsistence activity. Hunting was primarily a
ceremonial activity, and methods and implements such as the rabbit stick, a throwing club similar in
function to the boomerang (but non-returnable), were devised to avoid shedding the blood of the
Hopi settlements were built on the tops of three mesas, as a protection against attacks. Located on
First Mesa are the pueblos of Sichomovi and Walpi. On Second Mesa are Mishongnovi, Shipaulovi, and
Shongopovi. Bakavi, Hotevilla and Oraibi are located on Third Mesa. In addition, New Oraibi and
Moenkopi, which are new villages formed by dissidents from Old Oraibi, are also located on Third
Mesa. Hano, a non-Hopi Tewa pueblo, is also located on First Mesa.
The pueblos consisted of terraced apartment buildings of adobe arranged around streets and plazas.
The structures were two or more stories in height. Residence was matrilocal and extended families
lived together. In addition, each pueblo had a number of underground structures, known as kivas,
where religious activities were conducted.
Each pueblo was politically independent. There was no overall chief or council. There was usually
a village chief, who was also leader of the most important ceremony, Soyal. This office was
hereditary in the Bear clan. The chief owned the land and cared for and protected his people.
He was aided by a council of hereditary clan leaders, who were also ceremonial leaders within
There were a large number of matrilineal clans, with animal or plant names. The clans owned
the cultivated land which was parceled out to individual families. The clans also had communal
rights in shrines, water sources, ritual equipment, and kivas. Political and ceremonial offices
were held in lineages and were hereditary.
Religion among the Hopi involved elaborate ceremonialism in which Kachinas occupied a prominent
place. The Kachinas represented spiritual beings, including the spirits of plants, animals,
stars, ancestors, etc., who aided men and women in their journey through life. There were some
250 types of Kachinas, and these types were constantly changing as old ones died out and new ones
appeared. Kachinas were on earth for six months of the year. They made their first appearance at
winter solstice in the Soyal ceremony and left in July, after the first fruits had been harvested
and their aid was no longer needed. (In the spirit world everything was reversed, so it was winter
solstice there, and the Kachinas were needed.) The kiva groups were responsible for the performance
of the Kachina ceremonies, and the responsibility rotated among the kivas from year to year. All
children were initiated into the Kachina cult. This initiation took place in February, at the
celebration Powamu. Men performed as Kachinas, although the Kachinas were both male and female.
Each man made his own mask, which was repainted and decorated each time it was used to represent
a different Kachina. Upon donning the mask, the man became the Kachina.
Clans "owned" the ceremonies and provided the leadership and ritual equipment for their performance.
The ceremonies, however, were performed by societies, which cut across the clan-phratry lines,
although they may have had the same names as clans. The kivas were associated with particular clans,
and the clans had the responsibility for their upkeep. The clan, society, and kiva relationships are
far from clear, and Eggan emphasizes that while "clan, kiva, and society frequently have the same
name, they must be clearly distinguished in terms of both membership and activities if the operation
of Hopi society is to be understood" (Eggan 1950: 105).
For Hopi men, the most important societies were those into which they were initiated during adolescence.
These societies were Wuwutcim, Tao, Ahl, and Kwan. According to Eggan, it was these four societies that
were most closely associated with the kivas, and it was the kiva to which a man owed his primary
allegiance, regardless of his clan affiliation. There was also a number of men's and women's
societies such as the Flute, Antelope, and Snake societies, which were associated with rain, war,
and curing, and which performed some of the minor ceremonies.
The first White contact with the Hopi was made in 1540 by Spanish explorers. Spanish missions were
established in 1629, but were never successful. In 1680, the Hopi, along with all of the other pueblo
cultures of the southwest, revolted against the missionaries and killed all the Spaniards. The
reservation was established in 1882. According to Titiev, (1972) much of the traditional culture
had been preserved up to his first visit in 1932. By 1966, however, much had changed. Not a single
major ceremony had been performed since the early 1950s. Titiev claims that the most significant
factor in these changes was the building of a paved road.
The basic source on the Hopi is Titiev (1971). This is a detailed ethnography, based on fieldwork
done between 1932 and 1940. Eggan (1950) is a comparative study of the social organization of the
western Pueblos in general.
Culture summary by Marlene M. Martin
"Pueblo (people)," Microsoft¨ Encarta¨ Online Encyclopedia 2005
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved
Eggan, Frederick Russell.
Social organization of the Western Pueblos.
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1950.
17, 373 p. illus., map, tables Fewkes, Jessie Walter.
In Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Smithsonian Institution,
Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, New York, Pageant Books, 1959: 560-568.
Forde, C. Daryll.
The Hopi and Yuma: flood farmers in the North American Desert.
In his Habitat, Economy and Society, a Geographical Introduction to Ethnology.
London, Methuen, 1934: 220-259.
Lowie, Robert H. The Hopi.
In his An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.
New York, Rinehard, 1940: 452-467.
Murdock, George Peter.
The Hopi of Arizona.
In his Our Primitive Contemporaries.
New York, the Macmillan Company, 1934: 324-358.
Old Oraibi: a study of the Hopi Indians of Third Mesa.
New York, Kraus Reprint, 1971.
11, 277 p. illus., tables.
Reprint of 1944 edition.
The Hopi Indians of Old Oraibi: change and continuity.
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