Collection Description

Brief Culture Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Hopi are a Native American group currently residing on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona, a region where they have always lived. The term "Hopi" means "one who behaves" or "one who follows the proper way." The Hopi language belongs to the Shoshonean branch of Uto-Aztecan. Aboriginal Hopis were horticulturalists, hunters, and gatherers. The major crop was maize. Hopis traded widely with neighboring peoples and were well known for the textiles that men wove of the cotton they grew. Today, wage labor, commercial cattle ranching, pensions, and welfare are major sources of income for those who live on the reservation.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Southwest and Basin


United States

OWC Code


Collection Information

Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Hopi collection consists of sixty-one documents, all in English, centered on the Hopi pueblos located on the First, Second, and Third Mesas in northeastern Arizona. Because of their relatively isolated locations from one another, ethnographic data will vary somewhat from mesa to mesa and from pueblo to pueblo. The file focus, however, is on the pueblo of Oraibi, located on the Third Mesa. The time coverage for the file ranges from the prehistoric period to the late twentieth century, with particular emphasis on the period of the 1880s to the mid 1900s. Those works which provide the best general ethnographic coverage are: Titiev (1971, 1972, nos. 1 and 2), Beaglehole (1937, 1935, nos. 29 and 56), Dennis (1940, no. 31), Stephen (l969, no. 47), Kennard (1973, no. 41), and Clemmer (1995, no. 49). In addition to the above, the five works by Voth also provide some additional ethnographic depth to the file (see Voth, 1905, 1905, 1912, 1912, 1903, nos. 4-6, 8-9). Voth, a Mennonite missionary, lived among the Hopi of Oraibi from 1893 to 1902. According to Talayesva (1942, no. 7), Voth was hated by the Hopi because he frequently forced his way into the ceremonies of the secret societies to collect his data. The accuracy of these data, however has never been challenged. Other documents in the file provide information on a wide range of ethnographic topics, such as culture history, religion and the ceremonial life, the economy, kin groups and kinship relations, the Hopi ceremonial societies or fraternities, the ecosystem, and the Oraibi split of 1906. More recent (1999) additions to the file update previous data and provide new information on such topics as widowhood (Schlegel, 1988, no. 58), gender roles and sex statuses (Schlegel, 1979, 1977, nos. 66 and 67), shamanism (Levy, 1994, no. 63), demography (McIntire, 1987, no. 65), the adolescent socialization of the Hopi girl (Schlegel, 1973, no. 64), puppet ceremonials (Geertz, no. 55), and social structure and social organization (Clemmer, 1995, no. 49; Levy, 1992, no. 52 ).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is from the article "Hopi" by Alice Schlegel, in the Encyclopedia Of World Cultures, Vol. 1, 1991. Timothy O'Leary and David Levinson, eds. Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall and Co. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in August 1999.

Overview by

John Beierle

Collection Indexing Notes

adoption, ceremonial -- category 608; regular -- category 597

BOWA 'KA -- white magicians -- category 791

ceremonial chiefs -- categories 575, 614, 624, 793, 796

ceremonial societies - see kiva groups

Indian Claims Commission -- categories 657, 698

initiations, Powama and Kachina societies (initiates are between 6 - 10 years old) -- category 852; initiations for all other societies (initiates are young adolescents) --- category 881; hunting initiations for boys -- category 852, 224

KALATAKMONGWI -- war chief -- category 624

Katchina dolls -- category 524

KIKMONGWI -- village chief -- category 622

kiva groups -- category 575

KWAN society -- category 575

MAASAW -- god of the dead -- categories 775, 776

MAGASTUTAVO -- a Hopi ethical system -- category 577

MASKI -- the home of the dead -- category 775

MOMTSIT -- a warrior sodality -- categories 575, 701

MONGKO -- the Hopi "law of laws", the supreme symbol of power and authority -- category 778

MONWI (MONGWI) -- the heads of clans, or ceremonial or secret societies -- category 554

NAVOTI -- a system of knowledge employed in explaining the past and predicting the future -- categories 787, 828

Oraibi split of 1906 (progressives vs. friendlies) -- categories 665, 578

PAAHO (PAHO) -- prayersticks -- categories 782, 796

PAVANSINOM -- ruling people -- categories 565, 554

pinon gum, smoking of -- category 276

POWAKA -- a sorcerer -- category 754

SA'LAKO dolls (puppets) -- category 524; use in dramatic performances -- category 536

SOPKYAW -- a communal harvest festival -- categories 796, 536

SUKAVUNGSINOM -- common people -- category 565

TIHU -- Kachina dolls -- category 524

TIPONI -- a clan or secret society fetish of wood or stone -- category 778, 614

tribal council (modern government) -- category 642

TUUHIKYA -- the Hopi shaman -- category 756

WUYA -- a sacred object; also a clan symbol -- category 778

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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