History, Department of


Date of this Version

September 2008


Published in Hopi Nation: Essays on Indigenous Art, Culture, History, and Law, edited by Edna Glenn, John R. Wunder, Willard Hughes Rollings, and C. L. Martin (Lincoln, NE: UNL Digital Commons, 2008). Copyright © 2008 the Estate of Edna Glenn, Willard Hughes Rollings, Abbott Sekaquaptewa, Barton Wright, Michael Kabotie, Terrance Talaswaima, Alice Schlegel, Robert H. Ames, Peter Iverson, and John R. Wunder. All images and artwork are copyright by the individual artists; for a listing see pages 9-14.


The Hopi world is centered on and around three mesas in northeastern Arizona named First, Second, and Third. It is at first glance a harsh and rugged land, not always pleasing to the untrained eye. Prosperity here can only be realized with patience, determination, and a belief in tomorrow. For over 400 years, the Hopis have confronted the incursion of outside non-Indian societies. The history of white-Indian relations in this country suggests that men and women of good will may differ over the appropriate strategy, over the proper behavior, and over the definition of identity. The Hopis are not exceptions to the rule. During the past century, they have disagreed amongst themselves over how to proceed. And while it is useful to review such factionalism, it is still more important not to exaggerate its consequences. Hopi history is an ongoing record of the past, one that reveals victors as well as victims. As it informs us about prior achievements, it may also be preparing the way for future accomplishments. In the final analysis, Hopi history provides a portrait of a people who will not vanish. They will not disappear. They will remain.