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.


Survival and revival; the varied landscapes, buildings and environment; agricultural practices, arts and crafts; community institutions, cultural programs, clan beliefs and rituals—these all have meaning to our Hopi people and Hopi land.

The Hopi Reservation is situated in northeastern Arizona, about seventy-five or one hundred miles from the San Francisco Peaks, one of our sacred mountains. We call it Nuvatukwiovi. An examination of the geographical area reveals that to the far eastern edge of the Hopi Reservation is Keam’s Canyon, the region in which the Federal Government offices are located. Westward from Keam’s Canyon are the three Hopi mesas with seven major villages. Identified with First Mesa are Walpi, Sichomovi, and Hano; Second Mesa villages are Mishongnovi, Shipaulovi, and Shungopavi; Oraibi, Kyakotsmovi (New Oraibi), Hotevilla and Bacabi are located on Third Mesa. The Hopi community of Moencopi marks the westernmost boundary of the Reservation.

The Hopi live in a harsh environment with not much vegetation. Our people chose to come to this land and to settle themselves among these mesas because during the migrations it was said that we should seek this promised land: a place where there is not too much green, where it is not too comfortable; a land that we would find barren, and where, to survive, we would be able to develop our strengths and our souls. Many of the mountains of the area are volcanic cones, and they are very special to our spiritual beliefs and ceremonies. It is among these buttes where our shrines are, and it is to these shrines that the Hopi make yearly pilgrimages to collect their eagles and to deliver their prayer feathers; or to collect herbs and other materials used in our ceremonies. So, this is the land where we chose to live. Here among the sandstone mesas you will find the Hopi. “Among them we settled as rain,” a Hopi song says. Here we would have to survive with our own personal strength and our soul strength.