About the Hopi

Explore the Centuries-Old History of

The Hopi People



Million Acres

Hopi History (Hopihinìwtipu)

Agriculture is the cornerstone of traditional Hopi life and a practice that Hopis continue to sustain themselves with to this day. Hopi is tight-knit community that is bound together by clan relations.  Today there are 34 living clans spread out among the 12 Hopi villages. Each clan is made up of individuals who trace their ancestry matrilineally back to a common ancestor who in turn forms the corpus of that clan’s particular history. Clans that mythically or historically migrated together since their emergence into this “Fourth world” are grouped into phratries that often work together to perform both social and ceremonial functions, duties and responsibilities within the village. Each village is self-governing and autonomous, and members of the Hopi tribe often identify themselves by their village and clan affiliations. The Hopi are widely considered to be the “oldest of the native people” within north America and have current total population of nearly 14,212. The area historically claimed and inhabited by the Hopi people and that now surrounds the Hopi Reservation, is known as Black Mesa, a plateau which rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding grasslands, yet to the Hopi it is known as Tuuwanasave “the center of the universe”. Located in Northern Arizona, the Hopi Reservations encompasses approximately 1.5 million acres with an elevation of 7,200 feet, offering panoramic views of the surrounding low-altitude desert.

Here visitors can find immerse themselves in the amazing history, culture, art, and food of the Hopi people.

History Fun Fact.  The village of Oraibi, on Third Mesa, is the oldest continuously inhabited U.S. settlement.  This multi-level living complex was built by stacking rooms (without ground-level openings) several stories high around a center courtyard.

Traditional Beliefs (Hopinavoti)

The Hopi believe that they have passed through several evolutionary eras often referred to as worlds ultimately coming to inhabit the current fourth world of Tuuwaqatsi. The Hopi continue to live by the sacred covenant made upon their arrival to this land with the deity, Maasawu, by living a life of compassion, humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship.  

On Third Mesa, stands the village of the Old Oraibi, designated as the oldest continuously inhabited settlement on the North American continent, said to have been established in 1100 A.D.  On Third Mesa also stand subsidiaries of Old Oraibi; the villages of Kykotsmovi, Bacavi, Hotevilla, and Upper and Lower Moenkopi.  Third Mesa is widely renowned for its fine weaving of traditional Hopi clothing and textiles, wicker plaques, and multicolored yucca baskets as well as its artistic paintings, and Hopi Over-lay Jewelry.

Second Mesa is home to the Hopi Cultural Center as well as the villages Shungopavi, Sipaulvi and Mishongnovi. Second Mesa is widely renowned for its fine weaving of traditional Hopi clothing and textiles, wicker plaques, and multicolored yucca baskets as well as its artistic paintings, and Hopi Over-lay Jewelry

First Mesa, located on the eastern side of the Hopi reservation is comprised of the villages of Walpi, Sichomovi, and Tewa. Walpi is a historic village, noted for its high-rise dwellings panoramic view. First Mesa is widely renowned for its handmade Hopi pottery, artistic paintings and Hopi carvings. The First Mesa Consolidated Villages also offer organized tours of the surrounding Hopi landscape within jurisdiction.

Agriculture (Natwani)

Living in a semiarid climate for thousands of years the Hopi have developed and perfected a traditional dry farming technique which utilizes existent moisture in the soil and is dependent on natural precipitation – winter snows or summer monsoon rains.  Around agriculture and the corn, Hopi have built a civilization despite the inherent difficulties in living within the arid deserts of Arizona. Collectively surviving and more importantly prospering in this harsh environment required humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship and thus these qualities became the tenets of Hopi life to this day. To the Hopi, agriculture is an act of faith that has both religious and economic value, and in accordance with tradition, a majority of dry farming continues to be done by hand and is in fact a collective endeavor, as the men plant, nurture and harvest the crops, while the women and young girls learn the techniques for storing and preserving this harvest for later use. With corn being a representation of the Hopi way of life and a main source of nutrition for the community, the Hopi continue to cultivate and practice their ceremonies and traditions, despite the various challenges and difficulties faced by the Hopi people today and often the phrase “Hopiqatsit hintsakqw a’ni tumalanìikyangw put angqw naat mongvaswa”can be head, meaning “despite the difficulty of the Hopi way of life good things undoubtedly still come from it.”

Respecting the Hopi Culture

Intensely spiritual and fiercely independent, We Hopi value our privacy particularly while conducting religious ceremonies throughout the year. Therefore, please respect and abide by each village’s posted rules and regulations regarding visitation.
  • While some Katsina dances are open to the public, photography, sketching and recording of religious ceremonies are not allowed.
  • Alcohol is prohibited on the Hopi Reservation. It is not sold in any restaurant or store within the Hopi Reservation and individuals are prohibited from transporting it onto the reservation.
  • Although many of the Hopi pueblo homes are hundreds of years old, many of them are still inhabited by Hopi people. Therefore, please do not enter any home or structure without permission.
  • Leave no trace.To preserve the richness of Hopi culture, we ask that visitors do not take anything from the Hopi lands, and leaving nothing behind.
  • It is best not to carry any items when touring on Hopi – we recommend locking all personal electronics in your vehicles. 
  • Lastly, tours of the mesas are offered by guided tour only.  Ask the hotel front desk for a list of Hopi Guides to assist you.
  • Visitors may travel freely along primary highways. However, off-road travel, including jeeps, motorcycles and 4-wheel drive vehicles, is prohibited without a guide.

Your cooperation is truly appreciated!