Hopi

The Hopi people, numbering about six thousand, occupy villages atop three mesas in northeastern Arizona. There, in their ancestral homeland, exists what is probably the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America: Old Oraibi (its only rival for this distinction is the mesa-top village at Acoma Pueblo). Life for this deeply religious and traditional people is governed by a complex set of ceremonies and rituals, by membership in societies serving particular religious functions (usually mutually unknown to members of different societies), and by birth-clan membership. As a consequence, each adult member of the Pueblo serves an absolutely unique and irreplaceable function in the continued existence and wellbeing of the Hopi people. Hopi villages are traditionally self-governing, owing no political allegiance to any external governing force. Each village has one or more kivas (underground ceremonial chambers), usually located in a square surrounded by sandstone homes.

The Hopi were joined by Tewa people from New Mexico during the Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish at the end of the seventeenth century. This was a fortuitous arrival, for the Tewa, in the person of the incomparable Nampeyo of Hano Village on First Mesa, became responsible for the great Hopi/Tewa pottery revival that was to begin some two centuries later.

In addition to making some of the finest Native American pottery ever created, the Hopi/Tewa people craft exquisite jewelry, carve highly sought-after Kachinas, and make beautiful baskets.