Hopi Reservation – Nature, Culture and History at the Grand Canyon

The Hopis are one of the oldest living cultures in documented history, with a past stretch back thousands of years. The Hopi trace their lineage to the Ancient Puebloan and Basketmaker cultures, which built many stone structures and left many artifacts at the Grand Canyon and across the Southwest. For more than 2,000 years, the Hopi have lived in what is nowadays known as the Four Corners region where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet. Their reservation, located in northeastern Arizona, occupies about 1.5 million acres, comprising entirely a small part of their traditional lands. Juniper and pinon pine develop at high elevations on the mesa, while the valley floors are by and large grasslands and the lowest elevations support desert vegetation .
HopiMesa The Hopis live chiefly in villages on high, arid mesa that receive only approximately 10 inches of rain and snow each year. This led them to develop the agricultural practice of dry farm. The Hopi do not plow their fields, but alternatively build “ hoist breakers ” at intervals in the fields to help retain territory and moisture. They besides garden on irrigate terraces along the mesa walls below their villages. They are therefore able to produce corn, beans, squash, melons, and other crops in an grim landscape .
HopiSheep The Hopis began raising livestock introduced by the Spanish who came to the area in the sixteenth century, particularly sheep and cattle, though the size of their herds is limited by the come of browse and water available. The Hopis besides make across-the-board consumption of natural resources on their reservation ; for example, they utilize 134 local plant species for food, dress, basketry, and housework .
Each of the twelve Hopi villages has an autonomous government, though a tribal council makes laws and oversees business policies for the entire kin. The greenwich village of Old Oraibi on Third Mesa, settled in the eleventh Century, is considered the oldest endlessly dwell greenwich village in North America. Each greenwich village besides has a plaza where Hopis perform ceremonial dances passed down through the centuries. Hopi arts and crafts are much influenced by their mesa of origin, with first gear Mesa celebrated for pottery, irregular Mesa for coil basketry, and Third Mesa for wicker basketry, weaving, kachina doll carvings and silversmithing.

When migrating tribe entered Hopi district on the Colorado Plateau, the Hopis retreated to the tops of the mesa and enlisted the help oneself of Tewa Indians from the Rio Grande for protective covering. The Tewas helped the Hopis repel out the spanish missionaries during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and finally became part of the Hopi Tribe. however, nowadays there is still a distinction among the villages, and some Tewas distillery speak their own native language .
Among the migrating newcomers were the Navajos, semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers who probably traveled confederacy from Canada over many generations along the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains. Over the centuries, Hopis and Navajos have had a complex kinship, intermingling so far retaining classify identities .
Hopi lands came under control of the U.S. government with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848. When the Navajos returned to the area in 1868 after their forced exile to Bosque Redondo, a treaty with the federal government granted them 3.5 million acres that included their fatherland of Canyon de Chelly, about 90 miles east of the Hopi mesa .
HopiOraibiHopiTrail besides in the late nineteenth hundred, Mormon settlers entered the sphere and once the Santa Fe Railroad arrived towns began springing up uncomfortably near Hopi villages .
The Hopis never fought the cavalry and never signed a treaty. For the most part, they avoided interaction with uracil government officials. By the late 1800s, US indian agents wanted to send the Hopi children to boarding schools, but realized they had no legal power because the Hopi villages were not on established amerind reservation down. On December 16, 1882, President Chester A. Arthur established the Hopi Reservation by Executive Order. In a handwritten document, he set an arbitrary boundary between the lines of 110 to 111 degrees longitude west and 35 degrees 30 minutes to 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude north. The 2.5 million acre reservation did not encompass much of their traditional state, significant ceremonial shrines, or their greenwich village of Moencopi .
From 1868 to 1934, as the Navajo Reservation grew from 3.5 million to 16 million acres, it encircled and diminished the Hopi Reservation. today, the Hopi Reservation occupies entirely 1.5 million acres .
The arrival of the Santa Fe Railway in northern Arizona the early 1880s had a heavy impact on the Hopi. The Railway and the Fred Harvey Company realized the lucrative tourism potential of the Hopi Reservation, particularly since it was thus near to the Grand Canyon. Euro Americans had long admired the Hopis for their peaceful attitudes and for their arts and crafts. The company brought Hopis to the tourist facilities it built at the South Rim ’ s Grand Canyon Village, employing people from the reservation to work at Hopi House and perform dances for visitors, but they besides took visitors to the Hopi villages. The companies offered a variety show of excursions that took tourists over the Navahopi Road ( built in 1924 ) to the Hopi Reservation, where they could mingle amongst tribal members, workshop for souvenirs, and witness cultural events .
HopiWalpiHopiWater The Hopis adopted a constitution and created a tribal council in 1936. The federal government disbanded the council in 1943 because it was not enforcing a mandate for livestock reduction to deal with the trouble of overgrazing. however, the council was reformed in 1951, chiefly in order to create an official government body to deal with mineral and water rights. Although most of Black Mesa with its big coal deposits was on the Navajo Nation, both tribes shared mineral and water system rights there. By 1963 the Hopis had approved oil and gas exploration leases for non-Indian corporations worth several million dollars. In 1966, the Hopi and Navajo tribes signed leases with Peabody western Coal Company for mineral rights on 64,858 acres of Black Mesa. Peabody besides gained rights to pump urine from the underlying aquifer. The company had 35-year contracts to supply ember to the 1,580-megawatt Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nevada, and the Navajo Generating Station soon to open near Page, Arizona. In 1970 the Peabody Coal Company began strip mining on Black Mesa. This electricity helps ability cities and industry in southerly California, Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas. While gross from these operations brings in much needed money and jobs, the tribes besides suffer from vent befoulment, environmental degradation, and the worsen of their precious aquifer and springs caused by the mines and powerplants .
The Hopis hush consider themselves primarily farmers, but today about half of all households have some livestock and most have income from wage labor or arts and crafts sales. The vibrant Hopi culture still draws thousands of tourists to the reservation every year. The Hopis allow visitors to attend some public ceremonies and observe dances, although photograph, sketching, or differently recording villages and ceremonies is prohibited. not all villages are open to the public or allow public watch of their ceremonies. For information on visiting Hopi land, and for instructions on proper etiquette, visit the web locate of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office .

The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute

One of the most contentious issues among both the Navajos and Hopis has to do with reservation borders and land use. Disputes between the Hopis and Navajos over booking lands have been going on for decades and continues into the present day. Both tribes are profoundly tied to the land, and both have compelling claims to the challenge area.

This dispute stretches back to the creation of the Hopi reservation by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882. The president issued an executive club granting 2.4 million acres “ for the use and occupancy of the Moqui ( Hopi ) and other such Indians as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to settle thereon. ” This obscure give voice is the footing for the kingdom quarrel. There were around 300 Navajos ( and Paiutes ) know in the area who believed they were the “ early such Indians ” who were entitled to stay, specially since the Hopi towns were located on their mesa and the Hopis did not use all of the reservation for colony, entirely for religious ceremonies. The Hopis argue that the presidential order did not specifically mention the Navajos, and that its purpose consequently was to grant the Hopis primary control .
The hostility between the Navajos and Hopis over this estate led the Secretary of the Interior in 1891 to designate 300,000 acres of the 2.4 million granted in the 1882 act entirely to the Hopis. This exclusive Hopi reservation was more than doubled in size in 1943, forcing approximately 100 Navajo families living in this sphere to relocate. placid, by 1960 there were about 8,500 Navajo populate on land within the 1882 Hopi Reservation boundaries .
The count was promote complicated by a 1934 placard to establish new Navajo Reservation boundaries and eliminate secret landholdings within them. This granted about 1 million acres in Arizona to the Navajos. however, it besides stated that the lands were set away for the Navajos and “ such other Indians as are already settled thereon, ” which included the Hopi village of Moencopi .
In 1962, the Hopi Council sued the Navajo Tribe in Arizona District Court to reinforce the Hopis ’ claim on the kingdom allocated entirely to them in 1943. The motor hotel found that each side had valid claims, which did little to appease either side. In 1970 the U.S. politics decreed some lands fought over by the Hopis and Navajos as a Joint Use Area. Five years later, a Congressional Act divided the Joint Use Area into exclusive Hopi and Navajo areas, though the tribe must hush evenly share all subsurface mineral rights .
During the 1960s and 70s, negotiating committees from both tribes met several times to try to resolve their differences, with no success. ultimately in 1974 Congress passed the Navajo-Hopi Bill into law. It paid the costs of relocating Navajos presently living on single Hopi lands, and authorized the Secretary of the Interior to sell them BLM bring on which to resettle. All non-Hopis know in the exclusive Hopi area were supposed to move by 1986 and frailty versa .
many Navajos finally moved, but some refused, and as the removal deadline approached, they appealed to Congress for help. In 1980 Congress passed an act that allowed certain Navajos to stay on the land in life sentence estates, despite protests by the Hopis that their legally established rights were being violated .
By 1999, most of the Navajo families who were supposed to relocate had moved, though respective still refused to leave. The Hopis and Navajos last reached a compromise to allow these Navajos to stay on Hopi land by signing a 75 class lease. In 2000, the Navajos and Hopis agreed to a settlement of $ 29 million for state practice and damages on Hopi land that they claimed was caused by Navajo overgrazing. however, there are hush lingering issues and tensions on both sides, and many fear the conflict will never be fully resolved .
To learn more about the Hopi, visit their official tribal web site at www.hopi-nsn.gov

Written By Sarah Bohl Gerke

Suggested Reading:

  • Anderson, Michael. Polishing the Jewel: An Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon Association, 2000.
  • Clemmer, Richard. Roads in the Sky: Hopi Culture and History in a Century of Change. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995.
  • Dobyns, Henry and Robert Euler. The Hopi People. Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1971.
  • Ferguson, T.J. “Ongtupqa Niqw Pisisvayu (Salt Canyon and the Colorado River): The Hopi People and the Grand Canyon.” Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, 1998.
  • Griffin-Pierce, Trudy. Native Peoples of the Southwest. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000.
  • Kabotie, Fred and Bill Belknap. Fred Kabotie: Hopi Indian Artist. Flagstaff: Museum of Northern Arizona Press, 1977.
  • Laird, David. Hopi Bibliography. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1977.
  • Malotki, Ekkehart. Hopi-tutuwutsi/Hopi Tales.Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978.
  • Rushforth, Scott and Steadman Upham. A Hopi Social History. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.
  • Silas, Anna. Journey to Hopi Land. Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2006.
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