This ethnography will examine the way of life and the cultures and traditions of the Hopi Indians, with the primary intention of providing the reader with the information and facts that would be needed to develop a greater understanding this ethnic community, an understanding and comprehension of how another person lives, considered vital today. The Hopi Indians are an ethnic people, perhaps the descendants of the Aztecs of Mexico, and directly related to the Anasazi. This ethnic group of people lives in Northeast Arizona near the Black Mesa. These are peaceable and wise people, whose very name indicates ‘the peaceable people’.
This research will examine these prejudices as well, and reach a conclusion. The misconceptions and prejudices that the author harbored before starting this research: This author was indeed a little apprehensive about choosing this group for this ethnography research, because the author had formed an opinion that these people would be completely uncivilized and perhaps unclean as well, even if he or she is well aware that these are plain prejudices and labeling exercises, brought on by years of ethnic ignorance and a lack of awareness of other peoples and their cultures.
The research questions that were brought to the study at the outset: These are the questions that the author of this research brought to mind at the beginning of the ethnographic research: Who are the Hopis? What do they do? What is their culture and what are their traditions?
Do they still follow these traditions, and how have they managed to survive as an ethnic group through these years, and does modern man understand them, or has modern man ever made a serious and concerted effort at understanding these people who have lived amongst the people of the rest of the world, earning their own living and managing to hold on to their age old customs and methods, including the way in which they make their jewelry, their pottery, and their agricultural methods?
The Questions that enquire into the simplistic lifestyle of the Hopi Indians, and delve into a comparison of this traditional lifestyle with the newer more materialistic one of today: This author wished to ask these questions and seek answers to them through this ethnographic research on the Hopi Indians: How did the Hopis manage to survive a simplistic lifestyle such as theirs, despite the changes and diversification that took place around them? How can such a simplistic lifestyle be compared to the materialistic lifestyle of the people of today?
Purpose of the Ethnography: In general, people have always been interested in this group of people, perhaps because of the numerous stories one may have heard over the years about the Aztecs and their heroic exploits. This research will perhaps provide one with answers to questions about the simple Hopi people who inhabit a part of Arizona and who follow their own culture and tradition, and who live life on their own terms, in spite of the fact that the world in which they live has been overtaken with several kinds of changes and is today truly global in every sense of the word.
Why were the Hopi Indians chosen as the subject of the research: One can hope that through this research, one would be able to successfully overcome these misconceptions; pre conceived notions and prejudices and move on to become a productive and unbiased member of the increasingly globalized world of today. The uniqueness of the Hopi Indians, and its members: It was when the research on the Hopis was started that one could arrive at the realization that today there are twelve Hopi villages, each with its own village chief, who is an individual responsible for the welfare and well being of the people under him.
The Hopi Indians within their villages have managed to maintain very well the balance required of them to keep up with the prevalent Euro-American culture, while at the same time never letting go of the cultures and traditions that form a part and parcel of their ethnic identity. (“Hopi Civilization” n. d) The Hopi Indians are known for their unique agricultural methods, making them some of the most well known ‘dry farmers’ of the world, even today. (“Hopi”)
Discussion: At this point it is worth mentioning the interesting Hopi traditions that have fascinated man in general from the time he first started to know about them. For example, the Hopi Indians believe that man was not created, but was rather generated from the Earth, and that he emerged from the ‘sipapu’, or what is better known to us as the Grand Canyon. Although there may be certain prominent clan leaders, the number of supernatural subordinates is virtually unlimited, and these are known as ‘kachinas’.
They possess supernatural powers, and in the Hopis believe in ensuring their luck by wearing amulets and charms. Although it is possible to understand their need for rituals to bring good luck, it is a unanimous opinion that it may indeed be difficult for the modern cultures of today to understand the need for superstitions and mystic religious ceremonies that the Hopis indulge in to ensure good health and luck in their daily activities.
(“Hopi Indian Tribal History” 2009) For the Hopi Indians, the priest is often considered to be the ‘ideal manifestation of the balanced mentality…fairly typical of the Pueblo Indians (Hultkrantz, Ake) Religion plays a very important role in these so called ‘primitive’ peoples’ lives; perhaps they fear the deceased more than death in itself, and these people believed strongly in life after death.
The Hopis also believe that when the body lies asleep, the soul wanders about to far away places, and perhaps even to the land of the dead, and death arrives when the wandering soul happens to be caught in the world of the dead. (Hultkrantz, Ake 1981) The Socio-Economic status of the Hopi Indians: It is indeed fascinating that the Hopi people earned their own money, prompting one to wonder what their value system for money was. This was the reason why a decision was made to ask them these questions: what, according to the Hopis, constituted ‘earning’, and how did they earn their money?
It was possible to find out that the Hopis today are more modern than one could fairly expect them to be, and while some of them were Doctors, some were architects, some teachers, and some others were potters and jewelry makers. Traditionally, though, the Hopi Indians have developed a culture that is based on hunting and gathering, and later, horticulture. All the various aspects of their culture, including their religion, their social customs and tradition, and their occupations are interwoven with each other, and this in essence would describe the value these people have for money in general.
In my opinion, since money is an integral part of their culture, the Hopis do not have any special attachment to money nor do they value it as the rest of the world may do, unless they have managed to transcend their boundaries and attain a different socio economic status, like for instance earning a degree in a university and going on to become a Doctor. (Dutton, Bertha, Pauline 1983) Most of Hopi life revolves around agriculture, and one could read this statement several times during this research: “The Hopi way of life is the corn: humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship.
” (“Hopi Traditional Knowledge”) Nevertheless, when one mentions the word ‘Hopi Indian’ one automatically visualizes the exquisite pottery and jewelry that these people are able to produce, and when one understands that these crafts have been carried down from on generation to the next, one cannot help but be amazed and astonished at the tenacity of the culture and tradition of these ethnic Indian people. (“Contemporary Hopi Arts and Crafts”) Research Methods: Primary Sources: In this section the author of this research will detail the interview questions that were used in gathering the data that were required for this project.
This author was able to interview Mr. ABC (a member of the Hopi Indian community who is now a teacher and who is married to an American and who lives with his family in the center of town, but still keeps in touch with his family members of the Hopi community) 1. Could you describe the ancestry of the Hopi Indian community for me, please? 2. How did your people settle down in Northeast Arizona near the Black Mesa? Was there a reason, or did it simply happen? 3. Do you and your people still follow any of the old traditions in your community?
How do you manage to uphold the traditions that form a part and parcel of your identity as an ethnic group? 4. Do you believe in the integration of the old and the new? How have the Hopi Indians managed to integrate the modern day customs with their older ones? Has this integration been successful at all? 5. Do you feel that other people do not and have never made any attempt to understand your traditions and your culture? Do you feel that it is important, especially in today’s environment for other people to gain an understanding into your traditions and your way of life? 6.
What do the Hopi Indians feel about their socio economic status today? 7. What, in the opinion of Hopis, is the value of money? How do the Hopis earn money, and do they place any importance or value on earning more than the neighbor as the others do, or are they content with what they are able to earn doing their chosen jobs? In addition, these sites were referred to for extensive information and reference on the Hopi Indians: Hultkrantz, Ake “The Religions of the American Indians (1981) Google Book Search Retrieved April 18, 2009 from: <http://books. google. co. in/books?
id=nTgS42X9scwC&pg=PA127&dq=hopi+pueblo+indians > This book was examined for firsthand information on the Hopi Indians and their lifestyles Dutton, Bertha, Pauline “American Indians of the Southwest” (1983) Google Book Search Retrieved April 18, 2009 from: < http://books. google. co. in/books? id=ju-zrFKL4SIC&pg=PA14&dq=hopi+pueblo+indians > This research was examined for firsthand information on the Hopi Indians and their lifestyles “Contemporary Hopi Arts and Crafts” The Hopi Cultural Preservation Office (1997) Retrieved April 18, 2009 from: < http://www. nau. edu/~hcpo-p/arts/index.
html > This research was examined for information on the Hopi Indians and their crafts Hopi Traditional Knowledge” The Hopi Cultural Preservation Office (1997) Retrieved April 18, 2009 from: <http://www. nau. edu/~hcpo-p/culture/oraltrad. htm This research was examined for information on the Hopi Indians and their traditions and customs Secondary Sources: In order to locate sources for the secondary research, this author decided to browse the Internet for information on the Hopi Indians, and this author happened to find plenty of information on the people and their culture.
A decision was also made to visit the local libraries for more information. Information on the sites used to research the information is available on the ‘Works Cited’ page. How were your research questions shaped by your secondary research? It was during the process of my secondary research that this author happened to find answers to the many questions that had been complied regarding the Hopi Indians and their ethnicity. As a matter of fact, the research helped this author in the process of formulating questions to be answered, and these in turn helped greatly in the attempt to find relevant and pertinent answers to the research questions.
While some sources were invaluable, some were outdated and some were not authentic. This author has listed the sources that were most helpful to the ethnography because of the simplicity of language and the authoritativeness demonstrated by the authors of the articles. Also included at the end of this essay is a ‘Works Cited’ page, in which the author of this research has linked all the internet-accessible sources that have been utilized in the writing of this essay.
Conclusion: To conclude, it may be said that this research was a valuable one, because it has offered this author a glimpse into the world of the Hopi Indians, their way of life, how they have survived through the years with their traditions and culture intact, how they have managed to make a place for themselves in the world today and how they maintain their socio-economic position with their various occupations, including agriculture, arts and crafts
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