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Origin of Hopi People

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 463
  • Category: Ritual

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The origin of the Hopi people is one of spiritual beginning. According to the article Ang Kuktota—Hopi Ancestral Sites and Cultural Landscapes written by Leigh Kuwanwisiwma and T.J. Ferguson, ”When the Hopi people climbed out of the Sipaapuni (place of emergence)…they entered into a spiritual covenant with the deity Maasaw to migrate until they reached their destiny… ‘along there make footprints,’ was one of the instructions given to the Hopi to demonstrate they had fulfilled their spiritual obligations.” Footprints covered generations, telling the stories of previous migrations and ceremonies that aided the Hopi people in identifying with their history. Leigh and T.J describe these footprints as being part of their cultural landscape, “Defined by landforms associated with…rivers, springs, trails, shrines, and what the Hopi call itaakuku or our footprints” (Kuwanwisiwma). These footprints occurred in everyday life from religious ceremonies to spiritual pilgrimages. They consisted of shrines or religious offerings and they guided the Hopi people through their journeys.

During these migrations the Hopi people would travel to a place of great importance or “Pasiwvi” one of these paths parallel U.S. highway 89 arriving in the San Francisco Peaks (Kuwanwisiwma). To migrate was in the Hopi people’s destiny and to help future generations continue their traditions and rituals they would leave footprints along these paths of pilgrimage. This allowed a close bond with their land and provided the Hopi people with a strong sense of place and uniqueness allowing them to identify with their ancestors and their history through their cultural landscape. The connection that the Hopi people of today feel with these ancestral sites, religious routes and ceremonies grows stronger with the finding of important footprints in archeological sites that correspond with past important religious events.

The article states, “In Hopi thought, the meaning of the past is what contributes to life in the present. The historical association with Hopi ancestors is reinforced when Hopi people discover ritual artifacts in the archaeological record that are identical to the ones used in Hopi ceremonies” (Kuwanwisiwma). The Hopi people remain a people of spiritual origination, one of purpose. The archeological society of today differ by relating facts and evidence to portray Native North American Indians as a people among many derived from hunter gathers, coastal fisherman, and farmers. They use these facts to describe each tribes place amongst the many different tribal nations. Although these facts are true the history of the Hopi people is very personal, “Many Hopi people transcend the factual knowledge and assumptions derived from scientific archaeology in a pure intuition of history derived from spiritual purpose, intention, and respect for ancestors” (Kuwanwisiwma).


Kuwanwisiwma, L., & Ferguson, T.J. (2004) Ang Kuktota—Hopi Ancestral Sites and Cultural Landscapes. Expedition, Volume 46, Retrieved Sept, 7, 2012, from https://moodle.fullerton.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=615540

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