CHAPTER XII. THE HOPI (OR MOQUI) (Continued).
Characteristics and Customs.—The Hopi are rather small of stature, but muscular and agile. Both sexes have reddish-brown skin, high cheekbones, straight broad nose, slanting eyes, and large mouths, with gentle expression. As a rule the occiput exhibits cradleboard flattening. The proportion of albinos is large. The hair is usually straight and black, but in some individuals it is brownish and in others it is wavy. The hair of the men is commonly “banged” in front or cut in “terraces”; the long hair behind is gathered in a sort of short queue and tied at the neck. The matrons wear their hair in two coils which hang in front. On reaching puberty the girls dress their hair in whorls at the sides of the head, in imitation of the squash blossom, the symbol of fertility. The women tend to corpulency and age rapidly; they are prolific, but the infant mortality is very great. Boys and girls usually have fine features, and the latter mature early, often being married at the age of fifteen or sixteen years. Bachelors and spinsters are rare. A few men dress as women and perform women's work.
In mental traits the Hopi are the equal of any Indian tribe. They possess a highly artistic sense, exhibited by their pottery, basketry, and weaving. They are industrious, imitative, keen in bargaining, have some inventive genius, and are quick of perception. Among themselves they are often merry, greatly appreciating jests and practical jokes. They rarely forget a kindness or an injury, and often act from impulse and in a childlike way. They are tractable, docile, hospitable, and frugal, and have always sought to be peaceable, as their tribal name indicates. They believe in witchcraft, and recognize many omens of good and bad.
The Hopis are monogamists, and as a rule are faithful in their marital relations. Murder is unknown, theft is rare, and lying is universally condemned. Children are respectful and obedient to their elders and are never flogged except when ceremonially initiated as kachinas. From their earliest years they are taught industry and the necessity of leading upright lives.
The clothing of the Hopi men consists of a calico shirt and short pantaloons, and breechcloth, moccasins, and hair bands. Bracelets, necklaces of shell, turquoise, or silver, and earrings, are commonly worn. The women wear a dark blue woolen blanket of native weave, tied with an embroidered belt, and a calico manta or shawl over one shoulder; their moccasins, which are worn only occasionally, are made of ox-hide and buckskin, like those of the men, to which are attached leggings of the same material, but now often replaced by sheepskin. The ear pendants of the women and girls consist of small
The governing body of the Hopi is a council of hereditary clan elders and chiefs of religious fraternities. Among these officials there are recognized a speaker chief and a war chief, but there has never been a supreme chief of all the Hopi. Following ancient customs, various activities inhere in certain clans; for instance, one clan controls the warrior society, while another observes the sun and determines the calendar. Each pueblo has a hereditary village chief, who directs certain necessary communal work, such as the cleaning of springs, etc. There seems to be no punishment for crime except sorcery, to which, under Hopi law, all transactions may be reduced. No punishment for a witch or wizard is known to have been inflicted at Walpi in recent years, but there are traditions of imprisonment and of the significant and mysterious disappearance of those accused of witchcraft in former times.
The Hopi possess a rich mythology and folklore, inherited from a remote past, some of which I have given. They recognize a large number of supernatural beings, the identification of which is sometimes most difficult. Their mythology is poetic and highly imaginative, and their philosophy replete with inconsistency. Their songs and prayers, some of which are in foreign languages, as the Keresan and Tewa, are sometimes very beautiful. They have peculiar
Maize being the basis of their subsistence, agriculture is the principal industry of the Hopi. On the average 2,500 acres are yearly planted in this cereal, the yield in 1904 being estimated at 25,000 bushels. Perhaps one-third of the annual crop is preserved in event of future failure through drought or other causes. There are also about 1,000 acres in peach orchards and 1,500 acres in beans, melons, squashes, pumpkins, onions, chile, sunflowers, etc. Cotton, wheat and tobacco are also raised in small quantities, but in early times native cotton was extensively grown. In years of stress desert plants, which have always to some extent been utilized for food, form an important part of the diet.
The Hopi are skilled in weaving, dyeing and embroidering blankets, belts, and kilts. Their textile work is durable, and shows a great variety of weaves. The dark blue blanket of the Hopi women is an important article of commerce among the Pueblos, and their embroidered ceremonial blankets, sashes, and kilts made of cotton, have a ready sale among neighboring tribes. Although the Hopi ceramic art has somewhat deteriorated in modern times, fair pottery is still made among the people of Hano, where one family has revived the superior art of the earlier villages. They weave basketry in a great variety of ways at the Middle Mesa pueblos and in Oraibi; but, with the exception of the familiar sacred-meal plaques, which are well made and brightly colored, the workmanship is crude. The Hopi are clever in making masks and other religious paraphernalia from hides, and excel in carving and painting dolls, representing kachinas, which are adorned with bright feathers and cloth. They likewise manufacture mechanical
The Hopi language is classified as Shoshonean; but, according to Gatschet, it “seems to contain many archaic words and forms not encountered in the other dialects, and many vocables of its own.” The published vocabularies are very limited, and comparatively little is known of the grammatical structure of the language; but it is very evident that it contains many words of Keresan, Tewa, Pima, Zuni, Ute, Navaho, and Apache derivation. As among other southwestern tribes a number of words are modified Spanish, as those for horse, sheep, melon and the names for other intrusive articles and objects. Slight dialectic differences are noticeable in the speech of Oraibi and Walpi, but the language of the other pueblos is practically uniform. The Hopi language is melodious and the enunciation clear. The speech of the people of Awatobi is said to have a nasal intonation, while the Oraibi speak drawlingly. Although they accompany their speech with gestures, few of the Hopi understand the sign language. The Keresan people have furnished many songs with their words, and Zuni and Pima songs have also been introduced. Some of the prayers also have archaic Tanoan or Keresan words.
The earth is spoken of as having always existed. In Hopi mythology the human race was not created, but generated from the earth, from which man emerged through an opening called the sipapu now typified by the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. The dead are supposed to return to the under-world. The Sky Father and the Earth Mother have many names and are personated in many ways; the latter is represented by a spider; the former by a bird—a hawk or an eagle. Such names as Fire God, Germ God, and others are attributal designations of the great male powers of nature, or its male germinative principle. All supernatural beings are supposed to influence the rain and consequently the growth of crops. Every clan religion exhibits strong ancestral worship, in which a male and a female ancestral tutelary of the clan, called by a distinctive clan name, is pre-eminent. The Great Horned or Plumed Serpent, a form of sky god, derived from the South, and introduced