The Hopi peoples continue to thrive and preserve their culture for as long as humans have been known to inhabit this Earth. As Jake and Susanne Page maintain, “they are not only the oldest dwellers in this land but are considered by most other Native Americans to have a wisdom, a knowledge of things, beyond average comprehension” (1994:19). This wisdom comes from a deep connection to all things natural and of this Earth. The Hopis have always relied on nature to guide them spiritually, philosophically, as well as physically. They rely on word of mouth to pass down beliefs and teach values to each new generation so that the Hopivotskwani -the Hopi path of life- may continue on. (Parezo 1996:237) Through the examination of ethnographic accounts, we are able to gain insight on Hopi perspectives regarding their identity as a people, how they view the world we live in, and the importance of retaining their long practiced rituals and system of beliefs.
To the Hopis, corn is representative of not only their physical identity, but their spiritual and philosophical identity as well. As part of the Hopi philosophy, humans are here to live harmoniously with nature. The Hopi community includes not only all members of one’s clan, but also the land, plants, animals, and spirits that are connected to it. (Parezo 1996:237) In their emergence story, Native American groups were to choose an ear of corn that would bring to each of them a way of life as well as a language. The Hopis were left with the ear of blue corn, which signified a long and prosperous life for the tribe accompanied by significant times of hardship. (Parezo 1996:239) By preparing the Hopis for the difficulties that lie ahead and assuring them the ability to overcome these, the Hopivotskwani was born. Just as it did in during the emergence, corn plays a significant role from one phase of life to another (Ferrero 1983). When a child is born within the Hopi clan, it is presented to the sun, on...
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