The Hopi people are a strong people. They have many beliefs about life, and the way that one should live. Some people may see the Hopi as ethnocentric. I argue that ethnocentrism is not the driving force of the Hopi, but their culture and heritage has shaped them to be the proud people they are.
In this paper I plan to examine the Hopi people, some of their unusual beliefs, and the prophecy that leads the Hopi nation to live in the way of the Hopi.
Hopi Indians refer to themselves as Hopitu – The Peaceable People, Hopi also means good, peaceful, or wise. They come from a group of Southwestern people called Pueblo. According to the Hopi they consist of the descendants of various groups that entered the country from the north, the east, the south, and the west. Their ancestors, the Anasazi, appear to have been related to the Aztecs of Mexico, and may have arrived in their current location five to ten thousand years ago. Although related to the people of the various pueblos of the east the Hopi people never had a single group identity. The Hopi nation was actually independent villages that held similar beliefs of basic culture and of the sacred with the Zuni and other pueblos, while differing in language. The Hopi language is of the Uto-Aztecan language base.
The Hopi creation myths detail the Hopis ascent to the world that we occupy. In this myth the Hopi people and animals lived underground. The earth was in a state of darkness above and below the earth.
The Hopi people living below the earth grew tired of the cramped space and filth that accompanies a large amount of people living in overcrowded conditions. After many complaints two brothers (one older and one younger) went to the priest chiefs of the caves and asked if there was a way that they could help the people out of the squalor. The priest chiefs answered enigmatically let it be tried and seen, the brothers then replied, then it shall be well, by our will it shall be well..
I interpreted this part of the story to mean the brothers had a plan, shared the plan with the priest chiefs, and received his blessings to carry on. It seemed that this interpretation would make the next part of this story seem more plausible.
After getting the priest chiefs approval the Hopi brothers punched a hole in the bottom of their cave and climbed through to the lowest level of caves where the people lived in despair. They then planted many plants to find a plant that would be strong enough for the other Hopis to climb and ascend to the next cave world. They found the best plant for this was the cane plant because of its durability and the joints that it has on its body. The cane grew tall and eventually grew through the roof of the first cave to the floor of the second.
The brothers lead the people up the cane to the second world. As the people filled the second cave they grew afraid that if too many people came they would fill the second cave as they had the first so, they shook the people below them off of the cane plant and pulled it out of the ground. It is said that the people that were left behind in the lower cave eventually escaped the lower cave to be the brothers of the Hopi that came to the Hopi from the west.
After the Hopi stayed on the second world, they again came to a point where the cave filled. The brothers repeated their previous task and lead the people to the third world. Upon entering the third world those who were slow to climb were left behind. The ascent to the third world caused many problems for the Hopi people. The women went insane and didnt care for their children, and the people grew tired of living in the darkness and were anxious to find an escape from this foreign place.
The brothers then lead the people to the fourth world. On the fourth world they were faced with evil and death. After conquering these things the people learned to live on this world.
The Hopi cosmology myth is much more in depth. It details many things like how the people got fire, the sun and moon, the animal guides, and witches. It teaches the Hopi lessons on how to confront death, the importance of every creature in the larger scheme of existence and the sacredness of the world. The Hopi peoples cosmology holds great importance to many scholars. Not only for the accurateness that it has been told with but also for the similarities it holds to other cultures. On culture that the Hopi cosmology parallels is that of the Sumerians.
The Hopi people have a few unusual beliefs.. The belief that I found to be the most intriguing was their belief in aliens and UFOs. In a time where the acceptance of UFOs and aliens are trendy the Hopi have been forerunners of this belief.
The Hopi believe that the ant people who helped them underground are similar to what the rest of the world thinks are aliens. They also believe that there are two types of aliens. One type is a type sent here to help us, and the other type is renegade aliens that have enlisted in with the United Nations to cause mass destruction.
The Hopi call the aliens sent here to help them the blues, or star warriors. In the Hopi prophecy it predicts that on the Day of Purification the tribe’s faithful will be lifted to other planets. They say that on that day, “all wicked people and wrong-doers will be punished or destroyed, and they watch and wait for the UFO’s that will take them to the other planets when this happens.
In an article in the Prescott Daily Courier the former chief Katchongva was quoted as saying, that “we (the Hopi) believe other planets are inhabited and that our prayers are heard there. The arrow on which the dome-shaped object rests stands for travel through space. The Hopi maiden on the dome-shaped drawing represents purity. Those Hopi who survive Purification Day will travel to other planets. We, the faithful Hopi have seen the ships and know they are true.”
The legend that the chief refers to in this article is inscribed on an ancient rock carving near Mishongnovi, AZ. It depicts a dome-shaped saucer object and maiden. Elders in the Hopi community have said they perceive UFOs as having a direct connection with the old petroglyph drawing and the foretelling of visitors from space who arrive for the Day of Purification. The Chief will never know if his interpretation of the petroglyph was correct. He has been missing since the early nineteen seventies. He disappeared after going out to research the increasing number of UFO sightings in the valley near the Hopi reservation.
Chief Katchongva is not the only Hopi that has disclosed this belief. Thomas Banacacya on of the only Hopis given permission to translate the Hopi Prophecies to English and Robert Morningsky a Hopi activist have also made public this information.
The Hopi people believe that they posses a precious stone that foretells the narrative of human existence from the ancient times to the far-reaching future. The accounts of what this stone prophesizes varies little because of the scrupulous method of oral tradition that the Hopi people practice.
When speaking to Elders of the Hopi community, Art Bell a radio host asked the Hopi how old the prophecies were, The Hopi Elders stated that they were unsure of the exact age of the prophecies but they knew that the prophecy came before Christ.
The Hopi method of retaining accuracy in their prophecy is very rigid. They gather once or twice a year in their kivas to refresh everyones memory of the prophecies, and to safeguard against people adding new things to the prophecy. This commit to maintaining Native American culture is one of the reasons the Hopi are considered the record keepers of the Native Americans.
The Hopi prophecy like any prophecy begins with a story. Long ago the Great Spirit came to the people of the earth. He told them of the cycles that the earth would go through. The cycles were the cycle of the rock, the cycle of the plant, the cycle of the animal, and the cycle of the human. Today we are living in the cycle of the animal coming close to the end of this cycle and passing into the cycle of the human. Before we get to the cycle of the human many things will happen that will test us, many hardships will occur and many people will die. According to the Hopi all of these things could have been avoided had we as humans come together and lived peacefully.
The prophecy tells us at one time we were all of the same land. This seems very plausible because science is proving everyday that we are all more similar than different, as we previously believed. The prophecy speaks of many things. I will detail the things that I found most intriguing.
The predictions in the Hopi Prophecies span the time from the beginning of this age to the end, with a vast portion of the predictions focusing on the end-times. The frequency of occurrences of end-time-related predictions has increased in the past ninety years, bringing us into the final stages, the time of purification. It is during this period where it is imperative for us to recognize the futility of war and recognize all races and all colors are our brothers and sisters. It is also a time to bring the misuse of the technology and industrialization back into balance with nature and the earth. If we don’t do this ourselves, Martin Clashweonoma, the Hopi Prophecy Keeper, warns that Mother Earth will do it for us. He says, Mother Earth will survive with or without the two-leggeds (humans).
The Hopi speak of four ages through which man has evolved. In each age, people started in perfect balance with the earth, the Creator and each other. But by the end of each age, they had turned away from nature laws and spiritual principles. The first age was destroyed by earthquakes, the second age by an ice age and the third age, by a flood. The third age is very interesting because it seems to fall in the same time period of flood myths from many different civilizations. We are now approaching the end of yet another age with the earth out of balance and its people in disregard of spiritual principles.
Each of these past three ages seems to have been trial runs for humans to work through what they needed to learn. This current age, the fourth age, is the final phase. According to the Hopi, the highest and greatest powers that we have will be released to us in this new age, which they refer to as the age of the human.
At the Continental Indigenous Congress in 1986, Lee Brown, a Native American spiritual leader, explained how the Hopi came to be in possession of these tablets and the assignment that went along with them.
At the beginning of this age, the Creator separated the people into four colors and gave each race a primary teaching. At the end of this age, these four races are to come back together and share their teachings. It is believed that when they come back together with each other, they will share these so that everyone can live and have peace on earth.
Lee Brown describes how each tablet was handed out in the beginning times, He says Hes gave each race two stone tablets and warned them not to cast them on the earth because not only would human beings have a hard time but almost all the Earth itself would die. “So Hes gave each of us a responsibility and we call that the Guardianship. To the Indian people, the red people, Hes gave the Guardianship of the earth. We were to learn during this cycle of time the teachings of the earth, the plants that grow from the earth, the foods that you can eat, and the herbs that are healing so that when we came back together with the other brothers and sisters we could share this knowledge with them. Something good was to happen on the earth.
“To the South, Hes gave the yellow race of people the Guardianship of the wind. They were to learn about the sky and breathing and how to take that within ourselves for spiritual advancement. They were to share that with everyone at this time.
“To the West, Hes gave the black race of people the Guardianship of the water. They were to learn the teachings of the water, which is the chief of the elements, being the most humble and the most powerful.
“To the North, Hes gave the white race of people the Guardianship of the fire. If you look at the center of many of the things they do, you will find the fire. The fire consumes, and also moves. This is why it was the white brothers and sisters who began to move upon the face of the Earth and reunite us as a human family.”
The Hopi keep their tablets on their reservation where they have been reciting these teachings to their people for thousands of years. However, it has only been during the 20th century that the existence and the location of the other tablets have been verified. The tablets for the black race are kept at the base of Mt. Kenya by the Kikuyu Tribe. The Tibetans keep the stone tablets for the yellow race. For the white people, the Hopi believe their tablets are in Switzerland. It was interesting to note that each of these people happen to be people who live in the mountains.
The biggest problem facing us today is that the peoples of the Earth have not come together, recognizing each other as kin. We continue to fight and attempt to rule the Earth. Because of this, we have entered into what the Hopi refer to as the end-times, a time of three great shakings designed to shake us to our senses. Many of the prophecies relate these end-times and the time of purification. The first two shakings correlate with the two world wars, and each was followed by an opportunity to bring peace. But the elders knew that peace would not come on the Earth until the circle of humanity was complete, until all the four colors sat in the circle, recognized each other as brothers and sisters, and shared the wisdom of their Guardianships. Only then would peace come on the earth.
When the League of Nations was formed after World War I and again when the United Nations was formed after World War II, the Hopi along with other indigenous peoples asked admittance to these meetings. Sadly, they were turned away, thus ensuring that peace would not prevail.
This fulfills another prophecy of the Hopi about the House of Mica. Mica means glass. The United Nations is housed in a glass building, and the Hopi prophecy predicts that the Hopi will be turned away from the House of Mica. It assures the Hopi that they will be heard by a few leaders, but at first their pleadings will fall on deaf ears.
The prophecies state that if peace were not found after the second shaking, time would speed up. Men would turn themselves into women and women would turn themselves into men. The eagle would go to the moon. Grandchildren would have no time for their grandparents and parents would have no time for their children. But the sign indicating that the third great shaking was upon us, the culmination of the end-times, would be when people went to live in the sky. This sign would indicate that the time for purification had come.