Located on 1.5 million acres of land in Arizona, the Hopi tribe is rich with culture and learning opportunities. Children can learn a lot about the Hopis, including where they live, what their houses look like, what languages they speak, which foods they eat and how the Hopi children spend their days.
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Where the Hopis Live
The Hopi tribe is located in the northeastern part of Arizona. Tribal members live on one of three mesas, or flat-topped hills, in one of 12 villages. The villages are called pueblos. In the past, the Hopi people lived in houses made of clay and straw baked into bricks -- called adobe -- and stone. These homes are called adobe houses, and stood multiple stories tall. Each family lived in their own unit, much like apartments are arranged. Today, some Hopi families live in modern houses and apartments, while others still live in traditional housing.
Hopis speak the English language, and most also speak the native Hopi language, which is a relative of Aztec language. More than 5,000 people speak Hopi in their homes. The word "Hopi" in the Hopi language translates to "peaceful person" or "civilised person." To say "hello" in Hopi, say "ha'u," pronounced "hah-uh." Related to language is storytelling. The Hopi culture is rich with fairy tales and stories, and the Hopi tribe considers storytelling an important part of its culture.
What Hopi Children Are Like
Hopi children are like all other children. They play games together, attend school and help their parents at home. Some children in the Hopi tribe hunt and fish with their dads. Just like colonial children, who worked more and played less than children do today, Hopi children had more chores in the past. But they still had dolls, games and toys to play with. Hopi artists are known for their detailed kachina dolls. Instead of playing with these dolls, children learnt about their tribe's religion from them. The dolls are handcrafted from cottonwood root and painted to represent figures from Hopi mythology. Some are adorned with fur, feathers, leather or other materials. Religious Hopi families might keep a kachina doll in the home.
Experts at farming, the Hopis grew many crops including corn. In fact, the Hopis grew 24 different kinds of corn, most commonly blue and white corn. Other crops included beans, cotton, squash and tobacco. Hopis raised and ate turkey, and men in the tribe hunted antelope, deer and game animals. Women gathered fruits, herbs and nuts. Some of the Hopis favourite recipes are similar to what families eat today, including baked beans, cornbread, hominy and soups.
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