When people first emerged into this Fourth World, they asked Maasaw (the Earth Guardian) if they could live here. Maasaw offered a bag of seeds, a water gourd, and a planting stick, and explained that the people’s way in the Fourth World would be hard, but that this way would provide a long and good life. Therefore, the ethic of self-sufficiency became the root of the present-day Hopi people.
The Hopi trace their history back thousands of years, making them one of the oldest living cultures in the world. Hopi are a diverse people; the ancestral Hopis, Hisatsinom (people of long ago), are known as the “Anasazi,” “Hohokam,” “Sinagua,” “Mogollon,” and other prehistoric cultural groups of the American Southwest. Some of the Hopi villages are among the oldest continuously occupied settlements in the North American continent. The remoteness and expanse of Hopitutskwa (Hopi land) has isolated the Hopi people from the outside world and has helped to preserve the culture.
Today, Hopi is a vibrant, living culture. The Hopi people continue to perform their ceremonial and traditional responsibilities through an ancient language. The Hopi are deeply religious people living by the ethic of the Hopi Way, Maasaw's Way through peace and goodwill, spiritual knowledge, adherence to religious practices, and responsibility as Earth stewards. The Hopi culture places great value on family cohesion, stability and generosity, humility and respect, a work ethic of self-reliance, and valuing and honoring the needs of the entire community. In Hopi culture, giving isn't charity. Giving and helping are embedded in spiritual and cultural ceremonies, as well as the normal routine of daily life. The Hopi people share with others because it helps to make the community stronger. The cornerstone of the Hopi Way is an initial idea, a ritual plan, and a prayer for success.
Among the Hopi, to give (maqa) has been at the heart of our society and social compact since time immemorial. The honor of giving means respecting and honoring both the giver and the recipient. In Hopi culture, giving is reciprocal, binding individuals and groups to each other and the spiritual realm. Work is a gift based on kinship and gender. Hopi people build their homes with sumi'nangwa, all together, and nami'nangwa, mutual concern for others welfare. The very cornerstone of Hopi society is the exchange of mutually beneficial gifts, and relationships reconfigured by those exchanges. Gifts are communications in a language of social belonging.
Traditional Visions & Values of A Hopi
A Hopi… is one who’s lifetime quest is to gain strength and wisdom through prayer, education, and experience; to acquire a practical & spiritual understanding of life in general and to acquire the ability to address life’s circumstances and community needs from an eagle’s viewpoint with a caring attitude & humility;
A Hopi... is one who fulfills the meaning of Kyavtsi by maintaining the highest degree of respect for and obedience to moral standards & ethics, so as not to knowingly abuse, alter or oppose the progressive order and cycle of nature and the sacred manifestations of the creator’s teachings;
A Hopi… is one who fulfills the meaning of Sumi’nangwa and will come together to do activities for the benefit of all, out of a compelling desire and commitment to contribute or return something of value or benefit to the society;
A Hopi… is one who fulfills the meaning of Nami’nangwa by helping one another or gives aid in times of need, without having to be asked to do so and without expecting compensation for the deed;
A Hopi… is one who fulfills the meaning of Hita’nangwa by having the initiative to take care of something without having to be instructed, asked or reminded regardless if anyone will notice your effort but that it will make a difference;
A Hopi... is one who understands that Pasi'nangwa means to have characteristic qualities of humility, modesty, patience, etc., and to possess the ability to think things through carefully and thoroughly before reacting to and voicing opinion on issues;
A Hopi… is one who places the society’s and/or community’s interests and benefits ahead of individual and personal interests and gains;
A Hopi... is one who understands that to realize a dream, one must not only pray for his or her desires but must make a sincere commitment and work diligently to pursue the dream or goal until it is achieved;
A Hopi… is one who understands that the creator has provided all the necessary resources needed by all living beings to co-exist here, including the means by which the human race can achieve a happy, healthy and self-sustaining life;
A Hopi… is one who understands that the greatest feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment is one’s participation in social and community functions or activities and knowing that your contributions have resulted in benefits to the community and people.
Qöyahongniwa (Songoopavi 1995)