I'm honored to be able to work with and serve Hopi people on a daily basis. Some 25 years ago, I humbly asked a Hopi elder how an ignorant anglo as myself, could tell a Hopi from a Navajo (besides the name, etc). She answered, without smiling... "We're the ones who smile". She paused, then burst out in laughter!
The name Hopi is a shortened form of their autonym, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu ("The Peaceful People" or "Peaceful Little Ones"). The Hopi Dictionary gives the primary meaning of the word "Hopi" as: "behaving one, one who is mannered, civilized, peaceable, polite, who adheres to the Hopi way." In the past, Hopi sometimes used the term "Hopi" and its cognates to refer to the Pueblo Peoples in general, in contrast to other, more warlike tribes.
Hopi is a concept deeply rooted in the culture's religion, spirituality, and its view of morality and ethics. To be Hopi is to strive toward this concept, which involves a state of total reverence and respect for all things, to be at peace with these things, and to live in accordance with the instructions of Maasaw, the Creator or Caretaker of Earth. The Hopi observe their traditional ceremonies for the benefit of the entire world.
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