North-South-East-West: American Indians and the Natural World

RetabloEnduring People: Four Centuries of Resistance

Hopi people have endured as a nation despite centuries of outside forces determined to change them. Since prehistoric times, the Hopi have lived in the desert southwest, withstanding long periods of outside aggression. Yet, the Hopi have remained. They inhabit the oldest continuously occupied villages in the United States.

The Hopi had been settled for centuries when the Spanish soldiers invaded their territory in 1540. They joined the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, successfully driving the Spanish out of Pueblo territory for twelve years. Throughout the remainder of Spanish rule, they successfully resisted Spanish civil and religious control.

Hopi people today continue to retain their own cultural foundation, incorporating only those aspects of the outside world that they perceive as advantageous to their lives.


Image: Retablo
José Aragon?, Zia Pueblo, ca. 1821-1835
When Spanish Catholic missionaries established a mission at the Hopi village of Awatovi, they purposefully built their mission church directly on top of one of the Awatovi kivas, Hopi traditional religious rooms. The friars decorated the mission with religious paintings that they used as aids in teaching their converts.

Pine? (Pinus sp.), gesso, mineral paint, varnish (animal-hide glue), unidentified tanned hide; 20038-1, anonymous gift

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