Hopi - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. The Hopi community could be seen as a federation of ranked clans. Upward mobility by a clan occurred when a lower-ranking clan took over the position of a higher-ranking one within the phratry. Women were equal to men, each gender having its own area of control: women controlled most aspects of the economy through their control over land and produce, and men controlled most aspects of village decision making. The ideology of gender gave women a higher value than men. Sexual equality still exists, although gender roles have changed considerably.

Political Organization. Prior to the late nineteenth century, each village was autonomous and was governed by a chief and a council of elders from the leading clans. The major areas of political discussion were clan land disputes, over which the chief had final adjudication, and warfare. Every man belonged to a kiva, which he used as a social club; and through kiva discussions the village leaders could read village opinions. Women played an active, although indirect, role in decision making, as men represented the wishes of sisters and wives as well as their own. The traditional system was undercut by the reservation system and suffered a death blow with the establishment of an elected tribal council.

Social Control. Before contact, control was probably informal: gossip, teasing, fear of being labeled a witch, and mocking by ceremonial clowns at village ceremonies. Today, local crimes and misdemeanors are handled through the Tribal court system. Serious crimes like murder are adjudicated in federal court.

Conflict. Before American domination, war sometimes erupted between villages over land boundaries or vengeance. Navajos raided Hopi villages from the 1700s until they were pacified in the late nineteenth century. Warfare involved all village males under the leadership of the hereditary war chief. Since American pacification, much conflict within and between villages is expressed in terms of acceptance or rejection of accommodation to White ways, although its causes may lie elsewhere. In recent years, conflict with Navajos has intensified as the two tribes dispute their share of jointly held land, but this time the conflict is being resolved through the U.S. federal court system rather than by warfare. The Hopi have a reputation for nonviolence, but domestic and other forms of interpersonal violence seem to have increased in recent years.

User Contributions:

This was a lot of help but I need more about the political stuff, like the government
Steven Myslinski
This information was very helpful with my social studies project.

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