November 23, 2014

Visiting the Hopi Tribe


Hopi Villages are found at both the base and the top of the three mesas dominating the landscape. These mesas project to the north from the enormous Black Mesa formation like fingers on a giant hand.In addition to the mesas and villages, the Hopi people are internationally acclaimed as artisans.


First Mesa is known for its pottery, Second Mesa for coiled basketry and Third Mesa for wicker basketry. Weavers, Katsina doll carvers and silversmiths are also found within each village.

First Mesa – The three villages lying on top of this mesa are Walpi, Sichomovi and Tewa, while Polacca sits at the base of the mesa. Walpi, the first settled village on First Mesa, remains home to individuals and is widely considered the most spectacular of the Hopi Villages as it is terraced into a narrow rock table. Residents live within this village without modern conveniences of running water and electricity.

Old two-story stone houses attest to the skill and labor of its people in the use of local stone to design and build sturdy homes. With an elevation of approximately 6,000 feet, a visit to Walpi offers the visitor an expansive view that is largely unchanged by the centuries. Visitors also have an opportunity to observe artisans at work and may purchase art directly from them. Only guided tours are permitted at Walpi.

Second Mesa – The three villages that comprise Second Mesa are Shungopavi, Sipaulovi and Mishongnovi. Although these villages do not have established tourism programs, one may contact their community development offices for information regarding activities that may be open to the public. There is a cultural center on the second Mesa, which includes an art gallery and inn.

Third Mesa – Further west are found the villages of Kykotsmovi, Oraibi, Bacavi, Hotevilla and Moenkopi on the Third Mesa. Moenkopi is where a branch of Oraibi was established as a farming village. Later, it became a permanent settlement. It is divided into two villages – Upper and Lower Moenkopi.

In addition to the scenery and arts and crafts, visitors are welcome to attend and observe certain ceremonies. Social and katsina dances are performed today as they have been for centuries. However, certain dances may not be open to non-Indians. Contact the specific village for details regarding attending ceremonies.

Things To Do

First Mesa Tours provide you with the best way to tour Hopi for the first time. Each tour guide is certified by the Hopi Tribe. These guides are exceptionally knowledgeable about the traditions and culture of the Hopi. 

Hopi Cultural Center is located on the Second Mesa, and includes a small gallery and an Inn.

Homolovi Ruins State Park consists of over 4000 acres and 300 archaeologigal sites, including four major 14th Century pueblos.  Several hiking trails wind through the pueblo ruins, some with petroglyphs.

Sipaulovi Village Walking Tour is a one-hour walking tour that winds through a living village where the clan homes are handed down through matrilineal clan lineage.

Where to Stay

Hopi Cultural Center Inn & Restaurant has 33 rooms and 1 suite as well as a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Moenkopi Legacy Inn & Suites is the first hotel built on Hopi land in 50 years and has 100 rooms.

Location and Nearby Communities

The Hopi reservation is in north central Arizona and is approximatly 92 miles northeast of Flagstaff, just outside of Tuba City.

Read more about the Hopi Tribe.

Native American Tourism
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