TwHP Lessons

Enduring Awatovi: Uncovering Hopi Life and Work on the Mesa

National Park Service photograph
(National Park Service)

n the silent pre-dawn hours, Sun-Watcher slipped from his bed and quietly left the Hopi pueblo. He went to the edge of the Arizona mesa and settled down to wait for sunrise.  For many years, Sun-Watcher kept track of the seasonal movement of the sun on the horizon.  As the sun rose that morning, he saw that it reached the farthest point on its southern journey: the winter solstice arrived. Sun-Watcher returned to the pueblo to announce that it was time for a ceremony to summon spirits to bring rain to nourish the village's crops. At the Awatovi pueblo on Antelope Mesa, Hopis celebrated this ceremony for over 500 years.

Though Awatovi is no longer occupied, the ceremony continues to set the rhythm for Hopi agriculture. For the Hopis, the movements of the sun, the appearance of the rain, and the growth of crops still depend on the people's correct and active participation in the regular cycle of life. For students of the past, enduring Hopi traditions and American archeological research reveal much about this important place.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Map
  1. Map 1: Hopi and Navajo Reservations in the Southwest.

Determining the Facts: Readings

  1. Reading 1: Corn Is Sacred. Corn Is Life. Corn Is Hopi.
  2. Reading 2: Enduring Awatovi.
  3. Reading 3: Hopi Farming.

Visual Evidence: Images
  1. Map 2: Sites at Antelope Mesa and Jeddito Wash.
  2. Photo 1: Awatovi, Antelope Mesa.
  3. Photo 2: Archeological Site at Awatovi.
  4. Photo 3: Terraced dwellings in an occupied Hopi town, ca. 1880.
  5. Drawing 1: Irrigation Method at Awatovi.

Putting It All Together: Activities
  1. Two Views on Awatovi.
  2. Illustrating Hopi Methods of Farming.
  3. Documenting Historic Agriculture in Your Community.

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This lesson is based on the National Historic Landmark registration file for "Awatovi," a National Historic Landmark on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. It is among the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



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