Please allow me to introduce you to these two tribes; you may not have had the honor of knowing them except in historical context, perhaps even as footnotes, such as "see the Navajo Long Walk' (and may I say "f**k you, Kit Carson' here). These First Americans living on reservations on the sere lands of the desert Southwest have been betrayed continually over the centuries by our federal government, but assuredly are not footnotes, but human beings trying to live, thrive and survive in spite of genocide, both actual and cultural, broken treaties, and even betrayal by some of their own tribal members.
The Hopi people, often called "the Peaceful People' or "the Cloud Callers', especially by the Navajo, live in the parched mesas of northwestern Arizona. Their creation stories describe their ancestors having emerged into the present Fourth World from a sipapu (a hole in the earth connecting to the underworld) at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers. By tradition and long belief, they take seriously and soberly their belief that they were given the task of upholding the world and keeping it safe from harm. At the link you can see Walpi, and read of the Fourth World story, the clan formations, and other history.
According to their beliefs, there are many gods they call Kachinas, spirits of assorted powers and purposes who winter in the San Francisco Peaks to the north and come home to Hopi during appointed seasons when The People need their hope and attention. They're honored by dances and ceremonies designed to please them; participants carve and paint representations of the spirit gods to wear for the ceremonies, or "dances'. Old Oraibi, toward the western end of the Hopi Mesas, is the oldest continually inhabited village in the country, made of stone and clay, as all the villages are. They blend into the surround rock so well as to be almost invisible. Visiting these generous and patient people's villages is stepping into another time, another dimension, one scented by sage and sand, and steeped in reverence for life and land, the gods, and laced with the humor that most First Americans have in abundance.
From the traditional Hopi Shungopavi Village's brand new website created because for the first time ever, the elders are alarmed enough by the current crises concerning water around the globe:
"The Meaning of Hopi
When Human Beings entered into this world, the world of the Creator, they asked permission to live here. The Creator told them he lives very simply, with only his planting stick and a few kernels of corn. If they were willing to live his simple life, they would be allowed to stay.
Human beings were given Three Sacred Duties
They were given Corn, a Planting Stick and a little Water, to live from the Land.
They were given Sacred Religious Instructions, to Uphold the Natural, Spiritual and Universal Worlds, for the Continuing of all Life.
They were to remain Faithful to His Instruction, to always maintain His Way of Life.
The Hopi People, since ancient times, honor these Three Sacred Duties.
Only when upholding these Sacred Religious Instructions does one earn the name Hopi.
The Hopi, loosely speaking, could be said to use their spiritual practices to influence their environment, including performing the Snake Dance to petition the Kachinas for rain to ripen the maize that is their staple crop. The dance isn't open to tourists any longer, as we proved too big a distraction. As improbable as it might seem, I utterly believe in the power of the Cloud Callers; I saw the Snake Priests dancing in prayer and intentionality, holding poisonous snakes in their mouths for hours"make it rain. This is a brief account I wrote (disregard the incorrect photo Rayne kindly added back then); witnessing it"changed me forever.