Hopituh culture

Traditionally, Hopituh are organized into matrilineal clans. When a man marries, the children from the relationship are members of his wife’s clan. These clan organizations extend across all villages. Children are named by the women of the father’s clan.

On the twentieth day of a baby’s life, the women of the paternal clan gather, each woman bringing a name and a gift for the child. In some cases where many relatives would attend, a child could be given over forty names, for example. The child’s parents generally decide the name to be used from these names. Current practice is to either use a non-Hopituh or English name or the parent’s chosen Hopituh name. A person may also change the name upon initiation into one of the religious societies, such as the Kachina society, or with a major life event.

The Hopituh practice a complete cycle of traditional ceremonies although not all villages retain or had the complete ceremonial cycle. These ceremonies take place according to the lunar calendar and are observed in each of the Hopituh villages. Like other Native American groups, the Hopituh have been influenced by Christianity and the missionary work of several Christian denominations. Few have converted enough to Christianity to drop their traditional religious practices.

Traditionally the Hopituh are micro or subsistence farmers. The Hopituh also are part of the wider cash economy in the United States; a significant number of Hopituh have mainstream jobs; others earn a living by creating Hopituh art, notably the carving of Kachina dolls, the crafting of earthenware ceramics, and the design and production of fine jewelry, especially sterling silver. Tourism is thus the largest employer and the most important economic sector in Hopituh.

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