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The Hopi people are a spiritual, indigenous American group who place emphasis in their ancestor’s history, rather than archeologist history. Hopi people believe that their cultural landscape, or landforms that are affiliated with religious and historical affairs, bodies of water, and places of worship, includes all places that Hopi people have traveled or resided in. Each cultural landscape carries importance to the Hopi people and they consider them the footprints, or “itaakuku” of their tribe. Archeologists, however, have a much less spiritual view of the Hopi’s land, rather than considering cultural landscapes, archaeologists prefer to observe archaeological sites to be true. An archaeological site is a space that has physical evidence that a tribe once lived there, whether it be architecture, artifacts or other various physical evidence. To some, this may just be a conflict of religion versus science, however, for the Hopi people, their beliefs go much deeper than their history.
The Hopi people rely on oral history and words from their ancestors, these stories that are passed down are believed to be facts. They are a spiritual group of people that heavily rely on their history and ancestors. The Hopi believe that ancestral sites are still occupied by the spirits of their ancestors, they care for these lands and worship them as if they were shrines. A conflict of ideas arises when Hopi beliefs differ from archeologist beliefs.
The Hopi people believe that they climbed out and into the world and traveled along with the lands until they reached their holy land. This journey is important to the Hopi people, and they believe that the land the Hopi walked on before they arrived to their destination was also Hopi land and is considered sacred. The archeologists and anthropologists, however, believe that most indigenous people came from a land bridge that existed years and years ago that connected Asia to America. According to the fossil record, they do not believe that indigenous people came from America because the oldest human remains found are more evolved than those found in Asia.
However, these issues go even further beyond the conflict of ideas. Near Flagstaff, Arizona in the San Francisco Peaks, Hopi has gone to worship and use the mountains as shrines to their ancestors for years. However, in the last thirty years, a ski resort was set to be built in these lands. Despite the Hopi’s protests and even legal action against the Department of Agriculture for desecrating their land, the US justice system ruled in favor of the ski resort.
The Hopi people, like many other indigenous people, have unique and spiritual beliefs. The Hopi are strong in their faith for their ancestors and should be treated with respect like any other religious institution. Despite differences in beliefs on how the Hopi people came to America, ultimately, they were here first, and just because they shared their land with the United States does not mean that the US should overstep its boundaries and permit recreational resorts on their holy land. Indigenous people should have their beliefs respected just as much as more traditional religious institutions in America.
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