The Hopi Indian (1945)

The daily life of the Hopi women and men, and preparations for a marriage ceremony.

Opening text: “The Hopi Indian” then “This picture was made through the courtesy of United States Department of Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, Supervision by Alfred Whiting, Museum of Northern Arizona.” Overhead shot of the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon (Öngtupqa); another view of the canyon; panning shot from below of the village of Shungopavi, on Second Mesa; Hopi man leading a mule past a stone wall; a mule tethered outside an adobe and stone dwelling, and a man and boy descend the stairs from a second-story door, the man gets on the mule as a woman comes out a first floor door to lift the child onto the mule; close up of the man and boy smiling atop the mule; back to the wider shot as they ride off down the road past other connected dwellings; various shots of a different Hopi man who descends rock stairs with a bucket to toss water from a water hole (perhaps Toreva Spring) into the opening of an irrigation canal; close ups of the spring flowing in a canal to bean plants; shots of the same man hoeing and then picking up and examining a full-grown squash; the man picking apples from a tree and placing them in his hat; shots of a different Hopi man inspecting a corn plant in field of same; wide shot of the field; shots back at the dwelling of a Hopi woman chopping wood; various shots of a different Hopi woman grinding corn with a long cylindrical rock or mano on a metate or slanted, wide and flat stone; close up of the woman grabbing dried corn kernels from a basket; the woman sitting next to a very large oven built into the dwelling walls pulls out large sheets of piki bread, she then wipes off the oven’s interior flat surface; rolled pieces of tiki bread — the woman adds one and then covers with a large piece of piki; Hopi woman walks up to an older Hopi man (her future father-in-law) with a flat basket of rolled piki bread and he picks one up to eat; close up of the basket and bread she’s holding; an older woman (future mother-in-law), and younger (future bride), another young woman and a young man (future groom) sit around a large bowl of water then the elder woman wets the younger woman’s hair over the bowl, and the other young woman washes the groom’s hair over the bowl, then the pair of betrothed have their hair washed alongside each other over the bowl; the mother-in-law wraps each side of the bride’s hair into pony tales wrapped in brown string or thin strips of brown fabric; various shots of a young man weaving a long, white wedding sash; close up on the white moccasins he’s wearing; medium shot of the bride posing with a multicolored blanket wrapped around her shoulders; a few shots of  the bride — now with a white blanket (or robe) wrapped around her holds a long reed mat rolled with long tassels from the white sash sticking out while she stands next to the groom’s parents; the father-in-law sprinkles corn kernels on the ground making a path as he leads them off screen; the bride and groom walk towards her parents — and baby strapped to the mother’s back — and hands them the reed mat/bundle and they inspect it; medium shot of the father-in-law placing the white blanket/robe over the bride’s shoulder and tying a roll of black yarn to the back of her robe and she turns around to face the camera; wide shots of Grand Canyon; end titles: “The End, Coronet Instructional Films.”

Traditional Knowledge: 

00:07:24 father in-law tells bride “we will take you home now, your family is waiting for you” this statement is followed by his wife’s response of “yes”; 00:08:07 Young bride shows wedding robes to parents and father tells her, “People who helped you will try on these robes.”

00:08:15 Father in-law explains what he is doing by telling bride, “I’m going to put this on you and tie this on.”

CORRECTION to be noted: New brides are presented at Niman, also known as the Home Dance, NOT at the Snake Dance.

See also: The Hopi Tribe home page:

--Andie Belone (Hopi), 2012

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