Hopi Social Organization

     Social organization.—The Hopi people are divided into several phratries, consisting of numerous clans, each of which preserves its distinct legends, ceremonies, and ceremonial paraphernalia. Out of these clan organizations have sprung religious fraternities, the head-men of which are still members of the dominant clan in each phratry. The relative importance of the clans varies in different pueblos; many that are extinct in some villages are powerful in others.
     The 12 phratries and their dependent clans as represented in the East Mesa villages are as follows:
1. Ala-Lengya ( Horn-flute) phratry: Ala (Horn), Pangwa (Mountain sheep), Sowiinwa (Deer), Chubio (Antelope ), Chaizra ( Elk), Lehu (Seed grass), Shiwanu (Ant), Anu (Red-ant), Tokoamu (Black-ant), Wukoanu (Great-ant) Leliotu (Tiny-ant), Shakwalengya (Blue flute), Masilengya (Drab or All-colors flute).

2. Patki (Water-house or Cloud) phratry: Patki (Water-house), Kau (Corn), Omauwu (Rain-cloud), Tanaka (Rainbow), Talawipiki (Lightning), Kwan (Agave), Siwapi (‘Rabbit-brush’), Pawikya (aquatic animal [Duck]), Pakwa (Frog), Pavatiya (Tadpole), Murzibusi (Bean), Kawaibatunya (Watermelon), Yoki (Rain).

3. Chau( Snake ) phratry: Chua (Snake), Tohouh (Puma) , Huwi (Dove ), Ushu (Columnar cactus), Puna (Cactus fruit), Yungyu (Opuntia), Nabowu (Opuntia frutescens), Piuwani (Marmot), Pihcha (Skunk), Kalashiavu (Raccoon), Tubish (Sorrow), P a t u n g (Squash), Atoko (Crane), Kele (Pigeon-hawk), Chinunga (Thistle). The last 5 are extinct.

4. Pakab (Reed) phratry: Pakab (Reed), Kwahu (Eagle), Kwayo (Hawk), Koyonya (Turkey), Tawa (Sun), Paluna (Twin-brother of Puhukonghoya), Shohu (Star), Massikwayo (Chicken-hawk), Kahabi (Willow), Tebi (Greasewood).

5. Kokop (Wood) phratry: Kokop (Wood), Ishauu (Coyote), Kwewu (Wolf), Sikyataiyo (Yellow-fox), Letaiyo (Gray-fox), Zrohona (small mamial), Masi(Masauu, dead, skeleton, Ruler of the Dead), Tuvou (Piñon), Hoko (Juniper), Awata (Bow), Sikyachi (small yellow bird), Tuvuchi (small red bird).

6. Tabo (Cottontail rabbit) phratry: Tabo (Cottontail rabbit), Sowi (Jackrabbit).

7. Tuwa (Sand or Earth) phratry: Kukuch, Bachipkwasi, Nananawi, Mornobi (varieties of lizard), Pisa (White sand), Tuwa (Red sand), Chukai (Mud), Sihu (Flower), Nanawu (small striped squirrel).

8. Honau (Bear) phratry: Honau (Bear), Tokochi (Wild-cat), Chosro (Blue-bird) , Kokyan (Spider) , Hekpa (Fir).

9. Kachina (Sacred dancer) phratry: Kachina (Sacred dancer), Gyazru (Paroquet), Angwusi (Raven), Sikyachi (Yellow bird), Tawamana (Blackbird), Salabi (Spruce), Suhubi (Cottonwood).

10. Asa (Tansy mustard) phratry: Asa (Tansy mustard), Chakwaina (Black-earth Kachina), Kwingyap (Oak), Hosboa (Chapparal cock), Posiwu (Magpie), Chisro (Snow-bunting), Puchkohu (Boomerang rabbit-stick), Pisha (Field-mouse).

11. Piba (Tobacco) phratry: Piba (Tobacco), Chongyou (Pipe).

12. Honani ( Badger) phratry: Honani ( Badger), Muinyawu ( Porcupine), Wishoko (Turkey-buzzard), Buli (Butterfly), Buliso ( Evening Primrose), Kachina (Sacred dancer).
     Most of the above clans occur in the other Hopi pueblos, but not in Hano. There are a few clans in the Middle Mesa villages and in Oraibi that are not now represented at Walpi. For the Hano clans see Hano.
     The Honau (Bear) clan is represented on each mesa and is supposed to be the oldest in Tusayan. It is said to have come originally from the Rio Grande valley, but on the East mesa the clan is now so reduced as to be threatened with extinction at Walpi within a generation.
     The Chua (Snake) people were among the earliest to settle in Tusayan, joining the Bears and living with them when Walpi was in the foothills. The legends of this people declare that they carne from pueblos in the north, near Navaho Mountains, on the Rio Colorado. In their northern home they were united with the Ala (Horn) people, who separated from them in their southerly migration and united with the Flute people at the now ruined pueblo of Lengyanobi, north of the East mesa. The combined Snake and Ala people control the Antelope and Snake fraternities, and possess the fetishes and other paraphernalia of the famous Snake dance. The palladium of this people is kept at Walpi, thus leading to the belief that this was the first Hopi home of the Snake and kindred people.
     The Lengya (Flute) people, once very strong, are now almost extinct at the East mesa, but are numerous in some of the other pueblos. They are said to have lived formerly at Lengyanobi and to have come to Tusayan from the south, or from pueblos along Little Colorado river. The chief of the Flute priesthood controls the Flute ceremony, which occurs biennially, alternating with the Snake dance. There are two divisions in the Flute fraternity, one known as the Drab Flute and the other as the Blue Flute, the former being extinct at Walpi. Sichomovi and Hano have no representatives of this phratry, but it is represented in all the other Hopi villages.
     There are Ala, or Horn, people in most of the Hopi pueblos, and clans belonging to this phratry are named generally after horned animals. Their ancestors came to Walpi with the Flute people and were well received, because they had formerly lived with the Snake people in the north. They now join the Snake priest in the Antelope rites of the Snake dance.
     The Patki (Water-house, or Cloud) phratry includes a number of clans that came to the Hopi country from the south, and the now ruined villages along the Little Colorado are claimed by this people to have been their former homes. They were comparatively late arrivals, and brought a high form of sun and serpent worship that is still prominent in the Winter Solstice ceremony. The Sun priests, who are well represented in most of the
     Hopi pueblos and are especially strong at Walpi, accompanied this people. Others, as the Piba or Tobacco clan, came to Walpi from Awatobi on the destruction of the latter pueblo in 1700.
     The Pakab (Reed) people also came from Awatobi, settling first at the base of the Middle mesa, whence they went to Walpi. They control the Warrior society called Kalektaka.
     The Kokop ( Wood) phratry came from Sikyatki and have a few representatives in Walpi and in the other villages. The traditional home of the Kokop and allied clans was Jemez (q. v.), in New Mexico.
     The Honani or Badger phratry originally lived at Awatobi, and after the destruction of that pueblo went to Oraibi and Walpi. It is now largely represented in Sichomovi, which village it joined the Asa in founding. The Buli, or Butterfly, clan is closely related to the Honani people, and both are probably of Keresan or of Tewa origin.
     The Kachina phratry is also of New Mexican origin, and in some of the pueblos shares with the Honani the control of the masked dance organization called Kachinas; but it is not strong in Walpi.
     The Asa people were Tewa in kin, coming originally from the Rio Grande valley and settling successively at Zuñi and in the Canyon de Chelly. This people, with the Honani, founded Sichomovi, and is now one of the strongest clans on the East mesa. Only one or two members now live at Walpi; a few live in the Middle Mesa villages, but none at Oraibi.

The books presented are for their historical value only and are not the opinions of the Webmasters of the site.   Handbook of American Indians, 1906

Index of Tribes or Nations


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

Search Military Records - Fold3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top