The Sapir/Whorf Hypothesis

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This page presents material that we will be used in our discussion of Whorf's use of the Hopi language and Pueblo Culture as a comparative counterpoint to "Standard Average European."

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 LAST UPDATE: 11-30-2011      Course Home Page

Archaeological cultures possibly ancestral to Pueblo peoples.


Location of modern Pueblos. Hopi Pueblos are off the map to the left. There are also additional Pueblos to the south along the Texas-Mixican border.

Click on the map to enlarge it.


Hopi Land past and present.


The Hopi Reservation, located in Arizona, is completely surrounded by the Navajo Reservation.


Hopiland close-up, showing the Mesas and Towns.

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Walpi at the head of First Mesa.

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Exterior of Walpi Pueblo, First Mesa, about 1918.


Toreva at the head of Second Mesa. What? Can't see the town? It's right where you think it is. Check out the enlarged image to see the buildings. Imagine them with adobe and timber roofs. They would mimic the blocky bedrock and be invisible from any point from which you could actually look at them.

Click on the image to enlarge.


This is a rooftop view of Hano on First Mesa, as seen in 1884. It was settled by Tewa speaking people from the Rio Grande Valley. So some of the Hopi don't even speak Hopi in the strict sense.

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Oraibi, situated on the highest part of Third Mesa, was founded prior to 1100 AD, which makes the oldest continuously occupied town in the United States. This hand tinted photograph dates from about 1890.


Preparation for a Flute Dance to bring rain. By Curtis, about 1903 at the main cistern at Toreva on Second Mesa.


Woman drawing water from a cistern at Oraibi, about 1890.


Preparation of an irrigated field by Hopi, about 1903, by Curtis.


Circular Hopi field of corn, prepared in the traditional manner. Moencopi, 1941, Cline Library Special Collections, No. 2821. Moencopi is 50 miles west of Third Mesa and was settled by the Pumpkin Clan from Oraibi.


Hopi at edge of corn field, ca. 1910.


Hopi blue corn, which grinds into a pale blue flour that is preferred for the making of piki, a thin, dry, tortilla-like bread.

Learn how to make piki here.


Two Hopi girls of Shongopovi grinding corn on their matates and chatting with a young man. Half of a stereo photo, posed but reasonably accurate.


Hopi lady making piki, by Curtis about 1900.

Click here to see what a piki stone looks like.


Hopi watermelon field. Each vine is staked with twigs to train it so that it will be stable in the wind and also prevent wind erosion. Other vines, such as squash and pumpkin, are cultivated in the same way.


Hopi pumpkin and black squash.


Hopi potter with the things necessary to make pots. Notice the shallow bowl containing balls of clay. She begins by spreading these onto her kneading stone.


Hopi potter kneading the moistened clay body. Note the clay balls in the pan to her left. These are saved out to add if the clay body becomes too moist.


Nampeyo painting, by Curtis, ca. 1900.


Hopi basket maker in the doorway of her home.


Hopi man weaving a blanket in the kiva of the Snake Clan at Walpi, ca. 1899.


Hopi men weave belts for their brides in their kivas.


Reconstructed kiva from a tinted photo of the ceremonial cave above Tyuonyi in Rito de los Frijoles Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, taken about 1918.


Plan and elevation drawing of a typical kiva. Kivas can also be square or somewhat rectangular, as is often the case among the Hopi (e.g., the Snake Clan kiva with the man weaving, shown above).


The ruins of Pueblo Bonito. Notice the number of kivas and the area that they occupy.


Longhair Kachina Dancers prepare in their kiva as the women look on. What is wrong with this drawing (by Edwin Earle in about 1932) and what does it mean?


When the kiva is officially occupied for ritual purposes, it is marked with a na'chi, such as the one that is attached to the ladder in this photograph.


The Hopi Ceremonial Calendar as it is practiced on Second Mesa.

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Click here for descriptions of each ceremony and its kachinas. On Second Mesa the work for kachina is "katsina" (katsinam pl.).


Two priests of the Two Horn Society at Hopi.


This is the Mongko of the Two Horn Society, the visible symbol of their status and power.

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The Flute Society alter.


The Flute Society Chief carrying cornmeal and a paho, or prayer stick/feather to the Flute Spring..


Sun paho.


Unidentified priest placing a paho at a spring-side shrine.


Cornmeal plaques in the kiva of the One Horn Society. Rising out of the cornmeal are paho.


Soyal priests carry cornmeal plaques from the kiva to the the Flute Spring.


The official logo of Zia Pueblo, which appears in red or in black.


The Great Seal of the State of New Mexico as portrayed beneath the capital dome.


Hopi Two Horn Society Kachina Dancers. Eototo, the Chief of all the Kachinas, is at the left. Aholi, Eototo's chief aid, is at the right. Notice that each Kachina holds a Mongko.

Note that this Mongko is different that the idealized one pictured above. It has corn shoots tied above, but no wild turkey feathers below. Mongko differ by town and by specific ceremonial function.


The Blue Star Kachina appears to foretell of momentous events.


Kachinas entering their kiva at the end of the ninth day.

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©2011 by Charles M. Nelson
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