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Word Count: 765
In the southwestern United States above northern Arizona are three mesas The mesas create the home for the Hopi Indians The Hopi have a deeply religious isolated tribal culture with a unique historyThe Hopi stress group cooperation The tribe is organized around a clan system In a clan system all the members consider themselves relatives The clans form a social glue that has held the Hopi villages together Clan membership provides a singular Hopi identity The Hopi have a highly developed belief system which contains many gods and spirits Ceremonies rituals dances songs and prayers are celebrated in year-round The Hopi believed they were led to the arid southwestern region of America by their creator because he knew they had the power to evoke rain with power and prayer Consequently the Hopi are connected to their land its agricultural cycles and the constant quest for rainfall in a religious way The religious center of the community is the kiva which is an underground room with a ladder protruding above the roof The kiva is very important for several reasons From the kiva a connection is made with the center of the earth Also the kiva is symbolic for the emergence to this world The room would represent the underworld and the ladder would represent the way to the upper world In fact a room is kept in the house to store ceremonial objects A sacred ear of corn protects the room and symbolizes the ancestry of the family members Kachinas are also a focal point of the religion For a Hopi they signify spirits of ancestors dieties of the natural world or intermediaries between man and gods The Hopi believe that they are the earths caretakers and with the successful performance of their ceremonial cycle the world will remain in balance the gods will be happy and rain will come Because they think of their crops as gifts the Hopi Indians live in harmony with
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