Without the language, how Hopi are you? Hopi cultural and linguistic identity construction in contemporary linguistic ecologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Contemporary Hopi society reflects significant change brought about by modernity and contact with Western society. Nevertheless, village life revolves around a rich calendar of traditional secular and ceremonial ritual activities which has helped to preserve much of the culture in its traditional form. Thus, Hopi remains a vibrant, living culture, one in which the people continue to carry out ceremonial and traditional responsibilities through their ancestral language, Hopilavayi, the Hopi language. This chapter voices a critical consciousness by the Hopi community of a fundamental difference in how today’s Hopi youth are growing up from those of previous generations – Hopi youth are not acquiring the Hopilavayi as their first language. A worrying concern centers on Hopilavayi as essential to the construction of a culturally distinct identity with inherent responsibilities learned in the process of ‘becoming Hopi.’ Findings from an ethnographic case study of Hopi language shift and vitality (2003–2004) focus on the intergenerational pattern of Hopi identity construction among three Hopi youth amid changing socio-cultural and sociolinguistic ecologies. The family case studies exemplify the ways in which parents and grandparents ensure their children and grandchildren come to know the Hopi world as their first world in the course of ‘living and experiencing’ Hopilavayi through the practice of culture. Reciprocally, the youth demonstrate that they ‘have their hearts in the Hopi way of life.’

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA World of Indigenous Languages
Subtitle of host publicationPolitics, Pedagogies and Prospects for Language Reclamation
PublisherChannel View Publications
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781788923071
ISBN (Print)9781788923057
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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