Oraibi, Arizona

Encyclopedia Article


A Hopi village located on the Hopi Reservation within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The village was established before 1100 AD, and has been continuously inhabited since then, making it one of the oldest settlements within the United States. The first contact with Spanish explorers occurred in 1540 when the Francisco Vázquez de Coronado expedition reached the area. A mission was built in the village in 1629, but was destroyed in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt. When the U.S. government took over the region in the mid-1800s, the Hopi were increasingly exposed to European influences and their traditional way of life began to change, especially as the result of the forced education of Hopi children at Christian boarding schools. In 1906, a split between traditionalist and progressive groups in Oraibi led to the founding of the nearby village of Hotevilla by the traditionalists who were struggling to preserve their old ways of life. Oraibi was once a thriving village of a few thousand people but is now a small community of less than 100 residents and is part of Kykotsmovi, the seat of the Hopi tribal government.

Photo Credit: 

"Adobe Buildings, Oraibi Pueblo, Hopi, Arizona, 1910-1925," photograph, Jesse Nusbaum Collection (158130). Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

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