The Tapuat symbol depicts a maze, or labyrinth. It represents the relationship between mother and child, beginning in the center and radiating outwards as the child’s world expands. Life may sometimes feel like a maze, and the Hopi were conscious of this. At a higher level, the Tapuat represents Mother Earth or the Cosmic Mother (the universe). It is a symbol of birth and rebirth.
The Hopi are a Native American tribe, the majority of whom live in the state of Arizona, in the United States of America. The Hopi are descended from the Pueblo Native Americans, and have existed in Arizona since at least the 16th Century.
The name Hopi is derived from the longer phrase: ‘Hopituh Shi-nu-mu’ which translates to “The Peaceful People", or "Peaceful Little Ones.”
The Hopi view their lands as sacred. The Hopi culture is centered around agriculture, though they did not, before European settlers, have any conception of land ownership, boundaries or division. They believe that they exist as caretakers only, and that the land is inherited from their ancestors.
Traditionally, the Hopi lived on high mesas for protection against raiding tribes, and also due the benefits of irrigation afforded by the high land.
The Hopi possess a belief system that is extremely spiritual, with a strong sense of morality and ethics. The Hopi people aim to cultivate a reverence and respect for all things, to cohabit with all earthly things, and to obey Maasaw, the Earth’s creator. Traditional Hopi ceremonies and rituals are performed for the benefit of not just the tribe, but everything that exists in the world.
In the modern day, the majority of Hopi peoples live on the Hopi reservation in southern Arizona. The reservation is entirely enclosed within the significantly larger Navajo reservation. This, in the recent past, has been a source of conflict for the tribe.
Many Hopi continue to practice subsistence or micro farming. The Hopi also take part in the wider American economy. Many have conventional jobs, while others create and sell traditional Hopi art.