Lesson 3: Hopi Traditional Dance and Song
Hopi culture is deeply rooted in the arid landscapes of northern Arizona and the practice of dry-land corn farming. Hopi corn farmers depend upon natural precipitation and experienced, gentle, hands to grow corn. “Corn is life” and “corn are our children” are common metaphors used to explain the culture’s historic, physical, and spiritual commitment to farming corn in such a challenging environment. Hopi songs and traditional dance, including the symbolic costumes the dancers wear, demonstrate the importance of corn and the environment to the Hopi people.
In this lesson, students explore the cultural significance of corn to the Hopi people through careful examination of a few Hopi songs and a traditional dance to find evidence of corn imagery and other natural phenomena important to this culture. Through examining Hopi dance costumes and images from traditional dances and listening to Hopi songs—whether informal or made to accompany dances—students can find additional evidence of Hopi values and observe how these people stay connected to their homeland, Hopitutskwa.
This lesson is part of a three lesson unit on Hopi Language of Place and it may be taught in sequence or on its own. Teachers may link to the full unit with Guiding Questions, Background and Summative Assessment. Lesson 2 aligns with CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9
No guiding questions
To review the concept of “symbol” as displayed in seasonal cultural celebrations
To recognize the symbolic nature of corn by examining examples of Hopi traditional dance and song
To analyze features in examples of Hopi song, including repetition; rhythm and meter; imagery; and figurative language