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American Indian Film Gallery

Cultures of Apache tribes and Hopi tribes

Emalie Schaefer, Author
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Hopi Clothing

Women’s traditional clothing in ancient times consisted plain cotton knee-length dress called a “manta.” The manta is square in shape and is fastened at the right shoulder.  A narrow woven belt wrapped around the waist.  Later on, blue-black mantas replaced the undyed cotton mantas. Beginning in the 1900s, women began to wear a cloth blouse or dress under the manta.  A square silk scarf decorated with lace or satin ribbon around the edges is worn as a sort of cape.

Men wore fur or buckskin loin cloths.  They also wore tanned deerskin shirt-coats and leggings. 

The Hopi grew cotton which was carded and spun and woven into cloth.  Cotton sarongs wrapped around the waist and tied with a belt were worn by men in the mid-16th century.  Later on, the cloth was made into shirts and loose cotton pants.  Around the 1900s, dark black or black short-sleeved ponchos were worn.

The Hopi wore moccasins made from soft tanned skins, mainly deerskin. Women’s moccasins required using a large deerskin. The upper part of the moccasin were strips of deerskin that were wound around the leg and reached just below the knee. Women’s moccasins were white. Men’s moccasins reached the ankle and were either red or brown in color, with the color coming from dyes. Moccasins were also made specifically to be worn by the men in certain religious ceremonies and were dyed with other colors.

In cold weather, women used blankets of white cotton, and men used robes made from wildcat skins or rabbit skins interwoven with cotton yarn. Bear and buffalo skins were used at a later date.

“The introduction of trading posts at Hopi, the coming of the railroad to the American Southwest, and the establishment of schools in the late 1800s changed the ways that Hopis dressed. Their weaving practices also changed. The trading posts stocked manufactured cloth, the railroad brought new fashions from the east, and school officials made the  students wear uniforms. Eventually, men and boys started to wear shirts and pants made from manufactured cloth, and women and girls wore calico dresses.” ("Hopi Weaving." Southwest Crossroads. Online Website. 2004. (accessed April 25, 2015)).

Today, traditional clothing and footwear is worn mainly during ceremonial, religious, or special events.  In everyday life the Hopi wear modern clothing just like everyone else.

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