Q:

What foods did the Hopi Indians traditionally eat?

A:

The Hopi Indians were farmers, subsisting off of corn, beans and squash while raising turkeys as livestock. Antelope, deer and small game supplemented this basic diet, as did nuts, fruits and herbs. During famines, the Hopi Indians ate dried greens, cactus fruits, berries, currants and roses.

Agricultural duties were divided along gender lines. Men were primarily responsible for the fields, growing and harvesting the corn. Women sometimes aided them in the fields but also maintained fruit and vegetable gardens. They also handled the by-products of the growing season.

Squash formed an important, if small, cornerstone of the Hopi way of life. Not only was squash a staple food, it was also used to make utensils and instruments. During the 16th century, as Spanish settlers expanded into Hopi territory, the Hopi were also exposed to peaches, watermelon, chili peppers and different onion varieties that they incorporated into their daily diets.

Blue corn, also known as Hopi maize, was integral to the lives and diets of the Hopi people. It was used to make different kinds of cornbread and played a significant part during rituals. According to folklore, while other people chose the largest ears of corn, the Hopi chose the smallest blue one; it imbued eaters with strength, represented longevity and was associated with the winter solstice sunset.


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