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“Cultural Encounters—Conflict at Oraibi”

Footpath by Southwest Crossroads

Introduction
After the Spanish Conquest of the 1500s and 1600s and the Spanish and Mexican occupations in the American Southwest, the Americans arrived in 1846. This marked another encounter with outsiders for the Hopi.

The U.S. government intervened in Hopi society in many ways, significantly by removing children from their families and sending them to boarding school. This was sometimes against the will of the parents and brought on hardships, both emotional and physical.

Away at school, the children were not able to perform religious duties and work tasks. The policy produced a split between those Hopi who wanted to send their children to school and those who did not.

A Hopi elder describes those times and events in the Village of Oraibi.

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