The similarities and evaluation of the Netsilik and the Hopi comminities are based on their tradition, social, economic status, mythology, and religion. The Supreme Being is viewed to be the center of every tribe’s success or failure. The existence of a being with supernatural powers is considered to influence the economic things to do of both the tribes. While the Netsilik believed their land to be sacred, the Hopi found that animals are sacred and deserved ideal attention when they hunt and kill them for food. Failure to follow the instructions as given by the Supreme Being means some punishment from the gods will be upon them. Both the Netsilik and the Hopi had households as the smallest domestic unit of the community. The family consisted of children and parents and lived together in confinements called the houses. The Netsilik lived in igloos while the Hopi lived in dome shape dwellings with their families. The two tribe practiced hunting as their source of food. The Netsilik hunted the caribou from kayaks while the Hopi hunted for seals and bears for food. Any surplus catch from the hunt was stored in ice blocks to be used when the seal and bear hunting will not be rewarding. The many differences in the social status of the Netsilik and the Hopi extend from economic activity to political organization. The Hopi were ruled by chiefs and their council of elders while the Netsilik did not have any form of leadership. They lived only in groups of five to six members, but no leader could solve any community dispute. The two tribes practiced marriage ceremony, but they were different. The Netsilik were exogamous while the Hopi were monogamous. They also used various tools in their day to day activities depending on the nature of the task they perform at a particular instance.
_x000c_Netsilik Eskimo vs. Hopi
This work aims to compare and contrast the Netsilik and the Hopi Native Americans. The Netsilik is a group of Inuit who lived in the Canadian Arctic. They were involved in fur trapping and had a high culture until the 20th century when mission schools were established in their land. The missionary education modified the culture of the Netsilik in that they borrowed some traits from their education system. The Hopi on the other side is a Native America tribe, who lives on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. They are descendants of the Ancient Pueblo people. Netsilik tribe and Hopi tribe have many similarities between their social lives. They also have some differences because of their different geographical setup.
Both the Netsilik and the Hopi believed in the existence of a supreme being. In the case of the Netsilik Eskimo, they believed in the origin of the world being linked to the animals they hunted. They were convinced by the existence of spirits who ruled the forces of nature and observed how animals were being treated (Rasmussen 23). The spirits believed were Nuliajuk, Narsuk, Tatque and animal spirits. They believed that these souls were accountable for controlling nature and the animals they hunted. They thought that the soul of Nuliajuk aroused from an orphan girl. The girl was pushed into the ocean and became the goddess of the sea. They say that Nuliajuk can make seal disappear from their harpoons. The Netsilik, therefore, could only pacify the God by treating animals well that so she can reward them with fish in return.
Narssuk, on the other hand, is a giant baby and weather God who observed his mother and father getting killed which resulted in his hatred for mankind. The God was to be dressed warm clothes to keep him from producing severe weather. Tatque was the moon spirit who had no anger towards humankind but was forced to kill her mother. She fell in love with a brother spirit who together they journeyed to the sky and became the moon and sun spirits. They thought that, if a woman slept exposed during the full moon, she would automatically get pregnant. The moon and sun spirits are therefore good spirits in the lives of the Netsilik. They possess good effects on the people as the tribe believes.
The Hopi also, as the Netsilik, believed in the existence of a supreme being. They believed that Tawa was the center of all creation, and it was he who created the first world from endless space. Traditionally, the women had to seek blessings for their newborns from the sun (Susanne & Jake 37). They thought that the earth is governed by a person with supreme powers who influences the underworld. They think that the spider woman is a spouse of the sun and mother of the twin war gods. Apart from these two gods, they think that there are ancestors_x0092_ spirits who possess good powers and evil powers. They refer to them as the Kachinas who are colorfully represented in the painted and feathered dolls.
Another similarity between the Hopi and the Netsilik is that they both practiced hunting. The Netsilik belong to a group of hunters whose practice can be easily described as a seasonal subsistence cycle. During the winter they harpooned seals found on the sea ice while during the summer they participated in the community based hunting of the category of people known as caribou from kayaks. They hunted in fluid hunting gangs that were mainly identified with a specific geographical location.
The Hopi also practiced hunting among other practices. They hunted with spears rather than with bows and arrows (Bjorklund 68). They had a nomadic hunter-gathering lifestyle before they settled. They settled in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona where they continued with their culture of hunting.
Both the Netsilik and the Hopi had a basic unit called the family. They lived in a clan system with many tribes having a matrilineal descending. The Hopi is a matrilineal society whose households are built on a core line of women (Lace & William 46). The parents together with their children lived in built houses. Women own homes and the cultivated lands, thus making them more powerful than men. Men are owners of livestock that they raise. Disciplinary cases are dealt with mother_x0092_s brothers who most of the time undertake joint economic activities. The families lived with their siblings in a single room house. The growth of the family meant that side-rooms were to be added to the original house. Therefore, it is clear that the primary domestic unit of the Hopi tribe is the family (Kuszewski 28).
The Netsilik also had the family as the primary domestic unit. Family groups were the most important social unit in their culture. The families usually consisted of five or six people. The families lived together in a community where they hunted together in a group of six to ten families (Blais et al 17). Men were entitled to building the houses, hunting, and fishing. Women tasks were to cook and look after the children.
It is evident that the Netsilik and The Hopi had several similarities as discussed in this work. It is seen that both the Netsilik tribe and the Hopi tribes had the family as the primary domestic unit. They also believed in the existence of a supreme being whom they served to please. The two tribes have also been seen to be involved in a similar economic activity. They both practiced hunting as a source of food.
There are many differences between the Netsilik Eskimo and the Hopi. First, the Hopi had a political organization whereby chiefs and elders ruled the villages. The chiefs and the council of elders came from the clan which was in power. Land disputes were the major area of political discussions. The head had the final adjudication and warfare in these cases. The Hopi people had social clubs known as Kivas where every man was supposed to be a member of one Kiva. Through Kiva discussions, the village leaders could get the wish of the people and act as required. Women, on the other hand, played a vital role in decision making since men represented their sisters, wives as well as themselves. Governance by the chiefs formed a political organization which was tasked with all the activities of the Hopi. Every dispute or conflict was solved by the chief and his council of elders_x0092_ panel.
While the Hopi had organized political organization, the Netsilik had no form of political leadership. They lived in small family groups, but they did not have real leaders (Cavanagh 32). During winter, families lived together. They went hunting in groups during winter, but during the summer they would split up. There would be the occurrence of loose alliances between different families which would result in the formation of larger groups or bands. They practiced collective behaviors where food sources were considered to be community property. Everyone was expected to participate in helping one another and share any wealth that one may be possessing. Therefore, there was no form of political organization in the Hopi tribe that was entitled to solve any family dispute.
The Hopi practiced farming to feed their families. They planted subsistence crops which included maize, corns and other perennial plants to provide them with food. Agriculture was the central economic activity in their culture. Their migration to the Hopi mesas did not make them loose ties with their agricultural role which they believed Maasaw the protector of the world taught them. Besides corn, they also cultivated sunflowers and beans. They cultivated squash as wealth which they used to make utensils and musical instruments. The different types of beans were grown for food while sunflower most of the time they cultivated to produce oil. They formed many agricultural groups and started farming different kinds of beans and other cereal plants.
The Netsilik differed with the Hopi because they were hunters and gatherers. They hunted bears and seals for their food. They hunted seal during winter because cold conditions are most favorable for the growth and development of seals. Therefore, during winter the population of seals increased providing a high period for them to hunt giving them the resources they needed to survive. They also fished during winter. They used to fish as a source of food when the caribou and seal were not available. In the summer, they hunted the caribou. Caribou provided them food and skin which they used for clothing. Any surplus from fishing the Netsilik preserved in ice blocks to be used during drought season. It is clear that the Hopi were different from the Netsilik in the sense that they were hunters while the Netsilik were farmers.
The Netsilik used fat from the seals as their source of heat and fire. They used fats for their soapstone lamps which lit their igloos as well as heating them (Balikci and Brown 78). They were, therefore, the only tribe who hunted for their heating fuel instead of using wood. On the other side, the Hopi tribe used firewood as their only source of heat. It is therefore clear that, the two tribes depended on two different things as their source of heat. The Hopi depended on firewood while the Netsilik depended on fat from seals to light and heat their igloos.
The Hopi considered land to be sacred while the Netsilik considered animal life to be sacred. The Netsilik believed that when they hunt and kills an animal, they should offer proper attention to the animal so that the animal can appear to them every time they go hunting. Failure to attend to the animal, they believe that the animal will never provide itself to be killed. While the Netsilik believed that animal nature was sacred, the Hopi believed that the land was holy (Diamond 42). They thought that by farming, they follow the instructions given to them by Maasaw, the protector of the world. They thought that they were in covenant with Maasaw and their migration to the Hopi mesas did not make them end farming in drylands. Today, the Hopi community still practices farming a process they conduct entirely by hand. Planting, cultivation, and harvesting is done manually in the process of farming. It is thus apparent that the Hopi still practice their farming culture.
The Hopi were monogamous while the Netsilik were exogamous. The Hopi marriage was believed to last into the afterlife. Men married spouses of their own choices; no one had the power to choose a wife for an individual. Children gotten from the relationship were members of the wife_x0092_s clan. The clans extended to many families in the Hopi community. The names of the children were cast by women from the husbands_x0092_ tribe. On the 20th day after birth, women from the paternal clan are supposed to gather. Each of the women comes with a name and a gift for the child. A large number of women who comes to the ceremony meant that the child would have as many titles as the number of the attendees of the event. After the occasion, the parents of the child will choose the best name from the names brought by visitors.
The Netsilik on the other side practiced exogamy. Men were allowed to marry more than one wife. They practiced regular meeting of extended families. There were complicated relationships whereby wives were exchanged between different defined male partnerships. The ties were believed to be a form of marriage. Relationships were varied from either short-term marriage or long-term marriage. Young women married at a very tender age of fourteen years while the men were only allowed to marry at age twenty. The Netsilik enjoyed a great freedom of sexual engagement.
Another difference between the Netsilik and the Hopi is that they used different tools in their daily activities. For instance, the Netsilik people used semilunar knives when preparing skin and cleaning of fish. Men had their weapons for hunting which included harpoons, spears, and the bow and arrow. They also had knives which they used to cut blocks of snow to be used in the construction of houses. They caught fish with hooks, prongs, weirs, and traps. The Hopi too had their tools which they used in their daily economic activities. They used digging sticks for farming, but later they turned to the use of horse and plowed while grinding tools were made of stones.
The Hopi community dwelled in pueblo housing while the Netsilik people lived in igloos. The pueblo housings were made of sandstone and adobe walls which were consisted of roof beams of pines and juniper. The beautiful architectural arrangement suggests that the Hopi got the unique idea from their underworld origin. The Netsilik community on the other side lived in igloos with their families. The igloos are a type of shelter built on snow. They were temporary winter houses which they used when they were hunting.
In this work, it has been shown that the Netsilik community and the Hopi tribe had several similarities as well as some differences which distinguish the two tribes. The comparison and contrast of the two tribes were based on different factors which included tradition and custom, religion, economic activity and the mythology of the two tribes.
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