Arizona Tewa

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"Tamos" redirects here. For the ancient Egyptian, see Tamos (Egyptian admiral).

The Arizona Tewa (also Hopi-Tewa, Tano, Southern Tewa, Hano, Thano) are a Tewa Pueblo group that resides on the eastern part of the Hopi Reservation on or near First Mesa in northeastern Arizona.


The name Tano is a Spanish borrowing of an older Arizona Tewa autonym tʰáánu tééwa. Tano is often encountered in the anthropological literature referring to the ancestors of the Arizona Tewa before they relocated to Hopi territory. The name Hano, similarly, is a borrowing of tʰáánu into Hopi as hááno, háánòwɨ, which was then Anglicized. Hano in English also refers to Tewa Village, one of the main Arizona Tewa settlements. Other historical names include Tamos, Tamones, Atmues, Tanos, Thanos, Tagnos, Janos. Tewa is the preferred autonym (over Hano, Tano, and Hopi-Tewa) because the Tewa language refers to its people as "Tewas."


The Arizona Tewa are related to the Tewa communities living in the Rio Grande Valley, such as Santa Clara and San Juan. The Tewa at Hopi have an oral history stating that they came to the area to help the Hopi defend against raiding tribes such as the Navajo, Ute, and Apache. Ute history also corroborates the Tewa oral history. Utes say an indestructible elk antler bow was given to the Tewa warriors they encountered, as a gesture of respect, during their last raid to Hopi. The Utes, themselves fierce warriors, lost men to the Tewas, and were instructed to tell their people that Tewa were protecting Hopi now. The Dine′, Utes, and Apaches discontinued raiding Hopi villages. It is told there were only seven Hopi families left when Tewa people agreed to defend the Hopi. Hopi, who asked the Tewa four times to come and defend their land, promised to provide land for Tewa families to live and farm on.The Hopi were once again able to resume their peaceful way of life. Some Tewa arrived later and are descendants of those who fled the Second Pueblo Revolt of 1680-1692, live on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, mostly the Village of Tewa and Polacca on First Mesa. Some Hopis call the Tewa village Hano,although this word is of Anglo origin and not considered a respectful way to address the Tewa. The main settlements are Tewa Village (Hano) and Polacca which are located in Navajo County, Arizona (55 miles north of Winslow). A smaller community is based in Keams Canyon Hopi governmental center.

The long contact with Hopi peoples has led to similarities in social structure with their kinship system and their organization to clans being almost identical with the Hopi (the other Tanoan Pueblo groups do not have clans). However, the Tewa dual moiety has been preserved.


Many Arizona Tewa are trilingual in Tewa, Hopi, and English. Some speakers also speak Spanish and/or Navajo. Arizona Tewa is a variety of the Tewa language of Tanoan family and has been influenced by Hopi (which is an unrelated Uto-Aztecan language). Arizona Tewa and the forms of Rio Grande Tewa in New Mexico are mutually intelligible with difficulty.

What is remarkable about this speech community is that the influence of the Hopi language on Arizona Tewa is extremely small in terms of vocabulary. Arizona Tewa speakers, although they are trilingual, maintain a strict separation of the languages (see also Code-switching: Example). These attitudes of linguistic purism may be compared with other Tewa speech communities in New Mexico where there has been very little borrowing from Spanish even though the Tewa and Spanish have had long periods of contact and the Tewa were also bilingual in Tewa and Spanish.

Traditionally, the Arizona Tewa were translators for Hopi leaders and thus also had command of Spanish and Navajo. This contrasts with the Hopi who generally can not speak Tewa (although they may have limited proficiency in Navajo).

Notable people[edit]

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  • Dozier, Edward P. (1951). "Resistance to acculturation and assimilation in an Indian pueblo". American Anthropologist 53 (1): 56–66. 
  • Dozier, Edward P. (1954). The Hopi-Tewa of Arizona. Berkeley: University of California.
  • Dozier, Edward P. (1956a). "Two examples of linguistic acculturation: The Yaqui of Sonora and Arizona and the Tewa of New Mexico". Language 32 (1): 146–157. doi:10.2307/410663. 
  • Dozier, Edward P. (1956b). "The role of the Hopi-Tewa migration legend in reinforcing cultural patterns and prescribing social behavior". The Journal of American Folklore 69 (272): 176–180. 
  • Dozier, Edward P. (1960). "The pueblos of the south-western United States". The Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 90 (1): 146–160. 
  • Dozier, Edward P. (1966). Hano: A Tewa Indian Community in Arizona. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
  • Kroskrity, Paul V. (2000). Language ideologies in the expression and representation of Arizona Tewa identity. In P. V. Kroskrity (Ed.), Regimes of language: Ideologies, polities, and identities (pp. 329–359). Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.
  • Stanislawski, Michael B. (1979). Hopi-Tewa. In A. Ortiz (Ed.), Southwest (pp. 587–602). W. C. Sturtevant (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians (Vol. 9). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.