It is quite amazing that some of these people still live in these ancient buildings, dating from the 1100's, especially those who choose to live without electricity or running water. The houses are grouped quite close together, and the roads are very narrow, so you feel like you are back in ancient times until have have to move over for a Ford pick-up driven by one of the Hopi villagers.
What is also surprising, is that there are artifacts lying around everywhere. Most of the artifacts are pottery shards strewn on the ground, as numerous as rocks. Some of these shards are quite ancient, and were left where they broke so long ago. You cannot take any of these shards, but, it's fun to look for them. Our guides told us the probable age of the pottery shards by looking at the color and design on them. They also found an arrowhead lying on the ground.
Also, pay attention to and respect any areas where there are offerings left or where prayers have been left, in the form of tied feathers to a branch. We passed by a natural rock spire on Walpi. I noticed a wraped corn husk and flowers left on an alcove in the rock. I asked a local woman if that was an offering, and she said it was, and that the spire was called "Flower Rock" by the villagers, as every spring flowers bloom on the top of the spire.
The Hopi Reservation is literally the centre of the universe to these people. They acquired this land through a fairly complicated history from the Navajo. Much of the Hopi culture is hidden from visitors, and they still follow many ancient customs passed down from generation to generation. For example, one of the women told me that her daughter, who is 14, will be having a coming-of-age ceremony, where her hair will be woven into the traditional squash-blossoms, after being washed with yucca soap that this woman made by hand.
The Hopi have many elaborate social and religious dances throughout the year, and these were open to outsiders at one time, until too many people showed disrespect or ridicule. You can still ask permission to attend one of the dances by contacting the Hopi at : http://www.hopi.nsn.us/
It is important to remember that when you are visiting the villages, you are a guest, and at any time your privileges may be revoked. However, they seem to be an easy-going and pleasant people, and I would think you would have to do something pretty bad to have them kick you out of the village.
The dwellings built on the Mesas were made of the surrounding stone, and therefore blend into the mesa environment. You really can't see the buildings unless you get quite close to the mesas. This worked to the Hopi's advantage for defense purposes.
This picture is a look-out house situated on Second Mesa. It gives you an idea of the construction of the Hopi Mesa homes, which are, of course, much bigger than this example. The homeowners on the Mesas have installed modern glass windows and window frames, and modern doors.