Deeper Into Jeopardy! IX: Native Americans – $1200

Jeopardy! category: THE LAST CENTURY (03-04-2014)

$1200 clue: This people’s Old Oraibi pueblo in Arizona, settled around 1150, may be the USA’s oldest continuously inhabited village

Correct response

The gist: Old Oraibi, Arizona, though not only located in Navajo County but also found within the Navajo Nation, is not, as Arthur Chu thought, a Navajo settlement. Rather, it is a Hopi village, and as the clue says, possibly the oldest village in the U.S. still inhabited today. Few specifics are known about the settlement prior to European contact in 1540, when Spanish explorer Don Pedro de Tovar met the Hopi while looking for the lost cities of gold (he didn’t find any). Attempts to convert the Hopi to Christianity began in the early seventeenth century, but were repelled during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.* The Hopi at Oraibi remained relatively independent from European and American influence well into the 19th century, until the Hopi reservation, located entirely within the Navajo Nation, was established in 1882. Continuing contact between Americans and Hopi led to the so-called “Hopi split,” with some Hopi choosing to remain isolated and continue living traditionally and others opting for closer relations with the Americans and the U.S. government. Today, Old Oraibi remains a largely traditionalist community, and residents do not allow visitors to take photographs. However, historical photographs show that the site consists of traditional Hopi adobe apartments. The site of Oraibi was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1964.

An 1899 photo of houses in Old Oraibi

The clue: The oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the U.S. is certainly an interesting fact, and might be one that a Jeopardy! contestant could simply know. However, if you don’t, the clue is asking you to identify the Native cultures of northeast Arizona. Unfortunately for him, Arthur went for the Navajo, a much larger and (arguably) much more well-known tribe in the area. Diana, perhaps with the benefit of having the Navajo eliminated, went for the other likely answer, the Hopi, and got it right. As well, the Navajo are not on the the Pueblo peoples, which could also point you towards Hopi without knowing about the site

In Jeopardy!: Unfortunately, “Hopi” is a pretty common four-letter sequence, appearing notably in “hoping” and “Chopin.” However, among clues in which “Hopi” does appear as a Native tribe, common themes include Pueblo, the Navajo (being their neighbours), and the “snake dance,” a Hopi religious ceremony.

* “Pueblo,” meaning village, is the name given by the Spanish to several native cultures who lived in what is now the Arizona desert, and continues to be used in some contexts today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *