- The Hopi Mesas are made of stunning redrocks, juniper and pinon terrain, and ancient villages still inhabited by the clans that settled there. Each clan has its own story of how it came to settle after a long expedition from its emergence point ((his)stories often considered mythological, but taken literally by many as well) through the Southwest. The clans split off from each other through inner-disputes and contrasting decisions about which direction to travel to find their place in the world. As the clans went separate ways, they came to be associated with animals that influenced the clans' travels and characterizes to this day their role in the tribal community. When it comes to social and political dynamics, inter-tribal disputes are still common and lead to a dialectical, careful process of decision-making. The Hopi tribe is known as one of the best preserved native tribes in the Country mostly due to the fact that they chose not to communicate with the New World pioneers, not to set up a government to communicate with the U.S. government until late into the U.S.'s history, and not to allow U.S. commercial trades into their territory. It is proper custom to visit galleries, restaurants, and other established visiting centers unless you are invited into the villages for an occasion. Guides can also be contacted through the Visitor's Center for safe and informative visits all over the mesas. Also open to the public are social dances held on weekends during late summer and early fall (the schedule is sporadic and it is best to ask). Kachina dances, on the other hand, are invite-only occasions. Refrain from taking photos or otherwise documenting your experience while you are there. It is frowned upon because it is considered exploitation by many of the traditional people, and you may even find that your camera is stolen and broken in front of your eyes. If you are attending a social dance, you may be welcomed into someone's house for lunch, at which you will be given mutton stew, yeast bread, and other Hopi delicacies. It is best to just observe and follow the native customs during this kind and open invitation. A visit to the Hopi Mesas is a truly awe-inspiring experience, and the people at the Visitor's Center are kind and helpful, giving you tips on where to go and what the local customs are. Tune into the Hopi radio station, KUYO, 88.1 FM while you're there.