The Hopi were watching the sun rise and set at specific points on the horizon from fixed locations in their villages long before the Spaniards arrived in 1540. Many of their most important ceremonies were based on the sun’s location; the equinox, the summer and winter solstice, and the halfway points between the two.
The Spaniards found them early in the morning, looking east, waiting for the sun to rise and praying the earth would stay on its delicate balance and not roll over. The Spanish called them Moqui or people with running noses. The Hopi called themselves the Peaceful People or the Peaceful Little Ones, (Hopitu-Shi-nu-mu).The Spaniards did not know what to make of the nine large, peaceful villages on three mesas and the people who showered them with hospitality, corn, melons, peaches, and bright colored weavings and baskets. Why would anyone live in this location with no running water, no soil, no beneficial weather for their crops, and no trees to build their homes?