navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies United States History: Early Years
Biographies Unit Biographies

Nampeyo 1860?–1942
The Hopi Potter Who Renewed an Ancient Artistic Tradition

As a Hopi girl growing up on a high mesa in Arizona, Nampeyo learned how to make pottery from her grandmother. She created bowls, vases, and pots. The Hopi style of the time was simple and used little color.

In 1895, Nampeyo visited a nearby place where scientists had found ancient Hopi pottery buried in the ground. She marveled at the colorful designs and patterns. She began to make pottery the way her Hopi ancestors had hundreds of years ago. She added her own style to the old forms.

Nampeyo became famous throughout the world for bringing back the lost art of ancient Hopi pottery design. She passed her skills to her children. Today, her great-grandchildren keep the tradition alive by continuing to create Hopi pottery.

Comprehension Check

Why was Nampeyo famous for her pottery?

Critical Thinking

Why may it have been important for Nampeyo to teach her children to make pottery?