Watchlist: ‘Hopi Origin Story’

10.31.2022 Kamiah Koch Watchlist


By Kamiah Koch

Social media/digital journalist

Type “PBS Sacred Stories” in the search bar of YouTube and six short videos will appear. All under six minutes, these shorts produced by PBS share artistic visuals coupled with traditional Indigenous stories. The most watched of these “PBS Sacred Stories” is called “Hopi Origin Story” with almost 430,000 views.

The four-minute video begins with an unidentified woman narrating in the Native Hopi language.

The story she tells begins with the belief that people originally lived beneath the earth. After some time, they came above ground where they met the earth’s caretaker, Maasaw. Maasaw’s message was to walk the earth and have the people find their “center place.”

A man, speaking in English, adds to the origin story.

“Some clans went clockwise and some went counterclockwise,” he says. “As the clans migrated they placed an insignia where they were in that particular time and place, which was a spiral.”

The video shares what looks like a weathered-looking spiral shape carved into red rock. This symbol has significance in many Tribes today. 

The story ends with the people finding a bright light in the sky in the southwest. They took that as a sign from Maasaw that this was their “center place.”

If you would like to watch the rest of the Hopi Origin Story and the ceremonies they practice to commemorate this story, you can find the video at