Skip to main content

The Hopi Indians ; Balance of nature

Identifier: Film Collection no. 69

Scope and Contents

SEGMENT 1: The Hopi Indians. This documentary deals with the culture and acculturation of the Hopi who live in virtual isolation from the white man's world on a group of mesas 100 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. The program was prepared with the cooperation of Oliver La Farge, President of the Association of American Indian Affairs and renowned novelist. The deep religious and intellectual beliefs of the Hopi have brought a unique form of government which has been called "beneficial anarchy," in which no man can be required to act against his will by the vote of the majority. Even though large quantities of oil have been discovered on their reservation, the Hopi will not weaken the spiritual emphasis of their society by permitting white men to drill for oil. Interviewed guests include: Peter Nuvanza, a Hopi Indian; the mayor of Winslow, Arizona; Allen Harper, director of Indians in the area; John Connelly, a teacher in a Hopi school; and Oliver La Farge. Charles Collingwood interviews Oliver La Farge, while Robert Northshield narrates the documentary scenes made in Arizona. SEGMENT 2: Balance of Nature. The next segment addresses the delicate balance found in nature regarding the basic struggle to live, reproduce, and nourish both one's self and one's family. Richard H. Pough, chairman of the Department of Conservation and General Ecology at the AMNH, is interviewed and narrates a Hungarian film which depicts marsh animals pursuing and being pursued, and mice, birds, weasels, bats, and insects in similar situations.


  • 1954


Language of Materials



1 Film Reel (60 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (60 minutes)) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid: script.


Original format: 16mm kinescope.


Originally aired May 2, 1954 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.



Charles Collingwood and Robert Northshield, hosts; Mel Ferber, director; Perry Wolff, producer; Jac Venza, assistant producer; Shelby Gordon, scriptwriter; Robert Northshield, Alden Stevens and Loring Mandel (Balance of nature), writers; Leon Rice, editorial supervisor; Grover Cole, production design.

The Hopi Indians ; Balance of nature, 1954
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420