Great-great-grandson of Nampeyo of Hano, great-grandson of Nellie Nampeyo Douma, grandson of Marie Koopee, and son of Jacob Koopee, Sr. (Tewa) and Georgia Dewakuku Koopee, Jacob Koopee was born March 31, 1970 at Sichomovi on First Mesa.
He credited his aunt, Dextra Quotskuyva Nampeyo, with teaching him the most about how to make traditional pottery. He earned most of the major awards in the Southwestern art world, including back-to-back Best of Show awards at the Heard Museum Spring Show and Santa Fe Indian Market in 2005. He died in June, 2011 at the age of 41.
In the early years of his career, Jake mostly used designs that he learned from others in the Nampeyo family. In those days he signed his pieces: Jake Nampeyo with a corn plant and kokopelli nearby. Later he modernized the base Sikyátki designs and stylized them to his taste. Those later pieces he signed: Koopee, using the flute of a larger kokopelli as the main leg of his uppercase "K".
Kokopelli is a symbol of the Flute Clan. During the last migration to what is now Hopi, the Flute Clan was charged with bringing the water. Today, they are charged with the prayers that bring the water.
Alton Komalestewa is Jake's cousin. After Alton's wife Jeannie died, he was contemplating returning to Hopi from Santa Clara. However, he'd learned some very specific methods for making his trademark melon jars and there are big differences between Santa Clara clay and Hopi clay. To show him that it could be done, Jake made three melon jars in the same way that Alton would but using Hopi clay. When those pieces successfully emerged from the firing, that was enough to convince Alton to come home. Those were also the only melon jars Jake ever made.