picture of cover


By the Prophet of the Earth

By L.S.M. Curtin






INFORMANTS

(Unless otherwise indicated, the informants are Pima Indians.)

Mrs. Ruby Allen lives at Wetcamp.

Mrs. Elsie L. Andrews is a young and very intelligent person who is secretary of the Women's Club at Lehi.

Lizzie Anton lives at Sweetwater, Snaketown area, and is more than eighty years of age. She was born under Snake Hill during the great flood, and she remembers the flood (from which so many historical events are dated) that carried away the government mill, even though she was just a little girl at the time. She makes household baskets, storage baskets, and ollas.

Domingo Blackwater is quite a character who lives at Sacaton. Born in Blackwater nearly sixty years ago, he belongs to the Coyote clan. When I related to him a legend, he gave me several others in return. I shall always regret that we had only one interview, because he has a large store of information and is willing to share it. He told me the following story of how his grandfather got his English name: When the boy was first taken to school and asked his Indian name, he answered, "Wihom" ('lightning man' or 'thunder'). The teacher replied, "Oh, yes, William; and from where do you come?" "Blackwater," answered the youngster: "Yes, yes, William Blackwater," said the teacher, and so it was. (See Russell, p. I8n.)

Pablo B. Chaigo at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Sacaton, was recommended to me as interpreter by Father Antonine. Chaigo is middle-aged, with many responsibilities which he takes very seriously. Spending six days a week in visiting outlying missions, he is difficult to find at his home, which is situated back of St. Anthony's. It was Pablo who introduced me to Tashquent, who he thought would be the best informant because of his advanced age. Pablo's wife accompanied us on our second search for information and I found her very cooperative.

Mrs. Catherine Clark is a club member on Salt River Reservation, and her aged mother, Mrs. Sara Emerson, with whom she lives, makes baskets of split willow, devil's claw, and cattail.

Charlie and Stella Conger at Salt River are a very old couple, still industrious and living under the irrigation ditch which enables them to grow corn and beans.

Teresa Conger, a comparatively young Papago woman, moved to the Salt River Reservation when she was about eight years of age. She learned to make baskets from the Pima and explained with great pride her method of making coiled basketry.

Mr. Charles B. Fleming, Jr., an anglo, is head of the Botanical Laboratory at Phoenix.

Mrs. Elita Fulwiler is president of the Women's Club at Lehi. She is a bright, lively, helpful young woman, with a number of small children.

Ollie Goka, an Apache, is a very bright young woman of light complexion who lives at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation. She wore a very full calico skirt trimmed with rickrack and topped by an over-blouse fastened with large pearl buttons.

Mrs. Meta Goodwin, who lives near Salt River Day School, is an elderly woman and was at one time a famous basketmaker. Rheumatism, probably induced by years of handling the wet raw materials, forced her to relinquish her craft.

Miss Elizabeth Hart, an anglo, engaged in extension work at Fort McDowell, Salt River, Gila River, and Ak Chin Reservations, drove me all over the country and introduced me to informants.

Mrs. Barbara Harvey, a very dark woman of middle age, lives at Sacate and attends the Women's Club at South Casa Blanca. She told me that I would be welcome at any time, but, unfortunately, I was prevented from visiting her Club.

Eunice Head lives at Co-op and, as she speaks no English, I was obliged to call on Emma Howard to interpret for me. Eunice seemed very aged and suffered greatly from arthritis, for which she uses the charcoal-burning remedy. On one occasion when I called on her, she appeared to be embarrassed and cut short our interview because she had her hair plastered with black mud in preparation for a shampoo.

Paul Head, Eunice's late husband, was well informed on Pima history and had a calendar stick which was buried with him. Charles Allison, who lives at Co-op, copied the stick and can recite the history indicated by the mnemonic symbols marked thereon. Every effort was made to interview this man, but he had a steady job on the Reservation and, to my regret, I never met him. Dr. Russell (pp. 36-37, I04-I05) gave a good account of the calendar stick.

José Henry lives alone in the last native roundhouse on the Salt River Reservation. He is very dark, has long wavy hair, straight short teeth, large chest and stomach, and his skin is of the same gray-black color and texture as that of water buffalo, but the occasional hairs are missing.

When a boy, José was sent to Carlisle School in Pennsylvania, but, not liking the school, he escaped and walked all the way back to the Reservation where he lived with his mother until her death. He was never married. He claims that his knowledge of medicinal plants is slight, as his health has always been excellent; besides, he said, "looking after the sick is women's business."

José allowed us to photograph his house, which he is obliged to enter while lying on his back, because his abdomen does not permit him to crawl through the narrow opening that serves as a doorway. Nothing would induce him to pose for a picture; he simply excused himself with dignity, saying that he owned no shirt. Indeed, his entire wardrobe consisted of blue overalls and sandals made from pieces of old innertube tied on with a string.

Our host showed us with pride an unfinished bow with arrow, secreted in the thatch of the ramada, which he said he must finish some day. On my first visit I noticed a wretched Rosinante which leaned against a barbed-wire fence for support, and on my return I asked for the horse and was told that she had died that very morning. It was then two o'clock in the afternoon, yet I found José sitting in the sun, scratching his chest, although he intended to "dig a deep hole" before night. When I suggested it would be well for him to hasten, lest the big birds would gather, he answered, "O, no! The big black birds have gone to the mountains for the winter." The only cloud in his life was the loss of a pet rattlesnake which he had owned for several years. He told me that one day while he was away from home a friend entered his house and killed the rattler. Indignantly, José assured me that his snake was much more of a gentleman than friend Indian!

I was impressed here in the wilderness by the fact that I had met the most contented man living, yet his primitive obscured roundhouse was only seven miles from a luxurious dude ranch where the guests exhaust themselves chasing that elusive "bluebird." An Indian guide was required for both my visits to Jose, because on leaving the highway numerous winding wood-roads, indistinguishable to a white person's eye, branch off in every direction and stunted trees along the riverbank obstructed the view.

Mrs. Emma Howard, president of the Women's Club, is alert, intelligent, and has a remarkably light complexion for a Pima. She happily stated that she had the best husband in the world, that he is kind and thoughtful, and neither gambles nor drinks. His face confirms her claim. She lives near Co-op (which derived its name from Co-operative, as the community was started with this idea) in a two-room adobe house with a slanting, shingled roof. Her possessions included an upright piano, a radio, a sewing machine, and Russell's book on the Pima, which she procured from Washington. She is the mother of half a dozen children, but always found time to give information and even accompanied me about the country as interpreter. Her mother and her stepfather, Mason McAffee, live a few hundred yards away in a Pima house of the old style. Her own father's name was U. S. Grant.

Isaac Howard, fifty years of age, of pure Pima blood, lives near Sacate. Isaac was a mine of information, and several times George Webb led me by long and rough roads to the Howard place, but I met him only once, as he was away making the family's meager living by hauling wood.

Isaac's complete faith in his elaborate cures, his wild-looking countenance, and the fanatical light in his eyes led me to suspect him of being a modern medicine-man. His mother, Lucy Howard, who is about eighty, also gave information. James, the father, is almost blind, and has long, gnarled thumbnails. The family is Presbyterian.

Juana Innes and Sarah Smith, Pimas, live on the Salt River Reservation and are both in their eighties. They have prepared and eaten all the plants mentioned by them, but now they are supplied with food by the Government. They seemed more interested in food-plants than in those for medicine.

Lena and John Innes are a middle-age couple. John works for the power company, tending his land and chickens on his days off. They live at Lehi in a gabled house surrounded by tall trees; and as water for irrigation is available, they cultivate a good vegetable garden. John owns a truck, and the couple seemed quite prosperous.

Edward Jackson, known as "The Colonel," is both blacksmith and iceman at Sacaton.

Mrs. Jackson lives at St. John's Mission, is unusually bright, is educated above the average, and was always ready to supply information. Her father, named Chief Anton Nanamul, was about eighty years of age, had been chief of the Catholic Pima for forty years, and is a descendant of Chief Antonio Azul, a famous character mentioned by Russell (p. 196) and by a number of Americans who passed through the Pima country from the 1840's onward. Anton was sweeping the yard around the house when I visited him, and his daughter explained, "That's all he's good for now." This seems to be the work assigned to the oldest men. Chief Anton shows his social and cultural "advancement"' by wearing false teeth and spectacles. His mind seemed to wander, and although I tried several times to procure information from him, he gave me none.

Many Pima yards are tidy, but others are littered with the accumulation of years: baby carriages, toys, discarded tires, pots, kettles and pans, rags, bottles, cans, and especially old shoes. Frequently the yards were strewn with broken-down automobiles which the children used for play and their elders enjoyed as easy chairs; but after Pearl Harbor the ancient wrecks were sold for war purposes.

Mrs. Erilie Jones, at Fort McDowell, is an Apache married to the Indian minister.

picture of Stephen Jones Stephen Jones, a Pima on the Salt River Reservation, asserted that he was 103 years of age and that he was born at Wetcamp (Shook*) at the time of the last fight between the Yuma and Maricopa at Gila Crossing. The Maricopa had asked the Pima for help, and all the Yuma were killed but one, who returned to his people with news of the disaster.

* The Indians defined this word as 'swampy place' and Father Antonine further explains that it really means 'filled up' usually with a liquid, and that any district which becomes very wet and muddy is called shootkam jievut.

According to Russell (p. 47) this fight took place in 1857, hence Stephen Jones was only eighty-four years of age at the time of my visit in 1941. I found that most old Indians add ten or twenty years to their age. Stephen remembered when a Government mill south of Sacaton Agency was burned, and he recalled having worked on the Wetcamp Canal, and believed that he was twenty years of age when a flood washed away the earlier mill at Casa Blanca. Stephen was baptized when a grown man by Rev. C. H. Cook, who opened a Government school at Sacaton in 1871. He maintained that he was much older than Tashquent, but he knew a more aged Pima named Koeli, which means 'old man.' This Koeli lived with his son, Enos Lyons, at Wetcamp, and although I made every effort to meet him, I was warned that it would be useless, because he was bedridden and senile.

When my informant became of age, two native hairdressers twisted the long strands on each side of his head, and very many years later a Papago cut off Stephen's hair, which reached his waist. When the strands were thrown in front of him, he confessed that he almost cried.

Nicknames are known to most of the Pima, but are seldom revealed to white people, and, naturally, are never used by the owners of the names. Stephen's nickname was Shaw-aw-doggeda ('one who makes faces at someone'), because many years ago, while chopping wood, he was blinded in one eye by a splinter. Now the other eye is almost sightless, but in spite of this handicap he continues to chop wood, does other chores, and goes about with the aid of a cane made from wild tamarix, inspecting the fences surrounding his place.

Lewis Manuel served as my interpreter and accompanied me several times to Stephen Jones who was his wife's grandfather. From him I collected much information, including a number of legends.

Jumbi Juan's family came from Gila River, but he was born at Lehi and first saw light in February or March at the time of the initial planting of wheat. He knows no other date. His long hair is iron-gray, and his earlocks are pure white, which make him resemble a marmoset. Jumbi Juan asserted that he never went anywhere, never joined in a game, and that all he knows is work.

Juan Leonard: Truant officer at Salt River Reservation School.

May Makil, the daughter of old Mary Manuel, lives at Lehi and her daughter Malinda attends school at Salt River. Both of her parents were Maricopa, and her husband, Juan, who never had time to give information, is Pima.

Mrs. Juanita Manuel lives at Sacaton Flats.

Lewis Manuel, a Pima, born at Blackwater and living on the Salt River Reservation at the time of my visit, believed that he was about fifty-six years of age, but did not know exactly. As his father, grandfather, and uncle were medicine-men, Lewis planned to follow the profession, but missionaries interfered and he became a jailer instead. While serving in that capacity, he was permitted to have all the prison food that he could consume. This was explained by the gesture of rubbing his fat stomach. He further stated: "In the olden days the Pima ate little-just enough-and never got fat. Because they were thin, they could run away from the Apache and after them as well." (See Bartlett, vol. II, p. 229.) After moving to Salt River Reservation Lewis was given the position of policeman. He is now official interpreter, but finds time to cultivate his land. He recounted that the aforesaid uncle was well paid with cattle for his services as medicine-man and acquired a large herd, but he "got religion" and let the animals go, confessing to his tribesmen that he had obtained them by cheating his patients and by unfair practices.

Lewis stated that while he could read, he never took advantage of this accomplishment, as reading put new ideas into his head, whereas he preferred to think of the old things and ways.

When I arrived at Lewis' house, he seated me under the ramada and insisted on telling me about his marital troubles.

He first married a girl who had been educated in the Phoenix Indian School and who spent her time reading love-story magazines which he had to buy for her every time he drove to town and for which he paid up to twenty-five cents apiece! He warned his wife that she would come to no good end, and after several years he discovered that she was unfaithful to him. He carefully thought things over and finally said to her, "You are a good Mormon and I am nothing; if I will be baptized and live according to your faith and its laws, will you do the same?" That is how it worked out, but three years later she burst her bladder ("I don't know how") and died. Now he has a young second wife.

Lewis then related the well-known story of when the whites first settled Phoenix and how they told the Indians that it was a sin to go naked, therefore, the Pima used to ride to the outskirts of town with their trousers under their arms, tether their horses, dress, and attend to their errands. When leaving, they removed their trousers for the ride home. "Now-a-days," Lewis remarked with great disgust, "white women go about half-naked and that is the correct thing to do! How can anybody but God say what is right or wrong?" There is a local ordinance, which has never been repealed, pertaining to all Indians, but was mainly for the benefit of the Maricopa and the Pima.* Another statement is that they had a community wardrobe hanging on some bushes at the old city limits, changing as they entered town or returned to the reservation.

* Section 13 of Ordinance No. 100 (O.S.)
Any Indian who shall appear or remain within the City of Phoenix without sufficient clothing to cover his or her person, and any Indian who shall remain within the city limits after sundown, unless in the employ of some inhabitant of the city, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Passed: December 17, 1889)

"When the whites first came," said Lewis Manuel, "they would ask many questions, and the Indians would answer pimatc, meaning 'I do not know.' That is how they got the name 'Pima'." (See Russell, p. 19)

Mary Manuel, who claimed to be ninety-eight years of age, was a Maricopa. Her ancestors came down the Colorado River and settled where Parker now is. She lived at Sweetwater, but her grandfather was moved with all his children to Fort McDowell. She had no contact with the Pima until she had reached the age of twelve and attended Dr. Cook's school where many young girls married Pima boys; but she "had no chance," she said, so thought she must have been very ugly. Nevertheless, when she moved to Lehi she met a man of her own tribe who thought her "the cutest thing he had ever seen," and married her.

Mary had always lived in a native roundhouse, the last one of which was the most easterly on the reservation, which she left twenty years ago. I found her in a windowless hut, sitting on the floor where she spent her days cooking one course of mushy food after another on a tripod-grate (chueto), over a small wood fire. The only exit for the smoke was by the door, and she complained bitterly of her swollen eyelids. During the first hour in her hut, my eyes were smarting, and for two days I suffered from the effects of my visit.

Mary wore a kind of pompadour with bangs cut to the level of her eyebrows; the rest of her iron-grey hair hung loose down her back. She was doubled completely over at the waist, and when she walked it was necessary for her to use a cane in one hand while being led by a four-year-old great granddaughter. In spite of being almost blind, Mary still made pottery. She had learned to read and write, and she also knew some Spanish. Her house was situated in the Catholic Church compound.

On my second visit, accompanied by Ida Redbird whom I had brought from the Maricopa Reservation as interpreter, I gave Mary coffee and sugar, whereupon she said, "That comes in handy for a rainy day, as I am not able to get out and provide for myself." She regretted that it had been so dry that she had no plants, such as she usually collected for food, to show me. "I am still living, you see, because I have always used my native food. If our Creator would send more rain, there would be more plants for me and I would live longer. He gave us certain plants to use, and He gave us knowledge of how to prepare them for food and medicine. All Indians fed on the same kinds of food, but prepared them differently; and the medicines were the same, from the same plants. Nowadays the Pima add chile, onions, etc., to their food, and the young girls complain about insufficient milk and about failing health. They eat nothing but white man's food, take his medicine, and go to the hospital; but if they had used their own herbs for various sicknesses they would have got along all right."

After four hours of inquiry, I expressed fear of having fatigued her, whereupon she answered, "O, no!" I'm only too glad to talk-I never thought of being tired. We in here are having all the fun; she who waits outside is the tired one" (referring to a friend of mine who had come along for the trip). When I asked Mary's permission to return, she said, "You will have to hurry, for I might be dead."

On revisiting the scene the following season, I found, to my sorrow, that the house had been burned, except for the large uprights and beams which had been saved because they have become so scarce. May Makil told me that her mother had died on February 16, 1941, at the age of eighty-four.

Dr. Eric Stone states that "among the Apache, Pima and Ute the hut and all the property of the patient were burned as soon as he died." (See also Russell, p. 194.)

To prove the incredible memory that these illiterate people have, I will quote Gladys Manuel, wife of Lewis. When a child she often visited Santa Cruz where lived an old Pima who kept a book with events depicted in pictures which had been drawn in pencil to be colored. Although blind, the old man explained the meanings of the pictures as records of historical occurrences, as was done in the case of the calendar stick. "In spite of his sightless state," Gladys said, "he busied himself with quilting."

Mason McAfee, who said that his "Indian name" was José Juan, was born in Sacate and was living in an old-style Pima house at Co-op. He stated that he was twelve or thirteen years of age when the first Government flourmill at Casa Blanca was washed away by flood. He remembered this incident perfectly, and stated that he had reached ninety years, but believed that Stephen Jones at Salt River is much older. When a grown man he was tattooed; his teeth, which he claimed he kept in good condition by merely wiping them with a cloth, were excellent for a man of his age; his ears were pierced, and his grey hair had been cut short when he became a Christian, for at that time Dr. Cook told him that long hair was a sinful vanity. Mrs. Emma Howard, his stepdaughter, suggested that it might have been cut for hygienic reasons.

Many of the Pima have brown stains and soft white marks on their teeth, caused by flourine in the water. Some of them rub teeth so affected with charcoal and claim beneficial results.

Dean McArthur, of the Co-operative Colony, a full-blood Pima from Sacaton, thought that he was about seventy-eight years of age; he was almost blind, and stated that he was related to Emma Howard, my interpreter. When, at the end of our interview, I thanked him for giving me such careful descriptions of the games, and asked if I might come again, he answered, "It has been a pleasure, and I will always be glad to tell you what little I know."

On leaving, I mentioned the coincidence of McArthur and Curtin having a powwow. This was much appreciated by Emma Howard, who had just heard over the radio of the meeting between General MacArthur and Prime Minister Curtin of Australia.

Lena Meskeer is a Pima from Gila Crossing who settled on the Maricopa Reservation when she married a Maricopa at the age of sixteen or eighteen. She was about seventy-two years of age at the time of my visit in 1941.

Lewis Nelson, who lives on the Salt River Reservation, was born at Blackwater in February, 1871. This month is indicated on calendar sticks as Aupa ivakedak mashat, meaning 'when the cottonwood leaves begin to show.' Lewis is a small man, with rather light complexion and massive brow, who speaks better average English than most of the Pima. He had been a teacher at Keam's Canyon, Arizona.

Pelvin Newman, who lived on the Sacaton Reservation, was sixty-six years of age, and attended the Presbyterian Mission School at Tucson. He makes ladles, mixing bowls, and rolling pins, and is well known throughout the reservations. Few of these craftsmen are left, as commercial articles have replaced those made in the native fashion.

Mrs. Jane Pablo lives at Wetcamp. Her neat house, which is used by the Women's Club, has a very good example of an outdoor kitchen. The place is surrounded by tall tamarix trees which the owners intended to cut down, because, they say, nothing can be grown beneath them.

Ida Redbird, a tall and exceptionally handsome Maricopa, is well informed on medicinal plants and is one of the two best potters on the Maricopa Reservation; indeed her pottery is of surpassing excellence in design and finish, and invariably wins prizes at exhibitions.

Walter Rhodes, extension worker at the Santa Cruz Day School, is an intelligent man and speaks fluent English, but his services are difficult to procure as he is extremely busy.

Angel Sánchez: I interviewed this Mexican, who lives in a little settlement near Phoenix, to check on Indian and Mexican uses of plants in that locality. Unfortunately most of the plants he described came from the high mountains, hence I have included only two or three in this work. Angel said: "God has given us many plants. Some are bad, but most of them are good for us, only we don't know all of them." He stated that he would be ninety-one years of age in August, 1941. Born in Guaymas, Sonora, he went to California, at the age of eleven, in 1862, but had lived in Arizona for sixty-five years, according to his own inconsistent statement. He mentioned that when he arrived in southern Arizona there was no Phoenix and no Prescott. He had done three kinds of work all his life: he labored in the mines, chopped wood, and boasted that everyone knew him when he broke horses.

picture of TashquentTashquent means 'sun count,' that is, as explained by the Indians, 'to count the days as the clock does.' This Pima informant asserted that he was ninety-five years of age and was born at Gila Crossing about the time a man named White, Agent for the Pima, started to make trouble. The Pima went to see if the agent were man enough to fight them, "but a bunch of white men came and took him away," (Russell, p. 48 dates this event, as recorded on a calendar stick, in 1861-62, which would make Tashquent only eight years of age.) However, records tell us that Ammie M. White was a trader, and well liked, when he was captured by the Confederate soldiers in 1861. He later returned to the reservation and was appointed agent in 1864. There also was an agent named R. G. Wheeler, appointed in 1881, and again in 1885, who at one time stirred up some trouble. He wanted to convert the Pima faster than they could take on the new culture and on one occasion they became so threatening that all the women and children were removed from Sacaton to Florence. (See McClintock p. 31), Sun Count, of pure Pima blood, was married to a Maricopa, who died about 1938. One of his daughters married a Navaho. Members of these four generations occupy a cluster of houses at St. John's Mission.

Tashquent is thin, has a splendid profile, and his long hair, which he keeps dyed black, hangs in many fine twists. The old man's hair had last been twisted sixty years before by a native hairdresser who died shortly afterward. The hair had remained in the original strands in spite of frequent shampooing, and he has retained this coiffure because his family is accustomed to seeing his hair worn in that fashion. Stephen Jones described the method of dressing the hair by native hairdressers as follows: Sections of hair were rubbed between the palms of the hands and a stick was used to push the ends into the strands, like braiding. When this was finished, black mud (bit) was applied several times to the skeins, which remained rope-like forever. (See Russell, p. 158.)

I found Sun Count lying out-of-doors on a bedstead, as he had fallen off his wagon, bruising his shoulders severely. The greasewood treatment had not been used for his bruises, but he had pricked his flesh with hot baling-wire. (Heated nails were also sometimes used.) Although at first I stood two hundred feet away from my informant, I grasped perfectly, by his expressive gestures, the whole story of the accident. Those of the older generation used their hands in talking far more than those of middle-age.

Josie Taylor, who came from Gila, where she lived in a roundhouse, resided at Salt River at the time of my visit. Nearing eighty, she was a poor widow who depended on the distributions of surplus food by the Government. She was a basket-maker, but could not continue this work because she was toothless. Her daughter was living in Phoenix with a negro.

Josie's face was tattooed with a blue horizontal line extending from the outer corner of each eye across the temple to the hair, and with four vertical lines running down the chin from the lips. Cactus thorns were used for the operation, and black gum, charcoal, or mots (a mineral which Mr. Halseth says came from the Silver King mine near Superior) was rubbed into the wounds. Mrs. Annie Thomas claimed that the older people used mots for tattooing, but the younger generation carried it in little bags to use for paint under the eyes, across the temples, and in stripes down the chin. Isaac Howard said that tattooing was done under the eyes to protect them from the glare of the sun; also for shade, the Pima's heavy bangs were cut low, reaching to the eyebrows. Drs. Castetter and Underhill mention charcoal from a fire of creosote bush being rubbed into fresh tattooing, which left a permanent greenish-blue color. (See Beal, pp. 34-35; Russell, p. I6I; Bartlett, II, p. 228.)

During most of my interview with Josie Taylor I would ask her a question through Lewis Manuel, my interpreter; he would then hold forth for several minutes she would give a grunt which he would relay with a long discourse as if the whole tale had come from her. Some of the information thus obtained follows:

Since eating American food the Pima have forgotten how to cure their own pumpkins, melons, etc. Wheat dumplings, mentioned under onk ivakhi, used to keep for weeks, but now they will last only two or three days. Formerly everything was free, and, when cooking was done, it was shared with the neighbors; now, "everyone is mean." Plants, in olden days, were always good, and there was a steady flow of water in the river, but now bad weeds come up because the land is pumped dry.

Indians always had good teeth as they never ate anything hot, but first let the food cool; and they never ate sweets except mesquite.

For snake-bite, the medicine-men would suck the wound and they know how to cure such cases. (See Russell, p. 264.) Josie Taylor has forgotten how to use the native remedies, because the missionaries came and prevented the medicine-men from practicing and teaching, and threw away their feathers and rattles. They also stopped the singing and dancing, and they discouraged the belief in good-luck and bad-luck plants. "We haven't even a rabbit's foot," she complained. "The only way we can learn the right way again, is for the Powers that led us to return and teach and lead us."

Mrs. Annie Thomas lives at Co-op. She is a woman of middle-age, kindly, hospitable, and willing to give information.

Vincent Thomas, at Lehi, lives with and is the stepson of Chapel Thomas who is reputed to be one of two medicine-men still residing in that vicinity. I tried repeatedly to interview Chapel, but did not succeed.

Valensuelo, a Yaqui, lives at Guadalupe, and as I was warned even by the resident storekeeper that I could not possibly procure any information from him, I employed my usual tactics by picking a few weeds, approaching Valensuelo while at work in his garden, and telling him of the medicinal uses of my plants, whereon he responded with an exchange of knowledge. He regretted that Ignacio Luna, a Yaqui living in the same village, had recently died at the age of one hundred and twenty-eight, for he had a wonderful store of knowledge and had been used as an informant; but Valensuelo recommended Feliciana, to whom he sent me.

Feliciana de Vasquez, a Yaqui, was born in Guaymas, Mexico, and was taken to Guadalupe, Arizona, at the age of two. She had a vivid personality, and her colorful costume resembled that of a gypsy. Feliciana was proud of her cures, and more than happy to describe them-in fact, she bubbled over with information and asked me to return soon, an invitation which I should have been only too glad to accept; but after an all-too-short visit, I was forced to say adios and we parted with mutual regret-this, after all the predictions that the Yaqui would prove as "silent as the grave!"

Although she was caretaker at the church, Feliciana gave a firm hint that "crossing the palm with silver" would be acceptable by saying, "I am a poor widow, and God alone supports me."

Walkingstick, a bright young Cherokee, is a teacher at Salt River Day School, where Mr. Shannon, the Superintendent, started him on a new project. The children in his class, both Pima and Maricopa, were asked to bring in useful wild plants, which were pressed, mounted, and all obtainable information concerning them noted.

picture of George WebbGeorge Webb, a full-blood Pima, member of the Buzzard Clan, fifty-seven years of age in 1941, was born at Gila Crossing and lived there until 1939, when he moved to South Goodyear. He went to Phoenix Indian School and the High School, spoke excellent English, and had the natural manners of a gentleman. He told me that he had conducted some tourists through Sacaton Pass, which winds between imposing pink mountain peaks, and he ventured to explain to them some of his thoughts-that it was a privilege to be allowed to enjoy the beauties of nature. One man answered, "I see no beauty in these d---rocks," which effectively silenced the Indian.

George had spoken to a negro community on plants used by the Pima, and whenever a meeting of whites and Indians took place in Phoenix he was always selected to represent his people, which he did with intelligence and dignity. On one occasion George accompanied me to the Sacaton Plant Experimental Station, where he indicated specimens of local cactus, making only one mistake in identifying the entire collection. Mr. Peebles was astonished at George's knowledge, saying that he had never met an Indian who knew the cacti so well.

George Webb's own land at Gila Crossing being worthless for cultivation, he moved to his wife's allotment, which is under the irrigation ditch. Here he went into partnership with Mormon cattlemen, growing fodder crops which, if time pressed, he cultivated with a tractor in the moonlight. He handled his father-in-law's property in the same way.

Mrs. Adolph Wilson, a Pima then in her fifties, lived at Stotonic (meaning 'the place of many ants'). She married a Hopi whom she met at the Sherman Institute, Riverside, California, and they lived in an old-fashioned Pima house whose picturesque interior was kept tidy and clean. The door opened into a combination kitchen-diningroom furnished with a range, long table, cupboard, shelves, and a couple of chairs. Two bedrooms were partitioned with corrugated cardboard, matching in color the adobe plaster of the walls.

A few yards away Mrs. Wilson's son-in-law had built an adobe house of three rooms and a screened porch, including a large livingroom completely modern, with several Hopi kachina dolls and a rattle decorating the walls. A framed picture of Miss Hart stood conspicuously on the table, and I noted a washing machine and an ice-chest on the porch.

Copyright © 1884. The Arizona Board of Regents

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The University of Arizona Press, 4/2/97 2:29PM