Albany Ladies' union mission school association.

Among the Pimas; online

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and these are much respected by the young,
who listen in the village council house to their
winter evening tales of former exploits

Antonio Azul, the present head chief, as
well as his father before him, was a great
warrior and both were always friends of the
white man and progressive in their views.

Many years ago, when some of the evil
disposed urged war with the whites, these
chiefs took a firm stand against such folly.
The others knew but little of the strength,
prowess and resources of the whites and
Mexicans ; but concluded, however, that they
had had enough to do with the Apaches,
without embroiling themselves in wars with
either Mexicans or whites ; thus, consider-
ing " discretion the better part of valor."


They bury their dead in a sitting posture,
six feet below ground, as do so many Indian

Mr. Cook says, " Not very long ago, the
cattle and horses, belonging to a deceased
person, if a husband, were killed and eaten
by the mourners and neighbors, except such
as were given by him to the heirs in the fam-
ily, and other possessions, including even
wheat and other food were burned with the

The bereaved relatives consequently had
nothing left at times, on which to live, until
next harvest, unless friends came to their relief.

Mourning for a child and relatives of distant
consanguinity usually lasted a month. If a
child died early in the morning or late in the
evening, the mourners went a little distance
from the village and you could hear their
plaintive cry. My child ! oh ! my child !

If a husband, or wife died, mourning lasted
six months or a year. After this the name of
the departed ones must never be mentioned,
and everything relating to them, appear for-
gotten. The women wore sack-cloth as did
the Jews for the memor}^ of the departed."

" The only thing " says the missionary, ''that


I have found, showing the least conception of
their belief in a future existence, was that the
mother prepared food and scattered it to the
winds, with some evident hope that the depart-
ed might thereby find something to eat."
He says farther and what seems strange and
incongruous, " I once saw a party of Indians
going to a funeral as joyful as if going to a
dance. On inquiring where they were going,
they replied to a funeral to eat beef."

At the time of which we are writing, these
natives wore only a breech-cloth around the
loins, except the girls, who wore an apron.
In winter, the men had a long shirt, similar
to the Chinese blouse. Women over twelve
years added a chemise or skirt tied around
the waist. Unlike the Indians in the cold
north, in the days when buffaloes roamed in
vast herds and who clothed themselves in
warm robes, these needed very little cover-
ing in winter, and like all heathen, were
indifferent to the exposure of their person.

Their shoes were simply buckskin. They
usually went barefoot, except when travelling.
The men wore their hair longer than the
women, dressing it with mud and gum made
from the mesquite tree. They wore this dur-


ing the night and washed it off in the morn-
ing. The women wore their hair cut short
over their eyebrows in a "bang." The hair
dressing just named, gave the hair a black
and glossy appearance, and it was also a good

If one is sick, he sends for the medicine
man, often to a distant village. He comes
with great pomp, long eagle feathers, and rat-
tle in hand, of which he makes good use. If
he is on horseback, which is usually the case,
his horse is taken as he dismounts, and as
soon as possible his appetite is appeased, and
he goes at his work with the patient. A
paper of the indispensable tobacco is fur-
nished. He has no pills nor powders, no cal-
omel or morphine, not even a saddlebag.
He spends the night smoking his cigarettes
blowing the whiffs in the face of his patient,
sings weird songs, rattling and fanning to
blow away the devils that caused the sickness.

For certain pains, the patient was scarified
with broken glass or sharp stones. An
instance of this kind is as follows : A woman
had sprained her ankle. She then washed it,
sat down, broke several pieces from a glass
bottle and cut the flesh till the blood ran in
many places and then w^nt about her business.


Another case was that of a girl, who was
taken sick while attending a school. She was
taken to Maricopa to a doctor and died the
next day. It was ascertained afterwards that
these Maricopa doctors, (sorcerers) when it
was the wish of the relatives, or when recovery-
was doubtful, took a club and killed the

Rabbit-hunting was formerly one of their
modes of killing the witch that caused the
sickness which was supposed to reside in a
certain rabbit.

On learning that Missionary Cook taught
differently and damaged their reputation for
destroying the witches, they retaliated by
arranging to have the hunt many times on
Sunday, and thus draw largely from his con-
gregation. Ever since the missionary began
work here, these medicine men have been an
annoyance and hindrance to his work, but
they have invariably turned out badly.

There is but little doubt that if all the
facts could be known, many of the murders
of whites by the Apaches, and other tribes
and wars and depredations in this territor)-,
could be traced to the instigation of these
medicine men. They are one of the most


dangerous elements with which government,
especially the Indian department, has to con-
tend. They are ambitious, artful, and unscru-
pulous, and in this vicinity have done more to
destroy the efforts of Indian agents to im-
prove the condition of the Indian, both in
school-work and their moral elevation, than
all other undermining and checking influences
combined. Nearly all are low, vulgar, licen-
tious, and dishonest, and spare no pains to
keep the tribe from every good and honorable
work. The Indians crave excitement and
amusement. Since the hunt and chase are
things of the past, a substitute of some kind
is required.

One of the amusements of the women, was
that of tossing balls. They had two small
ones covered with buckskin, and tied about
six inches apart. Young women and married
from thirty to seventy-five in a group, assem-
bled dressed as for a ball, their hair carefully
manipulated so as to be black and glossy.
Each had a stick of willow, six feet long.
With these they dexterously tossed the balls
high in the air, running after them until one
party was so weary that they gave up the
game from mere exhaustion.


In order to make the excitement a success,
they had certain active women, keen of wit,
and quick of action, practice weeks in advance.
This muscular play, in addition to other work,
developed strong muscular action and healthy
bodies, gave the women a better constitution
than the men ; the latter, sometimes dying
from debility, and consumption.

The men were addicted to gambling.
From two to eight sat on the ground from
half a day to a whole day at the game. They
had a flat stone about four inches in diameter
and four flat pieces of wood, eight inches long
and one wide. With this stone in one hand
and four sticks held together, each of which
had certain marks on two surfaces, no two
alike, they hit the sticks with the stone, knock-
ing high in air, and as they fell into the cen-
tre of the circle around which they sat, the
marks were counted, and scored and credit
given to the winning side of each game. The
party that lost gave so many little sticks to
the winning side. The stakes were valuable,
worth from one dollar to fifty ; sometimes a
horse or pony, a steer or cow.

Foot races were of common occurrence.
Sometimes between two villages, or a num-


ber. The grounds were prepared, every
obstruction removed for a space i,ooo yards
long, and a rod in width. The goal was
distinctly marked at each end. The racers
having practiced long, met at the ground,
denuded, except a cloth around the loins.
Wives or sweethearts, fathers and mothers
assembled in crowds to witness the race, on
both sides of the track. One party in a
village is marked by a blue, another from a
near village by a red ribbon. The racer has
his insignia to denote to which party he
belongs. The day arrives. Part of the blues
are on one side of the track, part on the
other, and so of the reds. The crowd on
both sides is great. Horses, cows, cattle, as
prizes, are on the ground near by. Betting
runs high hours before the race. When all
are ready, two men, a red and a blue, with
toe on the mark, stand ready for the signal
to start. Cool, yet determined, stand the con-
testants. As the word is given, two, a red
and a blue, dash forward. The instant one
touches the mark at the opposite end, another
of his party starts back. If the one who
started with him is behind, the man of his party
must wait till he touches the line. If his


party continues to lag and cannot gain what
is lost, the other side eventually wins. But
this may continue for hours before the victory
is won.

During all the time the villagers on both
sides of the track were divided, so that half
the blues were on one side and half on the
other, and vice versa of the reds, the parties
shouting and halloing, men on horseback
and women as much excited as the men.
When the die is cast the winners take their
prizes and leave for home. Sometimes a race
was run between two persons, champions,
from three to five miles, and the amount
staked reached $500 worth of livestock and
dry goods. In these races, men and women
who had large stakes, as their favorite racer
lagged, ran after him, hooting and prodding
with a sharp stick, so intense wiis the excite-

There was one advantage which these
Indians had over horse racers of this day.
Although the excitement was great and
betting strong, and the gambling dissipating
to morals, there was so far as we know, no


The word Aw-op, meaning Apache, was
often used by the Pima mother, to still the
crying of her little one.

The old warriors here, who can show the
scars of many a wound received in fights, will
soon be no more.

Many years ago there was but little for
which to fight, except the hunting grounds
and a few slaves. But since the Pimas have
become raisers of horses and cattle, war with
these Apaches is no longer an object. The
Apaches had the advantage over the Pimas
having a very large country to roam over, as
some of our military officers well know.

They had many hiding places and natural
fortifications, where a handful of Apaches
could easily defy such fighters as Gen. Crook
and his brave officers and soldiers.

Some of our frontiersmen have regarded
the Apaches as cowards, perhaps because
they would not fight when the odds were
against them. The Pimas, however, did not
so estimate them, nor did the Apaches con-
sider the Pimas cowards.

To mention all the battles and hand to
hand fights of these tribes within the past
sixty years, would fill volumes. Be content
with a few.


Once the Pimas, being hungry, went to the
San Pedro to hunt deer. They took their
wives with them and a few^ ponies. They
left the women in camp in the morning and
on their return in the evening, all had been
taken captive by the Apaches.

At another time, a number of ^Maricopa
Indians, on their way to Tucson, were sur-
prised by a party of Apaches, two miles south
of the Sacaton Agency and every one was
killed. The little hill where the battle was
fought, is still called by the Indians, Aw-aw
pap-ha-ko-ita or Maricopa slaughter.

About seven miles from the agency, near
the Temple road, they had a great battle,
about thirty years ago, where many on both
sides were killed. ''Old Ursutch," who died
seven years since, was surprised by a
band of Apaches, nearly six miles from
home. He kept them at bay until his wife
and children were safe, meantime receiving
three severe wounds. Usually, the Apaches
provoked the wars, either by robbery, or
murdering the Pimas, Whereupon councils
were held by the Pimas and a time fixed for
a campaign. All the war-chiefs and warriors
then got ready, with feathers in their hair,


faces and hair painted, war clubs and shields
or bows and arrows and sometimes lances,
and some food. They then met in a village
and there danced as many evenings as they
expected to be absent.

While the young sang and danced, the war-
prophets sat near and prophesied in regard to
what their success should be, like the *' Oracle
of Delphi."

Having learned that it was not the custom
of the Apaches to fight at night, a new system
of tactics was inaugurated by the Pimas.
Taking Apache captives for guides they man-
aged to reach their villages at night, stealthily
approached them and beat them with clubs,
and usually killed them before they had time
to rub their eyes open. Such raids were some-
times very disastrous, at other times success-
ful, as they brought home captives, and if no
Pimas had been killed they had a glorious
dance, in which nearly the whole tribe joined.
The dancing being mostly side-jumps by sev-
eral thousand who joined hands, made the
earth tremble for quite a distance. After the
festivities were over, most of the captives were
taken to the Papagoes, or to Sonora in Mexico?


and there sold as slaves, at a price ranging
from sixty to one hundred dollars, in goods
and livestock. Then those who had killed
an enemy, had to remain outside the camp for
a month, their food being brought to them.
At the end of a month or moon, the process
of cleansing was performed, and the braves
were then allowed to mingle again with the

In this connection we may mention the war-
drill. From the age of two years, up to old
age, the males carried bows, and arrows.
Some of the experts occasionally gave a drill
in the practice of club and shield. Much
depended on fleetness of foot. Some young
women could travel from forty to fifty miles
in sixteen hours, and there were warriors who
ran twenty miles, keeping a horse on a canter,
following them.

Some imitated the Apaches in their system
of telegraphing from the top of steep hills or
mountains, by smoke in the day or fire at
night ; although in this the Pimas could not
compete with their neighbors, whose system
was so perfect for communicating great dis-
tances, even from sixty to one hundred miles,
which is well known to our army officers who


fought them. The Pimas, however, were
fully their equal in " trailing." He could
even distinguish the prints of feet in the
sand, of those of his village, and friends, so
as to tell you who had passed before him,
and the print of his horse's hoofs from those
of any other horse.

Sham battles were also frequently given,
some of the Pimas representing the Apaches
so well, that if a white man had passed he
would undoubtedly have been deceived by
them. After the battle had waged some
time, as usual in such cases, the Pimas came
off conquerors without losing a man. The
opposition, however, did not lose esteem on
that account.

In 1872, Major Gen. O. O. Howard was
sent to this territory by President Grant, with
a view to establishing peace between the
Indians and the whites. General Howard
went with only one of his aids, to see Cochise,
chief of the Chirichua Apaches, at his head-
quarters. This was an act of daring which
few would perform. Cochise consented to
live at peace in Arizona, but not in Mexico,
where as he claimed his father had been
foully murdered, after making a treaty, and


after corrting out of one of their churches.
It is possible that this may have been done
by some crank, for it seems hardly credible
that the priests or authorities would have
committed an act which afterward, no doubt,
cost the lives of thousands.

After this Gen. Howard visited the Pimas,
inspected the school then conducted by Mis-
sionary Cook, expressing his approbation at
finding it not only on the pay list, but a school
in reality.

The general then requested the Pimas to
send a large delegation to make peace with
the Apaches, at Camp Grant.

Gen. Crook and Gov. Safford were there,
and Tucson was well represented. There
was much talk, which lasted two days. Eski-
mensin was the Apache orator and chief
speaker for that tribe.

An Apache, seeing Louis, the Pima inter-
preter, came to meet him in high glee. Taking
his hand, he said : "You are the Pima who
killed me years ago." Louis then recognized
him as the man to whom he had dealt a heavy
blow with a war-club, and then left him for
dead on the battle-field. Peace-making pro-
gressed and all were pleased, except in one


Item of the contracts. The Apaches wanted
the captives restored who had been taken at
the Camp Grant massacre, {inde " Century of
Dishonor," by H. H., pp. 324-335). They
were nearly all held by Mexicans, who objected
pleading that they could not allow them to
return to heathenism, that they had learned
to love them and their hearts would almost
break at the thought of it. Eskimensin lis-
tened patiently, then evidently much moved,
spoke nearly as follows : " Your hearts must
have become very tender all at once. Not
long ago, when the men were away hunting,
you came here and killed defenceless old men,
women and children. You took a number of
our children to Tucson to sell into slavery of
and when some of the little ones cried for
their homes and murdered mothers, you put
water on their heads," (baptized them) " and
then you took them by the legs and knocked
their heads against the rocks and killed them
and left them for the coyotes to eat. How
does it happen that your hearts have got so
tender all at once ? " The massacre occurred
but little over a year previous and was fresh in
the minds of many present, among whom, in
this council, was our missionary, who heard
ail the discussions.


Gen. Howard left the settlement of the
question in regard to retaining or returning
the captives, to President Grant, who issued
an order subsequently for the return of the

Because Gen. Howard did not assume
authority and return the captives, some were
offended, and a ruse was attempted but
failed. It was as follows : Mannel, a tame
Apache, who was also an interpreter, came to
the Pimas, requesting them to take care of
his horse and rifle for an hour, until he could
bid good-bye to some of his relations. To
this the Pimas assented. After two hours,
word came that Mannel could not be found,
and fears were entertained that there had
been foul play, and he had been put out of
the way by the Apaches. This story was the
all-absorbing theme of conversation for some
time, and was published in the newspapers.

Having seen carriages leave for Tucson,
soon after Mannel left, the Pimas came to the
conclusion that the Mexicans had captured
him instead of the Apaches. They sent to
Tucson, and lo ! after enjoying a nice car-
riage ride, here was Mannel safe and sound.

Since this " treaty," there have been no^
wars between the Pimas and Apaches.


Very few of the Pimas were originally poly-
gamists. There are many examples that show
honorable fidelity of husband and wife to each
other for life. This, however, was not the
case with the majority.

Some time after the treaty mentioned in the
last chapter, an Apache squaw, a captive, who
had been married to a Pima Indian and was
much loved by her Pima sisters, was claimed
by her brother, as it was understood by the
treaty that the Pimas were to deliver up the
Apache captives to their tribe. In the absence
of the government superintendent, the mis-
sionary, acting as agent, decided the case. He
asked the Apache woman how she liked her
husband and what treatment she had received
from him ? She expressed herself as perfectly
satisfied, and desired to live with him always
The husband fully reciprocated. Ke was in-
formed that they must not be separated, as
they were truly husband and wife. "But,"
added the missionary, " there is no law against
a Pima husband making a present of a good
pony to his brother-in-law, or his wife visiting
her family as often as she may choose. At
this suggestion, all were well pleased, and the
Apache brother-in-law rode home on his pony,
perhaps the first he had ever owned.


Until the last one hundred years, the Pimas
knew little or nothing of the Spaniards. At
one time a number of the Indians were invited
to visit Tucson, (pronounced Took-sone^ or
Too-sone)^ meaning Blackfoot hills. They
here saw Mexicans, soldiers, cannon and fire-
arms. The Indians were treated to beef for
the first time, which they greatly enjoyed.

Here they met the Catholic priests, called
by the Mexicans, padre, or father. They
taught them of the advent of the Saviour into
the world and invited them to join the mis-
sion. The subject was new to them and they
could not take it in readily. They wanted to
discuss the matter at home with their chief
and others, so they declined after the coun-
cil was over. Some time after this, Chief
Haran-n-mawk (Raven hair) of the Papagoes,
came with many of his people from Tucson,
to the Pimas on the Gila, for refuge. They
stated that the Mexicans wanted him and his
people, without sufficient supplies, towage an
unceasing warfare on the Apaches. Not
long after, however, a body of Mexicans with
cavalry and artillery came in pursuit, where-
upon the Papagoes and Pimas, after hiding
their scanty supply of food, fled to the fast-


nesses of the mountains west of this place,
terror-stricken at the booming of cannon and
of fire-arms. Here, like " Leonidas," they
could defend themselves in the canons for
months, against the foe in front. They sub-
sisted on the mescal, in part, which grows on
the top of a mountain range, where the enemy
could not reach them. But after waiting for
months, the Mexicans, their enemies, still
occupying their villages, ready and thirsting
for a fight, a sterner foe in camp threatened
them. The mescal gave out. The men were
afraid of the cannon and fire-arms, and their
children cried for food. The squaws pro-
posed to go and fight — driven as they were
by hunger and the fruitless wails of the child-
ren — if the husbands would not go. In this
extremity, the lion-hearted Ravenhair and
his two sons, went and surrendered. The
Mexicans took them and hanged them on a
tree. They then returned to Tucson.

It is supposed that many of those Papagoes
(one village) have resided near the Pimas,
until the last two years, and a few still remain.
Some time after the above event, several
priests with a band of soldiers, came to
establish a mission near Casa-BIanca, but the


Pimas forbade them. It was about this time
that the Pimas, with the help of the Papagoes,
managed to get a few ponies.

It is about sixty or sixty-five years since
the first cattle were brought to the Pimas.
Many of the old Pimas remember the event
distinctly. Many of the Indians were at first
frightened at their horns and shaking of the
heads and bellowing of the cattle. But the
old Quacherty, a branch of the Pimas, finally
quieted their fears, assuring them that they
were harmless and very valuable for work and
beef. Henceforth, cattle were driven from
Sonora, Mexico, bought in trade and fre-
quently stolen by Mexicans, Yaqui Indians
and Papagoes, and sold to the Pimas at
reduced rates.

The Quatcharty Indian who brought the
first cattle, married a Pima woman. Some of
his sons were killed in the recent war with
the Apaches, and one died about four years
ago. One of his daughters is a most faithful
christian. His son, named Joseph Roberts,
the only elder in the Pima Presbyterian
Church here, and a number of his children
and grandchildren are members also ; one of
whom, a pupil in the Indian training school


at Tucson, plays the organ well. Our Elder,
who was also a great warrior, does good ser-
vice now in the army of the Lord.

Some of these Pimas responded to the call
of Gen. Miles, as spies, and aided him in
capturing " Geronimo " and his band, now

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Online LibraryAlbany Ladies' union mission school associationAmong the Pimas; → online text (page 4 of 7)