CHAPTER XVI. THE PIMA (Continued).
Religion—Deities—Magicians—The Soul and Its Destiny — Dreams — Sacred Places— Stones Strike — Ha-ak Lying — Iaksk—Place of the Bad One—Puma Lying— Medicine Men—Legerdemain—Cause and Treatment of Diseases.
“The Pimas are far less given than their pueblo neighbors to the outward show of religion, such as is seen in the varied and frequent ceremonies of the Hopis and Zunis. On the contrary, they appear to have no other than an occasional ‘rain dance,’ the navitco, and other ceremonies for the cure of disease. So far as could be ascertained in a comparatively brief sojourn among them, their religion comprised a belief in the supernatural or magic power of animals, and especially in the omnipotence of the Sun. When in mourning, sick, or in need, the Pima addressed his prayers to the Sun in the morning: ‘Sun! Kindly help me through the day.’ Or at nightfall his petition was raised: ‘Darkness! Kindly help me through the night!’ The following form of supplication was often employed: ‘Sun! There, have mercy on me.’ When weary on a journey, the Sun was appealed to, and the first whiff of cigarette smoke was puffed toward him. The disk was not regarded as the ‘shield’ or ‘headdress,’
“It is Sun that, by means of magic power, kills those who die during the day. It is Night who kills those who die during the hours of darkness. Moon is Sun's wife, but she is not accredited with the power that is given to Darkness. Coyote is the child of Sun and Moon, and figures largely in the myths. His character, by its buffoonery and trickery, much resembles that of the culture heroes of some other tribes.
“At the present time two deities are recognized, TcU wUt MaKai, Earth Magician (medicine-man or doctor), and Si uu, Elder Brother. They live in the east, dividing the controls of the universe between them. The former governs the winds, the rains, etc.; sometimes he is called Tciors, Dios (Spanish). Their names are pronounced when a person sneezes, or, he may simply exclaim ‘pity me,’ referring tacitly to one or the other of these two deities. There is a puzzling mingling of the old and the new in the myths, though it seems probable that the greater part of them has been of ancient origin with recent adaptation of Earth Doctor and Elder Brother from the Christian religion. Among the Pimas themselves opinion is divided as to whether the myths have been largely adopted from the Papagos.
“It is difficult to determine the exact position of Coyote in the Pima pantheon, though he is classed with the leading deities in the myths, and his modern but degenerate descendants are regarded as very wise.
“When a coyote comes by moonlight and sees the shadow of a chicken, he can pounce upon the shadow and so bring down the bird within reach. He has been known to steal a baby from between its sleeping parents, an informant declared. Considering the manner in which the moon is supposed to have originated, it is strange that it should contain the figure of a coyote. No explanation of this belief was found.
“The views of the Pimas concerning the destiny of the soul varied considerably. Some declared that at death the soul passed into the body of an owl. Should an owl happen to be hooting at the time of a death, it was believed that it was waiting for the soul. Referring to the diet of the owl, dying persons sometimes said: ‘I am going to eat rats.’ Owl feathers were always given to a dying person. They were kept in a long rectangular box or basket of maguey leaf. If the family had no owl feathers at hand, they sent to the medicine-man, who always kept them. If possible, the feathers were taken from a living bird when collected; the owl might then be set free or killed. If the short, downy feathers of the owl fell upon a person, he would go blind. Even to-day the educated young people are very chary about entering an abandoned building tenanted by an owl.
“By some it is said that after death souls go to the land of the dead in the east. All souls go to Si alik Rsan, Morning Base, or place where the sun rises. The East Land is separated from the land of the living by the chasm called TcU wUt Hi ketany, Earth Crack. When one of the writer's interpreters had gone to school at Hampton, Virginia, her associates said that she had gone to the abode of spirits. All is rejoicing and gladness in that other world. There they will feast and dance, consequently when one dies his best clothing must be put on and his hair must be dressed with care, as is the custom in preparing for an earthly ceremony. No idea of spiritual reward or punishment for conduct in this life exists.
“Again, the souls of the dead are supposed to hang about and perform unpleasant pranks with the living. They are liable to present themselves before the living if they catch the right person alone at night. The ghost never speaks at such times, nor may any but medicine-men speak to him. If one be made sick by thus seeing a ghost, he must have the medicine-man go to the grave of the offending soul and tell it to be quiet, ‘and they always do as they are bid.’ Old Kisatc, of Santan, thought that the soul continued to reside in the body as that was ‘its house.’ During his youth he had accompanied a medicine-man and a few friends to the grave of a man who had been killed near Picacho, about forty-miles southeast of Sacaton. The medicine-man addressed the grave in a long speech, in which he expressed the sorrow and regret of the relatives and friends that the
“Dreams are variously regarded as the result of evil doing, as a natural and normal means of communication with the spirit world, and as being caused by Darkness or Night. During the dream the soul wanders away and passes through adventures as in the waking hours. The young men never slept in the council ki for fear of bad dreams.
“To dream of the dead causes sickness in the dreamer and if, he dream of the dead for several nights in succession he will die. Dreams are not consulted for information concerning future action except in the case of the would-be medicine-man who may be called to his profession by means of persistent dreams. Since Night may cause one to dream as he wishes it is fair to presume that it is that god who oversees the destinies of the medicine-men.
“Stones Strike, is a large block of lava located in the eastern Santan Hills. The largest pictograph ever seen by the writer in the Southwest is cut upon it and two or three tons of small angular stones foreign to the locality are piled before it. There are also many pictographs on the bowlders round about. This was probably a Hohokam shrine, though it is regarded with reverence by the Pimas, who still place offerings of beads, bits of cloth, and twigs of the creosote bush at the foot of the large pictograph. There is a tradition that a young man was lying asleep on the flat rock and was seen by two young women who were passing along the opposite hillside. They tried to awaken him by tossing the pebbles which are yet to be seen. Pima maids thus awaken their lovers to the present day.
“Hâk-âk Lying, is a crude outline of a human figure situated about five miles north of Sacaton. It was made by scraping aside the small stones with which the mesa is there thickly strewn to form furrows about 50 cm. wide. The body furrow is 35 m. long and has a small heap of stones at the head, another at a distance of 11 m. from the first, and another at the junction of body and legs. The latter are 11 m. long and 1 m. apart. The arms curve outward
“There is another similarly inclosed but unnamed grave at Gila Crossing, also one between Sweetwater and Casa Blanca, and there are three at Blackwater. Such inclosures are called o'namuksk, meaning unknown. Beads are to be found strewn about all of them.
“Puma Lying, or Place of the Mortar, is a heap of small stones between the Double Buttes, ten miles west of Sacaton. Stones are there piled over a shallow mortar in which beads have been placed and partly broken. Bunches of fresh creosote branches were mingled with the decaying fragments of arrow shafts at the time of the writer's visit, showing that while the shrine is yet resorted to, it is of considerable
“Evil spirits dwell in the Picacho and Estrella mountains, but this belief may be presumed to be an inheritance from the Apache period. The writer has not learned of any shrines being located in those ranges.
“It is said that in the Santa Rosa mountains there was once a tightly covered medicine basket which was kept on a mountain top by a Papago medicine-man who carried offerings to it. All others were forbidden to touch it; but someone found it and when he lifted the cover all the winds of heaven rushed forth and blew away all the people thereabout.
“Near the summit of one of the lava-formed Santa hills is a small cave in which the Hohokam placed sacrifices. A number of articles were discovered there a quarter of a century ago and sent to some eastern museum. Since that time the Pimas deposited the body of a child and some other things in the cave, which were secured by an Arizona collector in 1901. The cave is known as Basket Lying, because it contained a basket such as the Pimas use for their medicine paraphernalia. It was discovered by two Pima warriors, who were serving their sixteen day period of lustration for having killed Apaches. The basket contained sinew from the legs of deer, and sticks, which the finders assumed to be for the same purpose as those with which they were scratching their own heads at the time.
“Such places were formerly respected by the tribe, but they are now robbed with impunity to get ‘relics’ to sell. A man at Pe-e-putciltk' informed the author's interpreter, Jose Lewis, of the location of one of these caches in the low hills south of Casa Blanca. We found that a Dumber of concretions, crystals, shells, a bird carved from stone, and a war club had been deposited in an olla with a bowl turned over it, rendering it watertight. The whole had been hidden under a heap of stones at the summit of a spur of the trill about four miles from the villages.”MEDICINE-MEN.
“There are three classes of medicine-men among the Pimas. Those who treat disease by pretended magic are known as Si′atcokam, Examining Physicians. As many women as men belong to this order, to which entrance is gained chiefly through heredity. This is the most powerful class in the community, though its members pay for their privileges at imminent risk. How great this risk is may be seen from the calendar records. The Si′atcokam were more numerous than the other classes. Those who have power over the crops, the weather, and the wars are called Makai, Magicians. Only one or two women were ever admitted to this order among the Pimas. There were usually about
“The traditional history of the tribe tells of many families of medicine-men, and the profession was very generally handed down from father to son. Those receiving magic power was by what might be termed a process of natural selection; anyone who recovered from a rattlesnake bite on the hand or near the heart might become a medicine-man or medicine-woman. A third method was by dreams and trances. Kisatc said that during his youth he had dreamed every night that he was visited by some one who endowed him with magic power. Under the influence of these dreams he decided to become a medicine-man, but as soon as he began to practice, the dreams ceased. These
“Several informants declared that ‘any man who received instruction from a medicine-man and learned to do some little tricks could become a medicine-man.’ The process of acquiring power was called ‘getting power.’ The novice was tested, either alone or along with one or more fellow-aspirants, by the medicine-man, who had the youth kneel before him on all fours, and then threw four sticks, each about eight inches long, at him. If the novice fell to the ground during the throwing, he was ‘shot’ with the power, and could then take the next degree. This was administered by the instructor, who ‘coughed up’ tcU tcaka, (word of unknown meaning), white balls the size of mistletoe berries, and rubbed them ‘into’ the breast of the novice. Another Informant said that the novice swallowed the balls. Four or five balls were thus administered, though the ‘power began to work’ in some cases where only one or two balls were used. One informant thought that the medicine-man had a sort of ‘nest of power’ wherein the balls developed as in the ovary of a hen. No matter how many were given off the supply continued undiminished.
“Sometimes the doctor wished to teach the youth, in which case the latter paid nothing for his instruction. But the usual fee was a horse, ‘a piece of calico,’ or the like. Throughout the period of his initiation the novice was not permitted to go near a woman's menstrual lodge, nor might he allow anyone to know that he was
“The Makai were intrusted with the important duty of securing supernatural aid to insure good crops. One method of procedure was to gather the people in the large lodge and have some one bring in an olla filled with earth. This the Makai stirred with a willow stick and placed before a clear fire, where it stood all night while rain songs were being sung. At dawn the olla was emptied and was found to contain wheat instead of earth. Four grains were given to each one present, to be buried at the corners of the fields or the four grains together at the center.
“For a consideration the Makai would go to a wheat field and perform rites which he assured the owner would result in a heavy yield of wheat. After rolling and smoking a cigarette at each corner of the field, he would go to the center of it and bury a stick three or four inches long.
“To cause an abundance of melons and squashes, the Makai entered the field and took from his mouth, or, as his followers supposed, from the store of magic power in his body, a small melon or squash. The object was partially covered with hardened mud, symbolic of
“Again, the germination and growth of wheat were sometimes imitated by concealing several grains of wheat in the hair, and shaking them down upon the soil. Then by a dextrous manipulation of a previously prepared series of young wheat shoots, the growth was represented up to the point where a stalk two feet in length was slipped from the long coils of hair at the operator's shoulders, and shown to the awe-stricken spectators as a fully developed plant.
“During the rain ceremonies, when the Makai were at the height of their glory, one of their most impressive acts was to pour dry earth out of a reed until it was half empty, and then it would be seen that the remainder was filled with water. ‘Then it rained right away.’ If the Makai put one of the magic slates in a cup of water at the time the rain songs were being sung, and also dug a shallow trench to show the rivulets how they should cut their way, it would rain in four days.
“During the season when rain is especially needed any one may petition for it by means of the small gray fly that has a large head. Rubbing soot from the roof or chimney in the fly's eyes the person must say, ‘Go quickly, little fly, tell your grandmother to send the rain.’
“Some Si′atcokam aroused the wonder and admiration of their fellows by placing hot coals in their mouths (where they hold them between the teeth), or by holding them in their hands (taking care to have a thin layer of ash or mud beneath them).
“When the exigencies of the case demand it, the Si′atcokam sink small pointed pieces of wood, an inch in length and flat at the larger end, into the flesh of their patients. The bits of wood are ‘twisted back and forth between the thumb and forefinger as one would twist a thread until the wood disappears.’ The great grandmother of Jacob L. Roberts, a young man of Apache-Maricopa and Pima-Kwahadk′ lineage, thus treated him during a temporary attack of sickness in his infancy. She sank two pieces of creosote bush into his breast and predicted that he would not be ill as would other children. She also said that she would die within the year—and she did. Strange to say, Jacob also escaped the epidemic diseases that afflicted his playmates.
“The Si′atcokam prize certain crystals very highly and claim to obtain them in the following manner: The person possessing the necessary power may be going along in some quiet place when all of a sudden a man will be seen approaching. The stranger never reaches him but will be seen to disappear; then if the Si′atcokam searches about the spot where the man was last seen, he will find a transparent crystal, stone white, which contains a spirit that will aid him in all his subsequent undertakings and which will desert the stone at the death of the holder.
“The Si′atcokam treats a wounded man by sucking the evil from the wound. He shows a strand of green that resembles a roll of water plants about eight inches long. The wounded man sucks this crosswise four times and Si′atcokam pretends to swallow it. ‘This insures complete recovery.’”CAUSE AND TREATMENT OF DISEASES.
“The Si′atcokam carries his staff in hand when called to treat the sick. He begins by singing the ‘cure songs,’ or causing them to be sung for the purpose of aiding him in correctly diagnosing the case. Then he puffs out cigarette smoke over the body of the patient in order that he may ‘see’ the disease. Most common ailments are attributed to certain definite causes and the diagnosis is easy. When he is well paid for his services he may sing more than one night before announcing the name of the disease. If he is too hasty he may ‘see’ the bear when it is really the deer that is causing trouble. However, he cannot sing more than four nights; then,
“It will be seen from the cases described that the songs play an important part in the treatment, and they are sung with endless repetitions. After the cause of the affliction has been decided upon, the songs of that animal or object are sung. An image or a part of the animal or object is pressed upon or waved over the part affected, and then the farce of sucking out the evil is gone through. Juan Thomas informed the writer that he had frequently concealed under his thumb nail the objects which he pretended to suck from his patients.
“Sometimes ashes are rubbed upon the skin of the sick person. No matter what the disease may be, the ashes are administered with light rubbing. No explanation could be given for this treatment. For any disease, also, pledgets of cotton might be burned on the skin, and as these were half an inch in diameter and two or three might be burned in one place, the effect must have been very painful.
“The female Si′atcokam never treated children; they confined their labors to the treatment of abdominal troubles not necessarily peculiar to sex. They treated men for abdominal difficulties, and men treated women for all diseases.
“Payment is promised to the Si′atcokam when they are called in. It may be a horse, cow, some wheat, a basket, or similar property. If he contracts to sing three nights and to receive a horse in payment, he will not receive the horse if the patient dies after he has sung two nights, but will receive some compensation. The death of the patient does not annul the obligation under any circumstances.
“In addition to the animals, birds, and reptiles that cause disease, the variety of human ailments and the fertility of the native's imagination, necessitated the invention of yet other causes. These were sometimes superhuman, but only too often the tribe merely descended to the level of the African savage, and accused some medicine-man of the crime of causing disease. There would seem to be some reason in this if the medicine-man who had the case in hand were the one accused, but that was not the custom; it was a rival practitioner who bore the onus and
“If a person believes that a medicine-man has brought sickness upon his household he calls in another doctor to find the charm. The one consulted takes four assistants and searches day and night until some object is found which they can safely assume was hidden in the vicinity by the malicious medicine-man. When found, the object must not be touched for fear of death, but the mere discovery renders it harmless to the person against whom it was aimed.
“Sometimes the medicine-man causes sickness by ‘shooting’ charcoal, made from the burned body of an enemy, into someone who does not notice it at the time, but whose body burns in consequence. If it is sucked out before it is entirely consumed, the charcoal loses its power and the patient recovers.
“The bear causes swellings upon the body, headache, and fever. The remedy is to sing the bear songs, of which there are several; the singing is sometimes continued throughout the entire day. No part of the animal is used in the treatment. The bear is friendly to the Pimas. If a man meets one he must say, ‘I'm red,’ and then the bear will not touch him, though he is free to kill the animal.
“The coyote causes sickness in children; some believing that he brings on dysentery when the mother eats melons before the birth of the child, others thinking that he causes rash and blisters on the baby's tongue. The remedy is to sing the coyote song and swing the tail of the coyote over the child.
“The dog, a very near relative of the coyote in Pimeria, also causes trouble for the children. When a child a month or two old is fretful and sleepless the medicine-man is pretty certain to diagnose the case as ‘dog disease.’ He does not treat it in any manner, but some one who knows the dog song is called in to sing, and as he sings he sways a stick that has some of a dog's vibrissae tied to it, to and fro over the child.
“The gopher causes stomach trouble, particularly in children. The remedy is to sing the gopher song and to press moistened earth from a gopher hill upon the affected part. At Gila Crossing were obtained two small deerskin bags containing tufts of eagle's down and two or three
“There are but four birds that cause disease. There appears to have been no conscious classification in the minds of the Pimas in attributing certain afflictions to the birds. These diseases are all of a different nature, and are similar to those assigned to mammals and reptiles.
“The hawk causes hemorrhage in grown persons only. The disease is cured by singing the hawk song and passing the wing feathers of the bird over the patient. If one touches a hawk he must be secluded for four days.
“The vulture or turkey buzzard causes sores, especially syphillis, and sore eyes on the baby if the parent eats a dead animal just before the child is born. The remedy is to sing the buzzard song and pass the wing feathers of the buzzard over the child.
“A Gila monster, if killed by the father just before the birth of a child, causes the baby's body to become red and feverish. The remedy is to sing the Gila monster song. Such a disease must be of rare occurrence as no other treatment is prescribed.
“The horned toad causes rheumatism and hunchback. The remedy is to sing the horned toad song and press an image of the creature upon the patient. If one accidentally steps on a horned toad he must tie a red string around its neck and let it go, saying, ‘my blood eat.’ This is to cause the subtle toad to eat the bad blood that may cause disease in the person.
“The large lizard is responsible for a fever in children, the most prominent symptom of which is the whitening of the skin. If any one who knows the lizard song is available he comes and presses an image of a lizard on the child as he sings. If not, a lizard is killed and fat from its. body is rubbed upon the child.
“The bite of the rattlesnake is cured by sucking the wound every morning for four days. Others suck it one or two days, and also ligature the limb with horsehair, or draw a circle around it with charcoal to define the limit of the swelling. The Papagos and Mexicans use the plant Euphorbia marginata to poultice snake bites, and it is possible that some Pimas use it also, though the writer was unable to find anyone who knew of its being so used.
“While the rattlesnake is dreaded and, under circumstances previously mentioned, is regarded as possessing magic power, he occupies a far less important place in Pima thought than in that of the Hopis. It is said to be unlucky to come upon two rattlesnakes, one soon after the other, when engaged in searching for anything. If a child puts its foot through an olla head ring that is commonly left lying about the premises, the mother warns him that the rattlesnake will bite him. The same fate is threatened if he puts his foot into the mortar in which the mesquite beans and other articles of food are ground. The rattlesnake is accredited with wisdom that directs it to the place where the best mesquite beans are to be had, though why such a locality has any attractions for it was not explained.
“The turtle causes large sores on the body or cripples the legs. The treatment is to sing the turtle song and shake a rattle over the patient. The rattle is made by killing a river turtle and placing the body in an ant-hill until the ants have
“A butterfly with striped wings causes internal pains. The treatment consists in singing the butterfly song and pressing the body of the patient with four or five images of the butterfly cut from deerskin.
“A captured Apache child might cause lameness in some member of the family by whom he was kept. It was cured by some one who had killed an Apache singing over the patient. Then the child must be sold to the Mexicans or Americans. It was also supposed that the touch of an Apache woman might cause paralysis.
“A certain disease of the throat is called wheita, and the same name is given to a stick made from mesquite root, which is thrust down the patient's throat four times and then passed four times over the heart to cure him.
TcUnyīm is an evil spirit that causes sickness in children. The most characteristic symptom is fretfulness. The TcUnyīm song is sung and the child's body is pressed with a strand of hair taken in war from an Apache's head. The hair is cleansed and washed by some old person, then the ends are glued together with the gum of the creosote bush before it is ready to use. A′mīnâ sticks tied with bluebird and redbird feathers are also used.
“Kâ′mâl tkâk, who was accustomed to assist the doctors, states that this name is applied to a disease of the throat which causes the victim to lose flesh. The treatment consists in placing A′mīnâ in an olla of water to soak while the doctor or his assistant blows through a tube, called the TcUnyīm cigarette, upon the forehead, chin, breast, and stomach of the patient. The tube has a bunch of feathers attached called a-an kiatuta, and these are next swept in quick passes downward over the body. The A′mīnâ are then taken and sucked four times by the patient, after which
“Magic influence exerted by evilly disposed persons, especially medicine-men, may cause a particular ailment, called ‘doctor's disease,’ in the cure of which the slate tablets found in the ruins are believed to be most efficacious. The information was given that no marking was made on the slates; they were simply placed in a vessel of water and the patient drank the water.
“Sometimes the sickness of a child was believed to be due to the fact that some person desired to take it away from its parents. If they went to the covetous one and accused him of the crime, the child immediately recovered.
“Navitco is an evil spirit adopted from the Papagos. His home is in the mountain called Papak, Frog. This spirit causes the knees to swell and the eyes to become inflamed. It may safely be inferred that this disease has been a common one, as it is the practice to treat several at one time in a somewhat more elaborate ceremonial than is usual in the treatment of other diseases. One medicine-man personates Navitco, another known as Kakspakam accompanies him; both are masked. At a signal from Navitco, given by throwing cornmeal on the baskets, fifteen or twenty persons appointed for the purpose sing the Navitco song, accompanied by the notched eagle feathers, until he has presumably drawn out all disease. He then throws away the
“A man and his wife, who are close friends of the parents, come early in the morning and wash the baby. If it is a boy, it is taken up at sunrise by the man, who breathes upon a cross and holds it toward the sun four times. If it is a girl, it is taken by the woman, who breathes upon a medal and holds the object toward the sun four times. Whichever object is used is next passed in the form of the cross over the face and again over the body of the infant by both the man and the woman. Each then holds the child four times in his or her arms before handing it to the parents. A name is given the child by the godfather and godmother. No child except one thus ill, or another in the same family of a naming age at the time is ever christened thus. The god parents must give the child some wheat or corn each year until it grows up, and the parents give a basket each year in return.
“Even horses may become sick through the evil influence of malicious medicine-men, who, it is said, ‘shoot’ live coals into them—coals that have been taken from an Apache fire. The remedy is of a similar character. A reputable medicine-man is called in, who diagnoses the case and decides from what direction the coal was ‘shot.’ He does not sing, but after smoking a cigarette and blowing puffs of smoke about the premises, and upon the horse, he determines the place to suck out the coal from the distressed animal. When he gets the coal into his mouth he makes a pretense of being burned by it, and immediately fills his mouth with water, after which he casts out the coal.
PAPAGO SAN XAVIER, ARIZONA.