6. Tribes of Sonora

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6.1. Opatas, Eudebes, and Jovas

Because they are village dwellers, the Opatas and some of the Eudebes are regarded as more advanced than those who remain in isolated huts. These village dwellers, while retaining their status as Indians, are more amenable to reason. They are the best Christians and the most loyal vassals of the king, having never rebelled against him or the missionaries. They are the truest and bravest in war, aiding the royal troops when they are campaigning against the common enemy. Moreover, they are more inclined to till the soil and breed livestock.

They obtain good crops of wheat, maize, beans, pumpkins, melons, etc., but because they do not value their labor, they sell their produce for a trifle. They are so fond of trading that when their customers1 ask for something they do not have, they will beg it from the missionary using one excuse or another in order to complete the trade and usually they end up with less.

While the Opata women join the men in everyday labors, when pregnant they are treated with more consideration than in other provinces. They cease doing heavy work and devote themselves to cooking pozole,2 roasting or popping corn,3 grinding it to make pinole, spinning cotton, and weaving.

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Thus, to the Opata women has come the gift that the Vulgate calls “the instinct of the cock,”4 and the Septuagint5 interprets “Quis dedit mulieribus texturae sapientiam aut variegativam scientiam?”6 They are happy in the knowledge that while their sisters with the Pimas Altos and Apaches are compelled to slave in the fields, they perform more feminine duties. Although their equipment is rudimentary, the Opata women weave so expertly that no one can surpass them. If permitted to unravel a sample, they could imitate German tablecloths and napkins, the only difference being the coarseness of the Indian material. The high quality of craftsmanship is the reason their finished pieces are called alemaniscos.7 They can imitate any texture, even tent cloth.

Their weaving is done in the following manner: First they drive four stakes into the ground far enough apart to accommodate the length and width of the work planned. Next they tie a slender twig horizontally half a yard above the ground to each of the sides thus limiting the width. Then with a woman on each of the width sides facing each other, they begin the warping, passing a skein of thread around the horizontal twigs as many times as necessary to block out the work. This done, and with the sample before them, they begin counting the threads, catching two at a time by means of a wooden rod. They mark the divisions of the texture and make them secure by means of wooden slats. Then a stick serves as a woof and carries the transverse strand which is tightened by small wooden picks. Thus by constant repetition the work proceeds slowly and tediously regardless of entreaties to use a loom to simplify and expedite their ways. It is useless to struggle to make the natives change their methods. Their patience can tire the world. They refuse to try anything that is different, and this unwillingness applies to other tasks as well, such as turning and clearing the soil, etc.

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In this respect the newly converted Pimas are more cooperative than the Opatas. The Opatas are quite sure they have nothing more to learn, and they continue their crude, primitive ways. But the Pimas recognize their limitations and obediently submit to our teachings. The backward state of affairs prevails among those not in contact with the missionaries, and when I asked an old man why the corn fields of the nonconverted had not been weeded, he replied, “They still have their eyes closed.” Generally speaking this is true of all the Sonoran Indians. Quite naturally there are exceptions. Along certain lines the Indian's application and natural ability make him proficient, for example in playing musical instruments, carpentering, blacksmithing, stone-cutting, and even house-building.

I know of a few Opatas and Eudebes who are proficient in as many as nine crafts. They do not learn by taking lessons and practicing the rules of the art, but rather they learn by taking a liking to a trade and seeing it done once or twice. Then they go forth and do it themselves. We often say that they are capable of learning by seeing plus the application of their natural ability to use their hands. The Opatas built the flour mills of Don Juan Terán at Pivipa as well as the mills of Father José Cabrera Roldán, S.J., at Arivechi and Father Javier Villaroya at Banámichi. What has been said of the Opatas is applicable to the Eudebes except that the latter have to try harder to abandon their old ways.

The Jovas as a tribe are wilder, more ignorant, and less disposed to live in townsites, preferring the mountain ravines where they were born to the good treatment and comforts they could enjoy in the pueblos. This was proven by Father Manuel Aguirre, S.J., of Bacadéhuachi when he attempted to move them from their rancherías at Sátechi, Pónida, Teópari, and Mochopa where they are sustaining themselves with roots, herbs, wild fruits, and an occasional harvest of corn, and occupying themselves by making mats from the fronds of the many palm trees that grow in that area. These they sell or exchange for the little clothing they wear. And the women manage to weave wool from the few sheep they raise to make blankets, capes, jackets, and breaches for the men and shawls, skirts, chemises, and waistcoats for themselves.

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They pose no threat to their fellow tribesmen who have submitted to the more normal life. At the same time they are fearless against the Apaches, and in 1760 one of them named Salvador defended his wife and three children against seven enemies from daybreak to sundown. He killed four Apaches. Finally, sapped by hunger and exhaustion, he surrendered and perished at the hands of the surviving three savages.

The substance used by the Jovas to poison arrows is so deadly that it kills the wounded as well as those who attempt to suck the poison from the lesion. Years ago in an encounter of nine Apaches against three Jovas, three Apaches were wounded and the remaining six, wishing to help, sucked the wounds, and all died. An Opata woman who was their prisoner escaped and told what had happened.

The Opatas, Pimas, and Jovas inhabit the greater part of Sonora. They are found on the south at Nátora, Arivechi, Bacanora, Tónichi, Soyopa, Nácori, and [Los] Alamos; on the west they live at Ures, Nacameri, Opodepe, and Cucurpe; on the north from Cucurpe through Arizpe, Chinapa, Bacoachi, Cuquiárachi to Bavispe, and on the cast from Bavispe through the western slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental down to Nátora. May it please God that some way be found to bring the Indians down from their craggy, mountain strongholds to the plains where there are tillable lands and where their souls can better be instructed in our Holy Faith.

6.2. Pimas Altos and Bajos

The Pima nation8 is a large one. An entire description will not be undertaken because some of its pueblos are in other provinces. For example, Yécora is in Chínipas; Guasave is in Sinaloa, and still other pueblos are in Tarahumara. I have knowledge of the Pima pueblos in Tarahumara because I have read about them in the work of Father Pérez Ribas, whose book I do not possess.

We shall begin with the Pimas Bajos by naming the missions and their locations which serve as landmarks in the territory. On the south

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are Taraichi, Cumuripa, Onapa, Nuri, Movas, and Onavas; on the west, actually serving as barriers to Seri incursions, are Cumuripa, Suaqui,9 San José, Santa Rosalía, Ures, and Nacameri.10

Having heard that others had become Christians,11 the Pimas Bajos traveled south to receive instruction in the Faith, thus becoming the first Sonorans to be converted. However, the Pimas Bajos lack meekness. And their loyalty is very weak. There is much evil to be uprooted here.

The territory occupied by the Pimas Altos may be defined by the following boundaries: on the south Cucurpe, Santa Ana, and Caborca to the Gulf of California; on the east from Cucurpe to Dolores, Remedios, Cocóspera, and the Terrenate presidio. From there it follows the San Pedro River—also known as the Sobahipuris—to its junction with the Gila. On the north it follows the course of the Gila, including both banks, to the Colorado; and the western boundary is formed by the Gulf of California. Thus their territory measures from east to west sixty to 130 leagues and from northwest to southeast more or less 130 leagues. It is true that all of the expanse from Caborca to the mouth of the Colorado is uninhabited or uninhabitable because it is extremely sandy, and the plains are very windy. Moreover, the region is arid, and the soil is barren. In fact, in the last thirty leagues before one reaches the Colorado there is a total absence of water. In this area about fifty leagues to the northwest of Caborca is the mission of San Miguel de Sonoitac. Established in May, 1751,12 it is attended by a few Papagos,13 who sustain themselves by eating grass seed, herbs, wild fruits, rabbits, and mice. One cannot really call this group at San Miguel de Sonoitac a congregation. Not until one reaches Tucson,

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Santa Catalina, Baigatz,14 etc., to the Gila, does one see the possibility of extending the faith and the dominions of our king.

The Pimas Altos may be subdivided into four groups:

All of these groups speak the same dialect with only slight variations. [In this, Nentvig errs. Cf. footnote 22, chapter II.]

Because the Pimas Altos are the newest converts to the faith, and because those who have been converted still have dealings with the unconverted of their tribe, the converts are unstable, more barbarous, and firmly attached to their heathen customs, superstitions, debaucheries, and indecent dances. They are the least loyal and cruelest, for no others have killed so many innocents and missionaries. During their insurrections they have brought cruel deaths to three members of the Society of Jesus who were outstanding and fervent workers in the vineyard of the Lord.16

In courage all the Pimas are inferior to the Opatas, and only when they have large numbers do they show boldness and daring. This was demonstrated in the uprising of 1751 when a large group of them were frenzied with a thirst for blood. They reduced the finely decorated church of Sáric to ashes, then went on to Tubutama where only ten men, half of whom had no knowledge of firearms, held them in check. For two days they attacked the house in which fathers Sedelmayr and Nentvig had taken refuge. After the attacking band had lost a few men, they were frightened and for a time did not resume the

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fight. This gave time for the besieged to escape, leaving behind three who were so badly wounded they could not travel. These three were put to death by the rebels.

Also, a group of ten soldiers, one of whom was Don Gabriel Vildósola, captain of the Fronteras presidio, advanced to Aribaca to recover camp goods, totally unaware of the insurrection. They suddenly found themselves facing 200 daring rebels. The troops were able to retreat in good order without suffering any casualties.

The Pimas, numbering 5,000 to 6,000 armed men, gathered at Babuquíburi, a hill beyond Aribaca. Captain Don Bernardo Urrea, then lieutenant governor of the Upper Pima region, arrived and could have subdued them in two hours, but he was constrained by orders from the governor of the province, Don Diego Ortiz Parrilla, to bring about their surrender by peaceful means. Paying no heed to the in ducuments to lay down their arms, the rebellious Pimas attacked furiously, and in spite of their vastly superior numbers they could not “have for breakfast” the royal force as promised by their captain-general Luis.17 Defeated, they were forced to flee farther inland.

In addition to the bow and arrow, the Pimas have the macana, a heavy, hardwood club used in hand-to-hand combat. It is capable of breaking a head with one blow. This is the instrument used to kill Father Tomás Tello of Caborca.

Among the Pimas, the most inured to war are the Sobahipuris who have been reared on the Apache frontier and are used to almost constant fighting. However, in 1762, being tired of frequent battles, they abandoned their pleasant and fertile valley. Some migrated south to Santa María Soamca while others went farther southwest to Guebavi and Sonoitac,18 and still others traveled west to San Xavier del Bac and Tucson, thus leaving free ingress to the whole Upper Pimería to the Apache enemy.

Were it not for fear of the Apaches, two or three missions might have been established in the Sobahipuris Valley which in time would

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have brought about communication with the rancherías on the north bank of the Gila River.

We have already hinted that if we wished to populate the western side of the San Pedro River, we would have to do so with the little-to-be-trusted Papagos who cannot easily be induced to settle in villages. During the last uprising they were supporters of the petty chief Luis de Sáric who, on November 20, 1751, was encamped in a ravine half a league from Sáric. This I learned from an eyewitness who spoke the truth. If I had not believed him and had passed through that ravine, it would have cost me my life.

Let us put an end to the subject of the Pimas because if I were to write all that suggests itself, it would require the steeping of the pen in blood, which I wish to avoid so far as it is consistent with the truth and the simplicity of my nature.

6.3. The Seris and Their Confederates

With the exception of the Guaymas of whom enough has already been said,19 the Seris are the smallest tribe in the province. Their small numbers were demonstrated when they were gathered together and only one mission could be established, which was named Nuestra Señora del Pópulo. Father Nicolás Perera, S.J., the missionary who for the longest time bore their insolence, told me that he never saw more than 300 gathered together at one time. And I do not even know where he could have seen that many.

They are the most cruel and uninhibited, always wild and rebellious to the law of God, even those who had been confined to the pueblos of Pópulo, Nacameri, and Los Angeles—actually only a small part of the tribe. But even these few managed to have daily communications with their heathen relatives. As if no one were suspicious, the converted ones would travel to other communities and learn what they wanted to know. Then the information would be passed on to the unconverted who carried out crimes with such precision, timeliness, and accuracy that people were astonished. Many times suspicion

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would fall on the Pópulo Seris who would rapidly clear themselves by proving with eyewitnesses that at the very hour the outrage occurred they were in such and such a place. So to curb the Seri movements, the presidios of Pitic and Terrenate were founded at the end of 1741 or the beginning of 1742 by order of his excellency the Viceroy, Count of Fuenclara, acting with the concurrence of the Ministers of War and the Exchequer.

In 1748 during the administration of Don José Rafael Rodriguez Gallardo, executive-visitor of Sonora,20 the Pitic presidio was moved to San Miguel, a site located one and a half leagues southwest of El Pópulo but still on the communal lands farmed by the people of that village. It cannot be denied that the moving of the presidio and the dividing up of the Pópulo communal land amongst the residents of the fort angered the Seris. Their dissatisfaction was manifested by the havoc they created shortly afterward. Up to that time the Seris had not been so unruly. With the assurance that their land would be returned, some eighty families settled in Pópulo, and there were hopes that the rest of the tribe would follow.

But these hopes were lost in 1750 when the Seri residents of Pópulo were unexpectedly arrested and their women deported. The men were sent away in chains but were able to escape, and one by one they returned to take vengeance for the indignities they suffered. As we shall see, their hostility resulted in a sharp reduction of the population.21

However, by the end of 1753 the Seris began to listen to peace overtures made by the recently arrived governor Don Pablo Arce y Arroyo. Their peace envoys demanded the return of the scattered Seri women who had been sent away to Guatemala and other parts of the continent, the return of their lands at Pópulo and Los Angeles, the

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moving of the presidio back to Pitic, and the assigning of Father Nicolás Perera as their missionary.

Because the governor had to be elsewhere on an inspection tour, he sent fathers Felipe Ségesser and Nicolás Perera as his representatives. They offered the Seris hope and promised to do everything possible to comply with three of their demands, but locating and returning the Seri women seemed an impossible task. The envoys could offer little here. And the Seris wanted a clear-cut promise.

Father Perera invited Chepillo, their chief, to a private conference, and when the brave Seri chieftain came to Aconchi at night, they had a heart-to-heart talk. When Father Perera asked him to submit to the demands of the governor, Chepillo said, “I know that if we continue fighting we are damning ourselves, but there is no other way. We are accustomed to living with women. We do not know where our wives are, whether they are living or dead. You would not marry us to others, and if we take others, you will order us whipped. It is not our fault but that man's.”22 So saying, he took his leave. In January, 1754, I heard Father Perera relate the episode, and during the recounting he could not restrain his tears.

During the time the peace negotiations were gong on, the Guaymas attacked a Seri ranch-hamlet, killing some of the residents and mistreating others. Even though no Spaniards had taken part in the raid, the Seris said, “If this happens when the peace talks are going on, what assurance do we have that incidents will not occur after the talks are concluded?” They were told that it was neither the fault of the governor nor any Spaniard. The Guaymas, living in a distant part of the country, had not been aware of the negotiations, and what had happened had been an unforeseen accident. The most that could be obtained from the Seris was that hostilities would cease while their demands were being met. And during Governor Arce's tenure the promise was kept. But no sooner had the late governor Don Juan Antonio Mendoza taken the reins of the government than bloodshed and fire began to devastate the province.23

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During Governor Arce's term of office Seri rustling of cattle and horses continued but in a different way: the Indians left their tired mounts behind and respected the lives of the ranchers. By comparison with past deeds, this practice could be called gentlemanly and courteous.

Even though they have suffered the loss of some forty vagrants and over seventy women and children who were captured in the encounters of November and December of this past year, 1761, they remain arrogant and unwilling to accept the pacts offered to them. May it please the Lord that the royal forces sent to subdue them will succeed in obtaining the peace and tranquility so necessary to prevent the complete ruin of Sonora. Once this is accomplished, our scant forces could be used to oppose the other and greater enemy, the Apaches.

The principal refuge of the Seris is the famous Cerro Prieto, twelve leagues west of San José de Pimas, an equal distance south of Pitic, fourteen leagues from the Gulf of California, and thirty leagues north of the Yaqui River. This retreat is an aggregate of many pinnacles, an almost impregnable fortress with innumerable chasms, canyons, and deep precipices inaccessible to the cavalry. Even when the enemy has been routed and the Seris are in full retreat, the cavalry cannot penetrate this stronghold. The twists and turns of the narrow trails permit the Seris to reach unassailable positions among the towering mountain peaks.

The lesser canyons will not be mentioned here. The best known are the Cosari, facing east; the Rodríguez to the northeast; the Grande, facing northeast; the Palma directly north; the Cara Pintada to the northwest; the Otates to the west-northwest; the Nopalera to the west; Las Avispas to the west-southwest; La Ciénega to the southwest; and finally the Rincón de Marcos, facing southeast. The range which contains the Cerro Prieto extends south toward the small village of San José de Guaymas. [These canyons are clearly marked on Nentvig's map.]

In addition to the Cerro Prieto which has been a Seri sanctuary for the last four or five years, the mountain of Bacoachi Grande sixteen leagues west of San Miguel de Horcasitas, the Cerro de las Espuelas some leagues beyond, and Picú, a range of mountains along the coast, were occasionally used as Seri shelters. But these were less intricate

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and the royal troops had easier access to them. The Seris were driven from these places with some loss of life and no longer feel safe in these haunts.

Other Seri shelters were the Tiburón Island, nearly forty leagues west of Pitic and one league from the coast, and San Juan Bautista Island,24 nine leagues southeast of the former and two leagues from the coast. To the north of Tiburón lies the Ensenada de Tepoca that in years past was renowned for its pearl beds and was called Placer de Tepoca. On the Sonora coast north of the bays of Guaymas and San Javier there is no known harbor other than the harbor of Santa Clara at almost 33 degrees north latitude. And even this is doubtful because of the vagueness of Father Kino's writings.25

The substance used by the Seris to poison their arrows is the most active known hereabout. If treatment as described above is not begun at once, even if the wound is superficial the area around it swells and the poison soon spreads throughout the body. The skin breaks; the flesh falls away, and the victim dies within 24 hours.

According to information given to me by an old man who in more peaceful times used to dive for pearls at the Placer de Tepoca where he had seen the poison prepared, the process is the same as that employed by the Caberres Indians of the Orinoco as described by Padre José Gumilla in his book, Volume II, Chapter 12, except that the Seris test their poison more cautiously. First, the arm or thigh of a lad is cut with a flint, and the blood is allowed to flow for some distance. The blood is touched with a poisoned tip, and if the blood seethes and draws back, the poison is just right. The streak of blood is then wiped with the hand so that death may not be introduced through the veins of the subject.

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A second difference between the two poisons is that nothing is known of the composition of the Seri poison. Some say that it is made from the heads of irritated vipers cut off at the very moment they sink their fangs into a piece of lung or semi-decomposed human flesh or other filthiness. All of this is merely conjecture, and I refuse to provoke the wrath of the reader with more of it. Doubtless some venomous herb serves as the main ingredient.

And thank God, the third and last difference is that the Seri venom does not take effect instantly. There is time for the application of remedies, and there are several besides that of the caramatraca mentioned in chapter iv, section three. At least if the treatment is not successful, the patient has time to prepare for death in a Christian manner.

We ought to thank the Divine Providence on another score: the Seris have not divulged the secret of their poison to their allies the Pimas.26 Whether the Seris have discontinued using poisoned arrows because the Pimas have or whether the Seris have discontinued their use because the Indian auxiliaries of the royal forces often shoot them back is not known, but the fact remains that for the last two or three years ravages from poisoned arrows have not been experienced.

Having referred to the Pimas as the allies of the Seris, one must explain that besides the loyal Pimas Altos who were staunch followers of the Faith, there were the unconverted members of the same tribe who continued on the warpath even after the uprising of 1751, perpetrating murder and devastation in spite of the continual diligence of our troops and their auxiliaries, who were the faithful ones of the Pimas Altos.

Until 1762 the Seris had nearly always emerged victorious over the government forces. Nevertheless they realized they were losing ground. There was a shortage of women, and a few warriors perished in each encounter, so the need for allies was acute. Therefore, they gladly accepted the unconverted members of the Pimas Altos, who had up to that time been their bitter and irreconcilable enemy. Necessity supplied the bond that affection would not.

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The outcast Pimas Altos, having no safe place in their own territory, endured horrible suffering during the campaign waged against them this past year, 1761. The military maneuvers had been decided upon at a council of war in which Governor Don José Tienda de Cuervo and four captains of the province participated, each subscribing one thousand pesos for their execution.27 To this campaign the Jesuit missions contributed 560 fanegas of pinole worth four pesos each, and 220 quintales28 of jerked beef at six pesos each, which made the donation equal to 3,560 pesos.

When the royal troops discovered their lair in the Cosari Canyon, the Pimas were not pursued as relentlessly as they might have been because false hopes were raised in a parley with the commander of our troops. At this meeting, held on an inaccessible mountain peak, the outcasts lied with every word they uttered, ingeniously misrepresenting the cause of the 1751 insurrection. The soldiers and their auxiliaries present were aware of the falseness of their assertions. I as well as many others still living could have refuted every one of their statements. I was astounded that the commander could believe them. The brutal Indians had been caught with the bodies of their murdered victims.29

The loyal Pima auxiliaries were disgusted with the result of the parley. Nonetheless the treacherous Pimas were permitted to retain a force of seventy warriors. Soon after, I heard that their numbers were greatly increased by new arrivals from the Upper Pimería, probably Papagos. However, unless the land is cleared entirely of the united bands of Seris and Pimas, regardless of how few they might be, peace will not be achieved. Bad Indians are never lacking in the settlements, and these, fearful of the punishment they deserve, will go over to the rebellious side. Thus, there will always be training grounds for robbers and murderers.

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6.4. The Apaches, Ancient Scourge of Sonora

Although the region that is considered to be the land of the Apaches lies beyond the boundaries of Sonora, I deem it advisable to include all the available information so that the reader may become aware of their number, power, and the inconceivable damage this cruel enemy brings about, almost causing the ruin of this province.

According to Father Sedelmayr, their main lair was beyond the Sierra de los Apaches, farther north than latitude 35 degrees, 40 minutes,30 and their incursions extended east to west from the new presidio [El Paso] del Norte through the presidios of Janos, Fronteras, and Terrenate to the junction of the Asunción and Gila rivers, a distance of over 100 leagues, and from north to south not fewer than 150 leagues.31

And those who infest New Mexico are of this same nation, as may be determined by the brands which are on the animals they herd from Sonora to be sold there. In fact their field of action is much greater and extends over a larger area than many of the European kingdoms. Their mode of life, however, is entirely different. They are savagely cruel, and when left to themselves they will kill one another. This has been ascertained by our own soldiers. Nomadic in character, they are in one place today and in another tomorrow. A young boy of five or six told me how his father had been killed and he, the boy, had been left tied to a tree when the Indians moved on to another place. They depend upon the products of the land which are available at each place: tunas, dates, agaves, etc. However, their women remain in a section of the Florida Valley to plant maize, tan horse and deer hides, make jackets, breeches, and sandals of chamois leather, etc. When in camp, the men do nothing but hunt and amuse themselves while the women do this work for them.

All Apache clothing is made of chamois leather. Men wear either a jacket to the waist or a pair or two of skins hung from the shoulders as

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a sort of double-breasted cape, short breeches and sandals which are made to measure. Women are limited to wearing short mantles which fasten at the neck, scarcely covering their breasts, and skirts which cover from the waist to the knees. Because both men and women go sandaled from infancy, their feet are smaller than those of other Indians, thus leaving easily recognizable tracks.

The women are skilled at riding horses. They are able to leap upon a colt with no bridle other than a thin rope halter. With only this they are able to control and restrain their mounts.

From information gathered from former captives, I have learned that the tribe does not worship idols.

Even though they are scattered over a large area, one surmises their vast numbers by the many raids which occur simultaneously in this province. At the same time they are plundering in Sonora there are war parties of two to three hundred in the Pimería Alta. And there are about the same number raising havoc in Janos, and still others bringing ruin and desolation as far as the interior of Nueva Vizcaya while others are active in Chihuahua. At the same time there are still Apaches in their many rancherías guarding their women and children. Therefore, it is not beyond the realm of probability that their numbers exceed one thousand families.

It is God's merciful design that the Apaches scatter their forces over a large area and do not as a unit attack us, for there could be no place within the entire province that could be held against a united Apache effort. The whole province could be destroyed within a year. This is something to fear because the enemy is changing his tactics. Previously they attacked only two or three times a year always at full moon. Now they attack at any time and in larger numbers. They come in the dark when they are least expected, and the ranchers are negligent in keeping watch. Moreover, the marauders have no fear of our troops and in their retreat are able to reach a mountain stronghold where they have time to rest a stolen herd.

Because this enemy goes unpunished, he is able to keep this normally wealthy province impoverished. The spirit of its dwellers is undermined by the ever present threat of death. Mining and commerce are at a low ebb, and the royal treasury is profitless, all because of the hostile Apaches.


1. The word Nentvig uses here is noraguas (singular form is noragua) which is loosely applied by the Opatas to mean friend, friendship, or business client.

2. A stew made of hominy, wheat, peas, beans, and fresh or salted meat.

3. Esquite.

4. Job 38:36.

5. A pre-Christian Greek version of the Old Testament named for the approximate number of its translators.

6. “Who has given to women the knowledge of weaving and such a many-sided wisdom?”

7. German imitations.

8. It is divided by geographical location into upper and lower.

9. This is Zuaqui on Nentvig's map.

10. Eastern and northern boundaries are not given in the text.

11. These were Zuaquis of the province of Sinaloa.

12. Most likely Nentvig meant that the mission of San Miguel de Sonoitac was reestablished in 1751. Father Kino had visited the area in October of 1698, and some sort of church was erected there in 1701. Father Sedelmayr installed Father Enrique Ruhen there in May, 1751. Father Ruhen was killed on November 20 or 21 of that same year.

13. A subdivision of the Upper Pimas, also called Papapootans.

14. These villages are along the Santa Cruz River, and were so named by Father Kino on January 13, 1687.

15. Their villages border the San Miguel and Sonora rivers.

16. Nentvig is referring to Father Saéta in 1695 and fathers Tello and Ruhen in 1751.

17. This is Luis Oacpicasigua, more commonly referred to as Luis de Sáric.

18. Not San Miguel de Sonoitac but San Ignacio de Sonoitac, also known as San Ignacio de los Sobahipuris or Los Reyes de Sonoitac. On Nentvig's map this is located at 33 degrees north latitude, 263 degrees, 30 minutes west longitude.

19. Chapter v, section one.

20. This title in Spanish is juez-pesquisidor. This is sometimes translated as visitor-general but means literally investigating judge. The magistrate was appointed to inquire and correct. That is, he not only had the authority to make recommendations, he had the power to act.

21. The arrest referred to was ordered by Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla, whose campaign against the Seris took place between September 14 and October 2, 1750. Father Francisco Antonio Pimentel, chaplain of the expedition, wrote a complete report in Boletín del Archivo General de la Nación XVII, 4 (1946):503–74.

22. The reference is to the former governor, Parrilla.

23. Nentvig refers to the “late governor Mendoza” because this magistrate had been killed on November 27, 1760, by the Seri Chief Becerro at a place in the vicinity of Saracachi.

24. This is now called San Estéban Island. Over a mile long and not quite two square miles in total area with mountain peaks reaching 1600 feet, it is located three miles southwest of the larger Tiburón Island in the Gulf of California. Currently it is uninhabited.

25. This has been identified by Bolton as Adair Bay. In 1937 a topographer, Jorge López Collada, and three assistants lost their lives while surveying the course of the railroad, then under construction, that runs from Sonora to Baja California. In his memory the Santa Clara inlet, also known as Adair Bay, was renamed López Collada Bay (Bahía López Collada).

26. The Pimas had employed poisoned arrows, and their use in 1696 was recorded by Kino in Las Misiones, p. 62, as well as Mange in Luz de tierra incógnita, p. 259.

27. Col. Tienda de Cuervo was appointed governor on January 16, 1761, and had disbanded the Pima-Seri hordes by August of that year. The unnamed captains may have been Bernardo Urrea, Gabriel Antonio Vildósola, Juan Bautista Anza, and Francisco Elías González.

28. Quintal is a unit of weight equal to 100 pounds.

29. Most likely Nentvig is referring to the assassinations of fathers Enrique Ruhen and Tomás Tello and the destruction of their mission churches.

30. This is located at 261 degrees, 31 minutes longitude on Nentvig's map.

31. The presidios referred to were as follows: El Paso del Norte (Ciudad Juárez since 1889) was established in 1685, and there was nothing new about it in 1762. San Felipe y Santiago de Janos was founded in 1686. Fronteras (Santa Rosa de Corodéhuachi) was founded in 1692. Terrenate was founded in 1741.

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