The Story Of The Flood

: Aw-aw-tam Indian Nights

Now Seeurhuh was very powerful, like Juhwerta Mahkai, and as he took

up his residence with them, as one of them, he did many wonderful

things which pleased Juhwerta Mahkai, who liked to watch him.

And after doing many marvelous things he, too, made a man.

And to this man whom he had made, Seeurhuh (whose other name was

Ee-ee-toy) gave a bow & arrows, and guarded his arm against the

bow strin
by a piece of wild-cat skin, and pierced his ears & made

ear-rings for him, like turquoises to look at, from the leaves of

the weed called quah-wool. And this man was the most beautiful man

yet made.

And Ee-ee-toy told this young man, who was just of marriageable age,

to look around and see if he could find any young girl in the villages

that would suit him and, if he found her, to see her relatives and

see if they were willing he should marry her.

And the beautiful young man did this, and found a girl that pleased

him, and told her family of his wish, and they accepted him, and he

married her.

And the names of both these are now forgotten and unknown.

And when they were married Ee-ee-toy, foreseeing what would happen,

went & gathered the gum of the greasewood tree.

Here the narrative states, with far too much plainness of

circumstantial detail for popular reading, that this young man married

a great many wives in rapid succession, abandoning the last one with

each new one wedded, and had children with abnormal, even uncanny

swiftness, for which the wives were blamed and for which suspicion they

were thus heartlessly divorced. Because of this, Juhwerta Mahkai and

Ee-ee-toy foresaw that nature would be convulsed and a great flood

would come to cover the world.

And then the narrative goes on to say:

Now there was a doctor who lived down toward the sunset whose name was

Vahk-lohv Mahkai, or South Doctor, who had a beautiful daughter. And

when his daughter heard of this young man and what had happened to

his wives she was afraid and cried every day. And when her father

saw her crying he asked her what was the matter? was she sick? And

when she had told him what she was afraid of, for every one knew

and was talking of this thing, he said yes, he knew it was true,

but she ought not to be afraid, for there was happiness for a woman

in marriage and the mothering of children.

And it took many years for the young man to marry all these wives,

and have all these children, and all this time Ee-ee-toy was busy

making a great vessel of the gum he had gathered from the grease

bushes, a sort of olla which could be closed up, which would keep

back water. And while he was making this he talked over the reasons

for it with Juhwerta Mahkai, Nooee, and Toehahvs, that it was because

there was a great flood coming.

And several birds heard them talking thus--the woodpecker, Hick-o-vick;

the humming-bird, Vee-pis-mahl; a little bird named Gee-ee-sop,

and another called Quota-veech.

Eeeetoy said he would escape the flood by getting into the vessel he

was making from the gum of the grease bushes or ser-quoy.

And Juhwerta Mahkai said he would get into his staff, or walking stick,

and float about.

And Toehahvs said he would get into a cane-tube.

And the little birds said the water would not reach the sky, so they

would fly up there and hang on by their bills till it was over.

And Nooee, the buzzard, the powerful, said he did not care if the

flood did reach the sky, for he could find a way to break thru.

Now Ee-ee-toy was envious, and anxious to get ahead of Juhwerta

Mahkai and get more fame for his wonderful deeds, but Juhwerta Mahkai,

though really the strongest, was generous and from kindness and for

relationship sake let Ee-ee-toy have the best of it.

And the young girl, the doctor's daughter, kept on crying, fearing

the young man, feeling him ever coming nearer, and her father kept

on reassuring her, telling her it would be all right, but at last,

out of pity for her fears & tears, he told her to go and get him

the little tuft of the finest thorns on the top of the white cactus,

the haht-sahn-kahm, [2] and bring to him.

And her father took the cactus-tuft which she had brought him, and

took hair from her head and wound about one end of it, and told her

if she would wear this it would protect her. And she consented and

wore the cactus-tuft.

And he told her to treat the young man right, when he came, & make

him broth of corn. And if the young man should eat all the broth,

then their plan would fail, but if he left any broth she was to eat

that up and then their plan would succeed.

And he told her to be sure and have a bow and arrows above the door

of the kee, so that he could take care of the young man.

And after her father had told her this, on that very evening the young

man came, and the girl received him kindly, and took his bows & arrows,

and put them over the door of the kee, as her father had told her,

and made the young man broth of corn and gave it to him to eat.

And he ate only part of it and what was left she ate herself.

And before this her father had told her: "If the young man is wounded

by the thorns you wear, in that moment he will become a woman and a

mother and you will become a young man."

And in the night all this came to be, even so, and by day-break the

child was crying.

And the old woman ran in and said: "Mos-say!" which means an old

woman's grandchild from a daughter.

And the daughter, that had been, said: "It is not your moss, it is

your cah-um-maht," that is an old woman's grandchild from a son.

And then the old man ran in and said: "Bah-ahm-ah-dah!" that is

an old man's grandchild from a daughter, but his daughter said:

"It is not your bah-ahm-maht, but it is your voss-ahm-maht," which

is an old man's grandchild from a son.

And early in the morning this young man (that had been, but who

was now a woman & a mother) made a wawl-kote, a carrier, or cradle,

for the baby and took the trail back home.

And Juhwerta Mahkai told his neighbors of what was coming, this

young man who had changed into a woman and a mother and was bringing

a baby born from himself, and that when he arrived wonderful things

would happen & springs would gush forth from under every tree and on

every mountain.

And the young man-woman came back and by the time of his return

Ee-ee-toy had finished his vessel and had placed therein seeds &

everything that is in the world.

And the young man-woman, when he came to his old home, placed his

baby in the bushes and left it, going in without it, but Ee-ee-toy

turned around and looked at him and knew him, for he did not wear a

woman's dress, and said to him: "Where is my Bahahmmaht? Bring it to

me. I want to see it. It is a joy for an old man to see his grandchild.

"I have sat here in my house and watched your going, and all that

has happened you, and foreseen some one would send you back in shame,

although I did not like to think there was anyone more powerful than

I. But never mind, he who has beaten us will see what will happen."

And when the young man-woman went to get his baby, Ee-ee-toy got into

his vessel, and built a fire on the hearth he had placed therein,

and sealed it up.

And the young man-woman found his baby crying, and the tears from it

were all over the ground, around. And when he stooped over to pick

up his child he turned into a sand-snipe, and the baby turned into

a little teeter-snipe.

And then that came true which Juhwerta Mahkai had said, that water

would gush out from under every tree & on every mountain; and the

people when they saw it, and knew that a flood was coming, ran to

Juhwerta Mahkai; and he took his staff and made a hole in the earth

and let all those thru who had come to him, but the rest were drowned.

Then Juhwerta Mahkai got into his walking stick & floated, and Toehahvs

got into his tube of cane and floated, but Ee-ee-toy's vessel was

heavy & big and remained until the flood was much deeper before it

could float.

And the people who were left out fled to the mountains; to the

mountains called Gah-kote-kih (Superstition Mts.) for they were

living in the plains between Gahkotekih and Cheoffskawmack (Tall

Gray Mountain).

And there was a powerful man among these people, a doctor (mahkai),

who set a mark on the mountain side and said the water would not rise

above it.

And the people believed him and camped just beyond the mark; but the

water came on and they had to go higher. And this happened four times.

And the mahkai did this to help his people, and also used power to

raise the mountain, but at last he saw all was to be a failure. And

he called the people and asked them all to come close together, and he

took his doctor-stone (mah-kai-haw-teh) which is called Tonedumhawteh

or Stone-of-Light, and held it in the palm of his hand and struck

it hard with his other hand, and it thundered so loud that all the

people were frightened and they were all turned into stone.

And the little birds, the woodpecker, Hickovick; the humming-bird,

Veepismahl; the little bird named Gee-ee-sop, and the other called

Quotaveech, all flew up to the sky and hung on by their bills, but

Nooee still floated in the air and intended to keep on the wing unless

the floods reached the heavens.

But Juhwerta Mahkai, Ee-ee-toy and Toehahvs floated around on the

water and drifted to the west and did not know where they were.

And the flood rose higher until it reached the woodpecker's tail,

and you can see the marks to this day.

And Quotaveech was cold and cried so loud that the other birds pulled

off their feathers and built him a nest up there so he could keep

warm. And when Quotaveech was warm he quit crying.

And then the little birds sang, for they had power to make the water

go down by singing, and as they sang the waters gradually receded.

But the others still floated around.

When the land began to appear Juhwerta Mahkai and Toehahvs got out,

but Ee-ee-toy had to wait for his house to warm up, for he had built

a fire to warm his vessel enough for him to unseal it.

When it was warm enough he unsealed it, but when he looked out he

saw the water still running & he got back and sealed himself in again.

And after waiting a while he unsealed his vessel again, and seeing

dry land enough he got out.

And Juhwerta Mahkai went south and Toehahvs went west, and Ee-ee-toy

went northward. And as they did not know where they were they missed

each other, and passed each other unseen, but afterward saw each

other's tracks, and then turned back and shouted, but wandered from

the track, and again passed unseen. And this happened four times.

And the fourth time Juhwerta Mahkai and Ee-ee-toy met, but Toehahvs

had passed already.

And when they met, Ee-ee-toy said to Juhwerta Mahkai "My younger

brother!" but Juhwerta Mahkai greeted him as younger brother &

claimed to have come out first. Then Ee-ee-toy said again: "I came

out first and you can see the water marks on my body." But Juhwerta

Mahkai replied: "I came out first and also have the water marks on

my person to prove it."

But Ee-ee-toy so insisted that he was the eldest that Juhwerta Mahkai,

just to please him, gave him his way and let him be considered

the elder.

And then they turned westward and yelled to find Toehahvs, for they

remembered to have seen his tracks, and they kept on yelling till he

heard them. And when Toehahvs saw them he called them his younger

brothers, and they called him younger brother. And this dispute

continued till Ee-ee-toy again got the best of it, and although really

the younger brother was admitted by the the others to be Seeurhuh,

or the elder.

And the birds came down from the sky and again there was a dispute

about the relationship, but Ee-ee-toy again got the best of them all.

But Quotaveech staid up in the sky because he had a comfortable nest

there, and they called him Vee-ick-koss-kum Mahkai, the Feather-Nest


And they wanted to find the middle, the navel of the earth, and

they sent Veepismahl, the humming-bird, to the west, and Hickovick,

the woodpecker, to the east, and all the others stood and waited for

them at the starting place. And Veepismahl & Hickovick were to go as

far as they could, to the edge of the world, and then return to find

the middle of the earth by their meeting. But Hickovick flew a little

faster and got there first, and so when they met they found it was

not the middle, and they parted & started again, but this time they

changed places and Hickovick went westward and Veepismahl went east.

And this time Veepismahl was the faster, and Hickovick was late,

and the judges thought their place of meeting was a little east of

the center so they all went a little way west. Ee-ee-toy, Juhwerta

Mahkai and Toehahvs stood there and sent the birds out once more,

and this time Hickovick went eastward again, and Veepismahl went

west. And Hickovick flew faster and arrived there first. And they said:

"This is not the middle. It is a little way west yet."

And so they moved a little way, and again the birds were sent forth,

and this time Hickovick went west and Veepismahl went east. And when

the birds returned they met where the others stood and all cried

"This is the Hick, the Navel of the World!"

And they stood there because there was no dry place yet for them to

sit down upon; and Ee-ee-toy rubbed upon his breast and took from

his bosom the smallest ants, the O-auf-taw-ton, and threw them upon

the ground, and they worked there and threw up little hills; and this

earth was dry. And so they sat down.

But the water was still running in the valleys, and Ee-ee-toy took

a hair from his head & made it into a snake--Vuck-vahmuht. And with

this snake he pushed the waters south, but the head of the snake was

left lying to the west and his tail to the east.

But there was more water, and Ee-ee-toy took another hair from his

head and made another snake, and with this snake pushed the rest of

the water north. And the head of this snake was left to the east and

his tail to the west. So the head of each snake was left lying with

the tail of the other.

And the snake that has his tail to the east, in the morning will

shake up his tail to start the morning wind to wake the people and

tell them to think of their dreams.

And the snake that has his tail to the west, in the evening will

shake up his tail to start the cool wind to tell the people it is

time to go in and make the fires & be comfortable.

And they said: "We will make dolls, but we will not let each other

see them until they are finished."

And Ee-ee-toy sat facing the west, and Toehahvs facing the south,

and Juhwerta Mahkai facing the east.

And the earth was still damp and they took clay and began to make

dolls. And Ee-ee-toy made the best. But Juhwerta Mahkai did not make

good ones, because he remembered some of his people had escaped the

flood thru a hole in the earth, and he intended to visit them and

he did not want to make anything better than they were to take the

place of them. And Toehahvs made the poorest of all.

Then Ee-ee-toy asked them if they were ready, and they all said yes,

and then they turned about and showed each other the dolls they

had made.

And Ee-ee-toy asked Juhwerta Mahkai why he had made such queer

dolls. "This one," he said, "is not right, for you have made him

without any sitting-down parts, and how can he get rid of the waste

of what he eats?"

But Juhwerta Mahkai said: "He will not need to eat, he can just smell

the smell of what is cooked."

Then Ee-ee-toy asked again: "Why did you make this doll with only one

leg--how can he run?" But Juhwerta Mahkai replied: "He will not need

to run; he can just hop around."

Then Ee-ee-toy asked Toehahvs why he had made a doll with webs between

his fingers and toes--"How can he point directions?" But Toehahvs

said he had made these dolls so for good purpose, for if anybody

gave them small seeds they would not slip between their fingers,

and they could use the webs for dippers to drink with.

And Ee-ee-toy held up his dolls and said: "These are the best of all,

and I want you to make more like them." And he took Toehahv's dolls

and threw them into the water and they became ducks & beavers. And he

took Juhwerta Mahkai's dolls and threw them away and they all broke

to pieces and were nothing.

And Juhwerta Mahkai was angry at this and began to sink into the

ground; and took his stick and hooked it into the sky and pulled the

sky down while he was sinking. But Ee-ee-toy spread his hand over his

dolls, and held up the sky, and seeing that Juhwerta Mahkai was sinking

into the earth he sprang and tried to hold him & cried, "Man, what

are you doing! Are you going to leave me and my people here alone?"

But Juhwerta Mahkai slipped through his hands, leaving in them only

the waste & excretion of his skin. And that is how there is sickness &

death among us.

And Ee-ee-toy, when Juhwerta Mahkai escaped him, went around swinging

his hands & saying: "I never thought all this impurity would come

upon my people!" and the swinging of his hands scattered disease

over all the earth. And he washed himself in a pool or pond and the

impurities remaining in the water are the source of the malarias and

all the diseases of dampness.

And Ee-ee-toy and Toehahvs built a house for their dolls a little

way off, and Ee-ee-toy sent Toehahvs to listen if they were yet

talking. And the Aw-up, (the Apaches) were the first ones that

talked. And Ee-ee-toy said: "I never meant to have those Apaches

talk first, I would rather have had the Aw-aw-tam, the Good People,

speak first."

But he said: "It is all right. I will give them strength, that they

stand the cold & all hardships."

And all the different people that they had made talked, one after

the other, but the Awawtam talked last.

And they all took to playing together, and in their play they kicked

each other as the Maricopas do in sport to this day; but the Apaches

got angry and said: "We will leave you and go into the mountains and

eat what we can get, but we will dream good dreams and be just as

happy as you with all your good things to eat."

And some of the people took up their residence on the Gila, and some

went west to the Rio Colorado. And those who builded vahahkkees,

or houses out of adobe and stones, lived in the valley of the Gila,

between the mountains which are there now.


My poor people,

Who will see,

Who will see

This water which will moisten the earth!


We are destroyed!

By my stone we are destroyed!

We are rightly turned into stone.


I know what to do;

I am going to move the water

both ways.


In the Story of the Flood we are introduced to Indian marriage. Among

the Pimas it was a very simple affair. There was no ceremony

whatever. The lover usually selected a relative, who went with him to

the parents of the girl and asked the father to permit the lover to

marry her. Presents were seldom given unless a very old man desired

a young bride. The girl was consulted and her consent was essential,

her refusal final. If, however, all parties were satisfied, she went at

once with her husband as his wife. If either party became dissatisfied,

separation at once constituted divorce and either could leave the

other. A widow or divorced woman, if courted by another suitor, was

approached directly, with no intervention of relatives. Of course,

on these terms there were many separations, yet all accounts agree

that there was a good deal of fidelity and many life-long unions and

cases of strong affection.

Polygamy was not unknown.

Grossman says that the wife was the slave of the husband, but it

is difficult to see how a woman, free at any moment to divorce

herself without disgrace or coercion, could be properly regarded as

a slave. Certainly the men appear always to have done a large part

of the hard work, and as far as I could see the women were remarkably

equal and independent and respectfully treated, as such a system would

naturally bring about. A man would be a fool to ill-treat a woman,

whose love or services were valuable to him, if at any moment of

discontent she could leave him, perhaps for a rival. The chances are

that he would constantly endeavor to hold her allegiance by special

kindness and favors.

But today legal marriage is replacing the old system.

So far as I saw the Pimas were very harmonious and kindly in family


The birds, gee-ee-sop and quotaveech, were pointed out to me by the

Pimas, and as near as I could tell quotaveech was Bendire's thrasher,

or perhaps the curve-bill thrasher. It has a very sweet but timid

song. I did not succeed in identifying gee-ee-sop, but find these

entries about him in my journal: "Aug. 5--I saw a little bird which

I suppose to be a gee-ee-sop in a mezquite today, smaller and more

slender than a vireo, but like one in action, but the tail longer and

carried more like a brown thrasher, nearly white below, dark, leaden

gray above, top of head and tail black." Again on Sept. 1: "What a

dear little bird the gee-ee-sop is! Two of them in the oas-juh-wert-pot

tree were looking at me a few minutes back. Dark slate-blue above and

nearly white below, with beady black eyes and black, lively tails,

tipped with white, they are very pretty, tame and confiding."

The faith of the Aw-aw-tam in witchcraft appears first in this story

and afterwards is conspicuous in nearly all. Almost all diseases

they supposed were caused by bewitching, and it was the chief

business of the medicine-men to find out who or what had caused the

bewitching. Sometimes people were accused and murders followed. This

was the darkest spot in Piman life. Generally, however, some animal or

inanimate object was identified. Grossman's account in the Smithsonian

Report for 1871 is interesting. In the stories, however, witchcraft

appears usually as the ability of the mahkai to work transformations

in himself or others, in true old fairy-tale style.

Superstition Mountain derives its name from this story. It is a

very beautiful and impressive mountain, with terraces of cliffs,

marking perhaps the successive pausing places of the fugitives, and

the huddled rocks on the top represent their petrified forms. Some

of the older Indians still fear to go up into this mountain, lest a

like fate befall them.

What beautiful poetic touches are the wetting of the woodpecker's tail,

and the singing of the little birds to subdue the angry waters.

The resemblances to Genesis will of course be noted by all in these

two first stories. Yet after all they are few and slight in any matter

of detail.

In Ee-ee-toy's serpents, that pushed back the waters, there is a

strong reminder of the Norse Midgard Serpent.

The making of the dolls in this story is one of the prettiest and

most amusing spots in the traditions.

The waste and perspiration of Juhwerta Mahkai's skin again comes into

play, but this time as a malign force instead of a beneficent one. It

would also appear from this that the more intelligent Pimas had a

glimmering of the fact that there were other causes than witchcraft

for disease.

I have generally used the word Aw-aw-tam (Good People, or People of

Peace) as synonymous with Pima, but it is sometimes used to embrace

all Indians of the Piman stock and may be so understood in this story.

And perhaps this is as good a place as any to say a few descriptive

words about these Pimas of Arizona, and their allies, who have from

prehistoric times inhabited what the old Spanish historian, Clavigero,

called "Pimeria," that is, the valleys of the Gila and Salt Rivers.

Their faces seemed to me to be of almost Caucasian regularity and

rather of an English or Dutch cast, that is rather heavily moulded. The

forehead is vertical and inclined to be square; and the chin, broad,

heavy and full, comes out well to its line. The nose is straight,

or a little irregular, or rounded, at the end, but not often very

aquiline, never flat or wide-nostriled. The mouth is large but well

shaped, with short, white, remarkably even teeth, seldom showing any

canine projection. The whole face is a little heavy and square, but

the cheek bones are not especially prominent. The eyes are level, frank

and direct in glance, with long lashes and strong black brows. In the

babies a slight uptilt to the eye is sometimes seen, like a Japanese,

which indeed the babies suggest. The head of almost all adults is

well-balanced and finely poised on a good neck.

Another type possesses more of what we call the Indian feature. The

forehead retreats somewhat, so does the chin, while the upper lip

is larger, longer, more convex and the nose, above is more aquiline,

with wider nostrils. Consequently this face in profile is more convex

thruout. The cheek-bones are much more prominent, too, and the head

not generally so well-balanced and proportional.

While I have seen no striking beauty I believe the average good looks

is greater than among white men, taken as they come.

The women as a rule, however, do not carry themselves gracefully, are

apt to be too broad, fat and dumpy in figure, with too large waists,

and often loose, ungracefully-moving hips. This deformity of the hips,

for it almost amounts to that, I observe among Italian peasant women,

too, and some negresses, and, I take it, is caused by carrying too

heavy loads on the head at too early an age. There seems to be a

settling down of the body into the pelvis, with a loose alternate

motion of the hips. There are exceptions, of course, and I have seen

those of stately figure and fine carriage. Sometimes the loose-hip

motion appears in a man.

A slight tattooing appears on almost all Pima faces not of the last

generation. In the women this consists of two blue lines running down

from each corner of the mouth, under the chin, crossing, at the start,

the lower lip, and a single blue line running back from the outer

angle of each eye to the hair.

In the men it is usually a single zigzag blue line across the forehead.

The pigment used is charcoal.

The men are generally erect and of good figure, with good chests and

rather heavy shoulders, the legs often a little bowed. Strange to say

I never saw one who walked "pigeon-toed." All turned the toes out like

white men. The hands are often small and almost always well-shaped; and

the feet of good shape, too, not over large, with a well-arched instep.

Emory and his comrades found the Pimas wearing a kind of breech-cloth

and a cotton serape only for garments; the women wearing only a

serape tied around the waist and falling to the knee, being otherwise

nude. Today the average male Pima dresses like a white workman, in hat,

shirt, trousers and perhaps shoes, and his wife or daughter wears a

single print gown, rather loose at the waist and ruffled at the bottom,

which reaches only to the ankles. Both sexes are commonly barefooted,

but the old sandals, once universal, are still often seen. These

gah-kai-gey-aht-kum-soosk, or string-shoes, as the word means, were

made in several different ways, and often projected somewhat around

the foot as a protection against the frequent and formidable thorns

of the country.

Sometimes a wilder or older Indian will be seen, even now, with only

a breech-cloth on, and some apology for a garment on his shoulders.

The skin is often of a very beautiful rich red-bronze tint, or perhaps

more like old mahogany.

Except the tattooing both sexes are remarkable for their almost

entire absense of any marked adornment or ornament of person. Even a

finger-ring, or a ribbon on the hair, is not common, and the profuse

bead-work and embroidery of the other tribes is never seen.

The exceedingly thick and intensely black hair was formerly worn

very long, even to the waist, being banged off just over the eyes

of the women and over the eyes and ears of the men and allowed to

hang perfectly loose. But the women seldom wore as long hair as

the men. This long hair is still sometimes seen and is exceedingly

picturesque, especially on horseback, and it is a great pity so

sightly a fashion should ever die out. I have seen Maricopas roll

theirs in ringlets. Sometimes the men braided the hair into a cue,

or looped up the ends with a fillet. But the Government discourages

long and loose hair, and now most men cut it short, and women part

theirs and braid it. Like all Indians, the men have scant beards,

and the few whiskers that grow are shaved clean or resolutely pinched

off with an old knife or pulled out by tweezers.

Their hair appears to turn gray as early as ours, tho I saw no baldness

except on one individual. In old times (and even now to some extent)

the hair was dressed with a mixture of mud and mezquite gum, at times,

which was left on long enough for the desired effect and then thoroly

washed off. This cleansed it and made it glossy and the gum dyed the

gray hair quite a lasting, jet black, tho several applications might

be needed.

Women still carry their ollas and other burdens on their heads and

are exceedingly strong and expert in the art, balancing great and

awkward weights with admirable dexterity.

The convenient and even beautiful gyih-haw (a word very difficult to

pronounce correctly), or burden basket, of the old time Pima woman,

seems to have entirely disappeared. It was not only picturesque,

but an exceedingly useful utensil.

The wawl-kote, or carrying-cradle for the baby, is obsolete, too,

now. Strange to say, tho in shape like most pappoose-cradles, it

was carried poised on the head, instead of slung on the back in the

usual way.

The Pimas are fond of conversation and often come together in the

evening and have long talks. Their voices are low, rapid, soft and

very pleasant and they laugh, smile and joke a great deal. They are

remarkable for calmness and evenness of temper and the expression of

the face is nearly always intelligent, frank, and good-natured.

They are noticeably devoid of hurry, worry, irritability or


Unlike most Indians these have not been removed from the soil of their

fathers and, indeed, such an act would have been cruelly unjust, for,

true to their name, the Pimas have maintained an unbroken peace with

the whites.

Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Emory, of "The Army of the West," who visited

them in 1846, was perhaps the first American to observe and describe

these people. He says: "Both nations (Pimas and Maricopas) cherished an

aversion to war and a profound attachment to all the peaceful pursuits

of life. This predilection arose from no incapacity for war, for they

were at all times able and willing to keep the Apaches, whose hands

are raised against all other people, at a respectful distance, and

prevent depredations by those mountain robbers who held Chihuahua,

Sonora and a part of Durango in a condition approaching almost to

tributary provinces."

As observed by Emory and the other officers of the "Army of the West"

they were an agricultural people raising at that time "cotton, wheat,

maize, beans, pumpkins and water melons." I found them raising all

these in 1903, except cotton, and I think he might have added to his

list, peppers, gourds, tobacco and the pea called cah-lay-vahs.

Emory says: "We were at once impressed with the beauty, order,

and disposition of the arrangements made for irrigating the land

... the fields are subdivided by ridges of earth into rectangles of

about 200x100 feet, for the convenience of irrigating. The fences

are of sticks, matted with willow and mezquite." I found this still

comparatively correct. The fields are still irrigated by acequias

or ditches from the Gila, and still fenced by forks of trees set

closely in the ground and reinforced with branches of thorn or barbed

wire. Some of these fences with their antler-like effect of tops are

very picturesque.

From the description given by Emory, and Captain A. R. Johnson of the

same army, of their kees or winter lodges, they were essentially the

same as I found some of them still inhabiting. There is the following

entry in my journal: "I have been examining the old kee next door,

since the old couple left it. It is quite neatly and systematically

made. Four large forks are set in the ground, and these support

a square of large poles, covered with other poles, arrow-weeds,

chaff and earth, for the roof. The walls are a neat arrangement of

small saplings, about 10 inches apart curving up from the ground on

a bending slant to the roof, so that the whole structure comes to

resemble a turtle-shell or rather an inverted bowl. These side sticks

are connected by three lines of smaller sticks tied across them with

withes, all the way around the kee. Against these arrow-weeds are

stood, closely and neatly, tops down (perhaps thatched on) and kept in

place by three more lines of small sticks, bound on and corresponding

to those within. Then the whole structure is plastered over with adobe

mud till rain-proof. No window, and only one small door, about 2-1/2

feet square, closed by a slat-work."

This kee of the Pima was not to his credit. The most friendly must

admit it dirty, uncomfortable and unpicturesque. It was too low to

stand erect in, the little fire was made in the center, the smoke

escaping at last from the low doorway after trying everywhere else

and festooning the ceiling with soot.

The establishment of the Pima was most simple. He sat, ate and

slept on the earth, consequently a few mats and blankets, baskets,

bowls and pots included his furniture. A large earthen olla, called

by the Pimas hah-ah, stood in a triple fork under the shade of the

vachtoe and being porous enough to permit a slight evaporation kept

the drinking water cool.

The arbor-shed or vachtoe pertains to almost every Piman home

and consists of a flat roof of poles and arrow-weeds supported

by stout forks. Sometimes earth is added to the roof to keep off

rain. Sometimes the sides are enclosed with a rude wattle work of

weeds and bushes, making a grateful shade, admitting air freely;

screening those within from view, while permitting vision from within

outward in any direction. Sometimes this screen of weeds and bushes,

in a circular form, was made without any roof and was then called

an o-num. Sometimes after the vachtoe had been inclosed with wattle

work the whole structure was plastered over with adobe mud and then

became a caws-seen, or storehouse. All these structures were used

at times as habitations, but now the Pima is coming more and more to

the white man's adobe cottage as a house and home. But the vachtoe,

attached or detached, is still a feature of almost every homestead.

Under the vachtoe usually stood the metate, or mill (called by the

Pimas mah-choot) which was a large flat or concave stone, below,

across which was rubbed an oblong, narrow stone (vee-it-kote),

above, to grind the corn or wheat. Other important utensils were a

vatchee-ho, or wooden trough, for mixing, and a chee-o-pah, or mortar,

of wood or stone, for crushing things with a pestle. The nah-dah-kote,

or fire-place, was an affair of stones and adobe mud to support the

earthern pots for cooking or to support the earthern plates on which

the thin cakes of corn or wheat meal were baked. These were what the

Mexicans call tortillas. Perhaps the staple food of the Pima even

more than corn (hohn) or wheat (payl-koon) is frijole beans--these

of two kinds, the white (bah-fih), the brown (mohn). A sort of meal

made of parched corn or wheat; ground on the mahchoot and eaten, or

perhaps one might say drank, with water and brown sugar (pano-che)

was the famous pinole, the food carried on war trips when nutrition,

lightness of weight and smallness of bulk were all desired. It has a

remarkable power to cool and quench thirst. Taw-mahls, or corn-cakes

of ground green corn, wrapped in husks and roasted in the ashes,

or boiled, were also favorites. Peppers (kaw-aw-kull) were a good

deal used for seasoning and relishes.

Today the country of the Pima is very destitute of large game but he

adds to the above bill of fare all the small game, especially rabbits,

quail and doves, that he can kill. In the old days when the Gila always

had water it held fine fish and the Indians caught them with their

hands or swept them up on the banks by long chains of willow hurdles

or faggots, carried around the fish by waders. I could not learn that

they ever had any true fish-nets or fish-hooks; nor any rafts, canoes

or other boats. But owing to the frequent necessity of crossing the

treacherous Gila the men, and many of the women, were good swimmers.

The Toe-hawn-awh Aw-aw-tam, or Papagoes, whose reservation is in

Pima County, near Tucson (and called St. Xavier) are counted "blood

brothers" of the Pimas, speak essentially the same language, are on

the most cordial terms with them, and are under the same agency.

The Maricopas are a refugee tribe, related to the Yumas, who

once threatened them with extermination because of an inter-tribal

feud. They were adopted by the Pimas and protected by them, and have

ever since lived with them as one people, having however a different

language, identical with that of the Yumas.

The Quojatas are a small tribe, of the Piman stock, living south of

the Casa Grande.

The total number of Pimas, Papagoes and Maricopas in the U. S. is

now estimated at about 8000, the Pimas alone as 4000.

I am not a linguist, or a philologist, and my time was short with

these people, and I did not go to any extent into their language,

or study its grammar. Their voices were soft and pleasant, and I

was continually surprised at the low tones in which they generally

conversed and the quickness with which they heard. But their words

were most awkward to my tongue. There were German sounds, and French

sounds, too, I would say, in their language, and there were letters

that seemed to disappear as they uttered them, or never to come really

forth, and syllables that were swallowed like spoonfuls of hot soup.

But I trust that I am substantially correct in the words that I have

retained in the stories and that I have written them so that the

English reader can pronounce them in a way to be understood.

The accent is generally on the first syllable.