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HISTORY....

 

 

 

    

Pima Indian Tribe History

 

O'odham portraits

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is comprised of two Native American tribes: the Pima, or "Akimel Au-Authm," (River People), and the Maricopa, or "Xalychidom Piipaash," (People who live toward the water).

 

The Maricopa tribes were small bands that lived along the lower Gila and Colorado rivers. In the early 1800's they migrated toward Pima villages. The Pima, known as a friendly tribe, established a relationship with the Maricopa. Both tribes provided protection against the Yuman and Apache tribes.

 

The Pima believe they are the descendants of the "Hohokam," (those who have gone) an ancient civilization who lived in Arizona nearly two thousand years, dating as far back as 300BC. The Hohokam farmed the Salt River Valley and created elaborate canal irrigation systems throughout the valley area; that system, now modernized is still used today.

 

The Pima were strong runners, basket weavers and farmers who could make the desert bloom. They served as trusted scouts for the U.S. Cavalry and continue to serve their country today in various forms of the armed forces.

 

The Pima are well known for their basket weaving techniques, intricately woven, they are made watertight. The Maricopa, known for their red clay pottery work, created various forms of jars and bowls. Both forms of artwork are made of natural materials and can be viewed at the Community's Hoo-hoogam Ki Museum.

 

The Pima and Maricopa tribes together, comprise the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

 

Pima ('no,' in the Nevome dialect, a word incorrectly applied through misunderstanding by the early missionaries. B. Smith in Shea, Lib. Am. Ling., iii, 7, 1861). As popularly known, the name of a division of the Piman family living in the valleys of the Gila and Salt in south Arizona. Formerly the term was employed to include also the Nevome, or Pimas Bajos, the Pima as now recognized being known as Pimas Altos ('Upper Pima' ), and by some also the Papago. These three divisions speak closely related dialects. The Pima call themselves A'Ô'tam, the people.
    

O'odham portraits

According to tradition the Pima tribe had its genesis in the Salt River valley, later extending it's settlements into the valley of the I la; but a deluge came, leaving a single survivor, a specially favored chief named (tiho, or S611o, the progenitor of the present tribe. One of his descendants, Sivano, who had 20 wives, erected as his own residence the now ruined adobe structure called Casa Grande (called Sivanoki, 'house of Sivano') and built numerous other massive pueblo groups in the valleys of the Gila and Salt. The Sobaipuri, believed to have been a branch of the Papago, attributed these now ruined pueblos, including Casa Grande, to people who had come from the Hopi, or from the north, and recent investigations tend to show that the culture of the former inhabitants, as exemplified by their art remains, was similar in many respects to that of the ancient Pueblos. Sivano's tribe, says tradition, became so populous that emigration was necessary. Under one of the sons of that list a large body of the Pima settled in Salt River valley, where they increased in population and followed the example of their ancestors of the Gila by constructing extensive irrigation canals and reservoirs and by building large defensive villages of adobe, the remains of which may still be seen.
    

The Pima attribute their decline to the rapacity of foreign tribes from the east, who came in three bands, destroying their pueblos, devastating their fields, and killing or enslaving many of their inhabitants. Prior to this, however, a part of the tribe seceded from the main body and moved south, settling in the valleys of Altar, Magdalena, and Sonora Rivers, as well as of adjacent streams, where they became known as Pimas Bajos or Nevome, and Opata. The others descended from the mountains whence they had fled, resettled the valley of the Salt, and again tilled the soil. They never rebuilt the substantial adobe dwellings, even though needed for defense against the always aggressive Apache; but, humbled by defeat, constructed dome-shaped lodges of pliable poles covered with thatch and mud, and in such habitations have since dwelt. The names applied to the Pima by the Apache and some other tribes furnish evidence that they formerly dwelt in adobe houses. Early in the 19th century the Pima were joined by the Maricopa, of Yuman stock, who left their former home at the mouth of the Gila and on the Colorado owing to constant oppression by the Yuma and Mohave. Although speaking distinct languages the Maricopa and Pima have since dwelt together in harmony.
    

They intermarry, and their general habits and customs are identical.


How much of the present religious belief of the Pima is their own is not known, though it is not improbable that the teachings of Kino and other missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries influenced more or less their primitive beliefs. They are said to believe in the existence of a supreme being, known as the "Prophet of the Earth," and also in a malevolent deity. They also believe that at death the soul is taken into another world by an owl, hence the hooting of that bird is regarded as ominous of an approaching death. Sickness, misfortune, and death are attributed to sorcery, and, as among other Indians, medicine-men are employed to overcome the evil influence of the sorcerers. Scarification and cauterization are also practiced in certain cases of bodily ailment.
    

Marriage among the Pima is entered into without ceremony and is never considered binding. Husband and wife may separate at pleasure, and either is at liberty to marry again. Formerly, owing to contact with Spaniards and Americans, unchastity prevailed to an inordinate degree among both sexes. Polygamy was only a question of the husband's ability to support more than one wife. The women performed all the labor save the hunting, plowing, and sowing; the husband traveled mounted, while the wife laboriously followed afoot with her child or with a heavily laden burden basket, or kiho, which frequently contained the wheat reaped by her own labor to be traded by the husband, often for articles for his personal use or adornment.
    

The Pima have always been peaceable, though when attacked, as in former times they frequently were by the Apache and others, they have shown themselves by no means deficient in courage. Even with a knowledge of firearms they have only in recent years discarded the bow and arrow, with which they were expert. Arrow points of glass, stone, or iron were sometimes employed in warfare. War clubs of mesquite wood also formed an important implement of war; and for defensive purposes an almost impenetrable shield of rawhide was used. The Pima took no scalps. They considered their enemies, particularly the Apache, possessed of evil spirits and did not touch them after death. Apache men were never taken captive; but women, girls, and young boys of that tribe were sometimes made prisoners, while on other occasions all the inhabitants of a besieged Apache camp were killed. Prisoners were rarely cruelly treated; on the contrary they shared the food and clothing of their captors, usually acquired the Pima language, and have been known to marry into the tribe.
    

Agriculture by the aid of irrigation has been practiced by the Pima from prehistoric times. Each community owned an irrigation canal, often several miles in length, the waters of the rivers being diverted into them by means of rude dams; but in recent years they have suffered much from lack of water owing to the rapid settlement of the country by white people. Until the introduction of appliances of civilization they planted with a dibble, and later plowed their fields with crooked sticks drawn by oxen. Grain is threshed by the stamping of horses and is winnowed by the women, who skillfully toss it from flat baskets. Wheat is now their staple crop, and during favorable seasons large quantities are sold to the whites. They also cultivate corn, barley, beans, pumpkins, squashes, melons, onions, and a small supply of inferior short cotton. One of the principal food products of their country is the bean of the mesquite, large quantities of which are gathered annually by the women, pounded in mortars or ground on metates, and preserved for winter use. The fruit of the saguaro cactus (Cereus giganteus) is also gathered by the women and made into a syrup; from this an intoxicating beverage was formerly brewed. As among most Indians, tobacco was looked upon by the Pima rather as a sacred plant than one to be used for pleasure. Formerly they raised large herds of cattle in the grassy valleys of the upper Gila. The women are expert makers of water-tight baskets of various shapes and sizes, decorated in geometric designs. They also manufacture coarse pottery, some of which, however, is well decorated. Since contact with the whites their native arts have deteriorated.


The Pima are governed by a head chief, and a chief for each village. These officers are assisted by village councils, which do not appoint representatives to the tribal councils, which are composed of the village chiefs. The office of head-chief is not hereditary, but is elected by the village chiefs. Descent is traced in the male line, and there are five groups that bear some resemblance to gentes, though they exert no influence on marriage laws, nor is marriage within the group, or gens, prohibited (Russell, Pima MS., B. A. E., 313-15, 1903). These five groups are Akol, Maam, Vaaf, Apap, and Apuki. The first three are known as Vultures or Red People, the other two as Coyotes or White People. They are also spoken of respectively as Suwuki Ohimal ('Red Ants') and Stoam Ohimal ('White Ants').


The Pima language is marked by the constant use of radical reduplication for forming the nominal and verbal plural. It is also distinguished by a curious laryngeal pronunciation of its gutturals, which strangers can imitate only with great difficulty.
 

The Pima within the United States are gathered with Papago and Maricopa on the Gila River and Salt River reservations. The Pima population was 3,936 in 1906; in 1775 Father GarcÚs estimated the Pima of the Gila at 2,500. Their sub-divisions and settlements have been re-corded as follows, those marked with an asterisk being the only ones that are not extinct. Some of the names are possibly duplicated.

 

Agua Escondida(?)

Cocospera

Nacameri

San Francisco de Pima

Agua Fria(?)

Comac

Napeut

San Serafin

Aquitun

Estancia

Ocuca

*Santan

Aranca

Gaibanipitea(?)

Oquitoa

Santos Angeles

Arenal(?)

Gutubur

Ormejea

*Saopuk

Arivaca(?)

*Harsanykuk

Oskakumukchochikam

Sepori

Arroyo Grande

*Hermho

*Oskuk

*Shakaik

Bacuancos

*Hiatam

*Peepchiltk

*Statannyik

Bisani

*Hormiguero(?)

Pescadero

Stukamasoosatick

*Blackwater

Hueso Parado

Petaikuk

Sudacson

Bonostac

*Huchiltchik

Pintados(?)

*Tatsituk

Busanic

Imuris

Pitac(?)

Taumaturgo

Cachanila(?)

Judac

Potlapiguas

Tuhuscabors

*Casa Blanca

*Kamatukwucha

Remedios

Tucson (mixed)

Cerrito

Kainit

*Rsanuk

Tucubavia

Cerro Chiquito

*Kawoltukwucha

*Rsotuk

Tutuetac(?)

Chemisez

Kikimi

*Sacaton

Uturituc

Chupatak

Kookupvansik

San Andres Coata

*Wechurt

*Chutikwuchik

Mange

San Fernando

 

Chuwutukawutuk

Merced

San Francisco Ati

 

Sources:  Graphics Top:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pima

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/pima/pimaindianhist.htm

http://www.srpmic-nsn.gov/history_culture/

 

 


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