This page contains phrases and words used in conjunction with various southwestern peoples. These could be words that are defined or phrases that are explained. Enjoy!
Acculturation– While acculturation may be defined as the change or modification of one cultural by the acceptance or adoption of one or more beliefs or traits of another culture due to contact between the two. In the case of the River Yumans, it is more closely associated with assimilation than with syncretism or mere modification. For the Cocopa, Mohave, and Quechen, the lone remaining identifying cultural trait that continues to have vitality is the funeral or cremation ceremony. While educational efforts are being made to keep language “alive”, traditional dress, diet, and forms of lineage are gone.
Ahagaskiaywa– Ahagaskiaywa is the place of origin of the Yavapai people. Known by Anglos of today as Montezuma’s Well, the limestone sinkhole near Camp Verde, Arizona, is where the first Yavapai climbed out onto the surface of the earth from beneath the ground. Their dying chief had the people cover his heart with dirt, and a great corn plant grew up the side of the well. This is what the people used to climb out of the sinkhole when a great flood came. All of the people that climbed out of the well spoke the Yavapai language.
Apache phratries and clans– According to Apache mythology, all people were descended from a group of women who established farms at a particular clan’s place of origin. The members of a clan were related by way of the matrilineal line of descent, and were spread out through the entire Western Apache territory. There were 60 clans that were recognized by the Apache and they had names that related to where their particular “farm” was located. Clans practiced exogamy and were used to regulate marriage and created mutual obligations between clan members. They also provided a workforce for projects that were too large for a family cluster. Phratries created yet another form of relationships between the Apache. All clans considered themselves as “related”, “closely related”, or “distantly related”. A single clan could be closely related to, from two to 10 other clans. These are called sections. Exogamy was practiced among sections and the members were bound by mutual obligations. Exogamy was also practiced with “related” clans, who belonged to different sections, and they had reciprocal obligations between the members. A “distantly related” clan usually meant one that was related to another by virtue of a having a mutual third clan in common. Obligations were fewer and marriage was permitted between “distantly related” clans.
Apache ‘Warfare’ versus ‘Raiding’– For the Apache, raiding and warfare were two separate concepts. Raiding was for the purpose of providing food for the people, whereas warfare’s sole purpose was to kill the enemy. An older woman who pointed out the shortage of food usually called for raids. During a raid, killing was to be avoided so as to maintain stealth and security. Warfare was used only to avenge the death of relative. Relatives of one’s family group, band, or clan would strike out at the enemy who had brought death to their family. While raids were conducted by small groups of 5-15, war parties could often bring groups of 200 or more together to seek revenge.
Avoidance Taboos– A taboo is generally the prohibition or interdiction of anything that violates the cultural values, norms, or beliefs of a society. Avoidance taboos take on a special significance. They relate to specific circumstances in a cultural existence that violates a value, belief, or custom. Many specific circumstances among the Utes involve pregnancy, puberty, and death. An example of an avoidance taboo is one observed by pregnant Ute. They were to avoid the flesh of certain “powerful” animals, lest their babies be killed. Intercourse with men other than the father, or too frequent intercourse during pregnancy with the father, could result in death of the child. The eating of deer meat may cause the birth of twins. Beaver, mole, and gopher were to be avoided. All violations of avoidance taboos produced a negative outcome. Beware the taboo, retribution will follow.
BIA Assimilation Policy– From the 1880’s to the 1930’s the policy of the federal government (Bureau of Indian Affairs) was to try to force assimilation of the Native American into Anglo-American economic and political life. This was done in many different ways. Allotment of communally held Indian land to individuals and families was practiced, leaving huge portions of land to be bought up by whites. Forced education in boarding and day schools was rampant, with students being beaten for speaking their native languages. Restrictions were placed on Native religious practices. This policy separated family members, seriously encroached upon age-old cultural practices, and shrank Indian lands. In the 1920’s John Collier led a reform movement. He would later become the commissioner of the BIA and the designer of the “Indian New Deal”. The white man had consistently believed that they knew what was best for the Native Americans and consistently wrought havoc with the Native way of life. “Good Indians” were the ones who decried their tribal customs, while “bad Indians” clung to their traditional ways. The reformers of the 1920’s, including Stella Atwood, Mary Austin, and John Collier, strongly defended the “traditional” arts, defended Pueblo dances, and wrote many articles attacking the BIA policy. Then commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles Burke issued an order that directed Indian Service agents to severely restrict many types of Indian dancing. This brought a huge response from the reformers. Many sought to undermine the reformers and defended the BIA. The issue centered on religion and sexual morality. Many charged that Burke’s policy infringed the Native’s right to freedom of religion. In the end, many years later, Collier became the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and the BIA policy of forced assimilation came to an end.
Calendar Sticks– Calendar sticks were used by the O’odham to record their history. They were often passed down from generation to generation. These were mnemonic devices; they contained no writing, but had marks or notches to spark memory of events. Often made from cactus ribs, the notches recorded significant events, e.g., the Leonids of 1833. No existing Pima calendar sticks pre-date this event. Each village may have had only one “master” stick, or individuals may have kept their own.
Canoncito and Puertocito Navajos– The Puertocito Navajos live at 9,956 feet, on the non-reservation colony of Alamo(Puertocito), located 80 miles southwest of Albuquerque, in Taos County. As of 1990, it had a population of 1,228. Around 1,100 Canoncito Navajo live on the non-reservation colony of Canoncito, located 40 miles southwest of Albuquerque. In 2001 a study was done on the undercount of the Canoncito and the impact of the underfunding and under-servicing that resulted.
Charco– Reservoirs that were dug by the Papago at the mouth of channeled washes, near their villages, on the intermontane plains are known as charcos. From the Spanish word for puddle, these were dug by hand using simple tools before the summer rains began. They collected water used by the people for washing and drinking. When the charcos dried up in the autumn, the people would move back to their winter villages where springs supplied their water needs.
Chindi– The Navajo so feared ghosts that they were not inclined to even speak of the dead or death. The Chindi are the ghosts of the dead and are greatly feared. No matter how well mannered a person was in life, his chindi was still dreaded because it was believed that every person had a dark or evil side that becomes a dangerous ghost after death. So feared are the chindi that dying persons were taken out of the hogan before death. If a death did occur in the hogan, a hole was punched in the north wall, the direction of evil, in order to remove it. The “chindi hogan” was abandoned and shunned due to abject horror, or it was burned to the ground.
Colorado Plateau– The Colorado Plateau is an area of approximately 140,000 square miles located in the Four Corners area of the southwest United States. It was once occupied by the Pueblo and Upland Yumans, and later by the Navajo. It is rugged area that, due to its dry climate and high relief, has limited plant cover. Juniper, Ponderosa Pine and Pinon Pine forests exist, and in the lower elevations desert shrubs and grasses grow.
Culture– Culture is a complex integrated system of behaviors, values, customs, shared concepts and symbols, and products that members of a society adopt in order to interact with reality and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation.
Diyih– Emanating from plants, minerals, animals, celestial bodies, and weather phenomena, these supernatural powers could be used by the Apache for a variety of uses, including the curing and prevention of illness. The Apache could seek out a power or could be chosen by the power to be its owner. Those who were chosen were seen to be eminently qualified and worthy. One had to learn how to use his power by trial and error. If treated with respect and solicitude, a power would protect the individual. A power, to be treated properly, required knowing and constant attention. When a service was rendered, the power was given substantial payment in the form of prayers or by the singing of its associated chants. These were special chants that belonged to the power and were a part of it. The term diyih was used to refer to the power itself and/or the chants associated with it.
Dreaming– In the River Yuman culture (and that of the Maricopa) dreams “powered” all aspects of life. Dreaming is believed to have occurred in-utero, with the unborn spirit moving back in time so that “powers” could be conferred upon the individual. These dreams would be experienced again later in life, showing the dreamer the powers that his spirit possessed. These could be powers to cure, pass on songs, lead, or succeed in the art of warfare. A distinction was made between “great dreams” and “ordinary dreams”, but all dreams were important. They were regularly discussed and thought about by the people. You did not acquire a skill through learning it, you dreamt it.
Endemic Factionalism– Since the time of their first contact with the Spanish (and maybe before), and the recitation of the requirimento, through to today, the Pueblo people have been under enormous pressure to conform to the ways of others. This has created tension, because the punishment for failing to conform could lead to the removal of tribal membership, ostracization, or even expulsion. Pueblo life is all about the good of the whole, and individual choices were to be made in a way that served the community, not oneself. The compelled conformity that the Pueblo have faced has created strain in the communities, with some choosing to be “traditionalists”, while others believe the community is best served by being more “progressive”. From the very beginning, religion, technology, and modernization have presented choices for the Pueblo, and have led to the endemic factionalism still present today. In the past, this sometimes led to one faction actually leaving to build a new pueblo or seeking out a pueblo that was sympathetic. Today, with land at a premium, splitting off is not really an option, so new ways of dealing with this factionalism must be found.
Eusebio Kino– Father Kino was born August 10, 1645 in Segno, Italy. He was educated at a Jesuit College in Austria, and continued his studies in Germany. He left from Spain in 1661 as a missionary to Mexico, where years later he established Nuestra Senora de los Dolores in Sonora in 1667. He came in contact with the Pima during this year and he brought fruit trees, wheat, metal tools and cattle to the people. He attempted to turn the Pima into pueblo dwellers, with limited, if any, success. In 1694, Father Kino made the first recorded find of Casa Grande, the large Hohokam ruin near the present town of the same name. He was known as a rancher, explorer, and mapmaker. He died March 15, 1711, after which, the great missions of the Spanish began to fade into the past.
Floodplain Farming– Floodplain farming takes place in river bottoms where annual floods deposit rich sediments and minerals on a regular basis. This allowed agriculture to thrive and to provide the River Yumans with a dependable source of subsistence. Crops, planted after the summer floods of the lower Colorado, included corn, tepary, squash and watermelon. Often, fields could be planted several times during the year. Floodplain farming has disappeared with the cessation of annual floods due to diversion and dam construction. Salinity is a major problem accompanying the lack of sufficient flow.
Forced Assimilation– For many generations, forced assimilation of Native Americans into white, Anglo society has been attempted. The number of religious and government schools for Indians increased from 286 to 393 between 1873 and 1880. Student numbers rose from 6061 to 13,338 in the same period. It is clear that the intent of the government schools was to obliterate the Indian identity and to remove the children from their native lands. Students were beaten for speaking their native tongues. They were not allowed to associate with others from their same tribe or language. For the Western Apache this has been a failure. The alleged goals of this practice were to provide self-sufficiency for the Indians, to teach them civilized behavior, and to convert them to Christianity. The Western Apache have managed to retain their native language and ceremonials are still practiced. The creation myths and stories are still taught to children and the belief in witchcraft still persists.
Fort McDowell– Originally established as Camp Verde in 1865 to help in the fight against the Apache and Yavapai, the name was soon changed to Camp McDowell to honor Major General Irwin McDowell. Located on the west bank of the Verde River, the camp was some seven miles north of the junction of the Verde and Salt Rivers. Many expeditions against the Tonto Apache, to the east, were begun at Camp McDowell. Fort McDowell was closed in 1890. As the Yavapai were allowed to return to their homelands in the 1890’s, many Prescott-Yavapai tried to settle in the area of the old fort, however most of the livable land was already occupied. The Yavapai remained in the area to work for wages, and made a push for a reservation. In 1903, Teddy Roosevelt ordered the creation of the Fort McDowell Reservation. The Yavapai remain on this land today, and have, with the help of gaming proceeds, developed housing, community infrastructure, and many commercial businesses, in addition to reclaiming much of the arable farmland.
Francisco Vasques de Coronado– Coronado was born in Salamanca, Spain, in 1510. He came to the New World when he was 25 and became an assistant to New Spain’s first viceroy. He left on an expedition to explore what is now the American southwest in 1540, looking for the “seven cities of gold”. He had over 1300 soldiers and Tlaxcalan Indians. In July of 1540 Coronado arrived at Hawikuh, the same village where Estaban was killed shortly before. The Zuni had seen the Spanish coming and had sent their women and children to Corn Mountain. Fighting erupted and the Zuni fled. Coronado did not find any gold in the Zuni pueblos so he sent his men out west while he headed northeast, ending up in what is now Kansas; he found no “city of gold” and returned to Mexico. He died in 1544.
Gadsden Purchase & its effect on Cocopa– In 1853, US Minister to Mexico, James Gadsden was sent to resolve the dispute with Mexico over the location of the border, west of El Paso, between the two countries. After negotiating with Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, the Gadsden Purchase was signed on December 30, 1853. It provided for the transfer to the United States of 29,000 square miles below the 32nd parallel for the price of $10,000,000 and completed the expansion of the continental U.S. It set the present U.S.-Mexico border, which happened to pass directly through Cocopa territory. The Cocopa remained a relatively united people until U.S. immigration policy stopped the seasonal migration of the people. A reservation had been established in Arizona in 1917, for the American Cocopa, and in 1976, the Mexican government confirmed the communal rights to 143,000 hectares of land to the Mexican Cocopa. Many of the Cocopa became bi- and even tri-lingual as a result of the incursion of Anglo-Americans and Mexicans into their traditional lands.
Geronimo– Born about 1825, he was named Goyathlay, and also called Goyahkla. While he was never “officially” a chief, though his grandfather was, he would become looked upon as a leader in the 1880’s. Geronimo essentially declared war on the Mexicans after the murder of his family and killed scores of Mexicans over a thirty-five year period. He was an inspiration to his people before his final surrender in 1886. He was made famous by the Eastern press as they published exaggerated and embellished story after story of his fierce raiding and defiance of white authority. He had come to be the symbol of the great Indian warrior to the Anglo in America. He evaded the Army for years at a time, using his stealth to continue raiding. After his surrender, he was allowed by President Roosevelt to attend the 1904 St. Louis World Fair where he sold his autograph for 25 cents. He was still famous. He died in 1909 after contracting pneumonia as a result of falling off his horse while drunk and lying in the freezing rain for several hours.
Hohokam– Possibly descended from the Cochise, the Hohokam people are thought to be the ancestors of the Pima and Tohono O’odham. They were also influential in the culture of the Sinagua. Their knowledge of irrigation allowed them to flourish in the desert Basin and Range area of southern Arizona and develop socio-political complexity.
Indian “Massacre” versus Anglo “Battle Victory”– When Native Americans won a battle, it was referred as a “massacre” while when whites committed atrocities, it was referred as a “battle victory”. The use of the term massacre was intended to arouse negative emotion resulting in anger and disgust among the whites. Definitions of massacre include “killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly”, “the unnecessary, indiscriminate killing of a large number of human beings”, and “the savage and excessive killing of many people”. Use of the term “battle victory” was meant to legitimatize a massacre. Indians were referred to as heathens, savages, bloodthirsty. Even the Declaration of Independence, in referring to the King of England states, “He…has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” This manipulation of verbage was intended to mold the perception of white readers against the Indians.
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934– This act (Wheeler-Howard Act) was passed with the idea of allowing Native peoples the opportunity to realize themselves by way of self-government. It was idealistic in its inception; it was a drastic change in the previous policy of “Dawes Act” allotment. Millions of acres of land were returned to Native tribes, and a system of self-government set out. While tribes were not required to set up councils, the act set forth requirements in the event they did. Many tribes adopted the tribal-council system, and moved to improve the economic situation of their peoples. The passage of this act, however, did not stop the “white man’s” abuse of authority prevalent on reservations up until this time. Some revisions were made to this Act in 2003.
Joking Relationships and Avoidance Taboos– A joking relationship existed between Navajo cross cousins and between a young man and his mother’s brother. Length of genitals, sexual conquests, and teasing were prevalent. On the other extreme was the distant relationship between a man and his wife’s mother. It was strictly forbidden for these two to have direct contact, as a sign of mutual respect. This avoidance taboo prohibited meeting face-to-face, conversing, or even being in the same room together.
Kathat Kanave (Pai)– In one of the versions of origin myth, Kathat Kanave was the youngest of a pair of twins. Names in various versions are different, though all seem to refer to the twins. In one version, Kathat Kanave and Coyote are sent by the Great Spirit to a place on the west bank of the Colorado River. There they cut cane, out of which, Great Spirit would create human beings. Different versions refer to humans beings created from canes, but vary in the role of the specific brothers. The role in one version has Kathat Kanave and Coyote being told to remain quiet in the night so that the canes could become humans, but Coyote could not stay still. This resulted in only a few peopled being created, and they were thereafter cared for by Kathat Kanave. He took them the sacred Matwita canyon and taught them farming, gathering, and hunting. After disputes among the people, Kathat Kanave sent the Yavapai into exile. As population increased, others were sent in different directions, with only the Hualapai remaining in their sacred canyon.
Kit Carson and the “Long Walk”– In 1863, Colonel Kit Carson was appointed by Brigadier James Carleton to deal with the Navajo problem. Hiring Ute spies, he intended to solve the problem by allowing the Utes to keep the Navajos they captured. They could then be “sold” to people in New Mexico as domestic help, where they would be no more trouble to the government as they would be “civilized”. This plan was rejected and Carson was ordered to round up the Navajo so they could be relocated to Bosque Redondo. Carson used a “scorched-earth” strategy to defeat the Navajo. He burned or otherwise destroyed two million pounds of grain; hogans, peach trees, animals, people, and waterholes were given the same treatment. Within five months the Navajo were defeated. Nearly naked, starving, and freezing, the Navajo straggled into Fort Defiance. Carson made his last venture into Canyon de Chelly, fearing the worst, only to find the canyon to be defenseless. Carleton’s plan to move the Navajo to Bosque Redondo began with the Long Walk. It turned into a 300-mile death march that killed hundreds. Those who could not keep up were shot. Many froze or starved. Nearly 8,000 Navajo survived the Long Walk, only to die at Bosque Redondo.
Koyemshi (‘Mudheads’)(Zuni)– The Mudheads were a group of the Kachina Priests who showed the results of their incestuous brother-sister parents. They appeared grotesque and showed a disregard of ethical and moral principles. They were the Zuni’s clowns and their appearance and behavior taught the people what the results of foolish and “wrong behavior” were. They represented chaos and were thought to possess black magic.
Levirate and Sororate (Paiutes)– These are second marriage traditions practiced throughout recorded human history. The former is the practice of a widow marrying the brother of her deceased husband. This would tend to be the case in a patrilineal skewed society. It would keep the children and the belongings in the family of the husband (male, father, grandfather). There was a tendency toward patrilocality among the Southern Piaute. The latter refers to the marriage of a widower to a sister of the deceased wife, often younger. While not definitive of a matrilineal descent custom, it would insure that the children were properly cared for by a relative of the deceased. The term Levirate is derived from the name of the biblical son of Jacob, named Levi. Levirate tradition has existed in patrilineal societies that have practiced polygyny for several thousand years.
Matachines– A sodality under vow to the Blessed Virgin, the Matachines are most prominent during the summer-autumn ceremonial season. During the winter-spring dominance of the kohtumbre, the Matachines appearances are much more circumscribed. Wearing flamboyant colorful streamers and cane crowns, this male dance group would perform to high paced guitar and violin music. They were under the auspices of a church governor who in turn answered to the head kiyohtei and malehto.
Menstruation Restrictions– Menstruation as a stage of life for the Native young woman was recognized as an important and significant moment; it came later in life for those young women than it does for us today. Though it was experienced as a time of passage, as it is today, it was also much more significant. It was a moment of the acknowledgement of having lived long enough to bear children, to accept that burden, and to contribute to the life and future of the people. With it came the imposition of certain restrictions at the time of her first period. No salt, cold water or meat was allowed in her diet. If she was married, her husband shared these restrictions. She bathed, used scratching sticks, and slept in a hotbed at night. All of this allowed the young woman to see that her life had changed; she was now the future of her people. At times of her menses, she was secluded, subject to ostracization, and ritual bathing, and restrictions.
Mormon View of Role of Native Americans in LDS Religion– The natives were thought to be the Laminates, the lost tribe of Israel. They fulfilled the Mormon prophecies; the belief that Jesus had visited these lands, and did so save the lost tribes. Unfortunately, they also took them on as indentured servants, unwitting pawns (and slaves) in the persecution of the furtherance of Mormonism. The Natives were the fulfillment of prophecy and the slaves of an invading culture. They were an icon and became a convenience. They were a biblical prophecy and became a work force. They served many roles for the LDS, not the least of which was a people who had to beg, or slave for water, food, and shelter.
Outfit– The “outfit” was a group of relatives numbering from 50-200, that consisted of two or more related families. These relatives could be scattered of miles, but they regularly helped one another with ceremonies and large labor projects. They would share and pool resources during times of need and were led informally by the male head of a prominent family.
Paleo-Indian– Paleo-Inidians were the first humans to populate North America sometime in the late Pleistocene prior to 10,000 B.C. and may have been the Clovis people.
Pascolas (Yaqui)– The Pascolas are the entertainers of the town. They perform at nearly, if not, all of the Yaqui festivals. They are the hosts and provide the audience with dance, comic relief, and story telling, and they encourage the crowd to get involved in the festival. Their name is derived from two Yaqui words; phako means fiesta, and olam means old man. While performing they often wear oval wooden masks made to look like humans or animals, with long hair flowing from them. Cocoon rattles adorn their legs, and bells and wooden rattles are often worn on their waists and/or carried in their hand. They perform in their own separate fiesta enramada, or covered area, and join the Deer Dancer in his tribute to the deer (little brother to the people). Pascolas had their own administrative office and their own headquarters.
Pascua– Pascua is Spanish for Easter, and was the name given to a Yaqui settlement near Tucson, established in 1903. Now known as Old Pasqua, refugees from Sonora fleeing Mexican oppression settled it. Old Pasqua was 40 acres and was very crowded by the mid-1960’s. The Pascua Yaqui Association was formed and convinced Congress in 1964, to give them some land southwest of Tucson, AZ. They were granted 202 acres where they founded New Pascua Pueblo. In 1978 the federal government officially recognized the people of New Pascua as the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
Peach Springs Bilingual/Bicultural Program– In 1975, linguist Akira Yamamoto began a study to document and learn the Hualapai language. He started this study with a grant provided under Title VII, the Bilingual Education Act. The grant provided funding for three years, and, with Hualapai educator Lucille Watahomigie, many books and materials were produced to help children maintain their native language, including an orthography and dictionary. The local Hualapai community participated with the founders of the Bilingual/Bicultural Program in providing input and knowledge of language, culture, and community needs. This, in turn, was reflected in the development of a “child-centered” curriculum. This began with the child and his natural and social environments. They are viewed as the basis for a child’s cognitive, linguistic and emotional growth. The children learn self-esteem, traditional cultural values, and their native language. The success of this endeavor over the first three years showed a measurable improvement of academic achievement. The Peach Springs Bilingual/Bicultural Program was formally established in 1978 and has the support of the tribal council, the local community, and nationally recognized educators. This program has become one of the most successful endeavors of its kind and many other programs have come to observe and structure themselves after the Peach Springs Bilingual/Bicultural Program. The initial study also led to a proposal that was drafted, in part, by Watahomigie for the creation of the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) in 1978.
Primus-Inter-Pares– Literally first (primus) among (inter) equals (pares). A condition of relationship between peoples where no one individual has supreme authority, but is recognized as a leader because of the respect of all the “equals”. This respect can be accorded because of knowledge, status, experience, age, or because of a particular skill, or a combination of any or all these things.
Pueblo Revolt of 1680– In 1598, Juan de Onate made his way into New Mexico, bringing the first colonists with him. They brought new domesticated plants and animals and a new form of secular government. For decades the Spanish exploited the Pueblos, demanding their maize, and attempting to destroy their religion. They made demands for annual tribute and women, and used the Pueblos for forced labor. After a long drought that began in 1660, one that brought crop failure and subsequent starvation, the Pueblos had had enough of the Spanish. In 1680, under the leadership of Pope, a Tewa medicine man, the Pueblos rose up in defiance. This was the first time the Pueblos had united against the Spanish, and it would be the last. On August 11, the attack began; the Spanish were taken by surprise. A few days later over 400 Spaniards were dead. Churches were burned. Twenty-one friars were killed. On August 14, the Pueblos attacked Santa Fe. The battle went on for nearly a week. In the end the Spanish left and made their way to El Paso. They would not rule over the Pueblos again until 1692.
Rancheria– A type of settlement pattern, rancherias were local groups with widely dispersed individual dwellings sometimes separated by as much as one-half mile. Rancheria people often moved their “villages” depending on environmental conditions, as can be observed in the movement of the Papago from the base of mountains, to the intermontane plains from winter to summer. Even though they were less permanent than pueblo villages, rancherias still required organization, leadership, and ceremonial forms that conformed to the living situation presented, but probably not as extensive as pueblo villages, where larger groups of people resided in much closer quarters. Ramadas were often shared, and family units were often more clustered rather than dispersed among the general population.
Religious Syncretism– Syncretism occurs when the “transmitter” of an idea or concept attaches his/her own meaning to it, and the “receiver” filters that communication through his/her own tradition and belief system, accepts it, and synthesizes it into something new. It is a process by which, for example, Christian teachings are communicated to others, who interpret those teachings in the context of the symbols and practices of their own cultural religious expression. This process results in the change of the individual ideas, cultures, or religions, into a unique and new one. Sometimes it may produce a “religion” that is a combination of separate elements of both religions, or it may be a new “religion” unto itself. Thus in the Yaqui culture the deer dancer is an integral part of the Christian Easter ceremonies, and is as an important part of Yaqui spiritual life as the Catholic Church.
Right of Usufruct versus Private Property– Usufruct is a legal term derived from the Latin words usus, meaning right to use, and fructus, meaning fruit. Thus, usufruct is a legal right to use and profit from something belonging to another. In Havasupai traditional culture the land was “owned” by the people, but if an individual made use of it, for example, by farming it, the right to use that land would reside in that individual, as long as use was made of it. Once the land was not “used”, in the above example, farmed, the “title” would revert to the community. As long as the land was used, it could be passed by way of inheritance.
Role of Indian “scouts”– There was a phrase used in the later half of the 1800’s that said, “The only person who can track an Apache is another Apache”. George Crook recognized this and as Congress had approved the use of Indian scouts in 1866, he eventually employed hundreds of Apache scouts to help him in his tracking of the Indian enemy. The first of these scouts were Cibecue Apache, employed to track a renegade band of White Mountain Apache. The scouts became hated by their own peoples. Without the use of Indian scouts, the Indian Wars in the Southwest would have lasted much longer and the capture of Geronimo might never have been made. They were an important part of Army’s effort against the Apache, though they were eschewed at the end by General Nelson Miles.
Role of War Dance– The purpose of war in Apache culture was to avenge the deaths of relatives caused by enemies. Prior to embarking on a war campaign, the warriors would perform the War Dance. This prepared them psychologically for battle. It included mock warfare and a pledge by the warrior to participate in battle. Killing by the Apache was otherwise disdained, but in preparation for war, a warrior would pray, “May I kill my enemy. May I get food.” This War Dance continued for four nights; the participants slept by day. The fierceness of the dancing created a “religious experience” state of mind that readied the warrior for battle and killing.
Seven Cities of Cibola– In May, 1536 Cabeza de Vaca and his party of four, including one Estevanico (Esteban) reached the Gulf of California, having wandered their way across the country for the last eight years. Upon meeting some of their fellow countrymen, they told of the rumors of seven great cities of gold. These became the fabulous “Seven Cities of Cibola”, and the great search began. In 1539 Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza sent Fray Marcos de Niza and the African Esteban on a scouting expedition. Zuni pueblo of Halona, the southernmost of the Zuñi pueblos in western New Mexico. It was here that Esteban met his end, dressing as a god, demanding of the natives women, food, and gifts. He was told to leave, but stubbornly remained, sending a messenger back to Fray Marcos telling that he had found one of the golden cities. Shortly afterward, Esteban was killed. Upon Fray Marcos’ return, he wrote a report stating he had seen the golden roofs of Cibola, when in fact mistakenly, he had only seen the sunlit roofs of Halona. In 1540 Coronado made his famous expedition northward to seek out the cities of gold, finding only the mud pueblos of Arizona and New Mexico. After a battle at Hawikuh, Coronado searched the pueblo and learned there were no great riches to be had. He pushed east and north, searching for Quiriva, another rumored city, only to return to Mexico in 1542 empty handed.
Sodalities– Sodalities have been in existence since the rise of prayer brotherhoods in the early 1200’s. A fraternity, or brotherhood, of laypersons devoted to Christian charity and piety, sodalities are concerned with the good of the whole rather than the purification of the individual member. Historically, many of these associations chose the Blessed Virgin as their protector, and their main goals and duties were works of charity and devoutness.
Slayer of Monsters– He was the son of Sun and Changing Woman, and one of a set of twins. Upon traveling to his father, he was at first rejected, but later accepted by Sun as his own. He was required to pass a number of tests to prove himself to Sun and was then given Apache clothing, horses, and a bow and arrows. When Slayer of Monsters returned to Earth, he joined with his twin to kill all of the evil creatures that had previously created trouble and death among the Apache.
Teknonyms– This is the practice of referring to someone as the child or parent of another. Thus I would be called “son of Ludwig” and my father Ludwig would be called “father of Joe”. The eldest child’s name was traditionally used in naming the parent. Teknonymy is used in many cultures world wide so that the use of personal names is avoided.
Uto-Aztecan– Uto-Aztecan is a Native American Language family. It includes as sub-families Hopi, Takic, Numic, Tepiman, and Taracahitan.
View and Treatment of Twins in Ute society– The birth of twins in Ute society was not looked upon favorably. It was a sign of bad luck and a disgrace to the family. For that reason, one of the twins was often neglected and left to die; the same fate usually awaited the other. The violation of a taboo against eating deer by the mother, or the incident of intercourse with another man during pregnancy, was the accepted cause of the twin birth, as was the over indulgence of sex with the father during pregnancy. Twins did not foretell a bright and happy future; rather the opposite was true.
Wickiup– The wickiup was the favored dwelling of the Western Apache. They were always built by the women of the group and always had the door facing east. They were made with a framework of ocotillo or saplings, by sticking one end into the ground, bending the framework material into an upside-down u-shape, and sticking the other end into the ground. The wickiup could be of varied length and height depending on the framework material. This frame was then covered with grass, leaves, or brush, with a smoke hole left in the top. They were insulated with hides and sometimes covered with earth for further insulation.
Yearners (‘Aficionados’)– Shortly after World War I, writers, artists, scholars, and intellectuals began to assimilate to the Pueblo way of life, dressing like them and attending many ceremonial dances. They became the “yearners”, sometimes treating the Pueblos and other Anglos condescendingly. These yearners, later joined by the hippies, turned out to be helpful the Pueblos, lobbying hard against the Bursum bill, and assisting in the fight to get back the sacred Blue Lake.
Zuni Theocracy– Theocracy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided”. In the Zuni culture, the people were led by the Council of High Priests, acting as a unit. It was composed of kiva officials, Rain Priests, the Pekwinnie (the holy man who derived his power directly from the Sun Father), and officers of the medicine societies. This Council would appoint “secular” officials to handle relations with the US, settle disputes, and deal with matters relating to civil law. The Council of High Priests had the ultimate control as they could fire the secular officials at their whim.
Zuni Aesthetic System– The Zuni Aesthetic system combined the beautiful (tso’ya) and the dangerous (attanni). Beauty was seen in things that were multi-colored, moving, dynamic, and asymmetrical. Things that changed, varied, and moved were seen as beautiful, like dancers wearing multi-colored and bright costumes, who were arranged in an asymmetrical line. Flowing and changing movements or songs were tso’ya. In contrast, the dangerous was represented by things that are dark and beyond reach, unpredictable and ambiguous, powerful and dangerous. Attanni was embodied in bears and ravens. Aggressive, terrifying, and ambiguous behavior was attanni. The interplay of tso’ya and attanni is what really defined the Zuni aesthetic. Beautiful things that morphed into dangerous things, the ugly duckling changing to the beautiful swan; these were the things the Zuni aesthetic appreciated.