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Cultural Information

Just about every Native American tribe has their own creation story. This creation story comes from the Apaches. Look for the similarities and differences betwwen their story and the truth in Genesis!

APACHE CREATION STORY

Animals, elements, the solar system, and natural phenomena are revered by the Apaches. That which is beyond their understanding is always ascribed to the supernatural.
In the beginning nothing existed--no earth, no sky, no sun, no moon, only darkness was everywhere.
Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above. As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.
When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the east, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the west, tints of many colours appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colours.
Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.
"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without-Parents.
"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.
"From the east where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.
"Where is the earth?" she asked.
"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.
Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small- Boy.
All four gods sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.
"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."
Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.
Creator sang, "Let us make earth. I am thinking of the earth, earth, earth; I am thinking of the earth," he sang four times.
All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.
Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.
Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the east, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the south, a yellow cord to the west, and a white cord to the north. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.
Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.
"Fly north, south, east, and west and tell us what you see," said Creator.
"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The earth is most beautiful, with water on the west side."
But the earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support the earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the earth. The earth sat still.
Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.
Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the earth and sky.
He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.
Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweathouse. Girl- Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the east doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.
Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweathouse. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.
Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth-People.
Since the earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the earth will rise and cause a mighty flood."
Creator made a very tall pinon tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinon gum, creating a large, tight ball.
In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.
In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on earth.
Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl- Without-Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.
"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.
"You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.
"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.
"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.
"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.
"You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."
Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.
Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the earth.
Sun-God went east to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without- Parents departed westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the south. Big Dipper can still be seen in the northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.

INFORMATION ON THE NAVAJO NATION

The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah , Arizona and New Mexico , covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty. Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland, is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America.
Visitors from around the world are intrigued and mystified when they hear the Navajo language – so, too, were the enemy during World War II. Unknown to many, the Navajo language was used to create a secret code to battle the Japanese. Navajo men were selected to create codes and serve on the front line to overcome and deceive those on the other side of the battlefield. Today, these men are recognized as the famous Navajo Code Talkers, who exemplify the unequaled bravery and patriotism of the Navajo people.
Navajo Nation Government
Today, the Navajo Nation is striving to sustain a viable economy for an ever increasing population that now surpasses 250,000. In years past, Navajoland often appeared to be little more than a desolate section of the Southwest, but it was only a matter of time before the Navajo Nation became known as a wealthy nation in a world of its own. The discovery of oil on Navajoland in the early 1920's promoted the need for a more systematic form of government.
In 1923, a tribal government was established to help meet the increasing desires of American oil companies to lease Navajoland for exploration. Navajo government has evolved into the largest and most sophisticated form of American Indian government. The Navajo Nation Council Chambers hosts 88 council delegates representing 110 Navajo Nation chapters.
See the Navajo Nation government in action as the 88 Council delegates (representing 110 Navajo Nation chapters, or communities) discuss critical issues and enact legislation to determine the future of the Navajo people. Reorganized in 1991 to form a three-branch system (executive, legislative and judicial), the Navajos conduct what is considered to be the most sophisticated form of Indian government. While the Council is in session, you'll likely hear delegates carry on the tradition of speaking in Navajo, providing a perfect example of how the Navajo Nation retains its valuable cultural heritage while forging ahead with modern progress. When the Council is not in session, legislative work is done by 12 “standing committees” of the Council. Inside the circular Council Chambers, the walls are adorned with colorful murals that depict the history of the Navajo people and the Navajo way of life. For more info about tours, call 928-871-6417 928-871-6417 or write to P.O. Box 1400 , Window Rock, AZ 86515.
Navajo Code Talkers
Navajo Code Talkers At Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, declared, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima." Connor had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. Those six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error.
In May 1942, the first 29 Navajo recruits attended boot camp. Then, at Camp Pendleton , Oceanside , California , this first group created the Navajo code. They developed a dictionary and numerous words for military terms. The dictionary and all code words had to be memorized during training. Navajos could encode, transmit, and decode a three-line English message in 20 seconds. Machines of the time required 30 minutes to perform the same job. Approximately 400 Navajos were trained as code talkers.
Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima : the Navajo code talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They served in all six Marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units, transmitting messages by telephone and radio in their native language -- a code that the Japanese never broke. Long unrecognized because of the continued value of their language as a security classified code, the Navajo code talkers of World War II were honored for their contributions to defense on Sept. 17, 1992, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Excerpts taken from a Fact Sheet prepared by the Navy & Marine Corps WWII Commemorative Committee.
Flag
The Navajo Nation Flag, designed by Jay R. Degroat, a Navajo from Mariano Lake, New Mexico, was selected from 140 entries, and was officially adopted by the Navajo Nation Council on May 21, 1968 by Resolution CMY-55-68.
On a tan background, the outline of the present Nation is shown in copper color with the original 1868 Treaty Reservation in Dark Brown. At the cardinal points in the tan field are the four sacred mountains. A rainbow symbolizing Navajo sovereignty arches over the Nation and the sacred mountains. In the center of the Nation, a circular symbol depicts the sun above two green stalks of corn, which surrounds three animals representing the Navajo livestock economy, and a traditional hogan and modern home. Between the hogan and the house is an oil derrick symbolizing the resource potential of the Tribe, and above this are representations of the wild fauna of the Nation. At the top near the sun, the modern sawmill symbolizes the progress and industry characteristic of the Navajo Nation's economic development.
The small park near the Navajo Nation Administration Center features the graceful redstone arch for which the capital is named. The Navajo Nation headquarters and other government offices were built in close proximity to this mystical rock formation.
More recently, the Navajos have built a Veteran's Memorial at the base of Window Rock to honor the many Navajos who served in the U.S. military. Many Navajo soldiers are recognized in the annals of history for their role as Code Talkers, whereby they used the native language to create a code that was never broken by the enemy. Historians credit the Navajo Code Talkers for helping to win World War II. The park has many symbolic structures: a circular path outlining the four cardinal directions, 16 angled steel pillars with the names of war veterans, and a healing sanctuary that is used for reflection and solitude that features a fountain made of sandstone. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info call 928-871-6647 928-871-6647 or write to Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation Dept., P.O. Box 9000 , Window Rock, AZ 86515
Museum
The modern Navajo Museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the rich and unique culture of the Navajo Nation. Native displays, a book and gift shop, snack bar, auditorium, outdoor amphitheater, information kiosk, library and on-site authentic Navajo hogan complete the center. The Museum is open from 8am to 8pm Tuesday through Friday, and 8am to 5pm on Monday and Saturday. For more info call 928-871-7941 928-871-7941 , or write the museum at: P.O. Box 1840 , Window Rock, AZ 86515.
more
Information and Photos for this page provided courtesty of Navajo Nation Tourism Office's "Discover Navajo: The Official Navajo Nation Visitor Guide." http://www.discovernavajo.com

History of the Apache

" Apache "
They call themselves
Inde, or Nide "the people".


NOTE; The following information was taken off a historical report from the web. Be advised the cultural and spiritual information in this report may have been accurate in the past, however, it may not still be followed in present times. The Native Americans, for the most part, do not themselves have written books and articles portraying their life and customs. As times have changed, so have the people. Because centuries ago there was little written about their cultural ways and spiritual beliefs, each tribe and people group have adopted differences in their view of what life is like and also their spiritual belief system. In other words, the Native Americans of today probably have a different outlook on life, culture, and their spiritual belief system from their past and do not practice it as they did then.

The Apache people

The word Apache is believed to be derived from a Zuni word meaning "enemy".


The Apache Indians are divided into six sub-tribes
Bedonkohe....Be-don-ko-he
Chieahen....Chi-e-a-hen
Chihenne....Chi-hen-ne, (Ojo Caliente), (Hot Springs)
Chokonen....Cho-kon-en, Chiricahua Apache
Nedni....Nendi
White Mountain Apache

The Apache people (including the Navajo) came from the Far North to settle the Plains and Southwest around A.D. 850.
They settled in three desert regions, the Great Basin, the Sonoran, and the Chihuachuan.


The Navajo are not part of the Apache nation. They are their own honored nation. They only share the Athabscan language with the Apache. The Apache speak the Athabscan language, which originated in their former homeland of northwestern Canada.

These distinct groups can be organized by dialects:
The Western Apache (Coyotero) traditionally occupied most of eastern Arizona and included the White Mountain, Cibuecue, San Carlos, and Northern and Southern Tonto bands. San Carlos, Aravaipa, White Mountain, Northern Tonto, Southern Tonto, and Cibecue in Arizona, Chiricahua and Mimbreno in Arizona and New Mexico, Mescalero (Faraon) in New Mexico and Mexico, Jicarilla (Tinde) in New Mexico and Colorado, Kiowa-Apache (Gataka) in Oklahoma, and Lipan in Texas and Mexico. Western Apache (Coyotero), Eastern Arizona.


They exchanged buffalo hides, tallow and meat, bones that could be worked into needles and scrapers for hides, and salt from the desert with the Pueblos for pottery, cotton, blankets, turquoise, corn and other goods. But at times they simply saw what they wanted and took it. They became known among the Pueblo villages by another name, Apachu, "the enemy".

The Apache's guerrilla war tactics came naturally and were unsurpassed. The name Apache struck fear into the hearts of Pueblo tribes, and in later years the Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American settlers, which they raided for food, and livestock.


The Apache and the Pueblos managed to maintain generally peaceful relations. But the arrival of the Spaniards changed everything. A source of friction was the activity of Spanish slave traders, who hunted down captives to serve as labor in the silver mines of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. The Apache, in turn, raided Spanish settlements to seize cattle, horses, firearms, and captives of their own. The prowess of the Apache in battle became legend. It was said that an Apache warrior could run 50 miles without stopping and travel more swiftly than a troop of mounted soldiers.

In the late 1800's, one U.S. Army general who had fought them meant it as a grudging compliment when he described the Apache as "tigers of the human species."


The Apache saw themselves differently, they faced constant struggle to survive. When they raided a village, they did so from pure necessity, to provide corn for their families when game was scarce. Most of the time they went their own way, moving from camp to camp in pursuit of deer and buffalo, collecting roots and berries, sometimes planting seeds that they later returned to harvest.


They set up their camps on the outskirts of the pueblos. They dressed in animal skins, used dogs as pack animals, and pitched tent like dwellings made of brush or hide, called wikiups. The wickiup was the most common shelter of the Apache. The dome shaped lodge was constructed of wood poles covered with brush, grass, or reed mats. It contained a fire pit and a smoke hole for a chimney. The Jicarillas and Kiowa-Apaches, which roamed the Plains, used buffalo hide tepees. The basic shelter of the Chiricahua was the domeshaped wickiup made of brush.

The Apache regarded coyotes, insects, and birds as having been human beings. The human race, then, but following in the tracks of those who have gone before.


The Apache lived in extended family groups, all loosely related through the female line. (Matriarchal).... Each group operated independently under a respected family leader....settling its own disputes, answering to no higher human authority.


The main exception to this occurred during wartime, when neighboring groups banded together to fight a common enemy. Unlike ordinary raiding, where the main object was to acquire food and possessions, war meant lethal business. An act of vengeance for the deaths of band members in earlier raids or battles.


Leaders of the local family groups would meet in council to elect a war chief, who led the campaign. But if any one group preferred to follow its own war chief, it was free to do so.


Apache bands that roamed the same area admitted to a loose cultural kinship. The Jicarilla of northeastern New Mexico hunted buffalo in the plains, planted corn in the mountains. The Mescalero to the south were hunter-gatherers who developed an appetite for the roasted heads of wild mescal plants. The Chiricahua, fiercest of all tribal groups, raided along the Mexican border. The more peaceable Western Apache of Arizona spent part of each year farming. Two other tribal divisions, the Lipan and Kiowa-Apache, lived as plainsmen in western Kansas and Texas.


A strict code of conduct governed Apache life, based on strong family loyalties. Each Apache group was composed of extended families or clans. Basic social, economic, and political units based on female inherited leadership. The most important bond led from an Apache mother to her children and on to her children. Marriage within one's own clan is forbidden. When the son married his obligations from then on were to his mother-in-law's family.

Beyond this code of propriety and family obligations, the Apache shared a rich oral history of myths and legends and a legacy of intense religious devotion that touched virtually every aspect of their lives.


Medicine Men presided over religious ceremonies. They believed in many spirit beings. Usen, the Giver of Life, the most powerful of them all. The Gans, or Mountain Spirits, were especially important in Apache ceremonies. Males garbed themselves in elaborate costumes to impersonate the Gans in ritual dance, wearing kilts, black masks, tall wooden-slat head-dresses, and body paint carrying wooden swords.


The Mescalero band consisted of followers and a headman. They had no formal leader such as a tribal chief, or council, nor a decision making process. The core of the band was a "relative group", predominantly, but not necessarily, kinsmen. Named by the Spanish for the mescal cactus the Apaches used for food, drink, and fiber.


One author's characterization of the Mescalero Apache people of the past is as follows: They moved freely, wintering on the Rio Grande or farther south, ranging the buffalo plains in the summer, always following the sun and the food supply. They owned nothing and everything. They did as they pleased and bowed to no man. Their women were chaste. Their leaders kept their promises. They were mighty warriors who depended on success in raiding for wealth and honor. To their families they were kind and gentle, but they could be unbelievably cruel to their enemies--fierce and revengeful when they felt that they had been betrayed. (Sonnichsen 1958:4)


The Apaches were nomadic hunter-gatherers. They chased any wild game located within their territory, especially deer and rabbits. When necessary, they lived off the land by gathering wild berries, roots, cactus fruit and seeds of the mesquite tree. They planted some corn, beans, and squash as crops. They were extremely hardy prior to the arrival of European diseases, and could live practically naked in zero temperature.


Many Apache bands were so influenced by the tribes they came into contact that they took on many of their customs and practices. Western Apaches living near the Pueblo Indians became farmers. Jicarilla Apaches pursued the great buffalo herds like other Plains Indians, mounted on horses they acquired through raids on the Spanish and Pueblos in the late 1600's. Kiowa-Apaches became more like the Kiowa, a Plains tribe, than their own Apache kin. The Lopans raised dogs for meat as many Mexican tribes to their south.


In 1871 , the original White Mountain Reservation was established. It contained today's Fort Apache and San Carlos reservations. In 1897, the land was divided into two independent reservations.

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The Original People

The original people that populated the United States are known by many names; American Indians, Native Americans, Indians, The People, the First People, and First Nations People to name a few. In the old days they called us (everyone that was not Native American) Anglos and the white man.

We all 'know' from our history lessons in school that the Indians came from Asia, thru Alaska and then settled in places all the way down to the tip of South America tens of thousands of years ago. I think that is partly true. I believe that when the people from Babylonia would not go out to other areas and populate the entire earth as requested by God, He sent them packing and carrying with them different languages. That’s when they migrated thru Alaska and settled in villages all the way down to South America just a few thousand years ago. However, when you learn the Native American's version of how they came to live in this place, it’s a totally different story and one for another time.

The purpose of this article will be to share with you some of the basic facts about our Native American brothers and sisters from the Navajo and White Mountain Apache Indian Reservations.

Native American Reservations: A reservation is land that belongs to the Native Americans and is under their control. They have their own government, set of law, police officers, and other services just as the US Government has. The people are also American citizens and are bound to all the laws and regulations of the US Government as to their own. Respectively, when non Native Americans are on the reservation, they are required to follow the laws of both the US Government and those of the reservation.

Navajo Nation

Location: 260 miles northeast of Phoenix
Population (2000 Census): 104,565 (Arizona)
Enrolled Tribal Members: 255,543 (Total)
Land Area: 18,119.2 square miles (Arizona)
Gaming: No

The Navajo refer to themselves as the Diné, or "the People". In 1868, a peace treaty was signed allowing the Navajo people to return to their homeland. Today, the Navajo Tribe represents the largest Indian Tribe in the U.S. and stretches across the high deserts and forests of the four corners region. Tourism has a significant role in the Navajo Tribe's economy, as it is home to natural wonders such as Canyon de Chelly and Rainbow Natural Bridge. The Navajo Nation is also home to Diné College, the first tribally controlled community college in the country. The college features a six story, hogan shaped cultural center.

White Mountain Apache Tribe

Location: 194 miles northeast of Phoenix
Population (2000 Census): 12,429Enrolled Tribal Members: 12,634
Land Area: 2600.7 square miles
Gaming: Yes (Hon-Dah Resort/Casino, located in McNary)

Established as the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in November, 1891 by Executive Order, the area is now known as the White Mountain Apache Reservation. The tribal members are direct descendants of the original tribes that lived in this area. The White Mountain Apache live in a region that has an abundance of natural resources and scenic beauty, and the tribe has earned a national reputation for its network of enterprises, which include a timber company, lumber hardware retail center, ski resort, and casino.

Gaming: There are many misconceptions by outsiders concerning the profits from gaming. To start off, not all tribes condone and have gambling casinos on their reservations. Those that do, have guidelines to follow from the state, federal and tribal governments. Profits from gaming rarely goes to the individual native American. Usually percentages of the profits are divided up between the builders (for a specific time frame), the state, and the Tribal Council. The Tribal Council has the authority to distribute the profits as they deem necessary.

Health issues: Alcohol has always been a problem on the reservation and with the building of casinos and the increased amount of available alcohol the problem has skyrocketed. 1 in 10 Native American deaths are alcohol related and that rate is three times higher than general population, a federal report says.

American Indian teens take their own lives at more than two times the rate of any other teen demographic in the USA, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most are kids who do not have drugs or alcohol problems. Many come from financially comfortable families, by Native American standards. And most don't leave a suicide note, so their loved ones suffer the pain of regrets and self blame without the relief of being able to know the true reasons for the suicide.

Religion: In the past, Native Americans did not have a written religious belief system they could go to and study. They relied on oral transference of their religious beliefs. No two tribes have exact same beliefs of creation, gods and spirits. But they all do believe in a "creator", lesser gods and many have the same sense of connection to the elements (earth, wind, rain, sky etc.). They also have similar ceremonies (including the right of passage for young women), dances and beliefs in evil spirits. It is estimated that less than 7% of Native Americans are followers of Christ.

Life on the reservation is tough. American Indians have the highest rate of unemployment (on one reservation it is 69%) in the country and they have the highest rate of poverty (2010 stats.) 28% on the reservations compared to 9% off the reservation. Alcohol, drug, spouse and child abuse are commonplace and on one particular reservation 6 women/girls are raped each week. As the drop out rate for high school student’s increase, so does the membership in gangs and the acts of violence in the community.

There is a bright side to all this sadness and despair. Many people are stepping up from the communities on the reservations and Christ followers from around the country are joining forces to combat the evil that is so prevalent on the reservations. Missionaries, pastors, Christian schools and out reach programs on the reservations are making inroads and offering the love of Christ and hope to those on the reservations. Progress is being made!

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People of Sonora, Mexico

Indiginous Groups in Sonora

Indiginous Groups Sonora Mexico People of Sonora

There are 9 tribes in Sonora, and 8 of them still populate the state and continue with their history and traditions.

The villages they use to live in were constructed according to the temperature of the region; towns and villages were founded on the river banks and agriculture was their economy.
They are rich and varied in their culture and extremely artistic.

We will highlight two tribes each month.

There can be friction between the Mexican people and the Indians of Mexico. Be very cautious when speaking about one people group to another. It is best not to take sides but to realize both groups may have valid reasons for their particular views.

Opatas

The same as their neighbors, The Jovas and the Eudeves, the Opatas have already disappeared as a distinct ethnic unit.

The Opata dialect, classified within the Yuto-astec family of the Taracahitiano group of the Sonora subfamily is nowadays a dead language. Ever since 1950, Opata-speaking individuals have not been registered and only some phrases and isolated words have been preserved.
The Opata dialect is part of the Taracahitian of Uto-Aztec branch. The word Opata means “hostile people” in Pima dialect, and this was the term used by the Pimas when they referred to the Opatas.

Opatas do not make any crafts except for their basketwork. The pottery they make is for their own personal use. They also make trays and wooden spoons.

The meeting points for the Opatas religious activities are the catholic temples.
San Isidro Labrador is the most popular and venerated Saint in the whole area and surrounding villages.

Seris

Seris refer to themselves as “KonKaak” which means “the people”.
Seri means “the one that really runs fast” in Opata dialect.

The Konkaak dialect is part of the filum or Hokano lineage, which also includes the Coahuilteco (Northwest of Mexico) and the Tlapaneco.

According to several experts, Seris are part of the Yumano group of the Sioux-Hokana.
Their craftmanship focuses primarily in iron-wood-carving, knitting and weaving of “coritas” (baskets) and the necklace production. Iron-wood carving started, as stated by people sayings, in 1964 by Don Josè Astorga Encinas in a critical moment for the tribe, who needed incomes to survive.

Seris people never developed a very complex festive-religious government system. Their interpretation of the world , their rituals, their festivities and cultural manifestations are closely related to nature and the biological and social concept of the group’s reproduction.
Their major festivities are still those celebrating the “puberty”, the arrival of the seven edges cahuama, the rite of the dead man and those related to the Seri’s New Year and the end of the “coritas” production.

Pimas

The term Pima means “there is no”, “it doesn’t exist”, “I don’t have”, or probably “I don`t understand”. Pimas call themselves O’ob, which means “the people”.
The Pima dialect is partof the Yuto-Aztec stem, composed of the Taracachita(Corahuichol), Nahua and Pima or Pimana branch or subgroup.

Long ago Pima women made pots, palm products and woolen garments . Pimas make products with vegetable fibers, such as hats, mats, suitcases or rectangular baskets with lids or covers to store all kinds of things.

Christianity taught by the missionaries had to be adapted to their native language and mentality. In addition , the diverse indigeneous groups added substancial elements of their own religion, rituals and ceremonies, and finally the Pimas ended up accepting San Francisco as their patron saint.

The conflicts between native and non native populations, in addition to other less symbolic manidifestations, appear dramatized in their festivities and celebrations. Celebrations held at the ceremonial centers differ from those observed in the communities.
Some festivities organized in the ceremonial centers are:
. La Santa Cruz (May 3rd)
. Holy Week ceremonies
. The celebration of San Francisco (October 4th),
. The Virgin of Guadalupe Day” (December 12)
The community celebrations are agrarian rituals that commemorate relevant stages of the agricultural cycle, such as:
. The “Yoreme”, or the San Juan Bautista festivity (June 14) which is celebrated with ritual bathes honoring the rain.

Mayos


MayosAccording to the group’s tradition, the word “Mayo” means “people from the shore”. Mayos refer to themselves as “yoremes”, “ people who respect tradition”, and call white men “yori” “those who show no respect”.

The Mayo dialect is part of the Taracahitiana family, of the cahita sub-family with Uto-Azteca roots, and it is related to the Yaqui and the Guarijìo dialects.

Craftsmanship is not the main activity for the Mayo`s economy. Wool blankets, dyed wool strips woven in waist looms, water pots,stick mats, different kinds of baskets, harps and violins.

In their rites, chants and dances, the nature has a provider role. It is the world supplier. This is expressed in the character that dancers represent as deer and the pascola.

One of the Mayo legends tells how “God created gold for the Yoris and working instruments for the Yoremes”

The Mayo religion is structured around their ceremonial centers or traditional towns, composed of small commnunities congregated around their saints.

Pápagos

PapagosPàpagos call themselves “Tohono O’odham”, which means “people of the desert”.

This ethnic group lives in the desert of Sonora and
Arizona. They occupy Caborca, Rocky Point, Sàric, Altar and Plutarco Elìas Calles. This group has two nationalities, but most of them live in Arizona (United States of America). Its territory extends to the mid-valley and the elevated portion of the Gila River.

O’odham dialect is closely related with Pima dialect, and both comprise the Pimana branch of the Yetonahua .

In July they celebrate the traditional ritual to invoke the rain “Vi ikita”, and on October 4th they have a celebration honoring their patron saint, San Francisco de Asis.

Guarijíos

GuarijiosThey call themselves “Macurawes or Macuraguis”, which means “those who hold the soil”. Several historical documents refer to them as Ehíos, Varojíos, Warojios and Gaurijios.

Linguistically speaking, Guarijíos belong to the group Nahua-Huitlateco, Yulo-Nahua stock and Pima Cora family. They make handcrafts with natural materials like palm, clay, branches, and fibers, with which they weave baskets, mats, hats, angarias or angarillas (baskets made with three hoops of braided branches) and a natural fiber net used to carry objects hung on the back.

They are very religious, combining pre-Hispanic and catholic elements.

Their main festivities are:

  • The Tuguardas

  • Wakes

  • End of the year celebrations

  • Cava pizca celebration.

  • The Tuguarda or Tuburada is the major celebration with greater presence throughout the year. The Guarijì man must have three of these celebrations in his lifetime, while women must have four because they are considered to have “more of a tendency to sin and must pay for it”. This festivity is held for diverse community reasons, in addition to those marked by the catholic calendar.

Yaquis

YaquisThe history of the Yaqui is full of acts of heroic resistance in order to defend their territory and culture, an ancestral culture enriched by its rites and traditions, where the “Danza del Venado” (The Deer Dance) stands out; this is the symbolic representation of the deer hunt, and its artistic richness has generated an enormous interest around the world.

In 1523, the first white man trying to conquer the Yaqui territory was Diego de Guzman, but he failed. During the 17th century, Diego Martìnez de Hurdaide made a second military incursion, but was defeated again; yet, this time a Peace Treaty was signed with the Yaqui people. This smoothed the progress for the acknowledgment of two Jesuit missionaries, Andrès Pèrez and Tomàs Basilio, who also influenced the organization of the group. They started the concentration and regrouping of the Yaqui people.

Given that they were scattered in 80 communities and 8 villages: Cocorit o Espíritu Santo, Santa Rosa de Bacum, San Ignacio de Torim, La Natividad del Señor de Vicam, Santísima Trinidad de Potam, La Asunción de Rahúm, Santa Bárbara de Huirivis and San Miguel de Belén.
They make pottery and woven baskets, as well as carved-wood masks and drums used in their dances and festivities.

Yaqui tribes are very religious people, and their spirituality extends to all their activities and is apparent primarily in their collective dances and festivities. The Virgen del Carmen is their patron saint.

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