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'men' or 'the people,' and when they wish to distinguish themselves from the Papago and other divisions of the same linguistic stock, they add the word âʼkimûlt, ‘river. ‘River people’ is indeed an apt designation, as evidenced by their dependence on the Gila.
“Gatschet has thus defined the Pima linguistic stock in an article entitled “The Indian languages of the Pacific,' which was published in the Magazine of American History:
'Pima. Dialects of this stock are spoken on the middle course of the Gila river, and south of it on the elevated plains of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, (Pimeria alta, Pimeria baja). The Pima does not extend into California unless the extinct, historical Cajuenches, mentioned in Mexican annals, spoke one of the Pima. (or Pijimo, Pimo) dialects. Pima, on Pima reserve, Gila river, a sonorous, root-duplicating idiom; Nevome, a dialect probably spoken in Sonora, of which we possess a reliable Spanish grammar, published in Shea's Linguistics; Papago, on Papago reserve, in southwestern Arizona.
The Pimas were the hereditary foes of the Apaches as will be seen by some of the traditions. They were, at one time, a very numerous tribe; indeed, it is claimed by some archaeologists, as will be shown later in this history, that the Pimas built the Casa Grande and other works of that nature. They have cultivated the land which they now occupy for more than three hundred years, supporting themselves always through agriculture. Their crops were wheat, corn, vegetables and cotton. The Pimas and
the Maricopas supplied the Americans with food in the early history of Arizona. The Mormon Battalion was their customer in 1847; they supplied the Boundary Survey under Bartlett, with cereals for man and beast. The Walker Party owed much to their generosity; in fact, the Pimas, particularly, with open-handed hospitality, have always supplied the necessary wants of the white man.
Their weapons originally were war clubs of mesquite wood; bows and arrows; the arrows sometimes pointed with glass, stone and iron, were used in warfare. For defensive purposes they had a raw-hide shield, which was almost impenetrable. They took no scalps. They considered their enemies, particularly the Apaches, as possessed of evil spirits, and did not touch them after death. Adult warriors of the Apache tribes were never taken captives, but women, girls, and young boys, were, at times, made prisoners, while on other occasions all the inhabitants of a besieged Apache camp were killed. They treated their prisoners with great humanity, sharing with them their food and clothing. These captives frequently acquired the Pima language, and, at times, would marry into the tribe.
Agriculture, with the aid of irrigation, was practiced by them from prehistoric times. Each community owned an irrigation canal, sometimes several miles in length, the waters of the river being diverted into them by rude dams. At times, since the occupation of the country by Americans, they have suffered for lack of water, but this now, to a great extent, has been obviated. In former times they planted with a dibble, and later plowed their fields with crooked sticks, drawn by oxen. Grain was threshed by the stamping of horses, and winnowed by the women, who skillfully tossed it from flat baskets. Wheat is now their staple crop, of which, during favorable seasons, for many years past, they sold large quantities to the whites. They also cultivate corn, barley, . beans, pumpkins, squashes, melons, onions, and some long staple cotton, known as Pima Cotton. In common with most of the Indian tribes, the mesquite bean was formerly one of their principal articles of food, large quantities of which were gathered by the women, pounded in mortars, or ground on metates, and preserved for winter use. The women of the tribe also gathered large quantities of the saguaro cactus, and made it into syrup, from which an intoxicating beverage was formerly brewed. Tobacco was regarded by the Pimas rather as a sacred plant, than one to be used for pleasure. The women were, and are, expert makers of water tight baskets of various shapes and sizes, decorated in geometrical designs. The swastika also appears in their basket work, and is found upon the painted rocks of their reservation. Whence they derived it, is a mystery. They manufacture coarse pottery, some of which is also decorated. It is said that their arts have deteriorated from contact with the whites.
The squaws were the real laborers, the males preparing the ground and tilling the fields and reaping the crops, but the squaws winnowed the grain and carried it to market in huge baskets, while the buck oftentimes rode along on a pony, collecting the money for the grain, and spending it for his own pleasures.
They were governed by a head chief, and a chief for each village. These officers were assisted by village councils, which, however, did not appoint representatives to the tribal councils, which were composed of the village chiefs. The head chief was not hereditary, but he was elected by the village chiefs. Descent was traced in the male line, and bore some resemblance to the gentes, though they exert no influence on marriage within the group or gens prohibited. The whole history of the Pimas is written in legends and myths.
The first move in starting a school and mission work among the Pimas was made by General A. J. Alexander, who was stationed at Fort McDowell, and, while there, on October 18th, 1868, he wrote a letter to a member of the Ladies Union Mission School Association in the State of New York upon this subject. This was the lever that started the missionary work among the Indians of Arizona, and also resulted later in the establishment of schools by the Government, the first of these being at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and others in Arizona, in 1870. The Rev. Charles H. Cook came from Chicago, and opened the first Indian school in Arizona, at Sacaton Agency, on February 15th, 1871. Mr. Cook continued this work for many years thereafter.
In the 28th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, of the Smithsonian Institution, 1906–07, is an article by Jesse Walter
Fewkes, on the Casa Grande, which article contains a collection of the legends of the Pimas.
Their first legend was related to Father Font by the Governor in 1775, and is the oldest legendary account of Casa Grande extant, from Pima sources. This legend is as follows:
“That in a very distant time there came to that land a man who, because of his evil disposition and harsh sway, was called The Bitter Man; that this man was old and had a young daughter; that in his company came another man who was young, who was not his relative or anything, and that he gave him in marriage his daughter, who was very pretty, the young man being handsome also, and that the said old man had with him as servants the Wind and the Storm-cloud. That the old man began to build the Casa Grande and ordered his son-in-law to fetch beams for the roof of the house. That the young man went far off, and as he had no axe or anything else with which to cut the trees, he tarried many days, and at the end he came back without bringing any beams. That the old man was very angry and told him he was good for nothing; that he should see how he himself would bring beams. That the old man went very far off to a mountain range where there are many pines and, calling on God to help him, he cut many pines and brought many beams for the roof of the house. That when this Bitter Man came there were in that land neither trees nor plants, and he brought seeds of all and he reaped very large harvests with his two servants, the Wind and the Storm-cloud, who served him. That by reason of his evil disposition he grew