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PAPAGO AND SOBAIPURI.
TO GO TO GUEVAVI—FIRST MISSIONS IN ARI-
DWELLINGS. The Papago, a Piman tribe, closely allied to the Pimas, whose language was the same. The tradition is that at one time they belonged to the same tribe, but split off for some unknown reason. They have always been friendly to the whites, however, and are the only Indians in Arizona that, when converted to the Catholic faith, remained Christians. The Maricopas and Pimas always held to their ancient faith, or, rather, creed. The Yumas at one time, as is shown in this history, invited the Catholic priests to settle amongst them, but shortly afterwards massacred them. The Moquis, probably the most politic of all the Indian tribes, were always ready to have their children baptized and join the Catholic church as long as the priests and the soldiers remained with them, but the Papagos were converted by Father Kino in
the latter part of the 17th century, and to this day adhere to the Catholic faith.
According to Bishop Salpointe, in his “Soldiers of the Cross,” page 131, the Sobaipuris, who lived on the San Pedro, had come over a distance of two hundred miles to ask the priests to follow them to the place called Guevavi, where they had their villages. Their petition was granted. The missionaries followed them and founded for their tribe a mission which was given the name of the place. This mission, now abandoned for a long time, was the first established on the soil of Arizona. It was in the same region that the missions of Tumacacuri and San Xavier del Bac were afterwards founded along the course of the Santa Cruz river.
Bishop Salpointe, in reference to the building of these missions, and the discipline, religious instructions, etc., given to the Papagos, says:
“As stated before, it must have been between the years 1687 and 1690 that the mission of Guevavi, the first in what has become the Territory of Arizona, was founded by the Jesuit Fathers. Those of Tumacacuri, San Xavier, Tubac, Tucson, and others, were established successively as circumstances permitted where it seemed they would have good results for the Christianization and civilization of the natives. They were tried in different ways and at different periods, either by the wild Apache nation, or by those very Indians for whom they had been founded. Priests were killed and churches destroyed; still the work was not abandoned. The perseverance of the missionaries, whether Jesuits or Franciscans, was above all reverses, as long as they were permitted to follow their vocation and work for the Indians. The losses were heavy on them, but they ever tried to make up for them by renewed zeal and activity, and always succeeded to some extent at least until they were expelled from the country with the Spaniards by the decree of December 20th, 1827.
“With this decree and that of May 10th, 1829, by which ‘Las Temporalidades,' the goods of the missions were confiscated, there remained no possibility of the continuance of the missions as such. By the expulsion of the Franciscans, the Indians remained without any protection. They could not but miss at once the moral and material support they were wont to receive from the Church, and, as a consequence, many
of them, finding themselves very soon without resources, commenced to scatter here and there, and to return gradually to the customs of their former Indian life. Then followed the destruction of the livestock left by the missionaries, and of the churches, except that of San Xavier, which was preserved by the Indians who did not leave their pueblo. San Xavier and Tumacacuri were the most important missions of Arizona at the time of the expulsion of the Franciscans. Their priests visited Tubac, Tucson, and other pueblos of the Papagos at stated times. The priests who administered in the mission of San Xavier since 1767 to 1827 were sixteen in number, as far as we can see by the records left in the church. Of those who resided at Tumacacuri, we have only the names of Baltazar Carillo, Narciso Gutierres and Ramon Liberos, who was the minister of that mission in 1822, as we see by the following, taken from the records of the mission : ‘I, Ramon Liberos, minister of the mission of San Jose de Tumacacuri, transferred on the 13th of December, 1822, the bones of the Rev. Narciso Gutierres from the old church to the new one, and buried them in the sanctuary at the gospel side.' For authority the paragraph bore the signature: ‘Ramon Liberos.'
“The church of Tumacacuri, though of a comparatively recent date, does not show anything now but ruins of a very regular structure, much similar in shape to that of San Xavier, but an adobe building only, while San Xavier was built with brick and stone.
“Who were the priests who built the churches such as those, the remains of which are seen at San Xavier, Tumacacuri, and other places, and what were the means they had at their disposal for the erection of these structures ?
“These are questions not infrequently asked by visitors to the old missions of Arizona. The answer we can give to the first is, that the church of San Xavier and that of Tumacacuri were built by the Franciscans, the former, which had been commenced in 1783, being completed in 1797, and the latter, as we have seen already, was completed in 1822, and was called the 'new church.' As regards the names of the religious who superintended the building of these churches, no mention is made of them in any of the records we have met with, nor did these true sons of the humble St. Francis put on the walls any mark that could manifest their personal merit to future generations. What they did was to place