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“The Si'atcokam prize certain crystals very highly and claim to obtain them in the following manner: The person possessing the necessary power may be going along in some quiet place when all of a sudden a man will be seen approaching. The stranger never reaches him but will be seen to disappear; then if the Si'atcokam searches about the spot where the man was last seen, he will find a transparent crystal, stone white, which contains a spirit that will aid him in all his subsequent undertakings and which will desert the stone at the death of the holder.
“The Si'atcokam treats a wounded man by sucking the evil from the wound. He shows a strand of green that resembles a roll of water plants about eight inches long. The wounded man sucks this crosswise four times and Si'atcokam pretends to swallow it. "This insures complete recovery. CAUSE AND TREATMENT OF DISEASES.
“The Si'atcokam carries his staff in hand when called to treat the sick. He begins by singing the 'cure songs,' or causing them to be sung for the purpose of aiding him in correctly diagnosing the case. Then he puffs out cigarette smoke over the body of the patient in order that he may 'see' the disease. Most common ailments are attributed to certain definite causes and the diagnosis is easy. When he is well paid for his services he may sing more than one night before announcing the name of the disease. If he is too hasty he may ‘see' the bear when it is really the deer that is causing trouble. However, he cannot sing more than four nights; then,
if he fails, he must call in a fellow-practitioner. The case of Sala Hina is an interesting and instructive one and will illustrate very adequately these peculiar methods. Several years ago Sala carelessly ate some weed which poisoned her and she had barely strength enough to reach home. As close relatives are not allowed to treat a patient, a neighboring medicine-man was called in. Her husband rolled a cigarette for the learned doctor, who smoked it, but however skillfully he spread the smoke cloud over the groaning patient, he could not ‘see the cause of the trouble. Then another Si'atcokam was called in and a cigarette was rolled for him and he peered through the veil sufficiently to see ‘something: But he could not tell just what it was and advised sending for another medicine-man who was a specialist in intangible shapes. Sala was suffering the greatest agony in the meantime. If she moved she felt‘full of pins inside.' Those about her expected her to die at any moment. Number three at length arrived and smoked his cigarette, blowing the smoke across the patient from a distance to dispel the unusually heavy darkness. He said he must have his gourd rattle and magic feathers brought before he could see clearly. Meanwhile the husband had brought in a fourth medicine-man. Number four then smoked a cigarette and pronounced the verdict of death. Poor Sala had been compelled to lie quiet to avoid the torture from the 'pins,' but her mind was active and she understood every word that was said in her presence. Determined to do what they could, the last two arrivals set to work singing. Number three sang four
songs, followed by four more songs from number four. Then number three sang four more, and so they alternated all night. Toward morning they put ashes into a cup of water, sweeping eagle feathers across the dish meanwhile. They then announced that they would get the evil out soon. Number four sprayed water from his mouth over the patient and declared that he had found her to be suffering from the presence of the horn of a horned toad in her heart. Falling on his knees beside her he sucked with all his might until he had removed the offending object. As it flew into his mouth it gagged him and he hastened to withdraw it. Calling for a piece of cotton he put the hot and burning horn into it and told the brother of the patient to throw it into the river. Then the two Si'atcokam sang twice and later in the day sang twice through their set of four songs for the horned toad. This faithful treatment brought about a recovery.
“Sala's brother fell ill of some throat disease over which the doctors sang, sucked, and smoked for a month before he died.
“It will be seen from the cases described that the songs play an important part in the treatment, and they are sung with endless repetitions. After the cause of the affliction has been decided upon, the songs of that animal or object are sung. An image or a part of the animal or object is pressed upon or waved over the part affected, and then the farce of sucking out the evil is gone through. Juan Thomas informed the writer that he had frequently concealed under his thumb nail the objects which he pretended to suck from his patients.
“Sometimes ashes are rubbed upon the skin of the sick person. No matter what the disease may be, the ashes are administered with light rubbing. No explanation could be given for this treatment. For any disease, also, pledgets of cotton might be burned on the skin, and as these were half an inch in diameter and two or three might be burned in one place, the effect must have been very painful.
“The female Si'atcokam never treated children; they confined their labors to the treatment of abdominal troubles not necessarily peculiar to sex. They treated men for abdominal difficulties, and men treated women for all diseases.
“Payment is promised to the Si'atcokam when they are called in. It may be a horse, cow, some wheat, a basket, or similar property. If he contracts to sing three nights and to receive a horse in payment, he will not receive the horse if the patient dies after he has sung two nights, but will receive some compensation. The death of the patient does not annul the obligation under any circumstances.
“In addition to the animals, birds, and reptiles that cause disease, the variety of human ailments and the fertility of the native's imagination, necessitated the invention of yet other
These were sometimes superhuman, but only too often the tribe merely descended to the level of the African savage, and accused some medicine-man of the crime of causing disease. There would seem to be some reason in this if the medicine-man who had the case in hand were the one accused, but that was not the custom; it was a rival practitioner who bore the onus and
frequently paid the penalty with his life, as may be seen from the accompanying annals.
it would seem that every epidemic of any extent that ever affected the Pimas caused an almost wholesale destruction of medicine-men. In individual cases of malice on the part of the medicine-man the treatment is to sing the medicine song and afterwards to place four magic stones in a cup of water, taking out one at a time and holding it under the nose of the patient that he may inhale its power; then he must drink the water.
“If a person believes that a medicine-man has brought sickness upon his household he calls in another doctor to find the charm. The one consulted takes four assistants and searches day and night until some object is found which they can safely assume was hidden in the vicinity by the malicious medicine-man. When found, the object must not be touched for fear of death, but the mere discovery renders it harmless to the person against whom it was aimed.
“Sometimes the medicine-man causes sickness by shooting' charcoal, made from the burned body of an enemy, into someone who does not notice it at the time, but whose body burns in consequence. If it is sucked out before it is entirely consumed, the charcoal loses its power and the patient recovers.
“The badger causes a severe throat disease, which, however, is considered to be of rare occurrence. The remedy is to sing the badger song and to press the tail of the badger on the patient's neck.