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HISTORY, AND LEGENDS—CHIEFS-MEDICINE
LANGUAGE-WORSHIP_LEGEND OF ORIGIN. HAVASUPAI (“blue or green water people”). A small isolated tribe of the Yuman stock (the nucleus of which is believed to have descended from the Wallapai) who occupy Cataract Canyon of the Rio Colorado in northwestern Arizona. Whipple (Pac. R. R. Rep., III pt. I, 82, 1856) was informed in 1850 that the
Cosninos” roamed from the Sierra Mogollon to the San Francisco mountains, and along the valley of the Colorado Chiquito. The tribe is a peculiarly interesting one, since of all the Yuman tribes it is the only one which has developed or borrowed a culture similar to, though less advanced, than that of the Pueblo peoples; indeed, according to tradition, the Havasupai (or more probably a Pueblo clan or tribe that became incorporated with them) formerly built and occupied villages of a permanent character on the Colorado Chiquito east of the San Francisco mountains, where ruins were pointed out to Powell by a Havasupai chief as the former homes of his people. As the result of the war with tribes farther east, they abandoned these villages and took refuge in the San Francisco mountains, subsequently leaving these for
their present abode. In this connection it is of interest to note that the Cosnino caves on the upper Rio Verde, near the northern edge of Tonto basin, central Arizona, were named for this tribe, because of their supposed early occupancy by them. Their present village, composed of temporary cabins or shelters of wattled canes and branches and earth in summer, and of the natural caves and crevices in winter, is situated 115 miles north of Prescott and seven miles south of the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai are well formed, though of medium stature. They are skilled in the manufacture and use of implements, and especially in preparing raw material, like buckskin. The men are expert hunters, the women adept in the manufacture of baskets which, when lined with clay, serve also as cooking utensils. Like the other Yuman tribes, until affected by white influences during recent years, their clothing consisted chiefly of deerskin and, for the sake of ornament, both men and women painted their faces with a thick, smooth coating of fine red ocher or blue paint prepared from wild indigo; tattooing and scarification for ornament were also sometimes practiced. In summer they subsist chiefly upon corn, calabashes, sunflower seeds, melons, peaches, and apricots, which they cultivate by means of irrigation, and also the wild datila and mescal; in winter principally upon the flesh of game, which they hunt in the surrounding uplands and mountains. While a strictly sedentary people, they are unskilled in the manufacture of earthenware and obtain their more modern implements and utensils, except basketry, by
barter with the Hopi, with which people they seem always to have had closer affiliation than with their Yuman kindred. Their weapons in war and the chase were rude clubs and pikes of hard wood, bows and arrows, and, formerly, slings; but firearms have practically replaced these more primitive appliances.
Mr. F. H. Cushing, who can be classed as the premier archaeologist of Arizona and New Mexico, having spent a number of years among the Zunis, and being the first to explore the ruins of the Salt River Valley, has given us in an article printed in the Atlantic Monthly, in 1882, the following description of the habits, history and legends of the Havasupais:
“A most curious fact, and a very significant one in the consideration of the origin of the Havasupai, is the absence of the Gentile system of descent or organization among them, their society consanguineally being patriarchal; but they claim to be the people of the Coyote, which indicates that one gens has absorbed all the others, or else that they are, as seems more probable, a single gens, which has separated from its original body, and never again developed the separate gentes, as has been the case with other segregated clans among Indians. I incline to this belief from the fact that the Hualapai, to whom their relationship is indisputable, have, as subsequent investigations have shown, the Gentile and Phratral systems, certainly to some extent. And as far as I can ascertain this is also the case with the Apache-Yumas and Apache-Mohaves, who are only other divisions of the same stock. Descent is therefore not
through the mother, but through the father, and marriage, to use the words of my informant, can take place wherever the one loves the other and the other loves the one, and their wants are the same. Why not?' 'We know nothing else,' he added, “for our father is the Coyote, and he never told us anything else. How should a Coyote teach his children what he neither knows nor practices himself ?'
“They are polygamists, the number of wives a man shall have being limited, apparently, only by the number he can procure, or by his means for supporting them. These marriages are constant, the only ground for divorce being unfaithfulness, which, with the women of rare occurrence, scarcely exists with the men, as a cause. Betrothals by purchase or stipulation are common, a girl of seven or eight summers being frequently promised to a man as old as, or even older than, her father. Marriages are therefore, with the girls, usually very early in life; with the men, late. In consequence of this polygamy, a large number of the men are unmarried, the women being monopolized, with or without their will, by the wealthier and more influential men of the tribe. The male population is in excess of the female; hence it sometimes happens that Hualapai squaws are married, and in one instance a Moqui woman, a probable outcast from her own nation, was observed by us.
“The children do not seem to have regular property, as with the Pueblos, until after puberty, although, on the death of the father, his portable property is inherited by the son, for sacrifice at the rites to be described further on.