Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pueblo and Pima Indian Hospitality Described

Pueblo Indian Hospitality Described

Among the Village Indians of New Mexico the same hospitality is now extended to Americans visiting their pueblos, and which presumptively is simply a reflection of their usage among themselves and toward other tribes. In 1852 Dr. Tenbroeck, assistant surgeon United States Army, accompanied his command to the Moki pueblos. In his journal he remarks: "Between eleven and twelve to-day we arrived at the first towns of Moki. All the inhabitants turned out, crowding the streets and house-tops to have a view of the white men. All the old men pressed forward to shake hands with us, and we were most hospitably received and conducted to the governor's house, where we were at once feasted upon guavas and a leg of mutton broiled upon the coals. After the feast we smoked with them, and they then said that we should move our camp in, and that they would give us a room and plenty of wood for the men, and sell us corn for the animals." [Footnote: Schoolcraft's History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes, iv. 81.]
In 1858 Lieut. Joseph C. Ives was at the Moki Pueblo of Mooskahneh [Mi-shong-i-ni-vi]. "The town is nearly square," he remarks, "and surrounded by a stone wall fifteen feet high, the top of which forms a landing extending around the whole. Flights of stone steps lead from the first to a second landing, upon which the doors of the houses open. Mounting the stairway opposite to the ladder, the chief crossed to the nearest door and ushered us into a low apartment, from which two or three others opened towards the interior of the dwelling. Our host courteously asked us to be seated upon some skins spread along the floor against the wall and presently his wife brought in a vase of water and a tray filled with a singular substance that looked more like sheets of thin blue wrapping paper rolled up into bundles than anything else that I have ever seen. I learned afterwards that it was made of corn meal, ground very fine, made into a gruel, and poured over a heated stone to be baked. When dry it has a surface slightly polished like paper. The sheets are folded and rolled together, and form the staple article of food with the Moki Indians. As the dish was intended for our entertainment, and looked clean, we all partook of it. It had a delicate fresh-bread flavor, and was not at all unpalatable, particularly when eaten with salt." [Footnote: Report upon Colorado River of the West, Lieut. Ives, p. 121.]
Lieutenant-Colonel (now General) Emory visited the Pima villages on the Gila River in 1846. "I rode leisurely in the rear through the thatched huts of the Pimas. Each abode consisted of a dome-shaped wicker-work about six feet high, and from twenty to fifty feet in diameter, thatched with straw or cornstalks. In front is usually a large arbor, on top of which is piled the cotton on the pod for drying. In the houses were stowed watermelons, pumpkins, beans, corn, and wheat, the three last articles generally in large baskets. Sometimes the corn was in baskets, covered with earth, and placed on the tops of the domes. A few chickens and dogs were seen, but no other domestic animals except horses, mules, and oxen…. Several acquaintances formed in our camp yesterday, were recognized, and they received me cordially, made signs to dismount, and when I did so offered watermelons and pinole. Pinole is the heart of Indian corn, baked, ground up, and mixed with sugar. When dissolved in water it affords a delicious beverage; it quenches thirst, and is very nutritious…. The population of the Pimas and Maricopas together is estimated variously at from three to ten thousand. The first is evidently too low. This peaceful and industrious race are in possession of a beautiful and fertile basin. Living remote from the civilized world they are seldom visited by whites, and then only by those in distress, to whom they generously furnish horses and food." [Footnote: Military Reconnaissance in New Mexico, pp. 85, 86.]