Hiakim: The Yaqui Homeland
This is where the matter stood when at the end of July 1991 we dropped the manuscript of this essay off at the offices of the Journal of the Southwest. At the same time we sent copies to a few colleagues for their comment. One went to Donald Bahr, an anthropologist at Arizona State University, whose careful reading of the manuscript has greatly strengthened it. Another went to Rosamond Spicer. On August 2, Roz Spicer called: "Larry, I found some files that slipped down behind the drawers. I think you and Felipe should come out and look at them."
We arranged to spend a morning at the Spicer house a few days later. An exciting morning it was for us. Roz dug out photographs she had taken in Potam, and she and Felipe were able to find photographs of a number of the Yaquis we knew only by name from our conversations with Don Alfonso. Meanwhile Larry read the lost file Roz discovered. It did indeed contain a typescript of Juan Valenzuela's version of the "Testamento" dated March 12, 1942. That version is published below. Access to the 1942 typescript of Juan Valenzuela's version quickly answered some of the questions we labor over above. It existed, and in essentially the form and with the parts contained in Don Alfonso's version. That is, we were wrong about our speculation that the second part was added in the early 1950s. But other questions remained. Especially, what were the circumstances under which the typescript was made? Was Spicer's typescript the first written version of this narrative? Roz generously showed us the drawers of files and invited us to have a look for anything that might help. In a few minutes we located a file titled "Potam Draft and Fieldnotes" and in that file two wonderful sketches: one a portrait titled "Juan M. Valenzuela," the other an account of the recording of Valenzuela's stories at Rahum titled "Mythology." In "Mythology," Spicer writes of the stories:
So Juan Valenzuela had a version of the "Testamento" written down in a line-ruled notebook before he met with Spicer. Indeed, in his fieldnotes for March 2, 1942, Spicer indicates that Juan Valenzuela himself reported that the Yaquis at Rahum had enjoyed an active engagement with books and writing until it was disrupted: "In Rahum they used to have many things such as typewriters and books, but these were lost when everybody took to the hills. Everyone left Rahum in 1927 and went into the hills. They are trying to raise enough money to buy another typewriter but so far everyone there is too poor."
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1. When we are able to work from tape recordings we present our transcriptions and translations in lines. Line breaks indicate pauses on the original recording. A related issue has to do with the spelling of proper names. Our practice is as follows: In the transcription and translation of the "Testamento," we followed Don Alfonso's usage exactly. And, in quotations, of course, we also follow Don Alfonso. In referring to Yaqui place names elsewhere, we use current Yaqui spellings, as provided by Felipe Molina. A map standard spelling is given in parentheses.
2. Literally "the ones with knives," fr. Yaqui kuchi'im, "knives."
3. Italics here and following indicate material written solely by Felipe S. Molina.
4. See Gilbert Duke Bartell, "Directed Change Among the Sonoran Yaquis" (Univ. of Arizona: Ph.D. diss., 196¢), for a discussion of the founding of the Guasimas fishing cooperative.
5. We quote some of Miki Romero's recollections of these times on "The Mescal Agave Talks Like That " a poster published as a part of "Singing Down Roots," an exhibition organized by Paul Mirocha on plant folklore of the Sonoran Desert, Office of Arid Lands Studies, University of Arizona, 1990.
6. The total time the Spicers spent in Potam and the Rio Yaqui area was of course longer than this. It is detailed in Potam 3-4.
7. Thomas E. Sheridan suggests that the "sense of history" of Yaquis such as Juan Valenzuela deeply affected Spicer's own developing understanding of the importance of history to anthropology (171).
8. An item in the Spicer Collection Arizona State Museum Archives, which is dated 13 April 1942 and which appears to be an outline of Giddings's thesis, indicates that Spanish language texts existed in their working files at the time. We assumethat in deference to the wishes of the Yaquis with whom they worked, Spicer and Giddings chose not to publish those texts.
9. One such translation, English to Spanish, of Giddings's "The Flood and the Prophets" does now exist in Ma. Eugenia Olavarria, Analisis Estructural de la Mitologia Yaqui 73 74 a study published in 1989.
10. See Giddings, Folk Literature, and Fabila, Las TribusYaqui, 216 18, on Ambrosio Castro.
11. It was also of course, a time of significant changes globally as World War11 got underway, and a difficult time to be working in the Rio Yaqui area. The Spicers were evacuated from the Rio Yaqui area along with other North Americans in April 1942, cutting short their stay in Potam (Rosamond Spicer 1990:15).
12. This is a point made by Gerald Burns of performance and interpretation of the central Hebrew text, the Torah. Burns is quoted in Arnold Krupat, "Post Structuralism and Oral Literature," 123. See also Dennis Tedlock's discussion of the practice of Quiche Mayan writers in "From Voice and Ear to Hand and Eye," especially 11 12.
13. By way of comparing the "Testamento" to other "flood myths" it is interesting to note that Fernando Horcasitas's extensive review of Mexican flood myths indicates that a major characteristic is that "none of them emphasize the causes of the cataclysm." He speculates that "the myths that do contain explanations are strongly influenced by European ideas" (Horcasitas 1988:186). This comparative perspective turns first impressions of the question of influence around, as the "Testamento" advances no explanations for the flood.
14. Note a similar move as the single group of survivors in Genesis, Noah and his family, give way in the Yaqui "Testamento" to include some 53 persons and 21 domestic animals saved on 8 different peaks throughout Yaqui land. See Spicer, The Yaquis, 167.
15. Don Alfonso uses u eteori lei /law talk, sealei /flower law and Yaqui law as equivalent. See Jane Kelley, "Law Talk," and Spicer, Potam , where he writes: "it is believed that all procedure in church and village meetings is based on such law which once existed in written form" (163).
16. A letter from the office of Ernest W McFarland, Governor of the State of Arizona, dated April 30, 1958, indicates that "General Juan Sopohumea Bahicea, Jose Guadalupe Gonzales Paredes and Antonio Mabis today conferred with Governor McFarland at his offices in the Capitol Building in Phoenix, Arizona" (Evers/Molina files).
17. Lutes, in "Yaqui Indian Enclavement," reports, "During my stay in Potam , no less than seven delegations were sent to Mexico City in order to discuss problems thought to involve the tribe's rights under the 1936 decrees. Such grievances usually center around land disputes" (14).