about table of contents home

CHAPTER IV:
CHRISTIAN CONVERSION

76E. Transculturation in Ritual

Implied in the above discussion is Piman acceptance of Spanish baptismal names to some extent, at least. Probably the missionaries simply assigned familiar saints' names which they could at least pronounce to adults who had not been baptized. Some had certainly been baptized, and the priests were making progress with the baptism of children whom they christened with Spanish names.

The Tubac Pimans, like other northern Pimans, very likely regarded baptism as a magical curing rite performed by the Spaniards' black-robed shamans, and were therefore more receptive to this rite than any other.

The number of marriages performed at Tubac by a priest in the seven year period 1745-1751 is more puzzling. Christian burial was clearly much less attractive to the Tubac Indians than baptism and marriage. They very likely felt that once a person died, there was nothing the Spanish shamans could do to help, and their interference with traditional burial practices was probably regarded as a hindrance to the soul of the departed. During the same seven year period that saw eighteen baptisms and fourteen marriages at Tubaca, only two individuals were buried by the church, in 1745 (Santos Angeles de Guebavi, Libro de Entierros, p. 49) and 1750 (ibid., p. 53). These two Christian burials stand in stark contrast also to the continued high mortality from infectious epidemics which further reduced the Tubaca and neighboring 77populations between the first recorded identification of the place in 1726 and the winter of 1751.

ROMAN CATHOLIC RITES OF PASSAGE
AT TUBAC RANCHERIA, 1745-1751

Year

Baptisms

Marriages

Burials

1745

2

0

1

1746

0

1

0

1747

4

1

0

1748

5

3

0

1749

3

2

0

1750

2

5

1

1751

2

2

0

Total

18

14 (persons)

2

(Santos Angeles de Guebavi, Libros de
Bautisoms, Casamientos, y Entierros)

 

CONTINUE
TABLE OF CONTENTS