Papago Literature: Other Sources

Papago Literature: Other Sources

The works of Ruth Murray Underhill are the most reliable, readable sources on Papago literature and life presently available. Singing for Power: The Song Magic of the Papago Indians (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1938) is once again available in paperback, as is Papago Woman (1936; rev, ed. N.Y.: Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1979), an autobiography of Maria Chona. Chona's life also serves as the basis for Underhill's novel Hawk Over Whirlpools (New York: J. J. Augustin, 1940). The Papago Indians of Arizona and Their Relatives the Pimas (Washington, D. C.: GPO, 1941) and People of the Crimson Evening (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1951) are very helpful, pamphlet-length, introductory works. They are unfortunately not widely available. More scholarly discussions of Papago life are given in Papago Indian Religion (New York: Columbia University Press, 1946) and Social Organization of the Papago Indians (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939).

Underhill's work with Papago orations has been continued by Professor Donald Bahr of Arizona State University, in collaboration with various Papago experts. With Underhill, Baptisto Lopez, Jose Pancho, and David Lopez, Bahr has recently published Rainhouse and Ocean: Speeches for the Papago Year (Flagstaff: Museum of Northern Arizona Press, 1979). With the help of Juan Gregorio, David Lopez, and Albert Alvarez, Bahr wrote a bi-lingual study of Papago religion Piman Shamanism and Staying Sickness (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1974). Bahr has published a third bi-lingual study of three ritual speeches titled Pima and Papago Ritual Oratory (San Francisco: Indian Historian Press, 1975). The study contains some sharp critiques of what is published as "Indian literature." An example: "We invent 'Indian literatures' just as 19th century medicine showmen invented Indian Herbal Remedies. "

Long out of print, Harold Bell Wright's Long Ago Told: Legends of the Papago Indians (New York: D. Appleton, 1929) is an early collection of Papago narratives available in some libraries, More recent, reliable, and bi-lingual is Dean and Lucille Saxton's Legends and Lore of the Papago and Pima Indians (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1973).

Frances Densmore gathered a collection of Papago songs in Papago Music, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 90 (Washington, D. C.: GPO, 1929). Frank Russell's The Pima Indians (1905; re-edition Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1975) contains large selections of Piman stories, songs, and speeches.

A number of good sound recordings of Papago song are available. Two from Canyon Records are Papago Dance Songs (Canyon C-6098), which includes sixteen Chelkona and Keihina dance songs recorded at Santa Rosa village, and Traditional Papago Music, Vol. I (Canyon C-6084), which includes social dance, toka game, diagnosis, curing, and saguaro wine ceremony songs.

Some prose and poetry written by Papago students is given by T.D. Allen in her collection Arrows Four: Prose and Poetry by Young American Indians (New York: Washington Square Press, 1974).

Byrd Baylor's Yes Is Better Than No (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977) is a fictional account of a group of urban Papago people living in Tucson.

The Papago Runner is a monthly newspaper published by the Papago Tribe and edited by Stanley Throssel at Sells, Arizona.

As printed in Larry Evers, ed. The South Corner of Time. Tucson, Ariz.: The University of Arizona Press, ©1980, p. 186.