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An Interview with Alberto Celaya, 1952

From: Journal of the Southwest
Volume 49, Number 3, Autumn 2007
pp. 433-487 | 10.1353/jsw.2007.0001

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

An Interview with Alberto Celaya, 1952


1. See Robert K. Thomas, “West of the Papago Indian Reservation, South of the Gila River, and the Problem of Sand Papago Identity” in Ethnology of Northwest Mexico, vol. 6 of Spanish Borderlands Sourcebooks, ed. Randall H. McGuire, 357–99. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1991; Reprint of 1953 report).

2. Henry F. Dobyns, personal communication, April 24, 2007.

3. Paul H. Ezell, “Field Book 1951–1955,” pp. 98, 100. Box 1, folder 6, Papers of Paul Howard Ezell, University of Arizona Library Special Collections, Tucson.

4. See Bill Broyles, “Paul Ezell in Papaguería,” in Fragile Patterns: Perspectives on Western Papaguería Archaeology, ed. Jeffrey H. Altschul and Adrianne G. Rankin (Tucson: Statistical Research, Inc., and University of Arizona Press, in press).

5. Paul H. Ezell to William W. Wasley, November 22, 1968. In Ezell Collection file at Arizona State Museum, Tucson.

6. Paul H. Ezell, “The Areneños (Sand Papago)—Interview with Alberto Celaya” [1951] in Ethnology of Northwest Mexico, ed. McGuire, 400–7. Also available in box 8, folder 7, in Papers of Paul Howard Ezell, University of Arizona Library Special Collections.

7. “Win” probably being ’güin, short for tesgüin or tesgüino.

8. Stenocereus thurberi, organ pipe cactus.

9. Quitovac was both an O'odham settlement and a sacred place commemorating where Moctezuma slew the monster. For a while Alberto Celaya lived at Quitovac.

10. Perhaps referring to the round gyratory crusher. See Julian D. Hayden., “Gyratory Crushers of the Sierra Pinacate, Sonora,” American Antiquity 32, no. 3 (1969):335–44.

11. Meaning or accuracy unknown. Possibly callo del burro or almeja burra = spiny oyster, Spondylus calcifer. Other educated guesses include caracol (general name for shellfish or gastropods; caracol burro [Strombus galeatus, Cortez conch); callo de something (scallop of some sort). Thanks to Sandy Lanham and Richard C. Brusca. For a fuller list of the food options, see Richard Stephen Felger, “Living Resources at the Center of the Sonoran Desert: Regional Uses of Plants and Animals by Native Americans,” in Dry Borders: Great Natural Reserves of the Sonoran Desert, ed. Richard Stephen Felger and Bill Broyles, 147–92 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2007). According to Thomas Childs, “The shell fish the Indians ate were mostly clams. They live in the sand and are very easily obtained. The oysters live on coral reefs, and are very hard to get to. Only in low tides can they reach them, and they don't eat them very much” (Thomas Childs with Henry F. Dobyns, “Sketch of the ‘Sand Indians,’” Kiva 19, nos. 2–4 (1954):27–39, quotation p. 33.

12. Probably cushaw squash, Cucurbita argyrosperma subsp. argyrosperma var. callicarpa. See Felger, “Living Resources.”

13. Hierba del manso is Anemopsis californica, a common wetland plant along the Río Sonoyta. See Richard Stephen Felger, Flora of the Gran Desierto and Río Colorado of Northwestern Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000); Felger, “Living Resources.”

14. Typha domingensis, cattails. Possibly Scirpus americanus, three-square bulrush. Both species are known as tule in Sonora.

15. Ures is a town on the Río Sonora northeast of Hermosillo.

16. The legend of El Jabonero appears in a number of tales and books about fabled lost lodes and mines.

17. Richard S. Felger reminds us that they had neither the fodder nor reliable water required by horses, so eating them was a logical course.

18. Peter R. Brady observed that Hia C'ed O'odham living near the gulf had teeth decayed level with their gums, and wondered if the gritty and acidic camote (Pholisma sonorae) was to blame (see L. R. Bailey, ed., Survey of a Route on the 32nd Parallel for the Texas Western Railroad, 1854: The A. B. Gray Report and Including the Reminiscences of Peter R. Brady Who Accompanied the Expedition (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1963), pp. 221–22. Tom Childs attributed this dental problem to clams: “Those Indians ate their Missmire clams raw, and opened them with their teeth. They were worn down from eating those clams” (Childs with Dobyns, “Sketch of the ‘Sand Indians,’” 32). Compare to Felger...