7. Cartographic Narratives of Cultural Exoticism: Stories with Local Color
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148 seven Cartographic Narratives of Cultural Exoticism Stories with Local Color The previous chapter discussed cartographic narratives constructed around place. This chapter shifts the focus from Arizona places to the “exotic” groups of people who inhabited those places. Colonial Spaniards and Native Americans dominate Arizona’s narratives of the exotic Other. Numerous maps depict Arizona as either a Spanish colony awash in golden stucco, or a native habitat peopled by gentle savages. Some images depict both. As usual, early issues of Arizona Highways provide succinct introductions to these interrelated themes. The narratives constructed around the Kino missions combine the motifs of Spanish colony and native habitat. San Xavier del Bac and Tumacacori played a recurring role in Arizona Highways cartographs. The next section discusses a number of cartographic illustrations that feature these two Kino missions. However , written texts and landscape photographs offer an important glimpse of the context in which these illustrations were produced and consumed. San Xavier and Tumacacori are part of a chain of almost two dozen missions, called the “Kino missions” after the Jesuit priest popularly credited with introducing Christianity into the Sonoran Desert region. According to apocryphal history, Father Kino founded three missions on what is now the North American side of the border with Mexico. Two are still extant, attracting twentieth- and twentyfirst -century tourist traffic. San Xavier del Bac stands some ten miles south of downtown Tucson, and religious services still take place in the well-preserved (and frequently restored) buildings there. Tumacacori, located between Tubac and Nogales, became a national monument in 1908.1 Little remains of the original structure; the site is essentially a ruin. Guevavi, the third of Arizona’s Kino Cartographic Narratives of Cultural Exoticism  •  149 missions, is no longer extant. Kino had little to do with the missions as twentiethcentury tourists saw them. He died in 1711 and construction at San Xavier began more than than sixty-five years later. Certainly, Eusebio Francisco Kino (c. 1645–1711) did visit Sonora and undertake missionary work with the region’s native inhabitants. The missions that bear his name, however, were constructed after his death. “The mission churches that now stand in northern Sonora and in Arizona are the work of Franciscans of a later date,” a 1950 history of southwestern architecture acknowledges, “but Father Kino had paved the way.”2 As an icon of Spanish mission activity, then, Kino stands out in the southwestern imagination. Arizona Highways featured its first Kino story in 1926, the magazine’s second year of publication. In the story, a member of the Automobile Club of Southern Arizona described “the romance of mission days” in Arizona, describing San Xavier as a “beautiful white structure,” the “best preserved of all mission buildings in the Southwest.”3 Later that year, another story traced the “Footsteps of the Padres and the Conquitsdores” [sic]. Two photographs accompanied the text—one of San Xavier, described as “one of the most interesting missions to be found in America,” and one of Tumacacori, then a newly declared national monument scheduled for restoration.4 Considering that Arizona Highways printed only twenty-seven photographs and no illustrations during the entire twelveissue 1926 publication year, the two large images of the Kino missions represent a significant investment of pictorial and financial resources. The photographs share several formal similarities, and they establish a standardized pictorial treatment for the missions. Shot at eye-level some distance from the structures, the images depict empty desert in the foreground, the missions themselves in the midground, and distant mountains in the background. The buildings occupy roughly a quarter of their respective picture planes, and they sit at the horizontal center and to the vertical left of the landscape-oriented frame. Above all, the photographs pose as documentary artifacts: straightforward, neutral, and factual. They seem to allow the armchair tourist to base his or her fantasies on visual observation (albeit once removed) of the physical environment. In 1936, Ross Calvin described San Xavier as a triumph of Europe’s civilizing influence on the Americas. “A few miles south of where the city of Tucson now stands, palm-crowned,” he writes, Father Kino “founded the Mission of San Xavier among the lowly mud huts of the Pima Indians.”5 In this version of the story, Kino represents Spanish sophistication imparted onto the local primitives. The 1939 and 1940 Christmas issues feature San Xavier and Tumacacori, respectively , and they continue to juxtapose the Spanish and Indian as opposing forms of the exotic. By now...


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