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The historical shift between the two types of account, from the earlier versions of 1694 and 1775 with no conquest to the later post-1875 versions with a conquest, amounts to a shift toward Christianity, as if the biblical Jesus were the stimulus for the idea of a murdered and revived man-god. In fact, such figures are known from elsewhere in native North America, especially among the Yuman tribes to the west of the Pima-Papago and in the Midwest. They are not common, however, and the Pima-Papago version is unique in having the god's killers be his own creation who reach a collective decision to execute him. Among the Yumans the killing is done by a daughter in secret using sorcery, and in the Midwest it is by foreign but Indian enemies.


We cannot and should not say that the dying god motif, as this element is called, required European stimulation, nor can we guess what Pima-Papago mythology would be like today without Europe. In general, we can learn considerable about the elements of New World mythologies prior to Europe, for there are elements that are widely shared in the New World and, in some cases, scarce in the Old. John Bierhorst's three books (1985, 1988, 1990) on North American, Mexican and Central American, and South American mythologies and Stith Thompson's The Folktale (1946) are excellent sources on these matters.[12] They positively establish both native, non-European-influenced myth elements and generic myth types. Such compilations show what North Americans worked with, analogous to the palette of a painter, but not what native North American mythologists made, analogous to paintings. They made historical portraits of themselves, which, like their societies, were adjusting, changing, and particular; and in general, we only receive good clear versions of these portrait histories after some centuries of European contact.

Now, if the Pima-Papago made increasingly Bible-like historical portraits, starting at least as far back as 1775 (their instruction in Christianity began in 1694), there are three important things to say about the extent of the similarity. First, of course, the result was not the Bible. Second, the Pima-Papago did not seek personal salvation in the figure of their murdered, or executed, man-god. And third, as already mentioned, they did approximate the Bible in stopping the heart of their story with the departure of the mangod, with the result that one learns as little of European doings from them as one does from the Bible.

I will enlarge on the second point now and take up the first and third points a bit later, relative to another Americanist text. There is a class of actions that I call "sacraments," meaning "ministrations to the soul." Every religious tradition has them. Those of Christianity are largely derived from the biblical narrative of Jesus, and this is especially true of Protestant Christianity, which tended to limit its sacraments to just two (baptism and communion) of the Catholic seven. The limit was imposed partly because those two were the only ones directly attributable to


Jesus. If the Reformation was largely fought over sacraments, then Protestant Christians have a deliberately narrowed sacramental life. They permit few direct human ministrations on human souls, and they put great faith instead on prayer and faith and on righteous but not formally sacramental individual conduct.

The Pima-Papago have always had native sacraments, the most prominent of which are for the cure of sickness by sucking, blowing, and singing. (See D. Bahr et al., Piman Shamanism [1974], on this.) Unlike the Christian sacraments, these native ones are not derived from the narrated life of the murdered man-god. Thus, according to the Smith-Allison mythology (story 3), the man-god Siuuhu directed that such cures be done, but he did not undergo them himself. Furthermore, this god's death and resurrection are not mentioned in any Pima-Papago ritual or ceremony—with one exception. This is the purification of successful warriors, that is, of enemy killers. It is a sacrament. Among other things, the warriors have water poured over them, and the whole is clearly a ministration to their souls. Siuuhu the murdered man-god is just one of several mythic characters whose deaths and revivals, or near -deaths and revivals, are recalled in war ceremonies and speeches. As we will see, Siuuhu receives this treatment twice. His first war sacrament is performed by an old woman after he has killed an eagle that has menaced the otherwise flourishing Hohokam (story 10). The second is done by a man-god in the underworld after he has recovered from the Hohokams' attempt to kill him (story 13). This sacramental legacy differs from that derived from Jesus in two respects: (1) it is narrower, being limited to war and reserved for killers, and (2) these war sacraments are not traced uniquely to Siuuhu.

I close this discussion of Christianity with some thoughts on native and non-Indian American churches. By "church" I mean "organized religion," more concretely, "a body of sacred texts, a body of sacraments, and a body of believers in and users of both." Surely most churches in America are Christian, and America began as a Protestant Christian nation, a "righteous empire" as the historian Martin Marty (1970) called this concept of nation. The Smith-Allison text may harmonize better with that con-


cept of America than any other Native American mythology yet published. Therefore, some readers may doubt the text's value to Indians. I doubted this when I first learned of the text from Hayden. As a white Indianist, I preferred my Indian materials to be non-Christian, or if Christian, at least not Protestant (my family's religion), or if Protestant, then not preacherly.

Now having matured and studied the text, I see it as an attempt, albeit limited and without the author's fully intending it, to establish a native Pima church. The church would have a scriptural base in this text. But since at least one of the authors (Allison) cherished the Bible, their native mythological scripture would function for them approximately as the Book of Mormon functions for Mormons, as a supplemental scripture, one that covers the New World in approximately the same spirit as the Bible covers the Old.

This much is true. The Book of Mormon and this text are both largely set in America. Notwithstanding that geographic overlap, however, the Book of Mormon and the Pima text have three important differences. First, the Mormon book is a supplement to and a conscious improvement on the Bible in a way that the Pima text is not. The clearest way to see this is by noting that the main burden of the Book of Mormon is to derive the American (New World) Indians from Israel. Most or all New World peoples are said or implied to descend from two brothers who sailed in a small party from a port near Israel around 400 B.C. Of these descendants, the group of greatest interest is said to have been extinguished around A.D. 600. The Book of Mormon is said to be largely a translation of writings made by these people and revealed to the young Joseph Smith in 1823.

The Smith-Allison text makes an equivalent claim, that the whites originated in today's Pima (then Hohokam) territory (story 10). But the Smith-Allison text does not provide the whites with a history, as it could not, I think, if Smith and Allison accepted the Bible. In short, the Book of Mormon, whose complexity is only touched on above, gives a massive accounting of ancient America, while the Smith-Allison text gives only a few sentences on Europe, or the Old World. Moreover, the massive Mormon accounting is constantly keyed to and relentlessly corrective of the


Old and New testaments of the Bible. The Israelite emigrants are led by a hitherto undocumented prophet. After the resurrection, Christ visited the New World peoples. God revealed and clarified himself more frequently in the New World than in the Old. This is why, according to its adherents, the Book of Mormon demands reading. It improves on the Bible by expanding it.

Not so with the Smith-Allison text. It mentions God but keeps him in heaven, out of the Hohokam consciousness. It omits Jesus. The text has several gods (Siuuhu is one) in the sense of persons who create and destroy things (the latter being monsters) for humanity's benefit. Gods in this sense are lacking in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, while such gods' relations with humanity are at the core of the Smith-Allison text. I assume that Smith and Allison felt that one's belief in these gods would violate the First Commandment, except for two mitigations. First, in general, the gods do not try to direct human history (they willingly create and destroy for people, but they show little long-term interest in human destiny, at least not on my reading),[13] and second, they do not require worship. If one interprets the First Commandment as strictly against the worship of gods other than God, then the Smith-Allison text and all other Pima-Papago mythologies known to me meet that commandment.[14]

It may not be true that a tribal people such as the Pimas could not both accept the Bible and supply the whites with a history. I assume that tribal peoples including the Pimas considered the Bible to be a history of whites (not necessarily of Europeans but of whites, even the whites) and that they were unwilling to Indianize, or New World-ize, that history analogous to how the Mormons Israelized the Indians' history.[15] My reasoning on this is simple: whoever accepts a history should not change it. Indians accepted Europe's history of itself; Mormons did not accept Indians' histories of themselves.

Second is a difference that may be more apparent than real. The Book of Mormon was revealed to Joseph Smith in written form (written in "reformed hieroglyphs" on gold plates), while the Smith-Allison text is oral. Historians would agree that Israel had writing at the time the Mor-


mons believe Israelites populated the New World. The Mormons hold that these literate immigrants were scrupulous keepers of history. Therefore, what was revealed to Joseph Smith was not mere oral history but contemporary documentation. I say that this difference is more apparent than real for two reasons. First, the Pima-Papago claim to have well-preserved eyewitness testimony in their songs. Second, Smith had to translate the hieroglyphs into English. Without taking away from the majesty of his reading (the plates were secluded once the reading was finished), I feel a similarity, or an equivalent spontaneity, between Smith's reading such a story for the first time from the plates and a Pima narrator's remembering a long story. If one disbelieves in the plates, then Smith created a gigantic work of prose myth from memory. If one believes in them, one feels the same awe as on hearing a Pima speak long prose stories from memory.

There is a third and final point to make on the Book of Mormon and the Smith-Allison text. The Book of Mormon is not the only founding document of that religion. There are two more, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price . The first consists of revelations received by Smith concerning the establishment, governance, and codification of the church he was to found (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and the second is a selection of Smith's writings, namely, portions of his uncompleted revised English translation of the Bible, a partial autobiography, and a brief early statement on church articles of faith (Jackson 1985: 74–79).[16] Those two works remind us that it takes more than scripture or origin accounts to make a church.

Surely not all churches, still less all religions, must be organized as explicitly as the Doctrine and Covenants organizes the Mormons. Noting that churches are collective and communal, however, let us say that they must have some shared sense of how they came into existence (possibly an account of world origins, possibly something more modest) and that they must have a body of sacraments. What they need not have is centralization and its correlate, officially authorized codification.

I now wish to contrast three contemporary Native


American formations on those aspects of churchness. The three are the Smith-Allison mythology as representative of native North American tribal mythologies in general; the centralized, officially codified constitutional governments now in effect among most tribes; and the Native American ("Peyote") church. In the background will be what I term "established" U.S. churches, such as the Mormons, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholics. The established churches share one trait uniquely with the Native American church and not with any tribal mythology or centralized tribal government. This is that the churches are incorporated as nonprofit corporations in one of the several United States.[17]

Now, the Smith-Allison text implies a church insofar as it enjoins sacraments; and this implied church thrives insofar as those sacraments are successfully ministered to present peoples' souls. In fact, the mythologically enjoined sacraments were ministered somewhat successfully to Pima-Papago souls in the 1930s (more to Papagos than Pimas), but this is much less true today. Not only is the war rite partially derived from Siuuhu now obsolete (it was virtually obsolete by the 1930s, being upheld only in mock battles against "straw" enemies; Underhill et al. 1979: 89–139) but the sacraments of the established U.S. churches along with folk versions of the same now have a strong hold on nearly everyone (Bahr 1988a ). The one native sacramental tradition that remains strong is the medicine men's curing, the origin of which is given in story 3; but these cures are themselves shifting from old-fashioned subjects such as wild animals to more modern subjects such as God and the Devil (Bahr 1988b ).

Every native tribe is densely served by missions and congregations of the established churches. The number of churches per thousand residents on Indian land is probably greater than the number per thousand anywhere else in America. Each of these reservation churches has some members who shun native sacraments. For this reason if for no other, no tribal government could easily establish its traditional mythology and sacraments as an official church. Another inhibition is the U.S. Bill of Rights, which forbids the establishment of one religion. Perhaps that law applies


also to tribes, or at least to tribespeople. In any case, to my knowledge no tribe had the tradition of privileging one mythology and set of sacraments against all others, and none has recently acted to do so.

Tribes do increasingly officially involve themselves in religion or religiouslike matters. They pass resolutions and send delegations to bless and protect sacred sites within and outside their reservation boundaries, and they may require instruction in their past, uncentralized, churchlike traditions as a condition for employment. In these respects they function as attenuated state churches: attenuated in their ministry to souls but statist. One senses this statism when one considers why tribes do not file for corporate status under the laws of any of the fifty United States. Tribes are too sovereign to do this. Conversely, the established U.S. religions that do this (I believe that they all do) are less sovereign than tribes.

Finally, the Native American church is precisely an established U.S. church (incorporated in various states) and not a tribe. Its members are almost entirely Indian, but most of these members belong to a sovereign tribe with an uncentralized churchlike mythology and body of sacraments. The myths and sacraments of those tribe-churches are other than the myths and sacraments of the Native American church. Although decentralized, the offices and liturgy of this church are exceptionally well codified (see the Appendix in Omer Stewart's The Peyote Religion [1987] for an equivalent of the Mormons' Doctrine and Covenants , the Church Canons of 1948 for the Native American church). The central sacrament is the nightlong Peyote Meeting in which the cactus is eaten, analogous to the Christian communion. Interestingly, the church lacks a mythology equivalent to that of Smith-Allison. There is a generally shared origin story of the peyote sacrament itself. Briefly, a young woman grieved for the loss of her brother in warfare. She went in search of him, found him in resurrected form (such that he could not rejoin the living), and received the sacrament (peyote) from him along with instructions on its use in groups, in other words, instructions on how to form the ritual aspect of the church (Stewart 1987: 36). This is not a long, primordial set of origins as in Smith-Allison, nor is it


a Bible-like history as in the Book of Mormon, except in this sense. Stewart's excellent book is based on his own eyewitness accounts and the personal testimony of hundreds of peyote leaders. It approximates what the Mormons believe they have in their accounts from the ancient Israelite migrants, the travails of a band of seekers.

I have made this brief survey to indicate what the Smith-Allison mythology is and is not. I believe it is very much a part of a religion and a church—traditional Pima-Papago religion—and this makes it more than a recollection of the Hohokam or a free play of the imagination. It is not a full religion because its sacraments have wavered and withered as its people have drifted to or were conscripted by other religions (including the Native American church, but still only slightly among Pimas) and because it honors the First Commandment: it honors and builds its house of myth within.[18]

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