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Part 8— Siuuhu's Death and Resurrection
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Part 8—
Siuuhu's Death and Resurrection

At this point in the mythology, war ceremonies, crops, marriage, and a host of other things have originated, and the two mortal menaces, the witch and the man-eagle, have been eliminated. All this occurred in the era of the Hohokam, so it is clear why I call the mythology "The Hohokam Chronicles." In truth, nearly everything of mythic import to the Pima-Papago occurred in the Hohokam era.

That time nears its end in the present part, because the Hohokam kill Siuuhu. Following our normal method of augmenting and contrasting Smith-Allison with Thin Leather and with a Papago source, we will find this time that Smith-Allison's version of Siuuhu's death is generally Christian and specifically like the neo-orthodox Protestant theology of Reinhold Niebuhr.

According to Smith and Allison, the Hohokam "thought they understood more than Siuuhu," and they spent four days asking him presumptuous and embarrassing questions: Who is God, and who are God's son, father, and mother image What is Siuuhu's status as son of the earth (see story 1) image Why does Siuuhu permit weeds to grow, and why did he permit the Corn child to die (story 5) image Why is cactus used to make wine (story 7) image

In the introduction I said that the figure of Siuuhu is like Jesus because both are killed and resurrected. This is true, but prior to his death, Smith and Allison's Siuuhu acts more like the Old Testament God than the New Testament Jesus. Thus, on the Old Testament analogy, the Hohokams' interrogation of Siuuhu equates with humanity's fall from grace in Eden. The Hohokam interrogation is humanity's first, and also fatal, disobedience to God. All the sin that we have seen heretofore in the mythology was done in innocence of this one Great Sin.[1]


It is fairly clear that the above was Smith and Allison's position, but it was not the position of Thin Leather or Dolores's Papago narrator. They and nearly every known Pima-Papago source (the key exception being the Font text) have Siuuhu killed, but they trace the killing to something quite close to the story of Chief Jenasat's theft of Morning Green Chief's women. To them, Siuuhu is an ardent attendee at the Hohokams' celebrations for their girls' coming of age, that is, their puberty ceremonies.[2] At these ceremonies he sings very attractive songs, and according to Thin Leather, he absconds with the girls.

Smith and Allison must have known this other, earthy explanation for why Siuuhu was killed. It is easy to imagine that Smith and Allison found that explanation to be lacking in dignity, but I suggest that they also found it lacking in theology. Thus, I think that they wanted to reform their mythology in the direction of a Protestant sense of Original Sin; and they correctly understood that this Protestant sense is not tied to an episode with an apple but to the idea which I find in Niebuhr, of vain human disobedience to God.[3] Smith and Allison express this idea in the Hohokam interrogation of Siuuhu.

In effect, Thin Leather, Dolores, and most other Pima-Papago narrators humanize Siuuhu at this point in their mythologies, while Smith and Allison deify him. In either case, it is important to realize that at this point in the mythology Siuuhu has finished his creating and monster killing. Thrilling and significant as those accomplishments were, they are now finished.

Siuuhu has always lived in isolation from the Hohokam settlements. Although he resembles a Hohokam chief in attending song fests and contesting for women, according to Thin Leather, he is not a normal chief because he will not marry. If he had married, had started a great-house, and had raised children, perhaps the Hohokam would not have wanted him dead. But he would also not be a god; or rather he would have stopped being one if I am correct that "gods" in this mythology are people who cannot marry and reproduce normally and who in not doing so are gifted with greater than human powers of creation. This, then, was Siuuhu's dilemma in the mythologies: what will he do


when the era of creation is over image Thin Leather and Dolores answer that he will become a pest at fiestas.

Smith and Allison answer differently. They deny any social visits by Siuuhu to humanity, except for this last visit when humanity questions his past actions. Smith and Allison make him into a god like Jehovah, into whom humanity can and should not probe.

The texts divide differently on the means used to kill Siuuhu. Smith-Allison and Thin Leather have humanity try successively but unsuccessfully to kill him. According to them, humanity ultimately resorts to the god Buzzard. Dolores, however, has the killing accomplished by a human Siwani, that is, a great-house chief. We will take up more of this Dolores text in the next part, for it not only simplifies the killing of Siuuhu but renders the Hohokam conquest as a very brief affair.

Story 12—
Siuuhu's Death and Resurrection

The medicine men thought that they understood more than Siuuhu, and the people were mad at him. They used an old word for madness, i-a-no-ty-kik ,[a] against him because they thought they knew more than he did.

They asked Siuuhu questions, "What is Jeoss image" and "Whose son is Jeoss image" (There are different Pima words for "son," one referring to [the son of a] father and one to [the son of a] mother—so "Who were


Jeoss's father and mother image") Siuuhu answered, "When you put the corn seed in the ground, nobody knows where it gets its life and how it comes out from the ground. Only Jeoss, and nobody else, knows this. That's why there is a rule that nobody can find out where Jeoss came from."

Siuuhu told the people that Jeoss was the father of the heavens and earth. Then the people said, "Why did you kill this corn baby image"[4] Siuuhu answered that it is Jeoss's duty to do his own will, whatever is right. Then the people asked, "Why do you make all of the weeds among the good things in our fields, weeds that are not good to eat image" Siuuhu answered that one reason why these weeds were made is because people had done a great wrong.

Then the people asked, "Why did you make the good fruit on the saguaro and make it into a strong drink which makes the people drunk and they make pleasure of it image" Siuuhu said, "The reason these things happen is because, when a man has a little son, who doesn't have any sense, who is about to fall in the fire, it is the father's duty to grab the son and drag him from the fire so he won't get hurt."

The people argued with Siuuhu for four days, asking him all these questions. Then they left him. They held meetings by themselves to plan how they would kill him. When he found out the thoughts of these people, Siuuhu said that one love had split into


two, meaning that one was a righteous and one was an unrighteous love.

The next morning some of the people went to where Siuuhu was. They said to him, "You have done something that is not right. You are the son of the earth and we are going to kill you." They struck him on the head and killed him.

The next morning Siuuhu was alive again, but his head was ruined. When night came, the people held another meeting and explained how things were and said they would kill him again. They went and came to Siuuhu again and struck him on the head and killed him. Then they took his bones apart and cut the flesh from them and threw it in different directions.

The next morning he was alive in his regular form. At night they had another meeting and said they would kill him again. This time they went and killed him and cut his form into smaller pieces which they threw a farther distance than before, and they ground his flesh into hamburger, cooked it, and mixed it with dirt so it looked like nothing. This was the third time they killed Siuuhu.

[But he came back to life again.] Then the people had meetings for four days and argued as to how they could kill Siuuhu and be rid of him. One of them spoke up and said, "I am going to kill that


man." The man who spoke was the one who had fixed the earth and the mountains and was the Buzzard (mnui ).[c] When the people heard this, they put their desire as one with this Buzzard and told him to go ahead and do it.

When night came, this man [Buzzard] went out and went straight upward into the air. There are four kinds of winds in the sky, which he went through, and finally he came to the sun. Then he sang:

I am climbing and
I am meeting
I am climbing
I am climbing.

He got some heat that was stronger than Siuuhu's life, and he also got a bow, and he came down. When he had gone down some distance, he saw the earth under him and sang this song:

I am going and
Below I could dimly see the earth.
In this earth the breath of Siuuhu
Is coming out blue.

At the end of the song he shot with his bow to the earth.

At that time, on the earth, Siuuhu felt his heart begin to get queer, and he went out and walked


about. Then Buzzard came a little closer to the earth, to where he could see mountains, and he sang:

I am going down and
Below me
There stands the mountains
Which are blue.
In them the mind of Siuuhu
Is going out blue.

At the end of the song he snapped his bow again. At this time Siuuhu's heart was getting hot, and he went to dip himself into some cool water. When he got in the water, he found that it was hot, too, and he came out. Buzzard came closer to the earth, and he sang:

I am going down,
And underneath me
Lies the earth which is grey.
And in that
The heart of Siuuhu
Is coming out blue.

At the end of the song he shot again. Siuuhu was looking for a cooler place, where there was water with ice in it. When he got there he found that it had turned to boiling water, and the worst was yet to come. As Siuuhu was looking for a land where there was nothing but ice, Buzzard came down, passed through those four kinds of wind, and sang:


I am going down
And underneath me stands the mountains
In those mountains the mind of Siuuhu
Is going out blue.

At the end of the song the Buzzard shot nothing but lightning and it hit this place where the ice was. When Siuuhu reached the place, he died right away. When the man [Buzzard] came to the place, he took Siuuhu and left him on dry ground. From that time, everything was open and the people could freely go ahead and do the wicked things that they wanted to do, such as drinking strong drinks and getting drunk. They were happy.

Story 13—
Siuuhu's Journey Out

Siuuhu died for four years. All this time he wasn't really dead, but he went and stayed with the life of the earth. Where his dead body lay, small children used to play on him. Four years passed, and he came back to life again.

When the children started out to play one day, they went and saw Siuuhu sitting with his face all painted black and with a sharp stick sticking in his back, to use for scratching it. The children also saw that he was fixing his canteen. They went back to their


father and told him that that man was alive again, that they saw him with his face black and a pointed stick in his back.

The fathers of these children told them that something terrible was going to happen. While Siuuhu was sitting there, sometimes he thought he would not punish the people and sometimes he thought that he would punish them. He was crying for the great wrong they had done, and he sang:

I am going to do this to my people
Which will be very sad.
The sun has died halfway.

When he finished this song, the sun came up, but it didn't shine like it used to and darkness fell over the earth. When the people saw this, they didn't understand for they had not seen anything like it before.

Then, while sitting, he sang another song:

I am going to do this,
To spoil everything
That was made so good
When the moon comes up
It has died halfway.

Then he stood up and placed his right foot down very hard.[5]

Then he took a step with his left foot and placed it down harder. This was to lower the understanding of the sy juukum (the healers). Then he took another


step with his right foot and pushed it harder. This pushed down the power of the bravest man [in war]. Then he took a step with his left foot and pushed down the power of the sharpshooters (fourth step).

He went to the East. At that time the sun was just coming up, and he came to it. He went upward with it, and they got right in the middle of [above] the earth where there was some kind of timber that knows how to talk. He talked with this timber and asked him for some of his power. He took some branches which were leaning toward the west, toward the setting sun, and he took a leaf from one of the branches and made a shield from it. He also took a limb and made a tomahawk. Then he kept going west and sang:

A talking stick
I have broken
And I am taking four steps
And I am going.

He sang another:

A talking stick
I have broken
And I am taking four steps
And I am running.

He went on and got to a place toward the setting sun and sang:

It is the sun's route
I am following


It's the land of the setting sun
I am going down.

And he sang another:

It is the walking of the sun
I am running in it.
There stands the mountain
Upon which the sun lies down.
In this slide
I am sliding down.

When he went a certain distance, he came close to the home of his brother, Earth Doctor (Juut Makai). (Earth Doctor had gone through the earth, and now he had made some people on the other side of it.)[6] Siuuhu changed himself into a young child. His face was all dirty, and his hair was like that of a naughty child who doesn't take care of himself, all mussed up. He came to Earth Doctor who asked why he had come there.

With his powerful wind, Earth Doctor blew Siuuhu and threw him away, four times. Then Siuuhu said, "My fellow old man, you know how my people are [bad]." Then Earth Doctor told Siuuhu to sit down. When night came, Siuuhu told one of the elder people, who was the town crier, to tell his people to come and smoke his cigarette. All the elder people came together and smoked Siuuhu's cigarette. Then he took out four sticks that he had cut from the talking tree and showed them to the people.


How Nooee Killed Ee-Ee-Toy (Thin Leather)

Ee-ee-toy [I'itoi, 'Elder-Brother'] lived in the Salt River Mountain, which is called by the Awawtam [Pima-Papago] Moehahdheck,[d] or the Brown Mountain, and whenever the girls had ceremonial dances because of their arrival at womanhood, he would come and sing the appropriate songs. And it often happened that he would tempt these young girls away to his mountain, to be his wives, but after keeping them a while he would grow tired of them and send them back.

The people disliked Ee-ee-toy because of this. And when they had crops, too, Ee-ee-toy would often shoot hot arrows through the fields and wither up the growing things;[7] and though the people did not see him do this, they knew he was guilty, and they wanted to kill him, but they did not know how to do it.

The people talked together about how they could kill Ee-ee-toy. And two young boys there were, who were always together, and as they lay at the door of their kee [house] they heard the people talking of sending bunches of people here and there to kill Ee-ee-toy, and one said, "He is only one, we could kill


him ourselves." And the other one said, "Let us go and kill him, then."

So the two boys went to Moehahdheck, and found Ee-ee-toy lying asleep, and beat him with their clubs, and killed him, and then came back and told the people what they had done. But none of the people went to see the truth of this, and in the morning Ee-ee-toy came again, just as he used to do, and walked around among the people, who said among themselves, "I thought the boys said they killed him."

That same night the people went to Moehahdheck, and found Ee-ee-toy asleep, and fell upon him and killed him. And there was a pile of wood outside, and they laid him on this and set fire to the wood and burned his flesh. And feeling sure that he was now dead, they went home, but in the morning there he was, walking around alive again.

And so the people assembled again, and that night once more they killed him, and they cut his flesh up into little bits and put it in a pot and boiled it, and when it was cooked they threw it all away in different directions. But in the morning he was alive again, and the people gave it up for that time.

But after a while they were planning again how to kill him, and one of them proposed that they all go and tie him with ropes and take him to a high cliff and push him off and let him fall. And so they went


and did this, but Ee-ee-toy was not hurt at all. He just walked off when he reached the bottom and looked up at the people above him.

The next scheme was to drown him. They caught him and led him to a whirlpool and tied his hands and feet and threw him in. But he came up in a few minutes, without any ropes on, and looked at the people, and then dived, and so kept on coming up and diving down. And then the people, seeing that they could not drown him, went home once more.

Then Nooee [Buzzard] called the people together and said, "It is of no use for you to try to kill Ee-ee-toy, for you cannot kill him. He is too powerful for me to kill. He has power over the winds, and all the animals, and he knows all that is going on inside the mountains, and in the sky. And I have power something like him." So Nooee told the people to come in, that evening, to his house. He said, "I will show you part of my power, and I want everyone to see it."

Nooee lived not far from where Ee-ee-toy did, south of the Moehahdheck mountain, at a place called Nooee Vahahkkee,[e] and that was where he invited


the people to come. When the people assembled there, Nooee made earth in his habitation, and mountains on it, and all things on it, in little [miniature] as we say, so that the people could see his power; for Juhwerta Mahkai [Earth Doctor] had made him to have power, though he had not cared to use it. And he made a little world in his house for them to look at, with sun, moon, and stars working just as our sun and stars work; and everything was exactly like our world.

When night came, Nooee pushed the darkness back with his hands and spread it on the walls, so that the people could see the little world and how it worked. And he was there four days and four nights, showing this wonder to the people. After this Nooee flew up through the openings in the roof of his house, and sat there, and saw the sun rise.

As soon as the sun rose, Nooee flew toward it, and flew up and up, higher and higher, until he could see Ee-ee-toy's heart. And he wore a big nose ring, as all the brave people did, a nose ring of turquoise. But from his high view he saw that everything looked green, and he knew he could not kill Ee-ee-toy that day.

The next day he did the same thing, only he wore a new nose ring, made of sparkling shell. And when he got up high enough to see Ee-ee-toy's heart he saw that the ground looked dry, and he was much


pleased, for he knew that now he would, someday, kill Ee-ee-toy. And he went home.

The third morning Nooee again put on his nose ring of glittering shell and flew up to meet the Sun, and he flew up and up until he came to the Sun Himself. And Nooee said to the Sun, "You know, there is a person on earth, called Ee-ee-toy, who is very bad, and I want to kill him, and I want your help, and this is the reason I come to you." And Nooee said to the Sun, "Now you go back, and let me shine in your place, and I will give just as much light as you do, but let me have your vi-no-me-gaht,[f] your gun, to shoot with when I get around to your home." And the Sun said, "Moe-vah Sop-hwah,[g] that is all right. But I always go down over yonder mountain, and when you get to that mountain, just stop and look back and see how the world looks."

And Nooee took the Sun's place and went down that evening over the mountain, stopping as he was told to see how wonderful the world looked; and when he came to the Sun's home, the Sun gave him the weapon he shot with.

The next morning Nooee rose in place of the Sun, and after rising a bit he shot at the earth, and it became very hot. And before noon he shot again,


and it was still hotter. And Ee-ee-toy knew now that he was going to be killed, but he tried to use all his power to save himself. He ran around and came to a pond where there had always been ice, and he jumped in to cool himself, but it was all boiling water. When it was nearly noon Nooee shot again, and it became terribly hot, and Ee-ee-toy ran for a rock which had always been cold, but just before he got there the heat made the rock burst. And he ran to a tree whose cool shade he had often enjoyed, but as he came near it the tree burst into flame, and he had to turn back.

Now it was noon and Nooee shot again. Ee-ee-toy ran to a great post, all striped around with black and white, which had been made by his power, and which had a hollow that was always cool inside. He was about to put his arms around it when he fell down and died.

So Ee-ee-toy was dead, and Nooee went down to his setting and returned the weapon to the Sun and then went home to his vavahkkee. (Lloyd 1911: 125–130)


I'itoi is Killed (Dolores)

[While I'itoi lived in the land of the Papagos,] Siwani ['Chief'] also lived where the Pimas now lived. Siwani was a very important person, and people would always listen to him and believe him. He had many friends, and they were always doing different things with him. When Siwani wanted something, he would tell his friends, "Let's do this," and they would have to do what Siwani wanted.

Siwani had a daughter, and when she reached puberty, I'itoi found out and was going to come and sing. But Siwani got angry and told his friends, "Wait for me until I am ready, and we will go have a puberty celebration." But they started the celebration without him, over by a big pond. People came from every direction and were there with I'itoi.

In the middle of the night, Siwani came with his friends. Before long, Siwani argued with I'itoi, saying, "You aren't good for anything. You always go about peoples' homes looking for food, but from now on people will not be troubled by you." I'itoi said, "I go everywhere singing because now I am going to die and I will not be here any more. And when people remember me they will sing as I sing now."


Siwani said, "You have already covered the earth with your songs. Now it's good if we stop being troubled with you." When he had said this he took out his club and struck I'itoi and knocked him down. The people were frightened and ran off in all directions. So I'itoi lay there dead, and no one went to see him because they were afraid of Siwani.

Before dawn, as the sun's rays were on the horizon, some women who were water-carriers arrived and saw him. Suddenly I'itoi got up and looked east-ward, then sat down and sang this song:

The sunrise I'm going with.
The sunrise I'm following.
With zigzag lines I'm painted.
Following the sun,
With zigzag lines I'm painted.

He sang this song four times. Then the sun rose, and he just disappeared. The women went and told the people that I'itoi had come back to life and had gone away somewhere. Just as the sun went down, I'itoi began the puberty song again. Even though that's why they killed him, when he came back to life he made another puberty celebration. So many people gathered and joined I'itoi.

In the middle of the night Siwani came again. Right away he took I'itoi out and killed him again. So again he was there, dead, until morning. Then it


happened as it had at the first. When the sun went down, he came again and began the puberty song at the pond. After that, it was just his luck to have happen what had happened on the first night.

So you see, they had killed I'itoi three times, and he had come back to life three times. The news spread far that something important was happening. Many said Siwani was already defeated, but many others said that now the time had come that they would really kill I'itoi. Even though some lived far away, they wanted to see what I'itoi's fate would be, so they came and gathered here at the pond.

Just as the sun went down, I'itoi came and sang there again. Then more people gathered and joined him. And even before the night was half over, he made the dancers run because he knew it was about time for Siwani to come again. As he stepped up the pace with his rattle, I'itoi said many things so that through this the people would learn that he truly had supernatural powers.

Sure enough, Siwani came with his friends and took I'itoi out and knocked him down and beat him until morning. The sun was already up in the sky when Siwani left him, saying, "Whoever takes this corpse, I'll do to you just what I did to him."

The people were afraid of Siwani, so no one touched the body. Many said, "In four days I'itoi will come back to life." So they were watching. But after four


days he was still dead. Finally his flesh rotted and disappeared and only his bones were left. So the report went in every direction about how Siwani had killed I'itoi. After that everyone that heard about it always did what Siwani told them, thinking that no one was greater than he. And he really did know more than anyone.

When they killed I'itoi he was just a young man. Many years passed, and his bones were scattered where they had been. One day the children were going to play at the pond, and when they got there they saw a little old man sitting there, knitting a carrying strap for a water jar. The children said, "Where do you come from, little old man image" He didn't tell them but just said, "Hah. Run along children. A startling thing is going to happen."

So the children ran home and told their relatives that a little old man was sitting at the pond and they tried to ask him where he came from, and he just kept saying, "Run along children. A startling thing is going to happen." Then some of the adults went, saying, "We will see who the old man is sitting there and why he says something startling is going to happen." So they went there and found that it was I'itoi, but he had gotten old. He was singing:

What characteristics are mine,
What characteristics are mine,
What can you do to really know.


Little people that I have made.
They did a dreadful thing to me.
Like the sun, I die repeatedly.

Great are my characteristics.
Great are my characteristics .
The poor little people I made
Treated me cruelly
Like the moon, I die repeatedly .

Just then he finished the water jar strap and went off toward the east. There were many people along his route, but he just passed by because he knew that they would surely help Siwani. Over in the east there were many people. I'itoi arrived there and asked them where their chief[8] lived. They told him, and away he went to see him.

As I'itoi was going along he was singing this song because he wanted the people to hear that he was the one that had made them, yet they killed him four times, and he came back to life four times and really knew something. Just then he finished his song. Then he arrived and sat down with the chief and said right away, "An Apache-like people have done something maddening to me so I'm going about pleading for help." Then the chief said, "I may not be able to do anything for you. My older brother lives to the north. Go and see him. Whatever he says, I'll do." So he left and traveled on.


Far to the north there was a big village. He came to their chief and said right away, "Apache-like people have done something maddening to me so I'm going about pleading for help." The chief said, "I may not be able to do anything for you. My oldest brother lives in the west. Go and see him. Whatever he says I'll do."

So he went out and traveled on. He arrived in the far west. There were many people there. I'itoi went to the chief and said, "Apache-like people have done something maddening to me so I'm going about pleading for help." Right away the chief said, "I may not be able to do anything for you. My older brother lives in the south. Go and see him. Whatever he says I'll do."

So I'itoi went out again and traveled on. The people in the far south had a big village, and I'itoi came to their chief and said right away, "Apache-like people have done something maddening to me so I'm going about pleading for help." The chief said, "Young men, run and tell the people below[9] that whoever wants to prove his manhood soon, come and we will help this man. It's true that he has suffered many things." (Saxton and Saxton 1973: 150–162)


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