previous sub-section
next sub-section


Hayden's typescript, entitled "Pima Creation Myth," has no internal subdivisions. I have divided it into thirty-six stories and have provided the stories with titles. Hayden followed the precedent of Frank Russell (1908: 206–230), who published an equivalent Pima text from the narrator Thin Leather under the title "Pima Creation Myth" and without subdivisions. I made the divisions for three reasons. First, the stories are commonly told separately, and several collections have been published in this subdivided format (e.g., by Fewkes [1912] and Lloyd [1911] from Thin Leather and by Densmore [1929], Wright [1929], and Saxton and Saxton [1973] from various Papago narrators). Second, the undivided format is difficult to read. One senses that stories are starting and finishing, and one wishes for printed guidance and confirmation on this. Third, the actual live Snaketown telling certainly had breaks, in fact, on two levels. There were breaks when Smith stopped speaking Pima so that Allison could translate, and there were breaks between story-telling sessions. These breaks were not marked in the typescript, and, as Hayden wrote in his letter, the notebook that may have shown them is gone.

My story divisions must fall between the small segments-for-translation, which would approximate episodes, and the large session divisions, which would approximate "parts." Of the three levels, that of the story is probably the most useful to the reader, and it is a level that narrators and listeners use ("Tell me the story about X"). Still, my divisions are arbitrary, and it is sometimes difficult to see where one story stops and the next begins. Without going into detail, I will say that it would have been possible to divide the text into somewhat fewer than these thirty-


six stories but more difficult to establish a larger number of story divisions. Thus, the thirty-six represent a maximum segmentation into whole, self-standing stories.

I have also grouped the stories into larger divisions called parts, to which I have given titles. This grouping is entirely my own. It is meant to highlight the main narrative chunks of the mythology, partly as a means for comparing this mythology with others and partly as an editorial device, that is, a means to divide the text for the placement of introductory essays (at the beginnings of parts) and supplementary myth texts (at the ends).

The story and part titles are arbitrary in that other titles might have been given. Those that are used were chosen in the interest of brevity and description. Although they could all be said in Pima, I imagine that some of the titles would seem blunt to some Pimas, for example, "Destruction Through Sex." Still, that title describes an undoubted theme of the story, and I would say it is the main theme. Further, I defend the occasional bluntness on the precedent of Allison's commentaries. As a preacher, he was sensitive to moral matters, and I let that sensitivity guide the titling. Last, the titles are meant to win the reader's interest.

Concerning changes in the wording of Hayden's typescript, I made conservative changes in the prose for the sake of brevity, clarity, and sometimes for cadence; the songs were not changed. The prose was changed in the awareness, first, that oral prose is always only a paraphrase of itself (see above), and second, that Hayden had been unable to edit the English with Allison. Having some familiarity with how Pimas speak and write English and some writing tastes of my own, I tried to arbitrate between what the manuscript actually said and what I imagined Allison might have said had he polished the text for publication as plain-speaking American Indian English. This arbitration gave weight to the actual manuscript, so changes were not made simply because they seemed possible.

I wish the song renditions could have been changed, because I am sure that they are poor summaries of the original Pima-language poems. (Each Pima song is a poem; that is, each syllable is part of a word, each word part of a line, each line part of a compact, studied, and studiable poem). This


is certain because the earlier mentioned mythology published by Russell from Thin Leather contains the Pima-language texts for a few of the songs in Smith-Allison. The Thin Leather versions include good literal translations that, while as short as those in the present manuscript, generally convey the form and substance of the Pima poem better than the translations by Allison. The latter generally tell what the poem is about, but they lose and misplace key words, juxtapositions, connotations, and so on. Still, the translations are surely from Allison, and, being songs, they stand for texts whose wording is not supposed to be altered. I have usually footnoted the songs for which other known versions exist. They are, in fact, a small portion of the total number of songs in the Smith-Allison text, which is to say that Smith knew an exceptional number of songs.[19]

Next, the Hayden typescript does not distinguish between the ongoing mythic narrative, which I attribute almost entirely to Smith, and Allison's commentary on the same. That distinction, between telling a story and telling about it, is common in Pima-Papago narratives, although generally it is the same person, the narrator, who does both. I found it rather easy to separate the two kinds or uses of prose—for they are both prose—and it seems useful and enlightening to set them off from each other. This is done by placing Allison's commentary in the outside margin, next to Smith's mythic narrative. It will be seen that the great bulk of the text is Smith's narrative (as translated by Allison), but the comments are rather frequent, especially in the "Hohokam Chronicles" part of the text. The songs are set apart from both kinds of prose by moderately indenting and italicizing them.

Last, a brief comment on the orthography used to spell Pima words. Hayden's manuscript is salted with words, usually nouns, that he wrote in a rough-and-ready orthography. I have respelled these words and others as well according to the orthography now officially adopted by the Papago or Tohono O'odham tribe. The Pimas have not yet passed on an orthography, but at least a few Pimas use the Papago orthography that is given here, although they normally make one change in it. To be true to Pima pronunciation, they often use the letters "v" or "f" where Papago


would spell the equivalent sound with a "w." Ofelia Zepeda's book, A Grammar of Papago (1983), gives a good discussion of the sounds and letters of Pima-Papago. For the reader who wishes a rough idea of how to pronounce the words in this book, I say to pronounce them as if they were Spanish (with the sound values used for reading Spanish), but always put the stress on the first syllable of a word.

previous sub-section
next sub-section