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Part 1— Genesis

1. This person is not the sun, the origin of which is narrated later in the text along with the origin of the moon and stars. "Light" is tonlig in Pima-Papago, "sun" is tas * , "moon" is masad * , and "star" is hu'u . This text's mention of a pure light (tonlig) preceding the other, separately named heavenly bodies is unique in Pima-Papago mythology. [BACK]

2. Versions of what appear to be the very same song are in Russell (1908: 272), from Thin Leather, and Saxton and Saxton (1973: 3), from a Papago singer recorded by Dolores. It is an important song, being the first in the mythologies in which it occurs and therefore supposedly the first song that was sung in the universe. That so many narrators have it in the same form gives the illusion, if not the proof, that this oldest of all songs has been successfully preserved by generations of singers since pre-Hohokam times.

Both Thin Leather and the Dolores singer attribute the song's words to Earth Doctor, not to Jeoss as in the Smith text. In fact, there is no mention of the Christian God ("Jeoss") in the Thin Leather and Dolores versions. The Smith text has God address the song to Earth Doctor. That is, God calls the latter by name. The other versions state Earth Doctor's name at the beginning, as if he were being addressed, but the texts do not indicate that anyone else was on the scene. Strangely, these songs do imply that there was someone else present. They end with an imperative statement addressed to an unknown audience: roughly 'come and see what is happening' (" miakuka nyuita hasitco-onyi " in Russell and " Miake ng neina k has juhni " in Saxton). I would reconstruct the sung syllables in both versions as " mi ya ke ko ñei na ke ha si ju u ñi and would transpose that sung language into Pima-Papago prose as " miako ñeidk has i juñ ." break

The Smith song as translated by Allison into English says something different, "You make the earth now and started it going." We understand that God said this to Earth Doctor. Granted that we cannot know whether Smith actually sang that in Pima, we can say that the scene it conjures is actually less mysterious than the scene in the Thin Leather and Dolores versions. We really do not know who called Earth Doctor's name in those texts, nor do we know who called the attention of whom. [BACK]

3. This process of turning back to repeat just the last part of a song is called the "turning" ( nodag * ), that is, the song or singer turns on something so as to repeat the song in an incomplete manner, with the very first line or lines missing. That is one interpretation of the notion of 'turning' as applied to songs. Another interpretation, touched on by Allison, is that it is not the song or the singing that turns but rather the dancers who do so: at the point where the incomplete repetition occurs, they reverse the direction of their dancing. If they have been moving counterclockwise, they commence to move clockwise. I think that the word refers to all of those things. It is a multimeaning theoretical term. [BACK]

4. There is a star-making song in Russell, from Thin Leather (273). The Dolores text does not have one. The Thin Leather song, like this one, comes early in the mythology, and like this one it centers on Earth Doctor. Moreover and most interesting, both songs proceed through the same sequence of narrated acts: (1) someone makes stars, (2) the maker puts them in the sky, and (3) the earth shines, or is lit. There are differences, however. Here is the Russell Thin Leather version as interpreted into Pima-Papago prose and translated by me: break

Vanyingi  Yo-ohowa    nato
Wañ         huhu'u        na:to
I              STARS        MAKE

vanyingi   Y-ohoowa    nato
Wañ         huhu'u         na:to
I              STARS        MAKE

tamai       nañgita
Da:m       dagito

tcuwutu     mamasi-i
Jewed       ma:si

(Alternate last line:
tcuwutu    tonoli-i
Jewed       tonlid

More freely translated:

I make stars.
I make stars,
Toss above:
Earth shows.

I make stars.
I make stars,
Toss above:
Shine on earth.

This free translation is true to Thin Leather's Pima. I suspect that Juan Smith's song was very nearly the same because the sequence of acts is the same. Another reason to believe the songs are the same is that, in general, the songs about the very earliest things in creation tend to be uniform across Pima-Papago narrators. This was my impression in the 1970s and 1980s. At this time, narrators were proud of this uniformity, for it meant agreement on the most basic, earliest things. If singers differed, the differences tended to be in the myriad songs that come later in the narrative of world history.

Assuming that the Thin Leather and Smith songs are the same and that the different translations are simply more or less accurate, then the principal difference that I would point out, in criticism of Allison, is that his translation is too wordy. What Smith sang quite concisely, Allison translated quite wordily. This is a matter of style, which is important in my opinion; and the indications are that the Allison translations are generally too wordy.

There are slight differences of substance between the two translations. Thin Leather ascribes the making and putting of stars to a single person, Earth Doctor (rendered as "I"); and to judge from the translation, Smith ascribes the making and putting to a trinity, Jeoss, Earth Doctor, and Siuuhu (rendered as "we"). We will never know if the Pima text used "we" rather than "I." If it did, I suspect this was an innovation on J. Smith's part. That is, I suspect that far more singers of his era used "I" rather than "we" in their versions of this song. [BACK]

5. Other versions of the mythology put this episode after a flood that comes later. [BACK]

6. The word for "light," tonlig is different from "sun," tas * . Obviously more things than the sun give light. Recall that in the Smith-Allison text, pure light was created by God, and the sun and the various other celestial light sources were created later by Earth Doctor. [BACK]

7. These hihih's might be forms of the verb "to go," ( hi:hi in the plural, hihhi in the "repetitive"), but Dolores must have felt that continue

they were more mysterious than "go" or that they were placed in the song for the sake of their sound and therefore are meaningless. [BACK]

8. This story is widely told, especially among Maricopas and other Yuman language-speaking tribes. Except for this version, I have not heard of a place named from the story. I have not asked if anyone knows this place. [BACK]

9. The Papago text actually says "Earth Doctor," not "First Born." This was a translator's liberty. The earlier Papago prose segments in this text do say "First Born" consistently, so that must have been this narrator's preference. When he sang the song, however, he used the more standard name. [BACK]

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