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32º 14’ 15.00”N  -110ºn56’ 26.99”W

08/19/1981  17:30

“TOOTHTAKER”

These images of “Old Pascua” in Tucson, Arizona were photographed in 1981, the same year of my birth.

They depict an “extremely poor condition and seriously substandard” neighborhood that was also described as

one of “America’s first Urban Reservations” when the city’s metropolis grew to entirely surround the Yaqui village. 

The photographer, Lorne Greenberg, elucidated the picture by writing, “In their complex environment the Yaqui have been able to preserve the continuity of their identity. The basis for the enduring qualities can be found in the Yaqui awareness of their historical experience. Thus their sense of identity continues from generation to generation.” This is where I’m from; born like this, into this.

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The witch and the curer are the two agents of the supernatural known to every Yaqui. Witchcraft, known for centuries in Europe, was never successfully obliterated by the church. European witchcraft seems to have combined with native Yaqui tradition to such an extent that few practices are said by Pascuans to be totally native. Folk curing was also widespread in Europe and was combined with native Yaqui curing methods. In general, Yaqui appear to have retained the practices that were useful and that did not openly conflict with Catholicism. The power of foretelling, formerly known among the Yaqui, seems not to have been found useful; it is no longer practiced except as a Seataka person is endowed with the gift of foreknowledge.

They say [a witch] will have Morea. [Morea is] to be able to intimidate persons by mental telepathy, to think anyone into being sick. They call it siibo. Whoever is a witch can siibo some person. A Yaqui witch is supposed to do that to people regardless of distance, like from here to [the other side of town]. Or even by looking at him. He does not use pictures, or pins or bone. He is supposed to be born with it and do whatever he likes without exposing himself. Say someone in the house got sick. He would not go to a hitebi.

But I have also heard people say that a witch can also cure some diseases.

The person who possesses Seataka is much more alert, and he protects himself against any bad intentions against him. He keeps a person from making mistakes that way. At night he watches the stars to calculate the time. A person can tell the one who possesses seataka by his actions in being alert and very considerate and kindhearted. This person is capable of mastering anything and learning whatever he undertakes. He is born with the gift and later on he studies a little more upon it when he starts getting into trouble from another person and from the witch. He learns to fight against any evil with prayers. This particular kind of person who has seataka is adaptable to almost any kind of (movements), music, curer, maestro [Yaqui maehto-religious leader]. Seataka is a natural born gift for learning and mastering everything and doing it well... When this person should be outside, whether hunting or in the battle- field, he will always depend largely upon dreams and divine power for protection and will be always scanning the skies. He foretells in dreams. In case he should be among other companions, sometimes it is seen that this person just avoided mishaps by telling them to depart from a certain place, and this is going to happen, and the day is not good, and this or that is going to happen, so he will warn them in this way before the day starts. 

 

Excerpts from “With Good Heart” by Muriel Thayer Painter, published 1986.

ISAIAH PHILIP CAMACHO

A few years ago while researching my tribe I uncovered the first documentary ever made on the Yaqui people.

This film was recorded in 1941-1942 and hadn’t been seen in decades while most didn’t know it existed before now.

Immediate family

         Mother : Priscilla Ann Flores 02/24/1962      Brother : Nathaniel William Camacho 08/24/1985         

Father : Philip “Zeek” Camacho 12/02/1961 - 04/04/2004 (Shot to death by Tucson Police Officers)

Son and Daughter : Eloy Toothtaker and Oraibi Toothtaker  10/15/2003  (twins)

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WAME VATNATAKA IM HOHHOASUKAME

THE ONES WHO LIVED HERE IN THE BEGINNING

Who recorded this history and why are They according it discordantly?  

Tikkun olam

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The Society of Red Men was formed by a group of military men stationed at Fort Mifflin, on the Delaware River, near Philadelphia during the war of 1812. The group’s first Generalissimo, or highest ranking officer, had been a Philadelphia Freemason. By 1816, the Red Men’s Society of Pennsylvania, had adopted a constitution and established George Washington’s birthday (February 22) and ST. Tammany Day (May 12) as feast days. The group’s name was selected to identify “with the Aborigines of the country” for patriotic reasons: “to show their attachment to the soil they inhabited either by birth or adoption.” The group’s constitution stated that it was “instituted not only for social purposes” but as a “Benevolent Society to relieve the distresses of each other, our wives, and children.” At the same time, it set a patriotic tone, pledging “in the event of battle to adhere to each other in defence [sic] of our country’s cause.” The society’s motto was “Freedom,” and although the membership was, ironically, limited to white males with American citizenship, those owning slaves were barred.

 

The Society of Red Men, like other fraternal groups of the time, typically met in taverns, and it rapidly developed a reputation for boisterous, alcohol feuded “conviviality” following the quenching of the “council fire.” When “[t]his convivial element... finally produced such a degeneration in the Society as to disgust the better element,” the Philadelphia Society declined and the organization was recast in Baltimore in 1834 as the Improved Order of Red Men (IORM). The improved society took no chances regarding spirited beverage-induced conviviality, and to rid itself of the “evil effects [of the] decanter,” held it to meetings in a temperance house and instituted bylaws that forbade holding meetings in premises where “fire water” was sold. The Improved Order of Red Men formed it’s national Grand Council in 1847. A women’s affiliate, the Degree of Pocahontas, was organized in 1885, taking its name from the famous daughter of Powhatan, chief of the Virginia Algonquians.

While employing the basic formula established by Freemasonry, the rituals and symbolisms of the IORM were inspired by Native American sources. The ritual system of the IORM also offered white men a unique opportunity to dress in elaborate Indian costumes and play out fantasies in the roles of “primitive red men.” The organization’s main function was as a benevolent society for members, offering insurance benefits for widows, orphans, and the disabled, and funeral expenses for deceased members. But they also emphasize their solidarity with the “primitive red men” and claimed to preserve the authentic customs of Native America through their rituals and teachings. The motto of the IORM is “Freedom, Friendship and Charity.”

 

According to the IORM tradition, the Six Nations, or Iroquois Confederacy, provided much of the inspiration for the society. In reality, the IORM‘s primitive red man was closer to the romanticized American Indian of dime novels and popular theatre, the mythic noble savage in whom elements of multiple indigenous cultures were blended to create a composite stereotype.

 

The Indian “brave” was an archetype of ideal masculinity, a fierce and noble warrior who answered to natural laws. Unfettered by the confinement of industrial society, he lived in a primordial state in perfect harmony with nature, held special knowledge of both natural and spirit worlds, and practice shamanistic beliefs. The Indian became a symbol of freedom, patriotism, and manhood for the IORM. This myth provided an ideal structure on which to design a secret fraternal society, offering an ancient and exotic, yet distinctly American source of wisdom knowledge, archetypal role models, dramatic scenarios, and an impressive and colorful array of costumes and accoutrements.

 

Although the IORM‘s rituals were rooted less in historical accuracy than in popular culture and nostalgia for a rapidly disappearing past, its concern over the loss of Americas indigenous culture was certainly relevant; by 1890, the last of the “primitive red men” have been removed to reservations, the buffalo was nearly extent extinct, virgin forest had all been obliterated, and a network of railroads crisscrossed the continent were Native Americans once hunted freely.

 

The IORM had ample material to work with in terms of vocabulary and symbolism. Meetings of the national and state headquarters were “great councils,” districts were “reservations,” and state and local groups were “tribes.” The local tribes took Native-inspired names and met in “wig-wams.” Meetings were “council fires,” brought to order in a ceremonial lighting of the council brand and the rapping of a tomahawk. Officers held titles including Sachem, Sannap, Sagamore, Prophet, and Keeper of Wampum, while the great Incohonee was the highest chief in the National Reservation. The higher power was described as a Great Spirit, year was a great sun, months were moons, and so on. One Native American element was conspicuously absent from the organization, however: membership remained open only to white men. “Descendants of the Indian race were in theory eligible, but not until 1974 were Native Americans accepted for membership in the organization.

 

A prospective IORM member entered as a Paleface, and the initiation for the first degree took the form of an adoption into a tribe. Following adoption, the member became a Hunter before being raised to Warrior, and finally, Chief. The ritual degree ceremonies took the standard form in which the candidate was dispatched on a mythic journey fraught with danger I was placed in situations that reinforced moral lessons, tested his loyalty and character, and placed him face-to-face with certain death. He was ultimately spared when he proved himself worthy. A 1908 San Francisco Call article described the IORM adoption ceremony as “the most beautiful and dramatic outside of that of the higher degrees in Masonry.”

 

As the society’s membership grew, fraternal supply companies responded enthusiastically to its need for regalia and paraphernalia, offering a wide selection in terms of their catalogs. Indian-made and beaded items were often included among the offerings, and the quality and craftsmanship reached a level that sometimes result in today and the misidentification as belonging to Indian tribes. Resplendent war bonnets, specific to Plains tribes, were almost certain to be included in every costume range, whether or not they were appropriate to the tribe they were intended to represent. Other IORM items included tomahawks, war clubs, teepees, buffalo robes and heads, hunting and scalping knives, arrows, and firebrands. The DeMoulin Bro.s & Co. also offered items for creating special effects in IORM degree ceremonies, including wind machines, rain sprayers, a rain box for simulating the sound of rain, thunder sheets, and flash torches for lighting effects. The IORM still exists; it’s national office is located in Waco Texas.

Excerpt from “As Above So Below” by Lynne Adele & Bruce Lee Webb, published in 2015.

In 1834 the IMPROVED ORDER OF RED MEN was established in Baltimore Maryland. The Red Men claim to be the oldest secret society of purely American origin and ceremonies based on American Indian legends, the lodge is a tribe, nonmembers are pale faces, and the meeting place is the wig-wam. Freedom, Friendship and Charity are the watchwords the order sees as characteristic American ideals. Candidates are required to be white male citizens; native American Indians are not eligible for membership. The organization’s emblem of an eagle, stars, stripes and the American flag reflect it’s involvement in the nativist movement in the 19th century. Later, the organization shifted emphasis to fraternal benefit programs and his continued to be active. The women’s auxiliary was the daughters of Pocahontas founded in 1985. In 1850 some German members seceded to form the INDEPENDENT ORDER OF RED MEN in order to conduct meetings in German. This offshoot is now extinct.

 

Excerpt from “Fraternally Yours” by Barbara Franco, published in 1986.

Each new lodge required proper furnishings ceremonial costumes, regalia, and ritual objects. During the eighteenth century, the majority of fraternal regalia and objects were created at home, often by artistic members or by woman they enlisted. By the nineteenth century, professional artists, many of whom remain anonymous, began to undertake the creation of some of these objects. As a growing number of lodges increased the demand for paraphernalia, it became evident that there was money to be made supplying it, and a number of enterprising individuals were ready to cash in.

 

By the 1870s, the fraternal paraphernalia could be purchased from mail-order companies like the Henderson-Ames Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan and the Ward-Stilson Company of Anderson, Indiana. These and other companies employed numerous artist and craftsmen to paint banners, carve wooden objects, sew regalia, and build furniture to meet the growing needs of lodges across the country. John D. Hamilton’s book, Material Culture of the American Freemasons, lists 158 known dealers of fraternal regalia and paraphernalia operated in the United States throughout the nineteenth century and into the 1920s.

 

The Henderson-Ames Company grew out of a saddlery begun in 1816 by Frank Henderson and expanded in 1868 to offer uniforms in regalia. Henderson issued mail-order catalogs from 1873 to 1893, selling fraternal goods. Henderson-Ames was launched in 1893, with a new partnership form at the Chicago branch of the Ames Sword company of Chicopee, Massachusetts. The same year, the company was awarded the medal for excellence of quality and design at the Columbian exposition in Chicago. They manufactured military uniforms during World War 1 while continuing to make fraternal regalia. During the depression the company merged with another regalia firm, M.C. Lilley & Co. of Columbus, Ohio, forming the Lilley-Ames Company that operated out of Ohio. Among their products were uniforms, regalia, ceremonial swords, flags, and emblems for the fraternal organizations, bands, police and fire departments, and the military.

Excerpt from “As Above So Below” by Lynne Adele & Bruce Lee Webb, published in 2015.

 

The “Association on American Indian Affairs” is the oldest NGO “serving” American Indians and was created by an amalgamation of several non-profit organizations that emerged in the early 1920s. The Eastern Association on Indian Affairs and the New Mexican Association on American Indian Affairs were the first of the predecessor groups to formally organize in 1922. The EAIA and NMAAI were made up of affluent non-Natives, most of whom owned land in Santa Fe and wanted to protect Pueblo culture.  

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