Arizona American Indians are Long time Residents
Native Americans oral traditions, and evidence pushes dates further back

Presented by Roy Cook

Arizona is recently in the news and will soon be recognizing 100 rocky years as a state. It was officially a U.S. state and admitted into the Union on February 14, 1912.

American Indian oral tradition relates that in early times at the start of the Fourth World (the current epoch), one Hopi clan after another began great migrations to the four directions represented by the venerable symbol of the swastika. Waters believes that the Hopi migrated from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, though the range may actually be narrower. Certainly the Hisatsinom-Hopi traveled from the Colorado River to the Rio Grande, and from the San Juan River south to the lands of the Toltecs in Mexico and the Maya in Central America. Macaw and parrot feathers or even whole birds have been found in burial sites around the Colorado Plateau. This indicates that the Hisatsinom-Hopi had well established trade routes to the south.

These earliest migration routes included the Hohokam. These, early ones, Oodham speakers had concentrated their settlements of the Phoenix, Sacaton and Tucson areas of the Salt, Gila and Santa Cruz Rivers respectively. There the Hohokam developed their irrigation culture and stayed reasonably stable. As the area continued to dry out they eventually moved northwards up the Agua Fria, New and Verde Rivers, eastwards up the Gila River and into the Tonto Basin, and southwards into the valleys of the San Pedro and Santa Cruz Rivers during the aptly-named Hohokam Colonial Period. By around A.D. 900, the Hohokam people had expanded their culture as widely as possible without encroaching upon the territories of the surrounding Hisatsinom, Sinagua, Salado and Mogollon peoples, and without running out of water to divert into their canals.

Regardless of what the farthest limits of actual migration were for the Hisatsinom-Hopi, the point where the four arms of the geo-morphic whirling log design meet is known as the Center of the World, the Tuuwanasavi, supposedly a spot a few miles from the Arizona village of Oraibi on the Hopi Third Mesa. Founded about 1120 AD, Oraibi has been continuously inhabited longer than any community on the North American continent. Oraibi literally means “Round Rock,” but the full name of this village is Sip Oraibi, “the place where the earth was made solid” or “the place where the roots solidify.” The first syllable of the name is similar to the Hopi word for navel: sipna’at. Hence, this tribe considers the spot to be the navel of the world.

In a period preordained by the Creator, the enigmatic figure of Pahana will return wearing a red cap or a red cape. This Pahana will verify his authenticity by bearing a stone piece that will match up with the rest of the sacred tablet the Creator had given the Hopi before they began their migrations. Two helpers will accompany Pahana, one of which carries a masculine whirling log design representing purity and the four directions. The Purifier, commanded by the Red symbol and with the help of the Sun and the Meha [whirling log design], will weed out the wicked who have disturbed the way of life of the Hopi,

However, if the Hopi nation disappears totally, the motion of the planet will become eccentric, and a great flood will again engulf the land as it did at the end of the Third World. Eventually, hordes of ants will inherit the Earth.

(Dan Katchongva, Danaqyumtewa, trans., Thomas Francis, ed. “From the Beginning of Life to the Day of Purification: Teachings, History & Prophecies of the Hopi People”)

The saguaro state, Arizona was admitted into the Union on February 14, 1912 and will soon be recognizing 100 years as a state. It was ratified from a territory and officially designated a U.S. state.

All of present-day Arizona became part of the claimed Mexican State of Vieja California upon the Mexican assertion of independence from Spain in 1822. In spite of the US constitution Bill of rights the United States took illegal possession of most of Arizona and California at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. In 1853, the land below the Gila River was purchased without Treaty verification from the State of Sonora and Baja CA, Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered under military and volunteer vigilante forces as part of the Territory of New Mexico until it was organized into a separate territory on February 24, 1863.

Tribal people hold aboriginal land title and their residence patterns verify they were stalking mammoths and other ice-age species in southeastern Arizona for over 50,000 years when many streams were drying up, forcing animals to concentrate around streams and seeps.

Increasing archeological evidence has pushed the estimated date for human arrival in North America further and further back, to about 50,000 B.C. or more.

Archeological people have invested in the Clovis, 12,500 year, position for more than 70 years. For a lot of people in the field think that this is not only a repudiation of a well accepted dogma, it's a repudiation of themselves. It has been demonstrated that the best way in the world to get beaten up professionally is to claim you have a pre-Clovis site. When world class professionals dig deeper than Clovis a lot of people do not report it because they're worried about the reaction of their colleagues.

Archaeologists have spent the better part of the past 100 years establishing chronologies based on the material culture (artifacts) and do not take the oral histories of Indian peoples in consideration when creating these chronologies, yet they will reject radiocarbon dates if they're older than 11,500 years ago just simply because there's not supposed to be any people here at those times and it just goes on and on and on.

Most recent evidence holds that the migration from Asia continued from this time over many millennia in many waves.

Recent viewpoints hold that there were four major ice free corridors for waves of Tribal people: Nebraskan, Kansan, Illinoisan and Wisconsin.

The Geological and archeological evidence points to ice-free corridors for several thousand years between about 50 000 B.C. and 10 000 B.C. along the spine of the Rockies. Tribal people could come during these time periods to the Americas. During the Late Wisconsin Glaciations, about 18 000 years ago, however, the ice was at its maximum and covered most of Canada and much of northern United States. There was no migration at this time.

A second corridor was formed further east along the Alberta - Saskatchewan plains during another melt.

Finally, a third passageway developed around 10 000 B.C. to 8000 B.C. along the Yukon, Peace and Liard rivers.

The very recent evidence from Sonora Mexico, on the Arizona border, also proves that an elephant-like animal thought to have become extinct in North America 30,000 years ago has been found in association with early American Indians. The proto elephant creature initially evolved in North America, but was also one of the few proboscid mammals to colonize South America during the Great American Interchange (the only others being two species of the genus Stegomastodon, also gomphotheres), reaching there around 2 million years ago and traveling as far south as Argentina. Cuvieronius have been found in association with American Indians, and pieces of its hide and muscle tissue has been found in Chile: After long, often bitter debate, archeologists have finally come to a consensus that humans reached southern Chile more than 12,500 years ago. The date is more than 1,000 years before the previous benchmark for human habitation in the Americas, 11,200-year-old stone spear points first discovered in the 1930s near Clovis, N.M.

The Chilean site, known as Monte Verde, is on the sandy banks of a creek in wooded hills near the Pacific Ocean. Even former skeptics have joined in agreeing that its antiquity is now firmly established and that the bone and stone tools and other materials found there definitely mark the presence of a hunting-and-Working at the Monte Verde Sitegathering people.

The new consensus regarding Monte Verde, described in interviews last week and formally announced Monday, thus represents the first major shift in more than 60 years in the confirmed chronology of human prehistory in what would much later be called, from the European perspective, the New World.

For American archeologists it is a liberating experience not unlike aviation's breaking of the sound barrier; they have broken the Clovis barrier. Even moving back the date by as little as 1,300 years, archeologists said, would have profound implications on theories about when people first reached America, presumably from northeastern Asia by way of the Bering Strait, and how they migrated south more than 10,000 miles to occupy the length and breadth of two continents. It could mean that early people, ancestors of the Indians, first arrived in their new world at least 20,000 years before Columbus.

In Chile the elephant evidence continues, “The site has also yielded 38 small pieces of animal hide and muscle tissue, some still preserved on bones of Cuvieronius. Pieces of hide also were recovered from American Indians hearth areas, living floors, and wooden structural remains. Some pieces were still attached to wooden poles, possible suggesting the presence of hide-draped habitats. Pathological and other analyses of these pieces suggest that they are also of a Proboscidean.” South American fossils formerly attributed to Mastodon or Mammoth are now believed to be Cuvieronius. The related Stegomastodon occupied warmer, lower-altitude habitats in S. America, while the smaller C. hyodon occupied cooler, higher-altitude Andean habitats. Cuvieronius was a mixed feeder, and has been dated at least as recently as 9,100 B.P. in South America.





The discovery of three spear points that belonged to American Indian hunters of the American Indian prehistoric Clovis culture show that they preyed on an elephant-like animal thought to have become extinct in North America 30,000 years ago - whereas the American Indian Clovis culture with its big-game hunting did not flourish until 12,500 years ago.

The pieces, some 12,000 years old, were discovered in the northern Mexican state of Sonora at the El Fin del Mundo (End of the World) archaeological site, under the skeletal remains of a pair of gomphotheres, forerunners of the elephants, archaeologist Guadalupe Sanchez reported.

Gomphotheres also survived in Sonora, Mexico. Sonora is one of the officially known United Mexican States. Mexico is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea.

The discovery was made in the first days of January 2011 during the third season of excavations that a team led by Sanchez carried out in the area identified as a Clovis hunting ground.

Besides finding the spear points, Sanchez said that some 500 meters (1,600 feet) from the area they found at an American Indian Clovis camp a series of objects including files and several kinds of knives.

Read more:

Early Latino European-Sonora contact reports:

The historical period for the residence patterns and Modern Tribal designations for the Yaqui, Tohono-Oodham and Opata-Oodham are documented in the historical records of the Spanish and French military and government actions.

Opata-Oodham culture does not designate a tribe in the same sense as Pima or Tohono Oodham. Traditionally it is organized on a triblet or band structure. Anthropologists often use the word “tribe” to denote a group of related bands that speaks a common language, shares most cultural traits, have definable territories, albeit often vaguely so, and that are held together by kinship and varying degrees of socio-political ties. Alternatively, Opata-Oodham cultures were not nearly so bound together, insofar as this designation encompassed hundreds of small, seemingly autonomous bands, some of which spoke mutually unintelligible languages

Only a very small percentage of the bands identified by Cabeza de Vaca in the 1530s or the Cabeza de Vaca and the Vazquez de Coronado expedition in 1540-1542 can be reliably linked to Opata-Oodham culture groups encountered by French colonizers and Spanish explorers in the late 1680s. Further, only a fraction of the groups seen during the late seventeenth century are well documented in Spanish Colonial government and missionary records. Early records show considerable overlap in band representation at Spanish-Mexican and Espada, but it is also clear that Opata-Oodham cultures were well represented at Missions Founded by Kino. The latter two missions were notably more ethnically diverse, however, and included Apache, Karankawa, Comanche, and possibly Tonkawa, along with representatives of many other groups who remain unidentified as to language or ethnicity. Other groups are known to have occupied the region as well including the Wichita and Kiowa.

By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Indian people who remained affiliated with the missions and churches in the Greater Southwest area probably represented several ethnically and linguistically diverse groups, but were still decidedly geographic Opata-Oodham culture in character. Of course, other survivors undoubtedly found their way into what would become mission, rural, and other urban communities in greater Southwest and northeastern Mexico where they often worked as laborers. As Native Americans moved through the missionization process and toward what was essentially citizenship, their ethnicity changed as reported in church and government records. These records suggest a tendency to list a given individual as having less Indian affiliation through time as she/he presumably became more integrated into the non-Indian community. In any case, by the late 1790s there was a marked decline in the proportion of Indians relative to non-Indians, mulattos, and mestizos.

Between 1824 and 1895, most of the Spanish surnames on the church registry were replaced by the names of Catholic immigrants from Germany, France, Italy, and elsewhere. From the mid-1900s to the present, however, Spanish surnames again increased in number. Today the Spanish-Mexican community is represented most strongly by its Hispanic heritage, although Catholic Euro-Americans have remained a significant component of the community.

Yaqui, Mayo and Opata Rebellions of 1825-1833. After Mexico gained independence in 1822, the Yaquis became citizens of a new nation. During this time, there appeared a new Yaqui leader. Ms. Linda Zoontjens, the author of A Brief History of the Yaqui and Their Land, referred to Juan de la Cruz Banderas as a "revolutionary visionary" whose mission was to establish an Indian military confederation. Once again, the Mayo Indians joined their Yaqui neighbors in opposing the central authorities. With a following of 2,000 warriors, Banderas carried out several raids. But eventually, Banderas made an arrangement with the Government of Sonora. In exchange for his "surrender," Banderas was made the Captain-General of the Yaqui Militia.

By early 1832, Banderas had formed an alliance with the Opatas. Together, the Opatas and Yaquis were able to field an army of almost 2,500 warriors, staging repeated raids against haciendas, mines and towns in Sonora. However, the Mexican army continued to meet the indigenous forces in battle, gradually reducing their numbers. Finally, in December 1832, volunteers tracked down and captured Banderas. The captive was turned over to the authorities and put on trial. A month later, in January 1833, Banderas was executed, along with eleven other Yaqui, Mayo and Opata leaders who had helped foment rebellion in Sonora.

After many of years the Yoreme-Yaqui have been concentrated in Arizona and Sonora. Today they have Federal status, by the US Government, as a nationally recognized Tribe.

Writer, Roy Cook, Opata-Oodham was born in Tucson, Arizona. His goal is to bring information, pride and recognition regarding his Native American Arizona and Oklahoma Tribal heritage.