CASA GRANDE RUINS NATIONAL MONUMENT Foundations for Cultural Affiliation University of Arizona

CASA GRANDE RUINS NATIONAL MONUMENT Foundations for Cultural Affiliation University of Arizona
Foundations for Cultural Affiliation
Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Final Report
Prepared by
M. Nieves Zedeno
Richard W. Stoffie
Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology
University of Arizona
Prepared for
Stephanie Rodeffer
Chief, Museum Collections Repository
Western Archeological and Conservation Center
National Park Service
Tucson, Arizona
Cooperative Agreement # 8100 -1 -0001
September 14, 1995
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act ....
Determining Lineal Descent and Cultural Affiliation
Information Sources
Summary of Findings
History of Research
Spanish Missionaries and Explorers
Early American Accounts
Early Archaeological Research at Casa Grande
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument:
Archaeological Research and Federal Involvement
Archaeological Research of Historic Pima Dwellings
near Casa Grande
Determining the Antiquity of Casa Grande
Prehistoric Sequence and Implications for Cultural Affiliation
Prehistoric- Historic Continuity: Discussion
Pueblo Relations to Casa Grande
Jesuit Period: 1691 -1767
Intertribal Relationships in the Jesuit Period
Franciscan Period: 1768 -1827
The Mexican Period: 1821 -1853
American Period: Establishment of the Pima- Maricopa Reservations
Who Built Casa Grande?
Conflict and Conquest: The Wars of Elder Brother
Pueblo Traditions and Relationships to Pima-Papago Oral History
The Great Flood
Religious Practices
Lineal Descendants
Culturally Affiliated Tribes
Pima and Papago
Hopi and Zuni
Figure 1: Location of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Figure 2: Layout of Adobe Compounds and Mounds at the Monument
Figure 3: Various Interpretations of Hohokam Chronology
Figure 4: Pimería Alta During the Jesuit Period
Figure 5: Pima- Maricopa Territory 1849 -1859
SQ,oo 0
Figure 1. Location of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (Ambler 1961)
This report summarizes information on the prehistoric, historic, and ethnographic
foundations for the cultural affiliation of burials and associated funerary objects from Casa
Grande Ruins National Monument. This study is one of the responses by the National Park
Service to the requirements stipulated in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation
Act of 1990. The report should provide sufficient criteria for determining potentially affiliated
individuals and tribes to be contacted for future consultation.
This study was commissioned by the NPS Applied Ethnography Program in Washington,
D.C., to identify American Indian tribes potentially affiliated with the human remains and
associated funerary objects from Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (hereafter referred to
as Casa Grande). The project was administered under Cooperative Agreement #8100 -1 -0001
between the Western Archeological and Conservation Center (WACC), National Park Service,
and the University of Arizona. The inventory was drafted by WACC personnel. The Bureau of
Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) was contracted in 1994 to conduct background
research on the cultural affiliation of inventory items.
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) became law
on November 16, 1990. NAGPRA makes provisions for the return of human remains and
cultural items (including funerary objects, sacred items, and objects of cultural patrimony) held
in federally -funded repositories to lineal descendants and affiliated American Indian tribes,
Alaska native villages and corporations, and Native Hawaiian organizations.
NAGPRA is triggered by the possession of human remains or cultural items by a
federally funded repository or by the discovery and intentional removal of human remains or
cultural items on federal or tribal lands. Under NAGPRA, human remains and cultural items that
were in the possession or control of a federally funded repository prior to November 16, 1990,
are to be repatriated, upon request, to lineal descendants or culturally affiliated American Indian
tribes, Alaska native villages and corporations, or Native Hawaiian organizations'.
1 NAGPRA provisions regarding the discovery and intentional removal of Native American
cultural items after November 16, 1990 are explained in 25 U.S.C. 3002.
Human remains and associated funerary objects in the possession or control of a
federally -funded repository or federal agency must be reported to lineal descendants and
culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska native villages and corporations, and Native Hawaiian
organizations before November 16, 1995. The NAGPRA Review Committee is charged with
mating recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior regarding the disposition of culturally
unidentifiable human remains, and may voluntarily make recommendations regarding the
disposition of culturally unidentifiable associated funerary objects.
NAGPRA legislation also addresses the right of a museum or federal agency to have in
its possession an unassociated funerary object, sacred object, or object of cultural patrimony.
NAGPRA defines the right of possession as:
...possession obtained with the voluntary consent of an individual or group that
had authority of alienation. The original acquisition of a Native American
unassociated funerary object, sacred object, or object of cultural patrimony from
an Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization with the voluntary consent of an
individual or group with authority to alienate such object is deemed to give right
of possession of that object, unless the phrase so defined would, as applied in
section 7(c), result in a Fifth Amendment taking by the United States as
determined by the United States Claims Court pursuant to 28 U.S. C. 1491 in
which event the "right of possession" shall be as provided under otherwise
applicable property law. The original acquisition of Native American human
remains and associated funerary objects which were excavated, exhumed, or
otherwise obtained with full knowledge and consent of the next of kin or the
official governing body of the appropriate culturally affiliated Indian tribe or
Native Hawaiian organization is deemed to give right of possession to those
remains (25 U.S.C. 3001(13)).
Thus, NAGPRA provisions for determining right of possession will in many cases help delineate
the options available to the collection holder and the native groups. The question of right of
possession (sometimes called "legal title ") will not be asked unless a native group makes a
repatriation request. To make such request, the native group must demonstrate a "burden of
proof" of cultural affiliation (Evans et al. 1994:15).
The Act requires formal consultation with lineal descendants and Indian tribes, Alaskan
native villages and corporations, and Native Hawaiian organization officials in deciding the
disposition of human remains or cultural items. Consultation is required in the preparation of
inventories of human remains and cultural items in federally funded and federal agency
repositories and in the event of the excavation or discovery of human remains or cultural items
on federal lands or tribal lands.
Determining Lineal Descent and Cultural Affiliation
In preparing this report we followed the stipulations provided by NAGPRA in regard to
the establishment of lineal descent and cultural affiliation of individuals and tribes. Draft
NAGPRA regulations provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior (Federal Register
1993:31129) give the following definition of lineal descendants:
Lineal descendant means an individual tracing his or her ancestry directly and
without interruption by means of the traditional kinship system of the appropriate
Indian tribe to a known Native American individual whose remains, funerary
objects, or sacred objects are being claimed under these regulations (43 CFR Part
10 Section 10.14).
NAGPRA regulations define cultural affiliation as:
...a relationship of shared group identity which can be reasonably traced
historically or prehistorically between a present day Indian tribe or Native
Hawaiian organization and an identifiable earlier group (25 U.S.C. 3001(2)).
Lineal descent and cultural affiliation determinations are necessary steps before a museum or
Federal agency can begin the required consultation. Such determinations are a key component
of NAGPRA, without which consultation is impossible. The Congress Senate Report provides
the following guideline for determining lineal descent and cultural affiliation:
The types of evidence...may include, but are not limited to, geographical,
kinship, biological, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, oral tradition, or
historical evidence or other relevant information or expert opinion (101st
Congress Senate Report, 2d Session 101 -473:9).
One of the major obstacles in determining lineal descent of human remains and associated
funerary items is the absence of specific information on biological or kinship continuity between
contemporary American Indian people and prehistoric remains. In many cases these remains are
not found in the areas now occupied by the potentially affiliated tribes; remains may be found
in the possession of Indian people who came to areas previously inhabited by unrelated ethnic
groups, in reservations recently created by the U.S. government, or in federal/state lands. The
Congress Senate Report provides clear guidelines for establishing cultural affiliation in such
The committee intends that the 'cultural affiliation' of an Indian tribe to Native
American human remains or objects shall be established by a simple
preponderance of the evidence. Claimants do not have to establish 'cultural
affiliation' with scientific certainty ... Where human remains and funerary objects
are concerned, the Committee is aware that it may be extremely difficult, unfair
or even impossible in many instances for claimants to show an absolute continuity
from present day Indian tribes to older, prehistoric remains without some
reasonable gaps in the historic or prehistoric record. In such instances, a finding
of cultural affiliation should be based upon an overall evaluation of the totality of
the circumstances and evidence pertaining to the connection between the claimant
and the material being claimed and should not be precluded solely because of
gaps in the record (101st Congress Senate Report, 2d Session 101- 473:9).
The circumstances described above may also result in multiple requests for repatriation of any
cultural item. NAGPRA legislation provides the following stipulation for addressing competing
Where there are multiple requests for repatriation of any cultural item and, after
complying with the requirements of this Act, the Federal agency or museum
cannot clearly determine which requesting party is the most appropriate claimant,
the agency or museum may retain such item until the requesting parties agree
upon its disposition or the dispute is otherwise resolved pursuant to the provisions
of this Act or by a court of competent jurisdiction (25 U.S.C. 3005(7e)).
Based on the legislation stipulations as well as on findings from previous cultural affiliation
overviews conducted by the BARA research team (Evans et al. 1994; Stoffle et al. 1990, 1994),
several lines of evidence (archaeology, ethnohistory, ethnography, and oral history) were
considered to determine which American Indian tribes may claim cultural affiliation to the
inventory items from Casa Grande.
Although the execution of NAGPRA requires that consultation with culturally affiliated
tribes be focused on specific collections in the hands of museums and federal agencies,
determinations of cultural affiliation that satisfy the concerns of American Indians cannot be
made without considering the broad cultural context to which those collections belong. Thus, this
study includes evidence of cultural affiliation that is not only specific to Casa Grande but that
applies to the culture area wherein the monument is found, that is, the Hohokam area of
southern Arizona.
Information Sources
This preliminary study presents multiple lines of evidence for determining cultural
affiliation of inventory items from Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Three major types
of information were considered: (1) the history of archaeological research carried out at the
monument and results of this research; (2) the history of occupation of the region where the
monument is located, from the Spanish discovery to the present; and (3) recorded oral history
and ethnographic records containing both general and specific references to Casa Grande and
immediate surroundings. Primary and secondary published sources and manuscripts were
consulted to carry out this research.
As will be shown in subsequent sections, cultural affiliation determinations that include
all tribes with potential claims to the inventory items could not be made without the use of
multiple information types. The inventory items from Casa Grande, particularly the associated
funerary objects, do not lend themselves to a cultural affiliation determination based solely on
functional or stylistic similarities in material culture of prehistoric and contemporary tribes.
Tribes, however, could provide valuable information on the relationships between prehistoric
styles and traditional symbol systems that are specific to a contemporary American Indian group.
Cultural affiliation determinations made along the stipulations presented above were not limited
to inferred prehistoric affiliation of the objects alone but also considered the history of the
monument and its surroundings.
Summary of Findings
Casa Grande, like other prehistoric remains assigned archaeologically to the Hohokam
culture area of southern Arizona (Crown 1991; Fish 1989), presents a particularly challenging
problem for determining cultural affiliation. Archaeological and ethnohistoric records do not
unequivocally demonstrate descent between prehistoric Hohokam and the populations who were
settled in the area at the time of the Spanish contact.
Fragmentary information has been a source of academic debate among archaeologists and
ethnohistorians who, on the one hand, point out that historically known tribes with potential
associations to Casa Grande do not have similar material culture nor organizational strategies
to those inferred for the people who lived at Casa Grande; on the other hand, they see that there
are adaptive and cultural continuities between the earliest inhabitants of the Hohokam area and
the historic American Indian occupants (Dobyns 1988, 1989; Ezell 1962, 1983; Haury 1976;
Hayden 1970). This debate, however, may be solved by appealing to oral history records which
describe with great clarity the relationship between prehistoric and historic Indian peoples of
southern Arizona.
Another source of dissent among researchers working in the area is the relationship
between prehistoric Hohokam and Pueblo people (Brunson 1989; Crown 1994; Gladwin and
Gladwin 1935; Haury 1945). Archaeological debate as to whether Pueblo groups migrated into
southern Arizona and eventually lived among desert dwellers has seldom considered that
prehistoric Pueblo people, who lived in an unpredictable environment, had to develop means of
gaining access to lands and resources in areas far away from their homelands. Migration, shortterm sedentism, joint use of territories, and ethnic coresidence may have been solutions for
coping with stress caused by environmental shortfalls or political struggle (Zedeno 1994). Here,
too, oral traditions and historic documents complement fragmentary archaeological information
on multi- ethnic interaction at Casa Grande and surroundings; these sources also suggest that a
northward movement of people from southern Arizona may have occurred in the late prehistoric
Thus, through the examination of archaeological, historic, and ethnographic sources, and
oral texts, it was found that the human remains and associated funerary items from Casa Grande
may be culturally affiliated with five ethnic groups: Pima, Papago, Maricopa, Hopi, and Zuni.
The following is a summary of NAGPRA affiliation:
Lineal descendants
No lineal descendants from the human remains under consideration were
Culturally affiliated Indian tribes
According to the oral tradition and historic records, Pima and Papago ethnic
groups have direct descent ties to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and the
Hohokam. The archaeological record, albeit fragmentary, supports this
Oral tradition, ethnography, history, and archaeology suggest that there are
descendants of the Hohokam among the Hopi and Zuni tribes. More specific to
Casa Grande is the variability in burial practices (cremations vs inhumations) and
accompanying ceramic vessels, which archaeologists have often interpreted as
belonging to distinct cultural and ethnic groups.
Historic records show that the Maricopa and Kaveitchadom moved into the
territory previously inhabited by Pima ancestors and eventually came to live
among the Pima. The records indicate cultural, social, and political integration
of these two groups.
There is no evidence that other cultural groups have incorporated Casa Grande into their own
cultural traditions. Neither the archaeological record nor the history of Colorado River Yuma
groups and Apache tribes of Arizona reveal that they have a cultural relationship with Casa
Grande Ruin National Monument nor with prehistoric Hohokam.
The five ethnic groups identified as potentially affiliated to Casa Grande Ruin National
Monument specifically and to the Hohokam area in general belong to the following federally
recognized Indian tribes and organizations:
Ak -Chin Indian Community
Gila River Indian Community
Hopi Tribe
Pueblo of Zuni
Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community
Tohono O'odham Nation
(Papago -Pima)
(Pima -Maricopa)
(Pima- Maricopa)
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is located nine miles west of Florence and one
mile south of the Gila River, on the outskirts of the town of Coolidge, south -central Arizona
(figure 1). The monument encompasses 472.5 acres of flat, stony desert sparsely covered with
native woody plants such as creosote bush and mesquite, and is drained by McClellan Wash, a
tributary of the Gila River (Ambler 1961:2).
The monument sits on one of the low terraces, of approximately nine meters in height,
that rise along both sides of the narrow Gila flood plain. These terraces are well suited for
irrigated agriculture, as evidenced by the presence of modem fields as well as prehistoric canal
systems that drew water from the Gila River and served communities settled on the terraces
overlooking the middle valley (Crown 1987; Berry and Marmaduke 1982; Gregory and Nials
The area, first set aside as a federal reserve in 1892 and then established as a national
monument in 1918, contains a large group of ruins dating mainly to the Classic Period Hohokam
occupation of the middle Gila Basin (AD 1150 -ca. 1450). The ruin group consists of six adobe
compounds, one isolated massive -walled structure named "Clan House 1" by Fewkes (1912),
traces of at least two other such structures, 17 habitation and cremation mound clusters, and a
single ball court (Ambler 1961:figure 10) or dance ground. A segment of the prehistoric
irrigation canal that fed Casa Grande agricultural fields runs along the north and west boundaries
of the monument (Crown 1987:149). The Casa Grande or "Great House" proper (AZ AA:2:1
[ASM]) lies within the perimeter walls of Compound A (figure 2).
The great house is a multi-story structure built of massive adobe tiers made in the
"English Cob technique" (Wilcox and Sternberg 1981:20), that is, by piling adobe mix in
horizontal layers above a prepared platform and with no structural skeleton. Indoor space is
divided in five connecting rooms around a central area with doorways opening to the compound.
Other high openings and orifices may have been for ventilation and observation (Fewkes
1912:60). Originally, the building had three stories and a fourth story room, but the two upper
stories have crumbled.
Hypotheses about the original function of this building have changed through time, and
it is yet unknown why the building was erected, who it sheltered, or what its purpose was. The
So; an a
Figure 1. Location of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (Ambler 1961)
A 11
Art.. AA: IA
100 500 400
C 1414
Figure 2. Layout of Adobe Compounds and Mounds at the Monument (Ambler 1961)
12:.4' IS
great house was held in awe by the local aborigines encountered by the first Spanish explorers,
and was considered to be the abode of a great chief "Siban" or "Civano." The oral traditions that
refer to the origin and affiliation of Casa Grande have varied from one source to the next.
However, the idea that the great house served a very special purpose, whether political, military,
or religious, remains in the minds of the aboriginal population and the archaeologists.
Bandelier was one of the few archaeologists who considered that the Casa Grande served
a secular, domestic, or defensive purpose (Bandelier 1892:460); he based his hypothesis on
Pérez de Ribas' description of early seventeenth century Nebome defensive adobe structures in
central Sonora. In contrast, Cushing (1890), Mindeleff (1892), and Fewkes (1912) saw in the
great house attributes that suggested a non -habitational function. Cushing, for example, believed
it to be a Sun Temple inhabited by an elite priesthood akin to that of Zuni. He thought that Casa
Grande and similar structures belonged to a stratified and highly organized society ruled by high
priests who occupied the great houses (Cushing 1890:167; see also Baxter 1889).
Casa Grande also has been postulated as an astronomical observatory (Fewkes 1912;
Molloy 1969) and as an economic- political center for the middle Gila communities (Teague
1984). Wilcox and Sternberg (1981:28) postulate that the great house may have been a central
storage facility /non- domestic activity structure and favor Cushing's hypothesis that it once had
a ceremonial function. Based on architectural evidence, they believe the house was emptied and,
when reoccupied shortly thereafter, was used for domestic purposes. The brief hiatus in the
occupation of the great house while the Casa Grande community was still inhabited and its
equally brief reoccupation, seem to coincide with the demise of the Classic period communities.
The great house -adobe -compound -canal complex was followed by the low -density, dispersed
settlement system favored by protohistoric populations of southern Arizona.
History of Research
The historic records of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument span three centuries.
Extensive accounts written by missionaries, explorers, adventurers, army men, and professional
archaeologists provide detailed descriptions of the nature and condition of the ruins as well as
hypotheses and speculations about their origin and function. Since these accounts have already
been compiled in great detail in the archaeological literature (Fewkes 1912; Wilcox and Shenk
1977) this section of the report will provide a brief overview of the history of the monument.
Spanish Missionaries and Explorers
The earliest historic records of Casa Grande were written by the pioneer Jesuit
missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, who until his death in 1711 devoted his life to the
conversion and colonization of the Indian tribes inhabiting what is now southern Arizona,
Sonora, and Baja California. In his travels through Sonora he eventually heard stories of a Casa
Grande on a west flowing river beyond San Javier del Bac (Bolton 1984 :184). Curious to see
this wonder, he organized a pack train, servants, and native guides. He travelled 43 leagues
from Bac to Casa Grande near the Gila River. On a Sunday, November 17, 1694, Kino reached
Casa Grande, a massive adobe -walled four -story building with hallways and ample rooms where
he said Mass. He also observed 13 smaller and somewhat dilapidated houses around the great
house as well as many other remains. These led him to believe he was before an ancient city.
While at Casa Grande, Kino learned of the legends and superstitions about its origin and
the existence of seven or eight more of these great houses and ruins of whole cities to the east,
north, and west of the Casa Grande; he logically inferred that those must be the Seven Cities
Cibola mentioned by Fray Marcos de Niza. Kino also recorded the presence of Pimas villages
in the vicinity of the great house, and got word of the Cocomaricopas, who lived farther west
along the "Hila River" (Bolton 1984:285). From that time on, and largely because of the lure
of Father Kino's accounts of the Casa Grande, the ruin became a landmark visited by travellers
and adventurers who journeyed across the Sonoran desert. At least three more Spanish visitors
to Casa Grande provided accounts of the ruin as well as the Pima groups who lived on its
grounds by the end of the seventeenth century.
In the fall of 1697, Kino, accompanied by Lieut. Juan Mateo Manje, Capt. Cristóbal
Bernal and 22 soldiers, followed the San Pedro River downstream into the Gila and arrived at
Casa Grande on November 18 of that year. Manje and Bernal provided the first complete
description of the Casa Grande ruin including maps and sketches ( Manje 1954; Fewkes 1912:55;
Wilcox and Shenk 1977:8). Manje noted 12 ruined houses around the main ruin, also with thick
walls and burnt rooms, associated with earthen mounds. Furthermore, Manje also observed an
irrigation ditch ten yards wide and four feet deep that branched off from the river into the plain
and surrounding the city ( Fewkes 1912:55; see Crown 1987:149). In 1699 Father Kino made
his final visit to the ruin and in 1701 he finished a map of the area in which Casa Grande was
charted for the first time. In the following years, a third explorer, Father Agustín de Campos,
made several visits to Casa Grande, most of which had negative effects on the preservation of
the ruin --he removed and burned roof beams for firewood (Bolton 1984 :286; Manje 1954:240).
The next known Spanish visits to Casa Grande took place in the mid -1700, when four
Jesuit missionaries, fathers Keller, Grasshofer, and Sedelmair, went to the Gila River near Casa
Grande. In 1743, Father Seldemair attempted unsuccessfully to cross the wilderness northward
to reach Moqui (Hopi) country. Their visits were recorded in an anonymous manuscript called
"Rudo Ensayo," now attributed to Father Juan Mentuig or Nentvig, in which he described Father
Keller's eyewitness account of Casa Grande and its irrigation ditch, as well as other great houses
on the north bank of the river (Nentvig 1951:14).
In 1775, Lieut. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza accompanied by the Franciscan fathers
Francisco Garcés, Pedro Font and Tomás Eixarch and 239 other persons, travelled from Tubac
to Casa Grande. Garcés and Font registered the position of the great house at a latitude of 30°
03' 30 ". Father Font provided very detailed descriptions and sketches of the ruin, noticing also
that the house had three stories and the remains of a fourth, and stood on an artificial, platform like foundation, "the basement of the casa deepening in the manner of a subterranean apartment"
(in Fewkes 1912:60). Font speculated, on the basis of conversations with the local Pimas, that
the upper story of the great house, whose walls were pierced by circular openings, had been
used by the lords of the house to observe through the openings the rising and setting of the sun.
The early Spanish descriptions of the Casa Grande, particularly those by Manje, Martín
Bernal, and Keller, all agree in that the main ruin was a three -story building with a fourth story
room above, with roofs made of cedar, juniper and mesquite, and beautifully finished walls
made of massive blocks of red adobe. These descriptions also include the presence of the
irrigation ditch surrounding the "city" and up to 13 smaller adobe structures around the great
house. Note, however, that by the time Font visited the ruin, the fourth story had already
collapsed, and also the irrigation canal had been choked by sediments. Also, Font did not
mention the 13 surrounding adobe buildings that Kino and Manje saw still standing in 1697.
Early American Accounts
During the early nineteenth century, trappers such as the Patties and Pauline Weaver and
the famous explorer Kit Carson (Russell 1980 :80) were among many visitors who on their way
to or from California stopped to rest at Casa Grande and the neighboring Pima village of
Blackwater (Browne 1974:118). The most detailed accounts of Casa Grande are, however, those
by army men who crossed the Sonoran desert during the Mexican War. In 1846, General
Stephen W. Kearny, Lieut. William H. Emory, Lieut. Stanley, and Capt. A. R. Johnston
drafted official reports of their visit to Casa Grande. Their notes include measurements and
sketches of the great house (Fewkes 1912:65).
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, following the end of the Mexican War and
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), new land ownership by Americans brought in
surveyors and explorers. In 1852, J. R. Bartlett, the Comissioner travelling with the U.S.
Boundary Survey Commission, wrote extensively on the architecture and condition of Casa
Grande (Bartlett 1854), speculating that the function of its interior rooms had been that of
storage ( Fewkes 1912:67). After the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, a number of American settlers
and travellers took interest in Casa Grande. Additional descriptions were provided by Special
Indian Agent J. Ross Browne in 1864, Indian Agent F. E. Grossman in 1871, and territorial
publicist Richard J. Hinton in 1877 (Russell 1980).
With the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1879 and a stage station near
Casa Grande in 1880, many more visitors contributed to further deterioration of the great house.
Artifacts, roof timber and wall materials were removed, and graffiti was inscribed in the adobe
walls (Wilcox and Shenk 1977:20). Fortunately, with the increase in visitation, the public as well
as the government took an interest in Casa Grande, leading to the proposal of the first plans for
its preservation and stabilization.
Early Archaeological Research at Casa Grande
Professional archaeology was brought to Casa Grande through two research institutions
founded in 1879, the Archaeological Institute of America and the Bureau of American
Ethnology. Partly as the result of increasing efforts of government officials to incorporate Indian
populations into mainstream America (Whiteley 1988), and partly as the product of an
antiquarian agenda established by museums to collect aboriginal material culture, these two
institutions began programs designed to systematically compile information on extant Indian
tribes and their prehistoric past.
Through a research proposal written by Henry Lewis Morgan in 1879 for the newly
founded Archaeological Institute of America, Adolf Bandelier, his disciple, began a survey of
the American Southwest (Wilcox and Shenk 1977:23). Bandelier visited Casa Grande ruins in
1884 and gave a detailed description and interpretation of the site. Bandelier (1884; 1892) was
the first explorer, since Father Font, to draw a ground plan for what Fewkes (1912:69) called
"Compound A" and studied the relationship between the structures within this compound and
the great house. Bandelier also investigated "Compound B," providing a sketch of its two
platform mounds. He placed Casa Grande structures in relation to neighboring sites such as Casa
Blanca and other ruins located between the Casa Grande and Florence (Bandelier 1884:454 -460),
and took note of the resemblance between the architecture of the great house and other ruins in
the Verde Valley, central, and eastern Arizona. Drawing comparisons from adobe buildings in
Sonora and from Pérez de Ribas' (1645) account of Nevome architecture, Bandelier thought that
Casa Grande may have been a defensive structure within a cluster of domestic buildings.
In 1888, Frank Hamilton Cushing, a former employee of the Bureau of American
Ethnology (BAE) and head of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition, came to
Casa Grande. Cushing had spent several years collecting ethnographic information at Zuni, New
Mexico, for the BAE. Forced to an early retirement, he then sought financial support from Mrs.
Hemenway, from Boston, to undertake archaeological research in southern Arizona (Cushing
1890:159). His chief motive was to uncover the origins of Zuni people; his deep knowledge of
Zuni oral history and migration traditions led him to believe that it was in southern Arizona
where he could fmd, perhaps, prehistoric traces of their origins (Cushing 1890:158).
Cushing had studied in detail the Zuni narrative of the "Masters of the Great House" a
seven -house priesthood that, to him, signified the entire Zuni people and that was tied to a
spiritual- sociologic subdivision that permeated their origin traditions (Cushing 1890:153 -7).
Having heard from Bandelier that such great houses were to be found along the Gila and Salt
Rivers, and seeing himself the "earthen mounds" and "terraced buildings" that appeared as the
expedition approached the middle reaches of these rivers, he then set out to excavate these
buildings. Cushing only briefly investigated Casa Grande and did not provide descriptions of the
ruins. It is unclear whether he actually excavated at the ruins or not. His only detailed statement
about Casa Grande is in a paper presented at the International Congress of the Americanists in
Berlin in 1888, in which he provided a religious interpretation of the Great House, drawing
comparisons with the "great kiva" at Los Muertos as well as with Zuni kivas and even Inca
Following Cushing's expedition, concern with the pace of destruction of the great house
stimulated archaeological societies and individuals to petition the federal government to protect
and preserve the site. In 1889, the 50th U.S. Congress appropriated funds to repair Casa
Grande. Two years later, two BAE archaeologists, Jesse W. Fewkes and Cosmos Mindeleff,
conducted systematic studies of Casa Grande and designed plans for its preservation and
stabilization. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison decreed a federal reserve of 480 acres of
public land for the protection of Casa Grande Ruin ( Mindeleff 1897:330). This decision was
largely the result of the influence and efforts of Mrs. Mary Hemenway, patroness of the
Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition (Wilcox and Sternberg 1981:5).
Fewkes succeeded Cushing as director of the Hemenway expedition. Fewkes went to
Casa Grande to assess the extent of destruction (Fewkes 1892). Cosmos Mindeleff prepared a
complete report of the architecture of Casa Grande (Mindeleff 1896) and directed repair work
of the ruin ( Mindeleff 1897). Mindeleff, who with his brother Victor had done extensive
architectural studies of Hopi villages (V. Mindeleff 1989) and surveyed the ruins of the Verde
River Valley (Mindeleff 1896a), was a keen observer of archaeological remains and understood,
earlier than anyone, the principles of formation of the archaeological record. In fact, most of
his descriptions at Casa Grande dealt with the reconstruction of building and abandonment
episodes not just of the main ruin, but also of surrounding structures (Mindeleff 1896:300). Once
geological and architectural assessments of the rate of destruction of the adobe structures were
completed, the first protective roof was built atop the main ruin in 1903, and was replaced by
the current roof in 1932 (Van Valkenburgh 1962).
From 1906 to 1908, Fewkes, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, conducted one
season of excavation at the great house and surrounding structures within Compound A, and a
second season in which he investigated compounds B, C, D, E, and F, and Clan House 1. He
also described surrounding trash mounds, cremation mounds, irrigation ditches, "reservoir"
depressions (the largest of which was actually a ball court), and mescal pits, and provided a list
of artifact collections made by himself and other archaeologists (Fewkes 1912). His is one of
the most comprehensive descriptions of Casa Grande ruins available in the archaeological
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument:
Archaeological Research and Federal Involvement
After the Presidential decree of 1892, creating Casa Grande Ruins Federal Reserve, the
site became a point of reference for federal involvement in the preservation of prehistoric sites
and their interpretation to the public. In 1902, Frank Pinkley was made custodian of the federal
reserve and, when the National Park Service was formed in 1916, he was put in charge of all
Southwestern Monuments. Pinkley and his wife Edna devoted most of their life to studying and
interpreting Casa Grande to the public. Their excavations produced a valuable artifact collection
that they made accessible for analysis as well as for public exhibits (Pinkley 1926; Pinkley and
Pinkley 1931). From 1918, when the reserve became a National Monument (Ambler 1961:2)
until recently, the National Park Service has stimulated both private and federally -funded
research on Casa Grande (Van Valkenburgh 1962).
Research efforts by the National Park Service and other institutions, such as the Arizona
State Museum and the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles, have been devoted largely to the
architectural analysis, preservation, and stabilization of the Casa Grande ( e.g., Kreigh and
Sultan 1974; Mayer 1969; Molloy 1969; Reaves 1975; Steen 1965; Wilcox 1975; Wilcox and
Shenk 1977; Wilcox and Sternberg 1981). Other research projects also included survey,
stratigraphic excavations, and absolute dating of the ruins.
Systematic excavations aimed at the construction of a chronological sequence for Casa
Grande were carried out by Harold S. Gladwin under the sponsorship of the Southwest Museum
of Los Angeles. Gladwin's main objective was to build a chronology for southern Arizona. In
1927 he excavated stratigraphic test units in several cremation and trash mounds within the
monument and also at the platform -mound site in Adamsville, five miles east of Casa Grande
(Gladwin 1928:18). His work made it possible to place Casa Grande in time relative to other
sites in southern Arizona and other areas of the Southwest. Additional excavations of Compound
F and site AZ AA:2 :61 [ASM] were conducted in 1930 by Arthur Woodward of the Van
Bergen -Los Angeles Museum Expedition and in 1933 -34 by Russell Hastings of the Civil Works
It was not until the 1950s that the entire monument was systematically mapped and
evaluated. The first complete survey in and around the monument was begun in 1956 by Leland
J. Abel and completed in 1957 by Alden C. Hayes. The results of this survey as well as of
Hasting's excavations were discussed and interpreted in detail by John R. Ambler (1961). More
recent excavations of undisturbed midden deposits in Compound A (Steen 1965; Reaves 1975;
Wilcox 1975) have been geared toward testing hypotheses about the construction sequence and
architectural techniques of the great house and its function. A complete reconstruction of the
architecture of the Casa Grande was carried out by Wilcox and Shenk (1977). More recently,
attempts to obtain absolute dates for the great house and associated compound structures
(Andresen 1981; Wilcox 1977) have produced few dates that nonetheless allow the interpretation
of the history of occupation at the monument.
Archaeological Research of Historic Pima Dwellings near Casa Grande
Despite the fact that in recent years there has been systematic survey and excavation of
large portions of the Gila and Salt River basins, archaeological evidence of historic occupation
of Casa Grande and areas nearby is scant. Most sites consist of isolated traditional structures of
the ranchería type. In 1942, Charlie R. Steen, junior archaeologist at Casa Grande Ruins
National Monument, reported the discovery of several burials on private land at the east end of
the monument (Steen 1942). Approximately a dozen burials had been made in a low mound. The
position of the burials indicated sequential rather than simultaneous interment. The burials
contained historic porcelain, glass trade beads, a clay pipe, a metal ring, rubber combs, and
clothing articles. These burials dated to the period between 1840 and 1860.
Remains of ranchería type settlements have been found one mile southeast of Blackwater
on the Gila River Reservation (Layhe 1986). The site (AZ U:14:75 [ASM]) was composed of
one round house or kis, two probable habitation structures of similar type, and a ramada. This
site was dated to the turn of the century. Several other ranchería remains have been recorded
and many of them excavated. Rice et al. (1983), for example, wrote a detailed
ethnoarchaeological study of Alicia, a nineteenth century Pima homestead located in the stretch
of desert between Casa Grande and Phoenix. Rafferty (1979) also conducted an architectural
study of five Pima rancherías in the Gila Butte -Santan region. Additional historic remains were
found at Las Colinas (McGuire 1982).
Perhaps the most complete study of historic Pima communities, though, is the analysis
of the birth, growth, and demise of Ska'kaik, a village built atop Snaketown (McGuire 1981).
The history of Ska'kaik shows strong continuities from the patterns of land and water use that
existed in prehistory to those practiced at the turn of the century. The history of the short-lived
Ska'kaik illustrates the natural and social forces that riverine - desert societies such as Hohokam
and Pima had to contend with, as well as the modern solutions to ancient adaptive problems.
Over one hundred years of research at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument have
uncovered a large number of archaeological remains associated with the adobe compounds and
midden and cremation mounds located there. Although the emphasis of this research has been
on the great house, a number of projects produced data on the chronology, architectural
variability, irrigation technology, and probable function of the Casa Grande ruin group within
the monument. This section briefly reviews and summarizes this information and discusses the
implications of archaeological data for assigning cultural affiliation to the remains found at Casa
Determining the Antiquity of Casa Grande
A consensus found throughout the literature on Casa Grande is that the great house was
built long before the Spanish arrived in North America and even before the first recorded Pima
occupation of the area (Bolton 1984:370). Early architectural descriptions of Casa Grande sought
to explain the chronological relationships between the great house and the structures within the
walls of the Compound A, and between this compound and the remaining ruins in the
monument. Mindeleff, for example, thought that the great house was the latest in the
construction sequence of Compound A. Basing his hypothesis on the degree of destruction of the
these buildings in comparison to other compounds and structural mounds and on the
characteristics of natural surface deposits of recent formation, Mindeleff observed that several
of the mounds containing remains of habitation were probably occupied before the great house
was built, and may have been abandoned earlier as well (Mindeleff 1896 :299 -300).
Mindeleff suggested, in short, that archaeological remains found within the monument
represented more than one period of occupation, the low, rounded mounds being the older, the
compounds intermediate, and the great house the later structure. He remarked:
On this basis the most ancient mounds are those specified above, while the most
recent are those in the immediate vicinity of the Casa Grande ruin. This estimate
accords well with the limited historical data and with the Pima traditions, which
recount that Casa Grande ruin was the last inhabited village in this vicinity
( Mindeleff 1896:301).
Mindeleff also hypothesized that the highest mounds that still retained sharp angle slopes and
adobe remains represented the latest occupation of the area, and were used as farming outlooks
long after the site ceased to be a place of residence. This observation was based on his previous
studies of Pueblo farming architecture and led him to infer that the inhabitants of the Casa
Grande or people of "similar habits and customs" had continued farming the area once the great
house was no longer in use ( Mindeleff 1896:303).
Fewkes, on the other hand, thought that although the compounds were likely built at
different times, it could hardly be supposed that one compound was completely deserted at one
time and that the inhabitants might have moved to another site a few hundred feet away. This
point contrasts with Mindeleff's view of highly dynamic communities wherein people were
constantly moving in or out of the villages, as were the Pueblos even during historic times
(Bandelier 1892). Fewkes, nonetheless, agreed that Compound A represented more recent
construction than compound B, although both were of considerable age. Furthermore, he
uncovered evidence for temporally distinct occupations of Compound B, where he found
pithouse structures "similar to those used by the Pima," underneath the adobe structures
(1912:94 -102). The great house itself appeared to him as having been built at different times,
showing repair and additions.
Thus it was established from the onset of archaeological research at Casa Grande that the
monument contained the remains of several occupation episodes spanning an unknown number
of years, but all of great antiquity. Gladwin's trenches (1928) as well as more recent
stratigraphic excavations by Steen (1965), Reaves (1975), and Wilcox (1975) supported
Mindeleff s observation that the adobe structures in Compound A predate the construction of the
great house. Similarly, analysis of survey and excavation materials by Ambler (1961)
strengthened Mindeleff's assertion that the monument ruins represent at least three, and perhaps
four, occupation episodes.
It was not until systematic chronological research was conducted in the 1930s that the
occupation of the great house was placed in a sequence relative to other Southwestern sites.
Gladwin's (1928) stratigraphic excavations and ceramic analysis provided the first opportunity
to cross -date Casa Grande with other ruins. Although the ceramic sequence for southern Arizona
was still in its infancy, excavations of cliff dwellings and masonry pueblos to the north and east
of Casa Grande had yielded material comparable to that found at the monument. After 1929,
when the first Pueblo ruins were dated by dendrochronology (Haury and Hargrave 1931), it
became possible to incorporate numerous other sites into the master chronology by cross -dating
Later, the Gladwins (Gladwin and Gladwin 1934; 1935) and Haury (1935; 1945) built
the first Hohokam ceramic chronology by cross -dating local types with securely dated ones such
as Fourmile Polychrome and Gila Polychrome. In this relative chronology, the construction of
the Casa Grande was placed sometime after the beginning of the fourteenth century; the ceramics
from Casa Grande include Gila and Tonto Polychromes, the Salado types diagnostic of
fourteenth century occupations throughout the Southwest (Crown 1994:15, 19; Wilcox and Shenk
1977:60). In addition, recovery of a few Awatovi Black -on -yellow sherds in floor contexts
helped narrow down the use -span of the great house up to the mid 1300s (Andresen 1981:2; see
Smith 1971:474 -476, 516).
Absolute dates from the Casa Grande have been available only recently. A single tree ring date of A.D. 1241 on a beam from the great house, published by Gladwin (1957:298)
cannot be confirmed at present (Wilcox and Shenk 1977:58). None of the juniper or ponderosa
pine specimens have yielded cutting dates. However, radiocarbon/tree -ring cross -dating studies
conducted by Andresen point to a very early Civano construction date of the building, no later
than AD 1330 (Andresen 1981:22).
Archaeomagnetic dates obtained from a hearth in Pithouse Structure 5 in Compound A
gave a date of AD 1350+19; this date suggests contemporaneous use of pithouses and adobe
structures within the compound during the first half of the fourteenth century (Wilcox 1977:42).
Regarding the length of use of the great house, Wilcox and Sternberg (1981:15; 21) have
interpreted certain wall and roof repairs as strong evidence for short-term abandonment and
reoccupation of the great house, and they suggest that this later reoccupation may have taken
place around AD 1350, as it occurred in other contemporaneous great house sites such as Las
Colinas on the Salt River Basin.
Regarding the dates of other structures within the monument, Ambler (1961:figure 15)
presented evidence of habitation beginning in the Colonial Period, Santa Cruz phase, at the
mound clusters VII and IX and in sites AZ:AA:2:56 and AZ:AA:2:61, the latter of which he
excavated (see figure 1). At these sites he also identified ceramic materials diagnostic of the
Sedentary Period, Sacaton phase. According to Ambler's ceramic seriation (Ambler 1961:figure
15), the overwhelming majority of structures and mounds in the monument date to the early
Classic Period, Soho Phase, and about two- thirds of them also belong into the Civano phase.
Figure 3 shows the chronological relationships among these phases and periods.
Although this is a long occupation sequence, only mound cluster IX contains evidence
for all the time periods identified by Ambler. In addition to his sequence, excavations at
Compound F (Woodward 1931; Hayden 1957) uncovered three post -Salado pit -style houses that
may represent late Classic occupation (Andresen 1985:597; Berry and Marmadouke 1982:186;
Hayden 1957:199), which has been recently named "Polvorón Phase" (AD 1370 -ca. 1450 ?)
(Sires 1984).
Prehistoric Sequence and Implications for Cultural Affiliation
The prehistoric sequence of construction and use of the Casa Grande community as a
whole can be broken into three major episodes: Preclassic - early Classic period, Civano
(Salado) phase, and late Classic or post -Classic Polvorón phase. Throughout this sequence, clues
may be found for relationships between the prehistoric and historic populations.
Post -Classic
1500 -
HAURY 1976
Oilo Butte
Sonia Crut
GtJt0 91 het al
300 -
Gib Bull*
Santa Gu:
lilla Bulls
Santo Crut
Santa Cruz
SnokNOwn /G.Q
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Santo Cruz
$ Snakitown
Red Mountain
Santa Crut
Gila Bulls
Rad Mountain
Figure 3. Various Interpretations of Hohokam Chronology (Crown 1991)
Preclassic -Early Classic Periods. The first episode undoubtledy relates to the riverine Hohokam
populations settled along the south bank in the middle Gila basin. Colonial period (AD 500 -900)
remains have been found scattered within the monument and beyond its boundaries to the east
whereas Sedentary period (AD 900 -1100) habitation areas have been identified both on the
mounds and under adobe compounds.
Excavations at the Grewe Site, located one mile to the east of the monument, uncovered
a pithouse village with rich cremation burials without Salado Polychromes (Woodward 1931:17;
I. Hayden 1931). The Grewe Site has been interpreted by Wilcox (1979) as the locale of the
Casa Grande village during the Colonial- Sedentary periods before it eventually shifted west and
became the Classic period Casa Grande settlement. The unusually large size of the Preclassic
Grewe community and the early Classic (AD 1100 -1300) development of the compound/pyramid
/canal complex at Casa Grande suggest that the central location of these settlements may have
in the Gila River Basin contributed to further social and political developments wherein the Great
House played a central role (Teague 1984:183).
There is evidence that early Classic period -Soho phase structures were built over the
remains of pithouse structures, at least at Compound B (Fewkes 1912). According to Ambler's
chronology (1961:figure 15), most other compounds and house mounds may have been built
during the Soho phase.
Classic Period -Civano Phase (Salado) (AD 1300-ca. 1370). The second episode in the sequence
corresponds to the construction and use of the Casa Grande in the early Civano phase at AD
1300s. According to Wilcox' (1975) stratigraphie study, the great house was built after the
structures in Compound A had been laid out.
This is also the time when the Salado phenomenon made its appearance throughout the
Southwest. Cultural traits traditionally associated with this phenomenon include the production
and distribution of polychrome ceramics, namely, Pinto, Gila, and Tonto Polychrome in
numerous regions and, in the Hohokam area, a sharp increase in the ratio of inhumations vs
cremations, and the construction of cobble stone pueblos and great houses at Casa Grande and
Los Muertos in the Salt -Gila basins (Haury 1945) and in the Tonto basin (Gladwin and Gladwin
1934, 1935).
Postclassic (Post- Salado) Period (AD 1370 -ca. 1450 ?). The third occupation episode
corresponds to the construction of "post- Salado" (Hayden 1957) pit- houses atop the Classic
period structures in Compound F. Elsewhere, this late Classic or Postclassic occupation,
probably occurring after abandonment of the platform mound/adobe compound complexes, has
been called Polvorón phase (Sires 1984:301) because it was identified and defined at El
Polvorón, a late Classic / Postclassic single component site located 24 miles to the north east of
Casa Grande. This occupation dates from the mid -fourteenth to the mid- fifteenth century and
appears to be the only evidence for continuity of occupation into the protohistoric period.
Polvorón phase occupations are characterized by isolated jacal structures representing one
or two extended families per farmstead. These late- dating structures are found not only at Casa
Grande but also at Las Colinas (Hammack and Sullivan 1981:50), at a site near Snaketown
(Haury 1976 :52), and at Los Muertos (Sires 1984 :320). These structures are also
contemporaneous to the late occupation of Escalante (Doyel 1974), where a reduced number of
people continued to live in compound rooms instead of building jacal structures. Botanical
evidence from El Polvorón suggests that late inhabitants of the Salt and Gila. River Basin
continued to practice irrigation agriculture after the platform mound/great house complexes had
ceased to perform the political or religious functions for which they were originally intended
(Gregory and Nials 1983).
Prehistoric- Historic Continuity: Discussion
There has been great controversy regarding the cultural affiliation of prehistoric remains
found in the land now occupied by the Pima people. This debate arises from the paucity of
archaeological materials and historic documents dating to the protohistoric period and from the
alleged organizational and cultural differences between Classic -period Hohokam and historic period Pima and Papago ethnic groups (Winter 1973:67; compare Dobyns 1974; Ezell 1962;
Fontana 1964; Riley 1987).
Why the great Classic period Hohokam builders would leave the compounds and
extensive irrigation systems and return to the "rural" way of life of their pioneer ancestors is
also a matter of debate. Many reasons for this change have been offered, from environmental
instability, changes in the course of the Gila River, salinization, and catastrophic floods
(Hackenberg 1962; Haury 1976; Hayden 1970; McGuire 1981; Winter 1973) to the spread of
European diseases (Ezell 1962; Dobyns 1989). Pima oral traditions mention a catastrophic flood
as well as an invasion from the east as causes for the fall of the Hohokam rulers and specifically
for the demise of Casa Grande (Bahr et al. 1994; Teague 1993).
Post -Classic Archaeology
Archaeological understanding of the late prehistory and transition to protohistory in the
Hohokam area has suffered from lack of evidence for continuity between this late phase and the
historic inhabitants who were first sighted by Spanish about 200 years after the depopulation of
the Gila and Salt River basins (compare Dobyns 1988). Recently, however, cultural resource
management investigations in the Santa Cruz flats, between Casa Grande and Picacho Peak, have
uncovered substantial evidence for the presence of protohistoric villages. Henderson (1993:86)
reports archaeomagnetic dates ranging from AD 1335 to 1620 for probable jacal pit structures
with protohistoric ceramics at the Gecko and Hotts Hawk sites in that region. These remains are
contemporaneous with Polvorón Phase components mentioned above and go beyond the narrow
date range proposed for the depopulation of the Hohokam area. Undated farmsteads found
scattered in the Tucson Basin contain probable protohistoric sherds (Ravesloot and Whittlesey
1987) and may be relatively contemporaneous with Polvorón phase occupations in the Middle
Gila (Sires 1984) and protohistoric Sobaipuri Pima occupations in the San Pedro River Valley
(Di Peso 1953).
To summarize, available information on the occupational history of Casa Grande and
complementary information on the sequence of sites in the Gila and Salt River basins indicate
prehistoric Hohokam populations inhabited Casa Grande and adjacent
communities since Preclassic times;
these populations continued to be present in the area through the end of the
Classic period;
even though the basins suffered depopulation sometime in the fifteenth century,
a core population apparently remained in the area into historic times; and
after the Classic developments failed, the core population reverted to the pit -style
farmstead and village adaptation that was originally present in the area throughout
the Preclassic period.
Thus, recently dated archaeological remains as well as those undated but probable protohistoric
occupations in the San Pedro River Valley, the Tucson Basin, and the Salt -Gila River Basin
strengthen hypotheses that propose continuity or cultural overlap between the prehistoric
Hohokam and the historic Pima and Papago ethnic groups of southern Arizona.
Prehistoric Pueblo Relations to Casa Grande
Arguments regarding the nature of prehistoric Puebloan presence or influence at Casa
Grande have been put forth since at least the last century. Mindeleff (1896:319), for example,
thought that Casa Grande had been built by "a branch of the Pueblo race or by an allied people."
Cushing (1890) saw similarities in the layout of the great house and the spatial/social division
of the kivas at Zuni and interpreted them as clues to the origin of the Zuni southern clans. In
contrast, Fewkes (1912:157) concluded that Casa Grande was not Puebloan but that it belonged
to a different culture. He based his arguments on the distinctive platform mound and great house
architecture and on the differences in material culture, particularly ceramics.
During the 30s and 40s, emphasis in defining prehistoric cultures and their histories
throughout the Southwest led to the development of cultural trait lists which were used in turn
to define culture heartlands or cores, peripheries, and migration or diffusion of cultural
influences from one core area to another. Among these so defined prehistoric cultures was the
Salado, whose heartland was thought to have been in the Tonto Basin. The Salado culture was
defined as the blend of Pueblo, Mogollon, and /or Hohokam people and was then seen as having
moved southward into the Hohokam heartland during the Civano phase (Haury 1945; Schroeder
The origin and spread of Salado traits remains one of the most controversial issues in
Southwestern prehistory (see Doyel and Haury 1976; Lange and Germick 1992). Currently, the
Salado material culture complex, particularly the ceramic ware that characterizes it, is thought
to have developed as a result of extensive population relocation and southward migration of
groups from the Colorado Plateau during the Great Drought (AD 1276 -1299) (Crown 1994:213;
Reid et al. 1992:213). Crown (1994:214) has interpreted the spread of Salado ceramics as
representing a pan -regional cult that developed out of the need to integrate heterogeneous sectors
of the population that were sharing living space, land, and other resources. In her hypothesis of
the pan- regional Southwestern cult represented by the Salado Polychromes, Crown (1994:224)
notes that remnants of the proposed cult may be found in Pima and Papago practices and beliefs,
representing perhaps a continuation of this ancient ritual complex of Puebloan roots by the
descendants of the Hohokam as well as incorporation of southern ritual elements into modern
Pueblo religion. Whether secular or religious, by AD 1300 Salado Polychromes became part of
the assemblages of just about every late prehistoric community in the Southwest.
Direct evidence for coresidence of plateau, mountain, and /or desert people has been
recovered across central and east -central Arizona, from Point of Pines and Safford in the east
(Di Peso 1958; Haury 1958; Lindsay 1987; Woodson 1994) to the Tonto Basin in the west
(Elson et al. 1995) and Pueblo Grande and Los Muertos in the south (Haury 1958; Schroeder
1960). At Los Muertos, for example, Haury (1945:209) identified specific Salado- Pueblo room
blocks associated with Hohokam pithouses and a high correlation between inhumations and
Salado pottery (see also Brunson 1989:446). The Gladwins ( Gladwin and Gladwin 1935:212 -217)
also maintained that the Salado developments had been the result of migration of people from
the Little Colorado River area into the Tonto Basin and beyond. Their hypothesis is currently
being supported by recent findings of contemporaneous Pueblo roomblocks and Hohokam adobe
compounds in the eastern portion of the Tonto Basin (Bison et al. 1995).
Salado polychromes occur at Casa Grande in association with the construction of the
great house, the platform mound compounds, and the increase in inhumations. But in contrast
to Los Muertos, there is no direct evidence at Casa Grande for coresidence of local and foreign
groups. Nonetheless, the overall characteristics of Civano phase developments suggest that the
Casa Grande community was impacted indirectly by population reorganization in northern areas.
Relationships among the Pueblo and Hohokam people at Casa Grande, aside from the
Salado influences, are seen archaeologically as the product of exchange relations and are
represented by a small number of intrusive ceramics and other artifacts. This is based on the
presence of nonlocal white wares and red wares (Black Mesa Black -on- white, Tularosa Black -on-
white, Fourmile Polychrome) and Hopi yellow wares (Awatovi Black -on- yellow) (Andresen
1981:2). There is also evidence that inhabitants of Casa Grande obtained large amounts of wood
from the forests of the Mogollon Rim for the construction of the great house (Andresen 1981).
This suggests that the people of Casa Grande maintained relationships with people to the north
of the Gila River that allowed them to obtain wood resources in other territories either through
direct exploitation or exchange.
This evidence may be, in itself, not sufficient for assigning Puebloan affiliation to Casa
Grande burials and associated grave goods. Nevertheless, if one considers that differences in
burial practices, artifact technology and style, and anatomical characteristics of human remains,
such as cradle -board cranial deformation, may be signaling culturally or ethnically significant
differences among populations, then one must also acknowledge that the identification of foreign
cultural practices in an area suggests the presence of culturally different peoples coresiding in
that particular area. Ethnic coresidence, that is, sharing of living space, lands, resources, and
burial grounds by different prehistoric or historic groups, provides grounds for multiple cultural
affiliation of a particular set of human and artifact remains.
Cultural relationships between Hohokam and Pueblo populations that may be claimed as
grounds for Puebloan affiliation of Hohokam prehistoric remains are found in two probable
migration episodes: (1) Pueblo people to southern Arizona during the Great Drought (AD 12761299) and (2) Hohokam/Salado people to the Pueblo area around AD 1400. Turner's (1993)
analysis of dental variability among prehistoric populations of the Greater Southwest suggests
an influx of foreign people into the Hohokam area during the Classic period (Turner 1993:48),
and points out differences in dental patterns of Hohokam and Salado human remains. Salado
dental patterns, in turn, are not clearly associated with any known cultural group; rather, they
may be indicating a mixing of populations. On the other hand, his study shows that Hopi dental
patterns are the closest to Classic Hohokam, thus reinforcing oral history that places the origin
of Hopi southern clans in the Hohokam area (see Chapter 5 for a detailed account of clan
migration traditions). The finding of Hopi prayer sticks at the shrine of Double Butte in southern
Arizona (Haury 1945; Teague 1984) is an additional piece of evidence for ancestral Hopi Hohokam relationships.
There are at least two regions that contain large numbers of human remains thought to
belong to a Hohokam /Salado contingent living among a local Western Pueblo population during
the late prehistoric and protohistoric periods: (1) Point of Pines and lower Blue River in east central Arizona (Hough 1907; Robinson 1958) and (2) the villages of Hawikuh and Kechipauan
in the Zuni region of New Mexico (Brunson 1989; Hodge 1920, 1937).
That Hohokam /Salado populations maintained long -term relations and probably lived
among the Point of Pines locals is suggested by the presence of a ball court in Stove Canyon
Village (Neely 1974) in association with slate palettes and red -on -buff ceramics. Additionally,
over 40% of burials at Point of Pines Pueblo are cremations associated with White Mountain
Redwares, Salado Polychromes, buff wares, and local corrugated and plain wares (Robinson
1958). These cremations date from the 1200s to the 1400s, being more abundant during the early
Pueblo N period or, in Hohokam chronology, Civano phase (early 1300s). At Casa Grande,
Polvorón phase pithouses have yielded San Carlos Red-on -brown ceramics, which are copies of
Hohokam wares that may have been manufactured in the Point of Pines -San Pedro River area
(Andresen 1985). This evidence, although indirect, points to continued relations between Casa
Grande and Point of Pines -San Pedro people throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Hodge's early excavations at Hawikuh in the Zuni region uncovered a large number of
cremations (30% of the total interments he excavated) with Salado Polychromes and red -on -buff
ceramics. Hodge (quoted in Smith et al. 1966:236) proposed that cremation practices were
introduced into Zuni in late prehistoric times. The appearance of cremations at Hawikuh and
Kechipauan can be dated between AD 1350 and ca. 1400, and has been interpreted by Brunson
(1989:473) as representing a Hohokam /Salado migration into Zuni. Kintigh (1985) sees a
dramatic change in settlement patterns and community organization during the late fourteenth
century, which may be related to influx of immigrant groups.
Ongoing reanalysis of archaeological remains from Hawikuh and Kechipauan by Kintigh
and others (Kintigh, personal communication, 1995) shows that cremations were concentrated
in mounds or cemeteries similar to those found in the Hohokam area. These are associated with
the only instances of adobe architecture in the Zuni region. Shell work and turquoise inlaid work
are temporally associated with the appearance of cremation practices and adobe architecture.
Salado Polychromes, which until the mid -1300s were found occasionally in the Zuni region,
increase dramatically after AD 1350 (Kintigh, personal communication, 1995). Additionally,
there are very specific technological practices, such as cotton fiber twisting and weaving
(Webster 1994), that show striking similarities between cotton textiles found as far as the lower
Verde Valley and late prehistoric Zuni textiles.
Considering that the Hohokam /Salado area was severely depopulated by AD 1400, it is
highly likely that some of these people may have sought refuge among friendly Pueblo people
with whom they had already established long -term relations.
Archaeological controversy notwithstanding, Pima and Papago people have a long history
of occupation in the area where Casa Grande is located. This chapter reviews the historic
occupation of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and neighboring areas and discusses the
relationships between these people and other tribes. Important issues for cultural affiliation are
changes in territory boundaries, joint use of lands and resources, political alliances, and ethnic
Jesuit Period: 1691 -1767
When the first Spanish explorers reached the Sonoran desert, the great Pima nation of
"Pimería Alta" was made of various groups or divisions occupying the main streams and desert
hinterlands of what is now northern Sonora and southern Arizona. The four major divisions then
recognized by the Spanish were, from north to south, the Sobaipuri, the Gileños, the Desert
Pima or Papago, and the Soba. Sobaipuri Pima lived along the San Pedro Valley until 1762,
when the Spanish forced them to the south and west of their aboriginal territories. Pima
"Gileños" or river people (Akimul Oodham) occupied the Gila banks from Casa Grande to the
east of the Great Bend; their territory bounded with that of the Yuma - speaking Maricopa nation
(Bolton 1984:246). Desert Pima (Papago or Tohono O'odham) were settled to the west of the
Sobaipuri and south of the Gileños in the desert areas from Baboquivari to Ajo and along the
Santa Cruz River from San Xavier del Bac to Picacho Peak. Papago people were also found west
of the Colorado River and along the Gulf of California. The Papago eventually absorbed most
of the Sobaipuri populations (Fontana 1974:177). The Soba or Hiatatk Au'autam were located
in the desert of northwestern Sonora (figure 4).
In an attempt to expand the missionization and colonization efforts to the northern
Spanish frontier, the Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the Pima communities of the
middle Gila at least five times during his lifetime. In his second visit of 1697, Father Kino,
accompanied by Capt. Juan Mateo Manje and a group of Sobaipuri Pima from San Javier del
Bac, came near Casa Grande and found small Pima villages located in the vicinity of the ruins.
Kino and Manje visited three Pima villages: (1) an unnamed village on the river bank about one
league or 2.5 miles from Casa Grande (Blackwater, perhaps ?) ( Manje 1954 :87), (2) El
Tusónimoo or Encarnación near Sacaton or Soacson, and (3) El Coatoydag or San Andrés,
located about seven leagues or 18 miles further west (Bolton 1984:284). Below San Andrés,
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based on Pima accounts, there seems to have been a score of Pima villages that Kino recorded
in his map of the Gulf of California but that he never actually saw (Bolton 1984:286)2.
According to the oral tradition, Aktuciny, another Pima village located near Blackwater and five
miles west of Picacho was inhabited before the Sobaipuri were forced to leave the San Pedro
River Valley in 1762 (Russell 1980:23).
Manje's account of Father Kino's 1697 expedition to the middle Gila is important for
establishing the nature of Pima occupation or use of the great house in the 1600s. According to
Manje's description of the house and of Sgt. Juan Bautista de Escalante's observation of the
Escalante ruin group on the north bank of the Gila, Casa Grande and other neighboring
platform -mound and adobe compound villages were in ruins by 1697. This led Kino and Manje
to believe that the great house had been built by ancient people and occupied long before the
Spanish entrada (Bolton 1984 :248; Manje 1954:87). Nevertheless, it is known from Velarde's
1716 report that, even in 1697, when Casa Grande was no longer inhabited, Pima Indians
regarded it as a sacred place and deposited offerings inside a room of the great house. In
Velarde's words (cited in Manje 1954:240):
In regard to the superstitions of the Pimas, they do not dare to bum a piece of
wood of the ruins of these houses. There is a room in one of them [Casa Grande,
according to Bolton 1984:286] into which they throw guaris, feathers, arrows,
jewels and other prize possessions perhaps as a means of offerings. They assert
that there is near one of them a great big olla full of chalchihuites which is
buried. Upon trying to touch it, it goes farther to the bottom.
Apparently, Father Agustin de Campos, a Jesuit who accompanied Kino on many of his
missionary ventures, challenged the Pima "superstition" in an effort to shake the Pima off what
the Spanish perceived as the practice of "witchcraft. " Velarde's account of Pima witchcraft
continued with this mention of Campos' activities:
Father Agustin, who has been in these houses several times and has said mass in
them, has tried to banish these fears and superstitions and has burned pieces of
wood [again, from Casa Grande according to Bolton 1984:286] for their needs.
He has made the servants take out and throw away the jewels which they
superstitiously throw into that room. Although he has asked them to show him the
olla he has not succeeded in making them do so. It seems that the Indians are not
now so superstitious, and neither do they have so much fear of the witch,
Moctezuma. It is expected that in time they will get over this completely after
they are baptized as Christians.
Although Pimas have continued living in the vicinity of Casa Grande until today, there is no
further mention in the literature of use of the great house as a shrine or temple. Either the early
2 Compare Manje (1954) and Bolton (1984) for the names and precise locations of these villages.
missionaries succeeded in eradicating the practice of placing offerings inside the great house, or
the Pima people did not make it known that they continued to practice these rituals. Russell
(1980:26) observed that, until the late 1800s, when the first excavations at Casa Grande were
carried out, Pimas regarded the ruin with the same reverence which they felt toward their own
burial places. But since the excavations did not bring about any disasters, they eventually grew
accustomed to working in field crews at the monument.
Intertribal Relationships in the Jesuit Period
Aside from the likely cultural continuities between historic Pima occupants of Casa
Grande and prehistoric Hohokam of the Middle Gila, there are possible continuities in intertribal
relationships that continued into the historic period. These relationships were recorded by
Spanish explorers from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries and suggest that long -term
interaction between the populations of the middle Gila and other ethnic groups had already been
established in prehistoric times. If relationships indeed involved joint use of lands and resources,
ethnic coresidence, intermarriage, alliances, and so forth, then they should be taken into
consideration for establishing cultural affiliation of Casa Grande human remains, associated
funerary objects, and sacred objects.
Pima - Maricopa Relationships. When Fernando Alarcón met the aboriginal tribes of the lower
Colorado River in 1540, the Maricopa had long been pushed east by the Yuma and Mojave
tribes with whom they were in constant and devastating warfare since ancient times (Spier
1933:1.1). Sometime before AD 1500, the Yuma -speaking Maricopas may have fled the Colorado
and crossed the desert into the lower Gila drainage.
The record of prehistoric Maricopas is fragmentary at best, and thus it is difficult to
reconstruct when they did establish relationships with the people from the Gila River. Shaul and
Andresen (1989:105) use linguistic, archaeological, and ethnographic associations to suggest that
Maricopas may have already been living in the lower Gila by AD 1000. There is archaeological
evidence that prehistoric Hohokam and Yuma may have shared a frontier through which artifacts
and people circulated. For example, three cremation burials with vertical -occipital' cranial
deformation from cradle board --a Yuma trait that persisted into the 1900s- -were found at
Fortified Hill, a Soho phase site in Gila Bend (Birkby 1971). Also in the Gila Bend area there
are sites such as Gatlin and Citrus that have intrusive Yuman pottery (Wasley and Johnson
1965). There is hardly any information about their presence east of the Gila Bend in prehistoric
3 Vertical- occipital cranial deformation refers to the change in the shape of a baby's head by
applying pressure on the front and back of the skull. This type of deformation was caused by head
bands used to hold a baby's head in place against the cradle board.
At the time Father Kino visited the Gila River communities in 1694, Maricopas or
"Cocomaricopas" as they were known to the Spanish, were settled between Gila Bend and
Mohawk (Spier 1933:27; see Harwell and Kelly 1983:figure 1). In 1698, having heard about the
Maricopas from his Pima companions, Father Kino sent a bilingual messenger from the
ranchería of San Andrés to the nearest Maricopa village. The messenger was to ask them to
gather at San Andrés and meet the father. In his Relación Diaria Father Kino described that first
encounter with the Maricopa:
here we saw how the men dress, as well as the women. Their language is very
different from the Pimas, but the people are very affable, very well featured, and
very closely related to the Pimas (Smith et al. 1966:16).
Pima Gileños and Maricopas were, in Kino's time, related by marriage (Velarde 1716, in Manje
1954 :225) and trade, and allied in war against the Yuma tribes of the Colorado River (Russell
1980:200; Winter 1973 :69). The border villages closest to the bend were occupied by mixed
Pima and Maricopa populations, most of whom were bilingual; in 1700 there was already a
Maricopa ranchería called El Tutto at Gila Bend (Spier 1933:29). Intermarriage also figures in
Pima origin traditions. In these, the Pima recount that the Yumas and Maricopas were at first
united, but the Maricopas left the Yumas and joined the Pimas, finally settling in the Salt River
Valley, where Maricopas formed permanent villages. Maricopa women married Elder Brother
after he had helped their people build irrigation canals (Russell 1980:215).
Pueblo - Pima Relationships. The earliest known record of a close relationship between Pueblo
and Pima populations can be found in Fray Marcos the Niza's account of his journey to the
Seven Cities of Cibola. Niza was led to Zuni by Pima Indians who had already been on the road
to Cibola many times before the Spaniards came to New Spain. In his reconstruction of the
history of Hawikuh, Hodge (1937:14 -18) used an entry in Niza's 1539 journal to illustrate the
close friendship that existed between Pima and Zuni. Hodge wrote,
The friar now continued down the valley of the San Pedro for five days, passing
various small settlements a short distance apart. The people know Cibola from
having been there; indeed Fray Marcos met a native of Cibola, a man who had
fled from home because of some troubles...Asked why they went to a country so
far from their homes, the natives informed Fray Marcos that they went in search
of turquoises, "cow- hides" (buffalo- skins), and other objects, for in that pueblo
there were quantities of them. 'I also sought,' said the friar, 'to ascertain what
they gave in exchange, and they replied that it was the sweat of their brows and
their personal service; that they went to the first city, which is called Cibola, and
served there in digging the ground and in other work, and that they received skins
of cows, of those which they had there, and turquoises for their services.'
The detail found on Pima descriptions of Zuni customs as recorded by the Spanish could only
be accounted for by their eye -witness knowledge of the Pueblo. As explained in Chapter 3, when
Hodge (1937:15, 1920) excavated Hawikuh and Kechipauan, he found strong indications that
the Indians of the middle Gila region of Arizona had periodically gone to Zuni since ancient
times. This evidence includes a large number of cremations with Salado Polychrome, red-on -buff
pottery, and many with quartz crystals.
Another record that provides information on Pima -Pueblo relationships is a report written
by Melchor Díaz for the viceroy Mendoza. In the spring of 1540, Mendoza sent Díaz to find
out what he could about the veracity of the discoveries purported by Fray Marcos de Niza. Díaz
never reached Cibola but went as far as the Gila River. There he carefully inquired among those
Pima Indians who had been to Cibola. In his report to the viceroy, Díaz noted that he procured
information from persons who had actually lived in Cibola for "fifteen and twenty years" (in
Hodge 1937:49). Not surprisingly, therefore, both Niza and Coronado were able to find among
the tribes of Pimería ready guides and interpreters who could speak and understand the language
of Zuni.
Di Peso (1953:8) cites Velarde's 1716 report to suggest that, according to accounts of
travel distances by Pima elders in the seventeenth century, the Pima may have been acquainted
with and frequently visited Point of Pines Pueblo. However, there is neither archaeological nor
historic evidence indicating that Point of Pines was occupied into the seventeenth century. As
a matter of fact, when Fray Marcos de Niza in 1539 and Francisco de Coronado in 1540
travelled across the Mogollon Rim at a longitude that falls between Point of Pines and the Blue
River, they did not find but ruins of the ancient peoples, and thus they called this a despoblado
or unpopulated land.
Protohistoric relationships with the Moquinos or Hopi, on the other hand, seem to have
been of trade. Velarde (in Manje 1954:248 -249), for example, noted that the Pima maintained
good friendship with the Hopi and held fairs together. However, one day they started to quarrel
(owing to Spanish intrigue) and ceased communication altogether. Later, Pima attempts to
reestablish relations with the Hopi were thwarted by the Apache presence along the Mogollon
Pima - Apache Relationships. When Kino first arrived to the Gila the Apache had yet to begin
their raiding. The first recorded attack along the San Pedro occurred in 1697, while the first
battle along the Gila is recorded for 1700 (Winter 1973:69). The Apache figure as ancient
enemies in oral accounts that Kino recorded from the Pimas at Casa Grande (Bolton 1984:285;
Forbes 1960:27). However, there are indications that at one time Pima Gileños and Sobaipuris
were on friendly terms with the Janos, Jocomes and Apaches.
In the years that followed the Pueblo revolt of 1680, the Pimas were growing restless and
one of their chiefs was apprehended and tried by the Spanish; when interrogated, he confessed
that the Sobaipuris had given the Apache some land to plant near Quiburi in the San Pedro
Valley (Forbes 1960:210). In 1688 the Pimas were allied with the Janos, Sumas, Jocomes,
Apache, and many northern Mexican tribes against Spain and continued on the warpath until the
early 1690s. But in 1692 Capt. Francisco Ramirez set out to destroy this powerful alliance. No
one really knows how he accomplished his mission but, according to Velarde's 1716 journal,
Years before the priests came [to Pimería Alta], when the Indians were all
heathens, the Sobaipuris communicated with the Apaches of the Mountain
Chiguicagi [Chiricahua], but since Captain Ramírez, with great diplomacy and
tact and without shedding blood, separated them, the Sobaipuris are implacable
enemies of the Apaches (in Manje 1954:247).
From that time on, Pima Gileilos and Sobaipuris were allied with the Spanish against the Apache
and assisted the Spanish in their punishment campaigns (Forbes 1960 :276). The resulting
animosity caused the Pimas to become isolated from the northern Pueblos; on the other hand,
it also led them to develop closer relationships with their neighbors, the Maricopas from the
lower Colorado River and the Papagos from Pimería Alta, all of whom where threatened by
Apache raids. Even so, Apache use of the lower Salt River for corn farming was recorded in
Pima calendar sticks as late as 1856 (Russell 1980:46). In the early 1900s there were still some
Sobaipuri Pima descendants living among the Apache (Russell 1980:187).
Father Kino died in 1711 and it was not until 1731 that another party of missionaries
visited the middle Gila. In the 1730s and 40s at least four missionaries had contact with Pima
Gileflos living around Casa Grande: Fathers Segesser, Grashoffer, Keller, and Sedelmair. They
noticed that many Pima villages recorded by Kino and Manje had been abandoned and others
were built nearby. In 1748 Father Sedelmair travelled to the mouth of the Salt River, finding
Maricopa rancherías from the Gila- crossing /Sacate area downstream for about 25 leagues. By
this time the Maricopas were moving closer to the middle Gila, followed by another Yumaspeaking group, the Kaveltchadom, that had been moving upstream since the previous century.
Kaveitchadom occupied areas left by the Maricopa in their east bound migration (Spier 1933:27).
Despite later Jesuit attempts at reconquering the native people, after the death of Father
Kino the intensity and continuity of contact between Spaniards and Indians decreased notably
(Spicer 1962:132). In 1751 the Pima organized an uprising that resulted in the death of two
missionaries and about 100 colonists. The Jesuit Order never recovered from this revolt. In
1767, King Charles III of Spain expelled members of the Society of Jesus from his overseas
Franciscan Period: 1768 -1827
Shortly after the expulsion of the Jesuit Order from New Spain in 1767, Juan Bautista
De Anza accompanied by three Franciscan Fathers ventured to the Colorado River, finding a
land route to California (Dobyns 1989:29). Between 1768 and 1776 the Franciscan missionaries
made five trips to Pimería Alta, including one to Casa Grande. The distribution of ethnic groups
that Fathers Garcés, Font, and Eixarch found was different from what Kino and Manje had
recorded. Due to Spanish pressure, the eastern boundary of Pimería Alta had moved westward
into the adjacent mountains and to the Santa Cruz Valley (Fontana 1974:177). For the same
reason, the San Pedro River Valley in the north had been left by the Sobaipuri, who in 1762
were forced to join the Papago and Pima Gileflos to the south and west, respectively.
In the western end of Pimerfa Alta, Maricopa had been joined by the Kaveltchadom at
the junction of the Salt and Gila Rivers and occupied the territory from this point to San
Bernardino, Arizona, to the west. Other tribes located along the lower Gila to its junction with
the Colorado River were the Halykwamai and Haichidhoma, who were also drifting south and
east of their aboriginal territories (Dobyns 1989:29). Pima villages stretched on both banks of
the Gila from below Casa Grande west to Casa Blanca and perhaps beyond. The Gila Bend area
was still the boundary between Pimas and Maricopas (Spier 1933:35), and the Pima Butte was
then unoccupied.
The late 1700s were years of endemic warfare between the Yuma -speaking Mojave and
Quechan and the Maricopa and Kaveltchadom. By the turn of the nineteenth century these two
groups had joined the Pima Gileños and were living side -by -side on the lower Salt and Gila
Rivers. They formed the Pima - Maricopa Confederation against enemy tribes (Dobyns 1989 :29).
In the east, the San Pedro was never again settled by the Sobaipuri or other Pima groups. There
is no further mention of the Sobaipuri as a separate polity of the Pima nation in nineteenth
century official documents (Fontana 1974:177). In the early 1800s, the Apache pushed the Pima
from Tucson and Altar west into Sacaton (figure 5).
The Mexican Period: 1821 -1853
Little is known about the thirty years that elapsed between the Mexican independence
from Spain in 1821 and the U.S. government purchase of Arizona territory from Mexico, known
as the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. In general, this period was characterized by the encroachment
and expansion of large Mexican cattle ranches in Indian lands, particularly Papago land. Apache
warfare reached a peak during the Mexican- American War in 1846, when troops that had
traditionally protected Spanish, Mexican, and Indian settlers of southern Arizona from the
Apache were forced to withdraw to fight the war (Spicer 1962:133). The expansion of cattle
ranches combined with the war forced many Pima and Papago to leave southeast Arizona and
move west toward the middle Gila River (Fontana 1974:183). Many Papago went to the Gila
River to work on the Pima's wheat fields (Underhill 1939:39).
By the 1820s Pima and Maricopa were sharing a large portion of their territories,
particularly hunting grounds, and had a council to settle disputes and booty from war. After
1821 Mexico began to employ Maricopa messengers between Sonora and California. This
cooperation precipitated a series of battles between the angered Mohave and Quechan and the
Pima- Maricopa Confederation. Haichidhoma groups of the Colorado River had to flee to
Magdalena, Sonora, where most died of cholera. The survivors joined the Kavelchadom groups
living on the Gila River in 1833. Many other survivors from the Kahwan and Halyikwamai
tribes eventually moved up the Gila River ( Dobyns 1989).
In the middle 1800s the lower Gila was abandoned; the heart of Maricopa territory by
1850 was Pima Butte (Spier 1933:37). Emory in 1846 and Bartlett in 1852 found the Gila
deserted for two hundred miles above its mouth. Emory noted that the Maricopa occupied the
Gadsden Purchase (I &531
Pimo-AAoricopo Defended Tenyory
Note_ Arizona was organized as c
separate territory in 1863
Satt R.
Figure 5. Pima -Maricopa Territory 1849 -1859 (Dobyns 1989)
Gila Valley from a point identifiable as the Maricopa Wells -Sacate district to north of the Salt
River (Emory 1848:86; Harwell and Kelly 1983:74). From Sacate eastward, Maricopa and Pima
occupation was continuous for 12 or 15 miles along the south side of the Gila. This increase in
population density along the middle Gila was largely the result of the progressive shrinking of
the territories traditionally occupied by more than five tribes (Spier 1933; Fontana 1974). At this
time, large Pima Gileño villages such as Blackwater, Sacaton, and Gila Crossing were
flourishing and expanding their irrigated fields (Russell 1980:23).
American Period: Establishment of the Pima -Maricopa Reservations
As Spicer (1962:133) notes, the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 caused immediate important
consequences for the aboriginal populations of southern Arizona; it placed the great majority
under the domination of a different political regime. The boundary line set in 1858 by the U.S.
Boundary Survey Commission traversed the region of the headwaters of the San Pedro and Santa
Cruz Rivers and ran through the middle of the desert lands to the west. This boundary placed
about three- quarters of the Pimería Alta population under the jurisdiction of the U.S.
In the 1850s Anglo- American settlers began to purchase land, cattle, and mining
concessions in an area where only trappers and explorers had ventured in earlier decades
(Russell 1980:30). The American colonization of the Arizona territory also brought in a much
larger military contingent to protect the newly settled against the Apache. The Army of the West
enlisted scouts from the local tribes. Throughout the Civil War the Pima -Maricopa Confederation
fought with the Union forces; Camp McDowell was established in Indian lands in 1865 (Dobyns
1989:47). With the introduction of the stage and construction of the Casa Grande Station in
1854, the Pima Gileños and Maricopa, who had lived in almost total isolation for a century,
were finally placed within reach of the white man; the first school for the Pimas was opened by
Reverend C.H. Cook in 1871. This close contact between Americans and Indians caused more
changes to the native cultures in a few years than the changes brought about by two centuries
of Spanish rule.
In 1857 John Walker was appointed Indian agent for the territory included in the Gadsden
Purchase and pressed the government to assign reservation lands to the southern Arizona tribes.
Through a Congress Act in 1859, the U.S. government recognized the contribution of the Pima
and Maricopa to the war against the Apache and awarded one thousand dollars for surveying
lands and ten thousand dollars for gifts. The original land survey for the Pima Reservation was
64,000 acres, much less than the Pima claimed and needed for farming and grazing (Russell
In 1866, the newly appointed agent, Levi Ruggles, moved up the Gila River and with
other settlers founded the town of Florence; the town's residents then began to divert water from
the river in disregard of the Pima and Maricopa traditional water rights. One major problem was
that the original reservation did not protect the headwaters leading to the main canals of three
Indian villages (Dobyns 1989:49). Recognizing this problem, G. W. Leihy, superintendent for
Indian affairs in Arizona, and, later, Lieut. General Alexander pressed for an expansion of the
Gila River Indian Reservation. In 1869, the reservation was enlarged to 81,140.6 acres and, in
1876, 9,000 acres around the village of Blackwater were added to the reservation (Russell
1980:32). In addition, this edict protected a noncontiguous stretch of land south of Camp
McDowell, and it is now called the Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community.
In spite of this expansion, the settlers continued to grow and encroach on Indian land.
In 1880 the railroad tracks were set along the Casa Grande Station and soon California and
Tucson were connected. This brought even more Anglo settlers eager to establish themselves
along the major rivers. The Gila River Indian Reservation was expanded twice more in 1882 and
1883 in an effort to put a halt to water theft, but with little effect ( Dobyns 1989:58). This decade
marked the beginning of almost a century of Pima- Maricopa struggle for land and water. The
short life of many late historic villages, such as Ska'kaik (1877 -1937), indicate that Pima
farmers fought -- sometimes unsuccessfully-to survive both natural disasters and government
indifference (McGuire 1982).
A major disrupting force in Pima society was the allotment program which began in
1914. This program broke down traditional land use patterns, forced people to accept acres of
unirrigable land often far away from their households, and seriously compromised land rights
of future generations in the Indian communities (Hackenberg 1955:60). In 1924 the San Carlos
irrigation project was supposedly designed to bring water to the Pima farmers but failed
( Hackenberg 1955:92). The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 suspended the allotment program
and encouraged tribal assignments as a preferred form of land tenure to preserve and perpetuate
traditional resources (Layhe 1986:8). In the 1970s the Pima adopted as their name the Gila River
Indian Community, forsaking the term reservation.
To summarize, the historic records indicate that Pima people were settled in the vicinity
of Casa Grande by the time the first Spanish reached the Gila River, and used the Casa Grande
as a shrine. Until the beginning of the war against the Apaches, relationships between Pima -
Papago and Pueblo tribes were strong and appear to have continued a trend established in
prehistoric times. However, in the eighteenth century, increase in Apache raids against the Pima
nation caused these relationships to cease. On the other hand, intertribal interaction developed
historically between the Pima and the Yuma -speaking Maricopa. Eventually, interaction and
ethnic coresidence led to the social, political, and cultural integration of these groups.
Oral traditions regarding the construction, use, and abandonment of Casa Grande and
other ruins in the Gila River were recorded since the earliest Spanish visit to the area and have
changed through time. The origin of Casa Grande has been attributed in Pima and Papago
traditions to at least three different groups at different points in history. Although some of the
structure and content of Indian oral history has been modified through time and there are many
different versions of Pima and Papago origin histories, the central role the great house plays in
the Pima and Papago tradition remains unchanged.
In The Hohokam Chronicles, Bahr et al. (1994:31) transcribe and analyze in detail the
most complete collection of oral traditions of these two tribes, many of which relate the history
of the great house, its builders, rulers, and conquerors. The authors note that the aboriginal
name of Casa Grande, as recorded by the Spanish, was wa:aki. In the nineteenth century, Pimas
named the great houses in reference to the chief who lived there; Casa Grande was called
Morning Green Chief Great -house or Si'al Cehedag Siwafi Wa'aki. The word Siwafi, they
continue, derives from Siba, or Bitter Man, the ruler of Casa Grande as recorded by Manje in
1697. Thus the generic Pima word for chief, Siwafi or Civano originally referred to a person
named Siba, who ruled the "Great House of the Gila." According to Bahr et al. (1994:32), in
Font's time Casa Grande was probably called Siba Wa'aki, as it is referred to in the original text
of battle and conquest.
Who Built Casa Grande?
In the earliest recorded oral account, there is reference to the ancestors of Moctezuma,
the Mexican emperor, as the builders of the great house. This account was given to Father Kino
by the local villagers. Bolton (1984 :285) recounts Kino's description of the 'venerable ruin':
The casa grande is a four story building, as large as a castle and equal to the
largest church in these lands of Sonora. It is said that the ancestors of Moctezuma
deserted and depopulated it, and, beset by the neighboring Apaches, left for the
east or Casas Grandes [of Chihuahua], and that from there they turned toward the
south and southwest, finally founding the great city and court of Mexico.
This reference is also found in Velarde's 1716 notes (1954:225), where he went further to assert
that the ruins had been "built at intervals by the Indians who lived in Mexico with their first
chief, Moctezuma, called Sibuni by the Pimas." Velarde told that Moctezuma was a feared witch
who lived near "Casas Grandes of the Hila" and implied that the great house was Moctezuma's
abode, whereas the ruins of the smaller houses belonged to the numerous Indians subject of
Moctezuma. References to Moctezuma and the Mexican transmigration reappeared later in the
literature (see Fewkes 1912:43). Interestingly, Manje (1954:86), who had accompanied Kino to
Casa Grande, gave a quite different version of the same story:
All those buildings were built by people whose chief was called el Siba, which
in their language means "The cruel and bitter man". Because of the bloody wars
waged against them by the Apaches and 20 allied nations many were killed on
both sides. Some of the Indians left, divided themselves and returned to the north,
from whence they had come in previous years; but the majority went to the east
and south.
From this information, the Spaniards inferred that the builders of the great houses were the
ancestors of the Mexican nation, who in their migration tradition also recalled having come from
the north.
In the late eighteenth century, the Franciscan Fathers Garcés and Font recorded a more
detailed tradition regarding the builders of the Casa Grande. In this account, the chief or civan
who built the great house was called Morning Green, who was the master of the Wind and the
Rain gods. The Pima governor of Uturituc or Many Ants Village told Father Font the story of
Morning Green (in Fewkes 1912:43):
He [the governor] said- That in a very distant time there came to that land a man who, because of his evil
disposition and harsh sway, was called "The Bitter Man;" that this man was old
and had a young daughter; that in his company there came another man who was
young, who was not his relative nor anything, and that he gave him in marriage
his daughter, who was very pretty, the young man being handsome also, and that
the said old man had with him as servants the Wind and the Storm -cloud. That
the old man began to build that Casa Grande and ordered his son -in -law to fetch
beams for the roof of the house... [but] he came back without bringing any
beams... That the old man went very far off to a mountain range where there are
many pines and, calling on God to help him, he cut many pines and brought
many beams for the roof of the house... thus he continued for many years in that
land; and after a long time they went away and nothing more was heard of them.
An almost identical version of Font's tradition was related to Fewkes, Russell, and Lloyd in the
early twentieth century by Thin Leather (Kamaltkak), a Pima elder regarded as one of the best
informed story- tellers of the tribe. Fewkes collected many traditions about the chief of Casa
Grande and successor of Siba, Morning Green, all of which emphasize the power and wealth
of this chief as a statesman and magician ( Fewkes 1912:45). Particularly interesting is the story
that tells of the turquoises obtained by Morning Green and used to decorate a chair that was
placed inside Casa Grande and that it was eventually buried in an unknown location (see also
Russell 1980:221). The tradition, as told by Thin Leather, also describes how Morning Green,
the great magician, lost his power when he failed to control the wind and rain at Casa Grande.
In his account, Casa Grande people learned the art of irrigating from those living on the site of
Tempe (probably Los Muertos or Pueblo Grande), who had been taught by Elder Brother
( Fewkes 1912:51).
In 1871 Captain Grossman collected the following story regarding Casa Grande, in which
there is direct allusion to Pima descent:
The Pimas claim to be the direct descendants of the chief So -ho. The children of
So -ho reinhabited the Gila River Valley, and soon the people became numerous.
One of the direct descendants of So -ho, King Si- va -no, erected the Casas Grandes
of the Gila River. Here he governed a large empire, before-long before-the
Spaniards were known.
Casa Grande and other ruins along the Gila River also figure in Pima creation traditions.
Bandelier (1892:463) recounts the following version:
the Gila Pimas claim to have been created on the banks of the river. After
residing there for some time a great flood came that destroyed the tribe, with the
exception of one man, called Ci -ho. He was of small stature, and became the
ancestor of the present Pimas. The tribe, beginning to grow in numbers, built the
villages now in ruins and also spread to the north bank of the river.
In contrast, the Papago sacred story that refers to Casa Grande tells of its construction by people
unrelated to the Papago and Pima. Underhill (1940:45) recorded this account:
He [Elder Brother] made new people out of clay and taught them all the things
they now do. Earthmaker was angry that Itoi [Elder Brother] had got ahead of
him so he sank through the earth and disappeared. Itoi lived with his people a
long time and helped them in all their troubles. But at last he changed his nature,
so the people quarrelled with him and killed him. These people, says the story,
were not the Papago and Pima. They were the people who formerly lived in the
land and who built the ruins of Casa Grande.
Thus, there are at least three people mentioned in these traditions as the builders of Casa
Grande: the Northerners, the Pima ancestors, and other people who lived in the land before the
Pima and Papago. Throughout these traditions, however, it is clear that Casa Grande was the
abode of the rulers, and a place from where they observed the horizon and prayed to the gods.
As Font (in Fewkes 1912:60) recalls from his informants' testimony, the openings in the walls
of the great house were used by the prince, Bitter Man, to look out onto the sun when it rose
and set to salute it.
Conflict and Conquest: the Wars of Elder Brother
One of the most prominent personages in Pima and Papago origin traditions is Itoi or
Siuuhu, who sprang out from the world created by Earthmaker, known also as Earth Doctor,
(Underhill 1939:45). According to the tradition, the gods Itoi, Earthmaker, and Coyote together
put the world in shape, but the people in the world were not the right kind so they destroyed
them with a flood. The first who came from hiding after the flood receded was Itoi, who became
the Elder Brother'.
The tradition says that Elder Brother was angry at the old people who built the great
houses (the Hohokam, according to Bahr et al. 1994:156). So he went under the earth, looking
for friends who would come and help him drive them away. Under the earth he found the
Papago and Pima. He led them through the country and they drove out those who lived there,
leaving only the ruins which can be seen today (Underhill 1939:45).
In Thin Leather's narrative, Elder Brother travelled to the north, west, and south, and
here he found the Pima and Papago warriors willing to follow him. With them Elder Brother
initiated a march of conquest from east to west that ended in the defeat of the great house
builders. Thin Leather's narrative as well as those rendered in texts by Juan Dolores, Mattias
Hendricks, and Smith- Allison (see Bahr et al. 1994 :204) are perhaps the most useful for
broadening archaeological information about the demise of the Hohokam rulers, for they include
explicit and quite accurate geographic locations of landmarks and villages attacked by Elder
Brother and his warriors (Teague 1993:440).
In the oral texts that describe Elder Brother's campaign against the Hohokam rulers, there
are several villages mentioned, which Teague (1993:442) has interpreted as identifying Many
Rattlesnakes, or Snaketown, Casa Grande, Casa Blanca, Los Muertos, and Pueblo Grande. All
these villages -- surrounded with ocotillo palisades, according to the tradition- -were conquered and
destroyed by Elder Brother. At the time of the war, Casa Grande was ruled by two brothers,
Long Feather Running Chief and Down Feather Running Chief (Bahr et al. 1994:285). When
Casa Grande was being attacked, the people were said to have sung the following (Teague
Yonder stands the doomed habitation.
About the pueblo runs its frightened chieftain
In yellow garment with hand -print decoration.
This version of the song was given to Russell (1980:227) and Hayden (1935:47) and suggests
that the clothes used by the chief may have been closely associated with the Hohokam identity
(Teague 1993:442) or with the high status of the Casa Grande ruler. According to Thin Leather
and Allison -Smith narratives, the people who lived at Casa Grande came out of the house and
4 See Bahr et al. (1994) for a detailed account of the Pima creation tradition.
went to a mountain called kok chut (curled up). Their enemies found them there and destroyed
them. That is why the house is not wrecked like the others: they did no fighting there (Bahr et
al. 1994:245). The continued references to war in the oral history suggest that the great houses
may have had a defensive function, as Pérez de Ribas observed in 1645.
The Dolores' version of the conquest (Saxton and Saxton 1973, in Bahr et al. 1994:229)
tells that, after the defeat of the compound builders, the Pima, who had lived far to the south
[in today's Mexico] and were farmers, took the land along the river, and were called River
People. Those who were hunters [Papago ?] took the land below Baboquivari and were called
Desert People.
Pueblo Traditions and Relationships to Pima -Papago Oral History
The relationships between Pueblo and Pima -Papago groups appear both in the
archaeological interpretation of late prehistoric remains in the Hohokam, the Mogollon Pueblo,
and Zuni areas as well as in Pueblo oral history. As described in Chapter 2, the Salado
phenomenon of the Classic Period Hohokam has been interpreted as a possible instance of ethnic
coresidence in the Salt and Gila River drainages, beginning at or shortly before AD 1300; this
date coincides with the possible building of Casa Grande. In the Upper Gila area, from the Gila San Pedro confluence to the Safford Valley to Point of Pines, there is abundant evidence for the
presence of Tusayan- Kayenta Anasazi groups living among Hohokam and local Mogollon
populations in the late thirteenth century.
As mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, Manje's 1697 account of the builders of
Casa Grande states specifically that it was built by people who came from the north. However,
this relación is not explicitly addressed in the Pima -Papago creation tradition. Underhill
(1946:11), and later Di Peso (1958:160), interpreted the events at the beginning of the creation
tradition as representing at least three distinct groups of people, one of which could have been
the ancient Pueblo immigrants. There is also evidence for the presence of southern populations
at Hawikuh as well as historic data on close Zuni -Pima relations. It is not surprising, therefore,
that ethnic coresidence and common ancestry of southern and northern populations appear in clan
migration traditions among the Western Pueblos.
The Great Flood
Associated with the destruction of the great houses by Elder Brother there is also the
Pima -Papago story of a great flood that destroyed the land and made the great house people flee
to the north and south. This narrative is often associated with the Shrine of the Flood Children,
and tells about a season of cloudburst and floods, which wiped out whole villages in Pimerfa
Alta and left only two or three children alive. When the children were taken to Santa Rosa and
when, after their arrival the water began to ooze out from the earth where there had been no
spring, the Pima -Papago took it as a warning that Earth Doctor wanted the whole population of
the valley destroyed, including those children. To appease Him they sacrificed the children
(Oblasser in Di Peso 1958:155). After the water ceased, the medicine -men said, "find a large
jar, and let us put it somewhere and place beads in it!" The medicine -men found a good spot and
buried the jar with the people's beads in it (Mason 1921:266). Pima and Papago people had a
celebration that commemorated this event and propitiated beneficial rain (Griffith 1992).
The Pima version of the flood and the offerings must be one of the oldest remembered,
since the tradition of the buried olla with "chalchihuites" inside was already recorded by Velarde
in 1716. A similar Pueblo narrative relates the fall of the great houses and its association with
the history of the Patki clan and other related Hopi clans (Badger, Sand, Tobacco, Corn, and
Sun). These clans are believed to have come from a desert land to the south, called Palatkwapi;
different interpretations place this land in the upper Gila drainage (Di Peso 1958:161; Fewkes
1900:596) or "near Phoenix somewhere, over at Superstitious Mountain" (Courlander 1982:16).
The Hopi Water, Snake, Tobacco, Reed, Greasewood, Sun, Badger, and Corn clans also have
oral histories of residing in the Tonto Basin at some point in their journey to Hopi (Dongoske
et al. 1993:27).
Nequatewa (1936:86) and Parsons (1939:994) renditions of the story tell that Palatkwapi
was a prosperous land with abundant water and irrigated fields that was destroyed because of
the dissension among the people, who abandoned work and ignored the priest and religious
precepts. This behavior brought a disastrous flood upon the people, trapping several children in
the water (Teague 1993:447). After the flood the clans went toward San Carlos (Point of
Pines ?), Zuni, and then northwest to the Little Colorado River, where they settled at Homolovi.
But life at Homolovi was bad, so they went on to the Hopi Mesas where they separated into
smaller clans and each went to live in a different village. Teague (1993:444) notes that around
AD 1358 a period of drought followed by a high magnitude flood has been registered in the tree -
ring record at Las Colinas; this date approximates the decline of the great houses as seen
archaeologically and may well be the same flood that has been preserved in the memory of many
Parsons (1939:970) observed that a flood and child sacrifice tradition is also present at
Zuni. The Zuni origin history, as recorded by Cushing (1896:429; see also Bunzel 1932), tells
about the flooding of towns and the sacrifice of the youth and maiden:
yet, because they had erred even so little, and because the first priest of after
times did evil, lo! the river to the southward ran full, and breaking from its
pathway cut in twain the great town, burying houses and men in the mud of its
impetuosity... but when the sacrifice of the youth priest and maiden priestess (as
told in other speech) the waters had been made to abate and the land became good
to walk upon...
It is likely, however, that this account refers to a flood on the Little Colorado River or one of
its tributaries. In Zuni oral traditions there is also mention of the loss of clans who went to the
south or "Summerland" and did not return. In the story called The Abode of the Souls, Cushing
(1988:58) narrates how during the search for the Middle the people had to cross an angry river
of red waters (Little Colorado River ?). As they watched the people struggle and sink in the
water, the Seed clans, Macaw clans, and other midmost clans fled southward looking for a better
crossing and were soon lost from view never to be seen again.
Another version of this departure (Ferguson and Hart 1985:22) relates how the Zuni
people, while staying in the Little Colorado River Valley, were given a choice between accepting
a gift of a very plain egg or an egg with beautiful blue spots. One group chose the plain egg out
of which hatched a colorful parrot with spectacular feathers. The brothers and sisters who had
chosen this egg journeyed southward into the "Land of Everlasting Sunshine," never to return.
Religious Practices
Teague (1984 :178, 1993) discusses in detail the many ritual and traditional parallels that
exist between the Western Pueblos and the Pima and Papago. For example, she mentions that
the Bow Clan, whose origin is said to have been Palatkwapi as well, is traditionally associated
with the Two -horned and One -horned priesthoods in the Wuwutsi ceremony. These priests
closely resemble the horned dancers depicted in Sacaton phase vessels in the Hohokam area.
Both Teague (1984) and Di Peso (1958) also see many similarities in the Navitcu, a Papago
healer with demonstrable connections to the role of the masked clown of Kachina dances as well
as with the Wiikita ceremony. There are also many parallels in the use of religious
paraphernalia, such as prayer sticks or pahos, cane cigarettes, shells, fetishes, and minerals, and
in associated rituals as well.
An additional signal of Pueblo ancestry in the Hohokam area is the existence of shrines
such as Double Butte, where numerous Pueblo religious artifacts have been found. Haury (1945)
thought that this shrine was affiliated with the Pueblo -Salado people. The decorative styles of
prayer sticks found at Double Butte are Hopi. Sekaquaptewa (in Teague 1984:179) thinks that
these decorative styles are historic rather than prehistoric, and that Double Butte is Hopi in
affiliation and that postdates the Hohokam occupations. He asserts that some of the Hopi people
were Hohokam in origin and that this shrine represents their spiritual presence in places that they
once occupied.
In his excavations at Los Muertos, Cushing (1890) found many artifacts, particularly the
stone -carved fetishes, shell items, and polychrome pottery (Salado) which he thought were
strikingly similar to those made at Zuni (Cushing 1890:173). After his research at Los Muertos
he concluded that the Salado -Gila River society had been divided in classes and that the great
houses had been occupied by a priestly class who had inherited secular and occult powers. He
interpreted the extramural houses, on the other hand, as the living quarters of the commoners.
In terms of the ritual practices and ceremonial paraphernalia, Cushing and later Stevenson
(1904) found analogs between those ceremonies held by the Shú maakwe Society at Zuni, which
is characterized by the use of nose plugs such as those found at Los Muertos ruins. Other objects
include concretion fetishes, belts of conical ticklers, turquoise and shell beads, and hematite.
Teague (1984:172) refers to Stevenson's observations to indicate that most of the most important
ritual songs of this society are in the Pima language. The tradition says that they learned them
from the Pima. Teague points out that similar rituals are also present among the Hopi.
Teague (1984:172) also notes that there is a strong link between the Shú maakwe Society
and the Zuni Rain Priesthood (this link, however, may be related to one individual priest rather
than to the entire priesthood). Both the Elder Brother Bow priest and the head of this Society
are among the most important of the six Zuni Rain Priests; they used to be full-time specialists
who used turquoise inlays and frog imagery in their rituals. She observes that this imagery is
also present in many platform mound sites, such as the Gatlin Ruin. Ritual objects such as those
used by the priesthood can be found distributed in six concentrations around the platform mound
Ruin i of the Salt-Gila Aqueduct Project. This distribution is reminiscent of the layout of
ceremonial structures of the Rain Priesthood around the sacred dance plaza.
To summarize, the oral history excerpts presented here clearly show a close connection
between Pima and Papago people and Casa Grande. Regardless of whether they are depicted in
this history as the builders or the conquerors, their traditions indicate that their connection with
prehistoric landmarks and sites in the Hohokam heartland existed long before the arrival of the
Spaniards. They provide perhaps the strongest evidence for continuity between prehistoric
populations of the middle Gila and modern Pima and Papago people.
The oral tradition, as well as many aspects of the social and religious organization of the
Western Pueblos, also suggests a possible ancient relationship between the southern and the
northern populations of Arizona and New Mexico; the prevalence of rituals possibly inherited
out of this relationship supports this hypothesis. As Stevenson (1904:29) observed, the early
association between the Zuni, the Pima, and the Hopi are registered in Zuni origin traditions.
Similarly, many Hopi clans claim a southern ancestry based on their migration histories. Oral
history thus strengthens archaeological arguments about multi- ethnic interaction and coresidence
and clarifies protohistoric records that outline these processes in a fragmentary manner.
The preceding discussions of the archaeological, historic, and ethnographic literature
carried out in this study have indicated that the human remains and associated funerary objects
from Casa Grande Ruins National Monument may be culturally affiliated with five American
Indian ethnic groups (Pima, Papago, Zuni, Hopi, and Maricopa) who are represented by six
federally recognized American Indian tribes and organizations:
Ak -Chin Indian Community
Gila River Indian Community
Hopi Tribe
Pueblo of Zuni
Salt River Pima -Maricopa Indian Community
Tohono O'odham Nation
(Pagago -Pima)
(Pima- Maricopa)
(Pima - Maricopa)
This determination was made on the basis of "preponderance of evidence" for cultural ties
between prehistoric people who inhabited Casa Grande and surrounding areas and contemporary
Indian peoples.
"Preponderance of evidence" was defined through multiple information sources that
included both general references to Hohokam affiliation and specific references to Casa Grande.
An inclusive background search was conducted in response to concerns of American Indians
about "piecemealing" consultation, that is, focusing only on restricted collections and sites rather
than on the totality of the cultural context within which the human remains and associated
funerary objects were found. Thus in recommending consultation with all six tribes listed above,
this study considered not only specific ties to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument but also
with the Hohokam cultural area as a whole.
According to the data collected and summarized in this report, the rationale for
recommending consultation with the following tribes are:
Lineal Descendants
No lineal descendants were found.
Culturally affiliated Indian tribes
Sources consulted in this report provide evidence for cultural descent between Casa
Grande and the Pima -Maricopa and Papago ethnic groups and ancestral connections
between the Hohokam and the Hopi and Zuni ethnic groups. The evidence can be
summarized as follows:
Pima and Papago
* Archaeology. Investigations carried out at Compound F have yielded evidence
for a post- classic or Polvorón phase occupation at the monument, dating to the
fifteenth century (Andresen 1985; Hayden 1957). This occupation apparently took
place after the demise of the Classic Period Hohokam developments and suggests
that late prehistoric inhabitants of the area returned to a dispersed, low density,
ranchería/village style adaptation that is similar to both preclassic Hohokam and
historic Pima and Papago adaptations in southern Arizona. Archaeomagnetic dates
of AD 1350 -1630 recovered from the neighboring sites in the Santa Cruz Flats
(Henderson 1993) strengthen this inference and provide further evidence for
continuity between prehistoric and historic populations in the middle Gila Basin.
* Oral Tradition. Casa Grande figures prominently in Pima -Papago creation
traditions. Different versions of oral texts collected between 1694 and 1935
suggests that Pima and Papago ancestors were closely related to prehistoric
Hohokam. Oral narratives refer to the Hohokam as direct ancestors of the Pima
or as earlier occupants of the area. The traditions clearly indicate that there was
temporal, spatial, and cultural overlap between Hohokam and Pima -Papago
ancestors. Specific reference to landmarks and known archaeological sites in the
oral texts (Teague 1993) support this interpretation.
* History. Contact period accounts collected by Kino, Manje, Bernal, and
Velarde in the late seventeenth century indicate that Pima people were settled in
Casa Grande when the Spanish first entered the area. Casa Grande was then a
shrine where the local Pimas placed offerings. In the following centuries,
westward mobilization of Sobaipuri Pima and Papago due to Apache raids
contributed to increase the population in the middle Gila Basin. Excavations of
historic Pima remains near Casa Grande indicate that by the late 1800s there were
burial grounds as well as rancherías in the vicinity of the monument.
Hopi and Zuni
* Archaeology. The relationship between the human remains and associated
funerary objects from Casa Grande and the Western Pueblos, although polemical,
cannot be discounted. Archaeologists hypothesize that a wave of southward
Pueblo migrations around AD 1300 resulted in increasing interaction, probably
even ethnic coresidence, of Hohokam and Pueblo people (Gladwin and Gladwin
1935; Haury 1945). Associated with this migration is the appearance of the
Salado material culture, of possible Pueblo origin (Crown 1994). This material
culture complex include Salado Polychrome pottery, sudden increase in
inhumations among the Hohokam, and the building of pueblo-like structures, such
as great houses. Additionally, dental studies suggest close relationships between
prehistoric Hohokam and modern Hopi people.
Although ethnic coresidence has not been demonstrated in Casa Grande, it has
been inferred in other platform mound sites such as Los Muertos ( Haury 1945).
Prehistoric ethnic coresidence of Hohokam and Western Pueblo people has been
inferred at Point of Pines (Haury 1958; Lindsay 1987), Hawikuh (Hodge 1937),
and Kechipauan (Hodge 1920) Pueblos. At Casa Grande, there are a number of
inhumations associated with Salado Polychromes which could be claimed as
culturally affiliated with contemporary Western Pueblos.
* Oral History. There is information on ancestral connections between the
Hohokam and the Hopi tribe. This information refers to the migration tradition
of the Patki and associated clans, who are believed to be Hohokam in origin
(Sekaquaptewa in Teague 1993). This migration tradition, which relates the flight
of the clans after a disastrous flood destroyed the Hohokam villages, is strikingly
similar to one Papago -Pima narrative about the demise of the great house
Zuni oral history explicitly refers to a southward migration of the Macaw, Seed,
and other midmost clans (Cushing 1888; Ferguson and Hart 1985). The area
where these clans migrated to is referred as "Summerland" or the "Land of
Everlasting Sunshine. " Northern immigrants also figure in Pima oral tradition: a
possible migration of northern people into Casa Grande was recorded by Manje
in 1697. His Pima informants attributed the construction of Casa Grande to these
Northerners, who eventually left the area, some going back to the north while
others going east and south. The presence of Pueblo shrines such as Double Butte
in southern Arizona are viewed by Hopi people as their spiritual presence in areas
where Hopi ancestors once lived.
* History. Sixteenth century accounts of explorations of Arizona, specifically
those by Fray Marcos de Niza, indicate that there was a close relationship
between Pima and Zuni. Niza and Díaz reported having met Pima people who
had lived up to twenty years at Zuni and who spoke Zuni language. This
information accords with Hodge's (1920, 1937) findings at Hawikuh and
Kechipauan and Kintigh's ongoing reanalysis of these materials (Kintigh, personal
communication, 1995). Brunson (1989) also hypothesizes a migration of
Hohokam/Salado people into Zuni in the late prehistory. Thus archaeological and
historic data suggest possible ethnic coresidence between southern populations and
* Ethnography. There are numerous religious affinities between Pueblo
ceremonies and Hohokam ritual imagery and paraphernalia. These affinities are
particularly strong for the Zuni Rain Priesthood and the Shú maakwe Society
(Teague 1984). There are also close linguistic relationships: the most important
ritual songs of this Society are in the Pima language (Stevenson 1904) and are
said to have been learned from the Pima.
* Archaeology. Archaeological information on ethnic -tribal ties between
prehistoric Hohokam and Yuman- speakers is inconclusive.
* History. Historic evidence indicates that the Yuman- speaking Maricopa nation
established cultural relationships with Pima Gileflos since at least the 1500s and
perhaps even earlier. Historic records collected during the last three centuries
indicate a progressive territorial, political, and cultural integration between
Maricopa and Pima, including explicit references to intermarriage, ethnic
coresidence, and intensive cultural exchange.
* Oral History. Pima people figure in Maricopa oral history, specifically in the
marriage of Maricopa women with Elder Brother, the Pima and Papago epic
hero. This long -term relationship, and particularly the existence of intermarriage
and thus lineal descent from Pima/Maricopa ancestors into the present, should be
taken into consideration for future consultation on the inventory from Casa
There is also historic reference to joint use of lands and resources between Apache and Pima.
However, there is no historic or oral record of a cultural relationship between Apache tribes of
Arizona and Casa Grande that would justify future consultation. Neither is there record of
cultural relationships between Colorado River Yuman tribes and Casa Grande.
These American Indian ethnic groups that are culturally affiliated with Casa Grande Ruins
National Monument are currently represented by the following six federally recognized tribes:
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