Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by spirit » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:42 am

StevenTrost

The picture of the rock, the gray color rock with the label, rock with grooves, looks like rock I have seen other places used to straighten arrows.
A few Apache clans have used this method in the past but I believe the gray rock in your picture is older, a civilization different, older than the Apache. A piece of wood with a hole drilled through and a hand held rock with a groove in it is what I am most familiar with using. I have seen a few arrows straightened on rock such as this gray one.

All Apache arrows made from ash, willow, chokecherry, Apache plume, even river cane would bend and warp, even when cut in winter when the sap was in the roots.

The cut shafts would be left to dry for a few days to a month and the bark peeled away. Then the shafts would have to be straightened, sometimes more than once. The shafts would be heated over a fire, sometime water poured over the coals to make steam until the shaft was workable. The shafts could then be straightened a few inches at a time using the wood with the drilled hole or a rock the size of the palm of your hand with a groove cut in it. Most times it would take two or three or four tries to get the shaft straight.

The advantage to using a groove in a rock like your gray rock picture is the groove could be made longer to straighten more than an inch or two at a time and the rock itself could be heated along with the arrow. Heat is the important part of the process, once the heat is lost the shaft can not be straightened. So if the shaft and the rock could be hot at the same time, you could straighten longer sections of the shaft before the heat went away.

The site and rock in your other picture with the man sitting on the rock looks native American but many people who came after used the same sites and rocks for their own purposes.

ka-dish-day

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by StevenTrost » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:05 pm

spirit,

thank you for that reply. If I understand you right the site is most probably native American but not Apache. In the 1970's - 1980's John Hohman did archeology examinations of hundreds of salado and hohokam sites in the Tonto Basin, Salt and Verde River valleys, Pinal and Superstition mountains. No excavations, just examinations. It would be interesting to know if this site might be one he saw.

If it's not out of line to ask , do you know of any Apache sites which were used in the Superstition mts. or still might be in the mts. what they were used for and which tribe would have used them ? thank you !

Steven Trost
Last edited by StevenTrost on Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by spirit » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:51 am

StevenTrost,

The Superstition mountains were not the homeland of Apache clans but were used by many clans for gathering food, medicine and materials when the seasons and need were to the advantage. You must understand the Apache did not all live together in one village with one chief as is portrayed in the movies and TV. There were hundreds of clans spread out over hundreds of square miles, each clan acting as one with neighboring clans or individually as a single clan.

I am decendant of the tuhana-ne clan, across the water people of the Tiis-Ebah band of Pinal Apache. We were closely related to one other clan, the tuagaidn, whitewater people. Both clans used the Superstition mountains for food gathering when the seasons were right.

The Superstitions were not known to our clan as such. They were known to us as digo, a rough rocky country, and also as tset-a-go, place of refuge sought by outlaws or renegardes.
There were Apache clans who lived in the Mazatzal range between Wikedjasa, chopped up mountain (Four Peaks) and the Salt river. These were the Inostcoodjin and Tishiyosikadn clans, they lived intermixed with the Yavapai and later became totally absorbed by them. These clans used the Superstition mountains much. Among the Apache were clans which were always restless, always on the move, never settled, these clans were called nakaye, people who travel from place to place. One of these clans were the sagune who seemed at times to live in those mountains.

The Chiricahua also were in those mountains. When San Carlos reservation was first made by the white soldiers it was not made for the western Apache, the Pinal, Tontos, Apache Peaks or San Carlos, it was made for the Chiricahua. Some Chiricahua would slip off the reservation and enter the tset-a-go, this is why those mountains became known as a place of refuge for renegades.

The moutains and places in the Superstitions today have different names from what the Apache clans knew them so it is hard to say which mountains were used and at which times of the year. One mountain in particular was used for gathering agave and for making mescal. It was abundant with agave in the season when the blood was in the plants. Some of the mescal pits used in the old days can still be seen on this mountain, the same pits would be used year after year, sometimes for a hundred years or more. Our clan knew this mountain as dzil daho-il, other clans knew it as dzil gageedilje, ravens fly over mountain.

Still other individual Apache would travel to those mountains at certain times for chidin biyi, spirit power or for bil chinah agolzaa binaideel, vision spirits.

spirit

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by StevenTrost » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:16 pm

spirit

that is amazing. I didn't know the Chericahua were ever in the Superstitions but you are right the san Carlos reservation was made for the Chericahua apaches. Can you say which mt. is the one in the Superstitions where the mescal was made ? I knew the mts. were used for getting food but never thought about them quite the way you have explained it. I am very interested in your comments about the power and spirits and their places in the mountains. In other discussions here about the native Americans in the Superstitions, some have said the Apache held everyplace in the world as powerful and sacred. Is this what you were trying to say ? I read in another discussion someone said he was told there were no sacred places in the Superstition mountains to the Apache tribe. These two statements seem to conflict with each other. Which is right or are they both partly right ? I really appreciate your comments and hope I'm not getting too out of line by asking these questions.
Thank you for your patience and insight.

StevenTrost

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by coazon de oro » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:47 pm

Steven,

Going back to the grooved rocks, I agree with Mr. Alan that the rock on which Mr. Clay Worst is sitting, was used for sharpening tools. The grooves seem to be deeper in the center, and they are made from different directions. With a mine near by, it would be more likely that it was used to sharpen mining tools. The rock material seems appropriate for that use also.

The grooves on the other rock near the Agua Fria river, go in one direction only, and are on the edge. I don't believe this were made for the purpose of straightening arrows, as Spirit suggested. A lot of the groove are very shallow, and would not be of any use for that.

In my opinion, they look more like rope cuts. It would be nice to have a picture that would include a larger area, but since the rock is said to be near the river, and it does look steeper on the grooved side, this seems more probable.

Those grooves may have been made by Native tribes getting water or supplies up from the river, or they may have been made by the Spanish getting water, or supplies up from the river, or getting ore down from a mine.

If there is a mine near by it would more than likely be a Spanish site.

Homar

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by StevenTrost » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:54 am

coazon de oro

According to the book I have the gray rock with the grooves is located inside the pueblo la plata ruins which is on a hilltop quite a ways away from the river. There are several photos of the ruin site and they are all on top of that hill. The mine that is close by is the Richbar mine and is on the other side of the river. The book says it was worked in the late 1880s. Could have been a spanish mine before the anglos found it. The pueblo site is much older than either the anglos or spanish. Thats all I could get from the book. all spirit said about the other rock was the site looked to be native american but people who came later used the sites and rocks for their own purposes. So it could have been a sharpening rock, hard to say.

Steven

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by coazon de oro » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:26 pm

StevenTrost wrote:coazon de oro

According to the book I have the gray rock with the grooves is located inside the pueblo la plata ruins which is on a hilltop quite a ways away from the river. There are several photos of the ruin site and they are all on top of that hill. The mine that is close by is the Richbar mine and is on the other side of the river. The book says it was worked in the late 1880s. Could have been a spanish mine before the anglos found it. The pueblo site is much older than either the anglos or spanish. Thats all I could get from the book. all spirit said about the other rock was the site looked to be native american but people who came later used the sites and rocks for their own purposes. So it could have been a sharpening rock, hard to say.

Steven

Steven,

Pueblo La Plata, translates to Silver City. There can only be one reason it was named like that. If there is an old mine across the river from there, it shows that the place is in a mineralized area.

It seems very likely that there is a lost, or covered mine there. This is just a treasure hunters opinion. ;)

I am not trying to debunk anyone's idea, just presenting my own for others to consider.

Homar

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by somehiker » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:44 am

A link for the Pueblo La Plata ruins:

http://www.arizonaruins.com/AguaFria/index.html

And a couple for the Richinbar mine:

http://www.apcrp.org/RICHINBAR/Richenba ... 013009.htm
http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=2400

from the hikearizona link:

Richinbar mining production as recorded for the period 1905 - 1948 by the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources;

Cumulative totals are:
Tons of ore 31,833
Pounds of copper 7,352
Pounds of lead 6,947
Troy oz. of gold 4,616
Troy oz. of silver 1,425

Regards:somehiker

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by StevenTrost » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:26 am

coazon de oro

I agree with your opinion. The pueblo site was surely there before any spanish or mexicans were in the area but the fact a mine is so close by and the pueblo was named la plata sure makes a case for very early mining in the area. spirit said native American sites were taken over and used by those who came after them so it follows that the spanish, mexicans and anglos all or any could have used the site for their own purpose.

somehiker

great links to the site and the Richinbar mine. Thanks ! This will be a trip I will have to take when the weather gets cooler. We kind of got off topic with the photo of the gray rock and its similar look of the rock in the Superstitions but its taken us down an interesting path.

Steven

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Re: Native Americans in the Superstition Mts.

Post by spirit » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:39 am

StevenTrost,

In answer to your questions. In the old days there were over 60 clans of the Tiss-Ebah Apache. Tiss-Ebah were Pinal Apache to the white man. Clans were made up of some 20-100 people. These clans were spread out over many, many square miles. Some clans were related and lived close to other clans but many clans lived and acted individually of all other clans.

The place names of certain mountains or valleys or places were not common knowledge to all the clans. Sometimes one clan would call a certain place by one name and another clan by another name. There was no Apache atlas the clans could check to see what a certain place was “officially” called. It is a common misconception that all Apache clans were closely linked with each other and what one clan knew, all other clans also knew. When you understand this fact, you will begin to understand the Apache as they truly were, not as you have read in books, seen them on TV or in the movies.

The mountain you asked about is today called Tortilla mountain on the white man’s map. The creeks on both sides of this mountain and a mountain to the west, dzil daagodigha were also places of gathering agave, food, medicine, material and for chidn biyi.

Agave, century plant, mescal was known as na-ta and was the most important food of the clans. It would be harvested mostly in the summer when it was most nutritious. Sometimes whole clans would travel to where the agave was abundant. Often these places were traditional and had been used by the same clans for many decades. These places were very important to the clan, not only was food harvested there, babies were born there, people died there, dances and ceremonies were held there, there was much chidn biyi, spiritual power at these places.

If an Apache tells you, there are no sacred places in those mountains, what he is saying is there are no sacred places in those mountains known to me, or to my clan. For no single Apache can speak for every band and every clan and individual within those clans. That knowledge was not written down or passed along to every other clan, so no one could make the statement that they know there are no sacred places in those mountains. They can only speak for themselves.

A sacred place could be a place that is sacred to a band, or many bands and clans, or it could be individual, sacred only to a single clan or even to a single individual within a clan. You would have to first have a good understanding of what Apache consider sacred and why, and also the concept of power and spirits. That would take someone a very long time to learn and understand. I know of only a few white men who have taken the time and made the sacrifice to understand these concepts and their meanings. For someone to say that everyplace is powerful and equally sacred to the Apache is a lack of understanding of the Apache and their concept of power and sacredness.

This is what I believe. Everything in the world, the animals, the plants, the sky, the stars, the rain, has a power behind it that makes it do what it does. What you can see is only a small part of the whole thing. The power is in the part you cannot see, the spirit part. Some Apache, a very few, learn to reach the spirit part, to speak to the spirit within and communicate with both the physical part and it’s spirit heart. When they learn this they are said to have the chidn bi-yi, the power of that spirit, the power of a plant or an animal, the lightning or the rain. Power is a most rare thing to the Apache. Those who have gained such power must use it wisely or the spirit will take it away.

It is written, power is sacred, and knowledge of the spirit within is a very sacred thing. The place where the power was given is sacred and the place where the spirit prayer and ceremony are held by those who possess the power is also sacred. You cannot talk about power like other things. You cannot hold power by speaking words or with wealth or by words written on a piece of paper. The Ndee hold an intense relationship with the powers of the world. No one, white man or Apache can see the world the way I see it. No one can understand the power and the spirit the way I can. No one can know it’s sacredness as I know it, unless he has experienced the world in the exact same way I have.

The passing of every old Apache man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some memory, some secret place, the individual knowledge of a sacred site or sacred ritual possessed by no other. No living man, white man or Apache can claim to have knowledge of the sacredness of all Apache bands, clans and individuals.

spirit

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