Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) - A Record of Five Years
324 Pages

Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) - A Record of Five Years' Exploration Among the Tribes of the Western Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among the Tarascos of Michoacan


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Project Gutenberg's Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2), by Carl Lumholtz This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) Author: Carl Lumholtz Release Date: August 4, 2005 [EBook #16426] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK UNKNOWN MEXICO, VOLUME 1 (OF 2) *** Produced by Jeroen Hellingman Unknown Mexico A Record of Five Years’ Exploration Among the Tribes of the Western Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among the Tarascos of Michoacan By Carl Lumholtz, M.A. Member of the Society of Sciences of Norway; Associé Étranger de la Société de l’Anthropologie de Paris; Author of “Among Cannibals,” Etc. Volume I Illustrated London Macmillan and Co., Limited 1902 To Morris K. Jesup, M.A., LL.D. President of the American Museum of Natural History of New York The Patron and Friend of Science This Work Is Respectfully Dedicated As a Token of Gratitude and Regard [vii] Preface In the course of my travels in Australia, and especially after my arrival at Upper Herbert River in Northern Queensland, I soon perceived that it would be impracticable for me to hunt for zoological specimens without first securing the assistance of the natives of the country. Thus it came about that for over a year I spent most of my time in the company of the cannibalistic blacks of that region, camping and hunting with them; and during this adventurous period I became so interested in these primitive people that the study of savage and barbaric races has since become my life’s work. I first conceived the idea of an expedition to Mexico while on a visit to London in 1887. I had, of course, as we all have, heard of the wonderful cliff-dwellings in the Southwest of the United States, of entire villages built in caverns on steep mountain-sides, accessible in many cases only with the aid of ladders. Within the territory of the United States there were, to be sure, no survivors of the race that had once inhabited those dwellings. But the Spaniards, when first discovering and conquering that district, are said to have come upon dwellings then still occupied. Might there not, possibly, be descendants of the people yet in existence in the northwestern part of Mexico hitherto so little explored? I made up my mind, then and there, that I would answer this question and that I would undertake an expedition into that part of the American continent. But my ideas were not realised until in 1890 I visited the United States on a lecturing tour. On broaching the subject of such an expedition to some representative men and women, I met with a surprisingly ready response; and interest in an undertaking of that kind being once aroused, the difficulties and obstacles in its way were soon overcome. [viii] Most of the money required was raised by private subscription. The principal part of the fund was, however, furnished by a now deceased friend of mine, an American gentleman whose name, in deference to his wishes, I am bound to withhold. The American Museum of Natural History of New York and the American Geographical Society of New York contributed, each, $1,000, and it was arranged that I should travel under the auspices of these two learned institutions. Many scientific societies received me most cordially. The Government in Washington readily furnished me with the official papers I required. The late Mr. James G. Blaine, then Secretary of State, did everything in his power to pave my way in Mexico, even evincing a very strong personal interest in my plans. In the summer of 1890, preparatory to my work, I visited the Zuñi, Navajo, and Moqui Indians, and then proceeded to the City of Mexico in order to get the necessary credentials from that Government. I was received with the utmost courtesy by the President, General Porfirio Diaz, who gave me an hour’s audience at the Palacio Nacional, and also by several members of his cabinet, whose appreciation of the importance and the scientific value of my proposition was truly gratifying. With everything granted that I wanted for the success of my expedition—free passage for my baggage through the Custom House, the privilege of a military escort whenever I deemed one desirable, and numerous letters of introduction to prominent persons in Northern Mexico who were in a position to further my plans—I hurried back to the United States to organise the undertaking. My plan was to enter, at some convenient point in the State of Sonora, Mexico, that great and mysterious mountain range called the Sierra Madre, cross it to the famous ruins of Casas Grandes in the State of Chihuahua, and then to explore the range southward as extensively as my means would permit. The western Sierra Madre may be considered a continuation of the Rocky Mountains and stretches through the greater part of Mexico into Central and South America as a link of the Cordilleras, which form a practically uninterrupted chain from Bering Strait to Cape Horn. The section occupying Northwestern Mexico is called Sierra Madre del Norte, and offers a wide field for scientific exploration. To this day it has never been surveyed. The northernmost portion of the Sierra Madre del Norte has from time immemorial been under the dominion of the wild Apache tribes whose hand was against every man, and every man against them. Not until General Crook, in 1883, reduced these dangerous nomads to submission did it become possible to make scientific investigations there; indeed, small bands of the “Men of the Woods” were still left, and my party had to be strong enough to cope with any difficulty from them. Inasmuch as my expedition was the first to take advantage of the comparative security prevailing in that district, I thought that I could best further the aims of Science by associating with me a staff of scientists and students. Professor W. Libbey, of Princeton, N. J., took part as the physical geographer, bringing with him his laboratory man; Mr. A. M. Stephen was the archæologist, assisted by Mr. R. Abbott; Messrs. C. V. Hartman and C.  E. Lloyd were the botanists, Mr. F. Robinette the zoölogical collector, and Mr. H. White the mineralogist of the expedition. [ix] [x] All the scientific men were provided with riding animals, while the Mexican muleteers generally rode their own mounts. Our outfit was as complete as it well could be, comprising all the instruments and tools that might be required, besides tents and an adequate allotment of provisions, etc. All this baggage had to be transported on mule-back. We were, all in all, thirty men, counting the scientific corps, the guides, the cooks, and the muleteers, and we had with us nearly a hundred animals—mules, donkeys, and horses—as we crossed the sierra. It was a winter campaign, and from Nacori, in Sonora, to Casas Grandes, in Chihuahua, we were to make our own trail, which we did successfully. Ancient remains were almost as rare as in the rest of the Sierra Madre del Norte; yet traces of ancient habitations were found in the shape of stone terraces, which had evidently served agricultural purposes, and at some places rude fortifications were seen. In the eastern part we came upon a considerable number of caves containing house Croups, the builders of which, generally, rested in separate burial-caves. In the same locality, as well as in the adjacent plains of San Diego, Chihuahua, we found numerous mounds covering house groups, similar in construction to those in the caves. From underneath their floors we unearthed about five hundred beautifully decorated pieces of pottery. Among the further results of the expedition may be mentioned the gathering of large collections of plants, among them twenty-seven species new to science; fifty-five mammals, among which the siurus Apache was new to science, and about a thousand birds. A complete record was made of meteorological observations. Thus far, although the question regarding surviving cliff-dwellers was answered negatively, the field southward in the sierra was so promising that I was eager to extend my explorations in that direction. The funds of the expedition, however, began to run low, and in April, 1891, I had to return to the United States to obtain more money with which to carry on a work that had opened so auspiciously. I left my camp in San Diego in charge of one of my assistants, instructing him to go on with the excavations during my absence. This work was never interrupted, though the force of men was now considerably reduced. The law prohibiting excavations without the special permit of the Government of Mexico had not yet been promulgated. I was so absolutely confident of the ultimate success of my efforts, in spite of discouragements, that I twice crossed the entire continent of North America, went down to the City of Mexico and came north again—a journey of over 20,000 miles—seeing prominent people and lecturing to arouse a public interest. Finally, the American Museum of Natural History of New York decided to continue the explorations, the funds being this time supplied mainly through the munificence of the late Mr. Henry Villard, and toward the end of that year I was able to return to my camp, and in January, 1892, lead the expedition further south. My scientific assistants were now: Mr. C. V. Hartman, botanist; Mr. C. H. Taylor, civil engineer and photographer, and Mr. A. E. Meade, mineralogist and zoological collector. This time we came upon Cave-Dwellers. The Tarahumare Indians of the Sierra Madre, one of the least known among the Mexican tribes, live in caves to such an extent that they may properly be termed the American [xi] [xii] Cave-Dwellers of to-day. I determined to study these interesting people, especially the so-called gentiles1 (pagans), and as this was not practical, even with the present reduced size of the expedition, I gradually disbanded the entire company and at last remained alone. By selling most of my animals, and a large part of my outfit, and through the untiring efforts of two American ladies, whose friendship I highly esteem, I was enabled to continue my researches alone until August, 1893, when I took my Tarahumare and Tepehuane collections to Chicago and exhibited them at the World’s Fair. Extensive vocabularies of the Tarahumare and Tepehuane languages, as well as a vocabulary of the now almost extinct Tubares, were among the results of this expedition, besides anthropological measurements, samples of hair and osseous remains. The great possibilities Mexico offers to ethnology proved an irresistible incentive to new researches, and seeing the results of my previous expeditions, the American Museum of Natural History of New York again sent me out on what was to be my third and most extensive Mexican expedition, which lasted from March, 1894, to March, 1897. During these three years I again travelled alone, that is, without any scientific assistants, at first with two or three Mexicans. Soon, however, I found that my best companions were the so-called civilised Indians, or even Indians in their aboriginal state, who not only helped me by their mere presence to win the confidence of their tribesmen but also served me as subjects of observation. As before, I stopped for months with a tribe, discharging all alien attendants, and roughing it with the Indians. In this way I spent in all a year and a half among the Tarahumares, and ten months among the Coras and Huichols. At first the natives persistently opposed me; they are very distrustful of the white man, and no wonder, since he has left them little yet to lose. But I managed to make my entry and gradually to gain their confidence and friendship, mainly through my ability to sing their native songs, and by always treating them justly. Thus I gained a knowledge of these peoples which could have been procured in no other way. When after five or six months of such sojourns and travel my stock of “civilised” provisions would give out, I subsisted on what I could procure from the Indians. Game is hard to get in Mexico, and one’s larder cannot depend on one’s gun. As in Australia, my favourite drink was hot water with honey, which, besides being refreshing, gave a relish to a monotonous diet. All along my route I gathered highly valuable material from the Tarahumares, the Northern and the Southern Tepehuanes, the Coras, the Huichols, and the Tepecanos, all of which tribes except the last named dwell within the Sierra Madre del Norte; also from the Nahuas on the western slopes of the sierra, as well as from those in the States of Jalisco and Mexico; and, finally, from the Tarascos in the State of Michoacan. Of most of these tribes little more than their names were known, and I brought back large collections illustrating their ethnical and anthropological status, besides extensive information in regard to their customs, religion, traditions, and myths. I also completed my collection of vocabularies and aboriginal melodies. On my journey through the Tierra Caliente of the Territory of Tepic, and the States of Jalisco and Michoacan, I also obtained a number of archaeological objects of great historical value and importance. In 1898 I made my last expedition to Mexico under the same auspices, [xiii] [xiv] staying there for four months. On this trip I was accompanied by Dr. Ales Hrdlicka. I revisited the Tarahumares and Huichols in order to supplement the material in hand and to settle doubtful points that had come up in working out my notes. Sixty melodies from these tribes were recorded on the graphophone. Thus from 1890 to 1898 I spent fully five years in field researches among the natives of northwestern Mexico. The material was collected with a view to shedding light upon the relations between the ancient culture of the valley of Mexico and the Pueblo Indians in the southwest of the United States; to give an insight into the ethnical status of the Mexican Indians now and at the time of the conquest, and to illuminate certain phases in the development of the human race. So far the results of my expeditions to Mexico have been made public in the following literature: CARL LUMHOLTZ: “Explorations in Mexico,” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, 1891. CARL LUMHOLTZ: Letters to the American Geographical Society of New York, “Mr. Carl Lumholtz in Mexico,” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol. III., 1893. J. A. ALLEN: “List of Mammals and Birds Collected in Northeastern Sonora and Northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, on the Lumholtz Archæological Expedition, 1890–1892,” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. V., Art. III., 1893. B. L. ROBINSON and M. L. FERNALD: “New Plants Collected by Mr. C. V. Hartman and Mr. C. E. Lloyd upon the Archæological Expedition to Northwestern Mexico under the Direction of Dr. Carl Lumholtz,” Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. XXX., 1894. CARL LUMHOLTZ: “American Cave-Dwellers; the Tarahumares of the Sierra Madre,” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol. III., 1894. CARL LUMHOLTZ: “The Cave-Dwellers of the Sierra Madre,” Proceedings of the International Congress of Anthropology, Chicago, 1894. CARL LUMHOLTZ: Four articles in SCRIBNER’S MAGAZINE: “Explorations in the Sierra Madre,” November, 1891; “Among the Tarahumares, the American Cave-Dwellers,” July, 1894; “Tarahumare Life and Customs,” September, 1894; “Tarahumare Dances and Plant Worship,” October, 1894. C. V. HARTMAN: “The Indians of Northwestern Mexico,” Congrès International des Americanistes, Dixième Session, Stockholm, 1894. CARL LUMHOLTZ: “Blandt Sierra Madres huleboere,” Norge, Norsk Kalender, Kristiania, 1895. CARL LUMHOLTZ and ALEŠ HRDLIČKA: “Trephining in Mexico,” American Anthropologist, December, 1897. [xv] CARL LUMHOLTZ: “The Huichol Indians in Mexico,” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898. TARLETON H. BEAN: “Notes on Mexican Fishes Obtained by Carl Lumholtz.” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898. CARL LUMHOLTZ and ALES HRDLICKA: “Marked Human Bones from a Prehistoric Tarasco Indian Burial-place in the State of Michoacan, Mexico,” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898. ALEŠ HRDLIČKA: “Description of an Ancient Anomalous Skeleton from the Valley of Mexico, with Special Reference to Supernumerary Bicipital Ribs in Man,” Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. XII., 1899. CARL LUMHOLTZ: “Symbolism of the Huichol Indians,” Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. III., May, 1900; 228 royal quarto pages and 3 coloured plates. IN PREPARATION: CARL LUMHOLTZ: “Conventionalism in Designs of the Huichol Indians,” Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History. The present volumes give a succinct account of my travels and work among the remote peoples of the Sierra Madre del Norte and the countries adjacent to the south and east as far as the City of Mexico. Most of what I tell here refers to a part of the Republic that is never visited by tourists and is foreign even to most Mexicans. Primitive people are becoming scarce on the globe. On the American continents there are still some left in their original state. If they are studied before they, too, have lost their individuality or been crushed under the heels of civilisation, much light may be thrown not only upon the early people of this country but upon the first chapters of the history of mankind. In the present rapid development of Mexico it cannot be prevented that these primitive people will soon disappear by fusion with the great nation to whom they belong. The vast and magnificent virgin forests and the mineral wealth of the mountains will not much longer remain the exclusive property of my dusky friends; but I hope that I shall have rendered them a service by setting them this modest monument, and that civilised man will be the better for knowing of them. That I have been able to accomplish what I did I owe, in the first place, to the generosity of the people of the United States, to their impartiality and freedom from prejudice, which enables foreigners to work shoulder to shoulder with their own advance guard. I wish to extend my thanks in particular to the American Geographical Society of New York, and still more especially to the American Museum of Natural History of New York, with whom I have had the honour of being connected more or less closely for ten years. To its public-spirited and whole-souled President, Mr. Morris K. Jesup, I am under profound obligations. I also take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who initiated my Mexican ventures with a subscription of $1,000; furthermore to the Hon. Cecil Baring, Mr. Frederick A. Constable, Mr. William E. Dodge, [xvi] [xvii] Mr. James Douglass, Mrs. Joseph W. Drexel, Mr. George J. Gould, Miss Helen Miller Gould, Mr. Archer M. Huntington, Mr. Frederick E. Hyde, Mr. D. Willis James, Col. James K. Jones, the Duke of Loubat, Mr. Peter Marié, Mr. Henry G. Marquand, Mr. F. O. Matthiessen, Mr. Victor Morawetz, Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, Mrs. Edwin Parsons, Mr. Archibald Rogers, Mr. F. Augustus Schermerhorn, Mr. William C. Schermerhorn, Mr. Charles Stewart Smith, Mr. James Speyer, Mr. George W. Vanderbilt, Mr. William C. Whitney, of New York; to Mr. Frederick L. Ames, Mrs. John L. Gardner, Mrs. E. Mason, Mr. Nathaniel Thayer, Mr. Samuel D. Warren, Dr. Charles G. Weld, of Boston; to Mr. Allison D. Armour and Mr. Franklin MacVeagh, of Chicago; to Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, Mr. Frank G. New. lands, Mrs. Abby M. Parrot, Mr. F. W. Sharon, of San Francisco; to Mr. Adolphus Busch, of St. Louis; to Mr. Theo. W. Davis, of Newport; and to the late Mr. E. L. Godkin. Much valuable support or assistance I have also received from Mrs. Morris K. Jesup; Mrs. Elizabeth Hobson, of Washington, D. C.; Miss Joanna Rotch, of Milton, Mass.; Mrs. Henry Draper, of New York; Mrs. Robert W. Chapin, of Lenox; the late Mr. E. L. Godkin; Professor Alexander Agassiz; Professor F. W. Putnam, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, of Philadelphia; Professor Franz Boas, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Dr. B. L. Robinson and Dr. M. L. Fernald, of Harvard University; Professor J. A. Allen and Mr. L. P. Gratacap, Curators of the American Museum of Natural History. I am under obligation to Mr. Marshall H. Saville, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History, especially for the placing of the names of the ruins of Southern Mexico on one of the maps; to Miss Alice Fletcher, of Washington, D. C., and Mr. Edwin S. Tracy for transcribing from the graphophone three of the songs rendered in this book, and to Mrs. George S. Bixby for aid in transcribing the native music. Finally I desire to express my appreciation of the untiring services of my private secretary, Mrs. H. E. Hepner. The upper illustration on page 65 is a reproduction of a photograph kindly furnished me by Mr. Frank H. Chapman, and the illustration in Vol. I., pages 145–146, is made from a photograph acquired through the late Dr. P. Lamborn. The illustration in Vol. II., pages 464–465, I owe to the courtesy of Mr. D. Gabriel Castaños, of Guadalajara. The coloured illustrations are represented as the objects appear when the colours have been brought out by the application of water. The maps do not lay claim to an accuracy which, under the circumstances, it was impossible to obtain, but they will, I hope, be found to be an improvement on the existing ones. Dr. Aleš Hrdlička, who has just returned from the Hyde expedition, informs me that in visiting the western part of Sonora he found pure Opata spoken west of Rio de Sonora and north of Ures, e.g., in Tuape. Wherever dollars and cents are given Mexican currency is meant. In the Indian Songs II., 10 and 18, I have made an attempt at rendering the native words in English in such a form that the translations could be sung, without, however, deviating from the original. [xviii] [xix]