Page:IJAL vol 1.djvu/99

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International Journal of American Linguistics

��Volume I

��May, 1918

��Number 2

��TEPECANO PRAYERS By J. ALDEN MASON

INTRODUCTION

��THE following prayers or perdones as they are locally termed were collected during the months of December, 1911, to March, 1912, and from November of the latter year to January, 1913, while I was enjoying the facilities for field work afforded me as representative from the University of Pennsylvania to the International School of Mexican Ethnology and Archeology. They were secured in Azqueltan, a little pueblo in the northeastern corner of the state of Jalisco, some hundred miles west of Zacatecas and nearly the same distance north of Guadalajara. Here live the remainder of the Tepecanos, at present the southernmost people speaking a language of the Piman group. A brief sketch of their life and customs1 and collections of their folk-tales2 have been published as well as a short account of one of the religious fiestas.3

The principal results of the residence in Azqueltan, in addition to the above-mentioned sketches, were studies of the language and of the religion of this group. An exposition of the language is being published by the New York Academy of Sciences.4 To the same Academy is due no little credit for the appearance of the present paper, since it supplied

1 The Tepehuan Indians of Azqueltan, Proceedings of the XVIII International Congress of Americanists, London, 1912, p. 344.

2 Four Mexican-Spanish Fairy-Tales from Azqueltan, Jalisco, J. A. F. L., XXV, p. 191; Folk-Tales of the Tepecanos, ibid., XXVII, p. 148.

3 The Pinole Fiesta at Azqueltan, University of Pennsylvania Museum Journal, III, p. 44.

4 Tepecano, A Piman Language of Western Mexico, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The appearance of this article is delayed on account of the war.

��the needed funds for its preparation. The present collection of prayers is presented partly as illustrative material for the aforesaid linguistic sketch and partly as basic material for the study of the religion which is to be prepared. For this reason the prayers are presented with little introduction and no attempt has been made to explain the ceremonial allusions. Footnotes have been appended only to elucidate grammatical points.

The greater number of the prayers were given me by my principal informant, Eleno Aguilar. A few were given by the Cantador Mayor or High Priest, Rito de la Cruz, and one was secured from Francisco Aguilar. But all were revised and corrected by Eleno.

The religion of the Tepecanos appears to be very similar to those of the other neighboring peoples of the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Huichol, Cora, Tepehuane and Tarahumare. Preuss has published a voluminous account of the religion of the Cora6 and Lumholtz more or less detailed accounts of those of the other groups, 6 particularly the Huichol.7 The religion of the latter appears to be somewhat specialized but those of the other groups are doubtless basically the same. Preuss gives many songs and prayers very similar in form and concept to those given here and Lum- holtz mentions the same among other groups.

5 K. T. Preuss, Die Religion der Cora-Indianer, Leipzig, 1912, and many smaller articles in various periodicals.

6 Karl Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico, New York, 1902, and several smaller articles.

7 Symbolism of the Huichol Indians, Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, III, May, 1900, and other papers.

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