Old Pascua Photographs, ca. 1938

The images of Old Pascua in this section were digitized from photographs provided by Dr. Joseph Wilder, Director of the University of Arizona's Southwest Studies Center. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona selected the images included in this exhibit.

Captions for these seventeen photos were developed through Old Pascua Photos, a project of the Arizona State Museum-Lawrence Intermediate School Partnership, funded with a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council. These images are part of The University of Arizona Southwest Studies Center's collection of photographs taken at Old Pascua in the 1930s and early 1940s. Photographs picturing ceremonial practices could not be included in this project.

Felipe Molina conducted interviews with four Pascua elders during the spring of 2001. Each elder was interviewed separately in his or her language of choice. The languages included Yeome, English and Spanish. The primary interviewees are listed with the language in which the interview was conducted: Erasmo Valenzuela (Yoeme and English); Secundina Acuña (Yoeme); Secundina Valenzuela (Yoeme); Josephine Garcia (Yoeme and English). Several of the elders did not wish to reveal their age, though as a group all were between 60 and 80 years.

Old Pascua Photos also included a series of oral history meetings between Yoeme elders and students at Lawrence Intermediate School. Felipe Molina facilitated these meetings which took place at Old Pascua and Lawrence Intermediate School. Information from these sessions has also been incorporated into the captions below. Additional information was provided by Mary Van Alstine (English and Yoeme), Amelia Lujan (English and Spanish) and Monica Romero (English), staff from the Pascua Neighborhood Center; Mary Jane Buename'a (Yoeme and English) and Herminia Valenzuela (English) and Yoeme staff at Lawrence Intermediate. Felipe Molina's brother, Steve Armadillo also helped with interviews (Yoeme and English).

During one of these sharing sessions, Pascua elders worked with Lawrence students to build a kareeta(cart) like the one shown below.

children with cart

This project provided a focus for the students and elders to work together and to talk about changes in life at Pascua. Felipe Molina and Elaine Mariolle produced these captions based on the elders' comments from both individual interviews and group discussions with the Lawrence students.

Old Pascua, circa 1938
Old Pascua, circa 1938


A southern view of Old Pascua village. You can see "A" Mountain to the left on the image and Tumamoc Hill to the right. Agave is planted in the foreground. The background houses are sami kari (adobe houses). The houses in the foreground are made of tin and corrugated metal with an earthen roof (bwiata teechok). Traditional, permanent Yoeme houses were bwiata teechok (earth-roofed). The earth was used for insulation to keep the homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The village hospital
The village hospital


The Pascua espital/ospital (Yoeme variants of hospital) was built in the early 1930s. After the espital/ospital closed it became the Spicer's home in 1936 when Ned was conducting his dissertation research at Pascua. Their car is parked beside the building. When the Spicers left Pascua, the building was subdivided into separate apartments -- the right side for the Peña family and the left side for the Suarez family. The Tortolita Mountains can be seen in the distant background.

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