language and beliefs
than 30 years starting in the 1590s, Spanish priest Francisco Pareja traveled East
Florida's native villages hoping to Christianize the people he encountered. Known as the
"Timucuan scholar," Father Pareja noted many things about the local cultures.
Like most native people, the Timucua had no written language. So Father Pareja set down
the language as it sounded to him, producing one of the first such records in North
America. Here is is a sample, from a priest's interview of Timucua speakers preparing for
cacaleheco, chulusi eyolehecote, nahebuasota, caquenchabequestela, mota una yaruru
catemate, caquenihabe, quintela manta bohobicho?"
you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that
is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?")
Father Pareja's grammar:
Pareja also noted many Timucuan beliefs:
Lightning or the popping of fire was a sign of war.
Hunters and travelers believed that whistling could stop
a storm or calm rough waters.
To ensure a good catch for the tribe, fishermen prayed
to a lake. They also prayed to the first fish caught and placed it on a smoking rack,
probably as an offering.
Before a new field was planted, the chief ordered that
prayers be offered during a ceremony that featured elders sharing a special porridge.
- The call of an owl was an evil omen, as was meeting a
snake in a field or house.
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